Jacob Smith Boreman

Jacob Smith Boreman was born on August 4, 1831, in Middlebourne, Virginia (now West Virginia). Boreman’s grandfather had emigrated from Manchester, England, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and served as an assistant paymaster in the Continental Army. Jacob's parents, Kenner and Sarah Boreman, were originally from Pennsylvania, where his father was a successful merchant. By 1850, Kenner Boreman had moved with his family to Parkersburg, Virginia.

Jacob studied at a private academy in Virginia before enrolling at Washington College in Pennsylvania in 1849. He graduated in 1853 and briefly studied law under his brother Arthur I. Boreman in Parkersburg. He also studied law at the University of Virginia from 1854 to 1855. He then returned to Parkersburg, where he practiced law in partnership with his brother. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1858, and became a city attorney in 1861.

During the secession crisis, Jacob and his brother Arthur remained staunchly loyal to the Union. Arthur served as president of the Wheeling Convention of Virginia Unionists and later became the first governor of West Virginia. Jacob served as a private in the Missouri State Militia, and in 1861 and 1862 he helped raise troops for the Union army. In the spring of 1862, Governor Hamilton Gamble appointed Jacob Boreman a judge of the Jackson County Probate and Common Pleas Court. He continued to serve in the Missouri militia and on October 21, 1864 participated in the Battle of Little Blue River.

In 1863, Boreman was elected as a judge to the Kansas City Criminal Court, a position he held until 1868. He married Mary Ferguson in 1866, and together they had at least five children: Gilbert, born 1867; Kenner, born 1869; Clara, born 1874; Ralph, born 1877; and Beatrice, born 1880). Their son Ralph died in infancy.

Boreman joined the Republican Party, and in 1868 he resigned from the criminal court to run for the Missouri General Assembly. He lost in a contest rife with fraud, and the legislature ordered a new election the following year. This time, Boreman won the election with 62 percent of his district’s vote. He spent the next three years in the General Assembly and also briefly worked as the editor for the Kansas City Evening Bulletin.

In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Boreman as an associate justice to the Utah Supreme Court. In that role, he became an “implacable enemy of Mormonism,” rigidly enforcing the nation’s anti-polygamy laws. Boreman presided over the divorce and estate settlement between Brigham Young and Ann Eliza. He also helped convict John D. Lee for his involvement in the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which a Mormon militia killed more than 100 members of an emigrant wagon train.

From 1879 to 1880, he shared the bench with Chief Justice John A. Hunter, a fellow UVA alumnus and Union veteran. Boreman resigned from the court in 1880 and moved his family to Ogden, Utah. He was reappointed to the Utah Supreme Court in 1885, however, and served for another four years. He practiced law in Ogden from 1889 to 1897, working with his son Gilbert there for several years. He also served as the president of the Utah Bar Association, and in 1900 was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for governor.

On January 15, 1903, Boreman submitted an application for a pension, claiming to suffer from defective eyesight and disability from old age. The War Department, however, rejected his pension because his militia unit had never mustered into federal service. Although he enlisted the help of Utah Senator George Sutherland, he never managed to secure a pension. He died in Ogden on October 7, 1913, of neuralgia of the heart. Upon his death, the Salt Lake City Tribune wrote that, “Judge Boreman was… a man firm in his allegiance to the Government, and stern in the condemnation of those who undertook to stir up antipathies against the National authority and to urge the merits and usurpation of local authority in civil affairs that was hostile to the National Government and a determination to disobey its legislation and the judgments of its courts.”

Image: Jacob Smith Boreman (Courtesy Utah State Historical Society, photo number 11723)


Jacob S. Boreman Elected to Missouri State Legislature

Jacob S. Boreman as Editor of the Kansas City Bulletin

Jacob S. Boreman as Utah Supreme Court Justice

Jacob S. Boreman Opposes Women's Suffrage

Obituary of Jacob S. Boreman

Name:Boreman, Jacob Smith
Alternative names:
  • Soldier
  • UVA (Union)
Missouri State Militia
Branch of service:Army
Muster Out1862-04-19Kansas City, MOMustered Out
Residence at UVA:Parkersburg, WV
UVA Begin Year:1854
UVA End Year:1855
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Boreman, Jacob SmithBoreman, Jacob Smith1293785application-invalid
Boreman, Jacob Smithnoneapplication-minor
Boreman, Jacob Smithnoneapplication-parent
Boreman, Jacob Smithnoneapplication-widow
Birth date:1831-08-04
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:Middlebourne, VA
Death date:1913-10-07
Death place:Ogden, Utah
Causes of death:disease: neuralgia
Occupations:Engineer, Attorney, Judge
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Boreman, Jacob Smithparent ofBoreman, Gilbert F.
Boreman, Jacob Smithparent ofBoreman, Kenner S.
Boreman, Jacob Smithparent ofBoreman, Clara
Boreman, Jacob Smithparent ofBoreman, Ralph Ingram
Boreman, Jacob Smithparent ofBoreman, Beatrice
Boreman, Mary F.wife ofBoreman, Jacob Smith

Pension records for Jacob S. Boreman, RG 15, National Archives and Records Administration; United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 accessed through Ancestry.com; Judge Jacob S. Boreman, The Weekly Herald and Tribune (St. Joseph, MO), May 15, 1862; St. Joseph Weekly Union (St. Joseph, MO), October 13, 1869; The Weekly Caucasian (Lexington, MO), February 20, 1869; Board of Trustees of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, The Phi Gamma Delta, Volume 36, Issue 2 (1913); T. Alfred Vernon, Phi Gamma Delta Chapter Rolls and Directory, 1848-1898 (1898); UVA Student Catalogue, Jefferson's University: Early Life; Leonard J. Arrington and Jacob Smith Boreman, "Crusade Against Theocracy: The Reminiscences of Judge Jacob Smith Boreman of Utah, 1872-1877" (1960).