Lawrence Jacobs

Lawrence Darrell Jacobs was born the second son of Lawrence Edward Jacobs and Anna Welch Jacobs. Larry and his wife Bev live on a back street of ‘the housing’ on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation.

Larry spent his childhood years in Red Springs and in Milwaukee. Early on, he went to the Mission school in Red Springs, but doesn’t remember very much about it because he was so young; but he knows he didn’t like school much at all.

What he does remember about childhood are the things that he enjoyed doing; hanging around with the other kids in the area, swimming in both Beaulieu and Mission Lake, and fishing. He was a good fisherman, able to catch enough fish for supper.

Larry has a lot of fond childhood memories in the Red Springs area; his grandparents lived there. He can remember standing in Red Springs at night, looking to the north above the hemlocks near the Menominee line, and seeing the Northern Lights dancing across the whole north sky. Another memory of that time Larry shared was about the level of noise pollution in Red Springs at that time. He said a person could stand in Red Springs and hear a car leave the town of Gresham.

When Larry got older his family went to Milwaukee, and he attended school there, and he didn’t care for it. "I went to school because I had to." At the age of 17, he quit school and joined the Navy. The Navy agreed with Larry; he served six years. During that time, he saw duty in Cuba, Panama, and Vietnam. At one point, Larry and the men he served with drilled and trained for several weeks, fine tuning a recovery team operation, but unaware of the specifics behind the training. It became apparent as they watched a large cone with parachutes attached to it splash down on the eastern seaboard near Cape Hatteras. Captain John Glenn had just flown the first successful manned space flight, and Petty Officer Lawrence Jacobs was on hand and skillfully trained to participate on the recovery team.

When he got out of the Navy Larry held several different jobs; at one point, he was a police officer on the reservation for three years. Eventually he settled into the trucking industry in Milwaukee area, because it had a good pay/pension plan. Somewhere in this time frame, Larry started making what is called regalia – dance outfits for his son Darrell and the like. This would later turn into more than just a pastime.

Eventually, Larry became a craftsman, although he might dispute that fact. He made many different native objects; dance regalia, woodcrafts, and others. He has received recognition for his skill and artisanship, having several of his pieces in exhibits in museums at Albany, New York; London, England; Warsaw, Poland, and even Russia. Larry’s art can be found by looking for the name ManyHats.

He began to travel to many pow-wows and native gatherings, and became a trader of all things native. It was here on the pow wow circuit thirteen years ago that Larry met a traditional dancer named Beverly. They became friends, and the rest just fell into place. Six years ago, Larry and Bev were married. Between the two of them, they have five children; Denise in Chicago, Darrell in Milwaukee, Michelle in Grand Haven MI, John in Milwaukee, and Shannon in Downers Grove, IL. From these fine children came six grandchildren. Larry and his wife have traveled far while following the pow wow circuit. They have been all the way east on the Mohawk Trail, south to the Seminole Fair, and points in between. Larry says of this way of life, "I loved it. I have never walked away from a gathering feeling bad. They say pow-wow came from a white word, but originally, way back, an Algonquin word pahau (?) meant ‘go and heal’. I miss the circuit. I’m not trading anymore."

What are the accomplishments or things you are proud of? Larry pauses, and gets that thousand-mile stare. "It might sound corny, but I’m proud to be a Mohican. We still have people that say ‘the Mohicans are all gone’…but, I’m not. I’ve seen the transition from World War II till today, the advancements and the improvements…the education and things that we are offered here today …we didn’t have that when I was young." He pauses for a moment, and then continues, " I did the ceremony for the remains of 41 of our ancestors in Albany. While we were there, the curator of the museum where the remains of our ancestors were, she said, ‘Are you ManyHats?’ And I said yes, and she said ‘You have an exhibit here’, and I had never seen it."

In the midst of the interview, Larry was asked about his favorite place. "All over the world, wherever I’ve been, my heart belongs here. Mexico, Spain, Italy, the Red Sea. Even when I’d get to someplace beautiful, like Spain, my thoughts would ramble back here."

When asked if he had any words of wisdom for the youth, Larry looked very serious as he said, "Take advantage of everything that’s offered to you." A short pause, and then, "Some day, you’re gonna pay the rent."