September 24, 2023


Jacobabad cantonment, once with military lines for cavalry and infantry extending for over two miles, was abandoned in 1914.

Jacobabad, 1859.

Jacobabad, 1859.

Engraving published in The Illustrated London News, 29 January 1859.

Formerly known as Khangarh, the town was re­named on 10 November 1852 after General John Jacob, the Political Superintendent of Upper Sindh. Khangarh, when he took over its administration in 1847, consisted of simply ‘a small mud fort, three Banya’s shops and a well’, and it was entirely due to Jacob’s interest and endeavours that by the time he died in December 1858, the town had been developed, as The Illustrated London News reported, from ‘a pathless silent desert’ to ‘the large and flourishing town of Jacobabad … with bazaars, containing about four hundred well-stocked shops, possessing some ten thousand inhabitants’.

The entry of Sir William Mansfield into Jacobabad, c. 1865.

The house depicted in the illustration had been built by General Jacob for himself and his lieutenants. The published notes to this picture record: ‘It is stated that the piece of ground on which the house inhabited by General Jacob is built, and which has been turned into a beautiful garden was, perhaps, the worst bit in the country; the soil so impregnated with salt that nothing would grow on it. General Jacob had the soil thoroughly remade, for about three feet in depth, so that not only have trees flourished well, but every cold season there is a’fine show of all the English annual plants, and all English vegetables are produced in the greatest perfection. The first tree was planted in 1848, and there are now hundreds of them, many about thirty feet high, and having trunks four feet and more in circumference. The area of the garden is about twenty-five acres.’

By 1876, the building had become known as the Residency. It was described as ‘an immense pile’ containing a library, workshops, eight suites of apartments in one of which were displayed two clocks made by General Jacob himself. The upper storey of the building was dismantled in 1879.

General Jacob was buried in Jacobabad on 5 De­cember 1858.

Water-tank at Jacobabad, 1878.


Engraving published in The Illustrated London News, c. 1865.

Sir William Rose Mansfield (later Baron Sandhurst) served in the Punjab in 1848 – 49 and subsequently in Peshawar. He became Commander­in-Chief in India, 1865 – 70.

Jacobabad cantonment, once with military lines for cavalry and infantry extending for over two miles, was abandoned in 1914.


Engraving published in The Graphic, 9 November 1878.

Another of the accomplishments achieved by Jacob was the provision of water – ‘where there was only brackish water, … there are now tanks and wells affording an unlimited supply of excellent fresh water.’ General Jacob’s endeavours altered the per­sonality of the town noted before only for its heat.

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