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Jacob was born in the early 1870s somewhere on Prince Edward Island to H.B. Donnell and his wife. He was raised there along with his older sister Clarice Almira. In summer 1881, the Donnell family moved to Avonlea and rented Peter Sloane's old house.
In September 1881, Jacob attended Avonlea School along with his sister Clarice Almira. On the first day, Jacob announced his name plainly as Jacob Donnell, ma'am. But as Anne had finished up, a vision that looked like a head-on collision between a fashion plate and a horror show appeared in front of her.
Mrs. H. B. Donnell, as this besilked and beplumed lady informed her, had come to call on Jacob's teacher. She told Anne in no uncertain terms that the name Donnell was said Donnell, accent on the last syllable and also informed her that Jacob was not to be called Jacob, but rather, St. Clair.
Anne had a slight bit of trouble convincing Jacob to answer to St. Clair, but once she explained the situation, the lad readily assented. When anyone else called him St. Clair though - they had to reckon with Jacob's fists.
Despite his mother's hopes that he would become a college professor, Jacob employed himself as a carpenter and got everyone, even his mother to call him Jake or Jacob.
- "However, when my innocent boy was seven years old, what do you think, Miss Shirley? My husband's brother actually got married and had three boys. The audacity!"
- —Mrs. H. B. Donnell insisted on St. Clair.
Jacob is a male given name of Hebrew origin and means he who supplants. Clair is a male given name, masculine version of Latin name Claire which means bright.
- Jacob's father, Mr. H. B. Donnell, wanted to call his son Jacob after his bachelor brother. Mrs. H. B. Donnell, who would have preferred St. Clair, allowed her son to be called Jacob.
Behind the scenes
- Konstantin Seidenstücker provided the voice of Jacob in the 2008 German audio drama Anne in Avonlea.
Audio drama appearances