Jacob Nagle was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on September 15, 1761, and in 1777 he joined his father, a German immigrant named George Nagle, as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. After participating in the Battle of Brandywine and encamping at Valley Forge, Nagle joined the navy. He served on several ships before being captured in October 1781. Facing impressment, Nagle then served in the Royal Navy, spending time in places such as Sydney and New South Wales, Australia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the Canary Islands; Martinique; and Calcutta, India, before marrying in 1795. Nagle returned to the United States in 1802 but remained primarily at sea; he also lived in Brazil from 1811-1821. Following his retirement in 1824, Nagle moved to Canton, Ohio, where he died on February 17, 1841.