Jacob Tonson was born C. 1772 in Ireland.
He purchased an Ensigncy in the 3rd Battalion 60th Royal Americans on 9th February 1791, and joined the corps in Antigua in July.
In June, 1792, two companies were ordered to Tortola, (British Virgin Islands) to prevent an insurrection, Tonson accompanied them, and remained there until September 1792, and received (with the late Major Lachenwtz, who commanded the detachment) the thanks of the Council and Assembly of the Island.
19th March, 1793, he was promoted Lieutenant, later the same year, the Regiment. being drafted into the 4th battalion he accompanied it to Tobago.
On his arriving at Barbados, in January 1794, the fleet and army were destined for the reduction of Martinico, under the command of Earls St. Vincent and Grey.
He offered his services to Earl Grey, and was accordingly appointed to do duty with the 70th Regiment in which corps he served at the reduction of Martinico.
In May, 1794, he returned to England with his Regiment (60th). Shortly after they were ordered to Guernsey for the purpose of being completed, where they remained until the spring of 1795, when the Regiment was ordered to proceed and take possession of Demerara in the name of the Prince of Orange; but the Governor notified to Lieutenant-Colonel Ritchie commanding, that he had received an official despatch, that peace had been agreed between Holland and the French Republic, therefore he could not surrender the Colony unless forced to do so.
Not being authorized to commence hostilities, the Regiment sailed for Barbados and disembarked. Three days after they re-embarked, and sailed for St. Vincent’s; on arriving there the enemy were in possession of the whole island, with the exception of the posts of Dorsetshire and Berkshire hills. Three days after the arrival of the Regiment, in a general assault of the enemy at the Vigie, he was shot through the right thigh whilst leading the grenadiers of the 3rd Battalion of the 60th.
Due to his wound he was ordered to England. Ten days after he took his departure,
the ship he was on board of was taken by a French corvette; the captain, mate, and crew were transferred to the French vessel, and a prize master, and nineteen of the French crew sent on board the ship for the purpose of taking her to New York, America.
On arriving off the coast, when the Frenchmen were below bending the cable, Tonson gave directions to the prisoners to seize and break open the arm chest, and thus recovered his liberty and a considerable quantity of British property without casualty on either side.
13th September 1795, Tonson was appointed Captain.
In December 1796, when Hoche attempted the invasion of Ireland, Tonson volunteered his services to Sir E. Coote, who detached him to Bantry with three companies of militia where he remained until the French fleet left the coast.
In June, 1798, with a number of other officers of the line, he offered his services to the Meath Militia during the rebellion in Ireland, the day preceding the battle of Vinegar Hill, the Meath Miitia played a significant role.
10th August 1799, he was appointed to a company of the 5th Regiment (Northumberland). and went with it to North Holland, where it was actively employed in the operations during that campaign.
1800 he accompanied the Regiment to Gibraltar, and remained there until it was reduced at the peace of Amiens, when he was placed upon half-pay. In consequence of his health being impaired by the diversity of climates in which he had served.
1802 his wound was troublesome, he was obliged to retire for a short time from active service to recover, being placed on half pay with the 34th Regiment (Border)
28th April 1804 he was posted as Captain to the 4th Veteran Battalion
29th May 1806 Captain 3rd Garrison Battalion.
25th April 1808 appointed Brevet Major
10th September 1808, he was appointed Major to the 2/84th Regiment in which
corps he served the campaign in Walcheren in 1809
In July 1813, he sailed with the 2/84th from Cork to Spain. The Battalion was to be involved in the Passage of Bidassoa; Battle’s of Nivelle and Nive and the final stage of the siege of Bayonne.
On the 10th December 1813 at the Battle of Nive, Lieutenant-Colonel Lloyd was killed and Tonson commanded the Battalion, which was in Major-General Robinson’s Brigade.
On the 11th December 1813, Major-General Robinson and Lieutenant-Colonel Piper were wounded, leaving Major Tonson as the most senior officer of the Brigade, which he then commanded. For this he was awarded a Field Officers Small Gold Medal and the Freedom of the Metropolis of his native country Ireland.
26th December 1813 appointed Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel and commanded 2/84th Foot.
11th October 1819 he married Anne Acklom Vanderzee at Pritwell Church, Essex.
12th August 1824 exchanged to Half-pay into the 37th Foot
22nd July 1830 appointed Brevet Colonel
26th September 1831 nominated and appointed Companion of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath
In 1841 Census, living at Royal Terrace, Southend-on-sea.
23rd November 1841 appointed Major-General
Anne died 19th April 1842 at 46 Russell Square, Brighton and was buried at St Nicholas Church, Brighton
1845 he received an award for Distinguished Service
In 1848 Jacob Tonson was living at Royal Terrace, Southend -on-Sea
He died December 1849, was buried 27th December 1849 also at St Nicholas’s Church.