"Soldier" Jacob Bartfield





Soldier Bartfield fought many of the great Hall of Famers during his time such as Jack Britton, Ted "Kid Lewis, Harry Greb, Benny Leonard, Mike Gibbons and Mickey Walker.



Bartfield fought for the world middleweight championship title 5 times. He fought Al McCoy 3 times for the title-7/9/14, 8/6/14, 10/23/15. All 3 were 10 round newspaper decisions. Soldier actually won the fight on 10/23/15 but in the no decision era the only way a champion could lose his crown was if he got knocked out.

Soldier fought for the title again on 9/19/19 against Mike O'Dowd. The last attempt was on 7/1/20 against Johnny Wilson. None of the attempts were successful.


What makes his career record so impressive is the fact that he fought all these greats during their primes, and fought them each multiple times.


Soldier Bartfield's cousin, Louis (Lou) Bartfield, wrote the following about Jake in an email to me:

"There was a letter from Soldier about how he'd like to find members of his family in Europe. He went to Europe to bring his mother back, and came across my mother, daughter of Jonah Bardfeld. He brought back his mother, then sent for my mother in hopes of having her become his wife. She did not know his profession while she stayed in New York with his brother, until one night she was taken to Madison Square Garden, and learned to her horror what his profession was and refused to marry him. When I played high school football I had to lie about it to my mother. She married another man and moved to Chicago with him where I was born. When I was about thirteen we spent a year in New York and I met "Uncle Jake", who was known to all the cabbies in New York. He was a little punchy after more than 200 bouts, but showed me how to throw a hook. "

Louis went on to write in another email, "He (Jake) died in Chicago's skid row. Jake Bartfield's brother, Hymie, used to come out to see us often, but I heard anything suspicious. I'm very proud of the man I believe to have been my father and would love to get in touch with some Bartfield relatives."

Louis went on to say, "He learned the fight game late in life, and did not have the style of Benny Leonard, who his brother told me he fought five times, but apparently got his back up in a good scrap. I visited him in New York where I spent a year and he visited my mother frequently; I was thirteen at the time and I honestly think he was a little punchy because he would rough house with me, and my mother had to stop him because he was not gentle. I believe he was a wonderful man"

Louis Bartfield works in real estate in California (Bartfieldmotelgroup.com)

Lou would like to get in touch with any other family members out there. He can be found in the Santa Cruz phone book.



Here is a newspaper article from the Pittsburgh Post. December 26, 1914.



"Here's your money, Soldier- don't spend it all in one place," said a New York fight promoter, as he handed Soldier Bartfield his money for thrashing "Champ" Al McCoy in that city last Tuesday night.

Bartfield was unlacing one of his fighting shoes as the promoter came in. He took the money and a sad little smile played about his features.

"I'm afraid I'd have to go along way to spend this where I'd like to spend it." began Bartfield. "I've got this and $4,000 more to spend on those I love if I only knew about them.

'I came from Lanczyn, Austria. My folks own a big estate there. At the very begining of the war the Russians moved into that section. I got one letter from my brother. He was a student in the Royal College there. He told me that the school had been turned into a hospital and that our people had blown up the big salt center near us to keep it out of the hands of the enemy.

"My brother was ordered into the government railroad service. God only knows if he is alive or dead, for no word has come since from any of my people. They seized all my fathers horses and cattle besides his lands. I've appealed to the Austrian consul and have told him that my little pile is ready to bring my folks here if he can locate them.

"Half the time when I'm fighting I don't realize what I'm about. It isn't until I get a good belt on the jaw that I come out of it. I want to find them and if I do I'll spend this and the other $4,000 on a little American farm.

'I'm an Amrican citizen. I came to this country when I was 16. I'm 22 now. I was a good shot and I applied at army headquarters. I told them I was 18 and I got by. I became attached to the sharp-shooting squad. Then I served as a first-class gunner in the coast artillary. I never heard of a boxing glove until then. I kept at boxing in the service. I didn't forget to be a soldier either. I was decorated while in active service in Cuba.

"I'd give the $4,000 and these bills, too, for just a letter telling me that they are alive and--' Then the soldier bent down and fumbled mysteriously with the laces on his other fighting shoe.