Jacob Haish Mfg. Co
Jacob Haish's Family History

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Jacob Haish's Portrait

Jacob Haish, the son of Christian and Christina (Layman) Haish,  was born on March 9, 1826 in Cilsul Baden, Germany.  Cilsul Baden is in the southwestern region of southern Germany, now known as the state of Baden-Wurtemburg.  Jacob immigrated into the Port of New York with his parents and siblings on September 5, 1832 after sailing across the Atlantic in a ship named "Elizabeth".  Jacob's mother, Christina, died in Pennsylvania shortly after coming to America.  Christian moved his family to the rural area of Bucyrus, Crawford County, Ohio near a small village called Brokensword.  Christian later remarried to Elizabeth Shoop.  Jacob's father would have seventeen children between his two marriages and outlive both his wives.   Jacob lived for several years in Ohio, but "The Great West" was calling to him.  Jacob decided to move to DuPage County, Illinois where he worked for an inn keeper, named Thomas Brown.  He soon fell in love with Thomas' daughter Sophia Brown. Jacob married Sophia on May 24, 1847 in Naperville, DuPage County, Illinois.  Jacob tried his hand at farming for a short time after his marriage in the rural Pierce Township area just north of Hinckley, Illinois.  In about 1853, Jacob and Sophia moved to DeKalb.  One of Jacob's first business ventures was a carpentry and contracting shop in town.  He became a well respected and noted building contractor in town.  There have been family stories which imply Jacob built Joseph F. Glidden's famous brick house west of DeKalb GLIDDEN HOMESTEAD in 1861 and also Isaac Ellwood's earlier/more modest two story residence on 3rd Street in DeKalb.   Jacob built the first cheese factory in DeKalb around the 1871 and it operated for several years, but the building was torn down in 1882. Jacob began to tinker with the idea of barbed wire in about 1872. This was the exact time Isaac Ellwood and Joseph Glidden were working on their respective barbed wire ideas.  Jacob received his first patent for barbed wire on January 20, 1874 .  Jacob received his most famous barbed wire patent on August 31, 1875 for the "S Barb" Patent.  Jacob filed an article of infringement immediately when he heard of Mr. Glidden's patent entry at the patent office.  Jacob's and Joseph Glidden's respective patents pending were tied up in the courts for many years.   The supreme court made a ruling in favor of Glidden and Jacob pursued his other more famous "S Barb".   Jacob patented many other barbed wire types and miscellaneous farm implements.  He amassed a large fortune in so doing.  Jacob erected an Opera House in downtown DeKalb in 1876. This burned down on January 9, 1906 and was rebulit shorly there after. Here is a view of the interior of the rebuilt opera house.  Jacob built a beautiful ornate MANSION at 227 Pine Street in DeKalb in 1884, which he designed himself both inside and out.  That same year of 1884 Jacob started the Barb City Bank.  The city of DeKalb had a grade school built in 1902 in honor of Jacob's philanthropic efforts for the city, named the
"Haish Elementery School", located in the 300 Block of South 9th Street. It was opened in 1903 and was torn down in 1975, but the
"Haish Gymnasium" still remains in the block. He was noted as contributing $14,000 in 1895 to start the Library at DeKalb's Normal State Teacher's College (now known as Northern Illinois University).  Jacob founded the Barb City Manufacturing Company in 1895 at age 69. Additional information about Jacob's Philanthropic efforts can be found by clicking Here.   On May 19, 1914 Jacob suffered a huge fire in his "uninsured" manure spreader works, which cost him  in the neighborhood of $200,000 or around $4 million in today's currency Inflation Calculator.  Jacob and Sophia never had any genetic offspring, but did however adopt a boy named Franklin W. Haish. Franklin was born about 1849 in Illinois. Franklin was living with Jacob and Sophia in Dekalb during the 1855, 1860 and 1870 Federal/State censuses.  Franklin by some accounts had some disabilities and it appears he may have been disowned by his parents for some of his actions.   Sophia died in DeKalb on September 9, 1918.  Jacob died in DeKalb on February 19, 1926 just about eighteen days short of his
100th birthday on March 9th. Sophia and Jacob were buried in the Fairview Memorial Cemetery on the south side of De Kalb. Jacob had the design of his Monument registered at the Copyright office in October 1928. The monument also has an Inscription.

Note: Jacob Haish was my 3rd Great Uncle.
 Jacob's brother Charles Haish was my 3rd Great Grandfather

Portrait of Jacob, which once hung in his mansion on Pine Street. This portrait, which is over 5.0' high was saved in the 1960s by the
DeKalb Masons and now hangs in their Masonic lodge #144 on Fairview Road. Jacob was an early member of this lodge in DeKalb and it is proudly displayed among his fellow brothers.

Portrait of Sophia (Brown) Haish, which hangs next to Jacob's portrait in the DeKalb Masonic
Lodge #144

Haish Mansion
Photo Source: From Oxen To Jets
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Contact: Jeff J. Marshall

Note: Jacob Haish was my 3rd Great Uncle.
 Jacob's brother Charles Haish was my 3rd Great Grandfather
(Please feel free to contact me via the email listed below)

email: marshallJJ@juno.com