THE REV. FATHER WILLIAM JACOBY
JACOBY, BERG, HENNESY
Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 9/4/2022 at 14:35:26
THE REV. FATHER WILLIAM JACOBY
The unselfish and devoted labors of the Christian ministry have done much to elevate the manners, purify the hearts and quicken the moral powers of the people of the Nineteenth century, especially in the newer regions and on the frontier. The rush and stir of settlement is so immense in a new country, the material value of things so impressive if not overwhelming, that all the resources the unselfish life and the religions heart could command, were needed to the maintenance of the kingdom of God in this world. In this good fight the Catholic priesthood has always been conspicuous. Its members able and consecrated have always tried to keep alive in human society the sense of God and the obligation of duty. In this great work Father Jacoby has been by no means silent or inefficient. He has abundantly proved himself a loyal and trustworthy son of the Church, which has accepted his vows of consecration, and sealed him to its ministry.
Father Jacoby, who has been pastor of the Catholic church of the Assumption, at West Point, since 1876, was born in the city of Ettelbruck, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, and was there reared. His parents, Peter and Catherina (Berg) Jacoby, were of pure German lineage, and their entire lives were passed in the old fatherland. The father was a successful shoe merchant.
Father Jacoby when a young man possessed but little means, and to a considerable extent paid his way through college by money earned in giving instruction to the younger students. For seven years he was librarian of the Luxemburg public library, containing over a hundred thousand volumes. He completed his classical and philosophical studies in Luxemburg, and came to this country unattended by relative or friend.
After his arrival in the United States the future priest became a student in the theological seminary at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he devoted two years to study, and was then admitted and ordained to the priest hood by Bishop Hennesy, of Dubuque, Iowa. The work of preparation had been well done, and the young priest had greatly profited by the rich opportunities afforded him; so that when he came to the West Point parish in 1876, it was with all the powers of a rich and generous mind, brought to a high degree of activity by a thorough and systematic training.
From 1876 to the present time West Point has continued the home of this scholarly and eloquent divine, whose influence has been great in the community. All his attention has been given to the St. Mary's church, which has greatly grown under his pastorate. When it began there were one hundred and forty-five families on the parish rolls. Today, in spite of the many removals from this region into the newer West, by those seeking cheaper lands and the opportunities found there, there are one hundred and eighty-five families still enrolled in the church.
The years of Father Jacoby have been full of hard labor as well as of rich attainment. Here he has built a large school, which is now under the charge of the Sisters of St. Francis from La Crosse, and has one hundred and ninety pupils in attendance. The building is a substantial brick structure, and is a monument to the zeal for education that has always moved and inspired the pastor of St. Mary's in his public work. Father Jacoby made a trip to Europe in 1890, and while there paid his respects to Pope Leo XIII., then the venerated and beloved head of the church.
In 1894 Father Jacoby erected the Mortuary, located at the cemetery, which was built at a cost of $1,700, and which is the pride of the community. It was erected in honor of the dead who rest there.. The inscription inside says:
"Memento homo quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris."
Father Jacoby is a devoted student of church history, and takes a deep interest in every effort that looks to the improvement of society. He is much beloved and respected alike by his own people and those of all faiths, who comprehend the useful and beautiful work continually being accomplished at St. Mary's.
BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW OF LEE COUNTY
CHICAGO, HOBART PUBLISHING COMPANY – 1905
Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1905
Lee Biographies maintained by Sherri Turner.
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