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Jacob Hess


Posted By: Deborah Barker (email)
Date: 9/5/2009 at 15:01:59

While Jacob Hess is now living retired, he was for a long period connected with the industrial interests of Muscatine as a harness maker, and became thereby an active and prominent factor in business circles of this city. He was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, January 31, 1843, the second in a family of three children, whose parents were George and Elizabeth ( Mark ) Hess. The paternal grandfather, John Hess, was a linen manufacturer who spent his entire life as a resident of Germany although he visited America. He reached the remarkable old age of one hundred and five years. The maternal grandparents, Conrad and Elizabeth Mark, also were lifelong residents of Germany, where they reared a large family. The grandfather died at the age of eighty-five years.
George Hess learned and followed the wagon-maker's trade, being actively connected with business interests in his native country until 1852, when he determined to try his fortune in America and crossed the Atlantic to the new world. He made his way direct to Muscatine and soon afterward purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres of government land eight miles from the city, for which he paid a dollar and a quarter per acre. This he converted into a well improved farm upon which he lived for four years. He then rented that place and removd to Muscatine, where he resumed work at the wagon-maker's trade. His death occurred in 1884 when he was seventy-one years of age. His wife survived him until 1893 and had reached the notable age of ninety-six years at the time of her death. Both were consistent members of the German Reformed church. Their daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, have both passed away, the former having died at the age of twenty-four and the latter when eleven years of age.
Jacob Hess was a lad of nine years when he came to America. His youth was spent in Muscatine, where he attended the public schools, and after putting aside his text-books he learned the harness-maker's trade, which he followed until 1908. He was proprietor of a harness shop from 1865 to 1908, and built up a good business which brought to him substantial returns, enabling him now to live retired. The only interruption to his close attention to business came in 1862 when, in response to the call of his adopted country, he offered his services to the government, enlisting as a member of Company C,Thirty-fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he served as a private for three years, taking part in a number of hotly contested engagements in which his valor and loyalty were ofttimes proven. Following the war he resumed work at his trade and as previously stated continued in business until 1908, when he put aside the cares that had formerly engrossed him and is now enjoying a well earned and well merited rest.
On the 25th of February, 1866, Mr. Hess was married to Miss Susan Valet, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Valet, who were natives of Germany and came to Muscatine about 1838 when this city was known as the little village of Bloomington. Both parents died here. They had a family of five children, George, John, Susan Martha and Mary. Of these Susan became the wife of Jacob Hess and unto them were born three children : Mary E., who is a trained nurse of Tacoma, Washington, and is a great traveler ; Anna C., the wife of George Hesseret, of Tacoma, Washington, by whom she has three children, Harry E.; Verna, the wife of Earl Eversmeyer, and Walter ; and George, who died when but eight months old. The mother of these children passed away in 1870. Two years after the death of his first wife Mr. Hess wedded Mary Sieble, a daughter of Christian Sieble. She passed away at the age of forty-three years and the two children of that marriage died when young. Mre Hess has since wedded Lucy Ticke.
His political support is given to the republican party and he has always been interested in political questions to the extent of keeping well informed on the issues of the day, although never seeking office. In matters of citizenship, however, he is as true and loyal to his country at the present time as when he followed the old flag on southern battlefields. His military experience entitles him to wear the Grand Army button and he is now a member of Shelby Norman Post. His long and active connection with business interests in Muscatine has made him well known here and kindly regard for him is entertained by all with whom he has come in contact.


Muscatine Biographies maintained by Lynn McCleary.
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