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Kissel, Jacob


Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 7/28/2021 at 12:04:25

Jacob Kissel, a member of the firm of Detmars & Co., carriage manufacturers, and business manager of the same, was born in Clinton County, Pa., April 16, 1836. His father Jacob Kissel, was a miller by trade, a native of Pennsylvania, while his mother, Margaret (Mook) Kissel, was a native of Baden-Baden, Germany. The father died in Clinton County, Pa. The mother is still living. Of the family of eleven children, five are yet living: Samuel, in Pennsylvania; Jane, in Nevada County, Cal., Alex and Robert in Pennsylvania, and the subject of this sketch.

The educational advantages of our subject were very meager indeed. Hard work was his lot from the time he was physically able to do the simplest thing. At fifteen years of age, he left home, going to Clearfield County, in the same State, where he worked in a lumber camp for a time. He then went to Bellefonte, Pa., where he learned the carriage-making trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years, receiving $4 per month, with board and washing. Out of this sum he saved $11.12 per year. In 1856, he went to Wooster, Ohio, and hired out to drive a lot of cattle from that place to Litchfield County, Conn. Returning to Wooster, he remained there until 1856, when he went to Kalamazoo, Mich., and from there to Niles, in the same State, where he was employed as manager of the Murray carriage shop for three years. Going from Niles to Decatur, Mich., he embarked in the manufacture of carriages for himself, and succeeding in building up a fine and profitable trade, but in 1868 had the misfortune to lose his manufactory by fire, which entailed a loss to him of about $12,000.

In 1873, he went to Sterling, Whiteside Co., Ill., to work at his trade, and was there converted and united with the Baptist Church. Having some ability for public speaking, he commenced talking to the people there in the social and prayer meetings of the church, and in time became a regular minister of the Church. For eleven years he continued actively in that work but through failing health, was compelled to abandon it, much to his regret. In 1877, he came to Iowa, and in 1879 located at Columbus Junction, where he remained until 1885, when he came to Washington and took charge of the business management of the carriage works of Detmars & Co. The largely increased trade enjoyed by the firm attests his ability in that direction.

Mr. Kissel was married in Kalamazoo, Mich., April 18, 1860, to Miss Stirena Verbeek, a native of Holland. By this union there have been eight children, five of whom are now living: Jennie and Etta are attending the Des Moines University: Ella, Gordon and Eva are at home. The family are all members of the Baptist Church.

Mr. Kissel is a thorough going business man, pleasant and agreeable in his dealings, but full of business. In times past he has taken a decided stand on the temperance questions, and was very active in the advocacy of temperance. While a resident of Washington but a few years, he has made a host of friends.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Jacob Kissel, pages 547-548.


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