Jacob F. Bissinger, merchant, Hills Fork, was born in Neiderhofen, Germany, July 4, 1824. His father, Jacob F. Bissinger, and his ancestors had resided on the same place, and followed farming back in "time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary." The subject of this sketch attended the public schools from the age of six to fourteen years, completing the regular common school course. A Mr. Hull, the schoolmaster, had been the teacher of his father and mother before him. From fourteen to sixteen years of age, he was free from obligations of the Government; but upon arriving at the age of sixteen, he, as was the law, took the oath of allegiance. At the age of twenty-one, he luckily drew a number that freed him from entering the army, and he immediately embarked for the United States of America. He was accompanied by Christian Helmley, John Wagner and Christian Stahl, each of whom brought his family and settled in Adams County. Ohio. They were forty-five days on the ocean, a passage that is now made in less than six days. When Mr. Bissinger embarked for America, he had forty-five five-franc pieces in money in a belt in a chest. When he arrived in New York thirty of those had been stolen. His destination was West Union, where his cousin, Conrad Pflaumer, then resided. He came to Philadelphia by water, and to Pittsburgh by rail and the Harrisburg Canal. While boarding the canal boat at Johnstown, Pa., he discovered something in the water between the wharf and the boat, which on investigation proved to be a little girl about ten years of age, apparently drowned. She was a daughter of a member of his party, and was resuscitated and made the voyage to Adams County. At Pittsburg, he took steamboat for Manchester. He was told that there was no such town on the Ohio between there and Cincinnati. That if there was any such town it was below Cincinnati. So he took passage for the latter place. The river was low, it being in the month of July, and near Maysville the boat grounded on a bar. The emigrants were ordered to carry the coal on the boat to a barge to lighten the craft so it could be floated off the bar. Some refused, and the crew tied ropes about their bodies and threw them into the river. Mr. Bissinger concluded to carry coal in preference to being ducked, when a well dressed young woman remonstrated with the officers of the boat and the emigrants were relieved of the duty imposed upon them, and at Cincinnati the officers and crew were put under arrest. Upon arrival at Cincinnati, Mr. Bissinger and his companions, while going up street, heard some persons singing songs with which he was familiar, and on entering the place found some of his country people who directed him to West Union. He and his fellow emigrants again took a boat for Manchester, and arriving there in the night, they were put off on the bar, and when morning came, they looked about for the town.

This was August 1, 1846. All there was of Manchester was Andrew Ellison's little frame store, and about a dozen log houses. When Mr. Bissinger and his party landed at Manchester they were without a cent of money and very hungry.

He, Helmley, and Schuster started afoot to see if they could find the way to West Union. They met an old man who they afterwards learned was William Ellison, who, when they spoke the words "West Union," pointed the way which put them on the Island Creek road. About two miles from West Union, on the old Manchester road, a man gave them a crock of milk and some early apples, the first food they had tasted since they left Cincinnati, a period of thirty-six hours. Mr. Bissinger's uncle had left word with Marlatt, the tavern keeper at West Union, to be on the lookout for him and his companions, and he took them to Frederick Pflaummer's, on the farm now owned by Jacob Brodt, on the Unity road.

Since then Mr. Bissinger has become one of the prominent citizens of Adams County. He has been engaged in the general merchandising business at Hills Fork for a great many years, where he has accumulated a competency for himself and family. He is the postmaster there, which position he has held for many years.

From History of Adams County, Ohio from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time - by Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers - West Union, Ohio - Published by E. B. Stivers - 1900