Jacob K. Beck owns and operates one hundred and twenty-five acres of land in Fairfield county and is an energetic and progressive farmer, whose methods are in keeping with the most advanced thoughts and ideas concerning agriculture. He was born in the city of Lancaster, June 28, 1834, his parents being Jacob and Susan (Kerns) Beck. The father was a native of Baden Baden, Germany, and came to the United States when about eight years of age with his parents, Jacob and Anna Beck. Both of the grandparents were natives of Germany and it was about 1805 that they bade adieu to the fatherland and sailed for the new world. After landing upon the American coast they made their way direct to Ohio, settling in Lancaster. The grandfather was a blacksmith and followed that business in the county seat of Fairfield county throughout the remainder of his life, his expert workmanship and reliability in trade winning for him a comfortable competence. He died when about sixty-five years of age. In their family were four children, two sons and two; daughters, but all are now deceased.


Jacob Beck, Jr., the father of our subject, was educated in Lancaster and under his father's direction learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed for a number of years. He was also prominent in public aflfairs and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to public ofifice. He presided as county treasurer from 1830 until 1836, and was a faithful custodian of the public exchequer. The trust reposed in him was never betrayed in the slightest degree and his word was a synonym of integrity. He was held in the highest esteem by his fellow men and often was called by them to settle estates, and was frequently appointed administrator or executor by the courts of the county, his honesty being proverbial. Over the record of his public career as well as his private life falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. About 1836 he removed from the city of Lancaster, taking up his abode upon a farm which he purchased in Hocking township, comprising three hundreil acres of land. This he improved, making it his home until his death. His attention was devoted to the raising of cereals best adapted to this climate and also to the raising of stock, and in both branches nf his business he met with creditable success, which he well deserved. It was on the 3d of December, 1898, that his life's labors were ended in death, at the age of ninety-four years, five months and eight days. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church, and for many years was one of its ofiicers. His political support was given the Republican party, but he never sought or desired office, although he filled some positions. His wife passed away about eight years previous to the death of her husband. She was born in Pennsylvania and was also a member of the Lutheran church, living an earnest, Christian life, characterized by many acts of kindness. This worthy couple became the parents of five sons and three daughters, six of whom are yet living, namely: Mary Ann, wife of Z. Peters, of Hocking township; George W., who married Sarah McClarry and also resides in Hocking township; Jacob, our subject; H. S., who married Julia Wilson, now deceased, and is engaged in the banking business in Pierce, Nebraska; Rev. J. Beck, of Richmond. Indiana, who married Lizzie Ziegler, of Columbus, Olhio; and Dr. J. S., of Dayton, Ohio, who married Sally Work, of Lancaster. Those deceased are Elizabeth, who died in infancy; and Clara Jane, who married William J. Hughes and died February 5, 1894, at the age of thirty-eight years.


Our subject was only two years of age when his parents removed to the farm, but he acquired his education in the schools of Lancaster. He was early inured to the work of cultivating and improving the fields, and through the summer months largely assisted in the raising of the crops. After his marriage he continued to live upon the home farm for a short time and then removed to the farm which his father had given him. He now owns and operates one hundred and twenty-five acres of rich land. It is a model property for he has made many improvements upon it, has modern machinery and all the equipments necessary to facilitate the work. Diligence and enterprise are numbered among his characteristics and have been the foundation of his success.


Mr. Beck was united in mrriage in December, 1859, to Mary E. Wolf, a native of Fairfield county, and they became the parents of three children, but their first bom, Carrie, died at the age of one year. Estella May is the wife of C. M. Crumley, an insurance agent of Lancaster, Ohio; and Alice May is the wife of W. L. Kiger, of Bluffton, Indiana. Her husband is a hardware merchant there, and they have one living son, Bruce. The mother of this family was called to her final rest in 1874 at the age of thirty-two years, dying upon the old home place. She was devoted to her family, doing everything in her power to enhance the happiness and comfort of her husband and children. For his second wife Mr. Beck chose Ruth Alice Shellenbarger, and their marriage was celebrated on the 23d of March, 1876. The lady is the daughter of Reuben Shellenbarger, a native of Fairfield county, born in Berne township. He, too, was a farmer by occupation and followed that pursuit throughout his entire life, his death occurring about twenty-four years ago upon his home farm in Berne township. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Christiana Pearce, was born in Rhode Island and her death occurred in 1861. By her marriage she became the mother of six children, five of whom are yet living, namely: Mrs. Ruth Beck; Mary A., the wife of Robert Pierce, of Lancaster; Christiana, the wife of John McClain, of Pleasant township; Delia, deceased wife of Myron Prindle; James, who resides with his sister, Mrs. Beck; and Emma, who died in infancy.


Mr. Beck exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party, and also belongs to the Lutheran church, in which he has served as trustee for eight years. He takes a deep and abiding interest in every movement and measure calculated to promote the material, intellectual, social and moral welfare of his community and his efforts in this regard have not been without effect. His entire life has been passed in the county of his nativity, and the fact that many who have known him from boyhood are numbered among his stanchest friends, is an indication that his career has ever been an honorable and straightforward one.

 

From A Biographical Record of Fairfield County, Ohio, J. S. Clarke Publishing, New York and Chicago, 1902