Joseph Jacob – Man of Many Trades

After researching the life of Joseph Jacob, I came to the conclusion that he was a man who was always willing to learn how to succeed in a new business. I think you may come to the same conclusion after I tell you his story.

Joseph Emanuel Jacob is today’s birthday boy. He was born on July 12, 1880, making today his 141st birthday. Like I have done in other situations, I am going to use Joseph’s middle initial today because there was another Joseph Jacob who was part of this area’s history. Joseph E. was the son of Heinrich and Johanna (Hinkelmann) Jacob. According to the German Family Tree, Heinrich Jacob fathered 15 children with two different wives. Johanna was his second wife. Heinrich Jacob also holds the title of “Last Original Immigrant to Die”. Joseph E. Jacob was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. His baptism record is shown here.

Joseph E. Jacob baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Even though Joseph does not appear in the census taken during the year of his birth, we get a little hint that might help explain the first occupation that I found that Joseph had. A young man by the name of Henry Burroughs, who was called a “step son” was working in a brickyard. There was a brickyard in Altenburg during that time period.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Joseph E. is found in his first census in 1900. He was living in Perryville and was a 19 year-old apprentice stone mason.

1900 census – Central Township, MO

Joseph E. Jacob’s future wife would be Emma Margaretha Anna Hilpert. Emma was the daughter of Andreas and Anna (Ross) Hilpert. She was born on July 14, 1881, so her birthday was just two days after her husband’s. Emma was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. An image of her baptism record is displayed below.

Emma Hilpert baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

When the 1900 census came out, we find Emma at the age of 18. She was the oldest child in this entry. Her mother had died in 1898, so I am sure that Emma was thrust into the role of housekeeping and cooking for this family.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Joseph E. Jacob married Emma Hilpert on April 19, 1903 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The church record for that wedding is shown here.

Jacob/Hilpert marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We can also view this couple’s marriage license.

Jacob/Hilpert marriage license

Our German Family Tree credits 5 children born to this Jacob couple. We find this young family in the 1910 census. Joseph E. was still in the stone and brick mason business. The old bank building for Altenburg was constructed in 1910. Perhaps Joseph E. Jacob was involved in constructing that brick building. That building still stands in Altenburg and is now the Old Bank Coffee Shop.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

According to an article in the Perry County Republican in 1915, Joseph E. purchased a lot from Joseph S. Mueller. This lot was part of what was known as the Mueller Addition located north of Wittenberg. The lot was purchased for $1000. Joseph E. would build a house and a business on this lot. In 1920, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church would build a new sanctuary that was located in the Mueller Addition.

Joseph E. Jacob – land purchase 1915

Joseph E. Jacob had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918. This form says he was living in Wittenberg and was working as a mail carrier.

Joseph E. Jacob – WWI draft registration

The 1920 census shows this Jacob family living in Wittenberg. Joseph E. was called a mail carrier in this entry. If I read it correctly, it says he carried mail from Wittenberg to Frohna.

1920 census – Wittenberg, MO

I happen to think that Joseph E. was not just a mail carrier around this time in his life. I found a few advertisements in a local paper that indicated he was also in the business of auto sales in 1925. I find it interesting that he was selling Chevrolets and also working on Fords. You should be able to click on these images to enlarge them.

The picture below shows Joseph E. Jacob’s house and business as it appears in Mary Dillon’s Wittenberg book. It was taken during the 1927 flood. The caption below it gives more details about his life and work.

I think it’s likely that Joseph E. was one of the first persons in the Wittenberg area to own a car. The mention of him having a taxi service lends credence to that theory. That would also explain his ability to haul mail easily from Wittenberg to Frohna. In a 1928 city directory for Cape Girardeau, Missouri, we find Joseph E. working in a tire store in that city.

Joseph E. Jacob – 1928 Cape Girardeau city directory

In the 1930 census, we find Joseph E. with a new occupation and living in a new place. He was living in Ste. Genevieve and working as a pump operator at a quarry.

1930 census – Ste. Genevieve, MO

The last census in which we find these two was the one taken in 1940, and once again we see them living in a new location and both Joseph E. and Emma had new occupations. They were living in Desoto, Missouri where Joseph E. was a merchant at a grocery store and Emma was an assistant there.

1940 census – Desoto, MO

Joseph E. had to complete a World War II draft card in 1942 despite being in his 60’s. This form implies that the grocery store in Desoto was owned by Joseph E. Jacob.

Joseph E. Jacob – WWII draft card

Emma Jacob died in 1949 at the age of 68. Her death certificate is shown here.

Emma Jacob death certificate

Joseph E. Jacob died in 1963 at the age of 83. His death certificate says he had been living in St. Louis for 11 years. Also, after being involved in so many occupations during his lifetime, this form says he was a retired grocer.

Joseph E. Jacob death certificate

Joseph E. and Emma Jacob were buried together in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Desoto, Missouri.

Joseph E. and Emma Jacob gravestone – Woodlawn, Desoto, MO

This story is yet another one that illustrates a theme that has been mentioned on this blog before. Men from Perry County often showed much resilience when changes occurred in their lives. So many of them proved that they were not afraid to take on a new occupation and learn a new trade. Joseph E. Jacob was certainly one of those men, and Emma was always there to support him.

One more little side note: One of this couple’s daughters, Lorene Jacob, married George Stohs, who was once a teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Wittenberg and was my father’s teacher. I like to think that Joseph E. and Emma Jacob were well known by my dad.


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