Biography of Jacob Bernahard of DePue, Illinois

Jacob Bernahard, DePue, was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, October 13, 1832. He is the son of Christian and Mary (Lied) Bernhard. The father’s occupation was that of a farmer. He died in 1842, but his widow lived till 1859.

Our subject was educated in the schools of his native country, and in early life learned the trade of shoemaking. In 1853 he came to the United States, and for one year remained in New York City, working at shoemaking. He then went to Hudson City, N. Y., and there followed his trade for one year.

In 1855 he came to Bureau County, Ill., and began clerking in the store of Benjamin Newell at Trenton, now De Pue. He remained with Mr. Newell for three years, when he engaged in business in partnership with Moses Mercer and John W. York. After several changes in the firm Mr. Bernhard sold out his interest in 1864.

In December, 1864, enlisted in Company A, Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served till September, 1865, when they were discharged. He participated in the battle of Nashville, Tenn., being under Gen. Thomas at that time. He was also in the encounter with Bragg at Kinston, N.C.

In 1866 he engaged in the mercantile business again at De Pue, and has since continued here. He carries a general stock of goods valued at about $10,000. For a number of years he has also been in the grain business, buying and shipping by water. For some time the annual shipments of grain have averaged about 200,000 bushels. Besides his different business investments, Mr. Bernhard owns about 1,000 acres of Bureau County’s valuable land. Such is the success attained by energy, industry and a close application to business. Mr. Bernhard came to this county without any capitol, but his business ability soon made him a successful merchant and business man.

He was married in this county in April, 1858, to Miss Rosina Frey, who is a native of Baden, Germany, but came to America the same year as her husband. Her parents, Bernhard and Elizabeth Frey, first settled in Philadelphia, but in 1856 came to this county and died here. To Mr. and Mrs. Bernhard eight children have been born, viz.: Lissetta, Charles, Emma, Mary, J. A., W. M., Albert and Franklin.

In politics Mr. Bernhard is Republican. He is a member of the De Pue Lodge, No. 669, I.O.O.F. He and wife are members of the Evangelical Church of Hollowayville, which church he helped build.

Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885

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