Lee County Biography

John C. Jacobs

John C. Jacobs, Superintendent of the Amboy Division of the Illinois Central Railroad, has held this position since October 8, 1856, and now enjoys the distinction of having served as Superintendent for a longer period than any other man in the employ of the railway company. Through the exercise of patient perseverance, he has risen from an humble position to one of great trust and responsibility, which calls into activity his keenest powers of intellect and most acute perceptive qualities. His residence in Amboy dates back to the year 1856, when he succeeded James C. Clark as Superintendent of the Northern Division of the Illinois Central Railroad, between Dubuque and Centralia, a distance of three hundred and forty-three miles. In January, 1891, a new division was formed and the Northern Division, which was shortened, is now known as the Amboy Division of the Illinois Central Railroad, extending from Freeport to Centralia.

The ancestors from whom Mr. Jacobs is descended originally came from England his parents, Corbin and Mary (Rice) Jacobs, were natives of Frederick, Md., and the father was a soldier in the War of 1812. In the pursuit of his trade as a contractor and builder, he erected many fine residences, as well as a number of churches and public buildings, in the vicinity of Harper’s Ferry. His entire life was passed in Maryland, with the excep­tion of about three years, during which lie made his home near Chillicothe, Ohio. A sincere Christian, he held membership in the Episcopal Church. He died September 17, 1832, when forty-five years old, and his wife passed away in 1844, at the age of fifty four years.

The parents of our subject reared a family of six children, four sons and two daughters: Benjamin L. was first engaged as a clerk, later as a painter, and afterward became military director of railroads in the South, occupying that position until his death in 1863; John C., our subject, was the second child, and was born near Chilicothe, Ohio, November 15, 1819; Oliver C. was for some years in the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and later settled on a farm near Palmyra, Mo., where he died in 1888; Maria married Samuel Greggs, and died in Wheeling, W. Va., in 1878; Ann V. became the wife of Thomas Martin, a stonecutter in Baltimore, Md., and died in that city in 1877; William F., a graduate of William and Mary College in Virginia, became a minister in the Episcopal Church, and died at Alexandria.

In Frederick County, Md., John C. Jacobs passed his boyhood days and was but thirteen years old when, on account of his father’s death, it devolved upon him to assist in the support of the family. His school days were thus brought to a sudden close, and he commenced to work on a farm, where he continued for one year at a compensation of $15. In 1837 he entered the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Company, working on the track at eighty-seven and one-half cents per day, from which humble beginning he rose to the position of brakeman, fireman and engineer successively. In 1850 he became supervisor of trains over the mountains during the construction of tunnels at different places on the main line.

As above stated, Mr. Jacobs came to Amboy in 1856, and here accepted the position which he still retains his pleasant home on Main Street is presided over by the lady with whom he was united in marriage Nov. 4, 1846. She was Miss Harriet A. daughter of Samuel H. Hough of Middletown Conn. and was there born Jan. 21, 1821. Four children blessed this union - Mollie who died at the age of 20, John C. who died in infancy, William F. who is a trainmaster in for the IL Central in Amboy, Illinois and Charles C. a mechanical engineer who has been in the employ of the Railway company but is at present in charge of the electrical system at Amboy. Mr. Jacobs finds a religious home in the Congregational church, to which the members of his family also belong.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co

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