JACOB AUER occupies an important place among the farmers and stock-raisers of Point Precinct, Calhoun County. He was born in the canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on the 8th of January, 1833. His father, Melchoir Auer, was a native of the same canton and was a son of Jacob Auer who was also born there and came of an old Austrian family. He was a school teacher and also a soldier and fought under Napoleon. He taught thirty-eight years and died at a ripe old age.
Melchoir Auer was a soldier in the Swiss army in 1830 and fought in the French Revolution. He was a miller by trade and carried on that calling in connection with farming and wine-making. In 1848, accompanied by his wife and eight children, he came to America. The family set sail from Havre in the American vessel "Hargrave" October 18. The vessel was wind bound in the harbor of that city three weeks but finally set sail and arrived at New Orleans the following January after a long voyage. Mr. Auer went directly to St. Louis and resided in and near that city until 1851, when he came to Calhoun County and bought a tract of land where our subject now resides in Point Precinct. There was a garden patch near and that with a small shanty constituted all the improvements.
The father of our subject immediately entered upon the pioneer task of developing a farm from the wilderness and was a resident there until death closed his useful career in December, 1874. He was twice married; his first wife, the mother of our subject, was Elizabeth Neukum, a native of the same canton as himself. There she spent her entire life, dying in 1841. His second wife was Nanna Haas who died in 1860. Four of the first family of children were reared, namely: Jacob, of whom we write; John Gubo who lives at Bunker Hill, Macoupin County, Ill.; Conrad of whom a sketch appears elsewhere, and Melchoir, a preacher of the Methodist Episcopal persuasion and a member of the Illinois Conference.
Our subject was well educated in his native land as he attended school quite steadily during his boyhood. When not in school he assisted his father on the farm and in the vineyard and gained a good insight into agriculture. He was fifteen years old when the family came to America so he has a still vivid recollection of the beautiful scenes of his old home. Soon after the removal to St. Louis he commenced to learn the trade of a cabinet maker and followed that and the trade of a house carpenter until after his marriage, since which event he has devoted his time to farming. He bought the interests of the other heirs in the old homestead which comprises one hundred acres of choice land and he has besides two hundred acres elsewhere. His farm is finely tilled and its improvements are of a substantial order, including good buddings and everything necessary to carry farming to a successful issue. A view of his residence and a portion of his fine farm will be noticed on another page.
Mr. Auer has had the cheerful cooperation of a capable wife in the establishment of his comfortable home. Mrs. Auer's maiden name was Julia Marshall and her life was united to that of our subject September 9, 1858. She is a native of this county and a daughter of John and Christiana (Wezard) Marshall, for whose history see sketch of Francis Marshall. Mr. and Mrs. Auer have four children living — Grant, Ella, Emma and Ida. Ella is the wife of John Dixon, of Golden Eagle; Emma married Dan Osborne, of Point Precinct. The children have received excellent educational advantages and the son, Grant, is at present engaged in teaching.
Our subject is numbered among the most progressive and intelligent citizens of the county and ranks among the skillful farmers of the precinct. Upon all subjects of general and local interest he keeps informed and converses well upon topics of importance and interest. In his domestic relations he is a considerate father and a devoted husband while his neighbors always find him obliging and helpful.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 488-491
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