Antoine Jacob was born in the small village of Vieux-Lixheim, Lorraine, France, on Saturday, 14 February 1824. He was the second son and the second youngest of seven children born to Jean-Thiébault Jacob and Jeannette Schuler. Jeannette was from the nearby town of Réding, nearly a suburb of the city of Sarrebourg.

Antoine’s father died in 1829 and an older sister, Catherine, died on 1 November 1837. Seven months after Catherine’s death, Antoine, his mother, and four remaining sisters arrived in New York City on 7 June 1838. Their oldest brother Georges remained in France. Eleven months later, the family was at the wedding of their sister Barbara to Felix Maurath at the Old Cathedral in St. Louis. Felix’s family had arrived in America just four years earlier It is likely they knew each other in Europe, as their towns were not far apart.

The Jacob family ended up living with Felix and Barbara in St. Louis until they were all married and on their own. Barbara died in childbirth in 1842, and Felix married her younger sister, Catherine Josephine.

Antoine came to be called Anton, Anthony, and Tony. Somewhere along the way, his surname came to be spelled as Jacobs. He had been trained as a tailor and then as a tinsmith and metal worker. When he was twenty-two years old, he joined the U.S. Army during the Mexican War, as a member of Company E, 1st Regiment Infantry, St. Louis Legion, with a subsequent reenlistment in the cavalry. After the war, Anton was often seen walking the streets of St. Louis, proudly wearing his uniform with his sabre at his side. In 1850, he became a naturalized citizen, and soon after, he ventured to California for the gold rush, settling in Township 1 of Tuolumne County, California.

Anton came back home to St. Louis around 1853. He met Barbara Anna Gerardi, who was a servant for his oldest sister, Jeannette Jacob-Rohr. Barbara was born 1832 in Rheinbach, Germany and was the daughter of Heinrich Gerardi and Elisabeth Falkenstein. On Sunday, 8 January 1854, Anton and Barbara were married in St. Vincent DePaul Church and had their reception party across the street from the back of the church at the home of his brother-in-law, Felix Maurath, which was where Anton was living at the time.

Anton and Barbara moved to Carlyle, Clinton County, Illinois, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Ironically, a neighbor in Carlyle, Anton Hubert, happened to be one of Anton’s best friends from his home village in France. They recalled that their fondest memory was making their First Holy Communion together in their home village.

The Jacob family grew to include eleven children: William, 1855–1886; George, 1856–1909; Emma, 1859–?; Rosa, 1861–1950; Tony, 1865–1931; Henry, 1869–1960; John, 1871–1952; Lena, 1875–?; Mary, 1877–1956; Joseph, 1878–1922; and Pauline Aloysia, 1882–1952.

Anton Jacob died at his home on 25 June 1883; his wife Barbara died on 8 August 1915. They are buried in Section G, Row 18, Grave 33, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Carlyle, Illinois.

Written by John L. Maurath
September 2020

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Last Modified: 23-Jul-2022 11:30