BIOGRAPHY - Jacob Dello Mellinger

JACOB DELLO MELLINGER. Prominent among the large farm owners and stock men of Drummer Township should be mentioned the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, and who has been a resident of Gibson since April, 1873. He was born in Lancaster County, Pa., August 13, 1841, and is a son of Jacob and Martha (Hertzler) Mellinger. His parents were also natives of Lancaster County, and his father was descended from an old Pennsylvanian family of German origin, whose settlement in the Keystone State dates prior to the War of the Revolution, five generations remote.

Jacob Mellinger, Sr., was born July 28, 1802, and on the 30th of August, 1831, married Martha Hertzler. He removed to Clarke County, Ohio, in 1849. He was a farmer by occupation, and followed that pursuit throughout his entire life. His death occurred April 23, 1888, at the age of eighty-five years, eight months and twenty-six days. His wife was born in 1812, and died in Ohio in 1890. They have two daughters and two sons: Mary, who resides in Clarke County, Ohio; John H., who wedded Rachel Rosser, and is living in Yellow Springs, Greene County, Ohio; Martha, wife of Montgomery Patton, of Clarke County, Ohio; and Jacob D., of this sketch.

Our subject was but eight years of age when his parents removed to Clarke County, Ohio. He was there reared to manhood, attended the common schools in his childhood and later took a regular course in Antioch College, of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

On reaching man's estate, he began farming and stock-raising for himself and, as a helpmate on life's journey, chose Miss Martha Ellen Wheeler, their marriage being celebrated in Springfield, Ohio, on the 7th of December, 1871. The lady was born in the city of Springfield and is a daughter of the Hon. Stephen and Mary (Thompson) Wheeler, both of whom were natives of Clarke County, Ohio, and were of Scotch-Irish descent. Her father, who was a man of fine scholarly attainments, was a member of the Ohio Legislature. He died when his daughter was nine years old, but his widow still survives and is living with our subject.

Two children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Mellinger, the elder of whom, Dello, was born May 18, 1877, and died at the age of sixteen months. Frank Hertzler, the younger, was born December 5, 1886, and is a bright and promising boy of nearly six years. In addition to their own family, Mr. and Mrs. Mellinger took, at the age of seven years, Louie J. Mellinger, whom they educated in the Gibson City schools and in Lake Forest University, where she pursued a musical course, becoming quite noted as a vocalist. While in the university, she became sick, was brought home and died five weeks later, February 27, 1887, aged twenty years.

In 1871, our subject and his father bought a half interest in a fine tract of land, consisting of nine hundred and sixty acres, in Drummer Township, now adjoining Gibson City, the land at that time belonging equally to J. H. Mellinger and Jacob Hertzler. In 1875, our subject purchased Mr. Hertzler's remaining interest and removed here with his family. He at once erected fine buildings on the premises, tiled, fenced, and otherwise improved the land. In 1883, be purchased his father's interest, the tract now being owned by J. D. and J. H. Mellinger, equally. In the past nine years about two hundred and eighty acres have been sold at from $75 to $100 per acre. The remaining land is considered worth not less than $125 per acre. Mr. Mellinger has lately platted a number of lots and is putting them on the market.

In addition to the half interest of the land of J. D. and J. H. Mellinger, our subject owns individually a fine home adjoining Gibson City. He leases his farming land, and has the remainder in grass. He deals extensively in cattle and hogs, buying, feeding and selling. He also breeds standard-bred horses quite extensively.

In his political affiliations, Mr. Mellinger is a stalwart Republican, but has never been ambitious of official distinction. He attends the First Presbyterian Church regularly with his wife, who is a consistent member of that congregation. For many years he has been a Director of the Gibson Building & Loan Association, and is now a member of the Gibson Land Improvement Company, recently organized. He was one of the first to advocate the advisability of building pike roads with gravel in the region of Gibson, and, while serving as Commissioner, inaugurated that important public improvement, which has since proved a grand success and aided materially in facilitating travel and transportation. There are now many miles of road leading to Gibson City, that through the piking system have made good roads even in the wettest weather.

In all the relations of life, Mr. Mellinger has proved himself an upright, honorable business man, a good neighbor and worthy citizen, and enjoys, as he merits, the respect and good-will of all who know him.

Extracted 31 Jul 2020 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 298-303.

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