Wednesday, September 6, 2017


The below article was published in the Sept. 18, 1916, edition of the Sycamore True Republican, as provided by the Joiner History Room:

Superintendent of Wisconsin State Fair Buys Machinery For Himself
Local Mechanism is Chosen Above All of the Famous Kinds of the Country at State Fair

Superintendent Allan Hinds of the Haish industries is feeling highly pleased today over a little business news concerning the famous Haish engines. 

It seems that the Haish concern had a big exhibit at Milwaukee last week at the Wisconsin state fair in charge of Messrs. Rose and Gibler. At the same fair were the products of a score or more of other engine factories and the competition for orders was hot.

After looking thoroughly into the merits of the various machines, Mr. Chinock, superintendent of the fair, member of the Wisconsin legislature and a prominent farmer, ordered a lot of Haish machinery over the others exhibited there and asked the Haish people to establish an agency at his home town of Hudson.

This unsought for and voluntary expression of confidence in the DeKalb machine pleases the local officials very much. The firm has exhibits now at Elkhorn, Wis., Knoxville, and Aledo, Ill., under charge of Messrs. Briggs, Curns, and Needham and next week they will all unite in an exhibit at the Peoria fair.

Details of a Haish gas engine currently owned by Haish family descendant Jeff Marshall. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Monday, August 7, 2017

"Two Wires Make a Good Stock Fence"

The below advertisement, courtesy of Northern Illinois University Archives, boasts Jacob Haish's "S" barb steel wire as "the cheapest fence ever offered to the world." The advertisement provides a thorough description of Haish's creation.

Click the image to enlarge.

Advertisement courtesy of NIU Regional History Center
The text reads as follows:

The Cheapest Fence Ever Offered to the World.

Coiled on spools weighing from 80 to 100 pounds. The spools are strong and substantial and will bear shipment to any part of the globe.
It is the celebrated cut showing manner of attaching Barb to Wire.
Patented Aug 31, 1875.
The enameling renders it rust-proof, giving it a fine, black, glossy appearance.

Two Wires make a good Stock Fence, and costs about 32 cents per rod, or $102.40 per mile-posts 16 to 20 ft. apart. Three wires make a good stock-proof fence and costs about 48 cents per rod, or $153.60 per mile-posts 16 to 20 ft. apart. It weighs about 17 ounces to the rod, one strand. One strand weighs about 360 pounds to the mile. Two strands weigh about 720 pounds to the mile. Three strands weight about 1080 pounds to the mile. It is made of best No. 12 Steel Wire.
Stock seldom make the second attempt to get through it.
The only Barb fastened on both wires, and cannot turn, and preventing the strands from unraveling. The only Barb passing around both Wires and not leaving a BROAD BASE on main wire to rust and finally drop off. The only Barb encircling both Wires, rendering it durable while presenting a handsome appearance. Strong winds do not affect it, nor heavy snows break it down. It will not burn.
It is readily put up as follows: By running a rod through the ends of spool, two men can easily carry the spool and uncoil the wire at a rapid pace, while a boy can staple it; or, placing the spool forward of rear stakes of wagon, the team will unroll the wire. To strain and staple it is but the work of a few moments. For a fence of two wires, put lower wire 26 inches and top wire 42 inches from the ground. Three wires, put lower wire 15 inches, middle wire 30 inches and top wire 45 inches from ground. Strain perfectly tight, as it makes a much better fence.

The best proof of its efficiency as a Stock-Proof Fence, IS TRYING IT!
And should it fail to stand the test, you are at liberty to return it to the dealer who will refund you your money.


Image courtesy of Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


The below article was published in the March 9, 1922, edition of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. Although Jacob Haish looked forward to his 100th birthday, he would die just a few weeks before he could celebrate it. This article celebrates Haish's 96th birthday.

- - - 

Veteran Manufacturer Banker Spends 96th Birthday at the Bank

"Ninety-six years young! I don't feel any older today than a year ago, and I believe I feel younger than I did when I celebrated my 86th birthday."

Such was the answer to the inquiry made by Jacob Haish, DeKalb's veteran manufacturer, as he sat in his usual chair at the Jacob Haish State Bank this afternoon, when, after congratulations, he was asked how he felt.

Mr. Haish, with just a slight moisture in his eyes, told how many people had remembered him on his birthday, friends in New York remembering that today marked his 96th year of a most successful life. Ninety-six beautiful rosebuds, with an extra one "to grow on," were sent to his home during the day, and everyone knows how Jacob Haish admires flowers. He spoke feelingly of the donors of the flowers, expressing the wish that he might live to receive 101 of such roses.

"Today is a beautiful day, and I wish that I might walk home, but I begin to get tired after I walk a block, so I save shoe leather and ride back and forth in my car."

Mr. Haish stated that he was feeling as well as he had ever felt in years past, in fact better than ten years ago. His physician tells him that he is sound and in unusually good health for a man that is starting out on his 97th year of life. 

"You know," concluded Mr. Haish, "I have been around this country, this state and this city so many years I like it, and I have no great desire to go anywhere else for many years yet. I hope to live to celebrate my 100th anniversary and it will be a most enjoyable celebration, too."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Jacob Haish's improvements for lighting railway coaches

Jacob Haish had the creative, working mind of an inventor. If he thought there was a better, more efficient way of doing something, he was going to create it. 

And then patent it. 

The patent below is for "new and useful Improvements in Lighting Railway Coaches." The application was filed October 14, 1886, and the patent was awarded April 12, 1887. Click the below images to enlarge.
Image via Google Patents
Image via Google Patents

Image via Google Patents

An excerpt from the patent papers is below: 

"This invention relates to improvements in simultaneously lighting the interior of the railway-coach and the platform, also in using the same light for a train-signal, all as will now be fully set out and described, reference being had to the accompanying drawings." 

To read more from the patent description, click here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jacob Haish historical marker dedicated

The Jacob Haish historical marker now stands outside of the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
The Jacob Haish historical marker was sponsored by DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, the Illinois State Historical Society, and local contributors. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
The Jacob Haish historical marker was dedicated and unveiled Saturday, June 17, at the DeKalb Public Library. The marker was sponsored in part by the Illinois State Historical Society and DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA.)

The marker was posted outside of the DeKalb Public Library, or Haish Memorial Library, as it was originally known, due to Haish's decision to leave $150,000 in his will for a community library.

Many members of the community, as well as members of the Haish family, gathered Saturday to listen to speeches and see the official unveiling of DAAHA's seventh historical marker in the area. 
DAAHA Board President Norm Larson speaks during the Jacob Haish historical marker dedication on June 17, 2017. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Haish family representative Jeff Marshall told Haish's story during the marker dedication ceremony. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Larry Mix, member of the DAAHA historical marker subcommittee, read the marker's text to the audience. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
DAAHA Board President Norm Larson remarked how incredible it is to think that the Haish marker will be there for generations 100 years from now to enjoy.

Emily Faulkner, DeKalb Public Library director, spoke during the ceremony and told her own story as a young girl living on Haish Boulevard in DeKalb, growing up believing Haish was a president of the United States, much like most other street namesakes in the town.

Jeff Marshall, of DeKalb, represented the Haish family and gave a historical perspective on his third great uncle, a German immigrant who spent his life creating agricultural innovations, such as barbed wire and farming implements.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith and Rep. Robert Pritchard, Illinois House of Representatives, also spoke during the ceremony, recognizing Haish's philanthropy and generous gifts to the community, including money for a library, hospital, and the first college in the area, today known as Northern Illinois University.

Local historian Steve Bigolin said it was a great day for Haish to "finally get more recognition."

Following the remarks, Haish family descendants Jeff Marshall and Jessi LaRue unveiled the marker to the community. 
Haish family descendants Jeff Marshall and Jessi LaRue unveil the Jacob Haish historical marker on June 17, 2017. | Photo by Christopher LaRue
Jeff Marshall and Jessi LaRue, Haish family descendants, unveil the historical marker. Jacob Haish is Marshall's 3rd great uncle, and LaRue's 4th great uncle. | Photo by Christopher LaRue
A photo of all Haish descendants that were in attendance that day was also taken.
Haish family descendants Jeff Marshall and Jessi LaRue pose by DAAHA's latest historical marker. | Photo by Christopher LaRue
Some Haish family descendants pose by the Jacob Haish historical marker. | Photo by Christopher LaRue
DAAHA also acknowledged the generous contributions of the following individuals and organizations whose gifts made the marker possible:
Pat Barger
Gordon's Hardware
Kevin and Becky Haish
Steve Heinsohn
Historical Museum of Barbed Wire
Ronald Klein
Christopher and Jessi LaRue
Henry Leonard
Jeff Marshall
James Morel
John Nelson
Penny A. Rosenow Trust
James Stoddard
Delbert and Ruth Trew
Eldona Willrett
The Jacob Haish historical marker is now posted outside of the Haish Memorial Library/DeKalb Public Library on Oak Street in DeKalb. Click photo to enlarge. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Haish advertisement in The Prairie Farmer Journal

Photo by Jessi LaRue
I recently stumbled upon this edition of "The Prairie Farmer Journal" while browsing through eBay. 

The masthead and flag of this publication are unique; it states "The Prairie Farmer Weekly Journal for The Farm, Orchard and Fireside." It also encourages readers: "Farmers, Write for Your Paper." This particular edition is labeled as "Chicago, Saturday, March 22, 1879."
Photo by Jessi LaRue
The seller of this newspaper pointed out that the journal boasted many advertisements, including an ad for Jacob Haish's spools of S-barb wire.

The ad encourages farmers to "Write J. Haish & Co., DeKalb, Ills., for particulars" and to "send for 'Barb Fence Regulators,'" which was Haish's publication that promoted his own wire and other products.
Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Remnants of Haish mansion furniture

My great-aunt Pam Haish-Brockhaus recently met Janet Anne Fawcett and the two discussed their connections to Jacob Haish. 

Jacob Haish is Brockhaus' second great uncle, while Fawcett's stepfather, Charles Roland, once had scavenging rights to the Haish mansion before it was eventually razed.
The railing spindles were salvaged from the Haish mansion. Charles Roland, of DeKalb, used them to create a railing for his DeKalb home. The piece was later painted white. | Photo provided by Janet Anne Fawcett
"I so loved the Haish home when I was younger," said Fawcett, who was 11 years old when the house was demolished. "My stepdad brought home the railing when the house was demolished. He used most of it in the upstairs of our house in DeKalb. These smaller pieces he used for legs and feet on woodworking projects he built."

Fawcett still utilizes these pieces throughout her DeKalb home. 

"The top and bottom of the railing were built by my stepdad and the original spindles were mounted in between,"  Fawcett said. "The rail was painted white but I would have left it wood. ... It is possible that this rail was from a back staircase or not one in the main entrance."
A small table was salvaged from the Haish mansion by Charles Roland, and it was later painted white. Roland's stepdaughter plans to refinish the table. | Photo provided by Janet Anne Fawcett
A hope chest, made by Fawcett's stepfather, has "feet" that are repurposed wood pieces from Haish mansion railing. | Photo provided by Janet Anne Fawcett
"My stepdad made several pieces of furniture and saved and salvaged lots of stuff," Fawcett said. "My older sister and I have hope chests that he made us that have small feet made from pieces of the rails."

She was also kind enough to provide Haish mansion spindles to Brockhaus and myself, one of which is pictured below.
A mahogany spindle from the Haish mansion. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Fawcett is grateful to be able to incorporate the various pieces in her home, but she wishes the mansion had a different fate.

"I am still sad about the mansion," she said. "I drive past there often and so wish it could have been saved."

Thanks to Janet for sharing her story, and thanks to Pam for connecting me with Janet.