Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interview With: Arthur "Artie" Haish

This Jacob Haish project was jumpstarted in April by a trip to Lanton, Missouri to visit my great grandfather, Arthur "Artie" Haish. Artie lived in northern Illinois before he retired in Missouri, and I wanted to see if he knew anything about the barbed wire baron. 
Arthur "Artie" Haish, 85, of Lanton, MO, riding his lawn mower with "no hands" in April 2016. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Visiting him to see what he knew seemed like a shot in the dark; I wasn't sure what would come of it, but I figured he had to know something. Although he never knew Jacob Haish (Jacob died in 1926 and my great grandfather was born in 1930,) he shared with me the few stories he had heard.

He started by pulling out his small but interesting collection of Jacob Haish-related news articles. When he showed me an image of Jacob Haish he said, "God, he's handsome! He looks just like me!" (To give you some context, my great grandpa is a funny, laidback guy.) 

Although Artie didn't get a chance to meet his great uncle Jacob Haish, he said his brothers had known him. Artie recalled hearing a story about Jacob Haish coming to see his brother Calvin "Kelly" Haish when he was born in 1925. He said Jacob Haish held the baby and visited with the family. Artie's siblings have since passed on.
Great grandpa Artie showing me how to draw a cowboy hat. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Parts of our interview are below.

Jessi: Did you ever hear stories about Jacob Haish?
Artie: I heard my mother tell stories for years about him. He wanted to give my mother a farm and she was too proud. She said, when you're dead, that'll be the time for that. And of course when he died, nobody got nothing. 

Jessi: Did you ever hear stories about his personality?
Artie: No, not really. I know that his main maid, he gave her the right to the house as long as she lived [after Haish died.] He had feelings for people. And as far as I know, he had feelings for a lot of people. He used to come out to our house, of course I wasn't born yet. We had a big concrete slab there, and his chauffeur would drive the horses right up along that slab. They could step out of that buggy and on to the slab to step onto the ground.

Jessi: Did you ever have people ask you about being a Haish?
Artie: Kind of. I even run into people down here [near West Plains, MO] that went to college up there. They'd hear my name and want to know why the hospital and streets were named after him, and all that stuff. They had gone to college up there and never knew why it was that way.

Artie told me that Jacob Haish (who immigrated to the United States from Germany when he was nine years old,) spoke German. Artie said his own mother could speak German, but his father couldn't understand it.

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Do you have Jacob Haish stories you'd like to share? Please contact the author of this blog, Jessi Haish-LaRue, at Thanks!

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