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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jacob Haish to be recognized with historical marker

Mark your calendar: the dedication ceremony for the Jacob Haish historical marker has been set.

The dedication ceremony for the Illinois State historical marker honoring Jacob Haish will be held at 10:30 a.m. on June 17, 2017, at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St.

The Haish marker is the latest historical marker designation through the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, and donations to fund the project have rolled in from barbed wire groups, locals, family descendants and more.
A photo-shopped image shows where the Jacob Haish historical marker will be placed at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak Street. | Image provided by Bob Myers
The historical marker will detail Haish's contributions to the agricultural community through his innovations such as barbed wire and farming implements. The text on the marker also honors his "eccentric personality and generous philanthropy."

The marker will be 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.

What: Dedication for the Illinois State Historical Marker honoring Jacob Haish
When: 10:30 a.m. on June 17, 2017
Where: DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., DeKalb, Illinois

Speakers include: 
Norm Larson, DAAHA board president
William Furry, Illinois State Historical Society executive director
Rep. Robert Pritchard, Illinois House of Representatives, 70th district

Jerry Smith, Mayor of DeKalb
Emily Faulkner, DeKalb Public Library director
Dr. Jeffrey Chown, Northern Illinois University, Dept. of Communications
Jeff Marshall, Haish family representative

The marker will be unveiled following remarks from the speakers.

For more information contact DAAHA at 815-756-8737, or visit