Saturday, December 18, 2021

Haishes recognized by First Methodist Church

Cover of First Methodist Church's 90th anniversary booklet | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center Archives
'The builders' of First Methodist Church | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center Archives
Highlights of Methodism in DeKalb | Courtesy of DeKalb County History Center Archives

This informational program was printed by the First Methodist Church in DeKalb to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 1944.

Jacob and Sophia Haish's images make an appearance on a page titled "A Few of 'The Builders,'" which includes other DeKalb figures that helped create and maintain the historical church throughout its history.

The section "Highlights of 90 years of Methodism in DeKalb," tells the story of its start and mentions Haish's influence:

"It is well that we pause here and mention the men behind this fast growing organization. On July 16, 1866, a new Board of Trustees was elected consisting of Joel Simmonds, Albert Schryver, Silas Tappan, Andrew Bradt, and Washington Lenox. In 1879 Morris Wiley, George Shrimpton, Calvin Shurtleff, Jacob Haish, Thomas Dodge, Abner Wood and D.B. Lattin were added, all well-known figures in DeKalb History."

Monday, December 13, 2021

Merry Christmas from Haish School

Haish School class in 1960 | Courtesy of the DeKalb County History Center Archives

A Haish School class from 1960 holding cards that read "Merry Christmas."

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Unidentified Haish pins

I've been working my way through the Haish-related archives at the Joiner History Room, and have come across two unidentified pins that simply read "Haish." 

With no additional documentation, one can only make educated guesses about the history of these pins. Perhaps a Haish family member ran for public office? Who knows.

Below are photos of the pins, along with the only identifying information.

"1 inch triangle, red on one side and white on the other. Gold bar down center with 'Haish.'"

"1/2 inch button: red & white 'Haish'"

Monday, November 15, 2021

EVENT: Haish New Research Roundtable at Glidden Homestead

Jessi Haish LaRue Hosts Jacob Haish New Research Roundtable at Glidden Homestead

DEKALB, IL – New research and artifacts on Jacob Haish’s barbed wire and other business ventures are turning up in local archival research.

At Glidden Homestead at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 21, 2021, Jessi Haish LaRue will host an interactive, hands-on experience looking at and talking about new research on Jacob and Sophia Haish found locally. Attendees will be able to handle and closely examine copies of recent important historical items.

Also, noon-4, visit and tour the home where Joseph Glidden and his family lived when he created his most famous invention, see a working onsite blacksmith shop, and walk where Glidden walked. Programs at Glidden Homestead are made possible in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

LaRue, a Haish family descendant, is a writer who blogs regularly about Jacob Haish at The blog shares photos, interviews and news articles which relate to Haish's life. LaRue has been documenting her 4th great uncle's story since early 2016 in an attempt to spread the story of the "underdog of barbed wire."

“Jessi, with her deep understanding of Haish, has recently turned her attention to locally archived documents and records,” says Rob Glover, executive director of Glidden Homestead. “Even though she’s only in the earliest stages of this line of her research, what she’s already uncovered here is truly remarkable and is something to be seen.”

Haish is renowned for his “S barb” patented in 1875. Jacob Haish was born March 9, 1827, in Germany and came to America in 1835 when he was nine years old. In his youth, he learned the carpentry trade from his father and “possessed natural mechanical ingenuity and displayed ready aptitude in the use of tools.” At 19, he moved to Illinois and then to DeKalb in 1853 where he entered the lumber business. He built many of the city’s most notable buildings, past and present, including the Glidden Homestead.

Haish’s first barbed wire patent is dated January 20, 1874. His “S barb” was patented August 31, 1875. He followed these with many later designs for wire and other innovative devices.

This year’s theme at Glidden Homestead is “A Treasure at 160.” 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of Joseph Glidden’s 1861 home. A National Register of Historic Place site, it is the home where Glidden lived when he invented barbed wire. The home was extensively remodeled in 1910 by a prominent architect and continued as a Glidden Family residence until it became a museum in 1998.

A full season of programs highlighting “A Treasure at 160” wraps in December at the Glidden Homestead in 2021. A program listing can be found at The Glidden Homestead, located at 921 W Lincoln Hwy, is now taking reservations for tours. Admission is $4 per adult and free for children younger than 14. For more information, visit or e-mail or call (815) 756-7904.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Image of young Sophia Haish

Local historian Steve Bigolin provided this image of a young Sophia Haish, Jacob's wife. Steve recalls that it was printed as part of a publication by the First United Methodist Church of DeKalb. Sophia's age or the date of the image is unknown.

A young Sophia Haish | Image provided by Stephen Bigolin

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Obituary for Jacob's father

Below is the obituary for Christian Haish, Jacob's father, as printed in the Feb. 13, 1891, edition of the Bucyrus Journal.

Christian Haish lived much of his life in the Bucyrus, Ohio area. Clearly displayed in this document was Christian's generosity, a trait that he surely passed on to his son Jacob.

I have researched the "Haishtown" that is mentioned below and have even worked with the Bucyrus Historical Society, but no information has been uncovered regarding this area.

Click the photo to enlarge or read the text below the image.

Christian Haish obituary
"Christian Haish died at his home on Cemetery Street, Monday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. of infirmities incident to old age, in his eighty-eighth year. The funeral [taking] place Wednesday at 2 p.m. provided the friends from a distance who may desire to be present shall have arrived at that time.

Mr. Haish was born in Baden [Germany] and spent his early life there. He emigrated with his family to this country about sixty years ago, and has been a resident of this place most of the time since, though in the interval having lived a few years in Illinois. He was twice married and twice widowed. Seventeen children were born to him, ten of whom, so far as is known, are living. His only children here at present are his son John and daughter Mrs. A. Holm. A number of them are living in the Western States, one of whom, at least, is a prominent and wealthy manufacturer, holding some of the most valuable patents on barbed fencing wire. Besides these some of the grand-children are prominent in their respective professions.

Mr. Haish has accumulated considerable property here, which, however, because of the old gentleman's compassionate nature, has not been very remunerative. He was the proprietor of that part of Cemetery Street known as Haishtown, where he owned a number of houses; and when a family became too poor or too indolent to pay rent they naturally drifted in that direction, and his houses were always filled up, but in some cases he did not receive a dollar in the way of rent on a house for years. When expostulated by members of the family for enduring this condition of things his reply always was 'Well, they must live, even if they can't pay in rent.' Aside from the immediate relatives, the loss of this class of people will be most severely felt.

During his last illness, of a week's duration, he has been tenderly ministered to by Mrs. Holm, while sympathizing neighbors have assisted his son John in looking after the comfort of the kind hearted old man, in such ways as they could."

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Another photo of the Haish mansion

Can you ever really have too many images of the beautiful (and long gone) Jacob Haish mansion? I was so happy to see this one this week. Enjoy!

Photograph of the Jacob Haish mansion, year unknown. | Courtesy of the DeKalb County History Center Archives

To see stories and photos related to the Haish mansion, click here

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Haish featured in History Center's latest exhibit

I visited the DeKalb County History Center to tour their latest exhibit "The History of DeKalb County in 100 Objects," and I was pleasantly surprised to find Jacob Haish featured throughout the exhibit!

To learn more about the museum's "100 Objects" exhibit, click here.

Barbed wire creators on display, including Henry Rose of Waterman. Click photo to enlarge. | Photo by Jessi LaRue 

Barbed wire display | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Close-up of barbed wire samples from the three barons | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Text accompanying the barbed wire display | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Newspaper clipping mentions the famous county fair, where Glidden, Haish and Ellwood saw Rose's fencing exhibit | Photo by Jessi LaRue

A model of Henry Rose's fencing display. This fencing inspired Haish, Ellwood and Glidden to apply barbs directly to wire, rather than wood fencing. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

A patent section in the exhibit mentioned Sophia Haish, Jacob's wife, who patented her own improvements on the safety pin! Click the photo to enlarge. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

To read more about Henry Rose's story, click here

To learn more about Sophia Haish's safety pin patent, click here

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Chanticleer advertisement in 1915 Gas Review

Haish Chanticleer engine ad in 1915 Gas Engine publication. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

An ad for Haish's Chanticleer engine was spotted in the September 1915 edition of the Gas Review.

The ad features an illustration of a Chanticleer gas engine and reads:

'All Quality' Gasoline Engines

There are some definite differences between the CHANTICLEER and ordinary gasoline farm engines. Ask us about them.

NOT a 'foundry engine' but the product of an up-to-the-minute shop. Every working part is accurately machined to the diameter of a hair.

Designed and built with a definite appreciation of the demands of farm engine service.
1 1/2 to 22 H.P. for every purpose. Equipped with oscillating, crinkles self-starter.

We have a copy of our catalog for you. Send us your address at once.

See our exhibit at the State Fairs

Jacob Haish Co.
32 Haish Ave.
DeKalb, Ill."

A page from the September 1915 edition of the Gas Review. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

See more posts about Chanticleer engines by clicking here.

Haish wire at Arizona museum

Steven Johnson spotted Jacob Haish wire on display at the Courthouse Museum in Tombstone, Arizona. 

Thanks for sharing this photo with us.

Haish wire spotted at the Courthouse Museum in Tombstone, AZ. | Photo by Steven Johnson

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Haish at the 2021 Sandwich Fair

I attended the 2021 Sandwich Fair last weekend and was so excited to see some Jacob Haish gas engines on display. Although I was unable to track down the owner of the engines, I took some photos.

Collection of Haish engines on display at the 2021 Sandwich Fair | Photo by Jessi LaRue

1 HP Jacob Haish Co. gas engine | Photo by Jessi LaRue

2 HP Jacob Haish Co. gas engine | Photo by Jessi LaRue

5 HP Jacob Haish Co. gas engine | Photo by Jessi LaRue

7 HP Jacob Haish Co. gas engine | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Backside of the Haish gas engines | Photo by Jessi LaRue

The barbed wire traveling trailer, a Sandwich Fair regular, was also at this year's event. The trailer features a variety of barbed wire tools as well as a sampling of various wires. Haish's "Ripple Wire" is featured.

Barbed wire traveling trailer features wire tools. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

"Wire that Fenced the Western Frontier" barbed wire display | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Haish's "Ripple Wire" was featured on the wire display board. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Barbed wire traveling trailer features wire tools. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Haish barbed wire splice

Spliced Haish's S-Barb Wire | Photo by Jessi LaRue

This is a piece of Haish's "original large S-Barb" wire, with a special twist.

From the original eBay listing:

"This wire features two round line wires twisted together. ... This sample also features a factory one-line splice, with wrapped out ends."

Wire is spliced by twisting two separate wires together, usually to connect the end of one roll of wire to the next. This video explains how wire can be spliced.

As this is a splice that was done in-factory, rather than by someone repairing or installing barbed wire fencing, it makes the piece especially interesting and unique.

Thanks to Kevin Haish for sharing this unique piece of Haish history.

Spliced Haish's S-Barb Wire | Photo by Jessi LaRue 

Spliced Haish's S-Barb Wire | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Thursday, July 29, 2021

What happened to the Haish mansion?

The Haish mansion in 1930. | Photo courtesy of Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives
The previous location of the Haish mansion, as it stands today. The carriage house still stands to the right side. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

When people find out that my maiden name is Haish, or that I research Jacob Haish, the number one question I hear is "what happened to the Haish mansion?" And rightfully so, as the house was razed in 1961 and many of us never even had a glimpse of it. 

Many people think there's a conspiracy story behind it, because Ellwood's mansion remains, and what do we have to show for Haish? Unfortunately for the Haish mansion, the true story is much simpler.

The house, located on the corner of Third and Pine streets in DeKalb, was three stories tall. Haish, a carpenter, chose to model his home after memories of castles from his homeland of Germany. Learn more about the house's beautiful architecture here, here, and here.

Haish built the house in 1884 and lived there happily until his death in 1926. In his will, he left lifetime use of the house to his longtime housekeeper Anna Anderson. The will also allowed for money from Haish's estate to be used to keep the home "in as good condition as when received by her." 

DeKalb historian Steve Bigolin said Haish missed one big element when preparing his will.

"He didn't think beyond when Anna Anderson would die," he said. 

Anderson died in 1953, and at that time the Haish estate trustees needed to liquidate all assets in order to make the Jacob Haish Memorial Hospital, a big intention in his will, come to reality. There were no further instructions provided as what to do with the house after Anderson's death, so it simply became another asset.

"They had the right to sell it," Bigolin said.

The mansion and the carriage house were put on the market in 1955, after the mansion had been used as a rental for a few years. There was a combined asking price of $45,000 for the two buildings, or the carriage house for $20,000 and the mansion for $25,000. The carriage house was sold to a private individual, and still stands to this day.

The neighboring First Lutheran Church purchased the Haish mansion, and the building's next life began. First, the estate held an auction to sell off items remaining in the home, and then the church would use the house for a parsonage and location for Sunday school classes, as well as other church activities. Within time, however, the large building became a drain of the church's limited resources. 

Church leaders began to realize the condition of the house was deteriorating and the work and cost of upkeep was more than they could handle. Ultimately, it was decided to put the house on the market. In early 1961 they put the house on the market for $25,000, just to recoup their original purchase cost. They were not interested in a profit. 

There were no interested buyers.

Haish house after demolition in 1961. | Photo courtesy of Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives

The church decided to demolish the home for a parking lot in 1961. A certainly divided decision amongst church members, a decision that is still hotly discussed to this day, but one that made economic sense for a church.

Today, the carriage house remains as an apartment complex. The church's parking lot remains, along with a small residential home on the property. Various remnants of the Haish mansion live on in places like DeKalb and even Rockton, Illinois.

Click to see more blog posts about the Haish mansion.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Haish barbed wire canes

Jacob Haish manufactured barbed wire canes as a promotional item. The canes and their toppers vary in shape and size. It is unknown just how many were made, and how many are still in existence.

These are photos of two canes that belong to Kevin Haish. Photos by Jessi LaRue.

You can learn more about Haish canes by clicking over to my previous post here.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

"More & More Barbed Wire" song

This song, written by Art. Edwards, is featured on the first pages of his barbed wire book "Unusual Fence Wires," published in 1979. Fans of the Glidden story, as well as barbed wire collectors, will enjoy this charming song.

"A brief history of barbed wire in song with a little humor added"
By Art. Edwards

"More & More Barbed Wire"
Use tune of Casey Jones

"There was a Mister Rose from up in Illinois
He had had a dream ever since he was a boy
He said to his wife we'll go to the fair
We'll take the buggy and the old grey mare

So he took a stick and he drove it full of nails
He sharpened the points and hung it on a rail
He said now boys step up and take a look
This will be something that will go into the book

Then up stepped Mr. Glidden and some more of the boys
They looked the thing over until their eyes were sore
They each had a plan to beat the other man
They would put on some barbs and fence in the land

So after a short stay they went their own way
They each got busy the very next day
Now Mr. Glidden said to his hired hand
Just slip on the barbs with either hand

Well more and more wire more and more barbed wire
We'll keep on collecting' til our boards are full

Then Joseph said honey we'll make ourselves some money
If you're not going to grind we'll twist several kinds
We'll fence in the yard and we'll fence in the barn
I don't think those barbs will do much harm

Then people came out to see this fence
Mostly on Sunday and other days since
It began to catch on and the first thing they knew
This barbed wire wasn't anything new

Then Bet a Million Gates went to San Antonio
He had no partner he just went alone
He built this pen and they put the cattle in
He bet a lot of money and he took them all in

They found a piece of wire in the Trinity River Bank
They took it to the station and they all begin to think
We need to get together and organize a club
So they called the darned thing a barbed wire club

Well more and more wire more and more barbed wire
We'll keep on collecting' til our boards are full

So they met at Fort Worth each and every month 
They didn't drink much just a little punch
They traded old wire and told tall tales
There weren't any ladies just a bunch of old males

Then others heard about it and begin to do the same
They gave the darned thing the same old name
They have so many shows we can't see them all
Just one in the Spring and one in the Fall

Now Mr. Jack Glover he made himself a book
And on the front cover you ought to take a look
It's really not a bible it's just another book
Several preachers bought it and simply got took

Then Mr. Allison thought he would try it
But his wife Jimmie says do you think they'll buy it
Yes with all these traders I think they'll try it
They'll look the thing over and then they'll buy it

Well more and more wire more and more barbed wire
We'll keep on collecting' til our boards are full

They went down the road to look for old wire
And about that time they had a flat tire
They walked around behind and what you think they saw
Twas an old piece of wire wrapped all around the tire

They got out the jack and raised up the wheel
That's when Payne said Bill I'll make you a deal
Now Bill was pretty slow but finally said no
We'll take the wire and pay for that tire

We do mostly tradin' but also some sellin'
That's why we need the trends to know what to tell 'em
If we couldn't trade 'em we'd just have to sell 'em

Now if you trade by mail you'd better know your man 
They'll tell you anything just to get some more strands
They'll find some old wire and give it a fancy name
And when it comes in you'll have a lot of the same

Then I got myself some marbles and put them in a sack
Then locked up the doors of my old shack
I found some Crandalls it was in short lengths
So I left some marbles for two of those links

Them came to the creek and stopped at the bank
And that's when I really began to think
I hadn't found much just mostly old Decker
I had lost all my marbles and become a wire collector

Well more and more wire more and more barbed wire
We'll keep on collecting' til our boards are full

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Advertisement: Haish Engines

Advertisement provided by Kevin Haish

This advertisement for Carlson & Anderson, of DeKalb, Illinois, lays out their extensive list of tractors, implements, and other machines they have available.  Most notably, they list Haish Engines in the column to the left. Advertisement from eBay.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Book recalls Haish's wire story

I've been reading the book "Early United States Barbed Wire Patents" by Jesse S. James, and I must say, it has become one of my favorite books on the topic. From the clever index that features drawings of every included patent, to the interesting stories throughout the book, it's a good reference! I thoroughly enjoyed, and laughed out loud, to this story that begins by referencing Henry Rose's creation, which inspired Haish, Glidden and Ellwood to create barbed wire, once they saw the display at the county fair. 

Hope you enjoy this story about Haish, even if the author may have taken some creative liberty with the dialogue!

"...Jacob Haish also developed and patented a two-strand barbed wire similar to Glidden's. This was the famous 'S' barb. (Patent No. 167,240.) He had previously patented other wires and he believed Glidden's patent infringed on his patent. 

He said, 'It seems to me that old Joe Glidden is trying to steal my idea! Well, I just won't let him do it! I'm gonna see him in court about this!' 

This started the legal battle over barbed wire that lasted many years.

In the meantime both of these guys had their small factories going like mad, and working overtime! They would buy plain smooth wire from back east, fasten their patented stickers upon it and the stuff would sell like hotcakes!

In fact they bought so much of this wire from one large company, that the sales aroused the curiosity of the company's management, and they said, 'Just what the heck's going on out there at DeKalb anyhow?' and, 'What does this Glidden feller and this upstart of a Haish think they're up to?' 

They could easily see that this barbed wire business was going to be a big thing! 

And so at a special meeting of the executives of the Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Co., it was agreed by all that Charles Washburn, who was Vice President of the company, should go to DeKalb and attempt to buy the patent rights and factories of Haish and Glidden.

When Washburn arrived in the busy little town of DeKalb on that day in February 1876, he went first to Jacob Haish and ask him if he would sell. Haish answered, 'Of course, Mr. Washburn, I would sell my patent rights and factory but I would have to have $200,000.' 

'I'm sorry,' Mr. Washburn said, 'But that's quite a bit more than I could pay.'

Haish later told his friends, 'Had Washburn been a typical Yankee and offered me $25,000, I believe I would have accepted it.' Then he added, 'I believe Washburn would have been ahead if he had paid me the $200,000, I asked for, as I've been told that the lawsuits alone have cost his company $1,325,000!'"

Below are images from the book: