History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index



HENRY SYLVESTER JACOBY, Professor of Bridge Engineering, in Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was born April 8, 1857, in Springfield township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, between Bursonville and Springtown, and is a son of Peter L. and Barbara (SHELLY) JACOBY, both of German descent.

The paternal ancestor of Professor JACOBY came to Pennsylvania, as is supposed, prior to 1750, but little is known of him.  His widow Elizabeth survived him many years, dying at an advanced age at the home of her son-in-law, Andreas SCHNEIDER, in Richland, about 1790, letters of administration being granted on her estate January 9, 1790.  Her children as shown by the distribution account filed were: Conrad, “eldest son,” Henry, who settled in Lower Mount Bethel township, Northampton county; George, who settled in Lehigh county; John, who settled in York county; and Margaret, who married Andreas SCHNEIDER, of Richland, a native of Zweibrucken, who came to this country in 1759.   Margaret, probably the youngest of the JACOBY family, was born January 6, 1749, and died March 22, 1828.

Conrad JACOBY was born June 7, 1730, and was certainly in Bucks county May 18, 1751, when a warrant of survey for a tract of land in Bedminster township, Bucks county, was issued to him.  His later Bucks county residence was in Milford township, the threshold of German immigration into the county of Bucks.  On April 1, 1768, he purchased of Jacob GEIL 220 1-2 acres of land in Springfield township, on the line of Durham township.  In this deed he is styled “Conrad JACOBI, of Lower Milford township, Blacksmith.”  This farm is on the road from Bursonville to Durham, and adjoins the farm still owned by Professor Henry S. JACOBY, on the northeast.    On March 6, 1787, he purchased a farm of 152 acres in Bedminster township, the present residence of Gideon S. ROSENBERGER, and lived thereon until his death March 26, 1795.  On April 11, 1791, he purchased 259 acres in Durham township, being Nos. 5 and 6 of the Durham tract, and adjoining his Springfield purchase.   This tract he conveyed to his sons, Peter and John and John REIGLE, respectively, in 1792 and 1793.  His wife Hannah died November 27, 1828, at the age of ninety-nine years six months, and is buried at St. Peter’s German Reformed church, in Leidytown, her later days having been spent with her youngest son, Leonard, in Hilltown township.    Conrad JACOBY is buried in the graveyard of the old Tohickon church at Church Hill.  He and his wife Hannah were the parents of nine children: John, Philip, Peter, Benjamin, Margaret, Catharine, Elizabeth, Henry and Leonard.  John lived on the Durham land conveyed to him by his father in 1793, until his death as did his brother Peter.  Philip lived for a time in Nockamixon, and from 1783 to 1787 he lived on a farm of 196-1/2 acres at Stony Point, in Springfield township.  He then removed to Hilltown township, where he died in 1827.  Benjamin settled in Haycock township on a tract of 165 acres, patented to him as No. 15 of the Lottery Lands in 1789, near Haycock Run postoffice, where he lived until his death.  One of the daughters, either Margaret or Catharine, married a WOOLSLEYER.   Elizabeth married (first) John FLUCK, and after his death married Robert DARROCH, Jr., and they resided in Bensalem township, Bucks county, during the latter part of their lives.  Henry lived for a time in Bedminster, removed thence to Gwynedd, and a year later to Andalusia, Bensalem township, Bucks county.  Leonard lived for fifty years near the Mennonite meeting house in Hilltown, and then removed to Allentown.

Peter JACOBY, third son of Conrad and Hannah, was born in Bucks county on New Years day, 1759.  He learned the trade of a blacksmith with his father, and probably followed it for a number of years.  On June 9, 1792, he purchased of his father seventy-one acres of the Durham tract No. 6.  He built in 1801 the stone house and later the barn, both of which are still standing, and later, purchasing other land adjoining, lived there all his life.  While attending the February term of court, 1815, as a juror, he was taken ill and died March 11, 1815.   He was a member of Durham Reformed church, a trustee of the church from its organization and was later an elder.  He married Catharine TRAUGER, born September 29, 1763, died September 4, 1844; daughter of Christian and Ann DRAGER (TRAUGER) of Nockamixon.  The former, born March 30, 1726, in Bechenbach, grand duchy of Hesse Darmstadt, came to Pennsylvania in the ship “Restoration,” arriving in Philadelphia, October 9, 1747, and died in Nochamixon, January 8, 1811.  His wife, Anna Barbara, was born March 5, 1729, and died November 5, 1821.  The children of Peter and Catharine (Trauger) Jacoby were: John, who settled in Doylestown township; Elizabeth, who married George HARTMAN, of Rockhill, who after living for twenty-seven years in that township, removed to near Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; Mary, who married Jacob HARTMAN, of Rockhill; Benjamin, who finally settled in Springfield township; Barbara, who died in youth; Catharine, who married Frederick LAUBACH, of Lower Saucon, later of Durham township; Hannah, who married George OVERPECK, of Springfield, and later removed to near Milton, Pennsylvania;  Sarah, who died in youth; Peter, who lived and died on the old homestead in Durham; Samuel, who finally settled in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania; and Susannah, who married Jacob SCHLIEFFER, of Springfield township.

Benjamin JACOBY, son of Peter and Catherine (TRAUGER) JACOBY, was born September 9, 1786.  He was a mason by trade.  In the fall of 1809 he married Margaret LANDES, daughter of Samuel and Susannah LANDES, and on September 10, 1810, purchased a small farm in Nockamixon, where he lived for six years, following his trade in summer and teaching school during the winter months.  He then bought a farm of ninety acres two miles from Frenchtown, New Jersey, where he lived until 1826, when he purchased the farm in Springfield, adjoining the farm purchased by his grandfather in 1768, and removed thereon.  This farm has remained in the family ever since, and is now the property of the subject of this sketch.  Here Benjamin JACOBY lived until the spring of 1839, when he rented the farm to his son, Peter L. JACOBY, and removed to the village of Springtown, where he lived until his death, October 29, 1859.   He served for three months in the army during the war of 1812-14, his company being stationed at Marcus HOOK, to guard the approach to Philadelphia after the burning of Washington in 1814.  His wife Margaret died in 1827 and he married in 1829 Margaret, daughter of Peter WERST, who died September 26, 1844, without issue.  The children of Benjamin and Margaret (LANDES) JACOBY were: Samuel, who finally settled at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Peter L., who lived nearly all his life on the Springfield homestead; Catharine, who married Aaron HECKMAN and settled near Milton, Pennsylvania; Caroline, who married John SCHLIEFIER, of Springfield; Susannah, who married Samuel FULMER, of Springtown; Anna, who died in infancy; Benjamin L., who during his later years resided in Philadelphia; John L., who lived for some years in Springfield and later removed to Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Levi L., who was a minister of the German Evangelical association and stationed at various points in New York state, being located at Newark, New York, at the time of his death.

Peter L. JACOBY, second son of Benjamin and Margaret (LANDES) JACOBY, was born in Nockamixon township, Bucks county, February 9, 1813, and aside from teaching school for a brief period was a farmer all his life.   He married, August 20, 1837, Barbara SHELLY, daughter of John and Mary SHELLY, of Milford township, Bucks county, and lived in Milford township until the spring of 1839, when he took charge of his father’s farm in Springfield renting it until his father’s death, when he purchased it, later purchasing other land adjoining, and lived on the homestead until his death, July 3, 1876. With the exception of ten years residence in New Jersey and one year at a select private school, his whole life was spent in Bucks county.  He was better educated than most men of his day in that vicinity, and appreciated the advantage of a higher education.  He was a prosperous farmer, and actively interested in the important public interests of his neighborhood.  His wife died at Bethlehem, June 12, 1904.  Their eldest child, Mary Ann, died at the age of twenty-two years.  Those who survive are: Titus S., now residing in Bethlehem; Amanda, who married Henry UNANGST, of Williams township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania, and later settled near Pleasant Valley, Bucks county; Lewis Shelly, and John S., both now residing in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Henry Sylvester, who now resides in Ithaca, New York.

Henry Sylvester JACOBY, born on the old homestead near Bursonville, April 8, 1857, was reared on the farm and attended the public school during the winter sessions, and during the summer months attended the private school of David W. HESS for eight years.  He attended the Excelsior Normal Institute at Carversville, Bucks county, during the terms of 1870-72, and the preparatory department of Lehigh University, 1872-3.  He than took the regular four-years course at Lehigh University, receiving the degree of Civil engineer in 1877.  During the season of 1878 he was stadia rodman on the Lehigh Topographical Corps, of the Second Geological survey of Pennsylvania.  From November, 1878, to November, 1879, he was engaged on surveys of the Red River, Louisiana, with the U.S.A. Corps of Engineers, under Major W.H.H. BENYUARD.  From November, 1879, to March, 1885, he served as chief draughtsman in the United States Engineer’s Office at Memphis, Tennessee.  From May, 1885, to August, 1886, he was bookkeeper and cashier for G. W. JONES & Co., wholesale druggists in Memphis.  From September, 1886, to June, 1890, he was instructor in civil engineering at his alma mater, Lehigh University.  In September, 1890, he was elected assistant professor of Bridge Engineering and Graphics at Cornell University, was promoted to an associate professorship in the same department in 1894, and in 1900 was made full professor of Bridge Engineering in the University, and has since filled that position.

In August, 1887, he was admitted a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; was made a fellow of the Association in 1894; secretary of “Section D” in 1895, and vice president and chairman of Section D. (Mechanical science and engineering) in 1901.  On November 5, 1890, he became an associate of the American Society of Civil Engineers; in August, 1894, a member of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, of which he was secretary 1900-1902.  On February 22, 1888, he became a member of the Honorary Scientific Society of Tau Beta Pi, and of the Honorary Scientific Society of Sigma Xi on May 1, 1893.

Professor JACOBY, in addition to contributing numerous articles on Engineering and kindred subjects, for periodicals devoted to that science, is the author of the following publications:  “Notes and Problems in Descriptive Geomerty,” (1892): “Outlines of Descriptive Geometry” Part I, 1895, Part II, 1896, Part III, 1897;  “A Text Book on Plain Lettering.” (1897).  He is joint author with Professor Mansfield Merriman of a “Text Book on Roofs and Bridges,” in four volumes (1890-1898) embracing the following branches: Part I, “Stresses in Simple Trusses,” 1888, entirely rewritten in 1904; Part II, “Graphic Statics,” 1890, enlarged in 1897; Part III, ”Bridge Design,” 1894, re-written 1902; Part IV. “Higher Structures,” 1898.  Professor JACOBY served as editor of the Journal of the Engineering Society of Lehigh University for the years 1887-1890.

Professor Henry S. JACOBY married May 18, 1880, Laura Louise SAYLOR, daughter of Thomas S. and Emma A SAYLOR, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and they are the parents of three children, John Vincent, Hurlbut Smith, and Freeman Steel, all of whom reside with their parents at Ithaca, New York. 

Professor JACOBY retains a lively interest in the affairs of his native county, and makes many extended visits to the old homestead in Springfield (the ownership of which he still retains), as well as to other points of Bucks county, taking a proper and commendable pride in his Bucks county ancestry.

Test taken from page 141-143 of:

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed January 2001 by Joan Lollis of IN. as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published January 2001 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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