JACOB BRUBAKER, a retired farmer, residing in Virden Township, is a man whose life and character have won him the universal respect of his fellow citizens, and he is most worthy of representation in this Biographical Record. He was born in Franklin County, Va., August 1, 1819, the eldest son of Jonathan and Barbara Brubaker, an account of whom is given in the biography of Jonathan Brubaker on another page of this volume.
Our subject had a thorough training in agriculture in his youth on his father's farm, as he commenced when very young to be of assistance in the labors incident to its cultivation and improvement. That was before the days of railways or canals in his native Virginia, and his father used to market his products at Lynchburg, in that State, taking them thither with teams, two weeks being consumed in traveling to and fro that city. Modern farming machinery was then unknown in the cultivation of the land and in gathering the crops, and all grain was cut with a sickle or cradle. Later a primitive harvest machine was invented and it was considered a great institution. In using it a man had to stand on a frame on the machine to rake the grain from the table, but later a self raker was invented and made at Springfield. Our subject, who was always progressive and ready to adopt new ideas, exhibited the first machine of that kind ever manufactured, and ultimately bought it.
When Mr. Brubaker was a lad of twelve years he accompanied his parents in their removal to Ohio, and drove a team the greater part of the way. In that early day Clarke County where they located was somewhat sparsely settled, and still retained much of its original condition as a wilderness, in which deer, wild turkeys and other game still roamed in abundance. Our subject received his education in the pioneer schools that obtained in those days before the era of free schools, when each family had to pay a certain sum of money according to the number of scholars sent. The school was taught in a log house, which was furnished with benches which were made of slabs and had no backs, and the only desk was a slab resting on pins inserted in the wall. The people were principally home livers in those times, and the very cloth with which the children were clothed was spun and woven by the mother from flax and wool raised on the farm.
Our subject continued to make one of the parental household until his marriage, when he rented a tract of land on which he made his home for about fourteen years. He then bought property in the village of Northampton, including a log house and a shingle mill. He operated the mill there two years, and then selling the house and lot, he bought thirteen acres of land a half mile south of the town, on the Hampton and Donnellsville Pike, and removing his mill to that place, continued profitably engaged in the manufacture of shingles the ensuing eleven years. During that time he had invested in seventy-seven acres of land adjoining, and in 1863 sold his whole place for the goodly sum of $65 an acre. Coming to Virden after he had disposed of that property, he bought two hundred acres of land on section 18, of this township, besides forty acres of timber, and he has been a resident here ever since. His farm is in a fine condition, well supplied with all modern improvements, and its rental affords him a good income.
Mr. Brubaker was married August 13, 1840, to Annie Frantz and in her he has a devoted wife, who has been an important agent in bringing about his present comfortable circumstances. Mrs. Brubaker is a native of Clarke County, Ohio, and a daughter of John and Annie (Ohmert) Frantz, the former a native of Botetourt County and the latter of Shenandoah Valley, Va., and they were among the pioneers of Clarke County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker reared six of their children to maturity, namely: Elizabeth, who married George Shull, and died in November, 1886, at the age of forty-five; Nancy, wife of James Shull; Catherine, wife of Jacob Blickenstaff; John, a preacher in the German Baptist Brethren Church; Samuel, who is a farmer; and Ezra, who lives with his parents, the sons all being residents of Virden Township.
Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker are most estimable people, kindly, hospitable and charitable, and they are among the most devoted members of the German Baptist Brethren Church, in which faith they have reared their family.