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Jacob Hildebrand

Among the well known and respected citizens of Strasburg is Jacob Hildebrand, who has won the esteem and respect of the community through a long life, during which he has faithfully served his bough in a number of public capacities. Jacob Hildebrand was born Nov. 16, 1822, of German and French ancestry, a son of Jacob and Mary ( Heiney ) Hildebrand, the former of whom passed a greater portion of his business life in Soudersburg and Paradise. In those days there were no free schools in the locality in which they lived, and as the parents were limited in means, young Jacob had few educational advantages, and was earlythrown upon his own resources. The first attempt of the lad to make an honest living for himself was in 1832, when he engaged to drive a butcher wagon and deliver meatto the workmen building the Pennsylvania Railroad, between Ronk's and Leaman Place. Between the ages of thirteen and twenty years, the youth worked for Benjamin Herr, a farmer who lived about one mile east of Stasburg, laboring for his board and cloths, and it was through the kindness of Mr. Herr that he derived the little education which became his, as well as gaining the habits of study and investigation which proved useful in all his subsequent career. While living here he was permitted to attend the district school for several sessions, about four days out of each week, his benefactor pasying the expense. At the ageof twenty, Jacob entered t he cabinet making shop of Joel Rice, of Strasbu rg, remained in his employ for two years, and at the expiration of this apprenticeship, he started into business for himself, making furniture and working in carpentry, until 1852.At this date he purchased from W. S. Warren a stock of mercandise and entered into this business, remaining in the mercantile line until 1855, when he sold his stock and again resumed his former trade, engaging extensively in building and contracting; in 1856 he was a member of the building committee in the erection of the town hall. In 1854, Jacob Hildebrand was elected by his fellow citizens as chief burgess of the borough of Strasburg, and for thirty years he held other borough offices, but retired to privite life at last, declining to serve longer. In 1860 he was elected justice of the peace and immediately began to fimiliarize himself with the higher duties of this office, applying himself assiduously to the studying of surveying conveyancing, the drafting of wills, and other legal papers upon which he would have to pass judgement and until 1898 he was continued in the office, so efficently serving that many of the difficulties of the neighborhood were amicably setted according to his judgement, without litagation. In the spring of 1898, he declined reelection, and his son, Ross, was elected in his place. During one year he also filled the office of a notary public. From 1863 to 1871 he owned and operated a job printing office in the borough, the purchased being made in order to to keep this industry in town, circumstances being such that otherwise it would have been removed, and thus he made a permanent business which long flourished. In 1871, Jacob Hildebrand was elected county surveyor, of Lancaster county, on the Republican ticket, and held the office for nearly four years; during that time he prepared with great labor and careful rsearch connected drafts of the land originally granted by patent deeds in the townships of Strasburg, Paradise, Bart, Eden, and the greater part of East and West Lampeter. Jacob Hildebrand was married Nov. 16, 1847, to Eliza Spiehlman, who died in 1865, leaving tewn children: Elizabeth and Mary, decased; William W., Millars F., Ella S., the widow of Samuel Dougherty; John R., O. J., the wife of D. M. Aument; Laura K., the wife of Charles Kemerly; Sallie B., widow of J. W. Goodman; and J. Ross. In November, 1896 he married Elizabeth Kendig, the widow of John Pennell. Two of his sons are engaged in the leaf tobacco business, under the name of Hildebrand Bros., of Strasburg. ' Squire Hildebrand, as he is fimiliarly known is recognized as one of the most useful citizens of Strasburg; from a small begining, with almost no educational advantages, but by patient industry and study, he has advanced to a position of honor and trust in the community, and has transacted a large amount of important business, acting veryfrequently as administrator, assignee and executor, in the settling of many estates. Fraternally Mr. Hildebrand is a member of Stasburg Lodge, No. 301, I.O.O.F., having been a member since 1849, has passed thourgh all of the offices of the subordinate lodge, has been secratary of his own lodge for forty years and has served as represenative to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvinia. Mr. Hildebrand is also a member of the Lancaster County Historical Society in which he is much valued, and is one of the offical members of the M.E. Church, having se rved in the capacity of truste since 1862. In his long business and public career, he has amassed a competency, but what is better, he has secured for himself a reputation as a high-minded, honorable man.


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