As published in
"The City of Kenosha and Kenosha County Wisconsin: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement"
by Frank H. Lyman Vol. 2, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1916.
In taking up the personal history of Jacob Saftig we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known in Kenosha, for through more than a quarter of a century he figured prominently in the commercial circles of the city and for three years has been active in public office, being now Poor Commissioner for the city of Kenosha. He was born in Germany, May 8, 1866, a son of John and Katherine Saftig, who were also natives of that country and have now passed away.
Having spent his youthful days in Germany to the age of seventeen years, Jacob Saftig crossed the Atlantic in 1883 and made his way to Kenosha. He afterward became a resident of Milwaukee, where he spent two and one half years, and then returned to this city, where he opened a butcher shop in 1887. For twenty-six years he conducted the business, during which time he was accorded a liberal and well deserved patronage. He always tried to please his customers, recognizing that satisfied patrons are the best advertisement. He was prompt in the delivery of purchases, was honorable in his dealings, and sold his products at reasonable prices. Thus for many years enjoyed a gratifying trade, but in 1913 he disposed of his store and retired from active commercial life.
Jacob Saftig has filled various public offices, in each of which he has made an excellent record. He was for two years a member of the county board of supervisors, was for two terms he served as Alderman of the eighth ward, exercising his official prerogatives in support of many plans and measures for the general good. He was for eight years a member of the school board and proved himself a stalwart champion of the cause of education. In fact he is loyal to every public duty and trust that is reposed in him and he has made a commendable record in office.
In 1913 Mr. Saftig was appointed to the office of city poor master, which position he has since occupied, and during the intervening period has introduced various improvements in the care of the poor. He buys groceries and meats at wholesale prices, making a weekly distribution of supplies, of which he keeps an ample amount at the city hall all of the time in order to quickly meet any need. In fact he has a complete store of necessities there. He does all of the buying and manages to get everything at an excellent rate. He investigates all applications for assistance, so that he knows that the aid which is given out is really needed. The department took care of one hundred and seventy-nine families at one time in the winter of 1914-15, including those who were asking for temporary relief. That the strain has not been so great during the winter just passed is indicated by the fact that at no one time was he caring for more than forty-six families. Another feature which should commend his work to all is that he sees that the poor secure employment and that they work when work can be obtained, for ofttimes need is the result of indolence and vagrancy. In his present position Mr. Saftig also has charge of the poor farm, a forty-acre tract of land on which is a modern building furnishing accommodations for twenty people; this is one of the best poor farms of the state.
On the 3d of June 1891, Mr. Saftig was married to Miss Katherine Schend, her father being Christian Schend, a prominent citizen of Kenosha who is now living retired. To them have been born six children, namely Eugene; Gretchen; Paul; Genevieve; Victor; and Lorraine.
Mr. Saftig and his family are members of St. George's Catholic Church, in the work of which they are actively and helpfully interested, Mr. Saftig serving as the church Treasurer. He also belongs to the Knights of St. George, the Catholic Knights, the Knights of Columbus, and is a member of the German Workingmen's Society, of which he is the Treasurer. He became well known in business connections and has broadened his acquaintance through his activity in political circles. His fellow townsmen recognize in him the possession of many sterling traits of character which have gained for him the warm and enduring regard of many.
Typed by: Michelle Laycock