The well known farmer, Jacob Eyer, of German township, Richland county,
Illinois, is the son of one of this county's earliest settlers. He was born
on May 10, 1829, near Rhinebier, Germany, on a farm. At the age of six years
he was brought by his parents to the United States, crossing the broad
Atlantic is a sail-boat which served to carry both passengers and freight.
His father brought a large amount of property with him including a wagon
made in Germany. The voyage lasted six weeks and encountered the usual
experience of the travelers in early clays. They landed in New York harbor
in the spring of 1837, and came to Ohio, where, in Stark county, the Eyers
settled upon forty acres. Father Eyer built a log house, but sold the place
two years after, the family then starting in wagons overland for Illinois,
several other families accompanying them. They forded the Wabash river at
Palestine, and the Eyer family settled in what is now German township,
Richland county. Previously Jacob Eyer's father had entered Illinois and
entered the one hundred and twenty acres of timber land they settled on. In
those early days Richland county went by its old title of Lawrence county.
For the land the elder Eyer had paid the government price of one dollar and
twenty-five cents an acre and also one hundred dollars to a man named King,
who held a squatter's claim on the place. This sale was negotiated before
the family migration to Illinois took place. The family settled in German
township in the fall of 1839, two years before Richland county was laid out,
the members of the family moving into the lob cabin vacated by King and
started to improve the land. A large log house was built, the timber was
cleared, and the place was put into a good state of cultivation. Our
subject's father died in 1850, having passed the age of fifty years, his
mother surviving for many years, died in 1891, aged ninety-one. Both are
buried in the old Lutheran church cemetery in Olney township. The elder Eyer
reared eight children, of whom Jacob was the third in order of birth.
Jacob Eyer remained with his parents until his twenty-first year, when he hired out during the summer and in winter time made his home on the farm with his mother. On the 3d of April, 1855, he married Catherine Eyer, who was born in the same part of Germany as the subject, on the 26th of September, 1831, the daughter of Jacob and Margaret Eyer, both of whom lived and died in Germany. Catherine Eyer came to this country at the age of twenty-three and landed at New Orleans. She ascended the Mississippi river to Evansville, Indiana, going thence to Richland county, Illinois. About one year afterwards she married the subject of our sketch. She was the younger of two children born to her parents. After their marriage Jacob Eyer and his wife remained at the family home with the former's mother for six months. About this time he built a log house upon forty acres he had previously entered, paying the price of one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. They settled on the place and for seven years worked hard; then they became able to buy more land in the township and built the large frame house they now live in. Since that period much land has been acquired and Jacob Eyer now is the owner of two hundred and forty acres of fine farm land, all of which is in German township, well improved, all but ten acres of the farm being under a high state of cultivation.
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Eyer are the parents of nine children, of whom three died in childhood; the living members of their family are; John is single and remains at home with his parents. Phillip, who is also single, has interested himself in drilling wells and resides in the state of Washington. Joseph married Vatie Scherer, and resides in Dwight, Illinois, engaged in the hardware business. He has four children. Lizzie is the wife of John Metzger, a salesman for a Chicago wholesale drug house. They are the parents of two children and reside in Hewe, Illinois. Christian, Rena, George, Frederick and Daniel are deceased.
Jacob Eyer attended about three terms of subscription school. In his school days teachers were hired for terms of three months and were paid at the rate of eight dollars per month. He learned to read and write English, and also spell. The schools were of the usual primitive character of such institutions in the Middle West in those days. His education was limited as there was necessary work to be done on the family farmstead. He had two younger brothers, John and Phillip, who served through the Civil war. Both joined the Sixtieth Illinois Regiment under the command of Captain Coconaur. John came home from the conflict on sick furlough and died soon after. Phillip died in St. Louis, Missouri, and is buried there.
In politics Jacob Eyer is a Democrat, formerly taking quite an active interest in township and county affairs. He has served as school director for many years, and has been a Road Overseer. He helped the cause of education by generously giving the district the land, and by helping to build the brick school-house which now stands on his farm in German township. He worked for two years helping to survey and build the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, now the Baltimore & Ohio, which was finished in 1855. It went at that time as far west as St. Louis. Our subject and his wife and family are all members of the St. James Lutheran church in Claremont township. He was for many years an elder of the church. He is also known as one of the first organizers and a builder of the old log church erected in Olney township. He and his wife and family are very active in church circles.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 404-406.