JACOB P. GERLACH. The city of Evansville, Illinois, recognizes in Jacob P. Gerlach one of her most worthy citizens, one who has the welfare of the community at heart, always willing to serve when required and who will spare neither time nor labor in any cause or movement brought for the betterment of the city and county with which he has been identified for so many years. As postmaster of Evansville for a number of years, and as the editor and publisher of The Evansville Enterprise for a longer period, he has been active and influential in all affairs pertaining to the advancement and general good of the city, and in addition to holding many minor offices in connection with civic affairs, has served his city two terms in the capacity of mayor.
Born in Monroe county, Illinois, January 28, 1867, Jacob P. Gerlach is the son of Christian Gerlach, a German farmer. Christian Gerlach early in life married Barbara Baum, and they were the parents of Christian, of Los Angeles, Jacob P. and John H., of Evansville. Mr. Gerlach died in the `sixties, at their home near Renault, Monroe county, Illinois. In later years Mrs. Gerlach terminated her widowhood by marrying Casper Nurnberger, by whom she became the mother of Louis, who died in youth; Mrs. L. J. Stahlman, of Baldwin, Illinois; Mrs. C. Studle, of Evansville; George, of Welga, Randolph county, Illinois; Mrs. Louis Nehert, of Nashville, Kansas; Rose, of Evansville, and Fred, also a resident of Nashville, Kansas. Mrs. Nurnberger died in 1888.
The early life of Jacob Gerlach was beset by many of the difficulties brought to bear by the death of a parent in childhood, and he attained his education at the cost of a rather severe struggle on his part. Determined, however, to accomplish more than the ordinary education of the average country boy, he persevered in his studies, and in his irregular attendance at the Carbondale Normal acquired a liberal knowledge of the common branches. He was unable to continue in school for any length of time at a stretch, but by teaching in the district schools from time to time it became possible for him to attend the Southern Illinois Normal University, after which he engaged in teaching regularly. Had it not been for the vacancy in the ownership and editorship of the Evansville Enterprise, it is probable that Mr. Gerlach would have continued indefinitely with his pedagogic work, but in the circumstances there seemed no one but he to assume those responsibilities, and he undertook the editorship of the En terp rise, which later placed him in the way of the ownership of a business which has served him well in the years of his control, In the fall of 1895, while he was engaged in teaching the Pautler school near Evansville, he performed the work of teacher and editor both, and shortly thereafter he assumed complete charge of the Enterprise, which has been his principal business occupation since that time. The Enterprise is a Republican paper, although established as a Democratic paper by its founder, J. M. Shaw, in February, 1895, but the paper met with repeated difficulties and the proprietorship was changed of necessity. Since it fell into the hands of Mr. Gerlach the Enterprise has been conducted rather as a mere medium for the conveying of local and other news rather than as a mouthpiece for any particular brand of politics. While its editor is a Republican, the patrons and friends of the paper are of various shades of political belief, and its cditonal column is never known to reflect arbitrary sentiment. It rather partakes of the characteristics of any well regulated country newspaper, non-partisan in sympathies and calculated to be well received in the home. As such it is an unqualified success.
The civic life of Mr. Gerlach, as briefly noted above, has been something above that of the ordinary citizen. On January 11, 1898, he was appointed postmaster to succeed H. G. Meyerott, and since that time has
been reappointed to the office twice. He has served his town as its treasurer for eight years, and three years in the capacity of clerk. Later he was chosen mayor of Evansville, serving with praise worthy wisdom, following which he was elected one of the trustees of the town, and then chosen mayor again in April, 1911. All of which is clearly indicative of his standing and ability. Politically Mr. Gerlach is of the Republican faith, as before mentioned, and he is recognized as one of the leaders af. the party in his section by reason of his labors in its behalf and his services as its delegate to various conventions: In his fraternal affiliations he has served the Odd Fellows lodge of Evansville for several years as its secretary, and he has been clerk of the Modern Woodmen since the organization of the local camp, No. 4510, in 1897. In addition to his other business interests he is secretary of the Evansville Building and Loan Association, a stockholder in the Evansville Telephone Company, and president of the Evansville school board.
On May 26, 1891, Mr. Gerlach was married to Miss Johanna Wicklein. She died February 21, 1892. Mr. Gerlach remarried September 15, 1896, when he took for his wife Miss Rachel Schroeder, a daughter of John Schroeder. The issue of their marriage are Arthur, Ella, Loretta, Harold and Raymond.