ROY G. JACOBS, of Plains, represents the power of advertising, of personal influence and business energy in populating a new country with substantial families who will carry forward its development to the highest possible degree. Mr. Jacobs is primarily a salesman and as such it has been his task for many years to get the right people in touch with the commodities best adapted to their needs and purposes. This is the policy he has pursued as a real estate man and individually and as member of a firm he has carried the qualities and the possibilities of Southwestern Kansas soil and climate to a wider public which has heretofore been unaware of better opportunities outside their immediate locality.
Mr. Jacobs was born at Mason City, Iowa, January 12, 1877, and his environment as a boy was in the country. Later he lived in Mason City, and acquired a thorough knowledge of salesmanship as salesman of buggies for McMorrow & Hollihan. This was his preparation for a career as a commercial traveler.
He finally went on the force of traveling salesmen of the famous J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, with headquarters at Kansas City, and his territory embraced Southwestern Kansas. It was as a salesman of Case machinery that he first traveled over this part of Southwestern Kansas, came to recognize its agricultural promise, and finally, in the fall of 1909, chose it as his permanent home. He made his first trip into Meade County as a salesman in 1902. He continued with the Case company both as salesman and collector until 1909.
On locating at Plains Mr. Jacobs bought an interest in the real estate business from John W. Baughman. He joined two other competent men, W. W. Coons and Robert E. Fife, and the firm was Coons, Jacobs & Fife until Mr. Fife retired a year later, since which time it has been Coons & Jacobs.
Mr. Jacobs was in the real estate business on the commission and brokerage basis entirely for a time, but the firm while continuing that line has more and more entered the land investment field, and has built up a reputation as one of the soundest and most successful real estate houses of the Southwest. Its field of operations has been especially cultivated in the region west of Plains. This firm has sold and resold and has been the means of settling many real farmers upon the lands there. When Mr. Jacobs came here all this region was practically a virgin prairie, and had experienced little change from the time of the buffalo. Some years ago, his firm sold a number of tracts of land at from three to ten dollars an acre. These values are constantly rising and have gone as high as fifty and sixty dollars an acre.
Aside from selling lands and locating actual settlers Mr. Jacobs has done much to develop the land for himself and thus has a convincing experience of his own. He has demonstrated to his complete satisfaction that wheat can be grown here at a profit. From a field of his own he harvested one season thirty-five bushels to the acre. His operations have extended to the Dakotas as a wheat proposition, and it is his opinion based on experience that the southwestern Kansas region as an investment is preferable to the Dakota lands.
The firm of Coons & Jacobs have established a branch of their business at Satanta, Kansas. Mr. Jacobs personally supervised the location of a noted Mennonite colony north of that place, and that achievement, with its results, has brought a great deal of reputation to the firm both in Southwestern Kansas and elsewhere.
When Mr. Jacobs came to Plains it was a village of three stores, two elevators and perhaps 250 population. He has since been closely identified with all matters of improvement and development. For the past four years he has been a member of the town council, is president of that body, and among the achievements to be credited to the council during this term are the installation of water and light plants, the construction of many miles of sidewalks and the grading of streets. He is an apostle and advocate of good road building, is present at every community meeting where good roads are discussed and never lets slip an opportunity to convince others of the economic need of better highways. When some public enterprise needs a campaign to insure its success Mr. Jacobs is always one of the dependable leaders. Since America entered the war with Germany he has taken an active part in raising funds to meet the local demands upon the community and county for Red Cross and Young Men's Christian Association causes.
Mr. Jacobs is one of the outright and sterling republicans of this county. He cast his first vote for president when he supported McKinley in 1906. Whatever may have at times seemed wrong economically or financially in the country it has not been his habit to charge it up to politics, and he has kept straight in the path of party affiliations through all the years.
Mr. Jacobs has an interesting family history. His father, Elijah W. Jacobs, was born near Columbus, Ohio, in 1845 and grew to manhood there as a farmer. Later he was salesman for a lime manufacturing company in Ohio, and finally moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he organized a company and established the first lime kiln. He was interested in that business for some years but finally retired and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1913 he started on a journey from his home in Minneapolis to visit a daughter in Watonga, Oklahoma. Under some circumstances which have never been accounted for he fell from a Santa Fe train and died from the effects of injuries in the Wichita Hospital. He was always a strong republican and a member of the Congregational Church. He married at Mason city, Iowa, Miss Maria L. Bradley, who was born in New York City. Her father came from England and finally settled in Mason City, Iowa, where he died. He was of the old school of butchers when it required seven years to complete the trade and when "a penny a day" was the stipend paid an apprentice. Mrs. Elijah Jacobs died October 19, 1908. She was the mother of the following children. Roy G., of Plains; Mabel Clair, who married B. Brown and died at Mason City, Guy G., of Minneapolis; Gertrude E., wife of G. E. Fox, of Minneapolis; Nona, wife of Charles Board of Minneapolis; Lulu, wife of E. E. Armitage, of Wichita, Kansas.
On February 11, 1903, R. G. Jacobs married at Mason City, lowa, Miss Flora Delight Huntley. She was born at Mason City. Her grandfather came to the United States from Scotland and was a direct descendant of the Earl of Huntley. His wife was a Scott of the Sir Walter Scott family. The Huntley family produced one of America's prima donnas in the person of Madame Maria Calista Picciola, famed as a soprano in grand opera houses of Europe and South America. The mother of this noted singer taught Mrs. Jacobs how to sew. Mrs. Jacobs' father was Professor Lucius Lorenzo Huntley, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, highly educated in the East and a musician and composer of brilliant natural talents. He began his public career when only five years of age, traveling with a troupe and playing a clarinet. He was master of all musical instruments, was a fine tenor singer, and for many years was in great demand as a pipe organist. Not all his time was given to music, however. He was a successful business man and at one time was appointed and served as assessor of internal revenue for the district of Iowa. He was a republican in politics. Professor Huntley married Mrs. Lucy Ellen (Randall) Huntley, widow of Adjutant Charles Huntley, a distant relative of Professor Huntley. Her father, Elisha Randall, went to Mason City, Iowa, from New York, was one of the organizers of the Iowa Central Railway and served some time on the Iowa bench.
Before the dedication of the present, or new church, one of the Mason City papers asked Elisha Randall to prepare a historical sketch of the First Methodist Episcopal Church. No person then living was so well equipped as he for that task. In the Cerro Gordo County Republican of March 14, 1895, following the sketch prepared by Judge Randall, is an interesting account of his own life, without which no history of the early years of this church would be complete. It follows in full:
"Judge Elisha Randall was the pioneer Methodist of Mason City. While yet in his New York home, in 1846, he had a local preacher's license from his church, and in the early days of the society at Mason City he often preached to the people. He was thus the first licensed preacher at this point. He has had the honor of being the president of the board of trustees at three church dedications. Two are mentioned in his sketch and the third came on last Sunday. Judge Randall was born at Brookfield, N. Y., September 22, 1818. In June, 1855, he took up his permanent residence in Mason City."
Mrs. Huntley is still living in Mason City, where her husband died in 1908, at the age of seventy-two. Mrs. Jacobs inherited many of the gifts of her father, and before her marriage was often in public as a singer and pianist. Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs have two children, Vernon Huntley and Leland Leroy.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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