JACOB G. VOGELGESANG. From the few facts that have been gathered together concerning Jacob Vogelgesang, of Russell, it is possible to understand that he is a man of wide and eventful experience, and has been through many of those contests which bring out the beat qualities of a man's nature. He had to become self supporting when most boys are in school. He learned his lessons from the exigencies of experience, and has been constantly trying to improve his own opportunities and at the same time render service to the world. He is a well known lawyer of Russell, and has filled many places of honor and trust in that locality.
Mr. Vogelgesang was born at Canton, Stark County, Ohio, on a farm, April 3, 1853. His father, Jacob Vogelgesang, was born in Alsace, France, and a year after his birth his parents came to the United States and settled in Stark County, Ohio, where he grew up. He married Catherine Stenger, who was born in Louden, Maryland, in 1828, and died at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1860. She was the mother of the following children: Louisa, who married Mr. Auer, a capitalist, and both died in Los Angeles, California; Jacob G.; a daughter that died at Peoria, Illinois; and Emma, who is married and living in Portland, Maine.
Jacob G. Vogelgesang lived in Keokuk, Iowa, until the death of his mother, after which he was reared by relatives in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and at Canton, Ohio. All his formal instruction in schools was obtained before he was eleven years of age. At that time he returned to Keokuk, Iowa, and for the next four years was employed as bell boy in the Tepfer Hotel. This Keokuk hostelry was subsequently known as the Patterson Hotel and still later as the Hotel de Keokuk. It was a noted place of entertainment in early days. For two years after his bell boy experience Mr. Vogelgesang was a general news agent on the T. P. & W. Railway. Having in the meantime made the best of his opportunities to secure an education, he became a teacher and for nine years taught in Marshall and Taswell counties, Illinois. In the intervals of this work he had other employment for six years as operator of the Lakeside and Wesley City coal mines near Peoria. Even with these responsibilities he was looking to the future and was utilizing all his spare time in the reading of law.
Mr. Vogelgesang came out to Russell, Kansas, in 1884 and homesteaded a claim of 160 acres. He taught school while proving that up and lived on it three years and then sold it. In the meantime he had continued his studies in the law office of H. C. Hibbard at Russell, and was admitted to the bar as a well qualified attorney in 1887.
The year he was admitted to the bar, Governor John A. Martin appointed him probate judge of Russell County, and by successive re-elections he served four consecutive terms, altogether ten years. In the fall of 1896 Judge Vogelgesang was elected representative to the Lower House from Russell County, and was in the legislative session of 1897-98.
One special distinction of his legislative record should be mentioned. He introduced the first bill to authorize county commissioners to build courthouses without a bond issue or special vote of the citizens. While a general law, this bill in fact met a peculiar situation in Russell County. The voters had long refused authority to the commissioners for the construction of a courthouse, but after the passage of the law the commissioners were able to make that much needed improvement on their own authority.
In 1898 Mr. Vogelgesang resumed the practice of law at Russell. In the summer of 1889 he removed to Barton County, Missouri, where he owned a farm, and during 1899-1900 also kept books for the No. 9 works of the Western Coal Mining Company in that vicinity. He was on his farm there four years and still owns some of that property. Since 1904 he has steadily practiced law at Russell and is one of the older attorneys of the local bar. His offices are in the Hill Building on Main Street. Mr. Vogelgesang is a republican and is affiliated with Russell Lodge and Russell Chapter of the Masonic Order.
April 16, 1876, in Taswell County, Illinois, he married Miss Nancy Caldwell Lewis. Her father, Thomas Lewis, was a volunteer in the Blackhawk Indian war. Mr. and Mrs. Vogelgesang have four children: William G., who runs the farmers store and elevator at Page in Logan County, Kansas; Walter L., a barber, has a place of business at Natoma, in Osborne County, Kansas; Edith is a graduate of the Russell High School and of the University of Chicago, and is now a teacher in the public schools of Cheyenne, Wyoming; Luther, also a barber, is located at Spearville, in Ford County, Kansas.
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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