HISTORY OF JACOB SHOPBELL
IN BERKS COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
AND HIS MOVE TO OHIO
WRITTEN BY KATE SHOPBELL SHIDLER IN 1880
Jacob was born in Windsor Castle, Berks County PA . Sept. 29, 1788 , his parents were Daniel & Philippine Schneider Shopbell. They were active in farming, and when the war of 1812 began, Jacob belonged to the Militia. The whole regiment had to go to the Army. He was then about 24 years old, and had a wife and one child. He left them in care of her father, Mr. Moherman, and started off with a sorrowful heart, not knowing if he would ever meet them again on earth.
Father could relate many incidents of army life, one of which we call to mind.As they were encamped along the St. Lawrence river, there was a great deal of robbing and plundering done in that neighborhood. They could not find out who did the mischief, so one day three of the company started out on the hunt for the robbers. In the afternoon they came to a cabin in the woods. They went in and found some coals of fire covered up with ashes. They concluded to stay and see if this was not the place of the robbers. Some boards were laid overhead in the cabin, they thought they would creep up there and stay till night. They had not long to wait, when eleven Indians came in and stacked their arms in the corner and threw down their knapsacks and began to scratch up the coals and build up a big fire. The three soldiers were afraid to move or breath for fear of being detected. While the Indians were all enjoying a hearty chat around the fire which was burning brightly, one of the soldiers thought that he would creep forward and see, but the board tipped up and sent him sprawling down into the fire, he yelled with all his might, and his overcoat made such a spread that it scared the Indians so that they all ran out of the cabin and fled. They might have thought the bad spirit had come for them. The other two soldiers got down from their hiding place and captured their arms, ammunition and knapsacks and ran for camp. When they got there they found $ 300.00 in the knapsacks. The boys had many a hearty laugh over their narrow escape.
After the war was over, father came back to Berks Co, PA. and lived with his wife, Catherine Moherman, whom he had married in 1811. To them were born six children, Phoebe,Magdalena, Susan, Andrew,Mary, and Daniel. In the year 1822 he was called to give up his loving companion by death and was made a widower at age of 34. In the year 1824 he was again married, this time to Lydia Ann Zigler. To them were born eleven children,John, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Samuel, He then, with his family moved to Ohio in 1832.
The balance of the children were born in this then Richland County ( now Ashland County ) Katie, Barbara, Agnes, David, Rachel, Leah, and Lydia Ann.
In 1850 his last wife died. Her children are all living but one, that is Sarah Ricket. She died at Polk, Ohio. All are all living in Ashland County but three, Magdalena Desenburg,in Allen county Ohio, Barbara Robertson, in Fostoria, Mich. and Rachel Kart, in Iona, Mich.
Father had 93 grand children, 165 great grand children and 32 gg grand children. He died Mar.6,1884 aged 96 years 5 months and 7 days.his descendents are over 300.
It is now 61 years since our parents moved here from Pennsylvania and bought a farm four & one half miles north of Ashland, Close to Leidigh's mill in Orange Township then Richland county. Time has made a great change since then. It almost appears as if we were living in another world.How few are left to tell the old story of pioneer life.This country then was quite new, most of it in woods, and log cabins could be seen here and there. Can you imagine today how it looked then, I think we can hardly realize it since the old cabins have nearly all disappeared and many beautiful mansions are standing in their places. Frame barns are now taking the places of the old log stables, beautiful fields with hardly a stump in them, and the golden wheat almost ready to harvest is waving over them, where then all was woods and underbrush.
When we look back we can almost imagine we can see father with his four horse team drive up to that log cabin that stood over where the old orchard now is, and that big English wagon bed that held I suppose a hundred bushels. It must have been chuck full up to the wagon cover. They made the long journey in 17 days. Three families moved out together. Grandfather Zigler's family located on the same farm we did. And Adam Wect and his family located a few miles north of us.There were thirty persons in three families, enough to form a colony.
There were young men and ladies, boys and girls, children and babies and enough old people to make every thing pleasant. A good many of the young folks had to walk a greater part of the way,which they enjoyed very much. There were two log cabins on our place.Grandfather Zigler and his family drove their team up the hill to the cabin that stood where the orchard now is. There were eleven persons in each family, making in all 22 persons on the farm of 160 acres. Where they all slept and got enough to eat that first year has always been a query to me.
The first work father and the boys did in Ohio was to clear a spot to build a new house. It did not take them long till they had logs enough cut to build a log house. They only made one room down stairs and none up.. There we lived seven years in the one room. Then we built an addition to that house,two more rooms and a cellar.The old eight day clock that they brought along in that big wagon was too tall for the house by 4 inches. They sawed a piece out of the floor and let it down. Oh how the old pendulum did swing to and fro, telling us how the hours and days passed away. As long as father lived in that house the old clock still went tick tock. The old house is still standing, ragged and gray, the weathered old boards are falling off and the logs are peaking through.Oh how many happy days we spent there together in that old house until 43 years ago, when our happiness was blighted by the death of mother. She was suddenly taken from us, and a hard stroke had fallen on poor father and us children. Her loving advice we no more could hear, but her influence was left, and her handiwork was wherever we could look. Her last and dying words were to father. Knowing that she was about to leave her girls motherless, she said, now I must leave you with a family of little children, take good care of them. We never could forget the sadness we felt at the sound of the clods that fell upon mother's coffin to bury her away from our sight. Father took good care of all of us. His children performed his duty well and we have great reason to be thankful. Mother was the first to die in Ohio and the only one that died in that house. She lived 18 years in that house and was 45 years old when she died.
Father stayed on the farm till all the children were married. The girls kept house for him 18 years. Father could turn his hand to almost any work, he was a weaver by trade, also a shoemaker, and he always did all our own blacksmithing. In 1872 he sold his farm and moved to his son in-law's George Shidler, where he lived a retired life for over ten years.
Father and Mother both belonged to the Lutheran church from their youth up.Living a religious life till death removed them from this stage of action. Soon it will be said of us that we are no more. Others may write out our history, and may our life be such as will be commendable to others to follow in the good work of our Lord.