JACOB CONRAD HALM.
In all parts of the United States, whether in rural hamlet or crowded city, there may be found those who trace
their descent from the studious and philosophic German race. In every walk of life their ability and energy have
gained for them a foremost rank, and they constitute an important factor in the development and maintenance of
American institutions. The superior advantages of this section have naturally attracted a large number of this
enterprising class of citizens. and the following sketch supplies a typical instance of a family which has for
many years occupied a leading place in the business and social activities of the thriving city of Bryan.
The ancestors of our subject had their home for many generations in the south of Germany, in or near the village
of Baltmannsweiler. Schorndorf, Kingdom of Wurtemherg. His grandfather, Jacob Halm, who was a wealthy land owner
and agriculturist of that vicinity, throughout his life held a prominent place as a citizen by reason of his high
character. Like all the members of the family, Jacob Halm was a devout believer in the doctrines of the Luthcan
Church, in which he was an active worker, and he died in that faith at the advanced age of eighty years. He and
his wife reared a family of children, among whom was a son, Jacob (2), our subject's father.
Jacob Halm (2) was born in 1834, at Baltmannsweiler, and in his youth received an excellent education in the schools
of that locality. Thus equipped for the battle of life, he determined in early manhood to seek in America a better
opportunity for advancement than his native land promised him, and in 1854 he crossed the Atlantic. On reaching
New York City he found employment in a large wholesale wine and liquor establishment, where he remained about four
years. In 1858 he came to Ohio on a prospecting tour, but being dissatisfied with the outlook, he returned to New
York. In 1863 he again came west, the rapid development of this section having dispelled all doubts as to the future
value of investments here, and soon after his arrival he located at Bryan, purchasing three or four lots on the
north side of the public square, including the present site of the First National Bank. He at once opened a grocery
and saloon there, but after carrying on the business for a year he sold the property and removed to a farm in Defiance
county, five miles south of Bryan. In 1865 he sold out and returned to Bryan, having purchased from Henry Arnold
the old brewery there. It was then a common frame structure, limited in its capacity and crude in its fittings,
and with characteristic foresight and energy he added various modern improvements.
In 1873 he removed the old buildings entirely, and erected a modern brick structure, ninety feet square and four
stories in height, with basement, and equipped it with the most approved appliances. His special aim was to secure
a good quality of beer, absolutely free from adulteration, pure malt and hops being used instead of the cheaper
substitutes which are sometimes employed by other manufacturers. The water for the plant was obtained from an artesian
well, thus insuring perfect purity, and even this was carefully sterilized before being used. It is not strange
that with such methods he soon established a reputation for making a first class product, and the demand rapidly
increased until he had an extensive and profitable business. At the time of his death, which occurred March 7,
1883. he was worth more than seventy five thousand dollars, and was regarded as one of the substantial business
men of the locality.
He was a generous man, liberal in thought and in his dealings with others, and as a citizen he was public spirited
and progressive. In politics he was a Democrat, and during two terms he served acceptably as a member of the city
council. For many years he was a leading member of the German Lutheran Church, and socially he was identified with
the I. O. O. F. and the Masonic fraternity. His death was a sad blow to the community in which he had so long resided,
especially as it came without warning. While overseeing some work in the brewery his sleeve was caught by a set
screw on a rapidly revolving shaft, and he was instantly killed. His wife, Caroline Kiesel, to whom he was married
in New York City October 20, 1858, survived him several years, dying June 15, 1895, and their remains now rest
side by side in the Fountain City cemetery, at Bryan. Their acquaintance had begun in childhood, at Baltmannsweiler,
Germany, where Mrs. Halm was born May 26, 1834, and as she came to America in 1853 they had known but little separation
throughout their lives until death came between them. Of their five children - the eldest, Caroline, died at the
age of twenty, Unmarried; Rosa married A. G. Helwig, a stenographer, residing at Kendallsville, Indiana; Jacob
C., our subject, is mentioned more fully below; Julia married F. H. Kreagloh, now the secretary of the Halm Brewing
Company at Bryan; and William died (unmarried) in 1892, aged twenty three years.
Our subject was born July 15, 1864, at the farm then owned by his father in Defiance county, and his education
was secured in the schools of Bryan. During his boyhood he began to take an interest in the management of the brewery,
and in time he became thoroughly acquainted with all the details of the work. At the time of his father's death,
although only eighteen years old, he took entire charge of the business, and he has ever since conducted it successfully.
Under his able and progressive management the plant has been improved, any new device being added which will increase
the efficiency of the works and the value of the product. The plant has a daily capacity of sixty barrels, about
double the daily product at the time he took charge, and nine men are kept constantly employed. As may be supposed,
he has taken no backward steps, and, following the example set by his father, he permits no adulterants to be used
in the goods bearing the name of his company. Under his able and progressive management the reputation of the product
has been greatly extended, and it commands, as it should, the highest market price.
Mr. Halm resembles his father in many respects, and especially in his courteous manner and generous and hospitable
disposition. He enjoys wide popularity and socially is identified with various orders, including the F. and A.
M. and I. O. O. F. In religious faith he is a Lutheran; politically he affiliates with the Democratic party. His
enterprise is displayed in local affairs as well as in his private business, as he is always ready to assist in
any movement which promises to benefit his community, and he has served two terms as treasurer of Pulaski township,
On December 15, 1887, he married Miss Millie M. Rankert, a daughter of Michael Rankert, now an honored resident
of Bryan. This venerable gentleman was born in 1816 in Alsace (now a province of Germany), and for seven years
was a soldier in the French cavalry, serving in the African campaigns, and the reminiscences of his long life are
full of interest. Mr. and Mrs. Halm have had three children, viz.: Lorene, born January 6, 1890, and died when
only eight months old; Jacob Charles, born April 5, 1891, and Arthur William, born September 30, 1893.
Commemorative Biographical Record of Northwestern, Ohio
Including the counties of
Defiance, Henry, Williams and Fulton
Published by: J. H. Beers and Company
Northwestern, Ohio Biographies
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