Since an early period of the development of Brown county Mr. Meisenheimer has been identified with its agricultural interests and is now one of the enterprising and successful farmers of Hiawatha township. Great changes have occurred during his residence here, for at the time of his arrival, the greater part of the land was still in its primitive condition and the sites of now thriving towns and villages were unmarked by a single residence. The work of progress and improvement has been energetically prosecuted by the worthy pioneers who thus laid the foundation of the present prosperity of the county.
Mr. Meisenheimer, as one of the early settlers, well deserves mention in this volume. He was born in Germany in January, 1827, his parents being Martin and Mary (Hewalt) Meisenheimer. In 1835 they left the Fatherland and crossed the Atlantic to the United States, landing in New York, whence they made their way to Richland county, Ohio, settling upon a farm near Mansfield. In 1842 the family moved to Andrew county, Missouri, where the father carried on farming and where the mother's death occurred.
Jacob Meisenheimer accompanied his parents on their voyage across the Atlantic and remained with them until 1850, when, attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he joined a party and crossed the plains to that coast. They had some thrilling experiences on the journey, but at length reached the Golden state in safety and Mr. Meisenheimer made his way to the mines, where he met with a fair degree of success, continuing his search for gold on the American river for six years. In 1856 he returned to Kansas and located in Brown county, pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land in Hiawatha township. He built thereon a log cabin and in the spring of 1857 he was united in marriage to Miss Susan Moser, a daughter of Peter Moser. They began their domestic life in the little log house, where they met with the usual experiences of those who settle on the frontier. Their nearest neighbors were long distances away, but there was a friendly spirit that existed in the pioneer settlements that is unknown to-day. The latch-string always hung out and sociability and helpfulness were most marked. Mr. Meisenheimer continued his labors and in the early days worked from dawn until dark, placing his land under cultivation. Success attended his efforts and as his financial resources increased he extended the boundaries of his farm by the additional purchase of land until he became the owner of eight hundred acres. He has made a specialty of raising corn and wheat and also raised cattle and hogs. His practical and progressive methods of farming resulted most satisfactorily and he thus acquired a handsome competence. As the years passed he made constant improvements upon his place, including the planting of an excellent orchard. In 1870 he erected a commodious brick residence and at other times built good barns, outbuildings, sheds and windmill -- in fact, added all the accessories and conveniences of the model farm.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Meisenheimer were born twelve children, six sons and six daughters, nine of whom reached the age of maturity, namely Sarah, the wife of Benjamin Diesbach; Martin, a farmer; Frank T., who resides in Brown county, this state; Jacob C., who is carrying on agricultural pursuits; Lizzie, the wife of John Babb; Mary, the wife of Joseph Goodrich; Ora, the wife of Herbert Jenkins, of Severance; Aaron, at home; and Rollyn. Mrs. Meisenheimer, who was a devoted member of the Evangelical church and a faithful and loving wife and mother, died on the 12th of November, 1898.
In politics Mr. Meisenheimer is a Republican and is a model citizen who supports all measures for the public good, but does not concern himself unnecessarily with public affairs. His ballot indicates his preference for certain men and measures, but he has never sought political preferment for himself, desiring rather to give his time and attention to business in which he has met with most creditable success. Great changes have come since the days when he lived in the little log cabin and was surrounded by pioneer people and customs. Among the sports enjoyed by the early settlers at that time was hunting, for deer and wolves were still seen along Wolf creek, and Mr. Meisenheimer kept five or six good hounds for the hunt. To-day he has valuable farming property, situated in one of the richest agricultural districts of the Union and his labors are crowned with the financial return which should ever attend earnest and continuous effort.