A prosperous and influential farmer of Benton township, Atchison county, Jacob Royer is what may be truly called a self-made man. In his youth he struggled against marked disadvantages, yet with a brave heart, and eventually won the goal which he desired, and his example should prove an incentive to every young man who knows his history.
He is a native of Bellefonte, Center county, Pennsylvania, his birth having taken place November 13. 1839. He is of sturdy German ancestry, his paternal grandfather, Grantel Royer, having come to America from Germany prior to the war of the Revolution in this country. He was accompanied by two brothers and all three located in Pennsylvania. One of the number served in the war for independence and gave his life for the land of his adoption. Grantel Royer lived for many decades in the Keystone state and attained the advanced age of ninety-seven years his death occurring in Center county. His son Jonathan, father of Jacob Royer, was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, in 1803, and upon reaching maturity married Miss Annie Schaffer. She was a daughter of William Schaffer and. was born in Center county. Eight children were born to Jonathan and Annie Royer and of these the two eldest, Samuel and Margaret, are deceased; Susan, John and Mary are residents of the Keystone state, and Daniel makes his home in Valley Falls, Kansas. Both he and his younger brother, George, were soldiers in the civil war and fought bravely for the Union cause. George, who was the youngest of the family, served in the gallant Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, which endured some of the hardest campaigning of any of the troops representing that state, and at last the brave soldier boy's life was sacrificed for his country. The devoted mother did not long survive the death of her youngest born, but passed into the silent land in 1866, when in her sixty-fourth year. The father had died many years previously, in 1848, when in the prime of his manhood -- forty-four years of age.
Owing to the fact of his father's death when Jacob Royer was only nine years old, the lad was early forced to accept a home among strangers and to do such work as his strength permitted. As might be expeded, his life wasnot an easy or pleasant one in many respects and his educational privileges were extremely limited. Nevertheless, he was of the metal which cannot be crushed and, after he had thoroughly mastered the blacksmith's trade, he felt assured of a livelihood.
An important step in the life of Mr. Royer was his marriage, on Christmas day, 1860, to Mary, daughter of Peter McLean. She was born in Clarion county, Pennsylvania, and had two brothers and two step-brothers who were Union soldiers in the war of the Rebellion. Of the three children who blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Royer, Annie died when about fifteen years of age, while Emma is the wife of Walter Huisley, of Benton township, and S. B., the only son, is at home.
After the death of his mother, in 1866, Mr. Royer concluded to try his fortune in the west and accordingly came to Kansas. Purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of land, situated three miles northeast of Effingham, he proceeded to cultivate the property and soon had it under good cultivation. As the farm appears to-day, after more than three decades of judicious improvement, it is one of the most attractive places in the county. A comfortable house and barns and a beautiful grove, surrounded by smiling fields of golden grain, comprise a scene which, for quiet loveliness is not often surpassed.
In his political faith Mr. Royer is a Democrat and fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. Both he and his estimable wife are Methodists in religious belief and their membership is held in the Effingham church.