Jacob Krohn, Freeport, is the president of the Second National bank of that city, and his careful and conservative management has made it one of the solid institutions of the North-west, for its name and reputation extend far beyond the limits of city or county.
Mr. Krohn was born in Pyritz, Pomerania, Prussia, February 22, 1832, exactly one hundred years after the birth of Washington, and received his early education in the schools of his native city. When he was twenty years old he left his Prussian home to found another under more kindly auspices on the soil of the New World. He embarked on the sailing vessel ” Gutenberg,” leaving Hamburg in October, 1852, and after a long and perilous voyage of some four months landed at New York early in the following year. The vessel was much tossed about by rough and stormy winds, and came into the harbor bereft of the greater portion if not all of its sails. He was glad enough to press his foot once more upon the solid earth. He had learned the trade of making cigars, and found employment in that occupation in the cities of New York and Saugerties for some two years. He came to Chicago in 1855, and very shortly after to Freeport. This city pleased him, and he determined that his home should be here. He rented a shop and began to manufacture and sell cigars. He made good goods, was accommodating and friendly, and his trade increased so rapidly that in 1858 he was forced to seek larger quarters. In 1861 he built a large store on Stephenson street where he continued in business -until 1886. In 1871 he had become a stockholder in the Second National bank, and the following year was made one of its directors. He took so’ readily to the banking business and displayed such an insight into its more complicated processes that in 1877 he was appointed acting cashier, and in 1884 was elected president.
Under the strain of his many responsibilities and the burden of double work, principally in the management of the affairs of the bank, the health of Mr. Krohn became much impaired, and, acting upon competent medical counsel, he made a visit to Europe that covered two months, and renewed the intimacies of his early life. Doubtless he reflected upon the rapid progress that had been made in the improvement of ocean travel. His parents, Isaac and Catherine (Dobrien) Krohn, spent their entire lives in Germany, and died at the ages of seventy and eighty, respectively. In Berlin two brothers are living. Joseph, a retired merchant, may be justly entered upon the pages of this biographical history as one of the representative characters of his native county, a leading farmer and a public official of unblemished reputation.
Mr. Krohn has been twice married. His first wife was Dora Fleischman, a daughter of Benjamin and Golda Fleischman. She was the mother of eight children, and died in 1893 leaving memories of a beautiful character far above the average. Seven of these children are now living. Bertha married H. J. Streng, and lives in Richmond, Kentucky. Moses J. lives in Freeport, and Lena, who married Moritz Stein, has her home in Chicago. Emma is Mrs. M. Herbst, of Fargo, North Dakota, and Rosa, Mrs. Julius Cole, of Chicago, where also her sister Carrie, who married I. G. Levy, lives. Edna is at home, and finished her course in the Freeport High School in 1898. For his second wife Mr. Krohn married Mrs. Carrie Feitler, of Cincinnati.
He is a democrat, and has been honored by his party with the nomination for many important local and county offices. He was alderman five years, supervisor one year and mayor four years. For many years he has occupied the presidency of the board of education, and has taken a most enlightened interest in all matters relating to the great work of popular instruction. He is a Mason of high degree and long association with the mystic order. He belongs to all the Freeport Masonic bodies, such as the Lodge, Chapter, Commandery and Consistory, and has filled all the official chairs. At different times he has served as deputy Grand Master in five districts. The same thing may be said of his career in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He belongs to all the bodies and has occupied all the chairs, and he. is a member of the Grand Lodge, in which he is serving as chairman of the finance committee, a position he has held for many years.