Jacob E. Brewer. The author of the two cent railroad fare law in Kansas is Jacob E. Brewer of Abilene. Mr. Brewer proposed, introduced and successfully advocated that law during his membership in the State Senate from 1905 to 1909, representing the district of Clay and Dickinson counties.
Mr. Brewer is an old and well known merchant of Abilene. He had the chief department store there and is also a wholesale commission merchant. It is said that 200 carloads of eggs are gathered and shipped to market through his plant every year. Permanence and solidity is a part of Mr. Brewer’s personal and business character. His big store at Abilene occupies the same site where he first began selling goods thirty-five years ago.
Besides his store Mr. Brewer is a director of the Abilene National Bank, is a prominent Knight Templar Mason and Shriner, also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and had long taken an active part in republican politics in his section of the state. While in the State Senate he was chairman of the insurance committee, a member of the oil and gas committee, of the fees and salaries committee, and an active worker in behalf of all the advanced and progressive legislation proposed during his term. For a number of years he served as chairman of the Dickinson County Republican Central Committee and had been a delegate to various state conventions. He had always been deeply interested in educational affairs and long served as president of the Board of Education at Abilene.
Born in a log house on a farm in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1863, Mr. Brewer had lived in Kansas since he was a child, and he came to manhood practically without any knowledge of luxury or of the easy circumstances in which many boys are reared. Many would say that Mr. Brewer had throughout been the architect of his own destiny. His parents were Joseph M. and Susan (Angle) Brewer, both natives of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and industrious and worthy people who came out to Kansas in 1879 and located in Dickinson County. Jacob Brewer was then sixteen years old. His education had been acquired in the public schools and an academy of his native state. Having no capital nor experience to start business, he laid the foundation of a business career by clerking for nine years in a general store at Abilene.
In 1887 Mr. Brewer set up in the mercantile business on his own account and on the same lot where his large department store now stands. As a young man in Abilene he identified himself with the English Lutheran Church. He still holds his membership therein and is one of the official board of the church.
On May 12, 1887, at Abilene, he married Miss Annie L. Curtis, a daughter of R. N. Curtis, of Illinois. They have three children: Grace, wife of Grant Willis, a farmer at Kerwin, Kansas; Curtis Angle, a graduate of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan; and Noble Elmer, who is now in college at Davenport, Iowa.