A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
HON. BERNHARD M. JACOBSEN. For more than half a century Bernhard M.
Jaconsen, capitalist, prominent citizen, president of the Clinton Thrift Bank, has
been connected with this city's subnstaintial development, and formerly served
it as postmaster. Mr. Jacobsen was fourteen years old when he accompanied
his parents to Clinton, a well-educated youth of practical upbringing, who
lost no time in securing employment, first in a brickyard, then in a sawmill,
and later in a mercantile establishment, his industry and thrift winning
comment and approval in every case.
Ten years later he embarked in business for himself in the mercantile line, and continued, with various changes, until
1926, when he closed out his retail business. In the meantime he had invested in valuable business property and in 1927 organized the Clinton Thrift Company. In this undertaking Mr. Jacobsen has had opportunity to encourage and apply on a large scale his ideas of the basic business principles of industry and frugality, guided by personal integrity, and he has the satisfaction of realizing that the Clinton Thrift Company, which he founded so well, is now ranked with the leading financial institution of Clinton County, with enviable reputation of good-will among the great masses of the populace which it serves.
Notwithstanding his constant immersion in business he has found time to consider and assist in all important civic movements and on occasion has served honorably and efficiently in public office. In November, 1930, he was elected to Congress and is now the representative of the Second Congressional District of Iowa in the national House of Legislation, at Washington, D. C.
Bernhard M. Jacobsen was born in Germany, March 26th, 1862, a son of Bob and Magdelena Jacobsen, who came to Clinton, Iowa, when the father was fifty-two and the mother fifty-one. The father had been a grain miller in Germany, but lived retired from business pursuits after his arrival in this country. After the various experiences in working for others, already mentioned, Bernhard M. Jacobsen, May 1, 1886, became a dry goods and clothing merchant, and his first business enterprise was launched under the name of Nissen & Jacobsen, and this caption was retained until he became sole proprietor and conducted it under his own name until 1914. In that year he received from President
Wilson, appointment as postmaster of Clinton, and he continued to hold that office until 1928, during which time he incorporated his business under the name of Jacobsen-Thompson Company, and this was retained until the business was dissolved in 1926. The Clinton Thrift Company is housed in the business block 242 to 248 Fifth Avenue, South, which he purchased in 1923, and which has four stores on its main floor. Mr. Jacobsen is president of his company, and his son, William S. Jacobsen, is secretary and manager.
On May 28, 1885, Mr. Jacobsen was married to Miss Lena Trager, of Clinton, a
daughter of Sebastian and Anna (Hertz) Trager, the former of whom operated
barges carrying wood, on the Mississippi River. Both parents of Mrs. Jacobson
are deceased. The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs.
Jacobsen: William S., who is in business with his father; Alma, who married Charles L. Callender, of the Cunningham Tube Company, Indianapolis, Indiana; Alvina, who is assistant manager of the Dodge Hotel, Washington, District of Columbia, has been a resident of that city since 1918; Marvin J., who is in the insurance business at Clinton, representing the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, and the Aetna Life Insurance Company, has several times been high man in the State of Iowa for the Northwestern Mutual; and Bernice, who is the wife of Paul W. Soenksen, operator of department stores at Harvey, Illinois, and Chicago.
Mr. Jacobsen is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, belonging to De
Molay Consistory No. 1, of Clinton, and Kaaba Temple of the Mystic Shrine at
Davenport. He also belongs to the Odd Fellows, Elks, Eagles and is a charter
member of the Turner Society, to which he has belonged for forty-seven
years, and is also a charter member of the Clinton Rotary Club, which his son
William S. served as president in 1929. Marvin J. Jacobsen was president of the
Clinton Kiwanis in 1929 and the father is also a member of the Wapsipinicon
Club. the Lutheran Church is Mr. Jacobsen's religious home. In political
faith he is a Democrat, but his concern is with material progress and purity in
politics. His own success he claims is due to the consistent effort he has
made to win the confidence of his customers and then hold it. Also to having
gone into only those things of which he had practical knowledge. His friends
claim that it is based on his honest, direct and considerate treatment of
those with whom he has business relations.
*Check your facts, don't know how accurate.