SHIRO, Jacob
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SHIRO, Jacob

Shiro, Jacob, merchant, Gratz, Pa., was born in Wittenberg, Germany, February 19, 1843. He is a son of Jacob and Susanna (Bellem) Shiro. Jacob Shiro, Sr., was born in France, and was a soldier in the French army, with which he crossed into Germany during one of the wars of religions. At the close of the war he married and settled in Wittenberg, where he conducted a public tavern until his death which occurred about 1844. His children are: Mina, Mrs. James Bocker of Harrisburg, and Jacob, Jr. His widow married Henry Snyder; she died in 1893. Mr. Snyder survives her and resides in Lykens township, Dauphin county, Pa., where his wife died. The children of her second marriage are: Angeline, Mrs. Daniel Reichert, Williamstown, Pa.; Rose, first married Adam Frederick, deceased, and is now Mrs. Samuel Boke; Henry, farmer, Gratz, Pa.; Amanda, Mrs. John Coleman, Gratz, Pa., and John, farmer, Lykens township.

Jacob Shiro, Jr., was about one year old when his father died. At the age of six he began to attend school in Wittenberg, and was at school three years. In the spring of 1852, with his mother, stepfather and the other members of his family, he emigrated to America. They embarked at Havre, France, in a sailing vessel, and after a rough voyage of twenty-nine days, during which they were in constant peril from the neighborhood of large icebergs, they landed in New York and came directly to Wiconisco, where they decided to make their home and where the stepfather at once found employment in the mines. Young Jacob attended the English schools in Wiconisco for four terms, and this completed his school education. At the age of thirteen years he began work in the mines, picking slate at $8 per month, and has been employed in the mines for over twenty years.

Mr. Shiro enlisted March 10, 1864, at Harrisburg, in company G, One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania volunteers, under Capt. C.A. Harper. The regiment was ordered to Roanoke Island by way of Fortress Monroe and Norfolk, where they were assigned to guard duty for six or eight months. They were then ordered to Newberne, N.C., to guard the Weldon railroad. While they were here a malignant fever broke out among the soldiers, from which as many as a hundred died per day. Mr. Shiro was attacked by the disease, but his sound constitution and his indomitable spirit enabled him to resist the fatal effects of the contagion. Although very ill he continued on duty, and proceeded on the march. He and other comrades hired an old colored man with a cart to carry their knapsacks and equipment, but the rickety vehicle proved inadequate to the strain, and their baggage was dumped on the road. Mr. Shiro determined to push on at all hazards, and resuming his burden, he continued the weary march, on which one of his comrades fell by the wayside and died. Much dispirited and worn in body, they finally reached Newberne, where they rested a short time, and then pushed on to Morehead City and boarded the steamer for Baltimore, where they arrived July 4, 1865. They reached Harrisburg July 7, and on that date were honorably discharged from the service. Mr. Shiro was still suffering from the effects of the fever, and remained in Harrisburg two weeks before he was sufficiently recovered to go home. During this time his physician at times despaired of his recovery. But he was finally restored to health, and retired to his home. He soon resumed work in the mines, where for four years he held the position of mine foreman.

In 1877, having accumulated $2,000, Mr. Shiro removed with his family to Freeport, Ill., and from that place to Coles county, Ill. There he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, intending to try the life of a farmer. As there was an unexpired lease on the farm he could not obtain possession until autumn; he therefor rented the adjoining place for the season. Mr. Shiro remained three years in Coles county, and was successful as a farmer. He would have continued to live there but for the loss of his wife, whose death occurred in 1880. This decided him to return to his old home in Pennsylvania, which he did in the fall of that year. He located on a farm in Gratz, and in 1882 sold his Illinois farm for $6,000. In 1886 Mr. Shiro opened a general store in Gratz, Pa., which he has successfully conducted since that time. He also operates the North Side colliery on Short mountain.

Mr. Shiro has been married three times. In 1862 he married Amanda Moyer. They had two children: Annie, Mrs. John Schreiner, residing in Illinois, and Carrie, Mrs. Shield, residing in Pueblo, Col. Mrs. Amanda Shiro died in 1880. In his second marriage, in 1882, Mr. Shiro was united to Miss Lizzie Diebler, by whom he had one daughter, Lizzie, wife of Morris Schreffler, Mifflin township, Dauphin county, Pa. Mrs. Lizzie Shiro died in 1885. Mr. Shiro is now married to Mary, daughter of Benjamin Gise. They have one child, Jacob B. Mr. Shiro is a strong Democrat. He served as postmaster of Gratz for several years, having been first appointed under President Garfield. He is a member of Lodge No. 563, I.O.O.F., at Gratz, and of the Encampment at Gratz; also of Lykens Valley Lodge, No. 365, K. of P., at Gratz. He is a member of the Evangelical church.



Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Michael W. Gerberick,, for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transciption Project -

Date of Transcription: February 13, 2001

Copyright (c) 2001 - All Rights Reserved: Use, duplication or reproduction for profit or presentation by any person or organization is strictly prohibited.