Jacob  H.  Deitzer



          The Clerk of the Shelby Circuit Court and one of the enterprising men of the city in which he resides is Jacob H. Deitzer. He was born in Shelby county, Indiana, January 31, 1855.  As the name indicates, he is of German lineage, and in his veins flows the blood of a long line of sterling ancestry whose history is intimately associated with that of the Fatherland.  His parents, Valentine and Elizabeth (Fox) Deitzer, natives of the Grand Duchy of Baden-Baden, came to the United States early in life and settled in Shelby County, Indiana, where their marriage took place in April, 1854, following which they set up their domestic establishment in Shelbyville.  Valentine Deitzer conducted a meat market for a number of years and earned the reputation of an industrious, capable and thoroughly reliable business man.  He was also engaged for some years as a stationary engineer besides turning his hands to various other occupations from time to time.  He died in Shelbyville in the month of October, 1867, at the age of forty-one; his widow, who is still living, has reached the advanced age of eighty-three years, and occupies the same home in which she began housekeeping over a half century ago.
          To Valentine and Elizabeth Deitzer were born seven children, the subject of this sketch being the oldest of the family;  Minnie, who became the wife of  John L. Springer, died in the year 1892;  John died in childhood;  Peter is custodian of the Carnegie Public Library in Shelbyville;  Louis lives in the state of Louisiana, and two children died in infancy.
          Jacob H. Deitzer spent his early life in Shelbyville, where he first saw the light of day and received the rudiments of an education in the public schools.  By reason of his fatherís death, which occurred when the lad was but twelve years old, he was obliged to terminate his educational experience in order to look after the interests of his mother and the younger children, who then depended upon him for their support.  On the 26th day of July, 1868, Mr. Deitzer entered a printing office and after becoming proficient in the trade, accepted a position in a newspaper office, to which trade he devoted his attention for a period of twenty-two years, working for different papers during that time and becoming proficient in the work in its every detail.  At the expiration of that period indicated he started a job printing office and built up a large and lucrative patronage and earned an honorable reputation as a capable printer and enterprising business man.
          Mr. Deitzer has always manifested a commendable interest in the prosperity of his native city, and from time to time has been honored with important official positions by the municipality.  In 1900 he was made a member of the Board of Education, and it was during his incumbency that the Carnegie Library building was erected and opened to the public, his efforts in making this splendid enterprise possible being as influential as those of any other man.  While holding the above position he was nominated by the local Democracy for Mayor, and after being elected to the latter office, severed his connection with the board at the expiration of two and a half years, in order to enter his duties as the cityís chief executive.  Mr. Deitzerís official career met the high expectations of his friends and fully justified the wisdom of his election.  He proved an able and conscientious executive.  Among the several public improvements inaugurated and carried into effect during his term was the building of the fine hall in which the business of the municipality is conducted, his interest in this and other commendable enterprises doing much to promote the progress of the city and make it what is has since become, one of the most important industrial and commercial centers in the southeastern part of the state.  As stated in a preceding paragraph, Mr. Deitzer is a Democrat, and as such he has been a leader of his party in Shelby county for a number of years, and as a reward for valuable political services he was nominated in 1906 for the important office for Clerk of Shelby County Circuit Court, and triumphantly elected the same year.  Since taking charge of this office he has added to his reputation as a capable, judicious and courteous public servant, and it is universally admitted that the position has never been more ably or worthily filled.  First position held was Deputy Internal Revenue Collector for Shelby county under Clevelandís administration from 1884 to 1888.
          Mr. Deitzer was one of the original stockholders in the Citizenís Natural Gas Company, of Shelbyville, and is now serving as president of the organization; he is a stockholder and leading spirit in the Shelbyville Sprinkling Association, besides being interested in various local enterprises, which make for the advancement of the city and welfare of the populace.  He has been twice married, the first time in November, 1874, to Ada Bruce, daughter of Dr. L. M. Bruce, who departed this life in August, 1885, after bearing him two children, both of whom died in infancy.  On the first day of January, 1887, he was united in the bonds of wedlock with Lena Metzger, daughter of Silas and Mary Metzger, of Shelbyville, the union being blessed with two sons, Fred J., born July 1, 1893, and J. Frank, whose birth occurred on October 16, 1895.  Mr. and Mrs. Deitzer are active members of the First Presbyterian church of Selbyville.
          Mr. Deitzer is an enthusiastic friend of secret fraternal work and belongs to quite a number of orders, being a member of the Masonic brotherhood, in which he has risen to the thirty-second degree and Mystic Shrine.  The following includes the various lodges and orders with which he is identified at the present time; Shelby Lodge, No. 28, Free and Accepted Masons; Shelby Chapter, No. 20, Royal Arch Masons; Shelby Council, No. 3, Royal and Select Masters; Baldwin Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templar; Naarmah Chapter, Order Eastern Star; Shelby Lodge, No. 39, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Shelbyville Encampment, No. 162, Independent Order Odd Fellows; Canton Lodge, No. 4 P.M.; Chillon Lodge, No. 129, Knights of Pythias; Kiowa Tribe, No. 199, Improved Order of Red Men; Chieftains League, No. 3, Improved Order of Red Men; Frank Talbert Camp, No. 85, Sons of Veterans; Orentes Court, No. 77, Tribe of Ben Hur; Shelbyville Lodge, No. 457, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and Shelbyville Camp, No 3372, Modern Woodmen of America.  He has not only been intrusted with important official positions in nearly all of the above organizations, but by reason of his connection therewith, has attained to high standing and influence in their councils and become widely known in fraternal circles throughout the state.  In all of his relations with his fellow men he endeavors to put into practice the principles upon which they are based, and his life afterwards a striking example of the value of their teachings and influence.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chadwick, 1909, pages 406-408
Contributed by Barb Huff for William Deitzer

Biography Index       Main Page