Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


Among those who have come from foreign lands to become prominent in business circles in Burlington, is Jacob Scholer, who for more than fifty years has resided in this city, and is now a prosperous vintner. His prosperity has been won by strict adherence to the rules which govern industry, economy, and unswerving integrity.

Mr. Scholer, a son of Henry and Sallie Scholer, was born in Switzerland, Nov. 3, 1830. He grew to manhood in his father's home and received a good education in his birthplace, having completed the course in the high school. He also learned the trade of a machinist, serving a complete apprenticeship, which he followed until he came to America in 1852. It took him seventy days to cross the briny deep, coming by way of New Orleans. Here Mr. Scholer took a boat on the Mississippi River, stopping at St. Louis, but as the cholera was so bad he came to Burlington, two months later, where he worked as a machinist for four or five years. Becoming tired of inside work he decided to go to farming, and bought ten acres of land south of town and just north of what is now Crapo Park. His house and that of his son are the only ones of the kind in this part of the state. They are similar to the Swiss chalets. The house being built on the steepest place of his farm, is three stories high in front, and only one at the back. It is a very pretty piece of architecture, and gives one a very good idea of how the dwellings in Switzerland are built. It is on this place that part of Black Hawk Spring is located, receiving its name from the noted Black Hawk Indian who with his tribe once lived there. To look at this beautiful place now one can scarcely realize in what a wilderness it was when our subject purchased it. The land was mostly covered with dead trees and brush, and there were no direct roads or streets leading to it. To-day Mr. Scholer's home and land lies in the city limits, where the land is in a high state of cultivation. Besides his large vineyard, which yields more than two hundred and fifty gallons of wine annually, there are also fruit orchards. Another great attraction of this romantic home is that the longest "Shoot the Chutes" in the country, ending in a natural stream of water, is located here, which was operated by John and Jacob Scholer, sons of the subject of this review. Now the electric street-cars pass the house, carrying hundreds of people in the summer time for a visit to the vineyard, a ride on the "Shoot the Chutes," a stroll through the inviting orchards, or for a beautiful view of the "father of waters," where one could stand and linger for time indefinite and meditate on the wonderful beauties of nature, and praise Him who fashioned it all for mankind.

Mr. Scholer was married a few years after coming to Burlington, to Mary Giger, daughter of Andrew Giger, by whom he had seven children: Elizabeth, married Peter Broderson, and has one child, Mamie; Annie, married Robert Sheridan, and died; Lena, the widow of Charles Kerns, has two children, Mary and Florida, and later married Mr. Richter; Jacob, a carpenter, lives in Burlington, is also in the ice business with his brother John, has one son, Frederick; Sallie, married Edward Whitford, and has three children, Edna V., Claribel, and Hazel, and conducts the confectionery store at the northeast entrance to Crapo Park, where they do a very good business. Carrie lives at home. John, the youngest, lives at home, is in the ice business. The wife and mother died May 30, 1899. In summing up this review one can readily see that enterprise and the progressive spirit have made him a typical American in every sense of the word. What he is to-day he has made himself, for he began in the world with nothing but his own exertions and willing hands to aid him, and by constant activity, associated with good judgment, he has raised himself to the creditable position he now holds.

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