Connecting with History and Family

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Gregory J. Knott

While recently at a 3rd degree in my home Lodge – Ogden Lodge No. 754, the lodge by-laws and constitution book were on Secretary Todd Creason’s table.  I started thumbing through the book and looked at the signatures of our many members since 1877.  

To my pleasant surprise I saw the name of my Great-Great-Great- Grandfather Mathew Jacobs who was a charter member of Ogden Lodge.
Mathew Jacobs was born on February 26, 1843 in Allegany County, Maryland on the family farm near Lonaconing.  
On September 12, 1861 he enlisted in Company A, 3rd Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade, Maryland Volunteer Infantry.   He saw action at Grass Lick, WV and during the siege of Harper’s Ferry, and did duty at Annapolis, MD and in the defense of Baltimore.  Jacobs was discharged as a Corporal on January 2, 1865 at Buckhannon, WV.  Family tradition holds that the Jacobs family was divided with some fighting for the North and others for the South.   
After the war he lived at Point Bluff, Indiana for 4 years and in 1869 moved to Colfax Township in Champaign, County Illinois with his brother Nehemia Jacobs.   In 1877 Mathew moved to Ogden, Illinois on a farm 1 ½ miles NW of town.  
Mathew Jacobs grave in Mt. 
Olive Cemetery, Mayview IL

Mathew married Susan McMillen on September 4, 1874 and together they had three children; Charley Jacobs (1876-1947), Lulu Jacobs Leigh my G-Grandmother (1874-1972) and Ethel Jacobs Gordon 1888-1980.  Susan McMillen Jacobs died in a tragic accident on June 21, 1895.  Her horse was spooked when going down a hill and ran out of control, throwing Susan from the buggy.
After Susan’s death, Mathew continued to live on the farm near Ogden, until his death on March 5, 1913.  Mathew is buried at Mt. Olive Cemetery, Mayview, Illinois.
I know very little else of Mathew’s Masonic record.  He must have been a proud member of the fraternity, as his tombstone has a prominent square and compass on it. 
I had the privilege sign the same book as Mathew Jacobs, 130 years later.  One of our fraternity’s strengths is that shared experience across the generations.  Though I never met Mathew Jacobs, I have literally been able to walk in foot-steps on this journey.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He's a member of both the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club in Champaign-Urbana. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts--an Eagle Scout himself, he serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. as their representative to the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

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