Jacob D. Helman, a union veteran of the Civil War, now living retired, after a long and successful active career, has been identified with Pettis County for half a century. Mr. Helman traces his ancestry in this country, back about 150 years. He was born in Ashland County, Ohio, January 31, 1834, and is the son of John and Sophia (Dougherty) Helman. John Helman was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, August 5, 1786. He was a farmer all his life, and when a young man removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and lived to the advanced age of eighty-eight years. He died November 20, 1874. Sophia (Dougherty) Helman was born in Pennsylvania, January 30, 1795. She was of Irish descent. She died January 21, 1885.
To John and Sophia (Dougherty) Helman were born 7 children, as follow: Mary, married Dan Eshelman, and they are both now deceased; Catherine, married M. Crial, and they are now deceased; Herman, died in California; Abel, died in Oregon; Emmeline, married David Brickley, and they are deceased; John R., deceased; Jacob D., the subject of this sketch.
Jacob D. Helman was reared in Ohio and received his education in the public schools of Ashland. His early life was spent on the home farm until the Civil War broke out., when he enlisted in Company C, 42d Ohio Infantry, in September 1861. He served under James A. Garfield, who was colonel of his regiment until he became a general. For two years Mr. Helman was regimental color bearer. He participated in many important battles, as well as numerous minor skirmishes. He was at the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and in a number of engagements in the vicinity, which lead up to this notable siege. Much of his service was along the Mississippi river, between Vicksburg and New Orleans. He served a greater part of the war as a corporal. He received and honorable discharge and was mustered out of the United States service at Columbus, Ohio in 1864. He then returned to his home, in Ashland County, where he was engaged in farming until 1869, when he came to Missouri and settled in Pettis County. He bought a farm near Camp Branch, where he was actively engaged in farming and stock raising until 1913. Mr. Helman made a success of farming and stock raising. His farm consisted of 415 acres of well-improved land, with fifteen acres of natural timber. Mr. Helman retired in 1913 and removed to Green ridge, where he is enjoying a well-earned rest at the close of a successful and honorable career. He is a stockholder, and one of the directors of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Green Ridge, and his judgment on matters of business and finance is as keen now as it was in the midst of his active career.
Mr. Helman was married in 1860 in Center County, Pennsylvania, to Miss. Mary H. Bower, a native of Center County, born October 24, 1838, and a daughter of Christian Bower and Susan (Schenck) Bower, natives of Pennsylvania, who spent their lives in that State. To Jacob D. Helman and wife were born the following children: Elvie, who resides with her parents in Green Ridge; Eugene B., and Forrest E., further mention of whom are made in this volume.
Mr. Helman has always been identified with the Republican party, and while living on his farm served as township clerk for a number of years. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and is a charter members of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Lodge No. 24, Green Ridge, Missouri. He has been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic since the post was organized, at Green Ridge. Mr. Helman is one of the grand old men of Pettis County, and will long be remembered as one who contributed his part to making Pettis County one of the leading counties in Missouri. It can truly be said of him, that in war he did his duty as a soldier, and in peace he did his duty as a citizen.
Source: McGruder, Mark A. History of Pettis County, Missouri (Topeka: Historical Publishing Company, 1919)