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History of Allegan County, Michigan

Compiled by Dr. Henry F. Thomas (Lewis Publishing 1907)


Biography of Jacob Slagel (married Mary Punches)


Submitted by Shirley Carrick

Jacob F SLAGEL_‑The spirit of self‑help is the source of all genuine worth, and it is this that conquers adversity, overcomes obstacles and wins success. Such a spirit has been the dominating influence in the life of Jacob F. Slagel, an enterprising merchant of the village of Hopkins, where he is dealing in lumber, coal, building materials, doors, sash and interior finishings. He has a good trade in these various lines and his efforts are a factor in the commercial development and business prosperity of the village. A native of Marion county, Ohio, he was born on the 14th of April, 1855, his parents being Tobias and Mary (Akom) Slagel, who, in 1863, came to Allegan county, settling two miles west of Salem Center upon a. new farm in Salem township. The father improved about eighty acres of land and his place comprised one hundred and twenty acres. 4e thereon built a brick house and two barns, transforming his property into one of the best farms of Salem township. For many years he successfully carried on .general agricultural pursuits but about a year ago he sold his farm and is now living with his children, his wife having died shortly before the sale of the farm. Unto them were born four children: Jacob; Elizabeth, now the wife of Bert Purdy, of Allegany county, New York; Carolina, the wife of Charles Miller, who resides upon the old Slagel homestead, and Frederick, who is engaged in farming near Dorr.

Jacob F. Slagel was reared on the old home place until twenty‑two years of age and assisted in the various duties connected with the further development and improvement of the farm. He had also learned the carpenter's trade, and after working for some time in the employ of others began contracting on his own account. At a later date he again spent two years upon his farm but with this exception has continued as a contractor and builder, erecting a number of buildings in Allegan and throughout the northern part of the county. He made his home in Salem until about four years ago, when he removed to Hopkins and he owns a farm in Salem township. He employed from two to six men in his building operations and many substantial structures stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. Coming to Hopkins, he opened a coal and lumber yard in 1903, succeeding Mr. Streeter after his death. He has about four thousand dollars invested in the stock and does an annual business amounting to about ten thousand dollars. He has extended the scope of his activities by dealing also in building materials, doors, sash and interior finishings, as well as in coal and wood and he has a good trade. Prior to becoming owner of the business he had built the lumber sheds for Mr. Streeter, who died, however, just as the business was being started. Mr. Slagel has met with success from the beginning and his patronage has steadily increased until it has now reached very gratifying proportions. He has also erected a nice residence in Hopkins,

In Salem, at the age of twenty‑two years, Mr. Slagel was united in marriage to Miss Mary Punches, a daughter of George Punches, of Salem. She, too, is a native of Ohio, and was brought to Michigan in her girlhood days. They now have a family of two children: Tillie May, who was formerly a teacher and is now the wife of Pearl Gibson, who is in the lumber yard, and Laura Etta, the wife of Fritz Christman, of Allegan.

Mr. Slagel gives his political allegiance to the Democracy. He has served as highway commissioner in Salem and has filled various offices in the Odd Fellows' lodge, which he has also represented in the Grand Lodge. He has likewise served as district deputy and for twenty years has been closely associated with this organization. He is also a Mason and is now tyler of the lodge in Hopkins. His business interests have brought him a wide acquaintance through the northern part of the county and the qualities he has displayed in all his relations with his fellowmen, whether of a public or private nature, have won for him uniform confidence and esteem, while his business enterprise and intelligently directed efforts have brought him a gratifying measure of success.