One of the most estimable citizens to grace the San Bernardino valley. A native of Prussia, Mr. Jacobs emigrated to the United States landing in New York in the spring of 1851. Fast approaching his 19th birthday, Jacobs joined the great mass of humanity that trekked the breadth of the country inspired by the fanciful tales of western gold. Mr. Jacobs settled not in San Francisco but Sacramento where for a brief moment he wielded a shovel, pick axe and mining pan. Mr. Jacob's mining experience was largely unsuccessful, however the experience inspired him seek an easier fortune than the one which would probably never materialize as was the case for most caught up in the gold rush.
And so it was that Lewis Jacobs disposed of his mining equipment and put on the pack of a travelling salesman. Jacobs travels carried him the length of the state leading him to San Pedro and Los Angeles in an attempt to peddle his pack of "yankee notions." Legend has it that Mr. Jacobs walked the sixty some miles from Los Angeles to San Bernardino in 1852. Exactly what drew Jacobs to San Bernardino is a mystery as their wasn't much to the town outside of the Mormon stockade. Nonetheless, the beauty of the area was enough to convince Jacobs that this was the place for him to settle at. And so it is that Lewis Jacobs travelling salesman planted roots opening becoming the first independent merchant in the community.
Jacobs operated the store for a few years before turning it over to the Meyerstein brothers in order to establish the Bank of San Bernardino in 1858. Located in a small one story adobe structure on the west side of what is now Arrowhead, Jacobs bank was the second such institution established in Southern California following closely on the heals of a lending institution established in Los Angeles by Isiah Hellman.
The Bank of San Bernardino did a booming business from the start as currency was a rare commodity and those with enough to spare, quickly doubled their investments aided by high interest rates. The profits from the bank allowed Jacobs to diversify in ways which paid big dividends for himself and his community. Among the many business interests Lewish Jacobs had a hand in were the Arizona Stage which linked San Bernardino to Tucson and Yuma Arizona. The Arizona Stage line was later purchased by Wells Fargo.
Jacobs lived a charmed life spending a considerable amount of time engaged in civic activity in connection with the many organizations in which he was a member. These included the Phoenix Lodge F&AM, the 100F and Knights of Pythias, Paradise Lodge B'nai Brith and the Home of Eternity cemetery where he and his wife Leah were buried. Jacobs passed away in 1900 on his way home from an extended pleasure trip.
Buried in Home of Eternity Cemetery located next to the old section of Pioneer cemetery.
Sponsored by Ancestry