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Jacob V. Houk    

JACOB V. HOUK (deceased). Fourteen years ago, on January 26, 1876, there passed to his heavenly rest, after enduring excruciating sufferings, which he bore with characteristic Christian resignation, the universally respected citizen whose name heads this biographical memoir. The career of the deceased in his lifetime was one remarkable for its struggles and triumphs—a career adorned and made conspicuous by his liberality, public-spiritedness and zeal in the cause of right, though his earthly pilgrimage was one of trial, tumult and suffering. Mr. Houk was born, October 18, 1822, at Slippery Rock, Butler Co., Penn., in the vicinity in which he continued to reside until his twenty-fourth year, engaged in farming and such other labor as offered to him the best inducements. He then removed to New Brighton, Beaver county, where he followed lumbering for about a year and a half, after which he went to Tidioute, Warren Co., Penn., and here also worked at similar business for about a year, when he found his way to Beech Bottom, Elk county, where he took a contract to run round timber for the Blake company. After a time he went to Lawrence county, and once more went to farming for about a year, at which time he again sought the wilds of Elk county. At Beech Bottom he found employment as an efficient all-around man, both in the woods and in the mill, with Cobb & Rulofson, and then, in a year or two, moved to Bear creek, where he built and operated a railroad for moving lumber from the places of skidding to the streams. While thus employed he became united in marriage, July 2, 1857, with Miss Jeannette C. Gillis, daughter of Judge James L. Gillis, one of the foremost pioneers of Elk county. To this union was born, September 9, 1859, one son, James L. Gillis Honk, who died June 30, 1863. Mr. Houk, after marriage, took up his residence in Ridgway, and in connection with Judge James L. and Charles Gillis, built a section of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad. This accomplished,. he then formed a copartnership with J. S. Hyde in a lumbering business, at Mead Run, under the firm name of Hyde & Houk, but at the expiration of a year and a half he disposed of his interest in the Mead Run property to William Reed, and in conjunction with Charles McVeah purchased the mercantile business in Ridgway of Coyne & Burroughs, the title of the firm being Honk & McVeah. Subsequently Mr. Houk bought out his partner’s interest in the concern, and continued the business in his own right for a period of years, when the store passed into the hands of B. S. & C. V. Gillis. Mr. Honk’s next venture was in the flour and feed business, in copartnership with J. S. Hyde and J. K. Whitmore, the firm being known as Hyde, Honk & Whitmore, from which, several years later, he withdrew, repurchasing the store from C. V. Gillis, which remained in his possession until his death. In the meantime he was engaged in other enterprises, most prominent of which was the planing-mill of J V. Honk & Co. A man of large and vigorous frame, Mr. Honk was almost a giant in strength and endurance, and up to about four years prior to his decease was comparatively free from the many ills that flesh is heir to. Having been appointed receiver for L. F. & H. M. Powers, who had been lumbering at Belmont mill, on Spring creek, he entered upon the discharge of his duties with the vigor and earnestness which characterized his whole life, and in so doing exposed himself to many hardships. On one occasion, while running logs, he was struck by a handspike and knocked into the stream. He then, without changing his clothes, walked to Ridgway, a distance of twenty miles, through mud and slush. Through this he took a heavy cold, and from that time on he never enjoyed a single day of perfect health. In 1871 Mr. Houk was chosen one of the associate judges of the county, and often during the period of his illness was he found upon the bench, intent on the conscientious discharge of his duties, when he should have been in his room seeking to repair his shattered health. As a man, Mr. Houk was brave, true and honest, realizing that “an honest man is the noblest work of God,” and so lived as to be entitled to that exalted position among men. As a friend he was ever true, often discommoding himself to relieve the necessities of those around him, and as a husband he was uniformly kind and devoted.

History of the counties of McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania with biographical selections, including their early settlement and development, a description of the historic and interesting localities, sketches of their cities, towns and villages, portraits of prominent men, biographies of representative citizens, outline history of Pennsylvania, statistics.. Chicago. J.H. Beers & Co.. 1890, pages 730-731. Read this book on line - Free Trial Search Hundreds of 1880s-1890s Pennsylvania County History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Free Access to the old history books - plus birth & death records, census images and ALL other records at ancestry.com

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