Jacob Schaetzel Jr.

1850 - 1930

“By his life’s labors Jacob Schaetzel, Jr., has contributed much toward the development of Sioux Falls, serving as its first mayor in 1882-3-4.  He is today president of the Irene State Bank, of Irene, Clay county, South Dakota, an institution of safe and sound principle.

Mr. Schaetzel was born on a farm in Washington county, Wisconsin, May 16, 1850, the son of Jacob and Katherine (Kissinger) Schaetzel, both of whom were born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany.

Jacob Schaetzel, Jr., attended country school in Washington county and rounded out his education with a course at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He left that institution in June, 1868, joining his parents, who then lived near Freeport, Illinois, and he remained upon the farm for five months. He then secured employment as a clerk in a general merchandise store in Freeport, where he remained for a period of six years, gaining practical and valuable knowledge along commercial lines. In September, 1875, he came to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but shortly afterward returned to his home in Illinois. However, he was favorably impressed with the opportunities which the young village of two hundred and fifty people offered, and in March, 1876, returned to make his permanent residence here. He is therefore one of the early pioneers of Sioux Falls and his active career is closely intertwined with its history of advancement. For a few years Mr. Schaetzel gave his attention to the real-estate and insurance business and also engaged in shipping horses. For a time he conducted a livery and sale stable in Sioux Falls and has gradually become connected with a number of important business enterprises. He also owns valuable property and is a stockholder in a number of industries and financial concerns. Among other interests with which he is connected is the Irene State Bank, of Irene, South Dakota, of which he is president. He has shown himself able in all situations and impeccable in all business deals. While he has made his way to the fore he has always been considerate of the interests of others and has been a real builder of success, whose path to fortune has not been strewn with the wreck of others. He has not only built for himself but for the greatness of this state and for generations which now enjoy such prosperous conditions as he helped to make possible.

The political history of Mr. Schaetzel is a chapter by itself. He is a republican- and that a republican Simon-pure. He does not belong to any of the fringes of the republican party but as a straight republican has always supported the principles and candidates of his party. He has done much toward raising the prestige of that organization in Minnehaha county. It was in 1881, upon the death of Thomas Cochran, who had been the incumbent of the office, that Mr. Schaetzel was elected president of the village council of Sioux Falls and instanter gave evidence of his progressive ideas and his initiative by vigorously agitating the question of securing a charter for the city. He called a meeting of the citizens and in the autumn of that year definite steps were taken toward the accomplishment of the desired end. A city charter was drafted and other preliminary work was accomplished. The president of the village board then presented his claims to the legislature and a bill authorizing the incorporation was duly passed. At the first general election in 1882 Mr. Schaetzel was chosen the first mayor of the city, receiving a most gratifying support and continuing in office for two years. Many initiatory laws had to be passed and Mr. Schaetzel had much to do in forming them. It may be said that his administration made the life of the young city prosperous from the beginning. He carefully brought together antagonizing interests and succeeded in his effort to make the beginning of the new city a period auguring well for the future. The salary attached to his office was one dollar a year and the warrant for his first year's remuneration has never been cashed, it being confiscated by his friends who had it framed that he might keep it as a memento of his first year of successful city government. The warrant for the second year's salary, one dollar, was suitably engraved and is now in Mr. Schaetzel's possession. In the next year, 1884, his constituents presented him with a handsome gold watch, chain and charm, suitably engraved, as being a gift from "the boys." Mr. Schaetzel served as county commissioner from the fifth district during 1893-4-5, and was an influential member of the board. He was for four years a member of the penitentiary board and did valuable work in that connection. In feet he has ever been loyal in his support of measures and undertakings to promote the best interests of the state and city.

On September 7, 1871, in Washington county, Wisconsin, Mr. Schaetzel wedded Miss Catharine Brenner, who was born and grew to womanhood in that county. She is a daughter of Peter and Christina (Kissinger) Brenner. Mr. and Mrs. Schaetzel are the parents of two children: Marie E., who is the wife of E D. Skillman, cashier of The State Bank of Irene, South Dakota; and William A., the president of the Union County Bank, at Elk Point, South Dakota.

Mr. and Mrs. Schaetzel attend the Evangelical Lutheran church. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic order, being a member of the lodge and chapter. For over thirty-eight years Mr. Schaetzel has been a resident of Sioux Falls and has proven himself in those long years a man of truly public spirit. He has given as much effort toward promoting the general welfare as he has to securing a competence, and there are few residents living today who have more disinterestedly rendered their service. In the history of Minnehaha county and Sioux Falls he should be given a place of honor, and the respect, confidence and veneration which he enjoys are but a slight token of the appreciation of a mall of unselfish citizenship- a man of the west who has worked for the growing prosperity of the west unselfishly and with results that show themselves in comfortable and far-advanced conditions of civilization.

Kingsbury, George W. History of Dakota Territory. Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1915, IV. p. 684.

Mr. Schaetzel died at the age of 80 years and was buried on June 28th, 1930. He rests in block 15, lot 9 of the Cemetery along with other members of his family.  The Lyon House, featuring Carpenter Gothic elements, was built in 1878 by Katie and Jacob Schaetzel Jr., and is registered with the National Register of Historic Places.  Originally located at the site of Washington High School, the Lyon House has moved numerous times and was last located at 208 West Lotta Street.