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Features

Jessi Haish LaRue sheds light on wire baron Jacob Haish

Jacob Haish
Jacob Haish

Sometimes a person’s history is gone but not forgotten. Sometimes, as in the case of barbed wire pioneer Jacob Haish, his history is neither gone nor forgotten – just hidden from sight.

At 2 p.m. Sunday at the Glidden Homestead, Jessi Haish LaRue will give a presentation on barbed wire baron Jacob Haish. LaRue, a Haish family descendant, is a writer who blogs regularly about Jacob Haish at JacobHaishStory.com. The blog shares photos, interviews and news articles relating to Haish’s life. LaRue has been documenting her fourth great-uncle’s story since early 2016 in an attempt to spread the story of the “underdog of barbed wire.”

LaRue’s presentation will tell the story of Haish, a DeKalb barbed wire baron, inventor and philanthropist. She also will tell various stories from her blog, which include the “hidden gems” of Haish’s life that still exist in northern Illinois, including memorabilia from his mansion, personal items and more. Haish is renowned for his “S barb” patented in 1875.

“Glidden Homestead tries to feature a bit about the Haish story each year,” Rob Glover, executive director of Glidden Homestead, said in a news release. “Haish is a multifaceted mechanical wonder who was also a guiding force in the community in his lifetime. But because his house and factory no longer stand, there is an idea in the public mind that nothing Haish remains. Jessi has worked tirelessly to uncover crucial pieces of the Haish story.”

Also on Sunday, visitors can tour the home where Joseph Glidden and his family lived when he created his most famous invention, see a working on-site blacksmith shop and walk where Glidden walked. Joseph Glidden developed barbed wire in DeKalb in 1873 and went on to patent numerous other inventions.

The Glidden Homestead is at 921 W. Lincoln Highway. Admission is $4 for adults and free for children younger than 14. For information, visit www.gliddenhomestead.org, email info@gliddenhomestead.org or call 815-756-7904.

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