William Herzkey Tombow
William Herzkey Tombow
My Family Tree, by Patrick Tombeau, PhD White Feather
White Feather

Jacob Tombow\Miller

Male 1849 - 1920  (70 years)

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  • Name Jacob Tombow\Miller 
    Born 29 Jul 1849  E. Lampeter Twp., Lancaster Co., PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Jacob Miller 
    Died 22 Jun 1920  Mattoon, IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I04331  Tombeau Family Tree
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2007 

    Father William Herzkey Tombow,   b. 6 Jul 1813, Lampeter, Lancaster Co. PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Apr 1865, Sterling, Whiteside Co. IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Rohrer,   b. 13 Jul 1818, Lancaster Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Mar 1853, E. Lampeter, Lancaster Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years) 
    Married Abt 1838  Lancaster Co, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1356  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Jenny Zimmer 
    Married Sep 1869  Whiteside county,IL (Divorced 1 July 1878, Whiteside Co, IL) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1652  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Fanny Nora Baker,   b. 31 Mar 1861, Dayton, OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Mar 1936, Mattoon, IL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years) 
    Married 22 Feb 1888  Mattoon, IL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1650  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Jacob Tombow\Miller's home at 1009 Champaign, Mattoon, IL
    Jacob Tombow\Miller's home at 1009 Champaign, Mattoon, IL
    Civil War Era Cameo carried by Jacob Tombow\Miller
    Civil War Era Cameo carried by Jacob Tombow\Miller
    Grand Army of the Republic Parade, November 12, 1918
    Grand Army of the Republic Parade, November 12, 1918
    Civil War veterans gathered to march in parades like this one during the lifetime of Jacob Tombow\Miller
    Pictures of the Illinois Central Railroad, where Jacob Tombow\Miller worked as a brakeman
    Pictures of the Illinois Central Railroad, where Jacob Tombow\Miller worked as a brakeman

    Obituary for Jacob Tombow\Miller
    Obituary for Jacob Tombow\Miller
    Death Certificate for Jacob Tombow Miller
    Death Certificate for Jacob Tombow Miller
    Deed to Jacob Tombow Miller
    Deed to Jacob Tombow Miller
    Marriage Certificate for Jacob Tombow Miller and Fannie Baker
    Marriage Certificate for Jacob Tombow Miller and Fannie Baker

    Headstones of Jacob Tombow\Miller and Fanny Baker Miller
    Headstones of Jacob Tombow\Miller and Fanny Baker Miller

  • Notes 
    • Jacob Tombow AKA Jacob Miller

      II-7: Jacob Tombow was the seventh child of the nine children of William Tombow, Jr. and Elizabeth Rohrer of E. Lampeter Township, Lancaster Co., PA. He was born in Strasburg, PA, on 29 July 1849, according to his Civil War Pension Papers. His paternal grandparents were William Tombos, a Dutch immigrant and first of the name in this country, and Mary Herzkey, born in America of German descent.

      ix lines of evidence sustain that he was the son of William Tombow, Jr. He is mentioned as one of the above couple's children in the 1852-55 Lancaster County Register of Births, Marriages, and Deaths in his young- er brother William's birth entry. He is mentioned as an heir to William Tombow, Jr., in the Letter of Administration at the time of William's death. He is mentioned as an heir in the 1904 legal proceedings by David Kauffman against the heirs of William Tombow, Jr., to obtain clear title to the latter's Sterling property. His father is also mentioned in his Pension Papers. Jacob also brought suit against his father's widow, Fanny, to obtain the return of his bounty, and Jacob is also mentioned in his father's Census entry in Lancaster County, PA, in 1850.

      The first glimpse of Jacob is in the 1850 Federal Census of Lancaster County, PA, taken 28 August 1850, E. Lampeter Township, dwelling 115. The family name is corrupted to "Dombo" by the census taker.

      Dombo, William, 36 years old, laborer, born in PA, real estate: $700. Elizabeth, 32 years old, born in PA Catherine, 5 years old, born in PA John, 2 years old, born in PA Jacob, 1 year old, born in PA

      In 1853, when Jacob was 3-4 years old, his mother, Elizabeth Rohrer, died. His father, William, married shortly thereafter to Jacob's stepmother, Fanny. In the spring of 1853 William put his land up for sale, and, according to Jacob's pension papers, set out for what was then called "out West", the city of Sterling in Whiteside County, IL, in 1856.

      Jacob's father was not close to his children. He generally farmed them out to various Mennonite families, as the Censuses in Lancaster and Whiteside Counties attest.

      Lydia Tombow Fluck, a sister of Jacob, states in her affidavit on behalf of his Civil War Pension:

      "When Jacob's father moved to Illinois, Jacob was put out to live with strangers. From time to time Jacob would run away and get another place to live. All of William Tombow's children moved about from place to place around and in Sterling, Ill. Not any of the children lived with their father."

      Jacob had a particularly difficult relationship with his father according to testimony heard in the suit Jacob brought against his father's widow, Fanny, to get his Civil War Bounty back which he had loaned to his father. One witness, Alexander Zimmer, states:

      "He (Jacob) was in my employ for about a month before he enlisted and about this time his Father told me that I must pay Jacob Tombow his wages, that he would have nothing more to do with him, that he must look after himself hereafter."

      At that time, Jacob had just turned 15 years old.

      The 1860 Federal Census for Whiteside County, IL, reports Jacob in a household other than his father's, as were all of William Tombow's children in that census, proving the truth of Lydia's statements about her father.

      Jacob is living with the Abram B. Meyers family in New Jordan, IL, p. 113.

      Abram B. Meyers, age 51, farmer, $2190 real estate, $800 personal; born in PA. Elizabeth, age 50, born in PA Francis, age 29, farmer, born in PA Elizabeth, age 19, born in PA Mary, age 2, born in IL Abram, age 10/12, born in IL Jacob Tornbow, age 12, born in PA

      As with his brothers and sisters, the family name, new to the area, was contorted in the nearly illegible writing of the census taker into "Tornbow".

      On 8 October 1864, at the age of 15 years, 2 months, and 9 days, Jacob joined his older brothers, Samuel and John Tombow, and his three first cousins, Nathaniel, William and John Tombow, of Ohio, and enlisted as the sixth Tombow to enter the Civil War.

      He enlisted at Dixon, IL. for a period of one year. He was unable to write his name. He listed his occupation as that of a farmer and that he was 18 years old. He listed his address as Sterling, Whiteside County, IL. He is described as having hazel eyes, brown hair, and dark complex- ion, and was five feet three inches tall. The average height at that time for a grown man was five feet seven inches. It is worth noting that Jacob grew another two and one half inches during his adolescence, as his affidavit of 22 January 1920 indicates that he was 5 feet five and one half inches tall and weighed 153 pounds. At that time he noted that the tip of the forefinger on his right hand is "off at the end of the nail". His hair, at that age (71) had turned grey.

      He was assigned to Co.A of the 34th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry where he remained as a private until he was discharged at War's end in 12 July 1865.

      Other than treatment for remittent fever between 11 January and 28 February 1865, his military records indicate he had no medical illnesses or injuries sustained during the War.

      Remittent, or relapsing, fever, according to Blakiston's Medical Dictionary, is a group of diseases caused by spirochete bacteria transmitted to man by lice or ticks, characterized by acute onset, chills, fever, pain to the back and legs, enlarged spleen, delirium and sometimes convulsions.

      Certainly the cause of this disease reflects upon the poor hygienic conditions in which the Civil War soldiers served.

      He served honorably, there being no record of desertion, AWOL, or court martial in his file.

      The Illinois Adjutant General's Report on the history of the 34th Infantry indicates the movements of this regiment at about the time Jacob joined on 8 October 1864:

      "September 29, left Atlanta with Second Division. Fourteenth Army Corps for the purpose of driving Forrest from Tennessee; pursued him to Florence, Alabama, driving him across the Tennessee River, after which the Regiment rejoined Sherman's Army south of Chattanooga in Northern Alabama. Returned with the Army to Atlanta and went with Sherman to the sea, and on the Campaign through the Carolinas. In a light engagement at Averysboro, N.C., on March 16,1865, had three men killed and five wounded.

      "March 19, 1865, took part in the battle of Bentonville, N.C., in which the Regiment was attacked from both the front and rear but stubbornly held its ground and repulsed the enemy. Loss eight killed and twenty two wounded.

      "After lying at Goldsboro, N.C., until April 10, left for Raleigh, N.C., reaching there on the 13th and on the 14th started with the Fourteenth Army Corp for Cape Fear River to intercept General Jos. E. Johnston's retreat. On the 15th had one man killed and one wounded by rebel cavalry.

      "After the surrender of Johnston, the Regiment went with Sherman's ARMY to Washington, D.C., and took part in the grand review May 24, 1865.

      "Left Washington June 12 and arrived at Louisville, Ky., June 18, where the regiment was mustered out on July 12, and was discharged and paid at Chicago, Ill., on July 17, 1865.

      Thus Jacob was involved in Sherman's March to the Sea, one of the most spectacular scenes in the movie "Gone With The Wind".

      We know that Jacob returned with at least one spoil of the War: a cameo brooch, which he gave to his sister Elizabeth Tombow Groff. It has passe down in that branch of the family to this day and is in the possession of Virginia Jones Stawarz of Clinton, IA, a great grand-daughter of Elizabeth Tombow Groff. She writes to me in a letter, dated 17 August 1990:

      "The cameo was, according to the story told by my aunt and mother, found by one of great-grandmother's brothers as he returned home from the Civil War. He stopped to rest under a large tree during the heat of the day, and while he was sitting there, he spotted a small white package which contained the cameo. He carried it home and gave it to his sister.

      "The initials L M and the numbers 42 are scratched on the back of the stone- visible under light, but not deep enough to photograph. The letters are in a rather florid script."

      Attempts to photograph this tiny cameo for this history have only led to blurred images.

      But with the return of Jacob Tombow to Sterling in July of 1865 a curious Court Room Drama begins to unfold. His father, William Tombow, Jr., had died of a lingering illness three months before on April 18th. Not, however, without taking care of his soon to be widowed second wife, Fanny.

      William had converted Jacob's $480 bounty which Jacob had loaned him in October, 1864, into paying off the house at 1307 Third St. in Sterling while on his death bed.

      Here is the sworn testimony of Benjamin G. Weaver in the ensuing Court case brought by Jacob against his father's widow by his next of friend, Aaron Fluck, his sister Lydia's husband, because Jacob was still a minor.

      "My name is Benjamin G. Weaver, am 33 years old, reside in Sterling Township, Whiteside County, IL, and by occupation a farmer.

      "I was acquainted with William Tombow of said Whiteside County in his life time. I am acquainted with Jacob Tombow, the above named complainant.

      "William Tombow requested me to go to Dixon at the time Jacob Tombow enlisted into the U.S. Military Service and get his Bounty Money of him and let him have it and he would pay him six per cent interest for the use of it. I went to Dixon and received Four Hundred and Eighty Dollars ($480) in cash and his certificate of enlistment and gave the money and certificate to William Tombow. This was the 11th day of October, A.D., 1864. The certificate of enlistment which I received from Jacob Tombow and gave to his Father, William Tombow, called for Two Hundred Dollars County Order."

      An unusually generous act by Jacob toward his father considering that a month before he entered military service, he had been disowned by his father, according to the testimony of Alexander Zimmer quoted previously.

      The Court sided with Jacob, but Jacob was forced again to go to Court because of the failure of his step-mother and her attorney to pay him in a timely manner.

      The further details of this matter may be found in the chapter of this history on William Tombow, Jr.

      Jacob continued to lead a troubled life. His marriage to Jenny Zimmer, perhaps a relative of Alexander Zimmer above, failed. He married her in September, 1869, and was divorced in Whiteside County, IL on 1 July 1878, according to his pension papers.

      This marriage appears to have been one more in name than in fact. Married in September, 1869, he appears not to be living with his wife in the 1870 Federal Census for Whiteside County (entry 287/290, Mt. Pleasant):

      Jacob Tornbow, age 23, farm laborer. He is apparently living in a boarding house or hotel in this entry.

      The 1875-76 City Directory for Sterling, IL, notes he is a teamster, residing on the SE corner of 3rd and Fulton. No mention of a wife in this entry.

      The 1877-78 City Directory for Sterling notes he is a laborer residing on the north side of Prophetstown Rd., near McCune, Rock Falls. There is no indication of a wife.

      The 1870's were also a period of criminal trials and convictions for Jacob Tombow, which probably explains why he eventually changed his name to Jacob Miller to escape his past.

      On 8 June 1870 he was accused and convicted of stealing the horse and halter for it of Pharas Landis. The horse was valued at $100, the halter at $2.00. He was sentenced to three years in the Penitentiary on a felony conviction. (Whiteside County Circuit Court, Docket F, p. 224)

      Barely out of the Penitentiary, on 12 June 1874 he was accused of selling liquor to a minor, Samuel Benner, as the owner of a dram shop. (Whiteside County Circuit Court, Box 575)

      On 28 June 1879 he is charged with selling liquor without a license. in quantities less than a gallon. (Docket 1, p. 116, File 575).

      His divorce from Jennie Zimmer is recorded in Whiteside County Circuit Court Records (Docket I, p. 33, File #449) dated 1 July 1878.

      Jacob's Pension Papers indicate that there were no children of this marriage.

      His Civil War Pension records indicate that he spent about 10 years in Whiteside County before taking up residence in Mattoon, IL, in Cole County. However, the above court dockets indicate that the time was at least 15 years.

      On 22 February 1888 in Mattoon, IL, Jacob Tombow, now styling himself Jacob Miller married Fanny Nora Baker, born 31 March 1861 in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Daniel Baker and Mary Neff. (Pension Papers, Obituary in Mattoon Journal, 6 March 1936, and her death certificate)

      On 27 December 1888 they purchased their home on 1009 Champaign St., where they lived until their deaths. Jacob Tombow AKA Jacob Miller died 22 June 1920 in St. Mary's Hospital, Decatur, of sepsis from cystitis caused by an operation on the bladder for a tumor. He had worked a s a brakeman for the Big Four Railroads in Mattoon and was retired at the time of his death at 70. Fanny Nora Baker died 16 years later on 5 March 1936 of cancer of the spleen.

      Of this union there were no children. Fanny's will indicates that she left her estate to her nephews, nieces, and surviving brothers.

      Jacob Miller AKA Jacob Tombow/Tambo and his wife Nora Baker Miller are buried in Dodge Grove Cemetery in Mattoon, IL. Their graves are marked with a stone bearing the name of Miller. (Section 6, Division D, Lot 18) Fanny's mother appears to be buried in the grave just to the left of Jacob and Nora's graves. (Research in Mattoon on this line was done by Marylea Souers Degler, Route 1, Box 20, Mattoon, IL, 61938 in 1989.)

      In a letter dated 28 June 1989, Mrs. Degler notes that the Jacob Miller home at 1009 Champaign was still standing "just one street north of the railroad.... It has been recovered with vinyl and is in rather good condition."

      After a bad beginning, Jacob appeared to end his life productively and unobtrusively. But the rumors of his horse stealing reverberates down to the present day. Descendants of his Uncle John Tombow in Ohio talk to this day about the Tombow who changed his name because he was a horse thief. This writer's father often said that it did not pay to look into one's family because we might find we were related to horse thieves. The writer took this oft-repeated comment by his father as a joke. It appears that even in Olyphant, PA, where my father was raised during his childhood, Jacob's ways had come down also as a rumor in the family without a name attached.

      While Jacob could not spell his name at the time of his enlistment, when he applied for his pension, he was able to write his name in cursive. He spelled it "Tambo", unlike his brothers and sisters who spelled it either Tombow or Tombo. The "Tambo" spelling was also adopted by his nephew, William Tambo, living nearly a thousand miles to the east in Olyphant, PA, near Scranton. The remnants of this alternate spelling from William's line survive as "Tambeau", an alteration, noted else- where, started by this writer's father. In her book, Tambos Tombo Tombow, Dorothy Tombow Boulware believes the original Dutch Spelling of the name was Tambos, and that the final "s" got dropped by all subsequent bearers of the name, with the majority spelling it also as "Tombow". The reasons for these alterations in the name will probably require analysis by a Dutch-German linguist. No tradition has passed down in the family as to why the changes in the spelling of the name occurred.

      As obituaries, Jacob's pension papers, and the provisions of his wife Nora's will indicate that there were no children of this union, this line of the Tombow Family is extinct.

      Compiled by:

      Patrick L. Tombeau 2 May 1993