From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 348-349
The well known gentleman for whom this sketch is prepared hails from the sunny land of France, the home of his ancestors for generations beyond the memory of man. He is the son of Nicholas Zahm, a shoemaker by trade, and Elizabeth (Garhart) Zahm, both of whom came to the United States in the year 1828, landing in the city of New York on the 4th day of July of that year, and immediately thereafter settled in Wayne county, Ohio.
Jacob M. is one of nine children, five sons and four daughters, he being the only member of the family living in the county of Huntington. He was born March 3, 1828, and with the exception of the period of infancy referred to spent the first ten years of his life in Ohio, moving thence with his parents to the county of Perry in the same state, where he lived till reaching the age of thirty-five. In his youth Mr. Zahm learned the carpenter's trade, following the same with varying success until his removal, in 1863, to Huntington county, Indiana, since which time he has been engaged in agricultural pursuits. On coming to Huntington township he purchased a part of the place where he now lives, and since then has added to his realty, being now the possessor of one hundred and forty-three acres in the home farm, twenty-nine acres in another place, and a third farm consisting of about forty-seven acres, all well improved.
Mr. Zahm was married, May 6, 1849, to Miss Mary E. Braddock, a native of Pennsylvania, who has borne him a large family of children, fourteen in all. Eight of the number are now living. Mr. Zahm furnished his children with most liberal educational facilities, and nearly all of them have acquired distinction as scholars. John, the oldest living, was graduated at Notre Dame University, South Bend, for twenty-six years has been a priest and for the past two years a provincial; Tracy E., a talented artist, teaches painting and drawing in Austin, Texas, being assistant in a church school at that place; Albert F., professor of physics in the Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C., was educated at Notre Dame, and is also an Alumnus of Cornell and Johns Hopkins Universities, receiving from the latter the degree of Ph. D.; Lewis, also a well educated gentleman, is one of the leading merchants of Huntington; Pius J. is a farmer of Huntington township; Anna P. is a Sister at Notre Dame; Ida F. is the wife of George Moore and lives on the home farm; Julia S. is also devoting her life to deeds of charity as a Sister, being at this time connected with St. Mary's School, Notre Dame; Simon S., educated for the priesthood, but compelled to abandon that sacred calling by reason of failing health, is now deceased.
The mother of these children died December 18, 1884, and on the 29th day of January, 1889, Mr. Zahm's second arriage was solemnized, with Agnes Braddock. At the time of his first marriage the sum total of Mr. Zahm's earthly wealth was the munificent sum of fifty cents in money, and he was compelled to go in debt for his wedding suit. The condition confronting him at the time was anything but encouraging, but with an energy born of a determination to succeed he overcame the adverse circumstances besetting his way and laid the foundation for the competency he now enjoys. He has been successful in all the term implies, not only in things material but also in things intellectual and spiritual. In the matter of worldly wealth his holdings represent valuable realty in various parts of the county; also in the city of Huntington, besides a considerable volume of personal property; but, in the higher concerns of mind and soul, he is the possessor of riches which the world cannot give, neither can it take away.
Mr. Zahm's acquaintance is extensive, and all who have the privilege of his friendship hold him in high esteem for his many sterling qualities of manhood. From early youth he has manifested a commendable and enthusiastic zeal for the church in which he was born and reared, and his contributions to the same in the persons of his several children dedicated thereto to mark him as a man of high and lofty religious convictions. In private life he is a courteous gentleman, manifesting in his intercourse with his many friends the characteristics and temperament of the genial race to which he belongs.
By deeds of kindness extending through a long period of years he has won and retained strong personal attachments, and though having passed his seventy-third milestone on the journey of life is still in possession of his faculties, physical and mental, and bids fair to round out many more years of a happy green old age.