Ruckel, Jacob (Ruckle)

Born: 1816-XX-XX New York

Died: 1903-01-24 Springfield, Illinois

Alternate name: Ruckle

Jacob Ruckel was a furniture maker, upholsterer, home decor businessman, and one-time clothier. In 1836, he moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he and his brother, Daniel, opened a cabinet, furniture, and upholstering business south of the public square. Abraham Lincoln ordered a custom-made, seven-foot long sofa from them, which he used in his Springfield law office for a time. Daniel made the sofa, and Jacob upholstered it. The brothers also built coffins on demand and offered the use of a hearse, horse, and driver as needed. By April 1839, they sold their store and Jacob had formed a clothing-selling business with Richard H. Beach. In April 1842, Jacob married Laura A. Stone, with whom he eventually had at least five children. By February 1846, he was again working as an upholsterer as well as a paper hanger. Despite all his business endeavors, by 1850 he had just $600 in real estate. By November 1857, he had a new business partner and a business that had expanded into the manufacture and sale of not just upholstery and wallpaper, but into house and sign painting, glazing, and the sale of items such as mattresses, cushions, and window shades— indicating the growing demand in Springfield for middle-class furnishings. This business appears to have flourished, as, by 1860, his personal wealth had significantly increased to a personal estate valued at $2,000 and real estate valued at $4,500.

Erika Nunamaker, "Lincoln's Pursuit of 'Egalitarian Refinement': Evidence from His Mahogany Sofa," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 28 (Winter 2007), 39-41; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 19 May 1838, 2:6; 12 April 1839, 3:6; 26 April 1839, 2:6; 26 February 1846, 2:7; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield, IL), 19 November 1857, 2:4; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 21 April 1842, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 109-10; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Springfield, Sangamon, IL, 128; U.S. Census Office, Ninth Census of the United States (1870), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 205; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.