Today is the birthday of the Indiana physician, naturalist, and botanist Jacob Schneck who was born on this day in 1843.
After his service in the Civil War, Jacob decided to educate himself by going to school to become a teacher. After teaching for a short period, he decided he wanted to become a doctor. His teaching jobs allowed him to put himself through medical school
Jacob loved plants, and he spent as much time as he could in the field of Botanizing. His quick curiosity and cleverness enabled him to observe a feature regarding some species of red Oaks. Jacob noticed that the acorn from one species of red Oak was quite distinctive. He shared his discovery with a fellow botanist named Nathaniel Lord Britton. Britton agreed with Jacob’s observation, and he named the oak in his honor, calling it the QuercusSchneckii(ii = "ee-eye"). But most people just call it the Schneck Oak.
Jacob put together a collection of various types of wood for an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Jacob died at the age of 63. His funeral was reported to be the largest ever held in Mount Caramel Illinois
Newspaper accounts indicated he had been battling pneumonia but still had gone out to tend to his patients. His efforts probably cost him his life.
“No man in Wabash county had endeared himself to so many people as had Dr. Schneck. Year after year he had gone about in our midst, quietly doing his great work for humanity, turning away now and then to investigate some scientific question, especially in the realm of botany, his favorite study, and one in which he had acquired a national reputation.”
After Schneck died, his collection of specimens, stones, shells, and fossils was put on display at the Carnegie public library in 1934.
When he was alive, Jacob spent a great deal of time fashioning cases and containers to display his collection. Each specimen was labeled in Dr. Schneck’s impeccable handwriting.