Part of the USA Today Network

Jacob Loucks; Family History of a Founder of the York Manufacturing Company

Jacob Loucks’ Four Generation Photo (1909 Photo from Ancestry.com)
Jacob Loucks’ Four Generation Photo (1909 Photo from Ancestry.com)

The company lineage of today’s Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency operations in York goes back through the following business names:

  • York International Corporation (1986-2005)
  • York Division of Borg-Warner Corporation (1956-1986)
  • York Corporation (1942-1956)
  • York Ice Machinery Corporation (1927-1942)
  • York Manufacturing Company (1874-1927)

It all started with the establishment of the York Manufacturing Company in 1874.  Other posts in this series on The Origins of the York Manufacturing Company include:

In 1874 six men in York, Pennsylvania, contributed resources to jointly form the York Manufacturing Company.  Stephen Morgan Smith contributed two washing machine patents valued at $20,000; since it was an already established product.  Oliver J. Bollinger held a patent on a turbine water wheel.  Bollinger shared the rights to his invention with three investors; George H. Buck, Robert L. Shetter and Henry H. LaMotte.  As a group, Bollinger, Buck, Shetter and LaMotte contributed the Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel patent for a $4,500 stake.  Jacob Loucks invested $10,000 in cash.  Henry H. LaMotte also gave the new company the use of a machine shop he owned on North Penn Street in York for an additional $7,000 stake in the company.

This is the beginning of a three part series on Jacob Loucks.  Of the original six, he was the only company founder that contributed cash in order to purchase raw materials and hire workers to get production started in the newly formed York Manufacturing Company.  Of the six founders, Jacob Loucks’ association with the company was the longest.

In this post I’ll delve into the family history of Jacob Loucks.  The October 1909, four-generation photo at the beginning of this post is from Ancestry.com.  The only other Jacob Loucks photo, that I’ve found, is from about ten years earlier; that photo at the York County Heritage Trust is not as clear and is in a less formal setting.

The four-generation photo includes: seated Jacob Loucks (1828-1912), daughter Clara Virginia Loucks Ebert (1857-1935), grandson William Elias Ebert (1880-1929) and great-grandson Michael Smyser Ebert (1907-1954).  If anyone has another photo of Jacob Loucks, especially from earlier days, please post a comment.


Jacob Loucks certainly has many illustrious family connections.  His son, George W. S. Loucks, was elected Mayor of York in 1893.  His grandson and namesake, General Jacob Loucks Devers, is best remembered as the Commanding General of the 6th Army Group in Europe during World War II.  His younger sister, Amanda Elizabeth Loucks, married Philip H. Glatfelter, founder of the P. H. Glatfelter Company, paper makers of Spring Grove, PA.

Family History of Jacob Loucks

Jacob Loucks was born in West Manchester Township, York County, PA on November 3, 1828.  He is the son of George and Susan C. Loucks.  About 1855, he married Catherine Elizabeth Slagle.  Catherine was born September 5, 1835.  Jacob and Catherine Loucks had five children.  Catherine (Slagle) Loucks died September 3, 1863.

Children of Jacob & Catherine Loucks

George W. S. Loucks (1856-1921)

Clara Virginia Loucks (1857-1935) married Albert M. Ebert

Anna Laura Loucks (1859-until after 1880)

Ella Kate Loucks (1860-1941) married Philip K. Devers

Sylvester Jacob Loucks (1861-1864)

The second marriage of widower Jacob Loucks, during about 1864, was to Mary E. Hauer.  Mary was born during 1839, she is the daughter of Jacob and Susan Hauer.  In 1852, it was Mary’s father Jacob Hauer who bought the forge buildings in Spring Forge (now Spring Grove) and converted them into a paper mill.  Jacob and Mary Loucks had three children.  Mary (Hauer) Loucks died during 1900.  Jacob Loucks died December 28, 1912.

Children of Jacob & Mary Loucks

Charles Edward Loucks (died June 28, 1865 at the age of 4 months, 5 days)

William H. Loucks (1866-1932)

Bird Hauer Loucks (1868-1928); he is the namesake of Bird Hauer, an older brother of Mary Hauer

To close out this post, I’ll touch on two of Jacob Loucks’ illustrious family connections; his son, George W. S. Loucks and his grandson, General Jacob Loucks Devers.  Part of what George Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, PA, Volume II, page 219-220, has to say about George W. S. Loucks follows:

George W. S. Loucks was born Sept. 29, 1856, at Hoffmansville, Baltimore Co., Md., and was educated in York County Academy under Prof. Ruby.  His grandfather, George, lived and died on the homestead farm, one mile from York; his father, Jacob, was a paper manufacturer.

The first employment of Mr. Loucks was with his uncle, P. H. Glatfelter, in the paper making business, where he remained three years.  He then, in 1877-78, went into business with his father, the firm being Jacob Loucks & Son, and began the manufacture of various small ice machines.  That business was the germ of the present York Manufacturing Company, which has grown to such gigantic proportions.  Mr. Loucks remained with the manufacturing company, through its various stages of development, until 1893, when he was elected mayor of York, for a term of three years, being the first Republican mayor of that city.

A Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission marker is along Roosevelt Avenue in York, PA.  It is located next to the boyhood home of General Jacob Loucks Devers and states:

Born and raised here, he rose to the rank of Four Star General, 1945.  The Army’s youngest Brig. Gen.  In 1940, he became commander of European operations in World War II and had a key role in the liberation of France, 1944.  Buried, Arlington National Cemetery.

General Jacob Loucks Devers
General Jacob Loucks Devers

A few selected quotes from Explore Pennsylvania web site’s story behind the marker:

Jacob Loucks Devers is not a name remembered by most Americans today.  But, by the end of the war in Europe in 1945, General Devers commanded an army group that made him equal in status to General Eisenhower’s two other army group leaders, the British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and American Lieutenant General Omar Bradley.

He [Jacob Loucks Devers] entered West Point and, after graduating 39th in the 103-man class of 1909, began his professional military career as a field artillery officer. In May 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected Colonel Devers as the senior member of a board formed to locate the bases that Great Britain would grant to the United States in the Lend-Lease exchange for fifty obsolete American destroyers.  A year later, General George C. Marshall picked Devers to command the armored forces training center at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

When the Allies crossed the Rhine in March 1945, Devers’ army group raced east and then south to Bavaria, where they occupied Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Munich, and Hitler’s nest at Berchtesgaden by the end of the fighting in May.  Along the way his troops also liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.

After retiring from the Army in 1949, Devers lived outside of Washington, D.C., until his death in 1979.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts