Jacob Baer, the son of Jacob Barr and a Miss Staufer, was born in Germany in January of 1794. He married Margaretha Gerlap on 16 Oct 1819 in Germany. The family emigrated from Obersulzen to America in 1845, bringing their five children with them. They located for a time in Pennsylvania, but they soon moved to Ridge Prairie, St. Clair, IL. On 14 Oct 1848, Jacob bought 138.2 acres of land for $1300 in T2N R7W. During the cholera epidemic of 1852, Jacob's wife, son Johannes, and son-in-law Jacob Langenwalter all died, and a cemetery was started on the Baer farm. Unfortunately, this cemetery no longer exists.
The first Mennonite Church services held within St. Clair county were held on the Jacob Baer farm in Ridge Prairie, in the home of Jacob's son, Christian Baer, on 27 Apr 1856. Christian Detwiler from Bavaria served as the minister.
Church services were held alternately after that, every two weeks, in the Baer home and in the home of Barbara Strohm Ruth and her second husband John Kraemer, four miles southeast of Summerfield, St. Clair, IL. In 1858, a Mennonite church building was begun in Summerfield.
Descendants of Jacob Baer continue to farm in the Summerfield area, and a database of all of his descendants, when found, is being maintained by Jim Bridges, the author of these webpages.