Jacob's biography appears in the History of Montana, 1894:
"Jacob E. Van Gundy, a prominent citizen of Deer Lodge and a Montana pioneer of 1865, dates his birth at Cincinnati, Ohio, October 9, 1834.
Mr. Van Gundy is of French and German descent. His father, Christian Von Gundy, was born in Alsace, France (now a part of Germany) in 1779, and was married in that county to Miss Catherine Ringenberg, a native of the same town in which he was born. In 1829 they imigrated to America, bringing with them their only child, Joseph. They rented a small farm of twenty-five acres, near the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the father was engaged in farming there up to 1840, at which time he found the farm too small to render a support to his family, and moved to Campbell county, Kentucky, where he purchased a much larger farm. On this property he resided up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1854, in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
Jacob E. VanGundy was thirteen years of age when his mother died, and after her death he returned to Cincinnati to live with a married sister, and attended school there for a time. When seventeen years of age he began life on his own account as a farm hand at $9 per month, and continued farm work until he was twnety. In 1855 he went to California, making the trip by way of the Isthmus of Panama and landing at San Francisco, from which port he went direct to the gold diggings in Sierra county. After mining a short time, and being unsuccessful, he secured a clerkship in a store and continued there until 1862. At that time he went to Washoe, Nevada, on a prospecting tour, after which he prospected for silver leads and tried quartz mining in Humboldt county, Nevada. Not meeting with success at that place, next we find him in October, 1864 at Silver city, Idaho, working for Marion Moore and Colonel Fagus, on the Oro Fino Quartz mines, at $3 per day and board.
In April, 1865, he and six others fitted up a pack train of horses and started form Montana, making the journey along Snake river, and keeping guard every night to protect themselves from the hostile Indians. The history of Mr. Van gundy's ealry life in Montana is not unlike that of many other pioneers of the state --going from camp to camp, lured on with the prospect of striking a rich find, and seemingly never discouraged. he first went to Virginia City, from there to Helena, and then to the Blackfoot country, finally locating a claim, from which, inthe language of the miner, he made "grub." William Cherry and John Ulery were his companions at this time. He afterward owned other claims at various points, and continued mining without any very great success until December, 1869, when, as the exposure and hard work were making inroads upon his health, he was obliged to give up mining. His next ventuer ws in a sloon business at Beartown, where he bought out James Talbott's establishment for $700. In four days from that time came the Cedar creek stampede and all who could left Beartown. This Mr. Van Gundy soon found himself $1,500 in debt and had every reason to be discouraged. While he was making preparations to leave in August of the same year, the tide turned, and Beartown enjoyed another season of prosperity; so that by November of that same year he was not only able to pay his bills but also had $1200 in cash. he continued in business there until 1873, when he sold out and paid $1,600 for a mining claim in Phelan Gulch, which he operated during the summer of 1874 with fair success and for some time thereafter.
In the spring of 1874 Mr. Van Gundy formed a partnership with Robert Fenner and established the Western Brewery at Deer Lodge. This partnership lasted until May 1, 1881, when our subect purchased Mr. Fenner's interest. The following year he made extensive improvements in the brewery and continued the business on a larger scale, selling his product in Butte City and Anaconda, as well as at Deer Lodge. In 1886 he sold a half interest in the establishment to Mr. Miller. In 1892 he leased Mr. Miller's interest, and has since been operating the brewery alone, find a ready market for his beer in his home town and the various towns along the Norther Pacific Railroad.
Mr. Van Gundy is still interested in mining operations, having invested largely in this enterprise. Among other mines in which he is interested is the Mammoth quartz mine, which is said to be of great value. Mr. Van Gundy is also deeply interested in the material improvement of the town in which he lives. In 1887 he built a fine brick block, 46x80 feet, two stories, and located in the center of the business portion of the town. The first floor is used for business purposes and the upper story is elegantly finished and furnished and occupied by the West Side Club. he also built the comfortable and attractive residence here which he and his family occupy.
Mr. Van Gundy was married, in 1879 to Mrs. C. C. Lyons, widow of H. H Lyons. She is a native of St. Joseph, Missouri. She has two daughters by Mr. Lyons: Cornelia May dna Evalina Montana, and she and Mr. Van Gundy have four children: Elmer Jacob, katie Alveretta, J. Emory, and Phebe May.
In fraternal organizations Mr. Van Gundy is prominent and active. For years he has been identified with the Masonic order, Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, and is Past High priest of the order. He has passed all the chairs of the I.O.O.F. and has represneted some of the orders in the Grand Lodge; is a Knight of Pythias;a nd is Past Master Workman of the A.O.U.W, and a member of the J. of H. and was one of the organizers of the Grand Lodge of the A.O.U.W in Montana,. Politically, he affiliates with the Republican party."
FROM: Anonymous Society of Montana Pioneers : constitution, members and officers, with portraits and maps
Montana: The Society, 1899, 296 pgs.
"J.E. VanGundy, son of Christian and Catherine (Ringenberg) VanGundy, born at Cincinnati, Ohio, October 8, 1834. Went to California via Panama Canal in 1855. Place for departure for Montana; Colorado; route traveled across the plains via Laramie and Soda Springs, arrived at Bannack in July 1863. Occupation: miner and merchant. Residence: Deer Lodge"
Residences & events:
8/16/1850 Cincinnati Wd 1, Hamilton Co, OH. Having lost their mother, Jacob and sisters, Susan and Mary, moved in with older sister Phoebe and Alexander Wightman so she could assume their care. The census taker found them there and recorded Jacob Vongundy at age 15.
6/15/1860 LaPorte, Sierra Co, CA. Jacob, 25, was listed in that census as head of the house but brother Joseph was there with his family. Both men were merchants.
1870 Beartown, Deer Lodge Co, MT territory. Jacob was the only Van Gundy in the county that year, according to the census. He was 35 and a saloon keeper.
6/26/1880 Deer Lodge, Deer Lodge Co, MT. By the next census, JE had married a younger woman with 2 children. He was 45 and a brewer. Cornelia, 25, and daughters Cornelia, 5, and Eveline, 4, were his only family.
6/2/1900 Same place. Again listed as JE, 65, his occupation was then liquor dealer. He had been married 20 years to Cornelia, 45, who had birthed 6 children, all living with them: Cornelia's daughters from first marriage to Mr Lyon, Cornelia, 25, and Eveline, 24; and Van Gundy kids, Elmer J, 19, Kate, 18, JE, 16, and Phoebe, 9.