BEIDLER, JACOB A. (2 Nov. 1852-13 Sept. 1912), a prominent coal merchant and politician, was a pioneer in the "back-to-the-farm" movement. Born near Valley Forge, Pa., son of Israel and Mary (Latshaw) Beidler, he graduated from Lock's Seminary at Norristown, Pa. at 21. He then came to Cleveland and began a coal dealership. He was active in the coal business over 40 years as president of the East Goshen Coal Co.; the Burton-Beidler-Phillips Coal Co.; and the Rhodes & Beidler Coal Co. He also organized the Belle Vernon-Mapes Dairy Co.; was vice president of the CLEVELAND, PAINESVILLE, & EASTERN RAILWAY; and was a director of the Painesville Telegraph-Republican.
Beidler began his Republican political career during Jas. G. Blaine's 1884 presidential campaign; later he served on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL. A political feud between Beidler and JAS. R. GARFIELD resulted in Beidler's election to Congress representing Cuyahoga, Lake, and Medina counties in 1900. Beidler had already moved to Belle Vernon, his Willoughby, Ohio, farm, where he raised Guernsey cattle in advocacy of the back-to-the-farm movement, which stressed the value of a rural, agrarian lifestyle. As a congressman, Beidler obtained 75 rural free delivery routes for his district; supported the good-roads movement; and helped veterans obtain their pensions. Beidler was reelected in 1902 and 1904 but retired in 1907, when he was appointed to the Ohio Board of Agriculture.
He married his wife, Hannah, in 1885 or 1886. They had 4 children: Mary, Mabel, Joseph, and Dudley. Biedler died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.