He was of Jewish extraction, was converted to Christianity when about 21 years of age, and united with the Lutheran Church. He had studied medicine, and on his arrival in the United States in 1838 he settled as a physician in Cincinnati. In 1839, he was converted to Christianity by the German-American evangelist William Nast (1807-1899), who founded the German Methodist Church in this country. Ludwig Jacoby felt compelled to do mission work and Nast sent him west. Ludwig married Joanna Margaretha Theresia Amelia Nuelsen (1814-1889) in 1839 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1849, at his own request, he was sent to Bremen, Germany, to introduce Methodism there, and met with good success. There, for 22 years, he labored as presiding elder, editor, publishing agent, and superintendent. In 1872 he returned to the United States, was stationed at St. Louis, and in 1873 was made presiding elder of the St. Louis district.
He published many sermons, etc., in both English and German, his chief works being:
- Geschichte des Methodismus, seiner Entstehung und Ausbreitung in den verschiedenen Theilen der Erde (“History of Methodism and its origins and propagation in different parts of the globe,” Cincinnati, 1855)
- Letzte Stunden, oder die Kraft der Religion Jesu Christi im Tode (“Last hours, or the power of the religion of Jesus Christ in death,” 1874)
- Kurzer Inbegriff der christlichen Glaubenslehre (“The essentials, in brief, of Christian teaching”)
- Biblische Hand-Concordanz (“Compact Biblical concordance”)
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