Jacob Klee (1823-1894) immigrated to the United States in 1846 from Miesenheim, Germany. He traveled by steamboat from New Orleans, Louisiana, and landed in Pittsburgh the following year. Having spent his boyhood in Coblenz, Germany, a city at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, Klee said he was taken with the similar confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh and settled here permanently. “Over six feet in height and with a beard and ruddy cheeks, he was one of the most physically impressive Jews in Pittsburgh,” Jacob Feldman wrote in The Jewish Experience in Western Pennsylvania, A History: 1755-1945.
With his brother Joseph Klee and an in-law Simon Kaufman, Jacob Klee started Klee, Kaufman & Klee, a retail clothing business in old Allegheny City. The partners later dissolved the company and the brothers subsequently formed J. Klee & Brother, a wholesale clothing venture. Later, each brother opened an independent business. Before going into heavy industry, Maurice Falk was a partner of Jacob Klee.
Shortly after becoming an American citizen, in 1854, Jacob Klee traveled to his native Germany, where he met Lena Hirsch (1835-1903). They married and settled in old Allegheny City. They were among the founding families of Rodef Shalom Congregation.
Jacob and Lena Klee had ten children, Karoline, Rose, Benjamin, Simon, Tinnie, Bertha, William, Sigmund, Mollie and Hattie. Tinnie Klee married Isaac W. Frank.