Conrad Reinhardt

Conrad J. Reinhardt

Conrad Reinhardt 

Konrad Johann Reinhardt was born on 18 February, 1852 in Nusselock, Heidelberg, Baden, Germany to Johann Friedrich Reinhardt and Philippina Schuh.[1]  He married Anna Marie Schwebler on 26 April, 1877 in Evangelisch, Baiertal, Heidelberg, Baden[2].

On 14 February, 1878 they had their first child Eva Born in Germany.[3]  Their son Johann Konrad was born next in August of 1879 in Germany.[4]  Later in 1879 Konrad, Anna, and the children left their home in Germany for the United States.  My grandmother always said that Konrad left Germany because he deserted the German Army.  I have been unable to verify that story.  They boarded the ship Bergenland at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium and arrived in New York on 5 December 1879.[5]  .  From New York they traveled to Amana, Iowa arriving on 22 December 1879.[6] They settled in the South Amana village.[7]  In 1880, they had another daughter, Elizabeth, born in South Amana.[8]

In 1714 in Southwestern Germany two men started a religious movement which later became known as the Community of True Inspiration.  A group of people from this movement came to the United States in 1842 settling in the vicinity of Buffalo, New York.  They built four villages known as Middle Ebenezer, Upper Ebenezer, Lower Ebenezer, and New Ebenezer in New York State.  They also built two villages in Canada.  The Buffalo area was becoming quickly urbanized so the group sought land to west, and in 1854 purchased the sight of the present day Amana Colonies in Iowa.[9]

“After arrival in this county, the group adopted a religious-communal way of life, with all property held in common and with all church and secular decisions being made by the same leadership.”  The communal way of life lasted nearly a century until the people voted separation of church and state in 1932 adopting the free enterprise way of life that surrounded them.”[10]

There are six villages that make up the Amana Colonies –Amana, West Amana, South  Amana, High Amana, East Amana, Homestead,  Middle Amana.[11]

“Churches were unpretentious and were indistinguishable in appearance from homes and other buildings..  Inside they were white-washed walls, bare floors, and unpainted benches.   Regular church services were held 11 times each week – morning services Wednesday,  Saturdays and Sundays; afternoon services on  Sundays, and evening prayer meetings each day.  There were special services during Holy Week, and other special services for Ascension Day, Pentecost and the day after Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Easter. Women wearing black shawls and bonnets sat on one side of the church, men on the other. There were no musical instruments.  Hymns were sung and messages of the elders were from the Bible and from the testimonies of the founders and leaders of the church.  They urged peaceful, brotherly way of living in simple dignity and humility, faith in Christ, and belief in the word of God.”[12]

“Mother and baby stayed home until the child was two and went to Kinderschule.  The child would be in school from 8AM to 11AM and then would be home for lunch with the mother, not the communal kitchen. After lunch Children went back to Kinderschule. The Children went to Kinderschule until age seven.”[13]

“Children went to school from 7 to 14 or 15.  School was held 5½ days a week the year round.  There were breaks for weeding in the garden and harvesting, apples, potatoes, onions, etc.    School opened with prayer and Bible reading.  The three R’s were taught, reading, writing and arithmetic.  Instruction was in German except that geography was in English because all the names on the maps were in English.”[14]

“There was no cooking in the homes.  Families ate in groups of 30 to 60 at the communal kitchens.  There were a number of these in each village, and each kitchen had its own large garden.  The day began at 4:30AM when the hearth was lit with one match.  Water was heated for coffee, potatoes were fried, bread was slice, and butter and milk prepared for serving.  In the dining room the tables had been set the night before.  The bell rang for breakfast at 6AM.  The mid-day meal was at 11:30 and the evening meal at 6:30PM.  There were coffee breaks at 9AM and 3PM.  There were separate tables for men and women. Grace was said before and after meals and there was no talking during the meals.  Families with small children, the ill, or elderly carried food home in hinged or willow baskets.  The long tables were filled with food.  Meals included soup, meats, potatoes, and other vegetables, salads, sauerkraut and bread.  When men came from the factories for coffee break there was bread and cheese, and often radishes with the coffee.  The day ended with the girls and women doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and setting the table for the days breakfast, all tasks being completed efficiently so as not to be late for evening prayer meeting.”[15]

The Amana colonies appeared to be very self-sufficient.  They made or grew everything they needed.    “Some of the occupations for men were:  Barber, basket-making, beekeeper, blacksmith, brewery, broom-maker, butcher, cabinet-maker, carpenter, cooper (maker of barrels), calico factory, flour mills, harness maker,  lumber yard, lampshade maker,  locksmith, mason, stone/brick layer, whitewash man, machine shop, mail service (inter-village), molasses-sorghum mill, shoemaker,  saw mill, soap factory, store keeper (general stores), main and local office staffs, tailor shops, tanneries, umbrella repair, wagon-maker, watch-maker,  medical doctor, dentist, pharmacist, teacher, postmaster, railroad depot agent, farming.   For women:  Kitchens, communal gardens, kindergarten, (day care centers), after school supervisor, knitting, laundry, seamstress, woolen mills.  For boys:  Harvest apples, picking cherries, helping with harvest, etc.  For girls: Help in the communal kitchen such as shelling peas, pitting cherries, coring apples, etc.”[16]

“For individuals there was no cash income.  The Amana society gave you a house to live in, plus certain necessary items of furniture.  There were shops for every necessity of life, and there was a drawing account or allowance, not in cash but in credit established for you at these shops and general stores.”[17]

This will give you some idea what Konrad and Anna Marie’s life was like while they lived in Amana.  They left Amana in April of 1883 because they found no basis in the community.[18]

My grandmother said that her grandfather’s sister started the Amana Colonies.  We have visited Amana and went to the museum there.  Amana Colonies in Iowa were settled in 1854 just two a year after Conrad was born.  If his sister had anything to do with the settling of Amana, she would be way older than Conrad.  I do not think this story is true.  However, it is likely that they knew someone there, perhaps a relative.   I enjoyed seeing items in the museum that were similar to things my grandmother had in her home.  We had quilts my great-grandmother made with the same pattern as the quilts on display in the museum.  We ate at a German restaurant and it was just like eating my Grandmother’s cooking.  Grandma probably learned it from her mother (Eva) who learned it from her mother (Anna Marie).  The art of German cooking was lost on my mother and me.

In 1910 when Anna Marie passed away her obituary stated that she was a resident of Ottawa, Illinois for the past 25 years.[19]  This would mean that they came to Ottawa in 1885.  I do not know where they lived between 1883 and 1885.   In 1886 they have a daughter, Emma, born in Ottawa Illinois.[20] Next, Frederick, a son, is born in 1887 in Ottawa[21], followed by Anna born in 1889 in Ottawa,[22] and Agnes in 1891 in Ottawa.  In 1888 they start to appear in the Ottawa, Illinois City Directories.[23] Conrad was a shoemaker and had his own shop in Ottawa, Illinois.[24]

There are not many family stories about Conrad and Anna.  My grandmother visited and stayed with them sometimes when she was child.  She talked about them with love.  My cousin, Pat, told me that Anna had a nervous breakdown at one time.  Their daughter, Annie, was mentally challenged and died at the young age of 30 from Chronic Gastroenteritis.[25]

During their life in Ottawa, Illinois, they lived at 311 W. Main Street, 1251 Phelps, 1415 Kansas, 802 Lafayette, and 1011 Pine Street[26]

Anna Marie passed away on 11 June 1910.[27]  She was a member of the Zion Evangelical Church.[28]  Anna is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, Illinois.[29]

Conrad died in Chicago at his daughter, Elizabeth’s apartment[30] on 6 July 1922 of Myocarditis and Chronic Intestinal Nephritis.[31]  His body was shipped from Chicago to Ottawa by train for the funeral at the Gladfelter Undertaker establishment.[32]  Conrad is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, Illinois alongside his wife Anna.[33]

*Note:  Conrad Americanized his name from Konrad to Conrad.

Copyright © 2017 Gail Grunst


[1] Germany Birth and Baptisms, 1558 – 1898,  LDS Library, Salt Lake City, Utah,  microfilm # 1183248 Page 377 #2.

[2] Germany Marriages, 1558 – 1929,  LDS Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, microfilm # 1272787.

[3]  Baden Germany Lutheran Baptism, 1502 – 1985[database on-line]. Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data:  Mikrofilm Sammlung.

[4] Year: 1880; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: 345; Family History Film: 1254345; Page: 146D; Enumeration District: 201

[5] Germans to America(Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[6] Amana Church Membership Records, in archive collection of the Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[7] Year: 1880; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: 345; Family History Film: 1254345; Page: 146D; Enumeration District: 201

[8] Birth record for Elizabeth Reinhardt, Iowa County Births 1880 – 1835Index (

[9] Bourret, Joan Liffring-Zub and John Zug, Amanas yesterday: a religious communal society: a story of seven villages in Iowa: historic photographs 1900 – 1932. IA City, IA: Penfield Press, 2003


[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] August Koch manuscript, Archives Collection, Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[19] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois, 13 June 1910, Vol XXXII no. 291. Pg 4.

[20] “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994,” database, FamilySearch( : 17 May 2016), Emma L Mataway, 18 Aug 1956; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .

[21] “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 12 December 2014), Fred Reinhardt, 1917-1918; citing La Salle County no 1, Illinois, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,614,034.

[22] Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940,” database, FamilySearch( : 12 December 2014), Anna Reinhardt, 28 Apr 1889; Birth, citing Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,710,998.

[23] Ottawa Illinois City Directories, Ottawa, Illinois 1888, 1891, 1894,1895,1898, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906,1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, at LaSalle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, Illinois 61350

[24] Year: 1920; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 5, La Salle, Illinois; Roll: T625_379; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 141.  Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).

[25] Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, LaSalle County,  Ottawa City, Registration District 513, Primary Dist No,. 3361, Registration No 44, LaSalle County Clerk, LaSalle County Courthouse, Ottawa, Illinois.

[26] Ottawa Illinois City Directories, Ottawa, Illinois 1888, 1891, 1894,1895,1898, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906,1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, at LaSalle County Genealogy Guild, 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, Illinois 61350.

[27] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

[28] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois,Vol XXXII no. 291, 13 June 1910, Pg 4.

[29] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

[30] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, IL, Vol XLVI, no 5, Friday Evening 7 July 1922 (front page).

[31] Certificate of Death, State of Illinois,Cook County, City of Chicago, Registration # 17200.  Illinois State Archive, Springfield, Illinois.

[32] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, IL, Vol XLVI, no 5, Friday Evening 7 July 1922 (front page).

[33] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5855.

2 thoughts on “Conrad Reinhardt

  1. I always enjoy your posts. It is amazing how you can dig out all the details. Denise and I have visited the Amana colonies and the food is fabulous! Actually similar to the Czech food we both grew up with…and a lot more variety. Museum was excellent and a visit to the furniture factory showed so much I would like to own. Too expensive for our budgets. Keep up with your posts. Always enjoyable.

  2. Pingback: Heirloom Quilts | Family Tales from Gail

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