Heirloom Quilts

002    003

This weeks topic for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  is Heirloom. 

I have several things that have been handed down to me mainly from my mother’s side of the family.  Today I want to focus on two quilts made by my great-grandmother, Eva Reinhardt.  My great-grandmother came to America from Germany  with her parents in December 1879 when she was 21 months old and her brother John was four months old[1]. Eva’s parents, Conrad and Anna Reinhardt, settled in Amana, Iowa.[2]  I always wondered what attracted them to the Amana Colonies.  Did they belong to the Community of True Inspiration in Germany?  I don’t know the answer to this yet.  Usually people tend to settle in places where they have relatives or friends.  Who did Conrad and Anna know in the Amana Colonies?  As it turns out Conrad had an Aunt that lived in Amana.  Maybe there were others as well, however at this point I can only find the aunt.   

Aunt Elisabeth Schuh came to the Ebenezer Society in September 1847 at age 16 and then to Amana in October 1863.[3] She did not come with her own family, but came with the Bortz family with the intention of going to live in Galion, OH.[4]  According to the Bortz family, Elisabeth’s parents did not approve of her relationship with a certain boy and shipped her to America.[5]  She is described as 6’ 2” tall and 225 lbs.[6] or a person of size and strength.[7]  Elisabeth spent her life in Amana and it appears she never married.  Elisabeth Schuh was born on May 26, 1831 in Nussloch, Baden, Germany[8] and died on May 25 1908 one day shy of her 77th birthday.[9]  She is buried in the Amana Cemetery in Amana, Iowa.[10]

Conrad and Anna only stayed in Amana a little over three years and then moved to Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[11]  Eva was five years old at this time and spent the rest of her youth in Ottawa, Illinois.  She became a milliner and seamstress.  Her daughters, Helen and Frances, inherited her seamstress skills.  Frances earned her living sewing first in a sweat shop and later in bridal shop.   My grandmother, Helen, was a housewife and sewed for her family.  She made quilts out of my mother’s old dresses and mine too.  I liked to looking at them and remembering the dresses.  Unfortunately, those were not given to me, and I don’t know what happened to them.

In 1985 my mother and I made a research trip to Amana, Iowa and visited the Amana Heritage Museum.  I saw many items in the museum like my grandmother had in her home, but what really grabbed my attention were the quilts.  They were just like the ones made by my great-grandmother Eva.  Now when I look at these quilts that I inherited, I think of my heritage, Eva, and Amana, Iowa.

If you would like to read more about the Reinhardt Family see the following blog posts.

Conrad Reinhardt

Great Grandmother Eva  

John Conrad Reinhardt

Aunt Liz’ Secret Life

Aunt Emma’s Two Lives

Aunt Agnes a Love Story

Remembering Grandma

Memories of Aunt Fran

Thinking of Uncle Ralph

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


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

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

[3] Amana, Iowa,  Amana Heritage Museum, Anderson Cards, the Koch Verzeichnis

[4] Amana, Iowa, Amana Heritage Musuem, The Bortz Family

[5] Amana, Iowa, Amana Heritage Musuem, The Bortz Family

[6] Sabetha, Kansas, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday,  December 8, 1936, page 4.

[7] Amana, Iowa,  Amana Heritage Museum, Anderson Cards, the Koch Verzeichnis

[8] Amana, Iowa, Amana Heritage Musuem, The Bortz Family

[9] From Find-a-grave website: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2228228/memorial-search?firstName=elisabeth&lastName=Schuh&page=1#sr-106053138

[10] https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2228228/memorial-search?firstName=elisabeth&lastName=Schuh&page=1#sr-106053138

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

John Conrad Reinhardt

John C. Reinhardt

In December 1879 four month old John Conrad Reinhardt landed in New York from Germany aboard the ship Bergenland  with his parents and older sister Eva.[1]  From New York John and family traveled to Amana, Iowa, and settled in South Amana.[2]  John was born in Baden, Germany on 10 August 1879[3] to Conrad John Reinhardt and Anna Marie Schwebler.[4]  They lived in South Amana from December 1879 to April 1883.[5]  At this time it is unknown where the family lived between 1883 and 1885 when they settled in Ottawa, Illinois.   John grew up in Ottawa, Illinois, the son of a shoemaker,[6]  where he was confirmed and became a member of the German Church of Illinois now the United Church of Christ.[7]  I don’t know when he left Ottawa to strike out on his own, however in 1910, John lived alone on a farm in Salamanca, Cherokee, Kansas.[8]  According to his marriage license in 1912 he lived Columbus, Cherokee, Kansas[9] which is the nearest city to Salamanca Township, and only about 30 miles from Carthage, Missouri[10] where he married Nina Lynn of Sarcoxie, Jasper, Missouri on 10 July 1912.[11]  Nina was 16 years his junior.[12]  After they were married they lived in Canada for a year and then settled in Sabetha, Nehama, Kansas.[13]  When John first came to Sabetha he was employed by Ernest Meeh, who owned a meat market.[14] After the World War I, Mr. Meeh returned to New York, and John bought the meat market from him.[15]  John and Nina had five children, Eugene born in 1913,[16] followed by Alice in 1915,[17] John Julius in 1917,[18] Ada in 1919[19] and Mark in 1921.[20] In February 1942 John became seriously ill and spent a week in a coma before passing away on the 24th.[21]  For three years prior to his death, he suffered from two strokes and was in poor health.[22]  Nina lived for 48 years after John’s death.[23]  Nina passed away on 24 May 1990 and is buried in the Sabetha Cemetery[24] along with her husband John.[25] 

In case the note above is not readable, there is a transcription below.

 reinhardt Meat Market

August 15, 1930

Dear Sister Liz and Tim,

Your birthday greeting received.  Maybe but only maybe I might drive up there for a day or 2.

John

Had some rains here corn looking fairly good.

Liz was John sister Elizabeth Reinhardt Farrell and Tim was her husband.

Copyright© 2017 Gail Grunst

______________________________________________________________ 

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

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

[3] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday February 25, 1942.  John Reinhardt Obituary.

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

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

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

[7] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday February 25, 1942.  John Conrad Reinhardt Obituary.

[8] Year: 1910; Census Place: Salamanca, Cherokee, Kansas; Roll T624 434; page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0039 FHL microfilm:  1374447.   Ancestry.Com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2006.

[9] Ancestry.com. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007.  Original data:  Missouri Marriage Records, Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives.

[10] Mapquest.com https://www.mapquest.com/directions/list/1/us/ks/columbus-282022909/to/us/mo/sarcoxie

[11] Ancestry.com. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007.  Original data:  Missouri Marriage Records, Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives.

[12] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday, May 30 1990, page 7.  Nina Reinhardt Obituary.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday February 25, 1942.  John Reinhardt Obituary

[15] Ibid.

[16] Year: 1920; Census Place: Sabetha, Nemaha, Kansas; Roll: T625_540; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 134.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Year: 1930; Census Place: Sabetha, Nemaha, Kansas; Roll: 713; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0023; FHL microfilm: 2340448

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.

[21] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday February 25, 1942.  John Reinhardt Obituary

[22] Ibid.

[23] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday, May 30 1990, page 7.  Nina Reinhardt Obituary.

[24] Ibid

[25] Kansas, Sabetha, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday February 25, 1942.  John Reinhardt Obituary

 

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

[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 (https://Familysearch.org).

[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

[10]Ibid.

[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(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRN-D8VZ : 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(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6DL-3XZ : 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(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2LZ-4LN : 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:  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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.

Great-Grandmother Eva

Eva Bowers

Eva Bowers

Today I’m honoring my great-grandmother Eva Reinhardt.  Eva was born in Heidelberg, Baden, Germany to Johann Konrad Reinhardt and Anna Maria Schwebler on February 14, 1877. [1] Eva came to the United States when she was almost two years old.[2]  Her brother John was born on the boat.[3]  Her first home in the United States was in Amana, Iowa.[4]  They spent a few years in Amana and then moved to Ottawa, Illinois where Eva grew up with her brothers and sisters.[5]  I’ve already written about her sisters, Emma, Liz, and Agnes.  It seems that all of them lived interesting lives.  Eva grew into a young woman and sometime around 1896 she married Robert Bowers also of Ottawa, Illinois.[6]  The family story is that Robert and Eva ran off to Chicago to be married.  I have never been able to find a marriage record for them in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. According to family stories, Robert’s family never accepted Eva as his wife or acknowledged that any of the children were Roberts.  I started to wonder if they were ever really married and that is why Robert’s family didn’t want anything to do with Eva or their children.  However, when Robert’s father died, Robert and Eva as his wife signed a quit-claim deed to a piece of property to Robert’s mother.[7]  I was told that if they were not married, Eva would not need to sign the quit-claim deed.  Perhaps they were married somewhere other than Chicago.  Robert and Eva had three children, Ralph born in 1897,[8] Helen in 1898[9] and Frances in 1900. [10]  Shortly after Frances was born Robert left Eva.  Again family stories say they were divorced, however I have never found divorce records for them.  In 1900 Eva was on her own and had to make a living for her and her three kids.  According to the 1900 census she and two of her children are boarding with Enoch and Anna Lindstrom and her occupation is Milliner.[11]  One of the children missing is my grandmother, and I haven’t been able to figure out where my grandmother was living.  I checked the logical place with her maternal grandparents and she is not with them.  I remember my Aunt Fran talking about how her mother sent her to live with some people in Wisconsin and when her mother went to get her back, the people didn’t want to give her back.  I don’t remember Aunt Fran’s age when this happened, but Aunt Fran said she loved these people and didn’t remember her mother anymore.  So she didn’t want to leave them, however Eva got her back.  Maybe she sent my grandmother, Helen, to live with someone before she sent Frances to live with someone else.  I’m sure financially things were hard as there was no welfare or food stamps for single mothers in those days.  Sometime later she moved to Chicago where she took in boarders and was a dressmaker.  They moved to Oklahoma for a while and were in Oklahoma when it became a state.[12]  Eventually they came back to Chicago.  According to my grandmother, Eva married a man by the name of Andrew Schmidt.  He was supposed to be a doctor.  I have not found evidence of this marriage either.  Unfortunately, when my grandmother told these stories I was young and not into genealogy so I didn’t ask questions.  Now I wish I had dates of this supposed marriage.  They divorced too, however Eva didn’t use the surname Schmidt.  Eva went by the surname Bowers until the day she died.  She managed to support her children and they all adored her.  She died in 1941 and according to her death certificate she was widowed[13]  I never knew her, but not only did her children adore her so did her grandchildren.  I have some quilts she made and some candle stick holders that belonged to her.   I hope one day to find answers to questions that linger about her mysterious marriages and divorces.

Quilt made by Eva

Quilt made by Eva

Another quilt made by Eva

Another quilt made by Eva

________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Certificate of Death for Eva Bowers;  State of Illinois, Department of Public health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois, Registration Number 34633. Date of death: December 23, 1941; Place of death: County of Cook, City of Chicago.

[2] Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filbry, ed., Germans to America: List of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, Volume 34 October 1878 – December 1879; ( Wilmington, Delaware, Scholarly Resources,1993), Page 106.

[3] Ibid

[4] Conrad Reinhardt household, 1880 U. S. Census, Amana, Iowa; Roll 345; Family History Film 1254345; page 146D; Enumeration District 201; Image 0155.

[5] From family stories told to this author.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Quit-claim deed record from Robert Bowers and Eva Bowers, his wife to Alexena Bowers, City of Ottawa, County of LaSalle, state of Illinois; deed book 448, page 167.  LaSalle County Illinois Genealogical Guild collection.

[8] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[9] Delayed Record of Birth for Helen Bowers, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statics, LaSalle County, City of Ottawa, State of Illinois, Date of Birth: December 3, 1898, Dated August  7, 1957.

[10] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[11] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[12] Story told to this author by Helen Bowers Kaiser.

[13] Certificate of Death for Eva Bowers;  State of Illinois, Department of Public health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois, Registration Number 34633. Date of death: December 23, 1941; Place of death: County of Cook, City of Chicago.

Copyright ©2015 Gail Grunst

Bower’s Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 9

Ethelyn Bowers

Ethelyn Bowers

Around 1876 or 1878 Ethelyn was born in Ottawa, Illinois to Charles and Alexena Bowers. The 1880 Census has Ethel 4 years old.[1]   Cemetery records have her born 1878.[2]  In 1902 Ethelyn worked for W.C. Vittum as a manager of the insurance department, [3]  and around 1925 Ethelyn married W. C. Vittum.[4]

“W.C. Vittum engaged in the real estate and insurance business in Moloney building.  He came to Ottawa from Galesburg in 1888 and opened “China hall” at 722 LaSalle Street, which he conducted for 10 years, disposing of it in 1898 to enter his present line of work.  Mr. Vittum was one of the original directors in the Ottawa Development Association and has always taken an active part in efforts to build up Ottawa.  His latest and greatest achievement was the battle which he successfully waged single handed to steer the new LaSalle County Electric Railway out of financial difficulties in which it had become involved and place on a solid foundation.  It seems certain that before the close of 1913 this line between Ottawa and Mendota will be in operation. Mr. Vittum’s parents were D.W and Harriet (Childs) Vittum and he was born in Canton, Illinois, May 13, 1859.  In 1883 he married to Miss Nannie G. Hollister, of Champaign, Illinois, and they have one daughter Nina who is the wife of  Dr. Alva Sowers, of Chicago.”[5] W. C. Vittum’s wife Nannie died in 1923.[6]

Ethelyn died March 14, 1935 in Ottawa, Illinois.[7]  She is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[8]  W.C. Vittum died in 1939 and is buried next Ethelyn.[9]

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst

______________________________

[1] Year: 1880; Census Place:  Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page: 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81 Image: 0554.  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005

[2] Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, OttawaAvenueCemetery, Ottawa LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth, June 20, 1878, Date of Death March 14, 1935, Burial March 16, 1935; Burial location: OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record: #8542.

[3] OttawaCity Directories 1901-1902.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[4] Year; 1930; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 532; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 68; Image: 77.0.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc. 2002.

[5]Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of OttawaIllinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 142

[6] Cemetery Record for Nannie D. Vittum, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth 1860, Date of Death 1923; Burial location: BU, 5K (N ½), Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record:  # 2565.

[7] Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, OttawaAvenueCemetery, Ottawa LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth, June 20, 1878, Date of Death March 14, 1935, Burial March 16, 1935; Burial location: OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record: #8542.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Cemetery Record for William C. Vittum, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois, Date of Birth 1860, Date of Death 1939, Burial February 13,1939; Burial Location:  OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record # 8537.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 8

Genevieve Bowers

Genevieve Bowers

Genevieve Bowers was born in 1877 to Charles Bowers and Alexena Frazier in Ottawa, Illinois.[1] Genevieve grew up in Ottawa Illinois and graduated from Ottawa High School in 1896.[2]  After graduation she worked as a stenographer for the Marseilles Manufacturing Company.[3] The Marseilles Manufacturing Company of Marseilles, Illinois manufactured power corn shellers and windmills.

In 1898 Genevieve was hospitalized for appendicitis and was operated on at RyburnHospital in Ottawa.[4]  She was unable to recover from the surgery and died at just 21 years of age on July 2, 1898[5] and is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois.

I found it sad that she only lived to age 21 and had not had a chance to experience all that life has to offer.

Genevieve's Obit

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst


                [1] Cemetery Record for Genevieve L. Bowers; Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; Date of Birth; July 31, 1877; Date of Death July 2, 1898; Cemetery Card: CCY-TS; Burial Location: OT, 18-7; Record # 8541.

                [2] Obituary for Genevieve Bowers; Republican Times, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; July 4, 1898. Obituary File at the LaSalleCounty Genealogy Society, 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois61350.

                [3] Ibid.

                [4] Obituary for Genevieve Bowers; Republican Times, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; July 4, 1898. Obituary File at the LaSalle County Genealogy Society 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois 61350.

                [5] Ibid.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 7

Robert Bowers

Robert Bowers

Robert F. Bowers was born April 5, 1873 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1] Robert was the third child born to Charles and Alexena Bowers.[2]  Little is known about Robert Bowers life because my grandmother, Helen Kaiser, never knew her father.  It is assumed that he went to school at least through grade school. He probably attended Washington School on York Street between Pearl and Congress Streets,[3] a couple of blocks from his home at 543 Chapel Street.[4]  Church records list a Robert Bowers as an Organ Blower in 1887.[5] Helen Kaiser always said her father was a musician.[6]  Although an organ blower is hardly a musician.  An organ blower supplies air to the bellow by working a handle up and down, with a “tell tale” to regulate their efforts.[7] Later that year in September church records list a Robert Frazer Bowers as living in the County 12 miles.[8]  Robert would be 14 years old by this time and most likely out of school and working.  Maybe he was working 12 miles outside of Ottawa.  His middle name listed as Frazer (his mother’s maiden name) in the church records.[9]  This is interesting because according to Helen Kaiser his middle name was Frances and her sister Frances was named after him.[10] 

Some time around 1896 Robert married Eva Reinhardt also of Ottawa.[11]  The story is that they ran away to Chicago to be married.[12]   I have been unable to find a marriage record for Robert and Eva, but I did find a Quit-Claim Deed recorded as Robert F. Bowers and Eva F. Bowers, his wife, selling three lots in Ottawa to Alexena Bowers for one dollar. This proves that they were married.[13] If they were not married, there would be no need for Eva to sign the deed.  In June of 1897 their first child Ralph was born,[14] followed by daughter, Helen, in December 1898 [15]and another daughter, LaVon Frances, in February 1900.[16]  Shortly after Frances was born they separated and eventually divorced.[17] [18]  I have been unable to find a divorce record too.

The 1900 census lists a Robert Bowers living in Peoria, Illinois as a boarder about 25 years old and his occupation is listed as a painter.[19]  One of the people he is living with is listed as a carriage painter.[20]  Robert worked as carriage painter in Chicago.[21]  The 1900 census lists him as single.[22]  By 1913 at the time of his death he had lived in Chicago for 12 years.[23] According to his death certificate Robert died on March 4, 1913 in Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.[24]  His body was shipped to Ottawa, Illinois for funeral services at his mother’s house and burial in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[25]

 

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst

___________________________________________

[1] Headstone inscription for Robert Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois (OT, 18-7 grave #) Footstone: Robert

[2] Year: 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois Roll T9_223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page 516. 1000; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0553.  Ancestry.com and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

[3] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 174

[4]Ottawa City Directories 1884, 1888, 1894.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[5] First Methodist Church of Ottawa, Illinois Official Records 1876 -1889. LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[6] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981.

[7] From website:  http://www.nzorgan.com/vandr/blowers.htm

[8] First Methodist Church of Ottawa, Illinois Official Records 1876 -1889. LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[9] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Tract Index Book, Recorder of Deeds Office, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, Book488, Page 167,  Microfilm at the LaSalle County Genealogical Guild 115 W. Glover St., Ottawa, Illinois 61350.

[14] Ralph Bowers listed in Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Social Security Administration.  Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[15] Delayed Record of Birth for Helen Bowers 3 December, 1898 (filed 7 August 1957) file number 204857, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records, Springfield, Illinois.

[16] Frances Beck listed in Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Social Security Administration.  Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[17] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981

[18]  Year 1900; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 4, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll T623 317; Page: 64; Enumeration District: 76.  Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004

[19] Year 1900; Census Place: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria Illinois; Roll T623 334; Page 9B Enumeration District: 98. Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[22] Year 1900; Census Place: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria Illinois; Roll T623 334; Page 9B Enumeration District: 98. Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

[23] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[24] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[25] Obituary for Robert Bowers, Daily Republican times, Ottawa, IL VOL XXXV No. 208, Wednesday Evening, March 5, 1913, p1 (Front Page).

Bowers Family 1757 – 1955 Part 3

Charles Bowers

Charles Bowers

Charles was born in 1828 in Terrington-St Clements, Norfolk, England to Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford.[1]  Charles’ mother died when he was just a little over two years old.[2]  Charles grew up in England with his father and brothers.  One wonders if Bonnet had help with the care of the children.  There were aunts and uncles living in Terrington-St. Clements perhaps they helped.

Charles left England when he was just 21 years old. He left Liverpool, England on February 1, 1851 with his father Bonnet Bowers aboard the sailing ship Conqueror of New York.[3]   If Charles had friends or family already in the United States they might have paid for his passage.  If his passage was not previously paid he would have to pay his passage and make the best bargain he could with the passenger-brokers.  The competition in this trade was very great, and fares varied from day-to-day, and even from hour to hour, sometimes as high as 5 pounds per passenger in the steerage and sometimes as low as 3 pounds 10 shillings.[4]

Charles’ experience immigrating to the United States was probably much like the following description of the typical emigrants experience leaving England through Liverpool.  “Notices were placed though out Liverpool with dates of sailing.  Most of the ships were owned and operated out of New York.   The average number of steerage passengers accommodated by most ships at that time was 400, but some had room for double that amount.  After the emigrant had chosen the ship that he would sail on, he had to bargain with the “man-catchers” a class of persons who received commission from the passenger- brokers for each emigrant they brought to the office of the passenger-broker.

The emigrant’s next duty was to present himself to the medical inspector.  A medical practitioner appointed by the emigration office of the port had to inspect the passengers to check for contagious diseases.  When the emigrant and his family had undergone this process, their passage-ticket was stamped, and they had nothing further to do until it was time to board.

The scene at the Waterloo dock in Liverpool, where all the American sailing ships were stationed was very busy at all times, but on the morning of the departure a large ship full of emigrants was particularly exciting and interesting.  Many of the emigrants boarded twenty-four hours before departure bringing quantities of provisions, although the government supplied the emigrants with liberal provisions to keep them in good health and comfort.

The following is the list of provisions provided by the government per week.

2 and ½ lbs of bread or biscuit

1 lb wheaten flour

5 lbs oatmeal

2 lbs rice

2 oz tea

½ lb sugar

½ lb molasses

3 quarts of water daily

On the day before sailing and during the time that a ship may be unavoidable detained in dock, some of the immigrants played the violin or bagpipes for their fellow passengers.   Young and old alike would dance and party.

A large number of spectators were at the dock-gates to witness the final departure of the ship full with anxious immigrants.  As the ship was towed out hats were raised, handkerchiefs waved, and people shouted their farewells from shore and the emigrants waved back from the ship.  It was at this moment emigrants realized this would be their last look at the old country.   A country in all probability associated with sorrow and suffering, of semi-starvation, never-the-less it was a country of their fathers, the country of their childhood, however little time was left to indulge in these reflections.

The ship was generally towed by a steam tug five or ten miles down the Mersey.  During this time the search for stowaways is done and a roll-call of passengers.  All passengers except those in state cabins were assembled on the quarter-deck.  The clerk of the passenger-broker, accompanied by the ship’s surgeon called for tickets.  A double purpose was answered by the roll-call, the verification of the passenger-list, and the medical inspection of the emigrants, on behalf of the captain and owners.  The previous inspection on the part of the governor was to prevent the risk of contagious disease on board.  The inspection on the part of the owners is for a different purpose.  The ship had to pay a poll tax of $1.50 per passenger to the State of New York; and if any of the poor emigrants were helpless and deformed, the owners were fined in the sum of $75.00 for bringing them and were compelled to enter in a bond to New York City so that they did not become a burden on the public.  The emigrants then settle in for the long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.[5] After almost 3 month of sailing across the ocean, Charles arrived at the Port of New York on April 21, 1851.[6]  Before 1855 there was no immigrant processing center.  The shipping company presented a passenger list to the Collector of Customs, and the immigrants made whatever customs declaration was necessary and went on their way.’[7]

Robert and his wife, Rhoda, followed to the United States in November 1851 aboard the ship Emma Field.[8] Robert, his wife, and Bonnet settled in Syracuse, New York[9].  At this time, I cannot find when Richard came to the United States, however he is found living in Syracuse, New York in 1870[10]

In 1855, just one year after Charles arrived in Ottawa, it became a chartered city.   “Ottawa, Illinois is situated at the junction of the Fox and Illinois rivers, nearly the geographical center of LaSalle County.  The Fox enters the Illinois from the northeast and with its rapid currents feeds the Chicago and Illinois Canal, which follows the banks of the Illinois River.  In 1854 Ottawa had about 4,000 to 6,000 inhabitants.  The bridge over the Illinois River was under constriction connecting South Ottawa with the main city on the North.  Ottawa was and still is the LaSalle County seat.  In 1854 Ottawa had a mill on the Illinois River that turned out 100 barrels of flour per day.  Ottawa also had a foundry, two large machine shops, and other large manufacturers.” [11]

The same year(1854) that Charles came to Ottawa, he applied to become a United States Citizen in the LaSalle County Circuit Court. 12]   I often wondered what brought Charles to Ottawa, Illinois when it appears that his brothers and father stayed in New York.  I recently found that his step-brother William Linfor(d) was living in Ottawa, Illinois in 1854.[13]  You can read my post “Finding Brother William” published November 24, 2012 on this blog.  I assume that Charles came to Ottawa because he knew William Linfor.                      

Statue of Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Statue of Lincoln-Douglas Debate

On August 21, 1858 the first Lincoln-Douglas debate took place in Ottawa at the stand in Washington Park.[14]  I wonder if Charles attended and what his thoughts were about the two men.  He was not yet a United States citizen so he could not vote.  He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in January 1859.  He signed his naturalization papers with an X indicating he could not write.[15]

In 1860 Charles is found living in Lisbon, Kendall County, Illinois working on a farm and living with a family by the name of Leach.[16]  Charles bought a house In 1868 on the corner of Chapel and York Streets (543 Chapel Street) in Ottawa, Illinois for $1,000 cash from William K and Ellen M. Stewart of Ottawa, Illinois.  The house sits on a high bluff across the street from the Fox River.  It is located in a rather well-to-do area of Ottawa surrounded by Victorian houses.  Charles’ house is rather modest compared to houses around it.[17]  The house had living room, dining room, kitchen, parlor, storage room, and one bedroom on first floor.  The second floor had four bedrooms and bath (bath may have been added later).[18]

In December 1868 Charles married Alexena Frazer.[19]  They had five children Richard, Elizabeth, Robert, Genevieve, and Ethelyn.[20]   There may have been two children who died as infants.  According to Ottawa Avenue Cemetery records there is an E. E. and a J.A. Bowers buried in grave one.[21]

Charles worked as a janitor for the East Ottawa Public School.[22]  He and Alexena lived at 543 Chapel Street in Ottawa.[23]  He was a member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows for over 30 years.  He was a kind-hearted man, patient with children and liked by everyone.[24]  Charles died in 1897 and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, in Ottawa, Illinois.[25

Bowers' Family Headstone

Bowers’ Family Headstone

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst                        


[1]Baptism for Charles Bowers baptized on 2 October 1828; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[2] Burial record for Eliza Bowers (wife of Bonnet Bowers) buried on 22 January 1831. Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Terrrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah:  filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[3]Year: 1851; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm roll M237_107; Line: 26; List number: 1664. Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[4] GEN UKI UK and Ireland Genealogy web site.  Extracts from an article printed in the Illustrated London News on Saturday July 6th 1850. It is a contemporary account of the procedure of Emigration from the port of Liverpool to the New World and the Colonies.

[5] GEN UKI UK and Ireland Genealogy web site.  Extracts from an article printed in the Illustrated London News on Saturday July 6th 1850. It is a contemporary account of the procedure of Emigration from the port of Liverpool to the New World and the Colonies.

[6] Year: 1851; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm roll M237_107; Line: 26; List number: 1664. Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[7] GEN UKI UK and Ireland Genealogy web site.  Extracts from an article printed in the Illustrated London News on Saturday July 6th 1850. It is a contemporary account of the procedure of Emigration from the port of Liverpool to the New World and the Colonies.

[8] Year: 1851; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm serial M237; Microfilm roll: M237-107; Line: 26; List number 1664.  Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006 Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington D.C.

[9] Year: 1860, Census Place: Onondaga, Onondaga, New York, Roll: M653_829, Page 579; Image: 367. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA. The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1438 rolls.

[10]Year: 1870 Census Place: Syracuse Ward 7, Onondaga, New York; Roll M593_1063; Page: 464; Image: 239. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003. Original data: 1870 United States Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington D. C. National Archives and Records Administration, M593, RG29. 1761 rolls.

[11] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 39.

[12] Declaration of Intent (naturalization) for Charles Bowers, LaSalle County, Illinois,  Circuit Court, LaSalle County, Illinois Courthouse, Ottawa, Illinois; Book 2, Pg. 227.

[13]  (Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227. 

[14] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 45.

[15] Final naturalization record for Charles Bowers.  LaSalle County Illinois, Circuit Court LaSalle County, Illinois  Court House, Ottawa, Illinois; Book E, Pg. 85.

[16] Ancestry.com 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Eight Census of the United States, 1860, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration 1860, M653.               

[17] Author’s personal view of the house after visiting the area and seeing the house first hand in July of 2008.

[18] Probate File of Elizabeth A. Bowers Record A-6 page 176.  In possession of the LaSalle County Genealogical Guild, 115 Glover W. Glover, Ottawa, Illinois.

[19] Marriage License and certificate for Charles Bowers and Alexena Frazer.  License issued November 25, 1868, office of the clerk of the county, LaSalleCounty, Ottawa, Illinois.  Marriage date December 2, 1868 by Abraham R. Moore, Minister of the Gospel, filed with the LaSalle Illinois, CountyClerk office, LaSalle County Courthouse, Ottawa, Illinois.

[20] Year: 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T9 223: Family History Film 1243112; Page 516.10000, Enumeration District 81; Image: 0553.

[21] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery records; Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, Record number 8539, Cemetery Card CCY-TS, Burial location OT18-7

[22] Year: 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T9 223: Family History Film 1243112; Page 516.10000, Enumeration District 81; Image: 0553.

[23] Ottawa Illinois City Directories 1866 – 1912.

[24] Obituary for Charles Bowers: Republican Times (Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois) February 18, 1897.

[25] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Records: Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. Record number 8539, Cemetery Card CCY-TS, Burial location OT18-7

Aunt Agnes a Love Story

Art and Agnes

Art and Agnes

Aunt Agnes was one of my grandmother’s three aunts.  Agnes Reinhardt was born in 1891 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1]  She was the youngest of seven children.[2]  She was only seven years older than her niece, my grandmother.[3]  Agnes grew up in Ottawa Illinois with her parents, brothers, and sisters.  Aunt Agnes is listed as living in Ottawa on the 1910[4] census and in a 1911 city directory,[5] after that I lose her for a few years.  In 1920 at age 28 she married Arthur Lightfoot in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.[6]  He lists his occupation on the marriage record as a Traveler.[7]  The first thing that came to my mind was, “What kind of occupation was a traveler?”  I thought maybe he was a gypsy (just kidding).  I think it was a term used back then for a traveling salesman.  Later census records list him as a salesman.[8]  I have no idea how they met or why they got married in Detroit.  His resident on the marriage record is listed as Indianapolis, Indiana and hers is Ottawa, Illinois.[9] On the 1930 and 1940 census records, they are living in Chicago, Illinois.[10] [11]  Also on his WWI and WWII draft cards he is living in Chicago.[12] [13]  At some point in time, they moved to Hartford, Connecticut.  Arthur was born and raised in Connecticut.[14] When I was a child, I knew that Aunt Agnes lived in Connecticut.  Aunt Agnes and Art came to visit us a couple of times from Connecticut.  Arthur died in 1957 in Connecticut,[15] and some time after his death, Agnes moved back to Chicago.

Aunt Agnes would come to visit us on some weekends and holidays.  In her old age, Aunt Agnes was flamboyant.  She wore a lot of makeup, her hair was bleached blond, and she wore a lot of jewelry.  The jewelry had big stones and was gaudy.  One time I was looking at a bracelet she had on with big stones.  She asked me if I liked it.  I didn’t want to insult her so I said, “yes.”  She took off the bracelet and handed it to me, and told me I could keep it.  I was around 13 years old at the time.  I thanked her, but knew I would never wear it.  I didn’t like it.  After she had gone home, my mother confiscated it, and put in her jewelry chest.  The bracelet was in my mother’s jewelry chest for years.  I don’t know what ever became of it.

Aunt Agnes would come out to our house by train or bus and sometimes we would drive her back to Chicago.  One time when we drove her back, when we got to Clark and Belmont near where she lived, she said, “Now I can relax, I am home.”  I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t relax at our house.  Our house was in the suburbs and it was nice, quiet, and safe compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.  I thought it would be easier to relax in the quiet and calm of the suburbs.  Until I started delving into her life, I thought she and her husband always lived in Connecticut after they were married.  I also had the impression that they were rich.  Not sure how I came to these conclusions.  So I was surprised to learn that she lived in Chicago, most of her married life. I doubt that he became rich as a salesman.

I think Aunt Agnes probably had the most normal life of the three sisters.  I gave this posting the title Aunt Agnes a love story because I truly believe that Aunt Agnes loved her husband and he loved her. She talked about Art all the time.  I hope they loved each other, they were married 37 years.  They had no children.  I have wondered if Aunt Agnes had a previous marriage, but haven’t been able to find any other marriage records for her.  I found no illegitimate children or any thing unusual.  I believe she led a very ordinary life and loved her husband.   She died in Chicago, IL in 1978 at 87 years old.[16]  She had a good long life, and I am glad I got to know her before she died.  As always, I wish I had asked her more questions about her life and family, but I wasn’t interested in Genealogy at that time.  So now I can only go on a few memories and documents.  I hope I did her justice today, since I had so little to go on.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] “Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[2] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978

[3] State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records; Delayed Record of Birth, State file # 204857; Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Helen Dorothy Bowers, December 3, 1898.

[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 5, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T624_301; Page: 11A’ Enumeration District: 0129; Image:  ; FHL microfilm:1374314.  Ancestry.com.  1910 United States Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2006.

[5] McCoy Ottawa City Directory 1911 – 1912 The McCoy Directory Company, Publishers and Compilers, 411 Brown Building, Rockford, Illinois. Agnes Reinhardt page 140.  Ancestry.com. U. S. City Directories, 1821 – 1989 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[6] Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[9]  “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[10] Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[11] “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[12] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917- 1918,” index and images.  FamilySearch(https://familysearch.orgpal:/MM9.1.1/K6DX-DDG) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1917-1918.

[13]“United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V1KW-8GM) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1942.

[14] “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9QK-KZZ) Arthur A. Lightfoot in entry for Arthur Lightfoot, 1900.

[15] “Connecticut, Death Index, 1949 – 2001.” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VZPP-1XL) Arthur A Lightfoot, 1957.

[16] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978.

Aunt Emma’s Two Lives

Emma age 19

Emma age 19

My grandmother had three Aunt’s, Aunt Emma, Aunt Liz, and Aunt Agnes.  Each one had an interesting life.  I wrote about Aunt Liz in my blog dated 4/13/2013.  Today I am writing about Aunt Emma.

Emma Reinhardt was born on June 6, 1885 in Illinois.,[1] [2]  Emma was raised in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois along with her two brothers and four sisters.  Not much is known about Emma’s early life.  In 1910 at age 25 she married Dr. Fredrick L. Orsinger[3] who was 33 years her senior.[4]  He had been married before and had five children with his first wife who died in 1903.[5]

Fredrick L. Orsinger came to the United States from Germany in 1871.  He arrived in Chicago on the same day as the Chicago Fire.  He decided not to stay in Chicago at this time and went to LaSalle, Illinois to work in his Uncle’s bakery.  He later opened a pharmacy in LaSalle and practiced medicine.  He studied medicine and surgery in Zurich, Switzerland and Paris, France.   He later spent five years studying medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, and later had a years experience working at Cook County Hospital. [6]   He had quite a colorful life too.  I am not going to write about it at this time as I would like to concentrate on Emma’s life.  I will write about his life in more detail at another time.

My grandmother had told me that the Reinhardt’s and Orsinger’s were friends.  I know there was an Orsinger’s Bakery in Ottawa.  I don’t know if they had another one in LaSalle or if the source is wrong about the location of the bakery.  However, Emma would have not been born yet when he came to LaSalle County.  By the time she was old enough to get married he was living in Chicago.  So how they got together is unknown.  I’m guessing that they knew each other because the families were friends.  I still can’t help but wonder how her family felt about the age difference, and how his children felt as some were older than Emma.  My grandmother would say with disgust in her voice, “Aunt Emma married old Doc Orsinger.”  They lived in Chicago and he practice medicine in Chicago. Dr. Orsinger died in 1925.[7]

In 1933 Emma married Iber Mataway in Chicago.[8]  He was from Iran and changed his name when he was naturalized from Isaac Abraham to Iabry Abraham Mataway.[9]  They must have led a quiet life.  I can’t find them in many records.  He was 12 years her junior.[10]  She went from some way older than her to someone quite a bit younger than her.

I’ve had a hard time finding them on any census records.  I do know they lived on a farm in Wisconsin.  I also know they lived in an apartment in Chicago, Illinois.  My mother loved Aunt Emma and she would stay with her sometimes in Chicago and on the farm in Wisconsin when she was young.  I believe they lived in Chicago, then moved to the farm in Wisconsin, and then moved back to Chicago.

I have a letter that Emma wrote to her sister Liz.   I will try to transcribe it as written with mistakes and all. 

Sat Mch. 1 – 1947 

Dear Eliz,

            Just a few lines, as we are trying to get ready to go to Saxon to shop.  We got your package yesterday.  Everything was swell.  And thanks so much.  So what do I owe you for groceries.  The shirts will come in handy this summer at laying time. Even good enough to go to town in as you don’t have to dress up so much around here.  Gosh, I’ve been rushing around, the oil man came first thing this morning, I was just about out of bed.  Iber was milking, then I had to look after him.  By the time he filled all the tanks and checked them, Iber came in for breakfast, and now I just got thru with the dishes, milk pails, and strainers.  Iber has been hauling hay everyday.  He got 4 or 5 tons of hay very cheap, but has to haul it himself.  It keeps a person busy, but it isn’t bad.  Well, I don’t know if you can say March came in like a loin or not.  It was quite warm this morning, but now it has turned a little cooler and is snowing that fine snow.  So I hope it doesn’t get too bad until we get back at least.  Well, I was so surprised at that article of Fred Orsinger.  It was funny, I opened the box and I thought it was just some paper you stuck in for a filler.  Then a couple of hours later, I was straightening everything up, so I looked again and was looking at the man with the alligator.  And, I said to myself that man reminds me of Doc.  He combs his hair just like he did.  So I threw it in with the rest of the papers.  When Iber came in he happened to see it, and asked me what he was doing with an alligator.  I said oh I don’t know let me see.  Well, when I read it, I started to laugh.  No wonder he minded me of Doc.  That was so funny.  He is quite a big shot.  Gosh he is getting old.  I figured he would be about 70. 

I suppose you received my last letter.  I too wish poor Tim could at least be able to go into the other room.  I may be down sometime in the middle of April if nothing happens.  Then he had better get up or I’ll pull him out of bed.  I hope Mrs. Fox is home by morn, poor soul.  I suppose she feels quite alone since he is gone.  Is she going to stay there in the apartment.  Have you heard yet from Mark.  Iber says to tell Tim to keep his chin up.

I do wish Iber could make a trip to Chicago.  Well, we’ll see how things turn up.  He needs a change.  I feel guilty when I go all the time.  I guess Clara is going to stay in her apt. for a while.  Well, if I have forgotten anything I’ll write it next time.  I must get ready.  Iber is almost thru shaving. 

Love to you both and God Bless you as ever.  Emma & Iber 

The Fred Orsinger she mentions in the letter is the son of her late husband.  I am posting the original letter here.

Letter from Aunt Emma 2

Letter from Aunt Emma 3

Letter from Aunt Emma 1Letter from Aunt Emma 4

I remember visiting Aunt Emma a couple of times in her apartment in Chicago.  She made a doll bed for me out of a wooden cigar box.  I wish I had a picture of it.  She painted it white and it had a headboard.  The legs were cloths pins (the old fashioned wood ones) cut down so only the top curved part was used for the legs.  She made a little mattress and pillows.  She made a blanket and crocheted a bedspread for it.  I loved it and had it for a long time.  I found instructions for making one on the Internet, and also found pictures, but none that looked as good as mine.  Mostly what I remember of Aunt Emma was a very nice old lady and the doll bed.

I think the first half of her life was probably more eventful than the last half.  Being married to “Old Doc Orsinger” must have been very eventful from some of the things I have read about him.  Like I said, that is for another time.  The second half of her life being married to Iber, her life was quiet.  Reading the letter, her life was just about the ordinary every day things like the weather, washing dishes, milk pails and strainers.  The exciting time was going to town.  I wish I knew more about her life.  As far as I know, she never had any children to carry on her legacy.  I hope I helped a little to carry on her legacy today.

Aunt Emma, my mom, Aunt Liz 1943

Aunt Emma, my mom, Aunt Liz 1943

Emma died on August 18, 1956, and Iber died in 1974.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Emma Reinhart’s birth date June 6 came from Helen Kaiser’s (her niece) date book.

[2] 1900 United State Census entry for Emma Reinhardt.  Original data:  United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900.  Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration 1900 T623 1854 rolls.  Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census.  [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry Operations, Inc.,2004.

[3] Joseph Seymour Curry, Chicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth, volume 4 (Chicago:  The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912), Pgs. 624 – 628. Digitized by Google.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Find-a-grave website at www.findagrave.com

[8]Ancestry.com.  Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1920 – 1960  [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

[9] Naturalization Record for Iabry Abraham Mataway name chanced at naturalization from Isaac Abraham. Ancestry.com. US Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791 – 1992 (Indexed in World Archive Project) [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry Operations, Inc., 2010.  Original data: Selected U.S. Naturalization Records.  WashingtonD.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

[10] Ibid.