Tag Archives: Illinois

Is there a Doctor in the Family?

Standard

ytomgxzjcA while back, I wrote about my Great-Great Aunt Emma Reinhardt.  When doing research on her, I decided to search for her first husband.  There was so much information on him that I decided to write a separate post about him.  If you like you can go back and read my previous post about Aunt Emma’s two lives.  She married Dr. Frederick L. Orsinger on 2 September 1910.[1]  He was 33 years older than Emma.[2]  He had five children with his first wife, Lena, some older than Emma.[3]  His first wife Lena died in 1903.[4]  I can remember my grandmother would say with disgust in her voice, “Aunt Emma married that old Doc Orsinger.”  As a child I never questioned it.  I knew by my grandmother’s tone of voice she did not like him, but never asked any questions.  It really didn’t matter because this was long before I was born.  The Aunt Emma I knew was a kindly old woman who was now married to a very nice man.  When I went to enter her information into my family tree software, I wanted to be as accurate as possible, so I started looking for “Old Doc Orsinger”.  Well, between Ancestry.com and Google, I came up with a lot of information.  Of course, I always would like more.  “Old Doc Orsinger” seems to be a colorful character to say the least.

“Frederick L. Orsinger was born in Baden, Germany on 8 March 1852.  At four years old he started attending school in his native town until age 14 under the priests of the parochial school.  At age 15 he went to Austria where he studied for a year.  He later spent a year and half in school in Switzerland studying medicine in Zurich.  In 1870 he completed a course in medicine and surgery in Zurich, Switzerland, and from there went to Paris, where he studied for six months. In 1871 he came to the United States and landed in Chicago on 9 October 1871 the same day as the Chicago Fire.  He decided not to stay in Chicago because of the destruction caused by the fire.   He headed for LaSalle, Illinois where he worked in his Uncle’s bakery.  While in LaSalle he purchased a drug store and engaged in the practice of medicine.  He realized that college training in America would prove valuable to him, and studied five years at the college of physicians and surgeons in Chicago, from which he graduated.  He gained experience during a year at Cook County Hospital”.[5]  Sounds like quite a resume doesn’t it?  But then I started to find articles in periodicals about Dr. Orsinger starting about 1903.

Here are some of the articles I found:

  • The Medical News: A Weekly Journal of Medical Science Vol 83, No 1, (New York) Saturday, July 4. 1903, Pg. 274. “Injunction secured by Dr. Orsinger – Dr. Fredrick L. Orsinger has secured an injunction restraining the State Board of Health, Justice Chott and his constable from causing imprisonment or enforcing judgement of $100 and costs secured against him for violation of medical Laws.”[6]
  • Journal of the American Medical Association – Medical News Vol 44, April 1, 1905. Pg. 104 “Fined for Illegal practice – Dr. Fredrick L. Orsinger on March 24 was fined $200 for practicing without a license. The prosecution was undertaken by Chicago Board of Health.”[7]
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol 44 Jan – June 1905 Pg. 1124 (Chicago: American Medical Association Press, 1905) “Sues state board – Dr. Frederick L. Orsinger, formerly of LaSalle, who claims to be a graduate of Zurich, Switzerland, 1870 and has a diploma from the eclectic institution of April 1904, has asked the state board of Health be compelled by writ of mandamus to issue him a certificate to practice medicine in the state. On March 24 the appellant was fined $200 for violation of the medical practice act.”[8]
  • Bulletin Vol 6 Numbers 1-5 January-May 1910. Dr. F. L. Orsinger Makes New Move in Fight for License. Physician Refused Permit to Practice after Failing in Examinations. Dr. Frederick Leo Orsinger’s long continued fight to be permitted to continue the practice of medicine in Illinois without a state license took a new turn yesterday, when he obtained from Judge Walker in the circuit court a temporary order prohibiting the State Board of Health from prosecuting him.  The question of dissolving the order or making it permanent will be argued today. The Order was issued upon the recommendation of Master in Chancer, Albert W. Brickwood, who according to Attorney Charles G. Hoffman, representing the State Board of Health is the attorney of record for the plaintiff in two actions recently instituted by the National Medical University against the Board.  Sues to Compel Recognition. One of these is a suit for $500,000 damages because of the Board’s refusal to recognize the University.  The other is for a writ of mandamus to compel such recognition.  According to Dr. Orsinger’s bill of complaint, he has been practicing medicine in Illinois since 1872 and is a graduate of the medical schools of Zurich, Switzerland, and of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago.  In July 1908 he secured a writ of mandamus directing the State Board to issue him a certificate entitling him to practice.  Board refuses to obey. The board refused to obey the writ, and during last February the mandamus order was vacated and the court held against Dr. Orsinger.  His appeal now is before the Appellate court. “Dr. Orsinger has twice taken the state examination,” said attorney Hoffman, “and has twice failed (Chicago Tribune April 17).  Dissolves Restraining Order.  Court Ends Temporary Injunction Granted Dr. F. L. Orsinger against State Health Board. In the circuit court yesterday Judge Walker dissolved the temporary restraining order which he issued last Friday against the State Board of Health upon the petition of Dr. Frederick Leo Orsinger.  It was held by the court that Dr. Orsinger’s fear of being prosecuted by the Board for practicing medicine without a license was not sufficient reason for issuing an injunction.  Dr. Orsinger was allowed five days in which to amend his petition (Chicago Tribune April 18).[9]
  • Illinois Medical Journal: the official organ of the Illinois State Medical Society Vol 18, July to Dec 1910. Pg. 262, George N. Krieder, M.D., editor “Dr. Fred L. Orsinger, 750 W. Congress, who is said to have fought the State Board of Health for thirty two years against taking out a license to practice medicine, was indicted by the June grand jury of Cook County on the charge of having performed an operation on Pauline Sproc, which resulted in her death.”[10]
  • June 16, 1910, Mrs. Paulina Sproc, a 35-year-old immigrant from Bohemia, died in a Chicago home from an abortion that had been performed on June 5. W.L. Orainger (F. L. Orsinger) was held by the coroner’s jury. The source document doesn’t indicate that the case ever went to trial.  George N. Krieder, M.D., editor [11]
  • March 13, 1917 – From the Chicago Police Department Homicide Records 1870 – 1930. Schofield, Mannie L. Age 33 – died from an abortion at 325 Robey St., operation performed by Fred L. Orsinger, who with F. Schofield (her husband) were held by the coroner 3/15/17.  5/8/20 Orsinger acquitted.[12]
  • X-BUTCHER, NOW DOCTOR, IS HELD FOR WOMANS DEATH. Dr. Fred L. Orsinger, who the Chicago police say, is a former butcher and an ex-convict, was held last night after the death of Mrs. Minnie L. Schofield, 325 South Robey Street Physicians at the county hospital say she died from a criminal operation and Identified Dr. Orsinger shortly before she died. Thomas F. Schotield, husband of the victim, also was held. He admitted introducing Orsinger to his wife, but denied knowing of the alleged operation. Chicago Livestock World[13]

These articles raised more questions about the doctor.  Was his complaint against the Board of Health legitimate or did the Board of Health have a legitimate complaint against the doctor?  Was he a fraud?  Did he really go to medical school in Switzerland and the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now the University of Illinois College of Medicine)? Why could he not pass the State Board Exam with his education and experience practicing Medicine?  To be fair, when Dr. Orsinger started practicing medicine no license was required.  Over the years the states started requiring licenses and raised the standards to practice medicine.  This was probably a big change for some doctors and they might not have liked being regulated.  Change is always hard and some people take it harder than others.  This also was taking away his livelihood.   “Illinois started requiring doctors to be licensed in 1877, and Medical licensing boards’ enforcement powers forced fundamental changes in medical school curriculum’s, purged unlicensed ignorant practitioners and outright frauds, reduced the number of non-medical school graduates, marginalized midwives, revoked the licenses of abortionists, and unified the best of both regular and irregular medical practitioners.”[14]   One article said he fought the Board of Health for the past 32 years, which means he started fighting the board around 1877 at the time Illinois started requiring licenses.

Two women died after he performed an abortion which was not legal at that time.  The one article calls him an ex-convict. Does that mean that he was convicted of the first woman’s death in 1910?  I have been unable to find out if he was an ex-butcher.  The 1880 Census has his occupation as a saloon keeper.[15]  The 1894 city directory lists his occupation as real estate and saloon keeper.[16]  In the 1898 and 1904 city directory he is listed as a physician.[17]  According to the 1920 Census Emma and Fred are not living together, however Emma still uses the surname Orsinger.[18]  I assume they were still married, but separated.  He died in 1923.[19]

Copyright © 2016 Gail Grunst

_______________________________________________________

[1] Chicago:  Its history and Its Builders

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Injunction secured by Dr. Orsinger.” The Medical News: A Weekly Journal of Medical Science Vol 83, No 1, Saturday, July 4. 1903, (New York) Pg. 274.

[7] “Fined for Illegal practice.” Journal of the American Medical Association – Medical News Vol 44, April 1, 1905. Pg. 104

[8] Simmons, M.D., George H., editor, “Sues State Board.” Jama:  The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol 44, Jan – June 1905, (Chicago: American Medical Association Press, 1905) Pg. 1124.

[9] “Dr. F. L. Orsinger Makes New Move in Fight for License. Physician Refused Permit to Practice after Failing in Examinations.” Bulletin. Vol 6 Numbers 1-5 January-May 1910.

[10] Krieder, M.D., George N., editor.  “Dr. Fred L. Orsinger.” Illinois Medical Journal: the official organ of the Illinois State Medical Society Vol 18, July to Dec 1910. Pg. 262.

[11] Website: Cemeteryofchoice

[12] Chicago Police Department Homicide Records 1870 – 1930. Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Ronald Williams Library, Northwestern University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Il 60625-4699

[13] Chicago Livestock World, 14 March 1917.

[14] Sandvick C. Enforcing Medical Licensing in Illinois: 1877-1890. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2009;82(2):67-74.

[15] 1880; Census Place: La Salle, La Salle, Illinois; Roll: 223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page: 294D; Enumeration District: 069; Image: 0110

[16] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[17] Ibid.

[18]1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 13, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_322; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 758; Image: 281

[19] Ancestry.com. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In Search of Alexena’s Parents

Standard
Alexena Bowers

Alexena Frazier Bowers

I’ve had a brick wall when it comes to my great-great grandmother, Alexena Frazier.  I’ve been trying to find her parents for some time now.  According to her obituary she was born in 1847 in Nassagaweya, Halton, Ontario, Canada.[1] There are no civil birth records for this time period in Canada. I would have to hope for church records.  Nassagaweya was a remote area back in 1847 so I don’t know if I will find church records, but it will require a trip to Canada.  In the meantime, I try to search from home and archives close to my home.

Alexena’s death certificate states her parents are David Frazier and Catherine McBean.[2]  For years, I have been looking for a David Frazier and Catherine McBean in Nassagaweya with no luck.  I find a David Frazier, but not old enough to be her father and not married to a Catherine McBean.   As Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org add more records, I return to them in hopes that something has been added on Alexena, David, or Catherine.  Recently, while searching on Familysearch for her father, David Frazier, I ran across the death of a David Fraser who died September 21, 1914 in Nassagaweya and his parents are listed as David Fraser and Elizabeth McBean.[3] He was born in 1832[4]  which would make him 15 when Alexena was born.  This would probably make him too young to be her father, but possibly a brother, since his mother’s last name is McBean.  It is possible that whoever gave her mother’s name as Catherine on her death certificate got the name wrong.  Alexena did name her oldest daughter Elizabeth,[5] possibly after her mother Elizabeth.  If I go with the assumption that the David who died in Nassagaweya in 1914 is her brother, it would make sense to trace him backwards, and see if I can find a link to Alexena.

So backwards I went with David.  The first thing I found was David’s grave listed on Find-a-Grave.  He is buried in St. David’s Church Cemetery Campbellville , Halton Regional Municipality.  Tombstone read, Died September 21, 1914 in his 83 year.[6] Find-A-Grave states that David was born in 1831 in Scotland.[7]Also listed on the same tombstone was a Maud Fraser, Died August 12, 1902 in her 27 year.[8] This was David’s daughter.[9]Find-a-grave site states he was married to a Mary Robinson born 1836.[10] I then found David on the 1861 Ontario Canada Census married to a Mary.[11] On the same page further down is a Hugh Frazier married to a Christina.[12] He is 50 and she is 38.[13]  Who is Hugh and is he related to David?  Next I found a marriage record for David to a Mary Robertson, David is 26 and Mary 23.[14]  On the marriage record he lists his father as Hugh Frazier and Mother Elizabeth McBain (spelling different). The next thing I came across was a passenger ship list for David Frazier in 1834 he was 2 years old.[15] He was with a Hugh Frazier(24 years old) and Elizabeth Frazier (21 years old).[16]   Also listed with them is an Isabella Frazier 4 years old.[17] On the passenger list David’s father is now Hugh, the same name listed on the 1861 census near David.  So maybe I should be looking for Hugh as Alexena’s father not David.  I suspect that they do what so many people did back them, go by their middle name. I have run across this numerous times where they switch around first and middle names.  It makes it very confusing when trying to track them down.

My next strategy was to search Hugh Fraser (Frazer, Frazier), so back to the 1861 census. Hugh is not married to Elizabeth, but to a Christina.[18] The next thing I found was that Hugh married Christina in 1859.[19]  I started searching for Hugh’s death when I found an article in the Canadian Champion from 15 May 1873 that reads:  “Notice: Nassagaweya May 5, 1873 whereas my wife Christina Frazer has left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, this is to forbid all persons trusting her on my account.”[20]  Apparently, something happened to his second marriage.  Next, I found a death notice for Hugh Fraser and all it said was Hugh Fraser died on May 31, 1888 at Campbellville.  He was 77 years and 7 months.[21]

Now I needed to find out what happened to Elizabeth. I found that  Elizabeth died 18 November 1852 at 47 years and 4 months.[22]  This makes her a little older than the ships record, but maybe I misread the 21 since it was hard to read.  Also that would make her 42 when Alexena was born. Her tombstone read from Scotland, Inverness Shire, Parish of Moy, wife of Hugh Frazer, who departed this life Nov. 18, 1852, aged 47 years and 4 months.[23] Elizabeth died when Alexena was only 5 years old.

Earlier, when I saw Isabella Frazier on the ship passenger list[24], the name rang a bell.  I remembered that previously I had found Alexena living with an Isabella Thomas on 1861 Canadian Census.[25] Isabella is listed as 30 years old on the census[26] which puts her at the right age to be the same Isabella listed on ships passenger list.  Could Isabella Thomas be the Isabella Frazier on the ship passenger list?  Could this be Alexena’s sister?  Now I needed to find out if Isabella Thomas is Isabella Frazier.  I searched for a marriage record for Isabella Fraser.  I found one on Ancestry.com for an Isabella Fraser married to a George McK Thomas.[27]  Once again, the first name changes. Her father is listed as Hugh no surname and the mothers name is M.[28]  The “M” might stand for McBean.  This is just an index so I will eventually need to see the actual record.  Also, it lists both their ages as 24 in 1859 Nassagaweya Township.[29]  I always wondered why Alexena was living with Isabella in 1861 at the age of 14.  When I saw that Hugh remarried in 1859, only two years before Alexena appears living with Isabella, I wondered if there was a problem between Alexena and Hugh’s new wife.  If indeed this is her father.It could also be that when Elizabeth died, Isabella took over raising Alexena.

While I still have no document to prove the relationship between Alexena, Hugh, and Elizabeth, I do have a lot of circumstantial evidence.  So I feel 95% sure that I am on the right track here.  I really need to make a trip to Canada.  I’ve been on the verge of going a couple of times, but something always comes up that makes it impossible for me to make the trip.  Every year, I hope this is the year!  Sometime after 1861 and before 1868 Alexena came to Ottawa, Illinois.  So far I haven’t been able to find out exactly when she came and why.  I know she was here in 1868 because that is when she married Charles Bowers.[30]

I won’t stop until I find the document that proves the relationship to Hugh and Elizabeth.  I know there is more to be done and more places to look.  If Hugh and Elizabeth turn out to be her parents, I’m pretty sure that I will be able to go back a couple more generations in Scotland

Copyright © 2016 Gail Grunst

_________________________________________________________________

[1] Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

[2] “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

[3] [3] “Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNQH-ZY1 : David Fraser, 21 Sep 1914; citing Nassagaweya, Halton, Ontario, yr 1914 cn 14898, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,861,974.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Year 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film 1254223; Page: 516.1000 & 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0553Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. United States Federal Census [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, 2005

[6] Find A Grave web site http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=130037355 David Fraser born 1831 Scotland. Saint David’s Church Cemetery, Campellville, Halton Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada

[7] Ibid.

[8] [8] Find A Grave web site http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=130037355 Maud Fraser, died August 12,1902, in her 27 year.  Saint David’s Church Cemetery, Campellville, Halton Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada.

[9] Ibid.

[10]  Find a grave web site http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=130037355 David married Mary Robertson born 1836, Saint David’s Church Cemetery, Campellville, Halton Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada.

[11] Census Record for David and Mary Fraser.  Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1030-1031 Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. 

[12] Census record for Hugh and Christina Fraser. Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1030-1031 Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. 

[13] Ibid.

[14] Marriage Record for David Fraser.  Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original Source:  Ontario, Canada, Select Marriages. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.   MS248; Reel: 7

[15] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with Images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1QVPZ-R762) David Frazier, 1834; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.

[16] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with Images, FamilySearch    (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1QVPZ-R762) Isabella Frazier, 1834; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm

[17] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with Images, FamilySearch    (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1QVPZ-R762) Isabella Frazier, 1834; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.

[18] Census Record for Hugh Fraser.  Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1031. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009

[19] Marriage record for Hugh Fraser.  Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original Source:  Ontario, Canada, Select Marriages. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.   MS248; Reel: 7

[20] Notice from Hugh Frazer, Canadian Champion (Milton, On), 15 May 1873 page 2. Halton’s Historical and Newspaper records.  http://news.halinet.on.ca/2491105/page/2?n=

[21] Death notice for Hugh Fraser, Canadian Champion (Milton, On) 7 June 1888, page 3.

[22] Find a grave website http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=130451657 Elizabeth McBean Frazer Campbellville Burying Grounds, Campbellville, Halton Regional Muncipality, Ontario, Canada.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with Images, FamilySearch    (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1QVPZ-R762) Isabella Frazier, 1834; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm

[25] Census Record for Alexena Fraser Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1031. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009

[26] Census Record for Isabella Thomas Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1031. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009

[27] Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Marriage record for Alexena Frazer and Charles Bowers dated 1868.  Illinois, LaSalle County.  Marriage License and return #1862.  County Clerk’s office, Ottawa.

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 6

Standard
Elizabeth Bowers

Elizabeth Bowers

 

 

Elizabeth Bowers was the first daughter born to Charles and Alexena Bowers in 1871 in Ottawa, Illinois.[1]  Elizabeth grew up in Ottawa, Illinois.  Elizabeth graduated from Ottawa High School.[2]   Elizabeth became a school teacher and taught school at Lincoln School in Ottawa, Illinois.[3]  She was educated at the University of Chicago.  Later she became a primary supervisor in the Ottawa grade school system.  Elizabeth spoke at teacher institutes and professional meetings throughout the state. Elizabeth lived in Ottawa until the time of her death in 1947.[4]  She attended the First Church of Christ, Scientist of Ottawa.[5]  She is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois.[6]

A personal Note:  When I was a child we would visit family friends in Ottawa.  They had a daughter, Barb, who was about my age, and I would spend anywhere from a week to three weeks during summer staying with the family.  Barb and I would play on the Lincoln School playground.  Of course I wasn’t interested in genealogy at the time.  I had some vague knowledge that my grandmother came from Ottawa, Illinois and we had ancestors who lived there, but that was all.  While playing on school playground, I didn’t know that I had an ancestor who had been a school teacher at this school.  Now I think about how I walked on the same ground that Elizabeth walked on many years before me.  It makes me feel connected to her in some small way. She looks like my grandmother or should I say my grandmother looks like her so I feel as though I knew her.

Elizabeth's Retirement Party one

Elizabeth's Retirement Party threeElizabeth's Retirement Party two

Elizabeth’s Retirement Party

 

Copyright © 2013 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] Obituary for Elizabeth Bowers; Obituary given to author by Helen Kaiser.  No notations as to what paper obituary is from.

[3] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 175

[4] Obituary for Elizabeth Bowers; Obituary given to author by Helen Kaiser.  No notations as to what paper obituary is from.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Cemetery Record for Elizabeth Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Death January 31, 1947; Burial location OT, 18-7; Funeral Home Gladfelter; Cemetery card CCNF-noTS; Record number 10315.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 5

Standard

Richard Bowers

Richard Bowers was the oldest son born to Charles and Alexena Bowers in 1869.[1]  It is not known how far Richard went school.  Richard worked as a clerk, motorman, and janitor.[2]  He spent many years working as janitor at Washington School, probably the same one he attended as a boy.[3]  He also worked for the Illinois Power and Light Company.[4]  He married Emma Barnhardt in 1892 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois[5]   This is just speculation, but I am wondering if Richard’s parents Charles and Alexena didn’t accept his marriage to Emma.  The reason I say this is that Richard’s parents are not mentioned in the marriage announcement in the Free Trader newspaper dated 30 July 1892.[6] Emma and Richard made their home in Ottawa, Illinois.[7] [8] [9] There is no evidence that Richard and Emma had any children.

Richard is the only one of my grandmother, Helen Bowers, father’s family that she knew.  She came to know Richard after everyone else in her father’s family had passed away.  She referred to him as Uncle Lamb.   She never mentioned how she came to know him.  But it was her only connection to her father and his family.  The pictures of the family probably come from him.  I found a letter from Richard’s wife, Emma, to my grandmother.  I have transcribed it below as well as posted copies of the original letter.  It was very hard to read the writing and did my best to transcribe it.

 

Ottawa, Ill Aug 17th 1954

Dear Helen and all,

Glad to hear from you.  I am same but Uncle Lamb’s memory is so bad, he doesn’t remember things or people and now he has been in bed quite a while.  We have the Dr. and had him every day and now he comes twice a week and gives him liver shots.  Uncle Lamb is awfully weak and so makes it still harder for me.  I don’t get to rest and sleep I need.  He is restless at night and worries me should I go to sleep I wouldn’t hear him.  I don’t hear so good in one ear especially.  Some time ago, I had an abscess in that ear and suppose that is the reason now that I don’t hear so good.  I don’t know what I would do without Helen she sure is awfully good to us.  Nice you can go to your daughter’s when you want to.  It is to bad Russ had to be away, no doubt you are awfully lonely without him.  I’ve been having awful head aches and never feel good but have to keep going and hope I can.  I don’t want him taken to the hospital if it is possible he can stay home.  Sorry about Francis, I haven’t heard from her since she wrote at Christmas time.   Was glad to see your card and was sorry we were not here.  Decorating time when she called although true Uncle Lamb could ride out but of course not go out of the car so me now to decorate our graves and we have a lot to decorate.

Helen does ever thing she can for us.  I just don’t know what I would do without her.  My Sister was here for a little while last Tuesday she, her son, her daughter, and husband was so glad see them.  You see out of a large family only my sister and I are still here.  My sister’s son has been out of work for some time is of course trying to get work he had to quit the last place he worked was to hard for him he hasn’t been very well so I worry about them along with my own worrys but I so want him to get work.  Well dear Helen give our love to Francis and Pat.  I have written a couple of times so when she cans she will write.  I am sorry she is not well. 

Have to stop now but we send love to all and hope you keep well and think of us some time.  Do you hear from Ralph’s folks.  I can tell you just love Uncle Lamb, he sure is not good. I am so tired all the time as I say I don’t get the rest and sleep I need.  Thank you dear Helen for wishing us well, we sure do need it he is quiet now the reason I am writing have to hurry so I hope you can read it.  Pray your son get home safe and Francis gets better give them our love.

                                                                                                                                                Lovingly,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aunt Emma Uncle Lamb

Will try to do better next time.

Image (4)Image (5)Image (6)Image (7)Image (8)

Richard died in 1955 and is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[10]  Emma died a few years later in 1961 and is buried next to Richard in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[11]

Note:  I changed the title of the blogs to Bower Family History 1757 – 1955.  When I started writing these stories, I was thinking that Richard’s sister Elizabeth was the last of Charles’ children to die in 1947.  When writing Richard’s biography, I realized that I was wrong, so therefore have changed the last part of post title to 1955.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Cemetery record for Richard Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth March 9, 1869; Date of Death November 18, 1955;  Funeral Home:  Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7 (NW ¼); Cemetery Card: CCY-TS;  Record Number 8573

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

[3] Ibid.

[4] Obituary for Richard Bowers, Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois, Vol 79, no 121, 1955,

p. 12.

[5] Marriage Record for Richard Bowers and Emma Barnhart, Illinois State Board of Health, Return of Marriage to the County Clerk, July 28, 1892, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[6] Marriage announcement for Richard Bowers and Emma Barnhardt, Free Trader, July 30, 1892.  File at LaSalle County Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois, Marriages 1888 – 1893.

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

[8]Year: 1920; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 2, La Salle, Illinois; Roll: T625_379; Page: 5A; enumeration District: 138; Image 123.  Ancestry.com 1920 Untied States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.  For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

[9] Year: 1930; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 532; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 68; Image 88.0.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo,  UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2002

[10] Cemetery record for Richard Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth March 9, 1869; Date of Death November 18, 1955;  Funeral Home:  Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7 (NW ¼); Cemetery Card: CCY-TS;  Record Number 8573.

[11] Cemetery record for Emma Barnhardt Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth; November 17, 1866; Date of Death; January 18, 1961; Funeral Home Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7(NS ¼) Cemetery Card CCY-noTS; Record Number 8572

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 4

Standard
Alexena Frazier Bowers

Alexena Frazier Bowers

Alexena Frazier was born in 1847 in NassagaweyaTownship, Halton, Ontario, Canada[1] to David Frazier and Catherine McBean.[2]  Both David Frazier and Catherine McBean were born in Scotland.[3]  It is likely that David and Catherine Frazier were Highlander’s belonging to the Kirk as large numbers of these people settled in Nassagaweya forming a major Scottish block.[4]

“To the European settlers who came to southern Ontario, the land was a hostile wilderness, waiting to be tamed. For agriculture to proceed the forest had to go and much of it was piled and burned. Until the 1850s, farming was dominated by land clearing and the incessant toil of pioneer life.”[5]  Wheat and Lumber were the main products of Halton County Ontario in the 1840’s and 1850’s.[6]

Alexena came to Ottawa, Illinois in 1865,[7] and married Charles Bowers in 1868.[8]  Charles and Alexena made their home at 543 Chapel Street.[9]  They had five children, Richard, Robert, Elizabeth, Genevieve and Ethelyn. [10]

She attended the First Methodist Episcopal Church and was an active member with a large circle of friends. [11]

Alexena’s granddaughter, Helen Bowers, told stories that her grandparents did not want to acknowledge that their son Robert married and had children.  Helen claimed that they thought they were better than her mother’s family.  Therefore she did not know her father’s family[12].  The probate of Alexena’s will confirms this story to be true.

The following is a transcript from Alexena’s will in Probate Court for proof of heirship:

On the 26th day of June 1926 R Ethel Vittum, a competent witness of lawful age produced sworn and examined on oath in open court, testified as follows, to-wit:

C. B. Chapman

Q. Your name is R. Ethelyn Vittum?

A. Yes

Q. You reside in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. Yes

Q. You are a daughter of Alexena Bowers?

A. Yes

Q. When did she die?

A. March 7, 1926

Q. Where did she die?

A. At her residence 543 Chapel Street

Q. At the time of her death was she an actual resident of the city of Ottawa, County of LaSalle, State of Illinois?

A. She was

Q. About what was her age?

A. 79 years in August

Q. She was a citizen of the United States?

A. She was

Q. Did she leave a surviving husband?

A. No

Q. What was her husband’s name?

A. Charles Bowers

Q. And about how long ago did he die?

A. I think it was about thirty years ago

Q. Was she married more than once?

A. No

Q. How many Children were born of the marriage?

A. Five

Q. What were their names?

A. Richard L. Bowers, Elizabeth A. Bowers, Robert F. Bowers, Genevieve L. Bowers, myself.

Q. R. Ethel Bowers is yourself?

A. Yes

Q. And you are residing in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. Yes

Q. Is R. L. Bowers living?

A. He is

Q. And he is living in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. In Ottawa

Q. And Elizabeth Ann Bowers is living in Ottawa?

A. Yes

Q. Is Richard Bowers living?

A. Richard and R. L. are one and the same.  You mean Robert?

Q. Robert, I should say.

A. He is dead

Q. About how long ago did he die?

A. 13 years ago, I think.

Q. And was he married?

A. I don’t know, Mr. Chapman

Q. You haven’t any knowledge so that you could testify as to whether or not he was ever married?

A. No.

Q. Do you know whether or not there are living any persons who claim to be his children?

A. There was a few years ago.

Q. And do you know there names or the names that they go by?

A. I don’t think of the name, Mr. Chapman.

Q. Let me refresh your recollection.  Do you remember whether the persons who claim to be his children are Ralph Bowers?

A. Yes Ralph is one

Q. And Helen Kaiser?

A. I don’t know the Kaiser, but I know a Helen.

Q. Helen claimed to be Helen Bowers and you don’t know whether she is now married and whether her name is Kaiser.

A. No

Q. And Frances Bowers, who also claimed –

A. I think so.

Q. And do know that she is now married and her present name is Beck?

A. I don’t know.

Q.  Were there any other parties than Ralph, Helen and Frances that clamed to be children of Robert?

A. I don’t know of any others.

Q.  Never heard of any others?

A. Never.

Q.  And in matters where the question of the heirship of Robert was raised you knew that there was proof made and these three parties were found to be children of Robert, did you?

A. Yes

Q.  And found to be the only children of Robert?

A. Yes

Q. and the other child of Alexena Bowers was what?

A. Genevieve L.

Q. And she died in infancy?

A. Yes – Oh, no –

Q. Because she was-

A. Why she died about 29 years ago.

Q. Was she ever married?

A. No.

Q. Did your mother at any time ever adopt any children?

A. No.[13]

Alexena died on March 7, 1926 in her home in Ottawa.[14] [15] She was considered one of Ottawa’s oldest citizens having been a resident of more than 60 years when she died.[16]  She died of Carcinoma of the Gall Bladder[17] and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, in Ottawa, Illinois[18] along side her husband Charles and children.

Copyright©2013 Gail Grunst

_________________________________________

 [1] Obituary for Alexena Frazier Bowers: Republican Times (Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois) July 4, 1898.

 [2] “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

[3] Ibid.

  [4] Campey, Lucille H,. Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855: Glengarry and Beyond (Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 2005), p. 98.

 [6] Ibid.

[7]  Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

[8] “Marriage License for Charles Bowers and Alexena Frazer”, issued 25 November 1868, married 2 December 1868, filed 4 December 1868, Marriage license no 1862, State of Illinois, LaSalle County, La Salle County Courthouse, Ottawa, Illinois.

[9] Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

[10] Year 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film 1254223; Page: 516.1000 & 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0553, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. United States Federal Census [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, 2005

                [11]  Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

                [12]   Story told to author many times over the years (1960 – 1981) by Helen Bowers Kaiser.

                [13] “Probate of  will of Alexena Bowers” (Proof of Heirship), 26 June 1926, LaSalle County, Illinois,  Old Estate Books,  File 1,  Box 954., LaSalle County Court House, Ottawa, Illinois. Photocopy of original in possession of this writer.

[14] “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7, 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

                [15] Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

                [16] Ibid.

                [17]  “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7, 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

                [18] Ibid.

Friday Faces From the Past

Standard

Orhpan Photo 2_NEW

I bought this picture at an antique store in Walworth, Wisconsin.  Written on the back is Donar:  Mrs. Mae Kelley, 620 W. Prairie Street, Marengo, Ill 60152.  Unid. boy, prob. Patrick fam., Marengo.  Photographer inscribed on front: Koehne, Chicago.

I did some searching for this family.  I found a Howard Patrick born about 1887 living in Marengo on the 1940 census at 520 Prairie Street, Marengo, Illinois. Read the rest of this entry

Aunt Emma’s Two Lives

Standard
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.