Favorite Picture

Dorothy in Center, Left her grandmother (Eva) on right her mother (Helen)

The theme this week for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is favorite picture.  This fits in nicely with what I have been doing lately and that is posting pictures and telling a story to go with the picture.  I have many favorite pictures so it was hard to pick just one. This happens to be one of my favorite pictures because it is three generations of strong women.  The picture  was taken in 1938.  From the left is my great-grandmother, Eva Bowers, my mother, Dorothy Kaiser (age 14), and my grandmother, Helen Kaiser nee Bowers.  I think the picture was  probably taken in front of my great-grandmother’s place in Chicago.  By 1938 my grandparents were living in Villa Park, Illinois and this is not their home.  I wish I could have been in the picture to make it four generations, but I was not born yet and by the time I came along, Eva had already passed away.  I never knew Eva, but heard a lot about her from my mom and grandma.  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]   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.  She raised the three kids alone and I believe this made her a strong woman.

My grandmother and mother did not have easy lives and to survive all their trials and tribulations they had to be strong.  My grandmother died at age 82 and my mother at age 62.  I believe my mother’s early death was caused by some of the problems in her life.

Copyright ©2019 Gail Grunst

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[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.

 

Black Sheep?

Aunt Fran & Grandma

Frances and Helen Bowers

img144 (2)

Ralph Bowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks  topic this week is Black Sheep in the family.

I can’t think of any ancestors that were black sheep in the traditional sense.  I have not run across any criminals or ones that have done outrages things and been banished by family.  

The closest I can come to black sheep are my grandmother, her brother, and sister.  My grandmother’s parents were divorced when she was a young child.  She grew up never knowing her father or his family.  They lived in the same small town, and she would see them from a distance.  She said the reason she never knew them was because the Bowers family thought they were better than the Reinhardt’s.  My Grandmother claimed the Bowers denied that their son, Robert, married and had children.  My grandmother told stories of how she saw her grandmother, Alexena, in the cemetery; but Alexena did not acknowledge her.  One time she saw her father walking down the street and she ran up to him and said, “I’m your daughter.”  He said, “Get away from me kid, I don’t have any children.” The Bowers were of English and Scottish descent, and the Reinhardt’s were from Germany.  Also the Bowers appear to be financially better off than the Reinhardt’s.  It also appears that the Bowers were upper class and the Reinhardt’s lower class.  Maybe the Bowers had something against Germans or maybe it was a class thing.

The story is that Robert Bowers and Eva Reinhardt ran off to Chicago to be married, however I have not been able to find a marriage record for them in Cook County Illinois.  For awhile, I wondered if they never married and that is why the Bowers denied the children were Roberts.  However after Charles Bowers died in February 1897,[1]  Robert and Eva sign a quit-claim deed over to Alexena Bowers on 26 June 1897.[2]  It lists Eva Bowers as Robert Bowers wife.[3]  Eight days earlier on 18 June 1897 Eva and Robert’s first child is born.[4]   Charles bought the two lots listed on the quit-claim deed in 1882. [5] At some point he turned the lots over to Robert and Eva.  I am wondering if he gave them as a wedding present to Robert and Eva.   After his death and after their first child is born, the property is signed over to Alexena for $1.00.  I am speculating here, but did she insist on getting the property back because of her dislike for Eva and now their newborn child?  I never found a divorce record for Robert and Eva either.  Robert died in Chicago 4 March 1913.[6]  Eva went by Eva Bowers until she died 23 December 1941.[7]  Her death certificate lists her as Eva Bowers, widow.  I believe they were married because of the quit-claim deed and her life long use of the Bower name.  I beginning to believe that they were never officially divorced.  See Quit-Claim Deed below:

img145 (2)

The story my grandmother told came to life for me when I read Alexena’s will.  This is proof that they did not want to acknowledge Robert’s children.  The following is a transcribed 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 claimed 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. [8]

In 1935 Ethelyn passed away[9] and in 1947 Elizabeth passed away.[10]  The only one left was Richard Bowers.  It was after the others were all gone that my grandmother got to know her Uncle Richard Lambly Bowers.  He must have been the one who gave her the pictures of the Bowers family that are now in my possession.  I have done extensive researched Charles and Alexena Bowers, and I think it would be of interest to my Grandmother to know about her father’s roots.  They seem to interest me for some reason.  What kind of people deny their own grandchildren?   By the way, my grandmother, her brother and sister did not receive any inheritance from her Grandmother.

Today with DNA tests it can be proved that my grandmother, her brother, and sister were indeed Robert’s children.  I had my DNA test done and it is a match with fourth cousins that descend from one of Charles Bowers brothers.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


  1.  Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Records: Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. Record number 8539, Cemetery Card CCY-TS, Burial location OT18-7
  2. 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
  3. Ibid.
  4. [1] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County:  Cook; Roll 1613573; Draft board: 53. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com  Operation  Inc, 2005.  Original Data:  United States, Selective Service System World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cares, 1917-1918.  Washington,  D. C. :  National Archives and Record  Administration.  M1509, 4,582 rolls.  Imaged from Family  History  Library Microfilm.
  5. Tract Index Book, Recorder of Deeds Office, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, Book238, Page 137,  Microfilm at the LaSalle County Genealogical Guild 115 W. Glover St., Ottawa, Illinois 61350
  6. Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois
  7. 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.
  8. “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.
  9. Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, 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.
  10. 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.

     

Close-up in Ottawa, Illinois

Lincoln Douglas Debate

 Lincoln – Douglas Debate Statue in Washington Square Park Ottawa, Illinois

1957 — 1965

Did you ever visit a place and feel that you belong there?  I had that feeling when I was a young.  We would visit a great-grandaunt who lived in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois with some friends.  The friends had a daughter my age and we became friends.  I would stay with them for a couple of weeks each summer from about the time I was 10 until I graduated high school.  My friend and I would walk all over Ottawa, and I came to know Ottawa as well as my own town.  We went to the parks, the movies, played on the school play-ground, etc. I loved Ottawa and I felt I belonged there.  I wished my family could live in Ottawa.  I had a vague knowledge that we had some ancestors or relatives that had lived in Ottawa at one time, and I knew my grandmother was born there.  Beyond that I didn’t know who they were or even their names and I really didn’t care at that time. 

Fast Forward to 1990 -2018

Now many years later, I am into genealogy and want to know all about my ancestors especially the ones that were from Ottawa.  So my search began and I spent many years researching my two sets of 2nd great-grandparents that settled in Ottawa. My 2nd great grandfather, Charles Bowers, settled in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois in the 1850’s and stayed in Ottawa until his death in 1897. After his death, his wife and children stayed in Ottawa except for Robert who moved to Chicago.  The other set of 2nd great-grandparents, Conrad and Anna Reinhardt, came to Ottawa in the early 1880’s. They lived there until their deaths. Anna died in 1910 and Conrad in 1920.  All their children moved away from Ottawa. Today there is no family or friends living in Ottawa.

I still love visiting Ottawa and seeing all the places that I visited as a kid.  In addition to researching in the courthouse, genealogical society, historical museum, and the cemetery, I visited all the places I went when I was there in the 50’s and 60’s.  Some things have changed but there are still some things there that remain the same, and I enjoy reminiscing.  I have seen the house where the Bower’s and the Reinhardt’s lived.  One of the things that I learned is that one of great-grandaunt Elizabeth Bowers was a school teacher at Lincoln School.  That is the school play-ground we played on as kids.  One summer day a few years ago I parked my car in front of the school and walked around it. While walking, I thought about how I was walking on the same ground as my ancestor’s walk on.  I still feel connected to that town.  A town I never lived in.  I think somehow I instinctively knew this is where I came from and I belonged here. Between visiting Ottawa and researching both families, I feel I have come to know both the town and the families close-up.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

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

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[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

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[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.

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

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[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).

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.