Ancestor Bio – Louise Lenz (1880-1949)

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-35
by Don Taylor

Louise Lenz was a true Chicagoan.  She was born in Chicago, grew up in Chicago, married a Chicagoan in Chicago, had five children in Chicago and she died in Chicago. She is buried just outside of Chicago in Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park.  

Durand–Wilhelm 2018 – Ancestor #7

List of Grandparents

  • Grandmother: Louise Lenz
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Ferdinand J. Lenz
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: William Lenz

Birth

Louise was (probably) the fifth of nine children of the Immigrants Ferdinand J and Lena Schwartz Lenz. All of the children of Ferdinand and Lena were born in Illinois, and most probably in Chicago.

The eight siblings of Louise included three that were older, William (b. 1870-71), Mary Minnie (b. 1872), and Emilia/Emma (b. 1877). Her four younger siblings were Millie (b. 1882), Herman (b. 1886), Annie/Anna (b. 1890), and Joseph (b. 1894). The final sibling’s name and sex is unknown. There is a gap of five years between the births of Mary and Emma so that is the most likely birth period for this child. If so, she must have died before the 1880 census.

Childhood

One of the most significant events of Louise’s late childhood was when she was 19 and 20, the Chicago River’s flow was reversed from flowing into Lake Michigan to flowing away from it into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, to the Des Plaines River and west to the Mississippi River. This allowed for Lake Michigan water, the source for Chicago drinking water, to clean up.

The 1900 Census found Louise living with her parents and four younger siblings at 1319 West 50th Street, about a mile and a half south of the South Fork of the Chicago River. Her father was a day laborer as was she.  The house the family was renting is no longer present and is a vacant lot with some trees.

Marriage & Children

Louise married Jacob Frederick Wilhelm on 18 March 1903, the year that the Chicago White Stockings became the Chicago Cubs. The Wilhelm’s had five children:

NameBornMarriedDied
Elizabeth04 Jan 1904Harold WoolrichUnk.
Dorothy Amanda10 Jul 1907Richard Earl Durand1973
Edward Clarence20 Oct 19111996
Robert Louis29 Oct 1923Merla [LNU]2006
Lois M.21 May 1927Charles Jordan1987

There is a twelve-year gap between the births of Edward and Robert, however, I have not found any evidence that Louise had additional children during that time.

Adulthood

The 1910 Census finds the Wilhelm couple owned the home at 5249 Carpenter Street. Living with Jacob and Louise were their two children, Elizabeth and Dorothy. Also living with them was Jacob’s brother, George. Jacob was a foreman at a packing house and George was a laborer.

By 1918, when Jacob registered for the draft, he was a saloonkeeper at 2901 N. Kedzie Ave and the family lived upstairs of the saloon.

2901 Kedzie Ave. Today

The 1920 Census finds and Jacob and Louise still at 2901 Kedzie. Prohibition began on January 1st, 1920 and saloon became a grocery store. Jacob was a storekeeper, daughter, Elizabeth, was a stenographer. Dorothy and young Edward were attending school. Living at the same address was another family, Theresa Jansmiller, a widow, with her two older sons, Walter and Alfred (ages 22 and 19).

The 1930 Census still finds Jacob and Louisa at 2901 Kedzie with three of their children, Edward, Robert, and Lois.  The property owner, Dora Leicht, along wither her daughter, Elsie, were living there also. Additionally, two other families were living there, Nilsien Granland, with his grandchildren Clifford and Fern, and a Ruth Pierson with her “partner,” Hattie Rick. “Partner” was lined out and “Lodger” added instead.

In 1940, the Wilhelm’s were still at 2901 Kedzie. Robert and Lois were still at home. Elsie Leicht is now the owner and Edward Parquetta, with his wife and three children made another household and Elizbeth Jarger with her daughter made another household. Jacob is still a store keeper of a retail grocery that he owns.

Louise’s husband, Jacob, died on 23 June 1943 at the age of 67. He and Louise were living at 2938 N. Sawyer Ave., which is about a block and a half away from 2901 Kedzie.

Death & Burial

Louise (Lenz) Wilhelm died nearly six years later, on 17 March 1949. She was living in an apartment at 2648 North Hoyne Ave, which is along the banks of the North Branch of the Chicago River. She was interned at Fairmount Cemetery (Now Fairmount-Willow Hills Memorial Park) in Willow Spring, Illinois. She was survived by her five children, and seven grandchildren.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • I have a Find-a-Grave photo request outstanding for Louise’s marker. Incorporate that image if it becomes available

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Sources

  • Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, Family Search, Louise Wilhelm – 17 Mar 1949. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2M4-5BWR.
  • “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSQ5-T2G : accessed 17 August 2018), Ferdinand Lenz, Precinct 24 Lake town Chicago city Ward 30, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 913, sheet 16A, family 301, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,282.
  • United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MK8Q-56T : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Chicago Ward 29, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1281, sheet 15A, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,374,288.
  • S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.Com, Jacob Fredrick Wilhelm. Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1613896; Draft Board: 64.
  • “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJQY-D31 : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Chicago Ward 27, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing sheet 7B, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,340.
  • “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJQY-D31 : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Chicago Ward 27, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing sheet 7B, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,340.
  • 1930 Census (NARA), Com, 1930 Census – Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, Illinois. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census.
  • “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KW1F-5CX : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Ward 33, Chicago, Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-2062, sheet 2B, family 64, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 987.
  • “Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQPK-RR8 : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob F. Wilhelm, 23 Jun 1943; Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1,953,885.
  • “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2M4-5BWR : 17 May 2016), Louise Wilhelm, 17 Mar 1949; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference, record number, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm.
  • Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), Com, 1949-03-19, Page 12 – Wilhelm, Louise. Newspapers.com.

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