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.

Ancestor Bio – Jacob Frederick Wilhelm (1875-1943)

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-16
Durand/Wilhelm
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Some families are difficult to research because there aren’t many records about a family in a pioneer location. Other times there are too many people with the same name in a location. Such is the case of my Aunt Barbara’s maternal grandfather, Jacob F. Wilhelm. His father was also Jacob Wilhelm and his mother was Louise.  He married a Louise Lenz. There were also two other Jacob Wilhelms living in Chicago during the time of Jacob and his father. Separating them all is difficult, but I think I have it.

Research Durand 2018 – Ancestor #6

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Jacob Frederick Wilhelm (1875-1943
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Jacob Wilhelm

Jacob Frederick Wilhelm (1875-1943)

Jacob Frederick Wilhelm was born on 1 July 1875 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. It appears that he was the oldest of two (known) children of Jacob and Louise Hanns (or Harrus) Wilhelm, both of whom were German immigrants. In 1870, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the United States with almost 300,000 people. When Jacob was born, Chicago was still recovering from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire had left nearly 1/3 of the city’s population (100,000 people) homeless.

Childhood

By C. D. Arnold (1844-1927); H. D. Higinbotham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Chicago World’s Fair – 1893
In the ensuing years between his birth and 1900, the population of Chicago grew to nearly 1.7 million, a growth of more than five times in 25 years. Most of these new immigrants were from Europe; however, many migrated from the eastern states also.[i]

In 1893, when Jacob was 18 years old, Chicago was host to the “World’s Columbian Exposition” (aka Chicago World’s Fair). More than 27 million people attended the fair; I have to imagine that young Jacob and his 16-year-old brother, George, had to have attended sometime during the event.

Marriage

Jacob married Louise Lentz on 18 March 1903 in Chicago. Like Jacob, Louise was the daughter of German Immigrants. It was the first marriage for both of them.

Jacob and Louise had five children

  • Elizabeth Born 1904, who married Harold Woolrich (or Wodrich).
  • Dorothy Born 1907 who married Richard Durand.
  • Edward Born 1911, (Marital status unknown)
  • Robert – Born 1923, who married Merla (unknown)
  • Louise – Born 1927, who married Charles Jordan

Adult

In 1910, Jacob and his wife were living at 5249 Carpenter Street with his two children and his brother George. Jacob is the foreman at a packing house.

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Fold 3 has many City Directories including Chicago.

It appears that by 1916, Jacob was working at a saloon at 5250 South Ashland Ave.[ii] By1917 Jacob had become a saloonkeeper at 2901 N. Kedzie Ave. Chicago. He lived upstairs and the saloon was downstairs.

Jacob was described as tall, with a medium build, gray eyes, and light brown hair. He was identified as having a paralyzed right arm and throat on his World War 1 draft registration, thus disqualifying him from service.

Google image of 2901 Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL
2901 Kedzie Ave. Today

There was probably nothing as disastrous to a saloonkeeper as Prohibition, which was ratified by the states in January 1919 and took effect on January 16, 1920. The 1920 Census, which was enumerated on 1 January 1920, shows Jacob as a storekeeper of a grocery store at 2901 N. Kedzie. His saloon was converted to a grocery store which he, and presumably his wife ran. His oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was working as a stenographer, and his younger daughter, Dorothy, and his son, Edward, were attending school.

The 1930 Census indicates the family was still at 2901 N. Kedzie, however, in 1930 it was a candy shop. Living with Jacob is his wife Louise and his son Edward who was working as an office clerk. His two youngest, Robert is attending school and Lois is only 2-1/2.

By 1940, the candy store appears to have shifted back to a retail grocery store. Jacob was the Storekeeper and his wife was a clerk. Their youngest children, Robert and Lois, are still living with them and are attending school.

It appears that sometime between 1940 and 1943, Jacob and Louise moved two blocks away to 2938 N Sawyer Avenue.

Death & Burial

Jacob F. Wilhelm died on 23 June 1943 of chronic myocarditis. According to his death certificate, he was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in [Willow Springs], Palos [Township], Cook County, Illinois.  Find-a-Grave did not have a memorial for Jacob Wilhelm, so I created a memorial and I have requested photos of his marker.

Story

On his social security application with the Chicago and North Western Railroad, Jacob’s son, Edward Clarence Wilhelm, indicated that his father’s middle name was “Ferdinan.”  I think this was in error. Edward’s maternal grandfather’s name was Ferdinand. I believe that Edward confused the two names. The best source I have for Jacob’s middle name is his World War I draft registration which indicates that his middle name was Frederick. Jacob saw this form, was literate and signed the registration indicating that he had verified the information and it was true.

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Endnotes

[i] Internet – Wikipedia – History of Chicago – Immigration and population in the 19th century.
[ii] City Directory, Chicago, 1916, Page 1747 – Jacob Wilhelm – Via Fold3


Additional Sources

  • 1910 Census, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, IL – ED 1281, Sheet 15A, Line 79. United States Census, 1910, 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); FHL microfilm 1,374,288.
  • 1920 Census, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, ED 1677, Sheet 7B, Line 77. “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); FHL microfilm 1,820,340.
  • 1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.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.
  • 1940 Census, Ancestry.Com, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, IL – ED 103-2026, Sheet 2B, Line 75.
  • Illinois Certificate of Death – Number 18873, Jacob F. Wilhelm – Image from
  • City Directory (A), Ancestry.Com, Chicago – 1917 – Page 1919 – Jacob F Wilhelm.
  • Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947, Family Search, Death – Jacob F. Wilhelm – 23 Jun 1943. “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 Marriages, 1871-1920, Family Search, Jacob Wilhelm & Louise Lenz – 18 Mar 1903. “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N7DW-2WB : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm and Louise Lenz, 18 Mar 1903; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, 362375, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,349.
  • U.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.