Friday, August 29, 2014

IGNATZ & MARY'S GROVE INN - Ignatz and Mary Lafnitzegger

One of the most widely read articles I have done for this blog is the article I did about Fanny Bachechi, the owner of the world-famous Fanny's Restaurant in Evanston, Illinois.  Because of the popularity of that article I decided to write about another famous Chicago area restaurant, Ignatz and Mary's Grove Inn, and its owners, Ignatz and Mary Lafnitzegger.

Like Fanny's, Ignatz & Mary's is just a memory today, but for over 45 years it provided good food in pleasant surroundings to its customers. Note:  The official name of the restaurant was "Ignatz and Mary's Grove Inn" but I always heard it referred to as just "Ignatz and Mary's" so that's how I will refer to the restaurant in this article.

Ignatz Lafnitzegger was born September 15, 1904 in Buch bei, Hartberg, Styria, Austria, to Ignatz Lafnitzegger Sr (1880-????) and Juliana, nee Moik (1881-????).  I was not able to find out any information about possible siblings, except that his obituary mentioned a sister, Ann, who remained in Austria.  We do know that Ignatz came to the United States on October 27, 1922 when he was 18 years old.  He told the immigration authorities that he had been a farmhand in Austria and that his final destination was Chicago.

Sometime in 1924-1925 Ignatz Lafnitzegger married Theresa, nee Weber (1902-1933)  Their son Joseph Ignatz Lafnitzegger was born July 20, 1927 in Chicago.  More about him later.

Ignatz wasted no time in becoming a US citizen, taking the oath on June 8, 1928.  When he became a citizen the family was living at 6239 S. May Street in Chicago:

6239 S. May Street, Chicago

By the 1930 US Census, the Lafnitzegger family was living at 623 W. Wrightwood in Chicago where Ignatz listed his occupation as "janitor" in an "apartment building."  The building that Ignatz had lived in 623-631 W. Wrightwood was razed and replaced with a Chicago 4-plus-1 apartment building.

Theresa Weber Lafnitzegger died in 1933.  Other than that, I could not find any information about her death.  She was 31 years old.  She is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

In 1936 or 1937 Ignatz Lafnitzegger married again - this time his bride was Mary Josephine, nee Stadler (1916-2009) who had been born January 16, 1916 in Holy Cross, Wisconsin).  Mary was one of eleven children born to Dominic Stadler (1877-1960) and his wife Genefa Anne, nee Enstrasser (1883-1929).  Mary Josephine's siblings were: Francis Xavier (1910-1967), John Christopher (1911-2008),  Joseph (1913-1919), Anna Theresa (1914-1970), Loretta (1917-2009), Johanna (1919-1987), Alois (1920-2000), Rosalia (b. 1922), Alfons (1924-2010), and Bertha (1926-1928).  Dominic Stadler was a farmer by trade.

By the time of the 1940 US Census, the Lafnitzegger family was living at 5018 Lake Park Avenue in Chicago, where Ignatz, Mary and Joseph had been joined by a little addition:  Margaret (b. 1938).  5018 S. Lake Park Avenue is no longer there.  Ignatz listed his occupation as "shopkeeper" in an "antique store"; Mary was a "storekeeper" in a "retail grocery".

In addition to Margaret, Ignatz and Mary Lafnitzegger had two sons:  Frederick Alois (b. 1941), and Richard (b. 1956).

The year 1945 brought two events that would change the lives of Ignatz and Mary forever.  The Chicago Daily Tribune from May 19, 1945 carried the following sad story:

Pvt. Joseph I. Lafnitzegger, 20, son of Mr. & Mrs. Ignatz Lafnitzegger, of 834 W. Willow st., was killed in action on Luzon (Philippines) April 23.  also surviving are a sister and a brother.  There will be a memorial Mass at 9 a.m., Thursday, May 24, in St. Theresa Church, Kenmore and Armitage avs. 

Joseph Lafnitzegger is buried in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines.

There are new townhouses on the site of 834 W. Willow Street today.

The other life-changing event for that  Ignatz and Mary in 1945 was that they bought the restaurant on the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Euclid (Lake) Street in Wheeling, Illinois. There had been a restaurant on that site since the 1890s owned and operated by the Schufreider family.  In those days Milwaukee Avenue (US Route 45) was the main route people took by horse and then by car from Chicago to the northernmost parts of Illinois and southeast Wisconsin. Realizing that calling the restaurant "Lafnitzegger's" would be a mouthful, they wisely named the restaurant "Ignatz and Mary's Grove Inn."

From 1945 to 1987 the Lafnitzeggers delighted countless thousands of customers with their outstanding German food and atmosphere 364 days per year (Closed on Christmas).  In 1945, a trip to Ignatz and Mary's was a drive "out in the country" but by the 1980s the restaurant was in the middle of a booming commercial area of gas stations, hotels, and strip shopping centers.

Here's a view from the 1950s:

Long-time patrons of Ignatz and Mary's looked forward to the annual Schlachfest every October and the wild game dinner party each January.  Specialties of the house included sauerbraten with homemade red cabbage and roast duck.  Customers also raved about their delicious homemade pies and strudel. 

Here's a typical menu circa 1955:

Here's a view from the 1960s:

Ignatz and Mary ran the restaurant until their retirement in 1980 when their daughter Margaret and her husband Fritz Miller took over the day to day operations.  The Lafnitzeggers spent their retirement between homes in Arizona and Wisconsin.

The Chicago Tribune from September 14, 1987 brought the sad news of the death of Ignatz:

Mary followed in August of 2009:

Mary J. Lafnitzegger, age 93.

Beloved wife of the late Ignatz; loving mother of Margaret (Fritz) Miller, Frederick (Elizabeth) and Richard (Jane) and the late Robert Ignatz Lafnitzegger; devoted grandmother of 11, great-grandmother of 15; dear sister of Loretta Klus, Rosalia Bach, Alfons Stadler, and the late Frank, John and Joseph Stadler, Anna Riebniger, Johanna Lesch and Bertha Stadler.

Visitation Wednesday, July 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the N.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, 1240 Waukegan Rd. (2 Blocks South of Lake St.), Glenview and Thursday, July 30, at St. Norbert Church, 1809 Walters Ave., Northbrook from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass at 10 a.m. Entombment All Saints Mausoleum.

In lieu of flowers contributions to St. Norbert Church appreciated.

Lafnitzegger, Mary J.
Mary J. Lafnitzegger, age 93, Beloved wife of the late Ignatz. For more than 40 years (1945-1987) she and her late husband were owners of "Ignatz's & Mary's Grove Inn". It was located at the Northeast corner of Milwaukee and Lake/Euclid Avenues, serving superb German American food for thousands of patrons and their families. She was the loving mother of Margaret (Fritz) Miller, Frederick (Elizabeth) and Richard (Jane) and the late Robert Ignatz Lafnitzegger; devoted grandmother of 11; great-grandmother of 15; dear sister of Loretta Klus, Rosalia Bach, Alfons Stadler, and the late Frank, Alois, John and Joseph Stadler, Anna Riebniger, Johanna Lesch and Bertha Stadler. Visitation was held Wednesday, July 29th, at the N.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, Glenview, and Thursday, July 30th, at St. Norbert Church, Northbrook. Entombment All Saints Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Norbert Church appreciated. Funeral info: (847) 998-1020. Arrangement John E. Maloney Funeral Home.

As mentioned in their obituaries, Ignatz and Mary Lafnitzegger are entombed in the mausoleum at All Saints Catholic Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois in an area dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi:

As mentioned above, after Ignatz and Mary retired, the restaurant was run by their daughter Margaret and her husband Fritz Miller until the end of 1986.

Ignatz and Mary`s was sold the end of 1986 to the Marriott Corp.  The family had wanted to keep the business going and sell only a portion of the land, but in the end they sold it all, in part because the corporate build-up of the area--Culligan and A.C. Nielsen are neighbors--had meant higher taxes and more competition.

Today a chain hotel sits on the site of the former Ignatz and Mary's.

Ignatz and Mary Lafnitzegger, noted restaurateurs, fondly remembered by countless thousands of satisfied customers - may they rest in peace.   

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Last week I told the story of the murder of motion picture projectionist Jack Kaufman.  I related that the main suspect in the murder was Kaufman's rival and the head of the Motion Picture Operators Union, Thomas Maloy.

I ended the story of Jack Kaufman with some unanswered questions:

But what about Tommy Maloy?  Did he really get off scot-free from his crimes?  Did he ever stand trial for the murder of Jack Kaufman?  Did Maloy ever spend a night in jail? That is an interesting story, as well. Check back with this blog next week, when I'll tell the sordid tale of the life and death of Tommy Maloy.

As promised, here is the sordid tale of the life and death of Tommy Maloy.

Thomas Edward Maloy was born October 14, 1890 (some sources say 1887) to Joseph Maloy (1860-1920) and Elizabeth, nee Hannigan (1859-1940).  Thomas joined his older brother Joseph (1886-1933). Not much is known about the elder Joseph Maloy except that he had been born in New York.  By 1900 Elizabeth was indicating that she was a widow, however I was unable to find a death record for Joseph Maloy.

The 1900 US Census has the Maloy family living at 4215 S. St. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.  There is now a new apartment building on that site.  Elizabeth was head-of-household and a dressmaker, Joseph and Thomas were "at school."

The 1910 US Census showed the family still living at 4215 S. St. Lawrence Avenue.  Elizabeth was still a dressmaker, twenty year old Thomas was an "electrician" for an "electric company."  Joseph was living elsewhere but the family had been joined by Elizabeth's sister Margaret Hannigan.

When Thomas Maloy registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 he was living at the same address; he listed his occupation as "electrician" for the "operator's union".

Sometime between June 1917 and January 14, 1920 (the date of  the 1920 US Census), Maloy had gotten married to Effie Preston (1892-1940).  He is listed in the 1920 census as "Edward Maloy."  He and his bride were living at 4404 S. Calumet Avenue in Chicago:

4400-4404 S. Calumet, Chicago

Maloy lists his job as an "electrician" in a "shop".

The first mention of Thomas Maloy in the Chicago newspapers came on July 3, 1920 when he was listed as "business agent" for the Motion Picture Operators Union.  The theater musicians had gone on strike and they had asked the operators (projectionists) to go out on strike in sympathy.  Maloy was calling a meeting with his union members to discuss the request.

He again shows up in the Tribune in 1922, still the business agent for the union, having averted a strike of the projectionists by getting the projectionists in the Chicago Loop a minimum of $80.00 per week.

By February 19, 1923 Maloy is in the news again.  This time it is in a front page article "One Labor Business Agent Kills Another in Pistol Duel in Al Tierney's Grand Boulevard CafĂ©."  Maloy was not killed, but he was sitting at the same table as Steve Kelliher of the Teamsters Union who was shot and killed by Daniel McCarthy of the Plumbers Union. 

Thomas Maloy's name was in the Chicago newspapers on almost a daily basis in the late 1920s.  The motion picture business was turbulant in those days and strikes were common.

There were different unions involved:  motion picture exhibitors, motion picture operators, theater musicians, stage hands, to name a few.  And every time one of the unions went on strike, the members of the other unions walked out in support of their striking brethren. 

There was an especially bad strike in September of 1928.  The musicians union called a strike and on September 3, 1928 over 300 movies were shown in Chicago without music.  These were, for the most part silent films - talking movies were in their infancy at that time.  Without the musicians - organists, piano players and full orchestras - the films shown were indeed silent.  As the strike went on, by September 6 the other unions were threatening to walk out in sympathy and as a result all the movie theaters in Chicago would not be allowed to open.  No music, no ushers, no projectionists, no electricians - opening the theaters would have put the public in grave danger.  And who was in the middle of all this?  Tommy Maloy.  On September 6, the Chicago Daily Tribune announced that "Thomas Maloy, business agent for the operators, and George Browne, head of the stage hands organization, delivered their ultimatums early this evening to Jack Miller, president of the Motion Picture Exhibitors Association.

Faced with empty theaters the exhibitors had no choice.  An end to the strike was announced on September 7, 1928.  The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that

The apparent end of the tense situation in which Thomas Maloy and George Browne, business agents respectively of the motion picture operators and stage hand's unions, had joined with James C. Petrillo, president, and other officials of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, came suddenly after it was believed a strike that would close all the motion picture houses could not be averted.    

The 1930 US Census was the last one that Thomas Maloy would be alive for.  The family was now living at 6806 S. Chappel Avenue in a two flat they owned worth $25,000.00:

6806 S. Chappel Avenue, Chicago

It was just Thomas and Effie and their nephew Edward, the son of Thomas Maloy's brother Joseph.  Edward went to live with Tom and Effie Maloy after Edward's father Joseph remarried in 1930.

We have already seen that Thomas Maloy was all over the newspapers in 1931 concerning the murder of Jacob Kaufman.  Thomas Maloy's name was in the Chicago newspapers on an almost daily basis.

The 1931 theater labor strikes were especially bloody.  The Chicago Daily Tribune declared on October 14, 1931 that thirteen different movie theaters had been bombed in the two months "since the trouble began."   All in all a total of fifteen theaters were bombed before things were finally settled on October 20, 1931.  Maloy and his wife celebrated their victory by taking a lengthy trip through Europe at the union's expense.

Things finally began to turn against Thomas Maloy in 1933.  On May 6, 1933 it was announced that the Internal Revenue Service would be launching an investigation against Maloy, reminding readers that "the move is along the lines of the campaign that sent Alphonse Capone to prison."  It was alleged that union officials as well as theater owners and others gave Maloy "gifts" of cash that amounted to, at the very least, hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.  It was alleged that Maloy never listed any of these "gifts" on his tax return or paid any income tax on these "gifts."

Maloy was in the news again on October 25, 1934 when the Chicago Daily Tribune headline screamed "ROB UNION HEAD OF $63,000 - 5 Raid Home of Tom Maloy at Lake Resort."  It was reported that "Five armed and masked men raided the summer home of Tom Maloy...near Michigan City last night, and after tying up Mrs. Maloy, her maid, and chauffeur, and the town marshall of Long Beach, ransacked the house and escaped with money and jewels, amounting in all to a reported $63,000.00."  Maloy was not present; he was in Canada on a hunting trip.

It looked like the empire of Thomas Maloy was beginning to crack.  Day after day the newspapers reported another attack on Maloy or the Motion Picture Operators Union that he headed.  Let's take another look at the questions I asked at the start of this article:

Did (Maloy) really get off scot-free from his crimes?  To this point there were nothing but allegations.

Did he ever stand trial for the murder of Jack Kaufman?  No - Kaufman's murder was officially "unsolved".

Did Maloy ever spend a night in jail? There is no evidence that Thomas Maloy ever spent even one night behind bars. 

So what ultimately happened to Thomas Maloy?  The answer can be found below:

So, it seems that Tommy Maloy's lifestyle caught up with him after all.

Here is his Death Notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune of February 7, 1935:

Of course, the newspapers covered the funeral.  From the Chicago Daily Tribune of February 9, 1935:


Thomas E. Maloy, slain czar of the Motion Picture Machine Operators' union, was buried yesterday in Calvary cemetery.  More than 1,000 fiends and curiosity seekers followed the body to the grave.

Brief funeral services were held in the Maloy apartment at 6806 Chappel avenue, where the body lay beneath a neon lighted crucifix.  The widow, Mrs. Effie Maloy, was attended by Ralph O'Hara, organizer of the union, and by her adopted son, Edward.

The New York Times added that there were 310 cars in the cortege, including ten flower cars.

Thomas Maloy was buried in a simple grave with a flat headstone in Section Y of Calvary Cemetery in Evanston, Illinois, next to his brother Joseph, who died in 1933. 

So what was the aftermath of the death of Thomas Maloy? The Motion Picture Machine Operators Union was taken over by its international parent, The International Association of Theatre and Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators' Unions.  Never again would one man have as much unchecked power as Maloy had.

Effie Preston Maloy never remarried, dying in Chicago in 1940.  She chose to be buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, not with her late husband at Calvary.

After spending thirty five years as a motion picture projectionist, Edward James Maloy, nephew and then adopted son of Thomas and Effie Maloy died September 2, 1982 in Chicago.  He had served as a tailgunner in the Korean war.

By the way, the murder of Thomas Maloy, like the murder of Jacob Kaufman, remains "unsolved."

Friday, August 8, 2014


One of the points I try to make with this blog is that every person has a story.  You cannot tell just by looking at a tombstone what the story is of the person buried there.  Such is the case with Jack Kaufman, buried at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois at Gate No. 5 - B'nai Ruven.  His tombstone, based loosely on "tree tombstones" popular at the time, gives no clue to the story buried there:

You would never guess, looking at that tombstone, that Jack Kaufman tried almost single-handedly to clean up the corruption that was rampant in the Motion Picture Projectionists Union in Chicago and as a result was murdered in cold blood - shot five times.

Let's see what we can "dig up" about Jack Kaufman and find out the story that led to his murder. Readers of the New York Times of June 22, 1931 saw the following story from Chicago:

Executive of the Motion Picture Operators' Union Is Among Those Hunted by Police.

CHICAGO, June 21 (AP). - Jacob Kaufman, said by officials to have aided them in a grand jury investigation now under way into alleged labor-racketeering among motion picture operators, was shot to death early today.  Assistant State's Attorney Varles Bellows immediately ordered the arrest of Thomas Maloy, head of the Chicago Motion Picture Operators' Union, and five other men. 

The others sought are Danny Stanton, South Side gunman, under indictment in Wisconsin for the slaying of Jack Zuta; Ralph O'Hara, an associate of Maloy; Eddie Donovan, a Cicero gunman, and Jock Quinn and Ralph La Pointe, union executives. 

Although he declined to disclose information as to the men, Mr. Bellows described the slaying as an attempt to embarrass the grand jury's inquiry.

"This is a union killing," he said.  "There is no doubt about that.  Maloy and his crowd have overstepped themselves this time.  The murder will react against them rather than disorganize the grand jury work, as apparently it was intended to do."  

Kaufman, a motion picture operator, was shot down as he stood in the entrance of a South Side radio shop by one of three gunmen who drew alongside the curb in an automobile.

The victim had long been at odds with Maloy and recently led a minority movement to unseat him in favor of Henry Gusenberg, brother of Frank and Pete Gusenberg, who were slain in the St. Valentine's Day massacre.

Wow!  Chicago is, and always was a union town, and publicly challenging the union can have dire results.  Let's see what brought Jack Kaufman to this point where he would be murdered in cold blood at a young age.

Jack Kaufman was born Jacob Kaufman in 1893 in Ukraine which was then a part of Russia.  His parents were David and Ada (sometimes spelled "Edella") Kaufman and he joined siblings Bella/Betty, Carl, and Samuel.  Jack Kaufman came to the US in 1914 when he was twenty-one years old.  He did not waste any time when he got here, because on November 4, 1914 he married Mary Leiss (1891-1955) in Chicago. 

Jack and Mary were blessed with three children:  Myron/Mike (1916-2003), Leonore (1919-1987) and Frances Edith (1922-2006).

The 1920 US Census saw the family (then spelled "Kauffman") living at 1906 S. Albany in Chicago.   Twenty-nine year old "Jake" was the head of the household.  He listed his occupation as "Moving".  I assume it was Moving Pictures not moving furniture.  The census also listed his wife Mary, and children Myron and Lenore, all of whom listed their native language as "Jewish".  Living with them were Jake's mother Edella Kaufmann, Jake's divorced sister Bella Okun, and Bella's son Norman.  Unfortunately 1906 S. Albany is now a vacant lot.

By the 1930 US Census, the Kaufman family was living at 1322 S. Spaulding in Chicago.

1322 S. Spaulding, Chicago

"Jake" now listed his job as "Electrician" in an "Electrical Shop".  But we know he was also working as a motion picture projectionist, when he could find a job.  

And that takes us up to the fateful day of June 21, 1931 when Kaufman's life was snatched from him.

As you can imagine, over the next few days the newspapers were full of news and speculation about the murder.  On June 24, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported in detail about an re-enactment of the murder at the murder scene, the garage behind 9525 Princeton Avenue in Chicago:

Children Watch Drama in South Side Garage.

With policemen acting the roles of the killer and his victim, the murder of Jacob Kaufman, insurgent member of the Motion Picture Operators' Union was reenacted yesterday in the garage at 9525 Princeton avenue, where Kaufman was shot to death last Saturday night.

A group of colored urchins gathered around as Assistant State's Attorneys Charles E. Lounsbury and Charles Bellows set the scene.  They placed Dave Greer, unemployed Negro movie operator, on the floor under a squad car, just where he lay installing a radio in Kaufman's machine when a flannel trousered gunman walked in at 7 p.m. Saturday and fired five bullets into his body.  

Place Second Witness.

Another witness, John Drake, Negro handy man, was told to take his place in the reenactment of the tragedy.  Drake, grinning goodnaturedly, picked up an oily rag and bent over the front fender of another automobile, which, with the squad car, almost filled the floor space of the weatherbeaten little garage.

"Here's where I stood, boss," Drake announced.  "I was bending over the front of the car, just polishing away, when the gun went bang.  But I didn't see the man fire the shots.  he was outside the door."

Sergt. Leo Anderson, representing the gunman, was standing just inside the door, pointing his pistol at his partner, Sergt. John Mullarkey, who crouched in the corner, simulating the posture of the dying Kaufman.  "Try it from outside the door," suggested Mr. Bellows.

Sergt. Anderson stepped over the threshold and aimed anew.  His partner, his knee joints cramped by his role, stood up and dusted off his clothes.  The Negro began to talk excitedly.

Witness Verifies Positions.

"It was just like that," the witness averred.  "The man with the gun was outside the door, where I couldn't see him run away.  The the crowd gathered 'round and we carried Mr. Kaufman outside and laid him on the sidewalk."

The prosecutor glanced around the garage.  His eyes fell on a bullet hole, drilled through an upright joist and through the tar paper wall to the left of where Kaufman fell.

Inserting a pencil in the bullet hole and projecting a yardstick from the end of the pencil, Mr Bellows produced a shaft indicating the bullet's supposed path.  Again Sergt. Anderson raised his gun, but the angle of the pistol barrel and the yardstick would not jibe.

"Drake, you're lying," said Mr. Bellows sternly.  The Negro shrugged, rolled his eyes and made no answer.  

Lie Detector Shows Response.

Prosecutor Bellows said he had reason to believe that both Drake and Greer know more about the killing than they have been willing to tell.  The state has been using a "lie detector" in its investigation of the case and Mr. Bellows says both the Negroes have shown well defined reactions on the machine when questioned about Kaufman being "Put on the spot."

The prosecutors decided to question other witnesses.,  In a cottage across the street they found Mrs. Anna Freeman, colored housewife, who saw the killer flee.  Leo Del Magro, an unemployed stage hand, arrested as a suspect Monday night because his brother-in-law had been supplanted by Kaufman in a moving picture job, was marched along to confront Mrs. Freemen.

"No, he's not the man," she answered.  "They're about the same size, but the other man was fairer.  He had white pants and a cap.  He was younger, too, and he ran with a springy step."

"How many suits have you got?" the prosecutor asked Del Magro.  The prisoner said he had only one, the gray suit on his back.  he added that he'd never worn white trousers.

After a moment's conference the prosecutors decided to send the sergeants up and down the street in search of other witnesses while they returned to the garage.  Mrs. Freeman, apprehensive over being mixed up in a murder case, but also inquisitive, called them back.  

"Have you found the man who took the notes?" she asked.  Mr. Bellows looked blank a moment before asking what man and what notes she meant.

New Witness Sought.

The woman then explained that, while Kaufman lay dying on the sidewalk, she saw a motorist alight from a sedan in which a woman sat, take a cushion from the seat, and place it under the victim's head.  Then, for perhaps three minutes before the police arrived, the mysterious motorist talked to Kaufman, taking notes of what the victim said.  

The witnesses, Greer and Drake, were called.  They, too, had seen the note taker and believe he drove away soon after the first police squads arrived.

Casting about for other possible clews, Prosecutor Bellows noticed a skull and bones with a question mark beneath, painted on a garage window.  But Crawford Johnson, mulatto owner of the place, said the sinister design was on the glass when it was put in place of a broken pane some months ago.  Johnson said he got the new pane from a neighbor's basement.

The party returned downtown, Greer, Drake, Del Magro, and Johnson being locked up at the detective bureau.  Mr. Bellows announced they would continue in custody "until we clear this thing up and get the truth.

Statement by Maloy Lawyers.

Meanwhile, Thomas Maloy, autocratic business agent of the movie operators' union, issued a statement through his lawyer, Michael Ahern, regarding a notarized memorandum Kaufman wrote three years ago, asserting that Maloy had slugged him and threatened to "take him for a ride." Maloy, having refused to sign an immunity waiver for appearance before the grand jury Monday night remained at liberty.

"Certain features of the memorandum are true, but in the main it's a lot of boloney," said Mr. Ahern.  "In the first place it was written three years ago and if my client sought to harm Kaufman he'd hardly take three years to do it.  As  of fact the union records will show that Maloy, far from feeling enmity for Kaufman, provided him with work whenever he wanted it."

Acting Police Commissioner Alcock was asked whether the secret service division, recently established under Capt. William Shoemaker, would grapple with the murder mystery.

"You've been calling Capt. Shoemaker's division Scotland yard," the commissioner replied.  "Bear in mind, then, that Scotland Yard always works in secret."

Kaufman, who left a widow, three children, two brothers, a sister, and his mother, will be buried at 10 a.m. today in the Jewish Waldheim cemetery after services in a chapel at 3125 Roosevelt Road.  He was 41 years old.  

The garage is still standing today.  They have built a new house at the front of the lot but you can still see the garage in this photo, at the back of the lot on Princeton:

The June 24, 1931 Chicago Daily Tribune also contained the death notice for Jack Kaufman:

In the days after the murder there were stories in the papers almost every day about new witnesses or lie-detector tests or ballistics tests, and even an indictment of Thomas Maloy in mid-July (for racketeering, not murder), but as they days turned into weeks, the trail grew cold.  In fact, the murder of Jacob Kaufman was never officially solved.  On December 19, 1939, the Chicago Daily Tribune published a list of 29 slayings in Chicago that remained unsolved.  Number 3 on the list of unsolved murders was Jacob Kaufman.  The paper reported that Kaufman:

"was shot to death in a garage at 9525 Princeton Avenue June 1, 1931.  He was an insurgent member of the Motion Picture Operators' Union. The grand jury was told that Tommy Maloy, the union czar, had threatened to have him taken for a gangland ride."   

Jack Kaufman

Jack Kaufman - he tried to clean up the union but instead he paid with his life - may he rest in peace.

But what about Tommy Maloy?  Did he really get off scot-free from his crimes?  Did he ever stand trial for the murder of Jack Kaufman?  Did Maloy ever spend a night in jail? That is an interesting story, as well. Check back with this blog next week, when I'll tell the sordid tale of the life and death of Tommy Maloy.

Friday, August 1, 2014


I could do an entire blog just on people buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  It is such an old and historic cemetery that virtually every where you look you see another interesting tombstone.  Here's one I saw there this Spring:

This obelisk marks the final resting place of the Cairns Family:  James and Annie and their son James.  If you move around the obelisk, you will see the following panel:

This Tablet
Is Inscribed To The Memory Of 
James Thomas,
Only Son Of
James and Annie J. Cairns
Who Died Aug. 13, A.D. 1883
Aged 19 Years & 2 Mos.
And To Record The Grief Of His
Bereaved Parents And Only Sister.
A.D. 1884.

I was sure that there was a sad story here and I was right.  Let's see what it was.

James Thomas Cairns was born June 11, 1864 in Clonakilty, Cork, Ireland to James Cairns (1830-1903) and Annie Jones, nee Hughes (1845-1910).  The Cairns family came to the United States in 1865. In fact their other child Lizzie/Elizabeth (1865-1947) was born in Morristown, New Jersey, during the family's journey to Chicago.  James Cairns the elder, was a real estate agent by trade.

They did not participate in the 1870 US Census, but by 1880 they were firmly established in Chicago, living at 1072 (now 2458) Fulton Street. James the elder was a real estate agent and James the younger was a clerk in a grocery store.  A factory now stands at 2458 W. Fulton.

Tragedy struck the Cairns family on August 13, 1883.  Young James died at home from typhoid fever complicated by "severe cholera."  Both diseases are caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.  Both are greatly debilitating diseases, and according to his death certificate, James had been ill for three weeks and two days. Cholera victims often died within hours, so the fact that James held on as long as he did was a testimony to his youth and good health up to that point.  

The loss experienced by the Cairns family left them inconsolable.   Just over three weeks before, young James Cairns had his whole life ahead of him.  He was nineteen years old and had a good job.  In addition, he was part of a close and loving family. Then tragedy struck and he was gone.  The family chose a burial plot at beautiful Rosehill Cemetery and laid their son to rest.  Here is his Death Notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune of August 14, 1883:

The Cairns family wanted to memorialize young James in a way that would reflect how special he was, and also be a visible sign of what a shattering blow his death had been to them.  To do this, they erected an obelisk over his grave - the sign of life eternal:

And on the part of the obelisk that faces the graves, they inscribed their pain into the cold, hard stone:

And marking the actual grave of young James Cairns:

"Our Darling Boy"

James Cairns the elder joined his son at Rosehill in 1903; Annie Cairns in 1910.  Both are buried in the Cairns family plot at Rosehill:

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Cairns, James' sister married Homer R. White in 1903. They ultimately moved to Pennsylvania where Lizzie died in 1947.  She is buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Ambler, Pennsylvania:

So that's the story of a family, greatly bereaved at the loss of their son and brother at the age of nineteen.

James Thomas Cairns - May he rest in peace. 

Friday, July 25, 2014


Last April when I was photographing the tombstone of Henry Boltwood at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago I noticed another tombstone of interest.  Not too far from the Boltwood tombstone is one erected to Thomas H. Jewell and his wife Jemima.  What makes the Jewell monument interesting is what is inscribed along the bottom:  "Erected by His Former Employees".   

I'm sure that some of my former employees would be willing to contribute for a tombstone for me, but only if I was going to use it right away.

Let's see what we can "dig up" about Thomas H. Jewell.

Thomas Henry Jewell was born March 8, 1842 in St. Stephens Parish, Cornwall, England.  The first record of him that we have in the United States was his arrival on March 16, 1858 when he had just turned sixteen.  In 1863 Jewell married Miss Jemima Imerson (1841-1927).  Thomas and Jemima were blessed with nine children, six of whom lived to adulthood.  They are:

Edward J. (1863-????)
Sarah Anna Rebecca (1865-c1935)
Nellie (1866-c1951)
Thomas (1869-????)
William (1870-????)
Charles (1871-1937)
Fanny Louise (1875-1898) Twin
Harry L. (1875-????) Twin
Ella (1879-1919)

The 1870 US Census found the Jewell family living in Wyandotte, Michigan where Thomas listed his occupation as "Worker in a Rolling Mill".

The 1880 US Census has the Jewell family now living in Chicago at 919 Ashland Avenue (now 1820 N. Ashland).  That spot is now under the Kennedy Expressway.  Thomas Jewell now listed his occupation as "Foreman in Steel Works"

The 1890 US Census for Illinois is lost, but by 1900 Thomas and Jemima Jewell were living at 3535 S. Hamilton Avenue where Thomas listed his occupation as "Superintendent".

3535 S. Hamilton, Chicago

The 1900 Chicago City Directory lists him as Assistant Superintendent at the Illinois Steel Company.

Illinois Steel Company

The 1910 US Census shows sixty-eight year old Thomas Jewell still working - as a "Superintendent in a Rolling Mill."  He and Jemima (now called "Jennie") are living at 6948 S. Vincennes in Chicago.  There is a new high rise building on that spot today.  Fanny Jewell Edmonds' fifteen year old son Ralph Edmonds was living with them.

Thomas Henry Jewell died on March 4, 1913 in Chicago from angina pectoris complicated by a bout with "la grippe" (the flu).  

According to his death certificate, when he died he was Superintendent at the Wisconsin Steel Company.

Wisconsin Steel Company

Here is his Death Notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune of March 5, 1913:

He was buried in Rosehill Cemetery under that beautiful monument that originally caught my attention:

I don't know what prompted his former employees to purchase this monument for their former boss, but a monument of this size and quality would not have been cheap.  And over 100 years later, their testimonial to their former boss still stands over his grave.

Thomas H. Jewell - loved and admired by his employees - may he rest in peace.     

Friday, July 18, 2014


As I have mentioned before, Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois has many beautiful and distinctive monuments.  I have featured some of the more interesting monuments in this blog, but Waldheim has its share of unusual monuments as well.  Such is the case at Gate 45 - Kovner. Wandering around on a bleak winter day in February of 2012 fulfilling Find a Grave photo requests I happened upon this unusual monument:

As you can see, there is a bust of a solemn looking man at the top. Below that it says:

Levy Wittenberg
Died June 12, 1907

L. Wittenberg
to the
Auel Jacob

I had a feeling that there might be an interesting story here and I was right.  Let's see what we can "dig up" about Levy (also spelled "Levi") Wittenberg, Chicago's matzoh king.

Levy Wittenberg was born in Kolnich, Russia in February of 1850 to Israel Wittenberg and Sara, nee Cohen.  We know that Levy had at least two siblings, Abraham (1865-1934) and Isaac (1880-1937) because they sued Levy for libel in 1903 - but more on that later.  Levy Wittenberg came to the United States in 1880 and settled first in New York and then finally in Chicago.  

While still living in Russia, Levi Wittenberg married Gitel (Katie) nee Newman (1850-1940) circa 1870 while both were twenty years old. Katie told the census taker in 1900 that she had given birth to seven children, and all seven were still alive at that time.  Here they are:

Louis (1870-1915), born in Russia
Hyman (1873-1911), born in Russia
Leah (1875-1945), born in Russia
Ida (1879-1912), born in New York
Levi/Harry (1885-1979), born in New York
Moses/Morry (1888-1975), born in Chicago
Alexander (1889-1941), born in Chicago.  Alexander used the surname "Witte"

In later years Levy said that he had moved to Chicago in 1883 but that is unlikely unless he came out to Chicago ahead of the rest of his family.

Levy Wittenberg became a naturalized US citizen on October 17, 1890.

No matter when he actually arrived, Levi quickly established himself as one of the top Jewish bakers in Chicagoland.  Here is a photo of Wittenberg's bakery, circa 1900:

Levi Wittenberg was not without his share of controversy.  The following article appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune on June 30, 1903:

Charge Him With Libel in Issuing Circulars Attacking Their Business Integrity.

Three brothers are complainants and defendant in a libel case brought before Justice Richardson yesterday.  Abraham and Isaac Wittenberg, bakers at 529 Jefferson street, charging Levy Wittenberg with libel. The trouble started shortly before the Passover feast in April.  The matzos for the feast were bought from Abraham and Isaac Wittenberg, at a reduced price.  Then, it is charged, Levy Wittenberg issued circulars of a libelous character, attacking the quality of the food sold by his brothers.  One circular stated:

"Do not buy from them what are called matzos, while in fact when you open the bundle you find the broken fragments of various food articles."

According to the complainants, the circulars were intended to attack their honest.  Justice Richardson continued the case until July 9th.

It is not recorded how the case turned out, but Levy Wittenberg's bakery was still producing and selling matzoh long after the founder was gone:

Now what about the monument that piqued my interest in the first place?

As I mentioned, at the top is a bust of a stern faced man.  Lower down it says "Levy Wittenberg, Died June 12, 1907" and then "Donated From L. Wittenberg to the Congregation Auel Jacob 1899."

Is the bust at the top a bust of Levy Wittenberg?  Here's his photo, and a closeup of the bust - judge for yourself:

I'm afraid that my research has hit a brick wall here.  I could not find anything about the Congregation Auel Jacob, past or present, nor could I find anything about Levy Wittenberg donating a monument or a bust of anyone.

Levy Wittenberg did die on June 12, 1907 at home, 580 N. Canal Street, from lobar pneumonia complicated by diabetes.  According to his death certificate he was fifty-eight years old:

As I mentioned above, he was buried at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois at Gate 45 - Kovner.  In addition to the imposing monument, his grave is also marked with a more conventional tombstone:

So the mystery of the monument "Donated from L. Wittenberg to the Congregation Auel Jacob in 1899" will have to remain a mystery for now.  Maybe one of my readers will have some information that will solve the mystery for us.  One of the frustrating parts of genealogical research is that there are some mysteries that never are solved; some questions that are never answered. But that's what makes it so much fun, as well.

Levy Wittenberg, Chicago's Matzoh King - may he rest in peace.