Friday, December 28, 2012

REQUIEM FOR A HOUSE - 301 Asbury Avenue, Evanston, Illinois

As the day drew to a close on December 11, 2012, Evanston, Illinois became a different place, but few took notice.  December 12th would be the first day since 1883 that there was not a house standing at 301 Asbury Avenue.  It was torn down by order of the City of Evanston because it had become a hazard to the safety of its citizens.

301 Asbury, 2007

When the house at 301 Asbury was built in 1883, buildings in Evanston were not even numbered - in fact 301 was not in the City of Evanston at all - it was built in the Village of South Evanston, and did not become part of Evanston itself until South Evanston was annexed in 1892.

When the house at 301 was built, the streets of this part of South Evanston had not even been laid out.  Asbury Avenue was there, but it was an unpaved dirt road this far south.  Major Edward Harris Mulford, the original owner of the 160 acre estate “Oakton” that reached from Howard to Oakton and Asbury to Custer (called Rinn Street back then) had only been dead for four years.  Mulford’s granddaughter Anna Mulford Brown was just beginning to subdivide the estate and sell it off piece by piece.

When I was a boy, Major Mulford’s house on the northwest corner of Ridge and Harvard Terrace was still standing.  The last piece of the original estate, it was sold and razed in 1963 so the first condominium in Evanston could be built.

In 1883 the Village of South Evanston was populated with immigrants from Germany and France and Luxembourg - people with names like Muno and Leider and Schaul.

301 Asbury, the two story frame house with the barn out in back, provided a home to many of these early settlers as well - distant relatives but part of my own family:  The house was originally built by John N. Didier (Jean-Nicholas Didier), a gardener, and various members of the Didier and Faber family lived there until the mid 1950s.

Here is a photo of John N. Didier with his second wife Elizabeth (nee Reding) and his eleven children:

Over the years many of the Didiers lived at 301 Asbury.  Here are the listings from the South Evanston, then the Evanston City Directory:

1883 - (Referred to as Asbury av. cor Mulford)
John N. Didier (Gardener)

H.N. Didier (Farmer)
John Didier,
J.N. Didier (Farmer)
Peter Didier (Farmer)

Henry N. Didier
J.N. Didier (Farmer)
John Didier (Farmer)
John Didier, Jr. (Farmer)
Peter Didier (Farmer)

Frank J. Didier (Student)
Henry N. Didier (Gardener)
John N. Didier (Farmer)
Nicholas Didier (Farmer)          

Frank J. Didier (Student, Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y.)
Henry N. Didier (Gardener)
John N. Didier [Elizabeth, wife], (Farmer)

On August 9, 1892, Henry N. Didier was married to Barbara Schiltz at St. Nicholas Church ("The German church") by the beloved  founding pastor, Fr. Otto Groenebaum:

The newlyweds took up permanent residence at 301 Asbury.

More entries from the Evanston Directories for the Didiers at 301 Asbury:

Alex Didier (Student, St. Nicholas Academy)
Frank J. Didier (Student, Chicago Medical College)
Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Farmer)
Mrs. J.N. Didier
Miss Margaret Didier
Miss Susan Didier

1894 - Now referred to as 301 Asbury Avenue
Frank J., Didier, Student
H.N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
Mrs. J.N. Didier, widow
Miss Margaret Didier
Miss Susan Didier

Mrs. Elizabeth Didier
Emil Didier (Laborer)
Frank J. Didier (Market Gardener)
Margaret Didier
Susan Didier

Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
Susie Didier

Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)

Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
M.J. Faber [Susan, wife] (Buyer, Lyon & Healy, Chicago)

Henry N. Didier [Barbara, wife] (Gardener)
M.J. Faber [Susan, wife] (with Lyon & Healy, Chicago)

By 1901 the Fabers had moved to their own home and Henry Didier and his family were the only Didiers still living at 301.

In 1907 Henry Didier decided to build a frame barn out behind the house at a cost of $875.00:

It had stalls for horses on the ground floor and a hay loft above.

In this 1924 photo of the Asbury Station of the North Shore Line the barn can be seen in the background on the upper left:

By 1927 the area had become too built up for horses, and Henry Didier decided to convert the barn into a three car garage:

In September of 1929, 301 Asbury was host to a sad occasion - the death of one of its residents. Francis Didier, the 20 year old son of Henry and Barbara Didier died at nearby St. Francis Hospital but his wake was held at home.

Here's his obituary from the Chicago Daily Tribune of September 16, 1929:


As it says in his obituary, Francis Didier is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Techny, Illinois:

In 1931, Henry Didier decided to close in the rear stairway:

In October of 1933 sadness again covered 301 Asbury.  This time it was the death of Henry N. Didier, who was involved with 301 since the house was built in 1883 - when Henry was a young man of twenty years old.  Henry Didier had lived at 301 Asbury for fifty years!

The doctor who filled out Henry's death certificate made an interesting observation.  In the section that asks, "Was disease in any related to the occupation of deceased?" the doctor wrote "Yes.  Long years of hard work."  And they used to tell us "Hard work will never kill you..."

Henry N. Didier was buried next to his son Francis at St. Mary's Cemetery in Techny:

The 1940 Census finds the widow Barbara Didier still living at 301 along with her twenty-three son Henry Didier, Jr. and Henry's twenty-one year old wife Vera.  They were renting part of the house to the Henry Hermes family (for $40.00 per month).  Henry Hermes' wife was Mary Didier, one of the daughters of Barbara and Henry Didier, Sr.

In October of 1945 (even though the tombstone says 1946), Barbara Didier died.  She was seventy-one years old.

(A special thank-you to the angel who got the Didier death certificates for me)

Here's Barbara Didier's obituary from the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 31, 1945:

She was buried next to her husband and son at Techny:

Henry and Barbara Didier were the loving parents of fourteen (!!!) children.  301 Asbury was a house built to be filled with children.

Henry Didier, Jr. and his wife Vera and the Hermes family (Mary Didier) stayed at 301 Asbury Avenue after Barbara's death, but finally in 1954 the decision was made by the heirs of Henry Sr. and Barbara Didier to sell.  On December 31, 1954 the property was sold to Wladyslawa (Lottie) Jencz and her husband John.  Although title passed on December 31, 1954, it was not until mid-1955 that all the many heirs of Henry Sr. and Barbara Didier had quit-claimed their interests to the Jencz family.  By the end of 1955, for the first time in seventy-two years, 301 Asbury was not owned by any member of the Didier famly.


Friday, December 21, 2012

IN HOPE OF OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM - Frances Jane Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw

NOTE:  Back on December 21, 2012 I wrote the story of Frances Jane Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw for this blog.  I wrote the story based on information that I pulled from a variety of sources on the internet.  Subsequent to that, their family contacted me with corrections and clarifications.  So, the story presented below has been re-written to relate it as it actually happened.  Although sad in many ways, it tells the story of a remarkable family.  I hope you enjoy it:

For this week's selection we are going to stay in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  As I have mentioned before, Rosehill is a cemetery where you can find interesting stories wherever you look.

On a recent Find a Grave photo expedition I came upon this Celtic Cross:

The top part is inscribed:

To The Cherished
Memory of
Frances Jane
Widow of the Late
J.H. Robinson
of London, England
And Dau. of
The Late Colonel
Bowland Moffatt
(British Army)
Passed Away at
Glencoe, Ill.
Sept 17, 1906

The bottom part is inscribed:

Frances Maria
Daughter of
Geo. & Ethel Whitelaw
Grand Daughter of the Above
Sept. 25, 1906 - Jan. 18, 1907
In Hope of Our Gathering
Together Unto Him
                                        F.C.R. - E.C.W.

What can we find out about the grandmother and granddaughter interred here?  Let's take a look.

The stone mentions Colonel Bowland Moffat (1813-1890).  According to The New Annual Army List With an Index (1840) Colonel Moffat was with the 54th (or the West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Soldiers - Serving in the East Indies.  Colonel Moffat was a career military man at a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.  He served in India which the British called the "East Indies".

Bowland Moffat

Frances Jane Moffat was born in Madras, India on December 4, 1837 to Bowland Moffat and Frances Maria Garrard (1818-1891).

Frances Maria Garrard Moffat

Frances Jane was the oldest of five children born to the couple.  After Frances Jane came Emily Augusta (1839-1917), Bowland Garrard (1842-1924), Reginald William (1844-????) and Eustace William Douglas (1845-1892).    

In about 1850 Bowland Moffat was transferred to the Channel Islands. The 1851 Census shows thirteen-year-old Frances Jane living with her parents, siblings, a governess and two servants.    
On May 30, 1859 the Moffats were back in Calcutta, India for twenty-one year old Frances Jane to marry James Hamilton Robinson  (1837-1900).  Seven children were born to Frances and James Robinson: Frances Campbell (b 1860), Hamilton Moffat (b 1862), George Eustace McNeil (b 1864), Emily Willan (b 1865), Alan Forsyth (b 1867),  Ella Stuart (b 1872), and Ethel Campbell (b 1880).

James Hamilton Robinson was born June 10, 1837 in Kilbourn Priory, Essex, England, the son of George Brown Robinson (1804-1859) and Jane Campbell Hamilton (1819-1896).  Contrary to popular belief James' family was not related to the famous Robertson Scottish marmalade family.  The Robertson Marmelade Company was founded in the 1850s whereas the family of James Hamilton Robinson had changed their family name and left Scotland for England sometime in the 1740s or so.
Records indicate that James was an East India Trader living in Calcutta, not with the British East India Company as some have related, but as a partner in an independent company called Balfour and Robinson as an exporter of jute and other merchandise.
Frances and James seemed to have a very nice upper to upper middle class life in Calcutta and in England until around 1867 when two events occurred.  One, James declared bankruptcy which naturally destroyed their finances and apparently made James a bitter man.  The other was that James found another woman, whose name was Mary Cole.  James started a bigamous lifestyle having ten children with Mary.
In 1885 James and Mary and their children moved to Manitoba, Canada.  Naturally Frances did not join them.  In that era, James' very open lifestyle must have been humiliating to Frances as a woman of her station.  However with no money, nor a husband, she had to stay somewhere.  She moved to Wapella NWT (now Saskatchewan) to live with her son.  Life must have been terrible - she lived in a one room cabin with her son and two of her daughters (Ethel and Frances).  Eventually broken in marriage, finances and by the harsh prairie weather, she returned with Ethel to England.
On April 26, 1893, James Hamilton Robinson married Mary G. Cole In Winnipeg.  It is not known whether he first got a divorce from Frances.
On December 26, 1900, James Hamilton Robinson died in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was sixty-three.
In 1904 Frances returned to North America with Ethel to come to Chicago to live with her son Hamilton.  One reason for her return was to see her son George before he died.  George died about two weeks after her arrival.
The family tells me that the last two years of Frances' life in Chicago with her son Hamilton (called Tooney in the family) and his wife Ida were happy ones.
We will leave Frances for a moment so we can look at the person buried in the same plot as she, Frances Maria Whitelaw.  Frances Maria was the daughter of Frances' Robinson's daughter Ethel. 

Ethel Campbell Robinson was born October 6, 1880 in Reigate, Surrey, England.   As mentioned above, she was the last child to be born to Frances Jane Moffat and James Hamilton Robinson.  She moved with her mother to Canada, back to England, and then finally ended up in Glencoe, Illinois where on October 14, 1905 she married George Whitelaw:

1906 finds Frances Robinson living with her daughter Ethel and Ethel's husband George Whitelaw in Glencoe, Illinois.   Ethel is pregnant with her first child and is due at the end of September.  Sadly, Frances Jane Moffat Robinson died September 17, 1906 of tuberculosis:

Eight days later, September 25, 1906, George and Ethel's daughter was born, and they decided to name her after her deceased grandmother.  The baby was named Frances Maria Whitelaw - a living legacy.

Sadly, this special child was not to live to see adulthood.  On January 18, 1907, Frances Maria Whitelaw died of colitis with convulsions as a contributing factor.  She was just under four months old.

The decision was made to bury Frances Maria in the same plot at Rosehill Cemetery as her grandmother Frances Jane:

The story of two women named Frances.  One, a world traveller - from England to India to the Channel Islands to Canada, to Glencoe, Illinois.  A life full of sadness and starting over.  The second never ventured far from her birthplace of Glencoe, Illinois.  Both lie together in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery under a celtic cross.

"In Hope of Our Gathering Together Unto Him."

Frances Jane Moffat Robinson and Frances Maria Whitelaw - May they rest in peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

MORRIS S. STEINBERG: He Died by Accident

Here's another one from Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in suburban Forest Park:


Edward Larson and Morris Steinberg, two boys who were injured in jumping on (street)cars died yesterday. The former was injured trying to jump on a car at Clark and Indiana streets on Sept. 29, and Steinberg was hurt on Wednesday at State and Washington streets.
Chicago Daily Tribune, October 13, 1899

I don't know where Edward Larson is buried, but Morris Steinberg is at Gate 25 - Anshe Knesses Israel #2.  May he rest in peace.

Morris S. Steinberg

Morris S. Steinberg
"Died By Accident"

Morris S. Steinberg


One day a while back I was chatting with one of the groundskeepers at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  I mentioned to him how interested I was in all the history of the cemetery and its occupants and he asked me "Have you ever seen the grave of the first person to be buried at Rosehill?"  Not only had I never seen the grave, I had no idea who had been the first person buried there.  He told me to follow him, and we stopped at Section F, one of the oldest sections at Rosehill and the same section where Major Edward Harris Mulford was buried (see previous post).  He led me through the tombstones and we stopped at a tall, white column:

The incised letters had almost worn off, but at the bottom I could see "LUDLAM".  The Rosehill worker explained to me that this was the final resting place of Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam and his family.  He told me that Dr. Ludlam had been a noted physician in Evanston, and that when he was buried on Tuesday July 12, 1859 he became the first person to take up permanent residence at Rosehill.  As a matter of fact, Rosehill Cemetery had not even been officially dedicated yet - the dedication was set for Thursday July 28, 1859, two weeks after Dr. Ludlam's interment.

After seeing the grave and hearing the story, I decided to find out what I could about the subject of Rosehill's first burial.

Jacob Watson Ludlam was born November 28, 1807 in Camden, New Jersey to Reuben Ludlam (1788-1832) and Hannah (nee Watson).  At a young age Jacob decided that medicine was to be his chosen profession and he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania circa 1831.  At that time, the University of Pennsylvania medical school was the oldest and most renowned medical school in the entire country.  After graduation the new Dr. Ludlam returned to his native Camden, New Jersey to begin his practice.  Sometime during the time he lived in New Jersey, Jacob Ludlam met Edward Harris Mulford, another New Jersey native who was born in 1794.  Jacob Ludlam and Edward Mulford became fast friends - a friendship that would last for the rest of their lives and would change Ludlam's life dramatically. 

On June 3, 1830 Jacob Ludlam married Mary Dennis who had been born in Philadelphia in 1808.  During his time at the University he met, courted and married Mary, and after graduation she returned with him to Camden.  

Eight children were born to this union:  Reuben in 1831, James Dennis in 1833, Jacob Watson Jr. in 1835, Elizabeth Dennis in 1837, Edward Mulford in 1839, Hannah Watson in 1841, Mary Newkirk in 1842, and John Lawson in 1844. 

In those days the doctor came to the patient, not the other way around. At first Dr. Ludlam made his rounds alone, but as soon as young Reuben expressed an interest, he began to accompany his father.  In later years after Reuben graduated from the same medical school as his father, he said he could not remember a time when he had not wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. 

In 1835 Jacob Ludlam's friend Edward Mulford left New Jersey to settle in Chicago.  In 1839 Major Mulford moved to his 160 acre estate in Evanston called "Oakton".  From the first, Mulford tried to convince Ludlam to relocate to Evanston as well.  Finally in 1845 Dr. Ludlam made the trip to Evanston and within a short time he was hooked. Without wasting a moment, Ludlam returned to gather up his family and relocated them all to beautiful Evanston, Illinois which would remain Jacob Ludlam's home for the rest of his life.  

Frances Willard, in her book "A Classic Town: The Story of Evanston" (1891) said that Ludlam and Mulford "were of similar character and presence: Tall, portly and dignified in form and bearing, with dark eyes, handsome and expressive countenances, strong intellects, sturdy common sense and great geniality of tone and manner.  These two friends and comrades were among the best specimens of what she was wont to call "Gentlemen of the old school" and were of character and conduct models worthy of study by those who aspire to the fine distinction of becoming gentlemen of the new".
After practicing medicine in Evanston for a little over ten years, Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam died early in the morning of Monday July 11, 1859 from typhoid.  His body was brought by train from the Village of Evanston to Rosehill later that same day.  Services were held on Tuesday July 12, 1859 at 10 o'clock in the morning.  Dr. Ludlam was 51 years, 7 months and 14 days old when he died.

At the dedication of Rosehill Cemetery two weeks later, Dr. Blaney, the president of the Rosehill Cemetery Company said the following: "Rosehill has already one tenant.  On the eleventh day of the current month, the first funeral train entered its gates.  A single mound, in all the future city of the dead, marks the last resting place of  J.W. Ludlam, M.D.  Treat with respect that first memorial, for beneath that sod lies all the remains of earth of a most noble and exemplary man.  Though unprepared for interments, circumstances demanded that the body of Dr. Ludlam should be received.  But a few weeks since, previous to his leaving his home in the adjacent Village of Evanston, for a journey eastward, the lot of land upon which his mortal remains now repose was purchased of him by the Cemetery Company.  In accordance with his own request, he was interred upon the lot so recently his own while in life, and purchased by him for a far different purpose.  Truly, in the midst of life we are in death.  Though a man of high professional endowment, and universally respected and esteemed, he was simple in his tastes and unobtrusive in deportment.  His request to be buried there was doubtless prompted by feelings akin to those expressed in these beautiful lines:

"Oh!  Lay me not within the grave
Which bricks and stones enclose,
O'er which no shadowy branches wave
To guard my last repose.
Oh!  Lay me 'neath some ancient tree
That spreads its shade afar;
Where my lone grave may smiled on be
By many a silent star.
Where flow'rets deck the emerald sod
And with their fragrant breath
Whisper sweet tales of peace and God,
And life and love and death."

Dr. Jacob Watson Ludlam, eminent physician, father of another eminent physician, friend of Edward Mulford, transplant to Evanston, and first burial at Rosehill Cemetery - may he rest in peace.

Nov 28, 1807
July 11, 1859

MARY, His Wife
Dec 16, 1808
Mar 24, 1896

Friday, December 7, 2012


For this week's story, we'll be staying in Section S of Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  Along the road stands an imposing monument:

Carved into the stone under a cross with palms and lilies is "In Memoriam - Dr. W.E.J. Michelet."  In front of the large monument is a flat stone set into the earth:

"Dr. William E. J. Michelet, April 19, 1922."  Although it is a large plot of at least ten graves, only Dr. Michelet lies there.  What can we find out about Dr. Michelet and why did he say "I have no personal enemies"? Let's take a look.
The first surprise to me is that the man with the French sounding surname was actually Norwegian.  Wilhelm (William) Emil Julian Michelet was born January 9, 1846 in Lillehammer, Norway to Jacob Post Michelet and Gregine Grythe Olsdatter Michelet.  Some accounts have him born in La Crosse, Wisconsin but the evidence seems to point instead to Norway.  William was the fourth of seven children born to Jacob and Gregine.  The family emigrated to Coon Prairie, Wisconsin in 1851. After his confirmation and a preparatory school attendance at Sparta, he studied at Northwestern University and Rush Medical College in Chicago.  He graduated from Rush and became a doctor of medicine in 1879.  By all accounts Dr. Michelet had a thriving practice.  His office was at 509 (now 1252) W. 12th Street in Chicago.
On a personal level, Dr. Michelet married Paulina Conts (Coats?) in 1883.  They had three daughters:  Edith W.E., born April 17, 1884; Lillian G.E., born in June of 1886, and Winifred P., born in June of 1889.  By the 1900 Census, Dr. Michelet and his wife were divorced, and all three of their daughters were living with him.  Their home was at 1016 Sheridan Road in Wilmette.  A newer house stands on that lot today.     
Dr. Michelet was a frequent contributor to medical journals: "The Medicus", "The Denver Medical Times", "The Toronto Medical and Surgical Record", "The Medical Bulletin", and  "The Medical Review". A quick Google search of "Dr. W.E.J. Michelet" brings up countless articles and letters of Dr. Michelet that are still consulted today, more than ninety years after his death.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of May 9, 1916 carried an interesting article about happenings at the office of Dr. Michelet:

Woman Caught Between Fires Is Dangerously Wounded and Man Is Shot.

Stray bullets, guided by the malaprop genie which officiates at most bandit battles, yesterday struck down a man and a woman on the shabby stairway which leads to Dr. W. E. J. Michelet's office  at 1252 West Twelfth Street.  Both were victims of two holdup men, who, after an unsuccessful attempt to rob Dr. Michelet, were covering their retreat with a brisk fire.

The injured are:

Mrs. Dora Krackow, mother of five and wife of Max Krackow, a merchant of 1500 West Twelfth Street, shot in the breast, condition serious.

Joseph Romanski, a barber, of 1302 West Nineteenth Street, shot between the shoulderblades, condition seriious.

Had Expected Holdup.

Dr. Michelet, who lives at 4143 Sheridan Road, and is reputed to be wealthy, complained last October of suspicious loiterers about his office entrance, and a policeman had been stationed there each afternoon from 5 to 7 o'clock to take care of any trouble.  The attack on Dr. Michelet's office occurred shortly before the time for the officer to take his post.

Romanski was sitting in the physician's office when Dr. Michelet opened the door to let a woman out.  From the glooom of the unlighted vestibule the two waiting bandits jumped forward and thrust their revolvers into the physician's face, ordering him to throw up his hands.  Instead of complying, Dr. Michelet slammed the door and ran back into his office to get his revolver.  He returned and opened fire, the roibbers retreating to the stairway, shooting back.  Several bullets struck the woodwork of the door, and one glanced, hitting Romanski, who had not moved from his chair.

Hit By First Shot.

Mrs. Krackow was coming up the stairs to visit a dentist in the same building when the holdup men brushed past her.  When Dr. Michelet held his fire for fear of hitting the woman, they opened up, and Mrs. Krackow fell at the first shot.

The robbers gained the street, separated, and made their escape through the fast gathering crowd.  Dr. Michelet gave up the pursuit after a short run, and with the aid of several men from the crowd carried Mrs. Krackow to his office.  He gave Romanski and Mrs. Krackow first aid treatment, while a call was being sent in to the Maxwell Street police station.

A patrol wagon full of policemen was sent to the scene and a search for the robbers was begun.

Mrs. Krackow was taken to the Michael Reese hospital.  She said the bullet which struck her was fired by one of the bandits.  Romanski was taken to the County Hospital.

That was not the end of the story - and Dr. Michalet felt it was time that his version of the story was heard:

Says He Had No Revolver In Office Battle and Did Not Know Men, As Charged.
Patient, Shot, Tells Story.

Joseph Romanski, a barber at 1802 W. Nineteenth Street, who was accidentally shot in a battle between three unidentified men and Dr. W.E.J. Michelet, at 1252 West Twelfth Street, injected mystery into the affair yesterday by a statement to Capt. Barney Baer of the Maxwell Street station that the physician knew at least two of his assailants.

Dr. Michelet, on the other hand, said he had never seen any of the three men before.  He insisted they were robbers.  He said he had no revolver.

Makes Statement to Police.

"The police arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting in the afternoon," said Capt. Baer, "But Dr. Michelet had disappeared and we could not get in touch with him until this morning.  In response to my request he came to Maxwell Street station and made a statement.  He did not say the men were robbers.  He did not seem to suspect they were.  he said two came into his inner office and pointed revolvers at him and choked and beat him.  he resisted, and they ran.  He pursued them into the street.

"A third man in the hallway dressed in gray shot behind the doctor.  Whether he fired at the physician or at the fugitives the doctor said he did not know.  Joseph Romanski was shot probably by one of the three strangers while sitting in the doctor's outer office.  Mrs. Dora Krackow was shot while descending the stairway.  Both, according to their physicians, will recover.

Here's Romanski's Story.

"I had my men interview Romanski.  he said he was in the outer office when two men entered.  He said they paced up and down the room and cursed the doctor for stringing them along.  He said Dr. Michelet knew both men, but was withholding their names.

"I do not believe the affair was an attempted holdup.  Dr. Michelet has figure in two other mysterious affairs of much the same kind in the last eighteen months.  He was assaulted on both occasions by men he said were robbers, but in each instance he succeeded in frightening them off.  Since the last assault in October, we have kept a policeman at his office from 5 to 7 p.m.

"Dr. Michelet has had his office in the ghetto for thirty-six years and has a large practice which has made him rich.  He lives in a fine residence at 4143 Sheridan Road."

Dr. Michelet's Story.

Dr. Michelet talked about the affair with apparent frankness.

"I cannot understand why Romanski should have said I knew two of the men.  "I never saw them before.  They did not curse me in the outer office.  One sat with a paper before his face as if to avoid observation. When I summoned them into my office they sat down.  Then, when I was off guard, one of them sprang for me and said something to me in an undertone which I did not understand and finished with 'or I will blow your brains out.'  I believed him to be a robber.  His companion drew a revolver and also pointed it at my head.  I struggled with them and shouted for help.  They ran when I pursued, but I had no revolver.

"No Personal Enemies."

"As I ran through the hall a third man in gray fired a shot.  I do not know whether he aimed at me.  I did not get a good look at him and when I returned from the street he was gone.

"I have no personal enemies.  I own the building in which my office is located.  I am known throughout the district.  I come and go without fear.  I have never sent a bill to any one I have treated.  I have thousands of dollars outstanding.  If people are too poor to pay I do not ask payment.  I have never 'strung along' any patient.  I have enough money to practice legitimately, and have never had any inclination to do otherwise.

"If I knew any of the three men I should turn them over to the police without hesitation.  There is no mystery to this affair.  There was never any mystery about the other two similar affairs.  They were all merely attempts to rob me.  I am known to have money.  That is the reason I have been selected so often as a possible victim by holdup men."

I wish I could tell you that there was more to the story, but there is not. Dr. Michelet's name does not show up in the press again until his obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune on April 20, 1922:


DR. WILLIAM E.J. MICHELET of 4143 Sheridan Road, died yesterday noon after a short illness caused by streptococci infection of the throat. Dr. Michelet was born in La Crosse, Wis.  He was graduated from Rush Medical College in 1879 and engaged in the general practice of medicine in Chicago for more than forty years.  He is survived by three daughters, a sister, and a brother.

MICHELET - Dr. William E.J. Michelet, April 19, 1922, father of Mrs. Edith Michelet Potter, Lillian Michelet and Mrs. Winifred Michelet Hetzler.  Notice of funeral later.

For those of you who read Norwegian, here is Dr. Michelet's obituary from "Coon Prairie" by Hjalmar R. Holand (1927): 

So, that's the story of the man with the imposing monument.  What was the real reason for the robbery attempts?  Did Dr. Michelet know his attackers?  We may never know.  But the fact is that for over forty years Dr. W.E.J. Michelet traveled from his home in Wilmette to his office in the ethnic ghetto to care for the poor.  By his own account, he never refused treatment if the patient could not pay.  For that alone, he deserves to be remembered.

May he rest in peace.