Friday, October 26, 2012


For 24 years I was employed by The Washington National Insurance Company of Evanston, Illinois.  I started working for WNIC, as it was known, when I was in high school, and remained with the company until it was bought out in 1998.  I am still in touch with several of my coworkers from WNIC and we refer to those days as "the happiest days of our lives", and in many ways, they were.  I often still wear the service (Veterans) pin I received for twenty years of faithful service to WNIC and my former colleagues joke that I will probably be laid out in my casket wearing the pin as well.

But I must say that until now I had not considered putting Washington National Insurance Company on my tombstone - but that's not the case with the tombstone of Harry H. Hall.  Doing a Find a Grave photo search last Sunday at Rosehill Cemetery I happened upon Harry Hall's tombstone:

It says:
Harry H. Hall
Son Of
J.W. & A.L. Hall
Husband of
Cecile Howes Hall

A Prominent Clerk in
Com. Nat'l Bank.

Life's Duties Here Were Just
Begun, My Last Promotion
Is Heaven Won.

Let's see what we can find out about Harry.

Harry H. Hall was born in June of 1878 in Illinois, the son of John W. Hall and Almara Hall (nee Apthorp).

The 1900 Census already shows him as a "Bank Clerk" at the tender age of twenty-one.  On September 1, 1900, Harry was married to Miss Adaline Cecile Howes in Chicago by Dewitt C. Nye, a "Minister of the Gospel".

There is no more mention of Harry Hall in the newspapers until the announcement in the Chicago Daily Tribune of January 11, 1908 of his death on January 9th:

Harry died in the Garfield Park Sanitarium, where he had been for fifteen days, a victim of typhoid fever.

Postcard courtesy

Obviously Harry was very proud of being a Clerk at the Commercial National Bank of Chicago.  Here's how it looked when Harry worked there:

Commercial National Bank, Chicago - 1909
Postcard courtesy

The Commercial National Bank was formed during the Civil War and led by Henry F. Eames.  By the early 1870s Commercial National Bank had become one of the city's leading banks.  By the turn of the century, Commercial National had grown by absorbing several competitors.  In 1910, the merger of Commercial and The Continental National Bank created a new entity, the Continental & Commercial National Bank of Chicago, which had $175 million in deposits, making it one of the largest banks in the United States.  It continued to grow during the 1920s.  In 1929 it merged with Illinois Merchants Trust Co.; three years later, the bank's name became Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust Co.  During the Great Depression, the bank required a $50 million loan from Reconstruction Finance Corp. (a federal government agency) to stay afloat.  After World War II, the bank grew: by the beginning of the 1960s, Continental had over $3 billion in deposits and employed 5,000 people.  By the early 1970s, when it had 60 branches and affiliates around the world, the bank employed about 8,200 Chicago-area residents, many of whom worked at Continental's main offices on LaSalle Street in Chicago's loop.  During the early 1980s, after many of its large loans to companies in the oil and gas industries went bad, the bank experienced a sudden and unexpected crisis. Continental's Great Depression–era experience was repeated as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. came to the rescue.  In 1994, a diminished Continental was acquired by BankAmerica Corp. of San Francisco. 

Just as well that Harry didn't live long enough to see what happened to his beloved Commercial National Bank.

Harry H. Hall - faithful and prominent clerk of the Commercial National Bank of Chicago - May he rest in peace.

By the way, here are my Veterans pins.  Maybe I'll wear them in my casket after all.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I was having dinner this past Saturday evening with one of my friends at Kow Kow Chinese Restaurant in Lincolnwood.  If you haven't eaten there, you should - you're in for a treat.  Anyway, during dinner the topic of this blog came up and I was telling her how I go about finding stories that I think are interesting and informative but also yield enough information to make up a sufficient blog entry.  I also mentioned that it was a challenge, albeit a fun challenge, to come up with a new story every week.  She said, "Why haven't you told the Bernie story?"  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that she was right.  Here was a story, already at my fingertips that was interesting, and it also tells readers how I undertook one of my early genealogy searches. Each search is different by its very nature but it is still entertaining to follow the trail.  So, for your amusement and amazement is my story about Bernard (Bernie) Dording, my mother's first love. 

When you are growing up you hear your parents discussing events in their lives with each other and with friends and relatives.  When you are very young these stories are not interesting, but as you get older and begin to see your parents as people, you find the stories of their past interesting.  Through the years my mother would occasionally mention Bernie Dording as a fellow she was engaged to (before she met my father, she would hastily add) but who had died of cancer before they could be married.  My father didn't come along until after Bernie was gone, so he never had much to add to the conversation, although I'm sure he did not enjoy hearing about Bernie, his competition from the grave.

One day after my mother died in 2003 I was thinking about "The Bernie Story" and I wondered what Bernie had looked like.  My mother had not kept any photos of him, so I was curious as to his looks.  I decided to do whatever I could to find a photograph of the late Bernie Dording.

Because I am a "list person" I started out by writing down everything I could remember my mother had said about Bernie:  (Instead of referring to her through this entry as "My Mother" I will call her what everyone else called her: "Betty").

1.  Bernie Dording had been captain of the football team at St. George High School in Evanston.  St. George was an all-boys Catholic high school that had been run by the Christian Brothers but closed in the 1970s.
2.  Bernie had lost his right arm to cancer, and it was ultimately cancer that killed him.

3.  Even though she knew he was dying Betty still wanted to go through with the wedding.  Her mother (my grandmother) said no - she didn't want Betty to be a young widow - or even a widow with a child.

4.  Betty was not allowed (by her mother) to be at Bernie's bedside when he died, although she was permitted to go to the wake.  Betty was horrified that Bernie's sister was taking photographs of Bernie lying in his casket.

5.  Bernie had a brother who was a priest at a church "way out in the sticks".  Bernie's Mother used to travel out to stay with the priest and keep house for him.

6.  Bernie had at least one sister (the one taking photos at the wake). 

That's about all I had to go on to try to track down the Dording family. My objective was to find out as much as I could about Bernie, and ultimately if possible to find a photo of him (even one of the infamous casket photos) to satisfy my curiousity.

Like with most genealogy searches, I started with the census.  I always thought Betty was saying "Bernie Dougherty" so I started there, but none of the facts or dates seemed to line up.  One of the suggested entries was for a "Bernard Dording" and things seemed to line up, so I was off.

The 1920 Census shows the Dording Family in Iowa:
     Nicholas - Head of Household - Age 57 - Carpenter
     Mary Dording - wife - Age 47
     John Dording - Son - Age 14
     Catherine Dording - Daughter - Age 12
     Bernard Dording - Son - Age 6

It also shows that Nicholas had been born in Luxembourg.  Mary was born in Wisconsin, but her parents were born in Luxembourg.  The children were all born in Iowa.

There was also another brother, Paul Dording (1901-1972) who had already left home by 1920.

The 1930 Census shows the Dording Family (without Nicholas who died in 1927)

(the grave photos did not come until MUCH later, but I will put them in where they fit into the story).

now living in Evanston - at 130 Elmwood Avenue.

130 Elmwood, Evanston

Mary Dording - Head of Household - Age 57
Katherine (now spelled with a "K") - Age 22 - Registered Nurse
Bernard - Age 16
John "AB" (Abroad) - Age 24
(John Dording was at seminary in Austria from 1928-1932)

At the time I started this project the 1940 Census had not been released yet, but since my parents married in 1941, I assumed that Bernie had died before the 1940 Census. 

Based on the above information I continued my search.  The Social Security Death Index said that John Dording was living in McHenry County, Illinois at the time of his death, so I was able to get a copy of John's death certificate:

Based on the information on the death certificate I went to the Justen Funeral Home in McHenry and asked them for any information they had on the Dording family.  They told me that Fr. Dording had been the pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Johnsburg, and was beloved by all.  I went up to the church and looked for his burial site, hoping that his family might be buried in the same place.  I found his burial site:

but no other Dordings were in the parish cemetery.  The parish office suggested I go to the McHenry Public Library to find a copy of Fr. Dording's obituary on microfilm.  Here's what I found from the McHenry (Illinois) Plain Dealer of December 19, 1984:

Fr. John M. Dording

The Rev. John M. Dording, 79, pastor emeritus of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, died Saturday, Dec. 15, 1984 in Freeport Memorial Hospital.  He was born May 17, 1905, in West Bend, Ia., the son of Nicholas and Mary Dording.

Father Dording attended St. Francis Preparatory school, Milwaukee, Wis., and Conception High School and College in Missouri.  His seminary education was at Innsbruck University in Austria, from 1928 to 1932.

On March 13, 1932, he was ordained and assigned to St. Joseph Church until his transfer to Our Lady of Good Counsel, Aurora, as pastor.  hen then became chaplain of the Illinois State Training School, St. Charles.

He was appointed pastor of St. Patrick Church, Heartland, St. Catherine Church, Genoa, and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church from September of 1963 to July, 1970, when he was named pastor emeritus.

Surviving are two nieces, Mrs. Eugene (Camilla) Kocol of San Pedro, Calif. and Mrs. Patricia Windle of Chicago, a nephew, James Dording of Danvers, Mass., and seven grandnieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and a sister.

Visitation began at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. John's church, where an all-night vigil was held.  The Knighths of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard assembled at 6:30 p.m. A wake service was conducted at 7:30 p.m. and the rosary was recited every hour until a Mass of the Resurrection was offered at 11 a.m. in the church with Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill of the Rockford Diocese officiating.  Burial was in the church cemetery.  Funeral arrangements were made by the George R. Justen & Son Funeral Home.

Based on Father Dording's obituary, I discovered the following heirs:

Niece:  Camilla Kocol of San Pedro, California
Niece:  Patricia Windle of Chicago
Nephew:  James Dording of Danvers, Massachusetts.

I checked various online phone directories and there was no listing for Patricia Windle of Chicago, so I assumed she was dead.  I did find a listing for Camilla Kocol and called her.  She was able to verify some of the information I already knew, but was really no help in providing anything else.  She suggested I call James Dording in Massachusetts because he was more knowledgeable about the family history.  I called James Dording and we had a very nice conversation.  He never knew his Uncle Bernie but remembered visting his grandmother in Chicago and that she lived right next to the "el" tracks.  He told me that he did not have any pictures of Bernie, but remembered seeing one many years ago.  The photo of Bernie he remembered was of Bernie at 17-18 years old.  He recalled "a very tall young man".  He was not aware of, nor had he ever seen, the infamous casket photos.  Dead end - again. He did tell me that Bernie was buried with his (Jim's) grandparents somewhere in Iowa.

Subsequent to the first time I called Jim Dording, I found out about the existence of the Illinois Online Death Index from the Mormon Family Research Cemetery in Wilmette, Illinois.  The people there are both very knowledgeable and very helpful.  They won't do your research for you, but will help you do your own research. 

Here are the Dording Family entries from the Illinois Online Death Index:

You can see that Nicholas Dording died in Evanston on October 15, 1927, Mary C. Dording died in Heartland on January 2, 1947, and Bernie died in Evanston on March 6, 1938.  I then requested copies of their death certificates from the State Archives (this was before Family Search) and it was then that I found that all three were buried in Marcus, Iowa (Holy Name Cemetery).  Nicholas' headstone was pictured above, here are Mary and Bernie's:

Nicholas Dording died of complications from prostate cancer:

Mary Dording died from a stroke:

And, as we knew, Bernie died from cancer:

When Bernie died, he was working as a salesman for a tobacco company, and lived at 1541 W. Fargo in Chicago:

1541 W. Fargo, Chicago
And, just as Jim Dording had remembered, 1541 W. Fargo is right next to the el viaduct.

All this information was fine, but it did not get me any closer to my ultimate goal, a picture of Bernie.  Remembering that Bernie had graduated from St. George High School in Evanston, I contacted the Christian Brothers Midwest Province to try to get a look at Bernie's yearbook, which would certainly contain at least one photo of him. They told me that one of the retired brothers had a copy in his office of every St. George yearbook ever issued.  So, one bright, crisp Fall day, I drove out to the Christian Brothers Provincial Office in Burr Ridge. The brother who had the yearbooks was not there that day, but he had left word, and they directed me to the yearbooks.  Bernie was part of the graduating Class of 1932.  The only 1930s era yearbook they had was for 1931, but all four years' students were pictured, so I figured I would find a photo of Bernie as a Junior.  Believe it or not, that year the Junior Class decided not to use photos, just a silhouette of each student! Boy, was I disappointed - a silhouette of Bernie did me no good whatsoever.  I asked what had happened to the other yearbooks from the 1930s and they told me that it was the Depression and no one could afford to buy a yearbook, so none were published.  

So there I was, at a dead end after my long and involved search for a photo of Bernie Dording.  The search that took me from Illinois to California to Massachusetts and back to Illinois had only yielded a silhouette of Bernie.  So I guess my hunt for a photo of the elusive Bernie was over - or was it?

Thinking that my unfinished quest would just have to go on the list as "incomplete" I put all my Dording family research away.  Jim Dording and I continued to trade phone calls and holiday cards, and he even sent me the memorial card for Fr. John Dording that had a photo:

and a photo of  Paul Dording and family in the 1930s on a trip to California that included a photo of Paul (and Bernie's) mother:

but no photos of Bernie.  

Several years later I was at my computer early one Sunday morning scrolling through listings on ebay.  One of my saved searches was for "Evanston" and as I was scrolling through all the listings for items relating to Evanston my eye stopped on a listing that offered:

1932 Yearbook - St. George High School, Evanston, Illinois

But that couldn't be - the Christian Brothers had told me that there was no yearbook printed for the Class of 1932 but there it was.  I immediately put a bid on the yearbook and fired off an email to the Seller telling them of my Bernie photo quest.  She emailed back, and offered to pull the listing and sell me the yearbook for $20.00.  In a flash I sent her the money via Paypal and she told me the yearbook would be on its way to me the next day.  Time slowed to a crawl as I waited for the US Mail to bring me the coveted 1932 yearbook that no one thought even existed.  Would my goal, a picture of Bernie finally be realized or had Bernie missed "picture day" or even decided he didn't want his photo in the yearbook?

After what seemed an eternity the package arrived.  With my hands shaking I flipped open the cover and started through the pages. "Seniors" thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine...DARST, Edward Daniel...DAY, Virgil Baldwin, Jr...DITTMAR, George Walter Jr...DOLAN, Henry Parker...and...DORDING, BERNARD NICHOLAS!!!!!!!

So, for the first time since 1932, here is a picture of Bernie Dording's yearbook page:

and here is dear Bernie:

So, after a long and involved quest, I was finally able to attain my goals of learning about the Dording family and seeing a picture of my mother's first love.

The lesson here is that to be successful in genealogy research you have to be persistent, and you have to have a little luck.  Not all of my genealogy quests have ended as successfully as this one did, but half the fun is "getting there".

While I was reviewing my research for this story I learned that Bernie's nephew Jim Dording of Danvers, Massachusetts who had been so helpful with my research, died on February 23, 2012.

May Bernard Nicholas (Bernie) Dording, my mother's first love, and all the Dordings, rest in peace.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I was in Rosehill Cemetery this past Saturday working on a Find a Grave photo request looking for the grave of a woman with the infamous name of Frankenstein.  It was a beautiful Fall day in Chicago and Rosehill is filled with trees that are changing color and shedding their leaves.  I never was able to locate the grave of Miss Frankenstein but I did come across a grave that was marked in an unusual way. Stuck into the ground next to the grave of  Edward Rose, 1838-1921 was a marker that said "Confederate Veteran CSA".    

If you travel through the southern part of the United States you will see a lot of monuments to the Confederacy and to those who gave their lives for its cause, but it is very unusual to come across any mention of the Confederacy in Chicago.  In fact, in all my grave hunting in Chicago I have only come across one other mention on a tombstone of the CSA and that is Simon Fleishman's monument in Mt. Maariv (now Zion Gardens) Jewish Cemetery:

Back to Edward Rose.  He was born February 22, 1838 in Blieskastel, Germany, the son of William Ralph Rose and Babette nee Constadt. Edward was the grandson of Rabbi Leopold Isaak Rose of Gruenstadt, Germany.  Edward came to the United States on October 25, 1853 aboard the SS City of Manchester, from Liverpool, England.  He did not become a naturalized citizen until May 2, 1901, and there is no evidence that he participated in the 1860 Census.  In 1861 he was living in Troup County, Georgia, and because his sympathies lay with the Confederacy, on April 26, 1861 he enlisted as a Private in Company B, 4th Infantry Regiment, Georgia. Edward Rose's participation in the war was short-lived because he received a disability discharge on October 5, 1862.

 The 4th Infantry Regiment, Georgia, of the Confederate States of America was mustered in at Augusta, then proceeded to a rendezvous at Richmond, Va., and to elect officers.  On the 13th of June 1862 this regiment was on picket duty on the Williamsburg Turnpike about six miles from Richmond, and was attacked by a scouting party of the Federal Army. A brisk skirmish ensued on the left of this regiment in which the Federals lost seven killed, thirteen wounded and one captured. The Confederate loss was none. On the 25th of June while on picket duty, the 4th Infantry Regiment was attacked by the Federals early in the morning. Considerable skirmishing ensued, which kept up all day and in the evening became general along the line, when the 4th charged the Federals, driving them back with great slaughter. The losses in the 4th Regiment were seven killed, five missing, and forty wounded. On the 27th of June 1862, the regiment left camp, advanced and marched in pursuit of the Federals and on the 30th was present, but did not engage in the action at Frazier's Farm, Virginia.

From the time Edward Rose enlisted in April of 1861 until he was discharged in 1862, in addition to the actions listed above, the 4th Infantry Regiment was involved in the following battles:

Seven Pines (skirmish) - June 15, 1862
Seven Days Battles - June 25 - July 1, 1862
Beaver Dam Creek - June 26, 1862
Gaines' Mill - June 27, 1862
Malvern Hill - July 1, 1862
South Mountain - September 14, 1862
Antietam - September 17, 1862

In all likelihood, Edward Rose was injured at the Battle of Antietam. When I was in school they led us through all the battles of the Civil War, but here is a little refresher on the Battle of Antietam (called the bloodiest battle of the Civil War):

Although the war ended for Edward Rose in October of 1862, it did not "officially" end until 1865.  After Rose's discharge, he returned to New York and on May 6, 1866 he married Kunigunde Kirshberger.  

The 1870 census shows the Rose family living in New York City:  32 year old Edward, 26 year old Kunigunde,  4 year old Isobella, 2 year old Amanda and one year old Lidia, however this was soon to change.

The Great Chicago Fire (October 8-10, 1871) had barely been extinguished, when Edward packed up his little family and moved to Chicago.  The 1880 Census shows the Rose family living at 3241 Wabash Avenue.  In addition to Edward, Kunegunde, and daughters Isobella, Amanda and Lidia, there is now 8 year old Willie, 4 year old Alice and 3 year old Matilda.  The Rose family must have been doing well, because they also had three live-in servants.  Edward listed his occupation as "Bookkeeper".

As I mentioned above, Edward did not become a naturalized citizen until May 2, 1901, but that did not prevent him from acting like one.  In 1880 he attached his name to a petition asking the Republican Party not to nominate Ulysses S. Grant for the presidency.  You can take the Rebel out of the South, but...    

In 1889, Mr and Mrs. Edward Rose were mentioned as attending the opening of the new clubhouse for the Standard Club.  In 1890 Edward Rose is listed as one of the officers of the upcoming 1892-1893 Worlds' Fair in Chicago, and on August 7, 1890 Edward Rose is mentioned as the newest member of the Chicago Board of Education.  

A scandal rocked the Rose family as reported in a Special to the Chicago Daily Tribune of September 15, 1890:

William Rose Elopes From Chicago with Miss Nora Clowde.
An Angry Father Avoided.
The Young Couple Succeeded in Evading Their Pursuers.
Married by a German Minister.
Interview Between the Runaways and the Groom's Parents.
The Boy's Father a Millionaire.

Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 14.-[Special.]-An elopement which will create a sensation in Jewish circles in Chicago terminated in a marriage here Friday afternoon, the particulars of which leaked out tonight, although every effort was made to keep the affair a secret.  It is the marriage of a Jew and a Gentile.  The groom is William R. Rose, the only son of a prominent Jewish family of Chicago, his father being Edward Rose, of the firm of Strauss, Goodman, Yondorf & Co., wholesale clothiers at No. 105 Monroe street, while the bride, a Christian, is Miss Nora L. Clowde, the daughter of a humble boarding-house keeper at No. 771 West Van Buren street, Chicago.  An effort will probably be made to have the marriage annulled, as neither of the young people is of age, as recognized by the matrimonial laws of Wisconsin, Rose being but 18 years and his wife 20.

The young couple, who were lovers for some time, left Chicago Friday morning for this city.  Their trail was discovered in some way by Mr. Rose Sr., who arrived here on the next Chicago train, accompanied by a Pinkerton detective.  But young Rose suspected that he might be followed and registered with Miss Clowde at the Republican House under assumed names, as brother and sister, from Louisville.  Their stay at the hotel was short, but almost long enough to spoil their plans, for hardly had they left the hotel to have the nuptial not tied when the father of the young man recognized in the fictitious names on the register the handwriting of his son.

While the father and the detective were endeavoring to trace the young couple from the hotel, the Rev. J. J. Siewert, a German Lutheran minister was pronouncing the words which made William R. Rose and Nora L. Clowde man and wife.  The marriage ceremony took place in the parlor of the minister's parsonage at No. 2510 Center street.  Failing to find any further clew to his erring son, Mr. Rose and the detective returned to the Republican House Friday evening expecting that the young couple would return there.

Successfully Evading Pursuit.

But in this they were disappointed,for instead of returning to the Republican House young Rose took his wife to the Kirby House, the same hostelry where young Aubrey and his wife spent their honeymoon.  Here again Rose, in order to avoid detection, registered under an assumed name, but this time as man and wife.  After hours of waiting at the Republican House Mr. Rose Sr. and the detective concluded that the young couple might have returned to Chicago on an evening train, and at midnight they retired for the night, leaving orders with the hotel clerk to be called promptly should the young couple come in.  Thus only a few blocks apart the father and son spent the night, each believing the other to be in Chicago.  As Saturday morning developed no new clew at the Republican House Mr. Rose Sr.returned to Chicago expecting to find his son there, but the Pinkerton man was left here to await advices from Chicago.

Saturday afternoon word came by wire from Chicago that the runaway couple had not returned, and the Pinkerton man resumed his search with local detectives.

Last night the young couple were located at the Plankinton House,where they were registered as E. Roth and wife.  Late in the evening they had changed from the Kirby House and by request were assigned the bridal chamber at the Plankinton.  They were left undisturbed for the night.  A message sent to Chicago brought the elder Mr. Rose back from Chicago this afternoon.

The Couple Arrested.

The irate father had the young couple summoned before him at the Central Police Station, and the meeting between the father and son is aid to have been anything but pleasant.  The father told his son that he had made the biggest mistake of his life,and then followed a long talk between the father, son, wife, Pinkerton man, and Chief Janssen.  Just what transpired the police refused to divulge, in fact they are reticent about the entire proceeding.  It is said, though, that an attempt was made to compromise between Mr. Rose Sr. and his new daughter-in-law.  But it was apparently without result, for the son and his wife returned to the hotel accompanied by the Pinkerton man, while the father  remained at the station,where he met his business partner from Chicago, who arrived tonight to give consolation to the nearly brokenhearted father.

The parting at the station between the father and son is said to have been with the understanding that all should return to Chicago on the 3 o'clock train in the morning.  That there might be no further maneuvering on the part of the son among the Milwaukee hotels the Pinkerton man was detailed at the hotel to watch him.  Young Rose is a tall, dark-complexioned young fellow and might easily be mistaken for at least 21 years instead of 18 that he is.  His wife is a pronounced blonde,plump in figure and with a pretty face.  She has lived but a short time in Chicago, her former home being in Ada, O.  Being deserted by her husband her mother removed to Chicago and opened a boarding-house at No. 771 West Van Buren street, where she was assisted by her daughter.

The Rev. J. J. Siewert, who performed the marriage ceremony, said that the young couple drove up to his house in a carriage about 5 o'clock Friday afternoon and asked to be married.  They represented themselves to be of age, and said they had met here while visiting in this city.  Rose gave his residence as Evanston, while Miss Clowde represented her home as Ada, O.  He had not noticed, he said, that there was the contrast of Jew and Gentile in the young people, and as he believed they were telling the truth, he did not question them closer. William Helm, a neighbor, and the minister's wife witnessed the ceremony.

It gets worse:

Young Rose and His Bride Must Buffet with the World Alone.

It looks as though the regulation lecture and final forgiveness that usually follow on the parents' part when young people have got married without saying "by your leave" to the old folks were not to be meted to young William R. Rose and his bride.  Mrs. Rose Sr., like most mothers on the stage and in real life, too,  for  that matter, will probably be in a molting mood in a few days and be glad to get her erring son back into the family fold, even with the annex of a Gentile daughter-in-­law; but Father Rose appears to have set his face against his son. 

“The boy will have to look out for himself now," said Mr. Rose  yesterday, "He  blazed his path, and that trail he must follow.  My son thought that he was old enough to select a wife without consultation with his parents, and if he were of sufficient age to do that he must know what the responsibilities are of marriage and how to shoulder them.

“He was employed by a firm of which I am a member and I won’t say positively that he cannot return to work, but the chances are that he must go elsewhere.  I  went  to  Milwaukee to try  to prevent the boy from acting like a fool,  but I failed to  succeed.  I shall do nothing towards trying to annul the marriage, but shall simply let  the young people alone.  They have returned from Milwaukee, I believe, but of their whereabouts I know nothing."

The mother of the bride, Mrs. Minnie Cloud lives in an upper flat at No. 772  West Van Buren street, and is a dressmaker. She expressed herself  yesterday as much surprised at her daughter's marriage, but did not appear  to feel particularly worried about it.

Mrs. Cloud said that her daughter was employed at a Building and Loan Association office at No. 194 La Salle street, and had been boarding on Wabash avenue at no great distance from the Rose homestead.

"Now that they have married,” she continued, “I hope they will be happy.”

A call was made at the residence of Mr. Rose last night for the purpose of obtaining a clew to the whereabouts of the young couple but no amount of dallying with  the door-bell could induce the inmates of  the  house to respond.

MILWAUKEE, Wis., Sept. 15.-[Special.]­
William  Rose, the young Chicagoan who eloped to Milwaukee and was married, returned to Chicago this morning with his bride, his father, and the Pinkerton detective who located the young couple in this city.  Mrs. Rose was rather displeased at her young husband for giving up their marriage certificate to his father, as she thought it rightfully belonged to her.  She thought she saw in this movement on the part of the senior Mr. Rose in an attempt to force her to a compromise so as to allow her husband to return to his parental home without her.  Young Rose, in relating his experience at the hotel, told of how he had called on nine different ministers before getting one to perform the marriage ceremony.
Chicago Daily Tribune - September 16, 1890

Despite his family problems, Edward Rose's business was thriving. Here is an announcement from the Chicago Daily Tribune of December 31, 1890:

Again, as a taxpayer, although not yet a voter, on November 10, 1894, Edward Rose added his name to a list of local merchants who thought that the United States Senator from Illinois should live in Chicago.

On a happier note, on September 3, 1897, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Rose announced the engagement of their daughter Miss Mattie Rose to Mr. Charles B. Stafford of this City.  It was not noted whether Mattie's brother William would be attending the wedding...

In 1899 Edward Rose joined many other prominent Jews of Chicago in persuading Dr. Emil G. Hirsch to remain as rabbi of The Chicago Sinai Congregation for life.  Rabbi Hirsch had already been at Sinai for nineteen years.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of February 19, 1908 announced sad news for the Rose family:

MRS. KUNIGUNDE KIRCHBERGER ROSE, wife of Edward Rose, 4710 Grand boulevard, died at Pass Christian, Mississippi, yesterday of pneumonia.  She was 64 years old and left five children - Mrs. C. D'Ancona, Mrs. C.B. Stafford, Mrs. H.L. Swarts, Miss Alice Rose and W.R. Rose, all of Chicago.  Funeral services will be held in Furth's chapel, Thirty-fifth street and Grand boulevard, tomorrow at 9:30 and will be followed by the interment at Rosehill.

After the death of Mrs. Rose, the Chicago Daily Tribune on August 26, 1908 announced that "Edward Rose, 4710 Grand Boulevard, and his daughter Miss Alice Rose are in Europe and plan making an extended visit to various places of interest before their return."

In the years following the death of his wife, Edward seems to have given up most of his outside activities.  The 1910 census shows him living alone at the Chicago Beach Hotel, 51st Street at Lake Michigan.  

Postcard courtesy

By the 1920 Census, 81 year old Edward Rose was living at the North Shore Hotel in Evanston.

Postcard courtesy

The story of Edward Rose ends March 16, 1921.  From the Chicago Daily Tribune of March 17, 1921:

Edward Rose, immigrant, soldier, merchant, good citizen, husband and father - may he rest in peace.

And what of William Rose, who ran away and married Nora Clowde? We'll let William's obituary from December 31, 1913 tell the story:

ROSE - William R. Rose, Dec. 29, 1913, beloved husband of Nora L. Rose, father of Irene, Lydia, and Edward.  Funeral private, Wednesday, December 31, at 10 a.m. from late residence, 5014 Blackstone-av. Burial Rosehill. 

Sometimes love does conquer all.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Many people dream about starting over.  Often when they look at where life has brought them, they wish they could begin anew - in a different place, and even with a different spouse.  This is the story of someone who did just that, but took it a step further - he even changed his name!

Ward Daniel Hansen was born March 26, 1892 in Evanston, Illinois to 25 year old John M. Hansen and his 22 year old wife Sadie (nee Janneson).  John Hansen was a carpenter and both John and Sadie had been born in Wisconsin - John in Scandanavia, and Sadie in Ogdensberg.  

Ward was the second child born to the Hansens - he joined his brother Bly B. Hansen who was born in 1890.  The 1892 Evanston City Directory shows that the Hansens lived at 156 Asbury Avenue.  156 Asbury is now the site of an apartment building built in the 1960s.

By 1900 The Hansens had moved to 43 N. Pine Street in Chicago.  

43 N. Pine Street, Chicago

The 1910 Census showed that the Hansens had moved again - this time to 6315 N. Hermitage in Chicago.  6315 N. Hermitage was a single family home in 1910 - today there is an apartment building on the spot.

On October 7, 1916, twenty-three year old Ward Hansen was married to eighteen year old Theresa Berg by Rev. Clarence Haugen, a "Minister of the Gospel" in Chicago, Illinois.  On June 2, 1917 Ward Hansen registered for the draft.   He listed his address as 6315 N. Hermitage - the newlyweds must have moved in with Ward's parents. Interestingly he listed his occupation as "Farmer" and said that he worked in Crandon, Wisconsin.

By the 1920 Census 28 year old Ward Hansen listed his address as 3833 N. Southport, 

3833 N. Southport, Chicago

but he appears to be living alone.  There is no wife or children listed for Ward, although he did tell the census taker that he was married.  He gave his occupation as "Carpenter" and the industry as "Outside Work".  

Ward must have gotten back with his wife Theresa at some point because their son, Richard Warren Hansen was born September 30, 1922 and their daughter Shirley was born April 8, 1926.

It is about this time that Ward Hansen decided to take part in the building boom of the 1920s - especially the housing boom in South Evanston.  

In 1923 the Chicago Rapid Transit Company announced that it would be constructing an extension of its  service from the Howard Street Terminal to downtown Skokie (or Niles Center as it was known then). In the Evanston News Index article that announced the start of construction (April 18th, 1924) they noted, “The route of the new railroad is an almost straight line about midway between Howard and Oakton streets”.  This extension was projected to cost $3,000,000 and would in fact be below grade throughout most of Evanston, as a condition of the permission of the Evanston City Council. The plan was to have stations at Ridge, Asbury, and Dodge in Evanston and ornamental concrete bridges would span the railroad right-of-way at Clark, Custer, Ridge and Asbury Avenues, while at Dodge Avenue the railroad would be elevated, the roadway running through beneath it.  The aim they announced was to “avoid grade crossings as much as possible”.

Construction started the first week of May, 1924 after a blue ribbon “first shovel” ceremony at Ridge Avenue and Case Street.  Attendees included Evanston Mayor Harry B. Parsons, Mayor John E. Brown of Niles Center, and R. Floyd Clinch of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.  Local newspapers noted that “Extension Sets Off a Boom In South Evanston” (Evanston News Index April 22, 1924) and further mentioned that “At the southern extremity of Ridge Avenue, Howard Street and Asbury Avenue (there are) more than a dozen real estate offices, some with banners placed at intervals…(that) blaze forth the possibilities that lie before those who buy now”.  “In anticipation of the development of better transportation facilities for Southern Evanston, many new homes with spacious lawns have been erected in the last year (1923) east and west of Ridge Avenue in the south.  Applications for the erection of sewer and water connection in that section of the city are coming in at a rapid rate.” And finally “Howard District ten years ago was a prairie of waving flowers – today it is throbbing with business.”  In fact, a full page ad taken out by Krenn & Dato – Exclusive Agents for Mrs. Rockefeller-McCormick Properties went so far as to say “You can get rich here”.

Three new elevated stations were built in South Evanston with the completion of the new Niles Center elevated extension.  As mentioned above, they were built at Ridge, Asbury and Dodge Avenues.  “The stations will be the last word in architectural beauty and stability”, officials of the railroad announced, and a staff of architects headed by Arthur U. Gerber was hired to design the stations and also the bridges over the depressed tracks.  Every aspect of this project was to be “first-class”.  The railroad announced that “the bridges will also be architecturally beautiful as well as strong enough to handle the rapidly increasing traffic of the North Shore.  The bridges will be of concrete, with concrete paneled railings, sidewalks on either side of the street and street lamps along the walks.”  Even the right-of-way was to be improved with fences, hedges and grass banks so as to constitute an asset to the neighborhood and present a pleasing appearance both from the train windows and from the street above.

In fact, as had been predicted, there was a direct correlation between the increased settlements and increased property values near the new rail line.  Samuel Insull, chairman of the board of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and of the gas and electric light companies said in late 1924 that “when the right-of-way was acquired land in that vicinity was about $1,000 an acre; when definite announcement of the line was made the price doubled; when construction began there were transfers at $6,000 and $7,000 an acre.” And in November of 1924 a sale of 15 acres along the extension route in Evanston went for the unheard of sum of $8,000 per acre.  Furthermore, D.H. Howard, the engineer in charge of constructing the new lines announced in early 1925 that he planned to take up permanent residence in Evanston – at 142 Ridge Avenue.  He stated that “he had considerable trouble in the past in finding suitable living quarters for his family in Chicago, and was happy to have found in Evanston a place where he could live comfortably”.  

After people like D.H. Howard announced that he would move his family to South Evanston, Ward Hansen decided this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. After all "you can get rich here."  In 1926 he bought a plot of land bounded on the north by Mulford Street, on the south by the alley between Mulford and Harvard Terrace, on the east by Barton Place and on the west by the alley behind the old Didier farm house and barn (built 1883). 

Ward Hansen's Plot of Land in Yellow
No sooner was his purchase closed than he announced his intention to build a total of four de-luxe single family homes with detached garages on the site.  Construction started on two homes in 1927; 

1204 Mulford

1208 Mulford

as soon as those were completed and sold he started construction on one more.  

1210 Mulford

In fact, he liked the house at 1210 Mulford so much he kept it for himself and moved his family into in in 1929.  By 1931, however he had sold the house at 1210 Mulford to build his finest ever: 1200 Mulford, on the southwest corner lot at Mulford and Barton.  

1200 Mulford

Upon completion he moved his family into 1200, but the family's stay there was short-lived.  Maybe he needed the money or maybe it was just time to move on, but by 1933 he had sold 1200 Mulford as well.  In fact, the 1933 Evanston City Directory does not show Ward Hansen as a resident of Evanston at all.  

Here's where the story gets complicated.  By the 1940 Census, Ward D. Hansen is divorced, has moved to Los Angeles, California and has changed his name to Ward D. Hanford.  

At this point the paper trail thins out.  We do know that when he registered for the draft on April 25, 1942 that he lived at 129 S. Kenwood in Glendale, California.  He listed his occupation as "self-employed."  For the question "Name and address of a person who will always know your address" he listed "Mr. Allen" from the Bank of America in South Pasadena - not his son or daughter.

Sometime after 1942 he married a woman named "Hedy" changed from Hedwig, last name unknown.  We do know that Hedy became a naturalized American citizen on November 12, 1948. 

Ward D. Hanford died August 9, 1969 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 77.  He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale on the Mausoleum Slope, Map #B17, Lot #198, Space #1

His wife Hedy Hanford died December 11, 1999 in Glendale at the age of 95 and is buried next to Ward at Forest Lawn

Thanks to Find a Grave member Kathy Salazar who took the Hanford grave photos for me.

This is where the facts end - now the speculation.  When I relate these stories I try as much as possible to stick to the facts.  But being a good genealogist sometimes means that you have to be a good detective - and many successful detectives rely on their hunches as they do their job.  So, that being said, the following is just speculation and not based on fact, so take it for what it's worth.

What made Ward Hansen leave Chicago where he had lived all his life for southern California?  Hansen built the homes on Mulford during the boom times of the 1920s.  I used to work for a bank, and all the home builders I knew were always one step ahead of the debt collector. Their resources are stretched thin and they need the profits from the sale of one house to be able to buy the materials and hire the labor to build another house.  Ward Hansen was probably caught in the real estate slump of the early 1930s leading into the Great Depression.  He moved out of 1200 Mulford in 1932.  We don't know whether he sold the house or lost it to the bank.  But even if he sold the house, after he paid his creditors he may have had little, if any money left - and no one was building or selling houses in the depths of the Depression.  Sometime after 1930 his marriage fell apart.  It appears that Ward and Theresa were separated in 1920 but they got back together by 1922 when their son Richard was born.  Perhaps the stress and pressure of his financial woes were too much and the marriage finally fell apart in the 1930s.  

Ward Hansen may have decided to get as far away from Chicago and all his troubles here as he could - and where better than Los Angeles, a big city with potential jobs for a carpenter and builder when the economy recovered?  And the best part - no Chicago winters to deal with.  A builder could work twelve months a year in southern California. Then Ward Daniel Hansen took the final and most dramatic step to sever his ties with the past - he changed his name to Ward Daniel Hanford

And so, Ward Hanford, in a new state with a new name got a new wife - Hedy.  He lived out the remainder of his life in Glendale, happy from all appearances, and died at the ripe old age of 77.  Let's hope that Ward was able to find the happiness in Los Angeles that had eluded him in Chicago.

May the man who was born Ward Daniel Hansen, and who died Ward Daniel Hanford rest in peace.