"History of A Family Bible,
A Quest for the Missing Link"
©2001 William Arnold O'Malley (Source #16), "2002 Illinois Author"
Library of Congress Control Number 00-134698
Reprinted by Illinois Genealogy Trails with permission
Illinois Genealogy Trails is pleased to present this excerpt from the book entitled "History of A Family Bible, 1685-2000", written by William Arnold O'Malley. It outlines the history of the Luther Bible, printed in Nurnberg, Germany in 1685, and how it came to be in his family's possession. We have included here only the major parts of the book dealing with Cook County's history as experienced by Mr. O'Malley's family. The book is for sale at Amazon.com
The book contains many graphics which could not be included here, including pictures of Mr. O'Malley's family as well as historical pictures of Chicago and Naperville, IL.
We pick up the Dreffein's family story around 1830 with George August Dreffein, son of Johann and Maria, still living in Germany. It will be his sons, Julius and William, who emigrated to America, and ultimately, Chicago. At the end of the Dreffein story, there is also information on some prominent O'Malleys in Chicago.
Here is William O'Malley's family story.........
George August Dreffein, the second son of Johann and Maria, attended Gottingen University
(1828-1832) where he studied mathematics, popular astronomy, practical and analytical geometry, trigonometry, and
had practiced land survey. He also attended lectures in physics and physical astronomy on the polarity of light
according to college transcripts. The transcripts state that because of the dying away of his teacher, no report
card could be issued on the attended lectures. I received this information from Dr. Ulrich Hunger of Gottingen
University (now known as Georg -August University).
In July 1830, a revolution broke out in Paris. Much of Europe was going through political upheaval during this time. For instance, riots erupted in Hanover Brunswick when the duke 's carriage was stoned. These riots resulted in modest 21 constitutional reforms. In Prussia, political differences between nationals (moderates vs. radicals) culminated with 204 students being arrested, thirty-nine condemned to death, and four others "broken at the wheel. " Sentences were later commuted when William IV ascended the throne, and all student arrested were pardoned. Another controversial issue during this period was "Zollverein, " a German customs union initiated by Prussia to create a common market and impose high tariffs on commerce. The people objected to this because the new tariffs increased the price of imported foods and caused widespread hunger. However, Prussia persuaded other states to join the common market and in January 1834, the German customs union "Zollverein "came into being.
While at the university George, along with other students, became involved in political issues that later resulted in a student uprising. The students held the city for three days until finally the state military quelled the revolt and the students were suspended. This event later prohibited George from securing a government job as an engineer, but did not deter his ability to succeed in life.
In 1832, Otto von Bismarck was 17 years old and in his first year at Gottingen University (during that time George was in his last year). Bismarck later became a statesman and the first chancellor of the modern German Empire (1871-1890). Bismarck apparently took the winning point of view or stayed neutral during the student revolt, because in his later political life his career was not adversely affected. In 1837, seven professors at the University of Gottingen, known as the Gottingen Seven, were exiled due to their stand on the annulment of the liberal constitution. Among the seven was Jakob Grimm, of the famous Grimm Brothers of fairy-tale fame. Later the Gottingen Seven traveled throughout Germany denouncing the regime in Hanover.
Ernestus Augustus, (1771-1851) King of Hanover, rescinded the liberal constitution of 1833 that evoked the famous protest of the professors. The revolutionary outbreaks of 1848 forced him to permit revision of his 1840 constitution, but he later returned to reactionary politics.
After college, George settled in his hometown of Neuland where his family resided. George was 28 when he married 15-year-old Margaretha von Allworden in 1837. She was the daughter of Peter and Metta von Allworden of Neuland. Records indicate that Margaretha 's parents were married in Neuland in 1821, and 22 that their marriage celebration lasted for three days. Metta von Borstal was the daughter of Johann von Borstel of Dornbuch. Peter had an Uncle Johann Daniel von Allworden, who studied at Gottingen University in 1780. Margaretha 's husband George and his Uncle Ernst also both attended Gottingen University. The families eventually became connected through their relationships at Gottingen University. George later entered into business with his father-in-law. They owned and operated an Inn in Neuland where they both shared the responsibility of managing the business and baking foods for the restaurant.
George and Margaretha had 10 children, two of whom died before the age of two. Johann was born in 1838, Julius in 1841, William in 1843, Herman in 1845, Molly in 1848, Robert in 1850, Bertha in 1852, George in 1854, Margarethe in 1856, and Hartwig in 1861. The first six children were baptized in Neuland, and the last four in Butzfleth, the birthplace of their maternal grandmother. Robert died of tuberculosis at age two in 1852 and daughter Bertha died of an accident at age two in 1854. Mother Margaretha von Allworden Dreffein died at the age of 39 in 1861. Father George August died twenty years later in 1881 at the age of 72. In 1883, brother Heinrich died at the age of 38. Daughter Molly married Friedrich Meyer at the village hall in Neuland in 1883 and had a church wedding the following day.
George and Margaretha had a very lively household raising 10 children. George kept busy running the family inn with his father-in-law Peter. After Peter died, George assumed total responsibility for running the business. French was spoken in the home and Julius later told stories of being required to wash his hands before picking up a book to read. Because he was university trained, George taught his children the value of reading at an early age. At Christmas the family gathered around the tree and sang "Oh Tannenbaum " (Oh Christmas Tree), as they watched the delicately styled ornaments and burning candles on the tree (with a pail of water nearby in case of fire).
It was a very exciting period for the generation of Dreffeins born during the second half of the 18th century. "The German Enlightenment, " was a time when German replaced Latin as the language of structure. Courses in science and philosophy multiplied. Many poor students obtained public or private aid for university education. After the Reformation, Protestant universities became superior to Catholic ones. This educational reform created academic freedom for thousands of new authors and writers like Goethe, Kant, and Lessing.
The Dreffein's small northern village of Neuland, near Hamburg, was a territory of the Hanover House of Brunswick, Empire. After the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the area was controlled by Sweden. Hanover reclaimed the territory in 1715, and in 1871 Bismarck unified the states which resulted in the modern German Empire.
When the brothers Julius and William were ages 10 and 12, Count Carl von Buol of the Hapsburg Empire threatened to join the Crimean War (a battle between Great Britain, France, Turkey, and Sardinia against Russia) in a dispute over a Russian peninsula off the Black Sea unless Prussia accepted allied terms. The climate was very favorable for war among the Germanic states as Prussia expanded its influence against Austria. Between 1849 and 1854, some 1, 100, 000 Germans immigrated to other countries.
This threatening atmosphere later led parents to encourage their boys to join the merchant marines to avoid the possibility of being drafted into the military. In 1855, 14-year-old Julius left his Neuland home for Hamburg (a seaport city near the North Sea and on the Elbe River) to sail. He later came back for his brother William and both left home together to go to sea while still in their teens. This decision led the young men to an adventure that took them sailing the great seas and more.
In 1861 after Julius' mother Margaretha died, Julius and William left home for the final
time, again to go to sea. Their travels took them to South America, England and South Africa.
At that time, 2-3 mast wooden ships were used for sailing. Cargoes consisted of lumber, grain, iron ore, corn, sawdust, hay or coal. The ship sizes ranged from 150 to 300 feet long by 30 to 35 feet wide. (Later the side wheel steamer and screw propeller steamer were invented, and by the late 1800 's, the steamship began to supplant the sailing ship. The first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by steam power alone was in 1838. )
The Dreffein brothers served as cabin boy and cook during their journeys. Julius told the story of a time when he and his brother William had signed up for a trip to the Far East and later canceled out. That ship never returned to port and it was later rumored the entire crew had been killed at sea by Chinese pirates. William told the story of working as a cook (evidently not a very good one) and putting up with complaints from the sailors about their food. William would reply, "I suppose you now want raisins in your bread. " He also said that when one of his cooked peas dropped on the floor, it would bounce clear to the ceiling. A later voyage brought the brothers to North America where they sailed the Great Lakes. On a trip in 1862, they sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec, Canada. The boys borrowed $1. 00 from the captain and then proceeded to jump ship, getting friends to help them with their heavy sea chest. They fled to the rail station, watching anxiously for pursuers. At last, the train arrived and they were safely off to Montreal. They took jobs in Montreal at a tannery where they walked on hides to soften them up. What a blistering job!
Their next trip was to Buffalo, New York where at ages 22 and 20 they easily signed on as seamen for a large freight company. Julius said he would never forget Buffalo, for while staying at a waterfront "flop house " for sea men, he woke up one night with a mattress full of fleas biting him.
The brothers had arrived in America during the Civil War. Ironically, they left one country because of war, and found themselves in the same circumstances once again. The brothers decided to stay at sea and continue sailing. Chicago was not an ideal place to be living prior to the 1860 's. There was no pure water supply, city sewers or proper drainage. A vile stench permeated the air except during the time in winter when the lake was frozen over. As a result, there were many deaths from cholera, smallpox, and various other afflictions. 7, 000 deaths were attributed to these diseases between 1851 and 1855. In 1803, the original Fort Dearborn was built as more settlers moved into the area. The American Indians who inhabited the territory began to organize a resistance as more and more white men acquired the land. The settlers began fighting the local Indian tribes (Ottawas, Chippewas, and Pottawatomies) as roving bands of Indians raided the settlements and stole cattle and sheep. When Illinois became a state in 1818, the Illinois State Militia was organized who forced the Indians from the territory. By 1831, Chicago's population was about 200.
In 1832 an attempt was made by Black Hawk (a chief of the Sacs and Fox tribes) to reclaim the territory, but he was soundly defeated by Militia troops. A series of treaties were signed with the Indian tribes, and in 1833 Chicago made the stipulation that forced the Indians to move from Chicago (and the state of Illinois) to west of the Mississippi River. The agreement called for a cash payment of $280,000 to be paid in installments over a period of several months. Another $250, 000 was to be used to build mills and shops, establish agriculture, and supply goods for the Indians in their new home. The "Indian problem " was solved by 1835. Horse thievery was also prevalent during this time. In 1831 the American Newspaper suggested Chicago pattern itself after Naperville, Illinois (the settlement located nearest to Chicago), and organize a Society for Detection and Punishment of Horse Thieves.
The City of Chicago incorporated in 1833 and was given its first city charter in March 1837. By 1840, the population had grown to over 4,000. The German Jewish community contributed greatly to the establishment of early Jewish religion in Chicago. In 1848 a charter was obtained for a new 30 organization to be named Kehilath Anshe Maarev. However, through the carelessness of the founders intending to name themselves the Congregation of the Men of the West (Kehilath Anshe Maarab) being the most westerly located Congregation of Jews in existence, they mistakenly named themselves the Congregation of the Men of Obscurity (Kehilath Anshe Maarev). The name was later corrected. The first synagogue was erected on Quincy and Jackson Streets in 1849. Ignatz Kunreuther was its first rabbi, following by Godfrey Snydaker. Snydaker established a day school that taught Hebrew, English and German as well as the common branches. Isidore Lebrecht, Soloman Friedlander, Dr. Felsenthal, and Dr. Liebman Adler later followed as synagogue rabbis. Dr. Adler was born in 1812 in the German Empire state of Stadt, Saxe-Weimer-Eisenach. Adler's father, Juda Adler, was a teacher in Germany. In 1855, Mayor Levi Boone (nephew of Daniel), who had been elected on the anti-immigrant platform known as the ''Know Nothing Party," irked the German saloonkeepers when he proposed a state temperance tax. The tax was defeated in a landslide vote, but not before a band of German-Americans rioted to protest the arrest of 200 saloonkeepers under the newly enforced Sunday closing law. When gunfire erupted, the Militia had to be called out.
The German community, a large segment of Chicago's population at that time, were great beer drinkers. With the help of Irish immigrants, they voted down the Temperance Act 3 to 2. Defiance of the Sunday closing laws and licensing requirements resulted in hundreds of Germans being arrested. Other citizens of Chicago who were guilty of similar rebellion, however, were largely ignored, indicating a prejudice against the German community.
In the 1860's, the German population of Illinois had reached 203,750, which exceeded the Irish population by over 66 percent. In contrast with the German exodus that took place before 1848, the new German settlers came largely from northern Germany. The German centers in Illinois continued to be industrious, frugal, and peaceful communities. In 1860, the year Lincoln was elected President, an estimated 30,000 people attended the Republican National Convention in Chicago. Ten thousand people crammed the "Wigwam, "a site erected at Lake and Market streets to accommodate the conventioneers. The German vote from Illinois and neighboring states was so powerful in 1860 that without it Lincoln and his party would have been decisively defeated. Yet the Germans were modest in their claims for a share of the spoils; for several weeks after applications for office began pouring into Lincoln, not a single German office-seeker presented his claim. The services of even the most prominent Illinois leaders received only slight acknowledgment. Shortly after Lincoln's inauguration, guns were fired on Ft. Sumter, signaling the start of the Civil War. Chicagoans were the second largest group of citizens to enlist in the Union Army, only being surpassed in number by the people of Boston. The government initiated a "draft "which proved to be very ineffective since $300 could buy a 'replacement ' for those men eligible for the draft. In 1862, General John C. Fremont declared martial law in Missouri, which authorized the property confiscation of the rebels and the emancipation of their slaves. Lincoln instructed Fremont to withdraw the proclamation. Upon the latter 's refusal, the president, as commander-in-chief, formally annulled Fremont's action. Illinoisans, however, generally felt that Fremont made the right decision in Missouri and that Lincoln was wrong. From the onset, Fremont was not given proper support from the government administration, and with limitations in the shape of strong personal ambition, he garnered thoughts of running for president against Lincoln in 1864.
The German Republican voters and their press became enthusiastic supporters of Fremont's attack on slavery. They denounced the administration 's attempt to "shirk the true issue of the contest " at a meeting held in Chicago. This marked the beginning of an estrangement from Lincoln that climaxed in the campaign of 1864. Fremont was a favorite among the Germans during the 1860 election, and they were disappointed when he made his formal withdrawal in 1864. The German community, however, enthusiastically joined the Lincoln landslide victory in 1864. The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U. S. Grant at Appomattox. (President Jimmy Carter later pardoned Lee of all wrongdoing in 1974.) Five days later, President Lincoln was shot and killed by the assassin John Wilkes Booth while attending the theater in Washington D. C. President Lincoln 's body was brought to Chicago and viewed by thousands who came to pay their final respects.
After the Civil War, the Puritanism of the Yankee spirit expended itself to demand liquor regulations and strict Sabbath observance. To the German people, the seventh day was for savoring simple human joys like a walk to the woods for a rifle club shooting match, or a singing club gathering (gesangfest). It was also a day to turn their thoughts toward cherished memories of Germany and to the future in the land of their adoption.
The Germans felt it was a fundamental right to sip a casual glass of beer on Sunday while enjoying the day. They were offended when scandalized New England Yankees stated, "The German bottle of beer meant a drunken debauch and Sunday festivities meant a willingness to sacrifice every principle or conviction in politics and morals. "
In 1865 Chicago was in the midst of a giant manufacturing boom. The war had ended and "reconstruction" had begun. The city had grown larger than Cincinnati, and was approaching the size of St. Louis.
Department stores were being built. Field and Leiter, later to become Marshall Field & Company, moved into a new six-story white marble building located at State and Washington Streets built by Potter Palmer. Palmer had purchased vast amounts of State Street property and was building the Palmer House Hotel in the same area. Palmer was born in New York and had opened a dry goods store in Chicago in 1852, with some assistance from his father who owned a dry goods store in Oneida, New York. Palmer's success was largely due to his innovative practice of allowing his patrons to return or exchange goods purchased from his store. This had never been done before in Chicago.
Marshall Field was born on a farm in Massachusetts and later worked for Potter Palmer. Field climbed the ladder from stock boy to manager and in 1868, opened his own Chicago department store with partner Levi Leiter.
During the time of the Civil War and until around 1866, the Dreffein brothers sailed the Great Lakes. They also logged in northern Wisconsin and Michigan. Chicago continued to grow. During 1864, six thousand new buildings were constructed. The Union Stockyards opened in 1865, and later became the world 's largest slaughterhouse. An increasing number of German, Irish and Norwegian immigrants living on the south and near north sides of Chicago, contributed to the large work force that later became home to America's meat packing industry. Chicago was a perfect location for any industry. It was a transportation hub, had open land for livestock, and farmlands nearby where grain could be easily produced and transported. The meat packing industry was Chicago's largest manufacturing employer. Chicago also had the highest death rate from tuberculosis in the state and one of the highest in the nation in the 1860s.
The "City of the Big Shoulders, " as poet Carl Sandburg later referred to Chicago, was developing its muscle. It had mighty Lake Michigan at its side and a great population of predominately German and Irish immigrants willing and eager to test its strength.
In 1866, Julius Dreffein, patriarch of the Dreffein Family in America, and his younger brother William arrived in Chicago. The city was becoming a major player in American business, and the brothers wanted to be a part of it. They contemplated going back to New York, but decided to stay in Chicago and make it their home. Remembering their mother quoting a Latin inscription "Nil sine opera "(nothing without work), they were prepared now to give it their best shot. In 1867 at the age of 26, Julius married Wilhelmina (Minna) Kasbohm, whose family had emigrated from Germany. Their first child George was born in 1868. Julius took a job as a porter in 1871 with the D. S. Heffrons & Company, a seed merchant located at 250 State Street. In 1872 he worked as a porter for A. R. & G. M. Miller & W. F. Keep, which was a cutlery and hardware store at 19 Lake Street. Julius, Minna and their young son George lived at 318 N. Ashland Avenue.
Saloons and taverns, a vital part of Chicago's German culture, were nonexistent until the 16th century. The vast majority of people had little or no time for leisure. Even free time was spent working on a necessary project. By the 1600's taverns began to form an alternative social center to the church. They became public gathering places for men to socialize, tell stories, do business, and relax from the hardships of everyday life. The church always objected to them and laws were later passed that sometimes made these taverns and saloons illegal. Taverns were not all dens of vice and iniquity, however. At the turn of the century, Chicago had over 6,000 licensed retail saloons. Many had accommodations for dancing, parties, and lodge meetings. Other taverns catered to Scandinavian working men, Irish, Germans and Italians. There were also taverns that were gathering places for singing societies, and some were popular with sportsmen since many tavern owners were knowledgeable about sports. These establishments played an important role in the lives of Chicagoans, helping to keep memories alive of the old country and providing comfort and acceptance in a new land.
During the period 1833-1870, Chicago was a large buying market for lumber, and merchants were always willing to make a deal. Shiploads of lumber were brought into the city by Lake Michigan mill operators and sold in Chicago. Lumber buyers paid cash for a shipload, which made it more convenient for the seller and thus more reasonably priced for the buyer.
In 1833 and through the 1870's, Chicago buildings were designed and structured with a "skeleton frame. " These buildings featured window sills, rafters, and joists all nailed together by the newly-invented "machine nail. " Previously, connection had been accomplished by notching sections of carved joints and piecing the wood together. Lightweight studs supported the structure instead of wooden columns and girders. This form of construction was called a "balloon frame " and was an architectural revolution because the design was simple and construction was easy. However, this framework design proved to be deadly in 1871 because air pockets and spaces in the construction allowed fire to spread quickly. In spite of the dangers, the concept of this construction continued. By the end of the 19th century, most American buildings were constructed using the "balloon frame ". The use of elevators in buildings was rare before 1870. The increase of land value had made vertical expansion more reasonable, yet elevators remained a novelty. Buildings were constructed with as many as seven stories, so installing elevators would make upper floors more accessible.
Since elevator technology was new, many serious accidents occurred. Individuals stepped into empty elevator shafts; doors closed on people causing broken limbs. Some accidents were caused because owners ignored mechanical problems. Other accidents were created by elevator operators hurrying to upper floors. Between 1904-1916, 401 deaths were attributed to elevator accidents. Despite the dangers, most commercial buildings had elevators by the end of the decade. In 1870, professional baseball (a sport the Dreffeins knew nothing about) came to Chicago. The team named the Chicago White Stockings held their first game at a lake front park. Julius' son Frank took his son Arnold to see the White Sox play the New York Yankees in 1925 with Babe Ruth (the Bambino) and Lou Gehrig, both sons of German immigrants, playing for the Yankees. It was a thrill Arnold never forgot. Later in 1955, Arnold took me to see the great Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox play the Chicago White Sox.
In 1871, Chicago experienced the worst catastrophe in its history, the Great Chicago Fire. The city had grown from 4, 000 in 1837 to 28, 000 within two decades, and by 1871 the population was 330, 000. At that time, two-thirds of Chicago's buildings were made of wood.
The story goes that Patrick O'Leary 's wife Catherine was milking a cow in the barn behind their two-story cottage when their cow kicked over a lantern and set the hay in the barn on fire. By the time the incident was reported to the fire department, the area was ablaze. The total heart of the city was burned down within 24 hours. The area of devastation was between Fullerton Avenue to the north, 12th Street to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, and Halsted Street to the west. The O 'Leary 's lived at 137 De Koven Street near 12th street where the fire began. Julius Dreffein, with his wife and child, lived in an apartment only eight blocks west of the flaming inferno (318 N. Ashland). Later it was determined Mrs. O'Leary's cow may not have caused the fire. City officials said it might have been started by a passer-by throwing a cigar butt into the barn, or even by spontaneous combustion sparked by the hay stored in the barn.
As the fire raged, the streets were packed with people trying to flee. Dust and smoke was everywhere. The wind was blowing up a gale from the southwest to the north. Men, women and children ran crying and shouting, first in one direction, then another, not knowing where to go. Other people trudged along the streets dragging their belongings. Those who were more fortunate moved their possessions by horse and wagon. Many left furniture and clothing on the streets and roads, abandoning the possessions they could no longer carry. It was not only the inexorable flames that frightened weary citizens had to face. Early in the course of the fire, drunkenness and looting had broken out.
Saloonkeepers, hoping to keep their premises from being sacked, rolled barrels of whiskey into the street. Soon people of all classes, including many women, staggered through the city, driven by the thought that if this were indeed the end of the world, they might as well have one last fling. After the fire, the City Public Works issued one-year permits for wooden buildings, which allowed only two-story buildings to be constructed. Within a month, the north side was covered with wooden buildings. Officials prescribed fire limits, but the ordinance was violated in all parts of the city and city officials did not enforce the code.
Chicago began a tremendous rebuilding period after the great Chicago Fire. Money came in from all over the country and the world. Banks offered to finance loans that gave Julius and William the perfect opportunity to invest their savings in a new business. In 1872, they secured a loan to purchase a commercial property, and in 1873 they bought a shipload of lumber. They used a portion of the lumber to put up a building at 231 Rumsey Street where they stayed until 1878. The location was very close to Plank Road, now called Milwaukee Avenue. This stretch of dirt road was lined with planks and connected farmlands northwest into the heart of the city, and to Hay Market Square where the farmers sold their products. The building, a stopping place for farmers on their way to market, was a saloon and grocery store. In 1879, they relocated the store to 239 Rumsey Street, then purchased residential property at 237, 243 and 245 Rumsey. There was some economic panic in 1873 as the economy turned down. As credit became tighter, a large saw mill closed its doors, which affected the lumber industry and furniture business merchants. Bankruptcies were at a high, but business improved thereafter when the sale of clothing and foodstuffs found ready customers among city immigrants and factory workers. This diverse market versatility kept Chicago economically sound as businesses continued to grow. Julius and Minna's family was also growing. After son George was born in 1870, Elizabeth in 1871, William was born in 1872, Frank in 1875, Minnie in 1880, and Otto in 1885.
Brother and partner William married Mary Gremli in 1875. Mary was born in Englesweili, Switzerland in 1855. William and Mary had nine children, John born in 1877, Margaretha in 1878, William in 1880, Henry in 1881, Charles in 1883, Mamie in 1885, Robert in 1887, Friedrick in 1890 and Elsie in 1892. During this period, Phillip Armour and Gustavus Swift were the two largest meatpacking companies in Chicago. The invention of the refrigerated railroad car in 1880 had made it possible to ship meat nationwide. Not being able to compete with the giants, smaller packinghouses in the midwest closed down. New techniques were also being developed in canning foods and utilizing waste products.
In 1886 the brothers decided to expand their business and build on property they had purchased for $2, 000 from Austin Tobey in 1872. The property was a double corner lot with 50-ft frontage and 128-ft depth. The terms of payment were $193. 91 due to be paid twice a year, with 8% interest on the note until the property was paid off.
The building was a large, four-story brick with grocery store and tavern in the rear, and three apartments above. It was designed with an elevator shaft and had indoor plumbing, which was a luxury at that time. The families of Julius and William occupied two floors and the third apartment was rented out. The grocery business did very well. In those days there was no refrigeration so people shopped every day which meant the stock needed to be replenished daily. William picked up produce, fruits and vegetables every day by horse and wagon from Hay Market Square. Fish, meat, poultry, eggs and butter were picked up from South Market Street. The store opened at 5 AM daily and closed at 11 PM. Their store was the first in the neighborhood to close on Sunday afternoons. Even so, the hours were long and the work was hard.
Sugar came in 300 pound barrels, and barrels of syrup and molasses had faucet handles at the bottom. Sugar biscuits had to be covered with a screen to keep the buzzing flies away. Each morning a baker would bring in baked goods that housewives would buy for their husbands' lunch pails.
The store was lighted with kerosene lamps, which hung from the ceiling. Gaslights were installed later which was a great improvement. The front sidewalks were made of boards and the streets consisted of mostly mud or dust depending on weather conditions. At dusk, a "lamplighter "would come by and light each gas light along the street, and at dawn another would return to put the lights out. Milk was delivered to the store by wagonload. Butter was sold to housewives in a slab that was applied with a wooden spoon to a plate brought from home. Flour was delivered in 200-pound sacks. Evenings were spent measuring the flour and putting it into little brown paper sacks that were carefully tied with a white string. William talked of the time a load of potatoes arrived with little green sprouts growing out of each one. The boys were assigned the task of rubbing off every single sprout on each potato, a whole carload full.
Sunday afternoon was spent measuring sugar into two-pound sacks. Sometimes the children would sneak a pickle out of the basement as a snack to eat. Mr. Thompson, an occasional customer, was caught swiping sturgeon fish from the counter one day. William waited until he came back to the store the next time and charged him for what he had taken the previous day. None of the other sales people had the nerve to confront the man, but from that day on there was no more missing sturgeon.
On May 3, 1886, violence erupted near the area called Hay Market Square. A group of striking workers from the McCormick Works held a meeting to discuss improving wages and conditions at the factory. During the gathering of about 200 people, a bomb exploded which killed six policemen and injured 60 others. This tragedy led to four "anarchists" being put to death, including August Spies, a German Newspaper editor. One anarchist committed suicide by lighting a stick of dynamite he held in his mouth. Three others were sent to prison for life. When John P. Altgeld, the German-born Illinois Governor, was elected in 1893 he pardoned the convicted men, stating the judge was so prejudiced against the defendants that they could not get a fair trial.
In 1886, journalist John J. Flinn wrote History of Chicago Police from the Settlement of Community to the Present Time , depicting The Hay Market Tragedy of 1886. Flinn became more distinguished by compiling and editing the Official Guidebooks to the 1893 Columbian Exposition Worlds Fair. Mr. Flinn was the father of Mellville Flinn, a former classmate and business partner of Henry Dreffein. The two men later developed Flinn &Dreffein Engineering Company. In 1896 Julius' wife Wilhelmina (Minna), who had been sickly for a number of years, died at the age of 51.
In 1897 the two brothers, Julius and William, boyhood adventurers and business partners for twenty-four years, decided to divide their business and properties, and split up. There had been some hard feelings between the two families, and William had also been involved in an auto accident with his electric car. He became ill, developing pneumonia, and felt it would be wise to retire. He retired at age 56. Older brother Julius decided to keep the business and the surrounding property, and William took the apartment and other outlying properties. William later began selling real estate and did very well buying prime commercial property on North Lincoln Avenue.
Julius and his four sons continued to run the business. In 1881, Julius traveled to Germany to attend his father 's funeral. When he returned to the U. S., he had the Bible in his possession. Apparently, a family member had given it to him. It may have come from his mother Margaretha von Allworden's side of the family who were descended from a long line of German families (whereas Julius' family had come from France). Or, it may have come from Julius 'maternal grandmother Elizabeth Schulz, who was from Butzfleth and had a similar maiden name spelling as the original Bible holder.
The Dreffein Brothers did business with many of the founders of Chicago business during the turn of the century. Julius bought his first horse carriage from Marshall Field, and was acquainted with William Wieboldt, the large dry goods retailer. They both came from the same part of Germany and shared similar stories of their youth. Wieboldt came into the store occasionally and played an old German card game called "skat "with the brothers. Frank Dreffein also had dealings with Mr. Rassmussen, founder of National Tea Company (later to become National Foods). William Wrigley was another early Chicago businessman known by the Dreffeins. Wrigley came to Chicago from Philadelphia where he had worked for his father, a soap manufacturer. As a salesman selling his scouring soap, young Wrigley would come into the Dreffein's store to sell his products and pass out free chewing gum to the kids. The chewing gum became so popular that he stopped selling soap and began marketing the gum. Wrigley was not the inventor of chewing gum (there were 10 other manufacturers in the United States), but his success was due to his ability to market his product better than his competition. He invented "Juicy Fruit Gum " in 1893.
According to the 1900 census, there were 1,600,000 people living in Chicago. The census showed Chicago's population to be 98% Caucasian. 30,000 African Americans, 8 American Indians, 1,200 Chinese, and 68 Japanese were also documented. One third of all Chicagoans were born abroad. Of the foreign born Caucasians, 170,000 were German, 73,000 were Irish, and 59,000 were Polish. Three fourths of all Chicagoans were considered to be of foreign stock (persons who were born abroad or at least having one foreign parent).
At the turn of the century, trains and transit vehicles accounted for the largest share of street fatalities. Horse drawn vehicles were more dangerous than today's automobiles, but safer than turn-of-the-century automobiles. Horses were not only safer, they were better at finding their way home. Fortunately, the automobile death rate today has dropped due to better hospital services, safety features in vehicles, and roadway improvements today. Law enforcement has also improved and drivers are tested before being issued a license to drive a vehicle (there were no drivers ' licenses in the early years of Chicago).
In 1900, the city had 50,000 horse drawn vehicles and 377 registered automobiles. Many people walked to work, to school and to shops, but the majority took streetcars that were pulled by horses. After the safety bicycle was invented, Chicago became the center of bicycle manufacturing. The Schwinn Bicycle Company was established in 1895 and kept Chicago in the forefront of bicycle manufacturing for most of the 20th century.
In 1906, Julius and his sons opened a grocery store on Division Street. A second store opened in 1915 on Leavitt Street, followed in 1918 by the Drake Avenue store, then a St. Louis Avenue store opened in 1921, and finally a Central Avenue store in 1927. Daughter Minnie married Fred Rennock during this period. The couple had no children. Julius retired from the business after 1917 and left his two sons, Frank and Otto, to continue the operation.
Minnie handled Julius's personal affairs after he retired, and her name was listed as the beneficiary of many of his accounts. After her death at age 51 in 1931, her husband Fred refused to turn over bank accounts to the family. The brothers, on behalf of their father, talked to an attorney who advised them it could be difficult getting the papers returned. This, however, did not daunt the brothers who proceeded to confront Mr. Rennock. During a heated discussion, one of the brothers grabbed Rennock by the shirt collar and told him to give the papers back. This approach frightened Rennock to the extent he soon turned the accounts back over to the family.
Julius had lived with Frank and his family during the later years of his retired life. After
Julius' death in 1933, the Bible was passed on to his third son Frank. Frank was in the grocery business all his
life. He began working with his father as a youngster and was later joined by his younger brother of ten years,
Otto, and two older brothers William and George.
Frank, had attended the Metropolitan Business School, and was a very creative and enthusiastic businessman. He initiated new ideas and was instrumental in organizing the Central Grocers Organization of Chicago in 1911. This association was created for retailers to purchase farm products directly from local farmers, cutting out middleman costs and thus increasing sales and profits. The Central Grocers Organization of Chicago later became Centrella Foods Company, a food store chain still doing business in Chicago.
Frank also enjoyed singing and playing the mandolin. As Chicago began to prepare for the World's Fair in 1933, Frank suggested organizing a men's chorus comprised of members of other Evangelical churches. The choir was named the Century Male Chorus. Frank was its first president, a position he held until 1939.
Frank devoted time participating in charitable events at the Bensenville Home Society, an orphanage established in 1920 by German Evangelical ministers. The Bensenville Home, A Caring Community for Children and Old People, an autobiography written by Len Sirotzki in 1995, describes his happy years growing up in the orphanage.
When World War I (the Great War) broke out in 1917, Chicago failed to embrace it with total enthusiasm. Chicago Mayor Bill Thompson believed any effort to cooperate with England's War was traitorous since the U. S. had fought for independence from Great Briton. Thompson sold "Chicago Bonds "to compete 52 with the government-sponsored Liberty Bonds, and in 1927 authorized burning text books that glorified King George of England.
The German ethnic community had mixed feelings about entering into a war with Germany. My grandmother Dreffein, told me about families she knew who had pictures of the Kaiser hanging on their living room walls showing their support to the Fatherland. The Dreffeins, however, supported their government and were always patriotic to their new homeland.
Many family members served in military service during World Wars I, II, Korea, and Vietnam. John "Jack " Meilahn was a flyer in the Army Air Corp (U. S. Air Force), who was killed in the Philippine Islands during World War II while testing an aircraft. His mother, Marie Meilahn, was the niece of Alvina Dreffein. Nephew George Meinke, served in WW I and later in the U. S. Air Force (Reserve).
Arnold Dreffein's wife Myrtle served as an Army 1st lieutenant nurse during World War II. Also serving in WW II were Arthur Dreffein U. S. Army, Larry Dreffein U. S. Marines, and Leonard Dreffein who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart while serving with the 4th Armored Division. I served in the U. S. Air Force (Reserve) during the Vietnam Crisis.
There have also been numerous great German American patriots serving this country. John "Black Jack "Pershing was born in 1860, fought Geronimo and the Sioux Indians (1886-1890), and was in the Spanish American War in 1898. During WW I, Pershing was Chief of American Expeditionary Forces. America 's greatest flying ace Eddie Rickenbacher destroyed 26 enemy airplanes in combat during WW I, Rickenbacher also served in WW II.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WW II, who later became U. S. President. Admiral Chester Nimitz fought in WW I, and was head of the fighting forces in the Pacific during WW II and Chief of Naval Operations in 1944. General Norman Schwarzkopf was Chief of Command during Desert Storm in 1991.
After World War I ended, America experienced its first race riots. One of the worst race riots in the north erupted in Chicago. The black population had increased from 44,000 in 1910 to more than 110,000 by 1920. The majority of blacks had settled on Chicago 's south side, "The Black Belt, " where over-crowded living created "ghettos." Black war veterans who had fought to preserve democracy and wanted to share in the "American Dream " of Liberty, harbored great resentment towards the government.
The Race Riot of 1919 was triggered by the death of a black youth who swam into a Lake Michigan area reserved for whites. Rocks were thrown at the boy and he later drowned. Blacks who had been bathing at the adjoining beach became upset when police refused to arrest the white man they felt was responsible for the death. Crowds began to gather on the beach and the disturbance began. For 13 days, some sections of the city were without law in spite of the fact that the State Militia had been called out. Forty people were killed (25 blacks, 15 whites) and 500 were injured.
Frank married Alvina Beeskow in 1907. On their wedding night, they went downtown to see the musical "The Merry Widow " by Franz Lehar, against the wishes of her parents, who thought the play might be too risque. Frank and Alvina had four children. Frank Junior was born in 1908, Mildred in 1911, Arnold in 1914, and Ruth in 1921.
Alvina Beeskow Dreffein was born in Chicago in 1884. As a young girl after graduating from 8th grade, (most females at that time were not given the opportunity for further education) went to work for Hartford Insurance Company in downtown Chicago. Because of her excellent penmanship she was given a job working in the business office. She stayed with the company until she married in 1907. Alvina was a strong, stoic woman who could do the physical work of a man. I never saw her cry or get upset as I was growing up. Once I watched her fix our garage door with hammer and nails, swinging the hammer like a journeyman. Alvina was the youngest child of Johann and Albertina Beeskow who came from Pomerania, (Prussian Germany) in the 1870 's. Three of her siblings were born in America, Bertha in 1877, Ida in 1875 and Henry in 1882. The other five were born in Germany, Friedrich in 1866, Herman in 1869, Gustav in 1871, Albert in 1861, and Emelia in 1864. Her parents were both born in 1840 in the Village of Gissolk, and later moved to Stettin. Despite the fact that he lived in America, Alvina 's father refused to learn the English language. Her mother Albertina was a very smart woman and an excellent seamstress.
Bertha's son Carl Gellenthien worked in his Uncle Frank Dreffein's grocery store as a young boy. Later in 1924, while a young medical student at the University of Illinois, Carl contracted tuberculosis. He was sent to a sanitarium in Valmora, New Mexico (20 miles northeast of Las Vegas, New Mexico)to recuperate. The Valmora Tuberculosis Sanitarium was founded by Doctor William T. Brown, a Wisconsin physician interested in establishing a tuberculosis hospital to help cure patients of the dreaded disease. The sanitarium opened its doors in 1904. More than 30 mid-west based corporations provided its financial backing, including Armour Company, Swift Company, International Harvester, Continental Bank and Trust, and the William Wieboldt Foundation. These companies wanted to supply medical treatment to their employees and families stricken with T. B. Since government Medicare did not exist in those days, many companies did provide medical help for their employees. Carl Gellenthien was cured of tuberculosis in 1927 and came back to Chicago to complete medical school. In 1928, he returned to Valmora to become Medical Director of the sanatorium. He also married a nurse named Alice Brown, the founder 's daughter. He remained at Valmora where he conducted his practice. Carl became the oldest physician to practice medicine in New Mexico and one of the last doctors in America known to make "house calls. "He served on the State of New Mexico Governor 's Board and was Vice-President of the American Medical Association in 1954, and ex-officio member of the AMA House of Delegates. In 1986, a book was written about Dr. Carl Gellenthien entitled Hovels, Haciendas, and House Calls . The author Dorothy Simpson Beimer, was an assistant professor of English and Speech at Highlands University in New Mexico. Dr. Carl Gellenthein died at the age of 89 in Valmora, New Mexico in 1989.
Alvina's nephew Herbert Beeskow was a professor of Botany at Michigan State University, and conducted research in the 1950s on the green bean. Niece Elvira Gellenthien was Dean of Women at Wisconsin State University in Superior. Marie Beeskow Meilahn lost her mother at a young age and was raised as a sister to Alvina. Marie 's son Henry was a successful real estate investor and insurance agency owner. He was also my mentor in business during the time I was establishing my child development (daycare) centers in 1965, and his wife Beeb arranged my bookkeeping system. Henry had a plaque on his office wall I often looked at while visiting him. I later had this poem printed and it hangs in my den today.
Are you in earnest, choose this very minute,
What you can do or dream you can begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage and the mind grows heated,
Begin, then your work will be completed.
The city of Stettin (Szczecin) where Alvina 's family lived before coming to America has an extremely complex history. The area was inhabited by Slavic tribes in 922 AD. It was taken over by Poland in the 12th century and converted to Christianity. Sweden occupied the territory in 1650 and later lost it to Prussia in 1720. During the periods 1815, 1919, and 1939, neighboring countries split the territory. It remained German until the Potsdam Conference took place in 1945 (after WW II) when it then was awarded back to Poland by the Allies. It remains in Poland to this day, after the reunification of Germany from Russian dominance in 1989. In 1929, one year after the Dreffein 's opened their new store on Central Avenue, the United States faced its worst financial crisis in history. The Great Depression had officially begun and the bottom fell out of the stock market. The enormous amount of consumer debt created by the financial good times of the "Roaring Twenties, " along with the ability to buy stocks on margin, caused some economic analysts to warn of the dangers ahead. Stock prices began to drop and more people began selling. Many banks that had speculated heavily in the market with their deposits were wiped out by falling prices. These bank failures sparked a "run "on the banking system. Each failed bank or business contributed to the economic decline. This led presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt to make the statement, "one third of American families are ill fed, one third are ill housed, and one third are ill nourished."
The situation in the Country and in Chicago continued to worsen as city industry employment was cut in half. Payrolls were cut 75% and foreclosures jumped 300%. During the period 1929-1933, 163 banks closed their doors and would not permit money to be withdrawn from accounts. Many of the closing banks were located in the outlying areas of the city where Frank Dreffein banked. Two days before his bank closed, daughter Mildred made a business deposit for her father. Millions of Americans lost their savings, homes, and businesses. Some never recovered. Fortunately, the Dreffein Brothers weathered the Depression and stayed afloat in business. Although the family experienced some difficult times, owning a grocery business meant there was always plenty of food to eat. Over-ripe produce and products that did not sell in the store were taken home to the family table.
During the Great Depression, the Dreffein Brothers'grocery stores extended some thirty thousand dollars on credit to customers who could not pay their bills due to lost jobs or family income problems. Little of the money was ever paid back. My grandmother told me stories about neighbors who had once shopped in their store and owed money, who would walk on the other side of the street on their way home to avoid passing the store. Other customers, because of shame or embarrassment, would turn away from her and ignore her in public. Years later the family occasionally received letters with money enclosed from former customers who wanted to settle their debt.
This was a very difficult period for the family, probably the most difficult time they had faced since coming to America. In 1933, Julius died at the age of 92. One week later, Alvina and Franks 'oldest son Frank died at the age of 24 while recuperating from tuberculosis at their nephew Carl Gellenthien's sanitarium in Valmora, New Mexico. Their son had written his mother Alvina a letter prior to his death, telling her how he was looking forward to coming back home to Chicago and starting a new life after he got well. This mother's dream was not meant to be. Frank Junior was a tall, free spirited young man who loved sports of all kinds. As a boy, his father would send him out to make a grocery delivery and Frank would stop off to play baseball at the sandlot with neighborhood kids. He loved swimming at the Division Street YMCA, where Chicago Cubs baseball player Phil Cavarretta (star of 1935 World Series) and Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismueller (who later became Tarzan of the Jungle in Hollywood movies) swam. It is hard to comprehend how a healthy young man of 22 could be stricken by the dreaded disease tuberculosis and die within 2 years.
By 1934, the Great Depression was winding down and the American economy began to improve. The Dreffein Brothers were now operating two stores. However, chain stores were having an adverse affect on the business. The grocery chain store was invented in 1916 by Clarence Saunders in Memphis, Tennessee. It was called the "Piggly Wiggly" and was the first self-service grocery store. The customer went through a turnstile, selected a cart, walked down aisles that contained shelves of goods, and then had their purchases checked out at a series of cash register counters. Service was much quicker since the customer no longer waited while a clerk selected the item from behind the counter, packaged it, and made the sale. This convenient method resulted in more products and a better selection for the customer. The products cost less because these new chain stores bought directly from the manufacturer and received preferential treatment because of their buying power.
Chain stores were started by Walgreens, F.W. Woolworth, Central Cigar, Fannie May Candies, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea (A&P), and National Tea in the newer areas of Chicago. Middle class families had moved further west, leaving the ethnic neighborhoods to the east. These families prospered due to the better economy that was being created. Better jobs were available and families looked for a better place to raise their children. Vast numbers of "Chicago Bungalows" were built in the outlying areas of the city, today referred to as "suburbia."
Frank was a man of loyalty and duty. He took over the business his father and uncle established, expanded the operation, and worked it for over 40 years. His Uncle William left the business in 1898. His other uncles, George and Hartwig, and his two brothers William and George, had also worked in the business but eventually left. Only Frank, his youngest son Arnold, and his younger brother Otto continued the journey.
Otto Dreffein was born in 1885. He married Alma Dombrow in 1917, and they had three children, Otto Jr., born 1918, Arthur in 1920, and Evelyn born in 1923. Otto and Frank were very close and worked together for 30 years. They opened the Division Street Store and the Leavitt Street store in 1911, later moved to the Drake Avenue site in 1915. In 1927, they sold the Drake Avenue location and opened two new stores, one on Central Avenue, and the other on St. Louis Avenue. Each new location was situated further west.
Otto Jr., Otto 's oldest son, was an engineer and a 1941 graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology, formerly (Armour Tech), where Henry Dreffein graduated in 1905. Otto Jr. worked for the Prince Castle Engineering Company in Chicago, a firm that designed restaurant equipment. At that time Ray Kroch, a native Oak Parker, and piano player for the Isham Jones Band in the 1930's, became a drink mixer salesman for the company. Kroch purchased a restaurant in California and used it to develop the McDonald's fast food restaurants. (The first McDonald 's opened in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955.) In 1968, Otto personally designed a "bread toaster" for Kroch used by McDonald's for many years. 74 On June 25, 1941, Frank Dreffein died at the age of 66 from a heart condition he had developed 10 months earlier. Some family members felt it was a result of the tremendous burden he carried. His oldest son Frank and his father had died one week apart in 1933, and his business was suffering as a result of the competition from chain stores.
The Central Avenue store was sold after Frank's death. Otto Dreffein, Senior operated the St. Louis store until 1944. He then sold the business, thus ending 71 years of continual operation for the Chicago grocery pioneers. Otto, the last surviving Dreffein Brother in business, died in 1971 at the age of 86.
Prominent O'MALLEYs of Chicago
Another early O'Malley to arrive in Chicago was Charles O'Malley, police constable of the
twenty-man police force in 1852, and later a Police Justice. Charles was mentioned by John Flinn in his 1887 book,
Police in America . The author stated, "of all these officers, Charles O'Malley, will be most pleasantly remembered
by the past and present generation. As a police justice he attained a national reputation in later years for the
originality of his decisions and his utter disregard of common and statutory law. " When Charles became one
of the two Chicago Police Justices (and a leading member of the police department), Chicago's population was 25,
000. The salary for Police Justice was just $700.00 per year.
John O'Malley, the owner of a large pork packing company, married Maria Bonfield whose father John was Inspector of Police during the Hay Market Riots in 1886. Another John O'Malley, born in County Mayo in 1857 (home of the O'Malley clan), was a police constable in 1873. In 1891, the politically powerful John O'Malley became a Chicago Alderman and Assistant State 's Attorney, and was once a candidate for the state senate.
In 1911, "Mossy" Enright murdered "Dutch" Gentleman, a union gunman and slugger, in O'Malley's Saloon on State Street. Another William J. O'Malley, Badge #2, was killed in the line of duty in 1922 while arresting John Reese, who had shot his wife to death. Later, Reese was killed by Officer Simon Kennedy while fleeing the scene. A book written in 1996 by Raphael Morrow and Harriet Carter entitled, In Pursuit of Crime: The Police of Chicago , is dedicated in memory of Chicago police officers who were killed in the line of duty and their fearless pursuit of crime. Five O'Malley's were named in the 1941 edition of Who's Who in Chicago and Vicinity , including Walter R. O'Malley, city court Judge in Aurora, Illinois. His father Patrick O'Malley was chief construction engineer for Aurora and credited with bringing gas to Aurora in 1900. The company later became the Northern Illinois Gas Company. O'Malley Court, a street in Aurora, was named after Patrick in May 1946. Comerford O'Malley was a clergyman and Dean at DePaul University. Thomas James O'Malley was a physician and served as a Democratic delegate to the National Convention in 1932. In election year 2000, Republican Jack O'Malley was elected to the Illinois Appellate court, and Republican Patrick O'Malley to the Illinois State Senate. The name O'Malley (Ui Mall) can be traced to early Irish history. The O'Malley family was related to the brother of the King of Connacht who ruled in 800 AD. They were territorial rulers (chiefs) in Connacht County Mayo. Living by the sea, they were seafarers and had navel duties. The territory named O'Malley remained on the map until 1700. When Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1649, he massacred gentry and confiscated their property and transplanted people to Connacht. In 1720, British Parliament ruled the right to pass laws for Ireland.
The O'Malley's and the Dreffein's lived on the far West Side of Chicago in an area called "Austin." Austin was developed in 1866 by Henry Austin. He was the owner of a jack lifting company that lifted buildings out of the mud, raised foundations, and moved them to higher ground. Austin subsequently bought parcels of land on the West Side and donated one of those parcels to the U. S. Brass and Clock Company to build a clock factory and develop housing in the area. He late became involved in Illinois politics as a state legislator.
Austin's well-built homes and tree-lined streets gave the neighborhood a suburban flavor, which was reinforced by its nearness to Oak Park, Illinois. Austin developed into an exclusive residential suburb in the 1880's and was annexed to Chicago in 1899.
When the city of Chicago expanded further west to engulf Austin, the area took on a new identity as a Chicago neighborhood. Austin's housing changed from frame houses to multi-unit brick apartments and bungalows. The community's residents began to include the Irish, Germans, Greeks, Jews, Swedes, and Italians. Austin was a solid middle class community in the 20's. Many of my relatives graduated from Austin High School in the 20's and 30's, including my mother, a 1928 graduate. In the mid 1920's, Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa played with a group called the "Austin High Gang." This group of musicians from Austin High included Eddie Condon, and Bud Freeman, who played a crucial role in Chicago's musical jazz development. Clarinetist Benny Goodman did not attend Austin High but did play with the group.
Students from Austin High also played a city championship football game at Soldier Field in 1937. The game drew 120,000 fans, the largest crowd ever to watch a football game in Chicago, even surpassing Chicago Bears' single game record attendance. Bill DeCorrevont scored 3 touchdowns in a 26-0 win over Leo High. Austin was a neighbor to Oak Park, the home of several famous people. Author Ernest Hemingway, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and Edgar Rice Burrows, author of Tarzan of the Apes, all resided in Oak Park.
The Joseph O'Malley Family lived on Monitor Avenue in a large home with a huge enclosed screen front porch. As a boy, I remember gathering for family parties at my Grandparent O'Malley's house where everyone would sing songs while mother played the piano. The Ambassador Movie Theatre located on Division Street was across the street from the O'Malley house. (Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine worked at that theater as an usher while he was going to school in the 1940's.) Joseph O'Malley died in 1946 at the age of 65.
My parents were both very attractive people. My father was a personable, charming man who resembled movie star Tyrone Power, and my mother looked like starlet Carol Lombard. Father was Irish Catholic and Mother was German Protestant. (In those days the ethnic communities frowned upon mixed marriages.) My father's father was a member of Knights of Columbus, and my mother's father was a member of the Masonic Order.
William J. worked as a salesman for Chicago Wholesale Florists, a wholesale flower mart. In 1945, after WW II ended, he and another salesman friend named William "Willie " O'Brien decided to go into business for themselves. They quit their jobs, moved to Peoria, Illinois and established Illinois Wholesale Florist, a wholesale cut flower business. .......
The following contributing authors are quoted in the information above and throughout Mr. O'Malley's book: A.T. Andreas, "History of Chicago," Higginson Book Co. published 1884. John Flynn & John Wilke, "Police in America: History of the Chicago Police," Arno Press & New York Times, published 1887. A.N. Marquis, "Who's Who in Chicago and Vicinity," Reed Elsevier, Inc. published 1941. Robert Cromie, "A Short History of Chicago," Lexicos Press, published 1984. Harriet Carter & Raphael Morrow, "In Pursuit of Crime," Flat Publishing Co. published 1996.
[End of IL Trails presentation....]
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