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(JOHN TELLING, one of the successful mer-

I chants of Chicago, was born January 6, 1844,

O in Kidderminster, England. His father,

Henry Telling, was a carpenter, who resided all

his life at Kidderminster. Elizabeth Aliban, wife

of the last-named, was left an orphan at an early

age and was reared by and made her home with

her brother, John Aliban.

John Telling was placed in the care of private

tutors until he was twelve years old, when he
went into the office of Brinton & Son, large car-
pet manufacturers of Kidderminster. At the age
of fourteen years he came with his parents to
America and located at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Here he was assistant bookkeeper at the foundry
office of Turton & Sercombe two years. At six-
teen years of age he entered the employ of At-
kins, Steele & White, wholesale shoe dealers of



the same city, and here laid the foundation of his
long and remarkably successful business career.
After three years in this house he engaged as
traveling salesman with Page & Crosby, dealers
in the same goods.

He was at once successful, and moved with
that firm to Chicago in 1868. Here the house
began business under the title of Page, Lyman &
Company, and went out of business about 1870.
Mr. Telling then engaged with Greensfelder,
Rosenthal & Company, with whom he continued
seventeen years, being a partner in the business
during the last three years of that period.

His next connection was with Guthman, Car-
penter & Telling, in which he continued as
junior partner until the time of his death which
occurred November 16, 1895 a period of ten
years. At the time of his demise he was the
oldest commercial traveler on the road, and was
still able to excel all his competitors in sales in
his line of goods, facts of which he was justly

Mr. Telling was very popular with his asso-
ciates, was a most genial and companionable
man, as well as a faithful and affectionate hus-
band and tender parent. He joined the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows at the age of
twenty-one years, becoming a member of Excel-
sior Lodge of Milwaukee. At twenty-three he
was made a Mason by St. John's Lodge of the
same city, and subsequently affiliated with Me-
dinah Temple of the Mystic Shrine of Chicago.
He was a charter member of the Traveling Men's
Insurance Association, organized in 1871, and a
member of the North Shore Club, of Lake View.
From earliest childhood he was reared in the
Episcopal Church, and continued to be a most
devout member of that body until a few months
before his death. He then became interested in
Christian Science, and associated himself with
the propagation of that faith, giving up his
church ties entirely. He was always an en-
thusiastic Republican and an active political
worker, especially during the presidential cam-
paign of 1876.

July 31, 1866, Mr. Telling was married in All
Saints' Church, at Milwaukee, to Miss Annie

Just, eldest daughter of Capt. William A. Just
and Ellen Bromley. Captain Just was a son of
William and Anna Just, of Mellin, Prussia,
where they lived and died. Their son was but
ten years old when the father passed away. His
wife survived him but two years, and thus the
youthful William was early left to his own re-
sources. Ellen Bromley was a daughter of
Thomas and Eleanor (Berry) Bromley, of Liver-
pool, England, the former a steward in a gentle-
man's family in Liverpool.

Capt. William A. Just followed the sea until

1845, making his home at Liverpool in the mean-
time, and was married there in January, 1843, to
Miss Bromley, in St. Peter's Church of that city.
He came to America in 1845 and settled in Mil-
waukee, and immediately became a navigator on
the Great Lakes, where he commanded vessels
until the time of his death, being then owner of
the schooner "Wayne." He died of cholera
October 10, 1854, leaving a widow and five chil-
dren. He was a remarkable man, and was wide-
ly mourned in Milwaukee, where his family oc-
cupied a prominent social position.

Mrs. Telling was born in Milwaukee June u,

1846. She attended the Convent of Notre Dame,
of that city, and finished her education at the
private school of Professor Roache, from which she
graduated at the remarkably early age of four-
teen years. She is a woman of rare intelligence
and discrimination, and was the appreciated com-
panion of her husband through the happy years
of their wedded life. Five of their seven children
are now living. Eleanor Aliban, the eldest, is
the wife of Mark L. Simpson, a son of E. B.
Simpson, of Milwaukee, their wedding having
occurred January 16, 1889. Daisy Everton, the
second, died September 30, 1895. She was the
idol of her family, and her demise, in the flower
of her youth, followed in a few weeks by the
death of her father, was a severe and trying
shock to the devoted wife and mother and the
other members of the family. Marion Emily, the
sixth child, died in infancy. The others are:
John Edward, Henry Irving, Grace Elsie and
Bessie Irma.

The funeral of Mr. Telling was held at St.



James' Church, in Milwaukee, and he was buried
in Forest Home Cemetery of that city, with Ma-
sonic honors. He was a thoroughly self-made
man, and the example of his perseverance, in-

dustry and integrity is commended to the youth
of the land as worthy of their emulation and
certain to bring prosperity, friends and a peaceful


f^ HI tlP APFEL is an honored pioneer of
LX Chicago who has resided in the city for more
[9 than half a century. He has witnessed its
changes and marvelous growth from a population
of about twelve thousand to the second city in
size and importance on the continent. He was
born in Sulz, Alsace, then a part of France, Au-
gust 19, 1830. His parents were Henry and Eva
(Streng) Apfel, both natives of Alsace. The
father belonged to an old French family and was
a nailsmith by trade. In 1842 he immigrated to
the United States, leaving his family in the old
world until he could see the country before decid-
ing to bring them and locate permanently in
America. After arriving at New York he soon
found employment at his trade and was so well
pleased with the outlook that the following year
he sent for his family.

In the summer of 1843 Mrs. Apfel and her two
sons sailed from Havre in the good ship "Arago"
and after a voyage lasting twenty-eight days
joined the head of the family in New York. They
remained in that city and Syracuse about a year,
and then removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where they
spent another year, all of which time Mr. Apfel
worked at his trade. In 1845 they came to Chi-
cago and located permanently. Here Mr. Apfel
engaged in the retail grocer}' business, and suc-
ceeded in accumulating a valuable property.

To the union of Henry Apfel and Eva Streng
were born four children. The eldest died in the
old country at the age of eight years; Philip, of
this sketch; Henry, of Shellrock, Iowa; and

George, who was born in Chicago and still resides
here. Mrs. Apfel died April 26, 1854. In 1856
Mr. Apfel married Miss Anna Hoffmann, by whom
he had two children, but both are deceased. Mr.
Apfel died in 1878, aged seventy-five years. His
widow is still living and resides at No. 74 Ham-
mond Street, Chicago.

Philip Apfel, whose name heads this article,
received a good common-school education in his
native town, and after coming to Chicago attended
a. night school one winter, but the most impor-
tant and practical part of his education was ac-
quired in the hard school of experience. He is a
self-made man in the truest sense of the word and
has been self-supporting since he came to the
United States, at the age of thirteen years.

While the family lived in Syracuse, New York,
he worked at packing salt, and in Cleveland,
Ohio, at heading barrels in a flouring mill. He
began his business career in the year of his arri-
val in Chicago as a peddler, and after accumula-
ting a little money in that way, started a fruit
stand at the corner of South Water and Clark
Streets. After successfully continuing that busi-
ness a couple of years he opened a fruit and
notion store at No. 21 North Clark Street, where
he carried on a profitable trade five years. Sub-
sequently he engaged in the commission business
at No. 175 East Kinzie Street for two years.
He was a member of the Board of Trade, but
after three years sold his membership.

In 1868 Mr. Apfel started a boot and shoe
store at the corner of Division and Clark Streets,



where he bought a lot and erected a frame build-
ing, which answered the double purpose of store
and dwelling house. He was located there until
the fire of 1871 destroyed his property, losing
twenty thousand dollars. He rebuilt immediately
after the fire, and six weeks afterward resumed
business and continued at the same location until
1888, when he sold his stock and has since lived
retired, taking care of his property interests. In
his many and varied business ventures he has
met with success. He has always taken a con-
mendable interest in the affairs of the city and
nation and for two years previous to the great
fire faithfully and acceptably filled the office of
supervisor of the North Town. When the Re-
publican party was organized he joined its ranks,

and for many years supported its principles and
candidates, but of late years acts independent of
party, giving his support to the man he regards
as best qualified to fill the office. August 19,
1852, he married Miss Mary Elizabeth, daughter
of Frederick and Barbara (Hess) Mahler, natives
of Badeu, Germany, where Mrs. Apfel was born.
Mr. and Mrs. Apfel have three sons and two
daughters, namely: William G., Arthur H.;
Emma E., wife of Herman Devermann; Clara Eliz-
abeth, now Mrs. Charles G. Boening; and Philip
F. One child died in infancy. The members of
the family are conn ected with St. Paul's Evan-
gelical Lutheran Church. At all times Mr.
Apfel has done all in his power to advance the
best interests of the city.


fDQlLLIAM NIEMEYER was one of the in-

\ A I dustrious and successful German- American
Y V citizens which the Fatherland contributed
to this country. For nearly half a century he
was identified with the city of Chicago, and dur-
ing his long and varied business career was active
in promoting the best interests of the place. Mr.
Niemeyer was born August 18, 1828, in Han-
over, Germany, and was a son of Deidrich Nie-

The latter and his wife had three children,
who became residents of Chicago, namely: Henry
and William, both deceased, and Dorothy, now
widow of Christian Klinge, who is still living in
the city. The mother died in Germany, and the
father passed away in Chicago in 1861. After
acquiring a good education in the parish school of
his native place, William Niemeyer learned the
tailor's trade with his father.

In 1847, accompanied by his father, brother

and sister, he came to the United States and with
them located in Chicago. Here for two years he
worked at his trade. In 1849 he formed a part-
nership with William Vollmer and embarked in
the retail grocery business on the corner of Lake
and Clark Streets, and later moved to Fifth Ave-
nue, between Washington and Madison Streets.
November 9, 1850, he married Sophia Budde.
Soon after his marriage Mr. Niemeyer sold his in-
terest in the grocery business to his partner, and
started a boarding house on the corner of Kinzie
and Clark Streets, subsequently moving to Wash-
ington Street near Fifth Avenue, and there did a
prosperous business for several years.

His next venture was keeping the Farmers'
Hotel, on Franklin Street between Randolph and
Lake Streets, and in connection a livery and
boarding stable. A few years later he sold out,
and for a time kept a saloon on Randolph Street,
opposite the present courthouse. In 1867 he


established an undertaking business at No. 117
South Clark Street and the following year moved
to the North Side and opened an undertaking
house at Nos. 626 and 628 Wells Street, and suc-
cessfully operated both houses until they were
destroyed by the great fire of 1871. Although
he sustained a very heavy loss, he was not in the
least discouraged, for two days after the fire he
established temporary quarters on Halsted Street,
at the corner of Canalport Avenue and rebuilt on
Wells Street and resumed his old business at that
location. He also opened a store at No. 112
North Clark Street and another on the corner of
Chicago Avenue and Market Street, and contin-
ued the three stores until 1880, when he discon-
tinued the last two and carried on the Wells
Street business, having in connection a carriage
livery. There he did an increasing and profitable
trade until his death, July 3, 1896.

The engrossment of his various undertakings
left little time to engage in other employment.
He gave his thought and attention to his busi-
ness and left public affairs and the conduct of
financial concern to those whose tastes or leisure
better fitted them for such a task. He, however,
found time to indulge in social intercourse and
charitable work of the Odd Fellows' Order, with
which he was identified for many years. He was
a member of Robert Blum Lodge and a member
of Encampment No. 165, Independent Order of
Odd Fellows. He also belonged to the Ancient
Order of Druids and to the _Germau- American
Association, and was one of the first members of
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, in the
success of which he always felt interested.

Mrs. Niemeyer is a worthy pioneer of Chicago.
She was born in Hessen-Darmsdat, Germany,
November 26, 1829, and came to Chicago with
her parents, Christian and Dorothy Budde, in
1846. Her father was a farmer and a man of
considerable means and he lived in retirement
after coming to Chicago. He died in 1853, an( i
his good wife survived him twenty years, dying
in 1873. They had but two children, Sophia and
William, of Mankato, Minnesota. Mrs. Nie-
meyer received a good rudimentary education in
the Fatherland, which has been supplemented by

reading and the practical affairs of a busy life.
She possesses unusual intelligence and business
capabilities and is one of the most prominent
women in Chicago of German birth, and is well
known in fraternal organizations throughout the
state. In church and benevolent work she takes
a lively interest. For seventeen years she has
been president of the Ladies' Aid Society of Ulich
Orphan Asylum. For six years she has been
on the board of directors of the Odd Fellows'
Home of Lincoln, Illinois, having been on the
board since it was started, and is the only Ger-
man woman who has occupied that position.

Mrs. Niemeyer organized a Rebekah Lodge,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is the
present chairman of the Odd Fellows' Old Folks
Home Advisory Board. She is a member of the
Ladies Society of St. Paul's Evangelical Luth-
eran Church and a member of the German Hos-
pital, also of the Ladies' Society in connection
with that institution, and of the Ladies' Chicago
Turners Society and devotes much of her time
and ample means in advancing the interests of
these worthy institutions. . Mrs. Niemeyer, with
the assistance of her son, Henry W., still carries
on the undertaking business which was founded
by her husband thirty years ago. Her life has
been one of busy usefulness and the cares of
nearly sixty-nine years, fifty-two of which were
spent in Chicago, have set lightly upon her, as
she still enjoys good health and the use of all her

Of the thirteen children born to this worthy
couple, seven died in childhood, the six following
grew to maturity and four are living at this writ-
ing. The first-born, William H., was born Octo-
ber 22, 1851, and March 19, 1876, married Miss
Clara Schuberth, and died May n, 1886, leaving
a widow and two sons, William and Henry.
Henry William, who is associated in business
with his mother, was born March 22, 1856.
With the exception of a couple of years spent in
Denver, Colorado, he has always lived in Chicago.
He was educated in the public schools and Dyren-
furth College. He assisted his father in business
until he arrived at man's estate. While in Den-
ver he learned the art of embalming, under Prof.



Albert Brown. On his return from the West in
1879, he joined his father in the business, and
introduced the art of embalming in the city,
being the first person who practiced the art in
Chicago. He is an enterprising, progressive and
successful business man.

Like his mother, he takes a lively interest in
social orders, and is a member of Olympia Lodge
No. 477, Independent Order of Odd Fellows and
Koerner Lodge No. 54, Order of Mutual Protec-
tion. In politics he is independent. Julys, 1887,
he was married to Miss Mary Peters, a native of
Germany and daughter of Johanna Peters. They
have one child, Adeline. Minnie, born August
20, 1859, is the wife of Frederick Buscher.
Charles H., born July 14, 1861, on April n,

1885, married Emma Heisterkamp and has two
children, Henry and Florence. He is also an
undertaker and assisted his father for many years,
and is still connected with the business in assist-
ing his mother and brother, Henry W.

He is a member of Court Vorwaerts No. 25,
Independent Order of Foresters. Anna Chris-
tina Louise Augusta, the ninth in order of birth,
was born May 9, 1863, and became the wife of
Charles L. Schrimer and died December 2 1 , 1891,
leaving an infant child that died six weeks later.
Barbara, the youngest, was born January 29,
1867, is the wife of Edward Koehler, and has
two children, Edna and Hazel. All are residents
of Chicago and are useful and respected members
of society.


(lOHN FEHN is a representative German-
I American citizen who ranks among the old
G) settlers of 1857 and has been connected with
the business interests of the city forty years. He
was born November 24, 1835, in the village of
Steinbach, Province of Bavaria, Germany, and
is a son of John and Margaret (Neubauer) Fehn,
natives of Bavaria. He is descended from some
very prominent and ancient German families and
has a lineage of which he may well be proud.
His paternal grandfather was a man of education
and was for some years a very successful instruc-
tor. He also filled the office of burgomaster in
his native city.

John Fehn, father of the man whose name
heads this article, was a fanner and also fol-
lowed the occupation of a brewer and distiller.
He purchased property in Windheim, and there
resided with his family until his death, in 1849.
Mr. Fehn, the subject of this sketch, attended
public school until he reached the age of twelve

years and for two } r ears received private instruc-
tion under the tutelage of the parish priest, pre-
paratory to a higher course, it having been the
intention of his father to educate him for the
priesthood. The death of his father when John
was fourteen years old entirely changed his plans,
and it became necessary for him to assist his wid-
owed mother in the care and cultivation of the
farm. September 27, 1853, ne sailed from Bremen
Harbor on the sailing; ship "Ocean" and after an
uneventful sea voyage, landed at New Orleans
December 8. He was destitute of capital on his
arrival in that city, as the last two dollars which
he possessed he generously gave to a passenger
on board the ship who, he thought, needed it
worse than he did.

Though poor in purse, he was rich in the ele-
ments of health and industry which, with well-
directed effort, always insures success. He at
once found employment in the St. Charles Hotel,
first as waiter, then as bell boy, and later as clerk


in the cigar store of the hotel. He remained in
the St. Charles about two and one-half years.
He then secured a position as bar tender in the
Boston Club and while there became personally
acquainted with Generals Pemberton and Taylor,
and Mr. Benjamin, who afterward became secre-
tary of state of the Confederacy. In 1857 ne l e ft
New Orleans for the North and after spending a
couple of months in Shelbyville, Indiana, came
on to Chicago.

Soon after his arrival he accepted a position
as bar tender for Charles Best, on East Ran-
dolph Street and with the exception of a few
short intervals, remained in his employ three
years. In 1860 he purchased the business of Mr.
Best and did a successful trade until 1864, when
he sold out. He then bought a saloon business
at No. 121-123 North Clark Street, and so well did
he prosper that in 1867 he purchased the corner
lot. The fire of 1871 swept away his building
and business. Before the ground had grown
cold he began to rebuild, and before the frame
structure was complete it caught fire from the

smouldering debris, but the flame was easily ex-
tinguished. In 1872 he purchased the adjoining
lot and the next year built his present handsome
business block.

Mr. Fehn enjoys the distinction of being the
oldest saloon keeper in the city. He has always
been a peaceable, law-abiding citizen and con-
ducted his establishment in a quiet, orderly man-
ner. Being himself a sober, temperate man, he
has not encouraged dissipation in others. He
has never dabbled in politics but has acted inde-
pendently, exercising his franchise in favor of the
man of his choice, not being bound by any po-
litical party or leader.

November 25, 1860, he married Miss Margaret
Sauermann, a native of Bavaria. Ten children
were born of this marriage, four of whom are de-
ceased. Those living are: Paulina, wife of Ernest
Fischer; Oscar E. ; Clara, wife of Thomas Sauer-
mann; Tillie, now Mrs. William Curtis ; Eleanore
and Arthur. The mother, who had been her hus-
band's faithful companion so many years, died
February 17, 1898.


f~ REDERICK NUSSER, now living retired,
rft is a prominent representative of the suc-
| * cessful German- American pioneer of Chi-
cago. He was born December 12, 1824, in
Wurtemberg, Germany, and is a son of Frederick
and Caroline Nusser, both natives of Wurtem-
berg. They were the parents of five children, of
whom three emigrated to America, namely:
Charles, of Carlinville, Macoupin County, Illi-
nois, Frederick and Christian, the last of whom
died in Chicago.

Frederick Nusser was reared on a farm and,
after attending public school until he reached the
age of fourteen years, attended a private school,

later serving a three years' apprenticeship to
learn the trade of rope-maker. He then returned
home and assisted in the cultivation of the home
farm. March 28, 1850, he left home and went
down the River Rhine to Rotterdam, and thence
to Liverpool, England. From there he took
passage in a sailing vessel bound for New York.
With favorable weather and fair winds they
made the trip in twenty-eight days. Mr. Nusser
spent one day in New York and went to Norwich,
Connecticut, where he worked four months in a
brick yard. He returned to New York and came
to Chicago, arriving September 28, 1850. He
was employed in a rope walk six months and



subsequently went to Louisville, Kentucky. He
worked in the brick yards in that city and also
in St. Joseph and Vicksburg.

In the spring of 1856 he returned to Chicago
and worked in a brick yard for wages about six
years, when he entered into a business venture,
starting a brick yard for himself, in the portion
of the city known as Goose Island. Five years
later he removed to the junction of Elston
Avenue and the Chicago & North-Western Rail-
road tracks. At this location he conducted a
successful business seventeen years, when he was
able to retire with an ample fortune to bless his
latter days.

Mr. Nusser has always been a public-spirited
and enterprising citizen since coming to America,
loyal to the interests of the country and doing all
in his power to promote all ventures for the

benefit of the population. He voted for Fremont
in 1856, and has voted for every Republican
presidential candidate since that time. He has
been a member of the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows since 1872. December 13, 1860, Mr.
Nusser was married to Miss Caroline Binzow, who
was born February 24, 1844, in Gianzow, Prov-
ince of Pommern, Prussia. She is a daughter of
Frederick Binzow, who came to Chicago with his
family in 1853 and died of cholera in 1854.

Mr. and Mrs. Nusser are the parents of three
children: Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Reich; Augusta,

Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 5 of 111)