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ing school until he reached the age of fourteen
years, and afterward spent four years as a car-



J. E. HANSEN.



357



penter's apprentice. Until 1892 he worked in
Copenhagen as a journeyman, and in that year
he came to America. For a time he secured em-
ployment at his trade at the World's Fair
grounds, and later, for four years, was in the
employ of the Chicago City Railway Company,
during the greater portion of that time being
employed as a carpenter. Faithful attention to
duty, joined to regularity of habits and frugality
in expenditure, enabled him to' embark in business
as a jobber for himself. His present place of
business is at No. 346 Fifty-first Street, where
he has a remunerative trade. Among the Danish-



Americans of Chicago he has a wide acquain-
tance, as well as among the citizens of his neigh-
borhood generally. He is respected alike for his
capability and his character, and is esteemed
most highly by those who know him best. He is
the secretary of the Danish Brotherhood, the diffi-
cult and responsible duties of which post he has
discharged with rare tact and unswerving fidelity.
He was married in 1882, at Copenhagen, to
Caroline Balslew. One son has been born to
this union, Peter, who came into the world in
that city, and is at present living at home with
his parents.



JACOB E. HANSEN.



(JACOB ERNST HANSEN is too well and
I too favorably known, both commercially and
G/ socially, to a large circle of citizens on the
south side of the city to need any detailed sketch
of his career in order to perpetuate his memory.
The record of success, however, is always more
pleasant to read than the story of failure, just as
the hope of reward is to every true man a more
potent incentive than the dread of punishment.

Jacob Ernst Hansen was born September 29,
1854, in Dobbol, Schleswig-Holstein, then an
undisputed part of the Danish kingdom. His
father, whose initials were also J. E., owned and
operated a mill, for years grinding the grain of
his farmer neighbors, exacting no illegal or even
inequitable toll, and dying in 1854, respected
and mourned by all the country round about,
only three weeks before Jacob Ernst was born.
His mother was Anna Margaretta Muller, who
was born on Christmas Eve, 1820, and still sur-
vives, enjoying at the age of seventy-eight
years a benign old age. Mr. Hansen had no



brother, but two sisters, neither of whom are now
living.

He himself attended school until he reached his
sixteenth year. After that, until he came to
America in 1874, he divided his energies between
working on a farm and in a brickyard. It was
not long after landing on our soil before he came
west, reaching Chicago in 1875. His first "job"
(and not especially an enviable one) was found
with Mr. Lasher on South Water Street. Later,
at the corner of South Clark and Twenty-first
Streets, he learned the cooperage trade, which
he followed five years. During another five
years he was in the employ of Underwood &
Company, acting as time-keeper, in addition to
discharging other duties, and having charge of
the establishment at night. For a year he worked
for the Chicago City Railway Company, and in
1888 he opened a livery and boarding stable at
the same location where he now is. His begin-
ning was small, but his business has prospered
and increased from the first, so that to-day he



358



JACOB CHRISTENSEN.



owns and conducts one of the largest and best
equipped establishments of its class in the city,
extending from No. 3508 to No. 3516 on Indiana
Avenue.

He was married in 1879 to Miss Elsie Christen
Diedricksen, who was born in Denmark but
came to Chicago in 1874. Of their eight children
five are yet living, Ernst, Anna, Louise, Dora
and Sophia. All reside with their parents. Mr.
Hansen and family are identified with the Sixth



Presbyterian Church of Chicago. He is inde-
pendent in spirit, and has not allied himself with
any political party since becoming an American
citizen.

The career of Mr. Hansen, who is a fine type
of the man who carves out his own path to for-
tune by industry, perseverance and integrity,
affords a striking illustration of the grand results
which a union of these characteristics may accom-
plish.



JACOB CHRISTENSEN.



(I ACOB CHRISTENSEN first opened his eyes
I March 20, 1853, in the duchy of Schleswig-
QD Holstein, then tributary to the Danish
crown, but since 1864 an integral part of the
German Empire. His father, Christen Christen-
sen, was a native of Jutland, Denmark, and was
a farmer, although in his youth he had served be-
fore the mast. He died at the age of fifty-two
years. Mr. Christensen's mother's maiden name
was Anne Iversen, who, like her husband, was a
native of Schleswig-Holstein, where she died at
the advanced age of eighty-two years. Jacob
was the youngest of their seven children, six of
whom lived to maturity. Of these only two have
crossed the ocean Mr. Christensen and his
brother Andrew, who resides at Lawrence, Kan-
sas.

In was in 1869 that the boy of sixteen years
landed in a strange country, whose language and
customs he was totally ignorant of. Less than a
year had elapsed since he had left school and the
intervening time he had devoted to work in a
blacksmith's shop, his original intention being
to learn that trade. His primary objective point
after reaching this country was Chicago. Here
for eighteen months he worked as a laborer, and



then for ten months as a railroad section hand
and a helper in the cotton fields in Arkansas.
Returning to Chicago he obtained employment as
a coachman from A. S. Downer, at the corner of
Vincennes Avenue and Forty-seventh Street. Af-
ter several years spent as a driver of carriages
and wagons he started a small stable of his own,
near the corner of Calumet Avenue and Thirty-
ninth Street. This he conducted for some three
years with fairly good success. In 1887, during
the mayoralty of John A. Roche, he accepted an
appointment on the city police force and has
since remained in the service, being at present
(1899) attached to the Fifth Precinct.

He was married June 25, 1775, to Miss Ellen
M. Larsen. Mrs. Christensen was born in Schles-
wig-Holstein, June 16, 1855, being the daughter
of Christen and Marie Larsen, both natives of
the peninsula of Jutland . Her father died in Den-
mark at the age of forty-nine years; her mother
passed away at Mr. Christensen's home in Chi-
cago, December 24, 1898. Like her husband,
Mrs. Christensen is the youngest child of her
parents, who raised a family of five children.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Christensen has
been blessed with five children, two of whom



PATRICK BRENNAN.



359



died in infancy. Those still living are: Anna C. ;
Dora M.; and Ella M., all of whom reside at
home.

Officer Christensen is one of the most esteemed
and popular men onthecity's police force. While
fearless and upright, he is both sagacious and dis-



creet. His official record is as free of stain as has
been his life as a private citizen of Chicago, which
has been his home for thirty years.

He is a member of the Danish society Walhalla,
of the Independent Order of Foresters and of the
Policemen's Benevolent Association.



PATRICK BRENNAN.



BRENNAN, a gentleman now
living in retirement at No. 502 Ashland
fS Boulevard, was born in County Carlow,
Ireland, June 29, 1825, and is the son of Edward
and Mary (Byrne) Brennan. Their family con-'
sisted often children, one of whom died in child-
hood, and nine grew to maturity, namely: John,
Ann, Michael, Charles, Patrick, Martin, Bridget,
Matthew J. and Thomas T.

In 1848 Charles came to America, and settled
in Chicago, where he now resides. The parents,
with four sons and two daughters, came to the
United States and settled in Chicago in 1849, and
Patrick and Martin followed them in 1851, land-
ing in New York May i , and coming directly to
Chicago. The father of the family died of chol-
era, August 3, 1850, and the mother died in
Chicago in May, 1886. At the present time only
four of the family are living, accounted for as
follows: Charles, of Bridgeport, corner of Main
and Lyman Streets; Bridget, widow of Peter
Clowry, Fourteenth Street; Matthew J., who
resides at No. 4018 Vincennes Avenue; and Pat-
rick, of this article.

In the parish and national schools Patrick
Brennan received what was considered, at that
time, a good education. After the conclusion of
his school life he was employed for a short time
as a clerk in a store, subsequent to which he was
apprenticed to a grocery and dry goods merchant
at Leighlin Bridge, and made himself so service-



able that he received for his services ten pounds
sterling, instead of paying a fee for instruction, as
was the custom of the times. Subsequently he
spent four years as a clerk in the same line of
business at Carlow and received a very high
recommendation from his employer, Mr. Robert
Lawlor, as well as from a parish priest, the
Bishop of the diocese, which are still among his
cherished treasures.

On coming to Chicago he soon found employ-
ment as clerk for Mr. Countess. Later he en-
gaged in other pursuits for a few years until he
accumulated a sufficient amount of money to
start a business of his own. In 1854 he engaged
in the grocery and provision trade for himself, in
which he continued thirty-four years without in-
terruption. By frugality and strict business
methods, and occasional speculation in real
estate, he acquired a competence. He retired
from business in 1888, and has since attended to
his property interests.

His interest in public affairs has been lively
and continuous. In April, 1868, he waselected,
on the Democratic ticket, to the Board of Super-
visors and was a member of that body when the
Normal school was established in Englewood, and
the insane asylum at Dunning.

Mr. Brennan has been three times married.
April 28, 1855, he became the husband of Brid-
get Nolan, who bore him seven' children, only
three of whom arrived at maturity: John J., of



360



L. R. TOLL.



Grand Rapids, Michigan; Anna Maria, who died
in a convent in St. Louis; and Mary E., who died
in a convent in Dubuque, Iowa. Bridget Bren-
nan died March 10, 1866.

September 16, 1866, Mr. Brennan married
Elizabeth Nolan, by whom he had five children,
namely: William F., Elizabeth C., James E.,
Lucy and Paul, the last named dying in infancy.
The mother of these children died July 17, 1877.
September 20, of the following year, Patrick
Brennan was united to Theresa Delanty. Of
this union one daughter Ellen A.- was born.
Mrs. Brennan passed away on the I7th of March,
1887.

Mr. Brennan and his family are staunch and
influential members of the Roman Catholic



Church, to the support of which they contribute
liberally. They feel a natural pride in their re-
ligion, which has been that of their ancestors for
generations, and which has more to do with the
maintenance of the manners, customs and habits
of his nation than any other factor in their life.
The members of this family have ever been ar-
dently devoted to the principles of liberty as well
as their religious faith. Edward, father of Pat-
rick Brennan, was a son of John Brennan, who,
with his brother-in-law, Paul Cullen, and Thomas
Hughs, was captured at the close of the Rebellion
of 1798 and, without trial, was shot and killed
by mercenary yeomen. Cullen was the uncle of
Cardinal Cullen, and grand-uncle of Cardinal
Moran, of Australia.



LOUIS R. TOLL.



I GUIS ROBERT TOLL, well and favorably
It known to the building trade of Chicago, is
1_2J of German birth and parentage. In per-
sistent energy and rugged honesty he may be
said to be representative of the best type of that
great Teutonic race which has made its power
and influence felt in every quarter of the habit-
able globe. He was born in Niederspier, Schwartz-
burgs, Undershausen, Germany, October 18,
1843. His father was named Charles and his
mother Wilhelmina. Ten children were born to
them, only one of whom is deceased. Mr. Toll
probably inherits, to some degree, his genius for
building from his father, who attained not a little
reputation as a carpenter and millwright, as well
as a careful and conscientious contractor. The
elder Toll died in Germany in 1852; his widow
survived him twenty-seven years, passing away
at Chicago in 1879. The surviving members of
the family, other than Louis R., are: Augusta,
the widow of Charles Meister; Amelia, whose hus-



band is also Charles Meister, and who resides in
Longwood; Oscar, of Crete, Illinois; Thilo, who
holds a government position in Germany; Hilde-
gardt, retired from business ,and living at No.
247 Cornelia Street; Otto, whose home is in
Sawyer, Michigan; Theodore, residing on Cly-
bourn Avenue; and Charles, living at No. 62
Pleasant Place.

Like most boys of his nationality, creed and
condition in life, Louis R. Toll attended the
parochial school of his native village until he had
reached the age of fourteen years. On leaving
school, he was apprenticed for a three-years'
term to the stone mason's trade, after which he
served for several months in the German Army.
In 1865 he came to America in company with his
mother and those members of the family who had
not already emigrated, with the exception of his
brother Thilo, who still remains in the Father-
land. His first employer in Chicago was his
brother-in-law, the late Charles Meister, with



JOHN COLBY.



whom he remained several years, during which
time he learned the trade of plasterer. By 1869
he had accumulated enough capital and formed a
sufficiently wide circle of acquaintances to fully
justify his bidding on contracts in his own name.
His success equalled his hope, and for several
years he was extensively engaged in building
operations, besides being for sixteen years inter-
ested in the manufacture of brick. He still takes
contracts, although putting forth no especial
effort to receive them.

Mr. Toll was for twenty-one years a member
of the Independent Order of Foresters, and was
at one time an active member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows. He was also connected



with the Harugari Turner and Singing Societies.
While not a member of any church, he is a
Christian in his life, regulating his conduct by
the principle inculcated in that wisest and most
far-reaching of all maxims, the Golden Rule
' ' Do unto others as you would that others should
do unto you." In both business and social rela-
tions he is just, generous, affable and true; loved
by his family and friends, and commanding the
respect even of those who do not call themselves
his friends.

October 24, 1868, he married Augusta Schultze,
a German maiden, and a daughter of Mr. Joachim
Schultze. Mr. and Mrs. Toll have one daughter,
Agnes, a teacher in the public schools.



JOHN COLBY.



(JOHN COLBY, one of Chicago's enterprising
I and successful business men, is a member of
G) the firm of Colby Brothers, proprietors of a
grocery and meat market at No. 1 200 Fifty-ninth
street, with a branch establishment at No. 6757
South Halsted Street. His partner is his brother,
Martin Colby. Both are young, energetic and
prosperous; both were born at Aalborg, Den-
mark; and both have climbed the ladder of suc-
cess by unwearied effort and patient toil. A
biographical sketch of Martin Colby may be
found on another page of this volume. John
Colby first opened his eyes on March 23, in the
year 1865.

His father, Christian Kjolbe, was a farmer and
a patriot, having served as a sergeant in the strug-
gle between his country and Germany in 1848-50.
He dj^d, deeply mourned, in his native land,
after reaching the age of about seventy-two
years. He was a man who enjoyed the heartfelt
respect of his fellow-citizens, which they mani-
fested by electing him to the important office of



alderman, a post which, in Denmark, is free
from the scandals which too frequently attach to
it in American cities. His wife was Maren Jen-
sen, whose father was also active in public affairs.
She was born in 1831, and is still living. Four
children were born to them: John; Martin; Paul,
a clerk for his brothers; and Maria, who married
Jens Hansen, of Aalborg, where she and her
husband are yet living.

John Colby left Denmark at the age of twenty-
four years and, on reaching this country, pro-
ceeded at once to Chicago. He had attended the
public schools until he was fifteen years old, had
worked as a farm hand four years, and had done
four years' service in the King's Life Guard, in
which body he rose from the ranks to hold the
position of sergeant.

It was in 1889 that he crossed the Atlantic,
and his first work was upon a farm in Boone
County, Illinois. After ten months of this em-
ployment he returned to Chicago, and for four
years was a coachman, being successively em-



362



L. D. HANN.



ployed by Albert B. Strong, J. A. Till and
Milton R. Wood. In 1894 he opened a grocery
and meat market at No. 1201 Fifty-ninth Street,
and two years later removed to his present loca-
tion, across the street. His brother, Martin, as
has been already said, is his partner. Their
trade grew steadily, and in 1897 they opened
their Halsted Street branch store.

In 1893, while the World's Fair was monopo-



lizing the thoughts of thousands, John Colby
quietly returned to Denmark to marry the maiden
to whom his troth had been pledged, Anna An-
dersen. Two children have been born to them,
Arthur and Eaton. Mr. Colby is a member of
the Danish Brotherhood, No. 35, and is well
known among the Danish-Americans of Chicago,
by whom he is held in high esteem for his ster-
ling qualities of mind and heart.



LUDWIG D. HANN.



I UDWIG DIEDRICH HANN, one of the
1C widest known and most successful farmers of
l_2f Cook County, was born in the village of
Landensburg, in the kingdom of Hanover, Ger-
many, April 23, 1823. His parents were Fred-
erick and Dorothea (Koenemann) Hann. The
former was a son of Frederick, who served in the
German army and afterward bought a farm of
forty acres which passed to the son. His wife
was Dorothea Sieling and their children were
named in order of birth: Henrietta, Frederick,
Henry Ernst and Louisa. All but the eldest son
remained in the Fatherland.

Frederick Hann, Junior, also served three
years in the German army and then took posses-
sion of the home farm. His wife, Dorothea, was
a daughter of Ernst and Susannah (Hillman)
Koenemann, who were neighboring farmers, and
had the following children: Sophie, Diedrich,
Henry, Dorothea, Elizabeth, Frederick and Min-
nie. Frederick and Dorothea Hann had two
children, the subject of this notice and a daugh-
ter, Minnie, born in 1824, who died in 1842.

The family immigrated to America in 1844, the
son having spent some time there previously.
The latter had looked over various sections in
the hope of finding suitable agricultural land.
Frederick Hann was favorably impressed with



the land in Leyden Township, and there settled
on section 31, remaining there until his death, in
1872, at the age of seventy-three years. His
wife followed in 1873, aged eighty-three years.
He was a very active, vigorous man, though he
weighed but one hundred and thirty pounds.
He was a very active member of the German
Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Ludwig D. Hann, whose name heads this
notice, possessed the energetic temperament com-
mon to the family, and when but eighteen years
of age, started out alone to see the wonders of
the New World. He left Germany in the ship
"Paulina," Captain Schilling in command, and
arrived in New York August 17, 1841, having
been forty-six days on the water. On the same
ship was Henry Boesenberg, mentioned elsewhere
in this volume. Mr. Hann proceeded to Chicago
and for a time worked for a distilling company.
In 1843 he went to Germany and returned the
following year with his parents. He was best
suited with the land in the Town of Leyden and
purchased at once one hundred and sixty acres in
section 31, at one dollar and twenty-five cents
per acre. Later he secured an adjoining quarter
in section 32. He subsequently sold part of his
holdings and now owns two hundred acres. The
original farm required a vast amount of work to



WILLIAM VOELKER.



363



bring it to a high state of productiveness, but it
was eventually improved and the remaining tract
is a most valuable piece of property. At first
there was no dwelling and a small farm house was
the first necessity. In 1873 Mr. Hann erected a
fine residence at an expense of seven thousand dol-
lars, but it was destroyed by fire four years later
and he rebuilt it at once. Besides carrying on
general farming he conducted a large milk route
in Chicago for several years. As a farmer he was
very successful and secured excellent financial
results. His honesty and integrity are well
known and he is held in great respect by all his
fellow-men. His trust in the honesty of his
business associates led to his oniy unfortunate
business venture. He entered a brewery business
with one Louis Rhodemeier and was swindled
out of forty thousand dollars. In the year 1 893
he retired from active farming and resides in the
village of Harlem, where he owns houses at Nos.
29, 31 and 33 Ferdinand Avenue. He has also
five lots and a house at the corner of Lake Street
and Twentieth Avenue, Melrose Park, and
twenty acres of woodland adjoining Division
Street, in River Forest.

August 24, 1845, Mr. Hann was married to
Wilhelmina Dorothea Kothe, daughter of Died-
rich and Elizabeth (Dierks) Kothe, who was
born April 22, 1830, in Seppenhausen, kingdom
of Hanover, Germany. She came to America
the year of her marriage. Their children were



as follows: Sophia Wilhelmina Louisa, born Au-
gust i, 1848, died September 26, 1893. She was
the wife of Herman Knauer, the piano manu-
facturer of Chicago, who died November 24, 1897.

August Henry Diedrich Frederick, born De-
cember 24, 1849, is mentioned elsewhere in this
volume. Matilda, born March 8, 1852, married
Charles H. Boesenberg, of whom there is a biog-
raphy in this volume. Emily Minnie Dorothea
Jane Marie, born December 9, 1853, and died
March 4, 1864. Ernst Ludwig Christian, bap-
tized May 13, 1855, died April 3, 1864. Theodore
Edward Adam Werner, born August 15, 1860,
died April 6, 1862. Rosa Johannah Wilhelmina,
born January 8, 1857, married John Gadeh, of
whom a sketch will be found on another page.
Ludwig was born October 27, 1858. Johann
Henry William, born July 7, 1862, died at the
age of one year. Lena Elizabeth Wilhelmina
Louisa, born August 25, 1864, died April 6, 1865.
Frederick Henry John Philip is mentioned else-
where in this book. Clara Dorothea Carolina,
born November 15, 1867, was baptized April 13,
1868. She married Preston Lewis and died May
2, 1895. Edmund Henry Charles is the subject
of a notice in this volume, as is also the youngest
son, Herman Henry Diedrich.

Mr. and Mrs. Hann are spending their declin-
ing years in comfort well earned by a long period
of activity. They are a genial, hospitable couple
and have a host of loving friends.



WILLIAM VOELKER.



p GJlLLIAM VOELKER is one of the oldest
\Al u phl s t erers i n Chicago, of which city he
V V has been a resident forty-six years. In-
deed it is doubtful whether any workman in the
trade has worked thereat for so many years, con-
secutively, as he. He was born March 10, 1840,



in Rockwitz, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany,
his parents being Ernst and Hannah Voelker,
who emigrated from Germany to America with
four children in 1853. Nine weeks were con-
sumed in the passage from Hamburg to New
York, from which point the father, mother,



364



SMITH PETBRSEN.



daughter and three sons at once set forth for
Chicago, where they arrived in the month of
November.

The* elder Voelker was a laborer and died of
cholera during the epidemic of 1854. Some
years later his widow also died, and their daugh-
ter, Carrie, has also passed away. The three
sons, Ernst, William and Christoph, are the sole
survivors of the little family . Ernst resides at
No. 4107 South Artesian Avenue, and a brief
biographical sketch of Christoph may be found
on another page. All are substantial, upright,
public-spirited citizens and men held in high
repute.

Mr. Voelker received his education at the par-
ish school of his native village, and attended pub-
lic school at Chicago during one winter. These
were but meager advantages, yet through mak-
ing the best possible use of the opportunities af-
forded him, he was able to lay a good foundation



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 55 of 111)