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Album of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) online

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birth , he is at once the second child and the sec-
ond son. Of the eight living children born to
his parents four have found homes in America
Anders J.; Emil, who conducts a bakery at the
corner of Lake Street and Forty-eighth Avenue,
Chicago; Otto, employed by his brother, Emil;
and Eunice, the wife of Charles Johnson, a
painter, of Harlem, Illinois.

Mr. Larsen learned his trade in his native
country, serving an apprenticeship of four years,
after leaving school. No sooner had he qualified
himself as a journeyman, however, than he made
up his mind to look for a wider field and better
wages than were afforded by the little kingdom
of Denmark, dearly as he loved the country in
which he had been born and bred, and tender as
were the associations clustering around his home.

His first home in what was to him then a
strange land, was at Racine, Wisconsin, where
he worked as a journeyman seven years, and for
three years conducted business for himself. In



1889 (as has been already said), he removed to
Chicago, where he felt confident that energy and
industry would find a broader field and reap a
richer reward. He chose for a location the
premises, No. 502 Thirty-seventh Street, and
there he has remained until the present day. He
early learned that serving ' ' good goods at honest
prices" was the only road to success, and this
maxim has been his watchword; it is to the strict
observance of this rule that his success is attrib-
utable.

While he was living at Racine he was married
(1887) to Miss Dorothea Petersen, a lady who
was born in Denmark but brought to this country
by her parents when a child of only two months.
Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs.
Larsen Richard, Ernest, Esther and Eva. The
two older were born at Racine; the younger
claim Chicago as their birthplace.

Mr. Larsen stands high in the counsels of the
Walhalla Society, in which organization he has
held several offices, and is a valued member of
the singing society known as the ' ' Hamdahl. ' '



RASMUS SORENSEN.



RASMUS SORENSEN was born in Odder,
Jutland, Denmark, January 23, 1848. His
father, Soren Ottosen.was a farmer, and died
at the age of seventy-six years. His mother's
maiden name was Maren Nielsen, and she is yet
living. To this couple were born four sons and
three daughters, and the family circle remains,
as yet, unbroken, save by the father's death.

Rasmus was the third son, and next to the
youngest child. At the age of fourteen years he
left school, to commence work as a boy in the
office of the Danish Collector of revenue and
taxes, remaining in the employ of that official
from 1864 to 1868, in which year he was given



a clerkship in the office of the General Director
of the Government Railway. Here he was
attached to the corresponding bureau. In 1871
he was made telegraph operator and ticket agent,
and in 1876, promoted to the superintendency.
In 1883 he resigned his office to come to America.
He first visited Chicago, and from there went
to Racine, Wisconsin, where he secured a po-
sition as shipping clerk for the Racine Hard-
ware Company, being assigned to duty in the
opera seats department. He remained with this
concern until January 10, 1893.

While yet a student in his native land, Mr.
Sorensen attracted attention by the superior



W. M. MILLER.



475



character of his handwriting. On one occasion
he was sent for to write out some railroad con-
tracts for the King, who complimented his work
and sent him a sum of money out of his private
purse, in addition to his regular compensation.
This work led to his connection with the Govern-
ment Railway, as before related.

Mr. Sorensen is possessed of a rare musical
talent and a fine musical education, and while
living at Racine he was an active member of a
Danish singing society, out of which grew the
Hamlet Singing Society, which was formed Octo-
ber i, 1889. Mr. Sorensen was one of the main
promoters and organizers. One of the most
pleasant memories of his sojourn in the pretty
little Wisconsin city is taking part in a three-
nights' musical festival in July, 1887, at Battery
D, in Chicago, in which a chorus of sixteen hun-
dred voices was heard. Many oratorios were
rendered, at various times, and with such success
that they were frequently repeated, by request,
as often as three times. In 1890 the society gave
concerts in Minneapolis on three successive nights,
the chorus again numbering sixteen hundred. In



1893 it sang at Festival Hall at the World's Fair,
with decided success. Mr. Sorensen was also an
active member of the Society Dania and still re-
tains his membership in the organization.

In 1893 he removed to Chicago, where he was
prominent in the founding of the Hejmdal Socie-
ty of that city, and was for several years its treas-
urer. His first employment here was as driver
of a bakery wagon. Later he became the mana-
ger of the Danish paper, "Chicago Posten,"
discharging the duties of the position with great
success. July i, 1894, he opened a store for the
sale of confectionery, cigars, tobacco, fancy goods
and toys, at No. 4648 Wentworth Avenue, which
he still conducts. In 1898 he was made cashier
of the Danish People's Association "Fremad,"
and still holds that post.

Mr. Sorensen is essentially a self-made man.
He has never owned a dollar which he has not
earned through the labor of either his brain or
his hands. He is intelligent, forceful and genial,
and these qualities, together with his sterling
honesty, have won him the unstinted esteem of
his many friends.



WILLIAM M. MILLER.



MOORE MILLER was born in
Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland,
April 12, 1832, and is a son of David and
Ann (Forbis) Miller. After the death of the fa-
ther, in 1804, the mother, with eleven children,
came to the United States, crossing the ocean
from Londonderry, on the old sailing bark "Lon-
donderry." The voyage consumed six weeks'
time. The family resided two years at Oswego,
New York, and following that two years at
Cleveland, Ohio, and then came to Chicago. The
mother died here in 1 860. Of the eleven chil-



dren, nine sons and two daughters, only five are
now living, namely: James, William M., Thomas
E., Brice A. and Nancy, widow of William Liton.
All reside in Chicago. Andrew, the eldest of the
family, was a partner of Edward M. Doolittle,
ship builder. They built the first floating docks
in the city. After Mr. Doolittle's retirement, the
subject of this sketch being a stockholder, the
business was incorporated under the title of Mil-
ler Brothers, which it still remains.

William M. Miller received his primary educa-
tion in Ireland, and after his arrival in the United



F. W. VASSMER.



States he attended school in Oswego and Cleve-
land. After leaving school he learned the trade
of ship carpenter, at which he worked until 1893,
when he retired from active life. Previous to the
Civil War he went South and lived at Mobile,
spending fifteen years in the South. During the
Civil War he was captain of the fire company in
Mobile, which rendered him exempt from mili-
tary service. He returned to Chicago in 1866,
and was foreman of the ship yard and dry docks
of Miller Brothers twenty-six years. He has
voted with the Republican party since it was
organized.

Subsequent to his return from the South in
1866 he bought property on the West Side, at
No. 270 West Huron Street and built the first
house in the block at a time when it was sur-
rounded by prairie.

He is a charter member of Covenant Lodge,
No. 526, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons,, of
Corinthian Chapter, No. 69, Royal Arch Masons,
and St. Bernard Commandery, No, 35, Knights
Templar, in all of which he is a life member. For



many years he was a member of Union Lodge,
No. 9, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In 1853 he married Miss Avis E. Enholm, a
native of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and a
daughter of Capt. Samuel Enholm, a native of
the same city. They are the parents of eight
children, six of whom are living, as follows:
Ann, wife of Alexander S. Gairns; Louise B.,
now Mrs. T. W. Watson; Fanny S.; Avis; Will
iam G. , of Trenton, Missouri; and May.

This family holds membership in Bethany
Congregational Church. Mrs. Miller died Jan-
uary 6, 1887, and her remains rest in the cemetery
of Rosehill. She was a lady possessed of many
virtues, a true, clean spirit, and mourned by a
large circle of friends, as well as relatives.

The lessons on fraternity, the Fatherhood of
God and the brotherhood of man, which Mr.
Miller has learned in the religious and fraternal
organizations of which he is a member, have
borne fruit, as is evident from his practical works.
The record of his life shows that industry and
economy are not without their reward.



FREDERICK W. VASSMER.



|~~REDERICK WILLIAM VASSMER was
r) born April 23, 1868, at Gehlau, Apenrade,
| in Schleswig-Holstein, now a part of Ger-
many, but formerly belonging to Denmark. His
father (also named Frederick William) was a car-
penter and contractor, and a native of the same
province. The elder Vassmer, however, was
born while Schleswig-Holstein was still a Danish
possession, and was a soldier in the Danish army
in the war of 1864. He died in Gehlau in 1889,
aged fifty-nine years. Mr. Vassmer' s mother was
eight years her husband's junior. She also was
born in the same place, but died (likewise at the
age of fifty -nine) at Chicago, in 1897. To this



couple were born nine children, eight of whom
are yet living. F. William Vassmer was the
sixth in order of birth.

The first twenty years of his life were passed
in and around his birthplace, in attending school
and working in various ways, and in 1888 he
came to Chicago. His first employment here was
on a farm in Michigan, for which his experience
at home had in a measure fitted him. After
eight months of this life he returned to this city,
to enter the service of the Domestic Sewing Ma-
chine Company, becoming in time a salesman.
Leaving that concern he became an employe of
Siegel, Cooper & Company, with which firm he



JOHN CHRISTENSEN.



477



remained three years, going from there to A. M.
Rothschild & Company, where he remained the
same length of time. His next venture was
to purchase the business of J. C. Hansen, dealer
in wines and liquors, at No. 3700 State Street,
which he has since conducted.

June 21, 1895, he was married to Miss Marie
De Lory, a native of Schleswig-Holstein, like
himself, who accompanied her parents to this



country when but two years old. They have two
children, a boy named for his father, and a girl,
Olivia.

Mr. Vassmer has been for five years secretary
of a Danish benevolent society known as Wal-
halla, and is treasurer of the Walhalla Hall As-
sociation. He is also a member of the Danish
Brotherhood. In politics he is independent of
partisan affiliation.



JOHN CHRISTENSEN.



(IOHN CHRISTENSEN. This well-known
I Danish gentleman, whom his countrymen
(2) esteem and delight to honor, was born May
16, 1860, in Schleswig-Holstein, while that
province was still an integral part of the kingdom
of Denmark. His father, now dead, was a man
of note in the community in which he lived. His
name was Johann Christeusen, and he was a na-
tive of Jutland. He was a maker of willow
ware, but also conducted a store for the sale
of general merchandise. He was, moreover, an
old soldier, having served in the war of 1849-51,
and in the struggle between Denmark and Ger-
many. Mr. Christensen's mother, whose name
was Bodil Skow, is still living in Denmark, at
the age of seventy-six years. Of the three sons
and one daughter born to this couple all are liv-
ing, but only the daughter, Bothildo, remains
with her mother in the land which gave them all
birth. The boys sought their fortunes in the new
world. Perhaps, after all, there may be some
truth in the old Scotch couplet "A son's a son
till he gets a wife, but a daughter's a daughter
a' the days o' her life."

Both of Mr. Christensen's brothers live in Chi-
cago. He himself, at the age of seven, went to
live with an uncle, with whom he remained until
he was twenty years old, attending school until



he was fifteen, his educational development al-
ternating with work on the farm. For five years
after quitting school he continued at farm work,
and then determined to emigrate. Others of his
countrymen had succeeded in America, why
should not he ?

It was in 1881 that he reached Chicago. His
first employment was about buildings in the
course of erection. Two summers he labored as
a farm hand in Minnesota, and, returning to Chi-
cago, turned his hand to the first honest toil that
presented itself. At the age of twenty -four years
he began brick-laying, and his natural aptitude
aided him. He worked as a journeyman and
foreman until 1893, when he began taking con-
tracts in his own name. This line of business he
has since continuously followed, his integrity,
skill and executive capacity having insured him
success. Among other buildings which he has
erected may be mentioned his own one and one-
half story and basement residence, with pressed
brick front, at No. 845 East Sixty-ninth Street.

In 1890 he married Jensinia M. Jensen, by
whom he is the father of three daughters, Laura
B., Clara M. and Alice C. Mrs. Christensen
was born in Jutland, but came to America in
1887, going first to Detroit and settling at Chi-
cago in 1889.



478



J. C. HANSEN.



Mr. Christensen takes a deep interest in all that
makes for the welfare of the Danish colony in
Chicago, and is held in proportionately high re-
spect. For the past eight years he has been
treasurer of the Walhalla Society, of which he is
a charter member, having previously held the
post of secretary, besides holding minor offices
in'the order. With the exception of one term he
has been a director in the Walhalla Hall Associa-



tion ever since its organization. He is also a
member and was once president of the South
Side Central Committee of the Danish Societies
of Chicago. He is also a member of the Masons
and Builders' Association.

In the winter of 1887-88 Mr. Christensen paid
a visit of some four months to his native land, to
see once more his aged mother, his sister and the
friends and scenes of his youth.



JES C. HANSEN.



(TES CHRISTIAN HANSEN has been a
I resident of Chicago' since the year of the
G/ great fire, when he immigrated to this coun-
try from Schleswig, where he was born July 2,
1848. At that time Schleswig formed a part
of the kingdom of Denmark, and Mr. Hansen
rightly considers himself by birth a Dane, al-
though proud of his American citizenship and his
identification with Chicago.

His father, Hans N. Hansen, also a native of
Schleswig, died at the age of fifty-nine years,
leaving three sons and a daughter. Of these Jes
Christian Hansen is the youngest son. His
brothers, Hans and Christ, both reside in the old
country, as does also his sister, Cecilie C. , who
is the wife of Jens Jensen.

After leaving school, at the age of sixteen
years, he followed the life of a farmer until, in
1871, he set sail for a land of which he then knew
but little, but where he was destined to attain
success. The ashes of the conflagration of Oc-
tober had been covered by the frosts of December
when he reached Chicago and began his life here
as a laborer. Bricklayers were in request then,
and with his natural aptitude he soon acquired
skill at the craft, working at it until 1881. In
that year, having accumulated sufficient capital
to embark in business for himself, he began as a



dealer in wines and liquors at the corner of
Armour Avenue and Thirty -seventh Street, where
he carried on a prosperous trade two years. He
then removed to the corner of State and Thirty-
seventh Streets, and there remained five and one-
half years, going from there to No. 226 Clark
Street. Six years later he removed to No. 249,
in the same thoroughfare, and after two years at
that point to the corner of Thirty-seventh and
Sta.te Streets (his old stand) , where he stayed
until May 27, 1899. O n that date he removed to
his present handsome quarters, at the corner of
Irving Park Boulevard and Sixty- fourth Ave-
nue. Here, in addition to his saloon business,
he furnished both warm and cold meals to the
visitors to the county institutions at Dunning.

Besides being a member of Court Logan, No. 117,
Independent Order of Foresters and Atlas Lodge,
No. 26, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Mr.
Hansen is a director and officer of Walhalla, a
Danish benevolent order, a prominent member of
the Danish Brotherhood and a member of the
Heimdahl singing society. In national politics he
is a Republican, but in local issues non-partisan.

He was married May 3, 1873, to Miss Annie
M. Jefsen, by whom he has a daughter, Ida K.,
who lives at home, and a son, Charles, a grad-
uate of the Northwestern School of Pharmacy.




COL. E. D. SWAIN



E. D. SWAIN.



479






EDGAR DENMAN SWAIN, D. D. S.



P" DGAR DENMAN SWAIN, D. D. S., is en-
ry gaged in the practice of dentistry at the
^_ corner of Randolph and State Streets, Chi-
cago, and is prominent in both professional and
military circles. He was born in Westford, Vt.,
in August, 1836, and is a son of Dr. Marcus and
Charlotte (Woodbury) Swain. On the paternal
side he is of Scotch lineage, and on the maternal
side is of English descent. The father became a
resident of Oshkosh, Wis., in 1857, and during
the war he was appointed Surgeon of the Wis-
consin Penitentiary at Waupun. About 1878, he
removed to Englewood, 111. , and thence to Glen-
coe, where his death occurred at the age of sev-
enty-nine. His wife died in Waupun, Wis. In
their family were four sons and two daughters:
Edgar D. of this sketch; Dr. Oliver D., a resi-
dent of Chicago; Marcus W., who was killed in
a railroad accident in 1862; George A., who died
of typhoid fever in the army in the summer of
1863; and Alice M. and Charlotte, both living.

The gentleman whose name heads this sketch
remained under the parental roof until seventeen
years of age, and then left home, going to Wor-
cester, Mass., where he worked in a machine-
shop. He afterward removed to Saratoga Springs,
N. Y., where, in 1855, he began the study of den-
tistry. Two years later he became a resident of
Wisconsin and began practice in Oshkosh. Sub-
sequently he was engaged in the prosecution of
his profession in Aurora, 111. , and in Batavia, 111.
Mr. Swain watched with interest the progress
of events which preceded the Civil War, and after
the South had attacked Ft. Sumter, he resolved
to strike a blow in defense of the Union. He
raised a company, and on the 22d of July, 1861,



became Captain of Company I, Forty-second Illi-
nois Infantry. He was afterward promoted to the
rank of lieutenant-Colonel, in October, 1863, and
in 1865 was placed in command of the Second
Brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps.
He served until the close of the war, and took
part in many important engagements, including
the Fremont campaign in Missouri. His was the
first regiment to enter Columbus, Ky. , and with
his company he took part in the siege of Island
No. 10, being largely instrumental in its capture.
Under the command of Gen. Polk, he then went
to Hamburg, Tenn. , and aided in the capture of
Corinth. The following summer he was employed
in guarding railroads, and in the fall was ordered
to report to Gen. Buell, of Nashville, remaining
with the command of Gen. Negley in possession of
that city during Bragg and Buell' s Kentucky
campaign. After the cessation of hostilities his
regiment was ordered to Texas for duty. Dr.
Swain was finally mustered out in Springfield, 111. ,
on the 1 2th of January, 1866. He was wounded
in the left knee at New Hope Church, Ga. , and for
three months his injury would not permit him to
engage in active service, but he saw nearly all of
the important campaigns of the war west of the
Alleghany Mountains, and was in twenty-seven
engagements.

Dr. Swain's connection with military affairs
has since continued, and in army circles he is a
leader. In 1877, he became Major of the First
Regiment Illinois National Guards, and took part
in suppressing the railroad riots of that year. In
August he was made Lieutenant-Colonel, and in
December, 1877, was promoted to the rank of
Colonel, in which capacity he served for four years,



480



WILLIAM HAHNE.



when he resigned. He has long been a promi-
nent member of the Grand Army of the Re-
public, served for three years as Commander of
George H. Thomas Post, and for two years was
Commander of the Department of Illinois. He
has also served as Senior Vice-Commander in
Chief of the National Encampment, and is a mem-
ber of the military order of the Loyal Legion of
the United States.

After the war, Dr. Swain began the practice of
dentistry in Chicago, and for a time was associated
with Dr. Gushing, and afterward with Dr. Noble.
Since 1870 he has been alone in practice, and
now finds little time for other pursuits. He is an
accomplished microscopist and has given much
time to the investigation of histology. He was



President of the Chicago Dental Society in 1874,
and of the Illinois State Dental Society in 1875.
He was also Secretary of the latter for two terms,
and was Secretary of the Chicago Octontological
Society. At present he is Dean of the dental
department in the Northwestern University. The
degree of D. D. S. was conferred upon him by the
Ohio Dental College in March, 1883.

Dr. Swain was married in 1869 to Miss Clara
Smith, who was born in Kane County, 111., and
is a daughter of Benjamin Smith, one of the pio-
neers of Chicago. The Doctor is a close observer
and careful student, thorough and industrious in
all undertakings, and has steadily risen in his
profession until he is numbered among the lead-
ing dentists of the city.



WILLIAM HAHNE.



HAHNE, a well-known citizen
and dealer in agricultural implements in
Mattison, Cook County, was born in Han-
over, Germany, February 2, 1834, and is one of
six children, namely: Emma, Henry, Mary,
Frederick Diedrich, William and Louis. Their
parents, Diedrich and Marie (Biermann) Hahne,
were also natives of Germany. The father died
when our subject was about seven years of age,
leaving quite an estate to the eldest son, Henry,
who was to care for and educate the other mem-
bers of the family. With his younger brothers
and sisters, therefore, he left his native land and
set sail for the New World, landing in Chicago
on the 2d of October, 1850.

William Hahne acquired his education in the
public schools of Germany. At the age of six-
teen he was apprenticed for three years to Will-
iam Wayman, a wagon and carriage maker of
Chicago. After learning his trade, he worked
for John Borman and Mr. Whitbeck, both of



Chicago. In 1858 he embarked in business for
himself in Elk Grove, Cook County, where he
carried on operations as a wagon and carriage-
maker until 1862. In that year he came to Mat-
tison and continued in the same business, to which
in a short time he added a complete line of agri-
cultural implements and farm machinery. About
the year 1882, on account of failing health, he
abandoned wagon and carriage making, but still
carries on the other lines, and is now enjoying a
prosperous trade, which is the sure reward of un-
tiring energy and straightforward business prin-
ciples.

Mr. Hahne was married in the summer of 1858
to Sophia L- Shumacher, daughter of John Shu-
macher, a native of Germany. She was born in
the same country in 1836. Their children are:
John Frederick Henry, who was born in Elk
Grove, Cook County, 111., June u.-iSsg, and died
January 23, 1865; Dora Maria Berthe, who was
born in Elk Grove, Cook County, 111. , Septem-



NORMAN REXFORD.



481



her 21, 1860, and is now the wife of William H.
Depke, a grocer of Danville, 111. ; Henrietta D.
Marie Emma, born in Elk Grove April 18, 1862,
the wife of Fred Utermark, proprietor of the Mat-
tison House, of Mattison, Cook County, 111.;
Marie Caroline, who was born in Mattison, and
is the wife of Henry Tueachman, a cigar manu-
facturer of Chicago Heights; Willemine Dorethea
Mathilda, who was born in Mattison, March n,
1866, and is the wife of Frank Kort, a baker of
Dalton, 111.; Diedrich William F., who was born
in Mattison, November 12, 1867, and is a grocer
of Danville, 111. ; Henry Carl George, who was
born January 18, 1870, and died October 12,
1880; H. Gus Louis, who was born January 23,
1873, and died December 18, 1874; Caroline
Marie Sophia, born in Mattison, February 3,



Online LibraryJohn MorleyAlbum of genealogy and biography, Cook County, Illinois : with portraits (Volume 1900) → online text (page 73 of 111)