Saturday, July 14, 2012

Surname Saturday: DIENES, through Documents

Lately I've been trying to track where my paternal great-great-grandparents, Frederick (1828-1896) and Regina Matheis (1837-1916), lived in Springfield and Chicago, Illinois.  Through a variety of documents, particularly city directories, I've been able to find one or the other or both for many years between 1860 and 1900.

As discussed in an earlier post, Regina was on the 1860 U.S. Census (taken in July), working as a cook at the Springfield home of the widow of Illinois Governor William Henry Bissell, who died in office in March.  We'd been wondering if she worked for the family while they were in the Governor's Mansion.  Sure enough - I found this in an 1860 Springfield city directory:
Despite the misspellings, I know this is my Regina, as explained in the referenced post.

Fred shows up in the 1863 (below) and 1864 Springfield directories:

 By the 1866 Springfield directory (and 1868 and 1869), Fred is no longer working for J. H. Adams and is out on his own:

On page 83 in the 1871 History of Springfield, Illinois, its attractions as a home and advantage for business, manufacturing, etc. Published under the auspices of the Springfield Board of Trade, as well as Wiggins' City Directory of Springfield, Illinois 1872-73, Fred's a direct competitor with his former boss (at right):

However, on March 25, 1874, the following appeared in the Illinois State Journal, published in Springfield:

 Apparently the bankruptcy did not last long.  According to the Illinois legislative manual for 30th General Assembly : 1877 and 1878, page 30:

Nevertheless, the family has moved to Chicago by 1880.  Interestingly, 1882 (pictured), 1885, and 1891 city directories imply that the hat store is in Regina's name (Sedgwick is just a couple blocks away):
Fred registers to vote in 1888 - his registration reiterates that he's been in Illinois since 1854, and that he moved to Chicago in 1878.  It also shows that he was naturalized in Springfield in 1856:

 Tragedy strikes the family in its early Chicago years.  Son Joseph is stillborn in May 1880, daughter Amelia dies in October 1885 at age 18, and son Henry dies in April 1891 at age 19, of typhoid dysentery:
By 1896, when Fred Sr. dies, the family has moved away from Division Street to nearby 476 N. Wells, and apparently no longer operates a hat store (Regina is mistakenly misspelled Virginia):

Regina is at this 476 N. Wells address through at least 1901.  By 1910, she's moved out of the neighborhood, and is living at 1425 Otto Street (today's Henderson Street).  At her death in 1916, she is living with daughter and son-in-law Frederick Henry and Elizabeth Camilla Dienes Massmann (my great-grandparents) at 1927 Morse.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

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