The Heidenreich Mausoleum

Heidenreich Mausoleum

Julius E. Heidenreich
17 May 1840 – 30 June 1927

Anna Margaretha Geisler Heidenreich
1839 – 7 December 1896

Johann Carl Heidenreich
1810 – 12 June 1889

Maria Elizabeth Heidenreich
dates unknown

Ida Margaretha Heidenreich
15 September 1868 – 28 October 1964 (possibly)

Though I found a record that seems to indicate that Julius and his older brother Carl immigrated together (at ages 17 and 19 respectively) in 1857, Julius’s subsequent passport records all indicate he arrived early in 1856 after leaving Germany in December of 1855. I can’t find that in the records. I can’t find when his parents or even just his father immigrated. Initially, I thought that took place very late in the older man’s life, but I did find one record that makes it seem he and his wife may have preceded their sons to the US by a few months — but there are no census records to track where they lived if so. Usually I don’t dig so deeply into that end of the story, but let me blame an incredibly badly put together family ancestry record for my many false starts, wrong theories, and deep confusion about this family and the four people who are most likely interred on this spot.

Sloppy amateur genealogists are right up there with sloppy census takers in my black books.

What is clear is that by 1860, Julius was living in Illinois and the moment the Civil War kicked off, he signed up (war was officially declared on July 25th and especially considering news travelling at the time, he enlisted on August 1st, so), joining the Union Army and mustering with the 59th Infantry, Company K, on September 6th.

His regiment was sent out to Arkansas and saw hard fighting, and he was gravely injured at Pea Ridge and left for dead more than once, miraculously surviving and living to tell the tale.

Though he was in the US before 1860, he doesn’t turn up in the census until 1880 and by then he has married Anna Margaretha Geissler, and they have three daughters. His brother Carl passed away suddenly at the age of 39 in 1878, leaving wife Bertha and two children of his own behind. Julius and Bertha wife are both named on the probate documents, so it’s likely Julius helped out with his sister-in-law, niece and nephew after their loss.

Though the record states Julius’s mother Maria Elizabeth’s death year as 1883, in 1880, his father is living with him and his wife and children alone, his status listed as widower. I am guessing the dates on Maria’s record are from the Bad Genealogist. The inscriptions on the family monument are really difficult to decipher, but I plan to make another attempt to see if Maria’s dates are on there and if I can make them out.

Aside from the faded inscription on the monument, and for all its grandeur, this gravesite is fairly confusing. I’ve passed it for literally years and not gone to look up close until recently because it aesthetically just doesn’t hang together nor is it very attractive. The monument faces in towards the crypt which seems to have been added later kind of around it. This may have been simply due to the available real estate on the lot, but it looks janky.

I believe the monument belongs to Johann Karl and Maria Elizabeth. I think that when Julius’s wife Anna Margaretha died, the crypt was established as it does seem to be an afterthought. Her name and details are inscribed on the top of the first section. Above that stretches an inscription marking the crypt as belonging to the family of Julius Heidenreich and below that is the crest of his regiment. He was very active in veterans activities for his branch of the Grand Army of the Republic and was the color-bearer for the U.S. Grant post for more than 40 years.

In civilian life, Julius was a blacksmith, and in spite of his terrible war injuries (he was shot several times and carried bullet fragments in his right arm and shoulder through his life), he recovered and worked hard for many more years. He listed his occupation rather humbly as blacksmith and continued to list himself that way on the census even though according to his obituary, he founded a wagon and buggy manufacturing company after the war in 1866 and became quite wealthy from its success.

He and Anna Margaretha had three daughters. His eldest, Beata, sadly predeceased him, dying in 1922 and leaving a husband and two children of her own; his youngest daughter Lillie married, had two children, and after their children were grown, she and her husband lived with Julius and Ida in various combinations on Hermosa Avenue in the Morgan Park neighborhood. Confusingly, the couple are listed there alone in 1930, but in 1940, they are living there with Ida as the head of the household. Whether Ida was off on her own adventures after perhaps being her father’s caretaker for many many years is left to our imagination (I LIKE TO THINK SO) as I can’t even pin down an exact death date for Ida though it would seem she may have outlived her whole family.

That address, however, is now part of a high school’s property.

If I had to guess why there are three sections to the crypt, I believe the third person might be Ida. She was still alive in 1943 and applying for Social Security. I believe I found a death record for her in 1964 but there was no cemetery listed for it and I couldn’t find an obituary. The Bad Genealogist has her death year as 1956 but that is a different Ida-H-by-marriage.

If the 1964 date is her, she far outlived Lillie who died in 1947 and was buried at Mt. Hope (while her husband is at Forest Home). I suspect Lillie went to live with one of her children after her husband’s death and was buried near them. This is one of those mysteries that would require me to trace Beata and Lillie’s children down and I think that’s overkill. If the children moved away or weren’t close to their Aunt Ida, she may have been mostly on her own in her later years. Her death may have gone unnoted beyond a small circle of friends or a church society. But I think she’s there with her parents now.

RIP Heidenreichs and thank you, Julius, for your service

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