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Jacob Hommerding

Counties of Northern Illinois
Hommerdings who settled in this area noted in red

Chicago, Cook County

Most of the Hommerding immigrants chose rural areas except for Jacob Hommerding (1828-1878) , the first arrival in 1853. He appears to have gone first to Chicago. Family records say he was a tailor, employed by Cyrus McCormick to make"drapes"( revolving canvas belts) for reaper machines. During the Civil War he made cloaks for Union generals. However, by the 1870 census he is listed as a "farm laborer" in New Buffalo, Michigan. There is no record of where Jacob lived in Chicago. In the 1880 census, his widow, Maria Anna (Butzen) Hommerding and their children were living a few blocks south of St. Michael's Catholic Church and west of Lincoln Park in the Old Town area. This church was founded in 1852 to minister to German Catholic immigrants, and it would be likely that Jacob lived in this area. See Google interactive map showing location of St. Michael's Church as "A."

St. Michael's Church in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago.

The church was one of 6 buildings to 'survive' the path of the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871) albeit heavily damaged. Portions of the building survived -- the stone walls of St. Michael's being the only structures standing in the Old Town area. The church was quickly rebuilt.

It is said in Chicago that if you can hear the bells of St. Michael's, you are in Old Town.


The home of Jacob's youngest daughter, Anna Hommerding Urbain. (b. 1873) At 1080 Sheffield Street in Chicago, probably in Old Town, and date of photo would be ca. 1903.

The children are: (l-r) Jules, George and Clara Urbain. 


The Chicago "Beer Riots"

Chicago German-Americans enjoying a day at the "Hofkeller"
--From " Chicagoland" publ. by the German American Nat. Congress, Chicago, IL

"Chicago's first brewery, the Chicago Brewery, was established in 1839 by German Americans William Haas and William Lill. By 1857 it was the largest brewery in operation west of Cincinnati.

The year 1855 was the year of the "German Beer Riots." These started when Mayor Levi Boone ordered the closing of all saloons and beer gardens on Sundays. To German workers, whose Sundays traditionally were days on which to relax and enjoy a stein of beer, this was outrageous. Saloon keepers ignored the edict, and 200 were arrested. Angry Germans marched downtown to protest. Before peace was restored, one person died, several were hurt, and scores arrested."
--from "Chicagoland"

More information about Jacob Hommerding and his descendants:

A Family Tree Maker Genealogy Report (pdf. file) for Jacob and all his descendants can be viewed and printed out if desired.

If you would like more information on Jacob Hommerding and his descendants, please contact R. Atwell at:

A narrative history of Jacob and the efforts to learn more about him can be viewed/and printed as a PDF. file


To print this chapter, open the PDF file and click on printer icon in upper left corner.

Next--Mathias No. 1, Michael and William -Settling In Will and Cook Counties, Illinois

BH Home | Family History |1-Background |2-Homeland | 3-GermanVillages | 4-To Amerika
5-USA Settlement | 6-Chicago |7-Illinois| 8-Minnesota| 9-Wisconsin| 
10-Brazil|  11-Appendix


Unless otherwise noted, text and photos are the property of Barbara Halliday, 2013