Thursday, October 24, 2013

European Adventure- Part 1

At my house just before leaving
As I mentioned in my last post, I had made a trip to the Netherlands and Germany. I traveled with a friend with whom I had taught at East High in Waterloo. Steve Moravec was also in the history department there and is an experienced traveler to Europe. He is working on his family’s genealogy and had always been after me to make the journey and visit some of my ancestral “homes”. He finally convinced me to go when he offered to be a “travel guide”. That sold me on the idea!

We left from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on September 3 and arrived in Amsterdam about 9 hours later.
Bikes, bikes, bikes and more bikes!
We stayed in Amsterdam for three days. What a city it is! I simply could not believe the number of bicycles! They are everywhere and at all hours. The picture above is a three-level parking area for bikes. My favorite pastime  was walking along the canals. I did not realize how many they have. You can find so many quaint little shops and cafes along them.

On Saturday, September 7 it was time to use our first Eurail pass trip to go to Stuttgart. Our Eurail pass was good for five trips and we used every one of them. What a system! On all five of our trips, we got to our destination on the minute we were supposed to have arrived! I got my first introduction to German food at an outdoor restaurant in Stuttgart. It was time to experiment, so I chose an entree called schweinebraten and it was simply delicious. It was so good that I looked for a recipe and made it when I returned home! It was terrific again if I may say so!

On Monday, September 9, we headed out to an old medieval town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber. For a couple of old history teachers, this was quite the place. As you can see in these pictures, it has maintained its medieval charm quite well. Being medieval, the town was surrounded by a high protective wall. You can walk atop it nearly the entire length around the town- it’s about a 2-mile walk and this picture below shows the covered walkway on
Atop the wall
 top of the wall. More good food here-- I chose some schnitzel this time!

When Wednesday rolled around, it was time to board the train to Nürnberg, or Nuremberg as we know it. After finding a hotel, we took a stroll around the old part of town and came upon a Pizza Hut. That really sounded good so we ducked in and had some Italian for a change. The next day we toured the Nazi Documentation Center; they have done an excellent job in telling the story of the rise of the Nazi Party without pushing any agenda. The stories and displays pretty much lead you to the obvious conclusions. It’s good to have this kind of place lest we forget; as a matter of fact, there were several German army personnel taking the tour at the time we were there. I wonder if it is a requirement? We were able to walk
Zeppelin Field
over to Zeppelin Field where the large Nazi rallies were held and you can actually walk up to the reviewing platform that Hitler would have stood upon while reviewing the thousands of troops lined up before him. It was really a somewhat eerie feeling to be there. Again, a couple of old history teachers just really ate it up! We also visited the Albrecht Dürer museum which happens to be the home in which he lived in Nürnberg. He was a famous artist.
Dürer home

On Friday, September 13, we left for Stuttgart on our third Eurail trip-- two to go! I’ll continue the trip in the next post. If you happen to follow my other blog “Happekotte Happenings”, you will find this exact same posting there.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

John William Markus

Before I get to John’s story, I just wanted to mention that I took a little “sabbatical” from posting in September. I was on a trip to the Netherlands and Germany where I got to meet an eighth cousin on the Schell side in Stuttgart, Germany. He and his wife then took us to visit the Schell ancestral home of Erfweiler, Germany. I will have a post about that trip later. 

John William Markus was born in Quincy, Illinois on August 17, 1851 to parents John (Arnold) Markus and Catherina Margaretha (Margaret) Markus. They were immigrants to the United States from northeastern Germany; so John was in the first generation of the Markus family to be born in America. John was married to Rosa Freund before he married our great grandmother. That marriage occurred on May 7, 1874 in Quincy. There were 7 children from this marriage; I know that, at least, three of the children died as infants. Rosa died at age 28 on November 4, 1886 and there were five children at that time.

John and Mary Husam Markus

On April 24, 1888 he married Mary Anna Husam of rural Adams County, Illinois. On their marriage license, his age is 33 and her age is 19; so great grandpa was a few years older than his bride! Most of the records I have so far show him being born in 1851; so if that is correct John was actually 37 when he got married! From this marriage, there were six children two of which died as infants.

From the late 1880s to about 1900, he was a traveling salesman for Isaac Lesem & Co. I found a short article that said he planned on opening a clothing and furnishing store in 1900 in the new Heidbreder Building at 12th & Broadway in Quincy. I am assuming this did not come about because from about 1900-1912, John was a salesman for the Quincy Gas, Electric, and Heating Company. After that he went to work for the J.J. Flynn Company as a salesman on the road. Perhaps, this is where he met great grandma.

John was very active in church and fraternal organizations. He was a member of the Humane Society in Quincy. I found him mentioned as a member of the Loyal Americans of the Republic which was a fraternal organization. He was the second vice president of the Deutscher Katholischer Vereinsbund which was a state organization for the protection of Catholic rights for both churches and schools. John was an active member of the Western Catholic Union which is a fraternal benefit society that helps local charities and they also provide insurance. He also served as an alderman in Quincy city government in 1900-1901.

There was an announcement in the paper about John building a new home on Broadway between 16th and 17th. It said the cost of the home would be $8000! That was in 1893. And the home is pictured here and is still in existence. By the way, using an inflation calculator, that would be equivalent to a little over $200,000 in 2012 dollars!

Another interesting article in a 1907 Quincy newspaper talked about a Quincy delegation traveling to Rome for the golden anniversary of the priesthood of Pope Pius X. The cost of the trip would be $350 per person. It specifically mentioned John as expecting to go. I have not found out if he actually made the trip.

As you can see, John William Markus led a very full and active life. Losing his first wife and five children in infancy had to be very difficult; but he persevered. John died on June 29, 1935. And speaking of difficulty, there is my grandmother, John’s daughter, Beatrice Markus Schell who lived in that same house on Broadway. Beatrice and her husband Carl lived in the downstairs while her parents occupied the upstairs. I have mentioned this in a previous post, but Beatrice lost Carl on the 8th of June and then her father on the 29th of June. Now that’s what I call perseverance.


Pictured: John W Markus, Carl Schell, Virginia Markus, Mary Husam Markus, (child) Jim Schell, Beatrice Markus Schell