It is not often in our modern world that we can go back in time to the places and locations of our ancestors. But with my second great grandparents, Francois (Frank) and Rose Nufer Loescher that is actually possible. I have written about this couple and their children several times before (see below for links to previous posts). But how, when and where did their life together begin?
Frank Loescher came to the US from Alsace, France sometime around 1873 based on information from the 1900 United States Census and a record of his naturalization. (1) It is not known at this time when he made his way to Peoria, Illinois or if that was his original destination when he left his home in Reichstett, France. But, he appears in the 1877 Peoria City Directory for the first time. (2)
Transcription - “Loescher Frank, yard man Peoria House, bds same”.
Figure 1 - 1877 Peoria City Directory Entry for Frank Loescher
I infer from this entry that in 1877 he was working as a “yard man” for the Peoria House. It was a popular and large hotel and boarding house in downtown Peoria at the corner of Hamilton and North Adams. This entry also indicates he was living there as well. Then in 1879 he is found working as a brewer and living in another boarding house. (3) The Farmers Hotel was at the corner of Bridge Street and Water Street.
Transcription – “Loescher Francois, brewer, 709 N. Water; bds Farmers Hotel.”
|Figure 2 - 1879 Peoria City Directory for Francois Loescher|
By this time he certainly would have been integrated into the large German immigrant community in Peoria in what is now the South side of town. Likely he would have been attending the church frequented by the community, St Joseph’s Catholic Church at the corner of Spencer and Prairie Streets (today it is on Richard Pryer Way).
Rose Nufer’s birth place and date of birth are still in question. But my hypothesis at this time is that she was born in 1859 in Groveland Township, Illinois. In 1870 we find her and her family living in Peoria’s 6th Ward. (4) Rose’s parents, Martin and Maria Nufer were well acquainted with Peoria and during this time period they were living at “Madison bluff side 1 below Pecan”….just a few blocks from St Joseph’s Church.
St Joseph’s Church is in the heart of what was the large Germany immigrant community in Peoria. This seems to be the likely common denominator for how Frank and Rose met. See the church's website for the history of this church and pictures from the restored interior. This church community and building from 1879 still stands and is open and active today!
By late 1879 this young couple (he was 31 and she was 20) was applying for a marriage license with the Peoria County Clerk (5). I wonder what the conversation was within her family about the age difference. I think it is unlikely that the two families had any connection from their old country. I strongly suspect that the Nufer’s did not know Frank or any of his family before they both made their homes in Peoria. What concerns if any did this present for Martin and Maria?
The marriage took place on 2 November 1879 at St Joseph’s and was performed by Father Bernard Baak. He was a longtime priest at the church. I have found his name on many other marriage licenses and baptismal records for this family. The actual church building where this wedding took place was built in early 1879 so Frank and Rose would have been one of the first couples married there. Witnesses to the marriage are both from the Nufer family testifying to the fact that Frank was a recent immigrant and had no family in the area. Frank and Rose both signed the marriage license so they must have been literate. It’s a wonderful thing to me to find a document that has the actual signatures of my ancestors; especially for those that I never knew.
I would encourage anybody in the Loescher family or others in the Peoria area to visit St Joseph’s Church there. It is a beautiful church and many of the items around the alter (including mosaics, hand carved wood alter) and the pews are original. Go stand in the place where your ancestors stood over 135 years ago!
Figure 3 - Marriage License - Frank Loascher and Rosa Nufer
Figure 4 - Marriage License Application - Frank Loascher and Rosa Nufer
Copyright ©2016 – Diane Minor – All Rights Reserved.
Links to related posts -
(1) 1900 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 0078, sheet 12-A, line 37, dwelling 231, family 232, Frank Loascher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Jun 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 333, FHL microfilm 1240333.
"U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)," database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Sep 2014), entry for Frank Loescher, date of naturalization 26 Oct 1880; citing "National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial M1285, roll 36," 2010.
(2) Ebert & Clark, compiler, Hawley’s City and County Directory of Peoria County 1877: (Hannibal, Missouri: Ebert & Clark, Publisher, 1877), 228, entry for "Frank Loescher"; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Oct 2014).
(3) O. E. Root, compiler, Root’s City Directory 1879: (Peoria, Illinois: O. E. Root, Publisher, 1877), 203, entry for "Francois Loescher"; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Feb 2015).
(4) 1870 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 6, p. 109, line 21, dwelling 765, family 765, Martin Nufer; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 May 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll M593_267, image 506, FHL 545766.
(5) Peoria County, Illinois, marriage certificate, Frank Loescher and Rosa Nufer, date of marriage 2 Nov 1879, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.