The City Directory of Ottawa, Illinois for the year 1895 lists this building as being occupied by Minnie Lohman, widow of Henry Lohman, and her two sons; Louis, my Grandfather and Carl, his younger brother. Louis' occupation was given as 'Sawyer' at the piano factory that existed there at that time. There was no occupation listed for Carl. The house was listed as a 'Boarding House', with Minnie Lohman as proprietor. Capacity - 4 boarders.
On the surface, all well and good. Until you know a little of the story.
In the early 1860's, Henri Lohman came to this country and settled in Wheeling, W.Va., to work in the fledgling glass industry growing there. The Civil War started, he went to work for the South, working in the glass trade, was captured by Northern forces early on, and sent to a prison camp in New York. while there, he enlisted in the Cavalry and served two enlistments in the Northern Army. Sometime during the war, Wilhelmina Hintz arrived in New york with two year old Albert in hand. I guess Great Grandfather's parting shot as he was leaving Germany was accurate, if nothing else. They were married on Christmas Day, 1866, in Wheeling. Albert's name became Albert Lohman - in violation of the Lohman family tradition of naming the first born son Louis. He was, after all, born outside the family. Two sisters later, my Grandfather was born in 1879, in Wheeling. The trail grows cold there, until we find Wilhelmina (Minnie) in Ottawa, Illinois in 1895. No Albert, no Augusta, no Lena. Where were they? She is listed as the Widow of Henri - but Henry, at this time, was actually in the Old Soldier's Home in Marshalltown, Iowa. They were divorced!
So - given her time, and what was expected of women in that time, she was a remarkable person. She had a child out of wedlock and then traveled across the ocean, with that child, to find and marry her man. She was a business woman, when women rarely were allowed to own property. She divorced her husband, at a time when divorce 'just wasn't done'. She was amazing - and she is someone I would like to have known.