In 1840, Maria Anna Schmitt, born 1819, the 21-year-old daughter of Peter Schmidt, Sr., joined her family in their emigration to America. Mid-voyage, she discovered that she was pregnant...and unmarried...and that the father of her child, Johann Zender (a.k.a. John Zender) born 1814, had remained behind in Prussia because Prussian military regulations did not allow men aged 17-26 to leave the country without paying a punitive tax. Maria gave birth to a son, Jacob Schmitt, in New York City in 1841. The family then continued their journey, settling in Ridgeville.
John Zender joined the young family, apparently leaving Prussia without proper authorization, and they finally married in 1842, and ultimately added seven other children to their household, (most interred in St. Henry's Cemetery).
In 1845 John Zender bought 28 acres on the Ridge Trail, nine miles north of the Chicago River on which he farmed and operated a log saloon (now 6648 N. Ridge Avenue). His daughter, Marie Karthauser nee: Marie Zender, whose husband, Nic Karthauser, later acquired the “inn” through marriage, and subsequently updated it. Nic remembered that there were only five houses near the saloon and most of the trade was made up of people traveling the stage coach line to and from Chicago. Marie’s brother opened another saloon at 6666 N. Ridge Avenue that later became Ebert's Grove, operated by Joseph Ebert, born 1861. Both had extensive beer gardens that were frequented by the German American community until the onset of World War I. Two well known restaurants, Allgauer's on Ridge and Grassfield's on Ridge succeeded these inns until the 1980s.
In 1871, one of John and Marie’s sons, Johann Zender (a.k.a. John Zender) born 1848, responded to an inquiry for a glass of water from the daughter of a West Side Chicago family that had walked up to the Ridge from their camp on the lakefront, where they had fled to escape the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire. John and Catherine Mehr born 1852 were married in November, 1872; he worked as a carpenter and most of their 9 children (7 girls and 2 boys) spent their lives either in the house at 6728 Ridge Avenue or in a nearby two-flat.
One of the other sons, Adam b. 1856, married Helena Zender, nee: Helena Reinberg, born 1859, from a prominent Lakeview Township farm family and developed a significant florist’s business, with many greenhouses on the east side of Ridge, across from their home at 6638 Ridge Avenue (now the site of S&C Electric Company).
RPWRHS photo Z001-0101 shows the Zender family. No date or location information is given.
Fourteen people are shown, but not all are identified.
Those individuals that could be identified include:
l-r rear row
l-r front row
unknown man with unknown child on his knee
Hi something--hard to read
Cor something--hard to read
what looks like Ursa