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The Quincy Contractor

Roehl Family

The Early Life of Anthony Roehl

Anton Manderfeld Röhl was born on 25 Apr 1865, the third child of Gertrude and Wilhelm Röhl. Anton would have been almost 2 years old when he witnessed his mother’s rape and murder. As traumatic as this event must have been at the time, he probably had no adult recollection of his early life in Sigel Township. Once the family relocated to Mankato, Anton’s name was “Americanized” to “Anthony Manderfield Roehl”. Before Anthony saw his seventh birthday, his mother, father, and younger sibling would have died and he would have acquired a stepmother, a stepsister, a stepbrother, a half brother and a half sister. When Anthony’s father died on 26 Dec 1870, he was left in the care of his stepmother, Mary Catherine Roehl. In reality, she would be the only mother that he could remember as an adult.

Anthony would have attended school in Mankato, likely through the 8th grade. By 1880 his brother, John, and his sister, Suzie, would have left home to work (he as a farm laborer and she as a domestic servant). Anthony, then 16, would still be living at home, but working full time as a painter to help support the family. During the next 7 years, both Anthony and his half brother, Henry, learned the trade of carpentry. By 1887, Anthony, Henry, and Lizzie would have all moved to St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri. In 1887, Anthony was working as a carpenter for Phillip Buddy, a contractor in St. Joseph. He also worked at a part-time job as a porter at the law firm of McKinney, Hundley & Walker. The 1887 St. Joseph City Directory indicates that he boarded at 1021 Frederick Ave. In early 1887, Tony left St. Joseph and moved to Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. In that city, on 12 July 1887, Tony married Katie Kay at St. Francis Catholic Church7-1. Tony was 23 and Katie was 22 at the time of their marriage. The 1887-88 Quincy City Directory indicates that Tony and Katie then lived at 649 Ohio Street.

Kay Family History

Katie-Kay-Portrait
Katie Kay (Circa 1885) was born in St. Louis, Missouri on 12 Jan 1865. Her parents were George and Theresa Lorenz Kay, both German immigrants. Based upon census information, George was born about 1833 in Bavaria and Theresa was born about 1835 in Germany. George and Theresa were married in St. Louis on 22 Oct 1855 and during the following 25 years, they had 11 children: (Mary Theresa (1856), Margaret (1858), Mary (1860), Fred (1863), Katie (1865), George, Jr. (1868), Frank & Minnie (1870), Annie (1870), Joseph (1876), and John (1880). In the 1870 census, the family still lived in St. Louis and George’s occupation was listed as a “laborer”. The 1880 census indicates that George (now listed as a “farmer”) and Theresa had moved to 918 Elm Street in Burr Oak, Kansas – along with Katie, George, Minnie, Annie, Joseph, and John. Unaccustomed to farm life, Katie soon left Burr Oak and moved to St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1887, she was employed there as a domestic servant at 1305 Felix. By 1890 her father had died and her mother had moved to 531 S. 20th Street in St. Joseph with George, Jr, who was working as a “helper” at the Terminal Railroad. In 1900, brothers Joseph and John were living with George Jr. and their mother was presumably dead. George and Joseph were both employed as stonemasons.

Anthony Roehl and Katie Kay very likely met in St. Joseph, Missouri, but there is no obvious reason why they moved to Quincy, Illinois to be married. There was regular train service between St. Joseph and Quincy and there were a few Kay families living in and around Quincy at that time. It is possible that Katie had relatives living there.

PHOTO on right is a portrait of Katie Kay before her marriage.

The Adult Life of Anthony (Tony) Roehl

  • Tony and Katie had five recorded children during ten years of married life:
  • William Frank Roehl – Born on 17 Dec 1888
  • Joseph George Roehl – Born on 17 Jun 1890
  • Veronica Bernadine Roehl – Born on 2 Jan 1894
  • Lawrence George Roehl – Born on 8 Aug 1895
  • Anthony Frank Roehl – Born on 8 Dec 1896
During this period, Tony was initially listed in Quincy City Directories as a “laborer”. He later worked as a carpenter for P. H. Meyer and eventually established a contracting company with a partner, Frank B. Seibert. At some point he and his family moved to 2016 Lind Street. On 1 Oct 1897, Katie Roehl died, possibly from a complication during childbirth. She was buried on 5 Oct in St. Boniface Cemetery in Quincy. Faced with the tragic loss of his wife, Tony must have thought back to his father’s somewhat similar situation in Minnesota. With five small children to support, Tony must have quickly begun to search for a wife to manage the housework while he continued to work as a contractor.

Nearly 8 months after Katie’s death, on 20 Jul 1898, Tony married Laura Lucille Seibert in Altamont, Illinois7-1. Lucille, daughter of Christian and Philomenia Seibert, was born on 24 Apr 1875 in Avena, Fayette County, Illinois7-2. Christian and Philomenia originally lived on a farm in Pennsylvania, but moved to Illinois about 1868. The 1880 census indicates that they had 7 children: Charles (1863), Anna (1865), John (1867), Joseph (1869), Henry (1871), Mary (1871), and Laura (1875).

At the time of their marriage, Tony was 34 and Lucille was 23. Tony and Lucille had two children during their brief, 2-year marriage:
  • Philomena Roehl – Born on 10 Jun 1899
  • Richard Roehl – Born on 8 Sep 1900
Tragically, Lucille must have also suffered complications during Richard’s birth and died four days later, 12 Sep 1900, in St. Mary’s Hospital in Quincy. Now, as a single father, Tony was caring for a new baby and 6 other children less than 12 years of age.

Tony Roehl with Cigar
On 18 Feb 1902, Tony married his third and final wife, Katherine Arns, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Quincy. Katherine was the daughter of Henry and Mary Baurrichter Arns, born on 6 Mar 1873 in Quincy. Tony was 38 and Katherine was 29 at the time of their marriage. At some point they moved to 1606 Spring Street. Tony and Katherine had three children during their marriage:
  • Arthur Henry Roehl – Born on 26 Jul 1903
  • Paul John Roehl – Born about 1905
  • Antoinette Roehl – Born on 27 Dec 1910
At the age of 84, Anthony M. Roehl (Circa 1944) died on 27 Mar 1948 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Quincy. Fig. 7-2 is a picture of Tony a few years before his death. He had undergone surgery for stomach cancer on 1 Jul 1947 and was hospitalized for two months prior to his death. His funeral was at St. Francis Catholic Church, with burial in St. Boniface Cemetery. Pallbearers for the funeral were: Joseph Seibert, Frank Wilper, Carl Haxel Jr, Richard Roehl, Norbert Eising, and Alvin Schmelzle. Two years later, at the age of 77, Katherine Roehl died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Quincy on 10 Dec 1950.

Tony Roehl’s Legacy

At the time of his death, Tony Roehl left his widow, Katherine, two daughters, five sons, ten grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Two wives, one son, and one daughter had preceded him in death. In addition to his surviving family, Tony left a legacy of buildings, which he had constructed in the Quincy, Illinois area. During his 60-year residency in Quincy, Tony established a solid reputation as a fair and reliable contractor. He was well known and well respected by the community. 

Notre Dame Chapel Front View  Notre Dame Chapel Side View
Notre Dame Chapel Front View and Notre Dame Chapel Side View are pictures of the Chapel that he built
 at Notre Dame High School (now part of the Sunrise Apartments). 

drug store he built at the corner of 8th and Hampshire  865 Kentucky Street
And this is a picture of a drug store he built at the corner of 8th and Hampshire.
This is a picture of a house that he built at 1865 Kentucky Street. 

Tony Roehl’s Children

  • William Frank Roehl will be the subject of Chapter 8.
  • Joseph George Roehl was born on 17 June 1890, in Quincy, Illinois. In the 1910 census, Joseph was working as a farm hand for Henry Brown. In 1920 he was working as a machinist’s assistant. Joseph was born with a clubfoot, so he walked with a severe limp. This disability may have influenced his ability to find consistent employment through his adult life. Joseph continued to live with his father and stepmother at 1606 Spring Street until after 1920. Joseph died in Burton, Illinois on 28 Aug 1967.
  • Veronica Bernadine (Verona) Roehl was born on 2 Jan 1894, in Quincy. At the age of 20, she married Carl Albert Haxel on 11 Nov 1914 in Quincy, Illinois. Carl was also born in Quincy on 27 Dec 1892.
    • Carl’s parents were Albert and Mary Schoenhorst Haxel. Albert (age 30) and Mary (age 38) were married in Quincy in 1891. They had 4 children before Albert died on 10 Aug 1911. Three years later Mary married Frank Brokamp. He died in 1933. Mary then died in Quincy on 9 Mar 1938, at the age of 85.  
  • Carl was the Treasurer of a brewery owned by Frank Dick in Quincy. Carl’s sister, Irma, had married Earl (Squirrelly) Abbot, who owned a bar in Quincy. From time to time, Carl would host William Roehl’s family for dinner at that bar. William’s children still remember having all the fried chicken they could eat. Carl and Verona Haxel had 4 children:
    • Carl Anthony Francis Haxel – born 20 Mar 1917 Carl Anthony Francis (Junie) Haxel married Esther Mary Schutte on 31 Jan 1939 and had eleven children (Mary Jo, Alicia, David, Theodore, Celeste, Veronica, Michael, Margaret, Jo-Lynne, Deborah, and Carol). He worked at the Bueter Bakery for more than 23 years. Fig. 7-7 is a snapshot of Junie and Esther’s family about 1960. Junie died in Quincy on 30 Jan 1995.

      Haxel Family
      Photo of Junie and Esther Haxel Family, Circa 1960

    • Verona Haxel
      Dorothy Agnes Haxel – born 9 Jan 1921 - Dorothy Agnes Haxel went to the convent in 1957 and professed her vows as Sr. M. Rose Veronica on 25 Aug 1965. She is now retired at St. Clare Convent in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    • Mildred Marie Haxel – born 18 Feb 1922 - Mildred Marie Haxel married Charles Sommerfeld on 29 Sep 1951 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and had two children (Michael and Mary).

    • Norma Ruth Haxel – born 20 Feb 1927 - Norma Ruth Haxel never married and died in 1981. When Verona became seriously ill, Dorothy requested a transfer within her Catholic order (Society of St. Francis of the Poor) to St. Mary’s Hospital in Quincy, so that she could help care for her mother. Verona died in Quincy on 14 Mar 1979. At that point, Carl was moved to a nursing home, but he died a month later, on 20 Apr 1979.
      PHOTO of Verona about 1944 (above)
      PHOTO of Lawrence Roehl (below)

  • Lawrence George Roehl
    Lawrence George Roehl was born on 8 Aug 1895 in Quincy, Illinois. Lawrence served as a Private in the Illinois 6th Calvary. He worked as a law enforcement officer in Missouri. William’s children remember Lawrence visiting Quincy with his police car. Lawrence would give the kids a ride in his car and sound the siren. He died in Mount Vernon, Illinois on 26 May 1939. 

  • Anthony Frank (Tony) Roehl was born on 8 Dec 1896 in Quincy, Illinois. The 1930 census indicates that Tony was living with his wife, Noma L. Roehl, in Stockton, California. Noma was born 25 Jul 1902 in California. They had one son, Frank Ernest Roehl, who was one month old at the time the census data was recorded. Tony worked as a salesman in the health services industry. He and Noma would regularly travel by bus from California to visit Quincy, often with a large quantity of walnuts from their yard. Noma suffered from poor eyesight, which prevented her from traveling in later life. Tony died in Dec 19767-3 in Stockton, California. Ernest and his wife, Gloria, lived in Yuma, Arizona and then moved to Warrington, Pennsylvania. As Noma grew older, a niece in Spokane would often visit and help her. When she could no longer manage by herself, Noma moved to Spokane for a while and then to Warrington, Pennsylvania, where she died on 15 Jun 1998.

    Anthony F Roehl  Noma Roehl
    Photos of Tony and Noma Roehl about 1940

  • Philomena Roehl was born on 10 Jun 1899. At the age of 2, she died on 27 Jul 1901 in Quincy, Illinois.
  • Richard Roehl was born 8 Sep 1900. He never married, but did date someone for an extended period. He died of heart valve leakage attributed to his service in the military.
  • Arthur Henry Roehl was born 26 Jul 1903 in Quincy, Illinois. The 1930 census indicates that he was working as an assistant manager for a restaurant in Chicago and lived in a rooming house on North Francisco Avenue, along with his brother, Paul. He later moved to Broadview, Illinois and was employed as an executive in the Chicago Curled Hair Company. He married Helen Tesmer. Helen’s parents were Polish. Arthur and Helen had two children (Arthur Jr. and Patricia). Arthur died on 27 Mar 1948. 
  • Arthur Jr. (Bud) and his wife, Loretta, owned a plastics company in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was eventually sold to their daughter, Chris, and her husband. Patricia and her husband, Werner Hitch, currently operate the Hitch Catering Service in Nevada. They adopted two children (Kim and Joey).
  • Paul John Roehl was born 17 Jun 1905 in Quincy, Illinois. The 1930 census indicates that Paul was working as an accountant for a telephone company in Chicago. He lived in a rooming house on North Francisco Avenue, along with his brother, Arthur. Paul later married Bernice Grossman and they had no children. At the time of his death in 1958, he was employed in a manufacturing company.
  • Antoinette (Toni) Roehl was born 27 Dec 1910 in Quincy, Illinois. She lived with her parents at 1606 Spring Street in Quincy until after 1930. Toni served as the organist for St. Francis Catholic Church for many years and was an accomplished pianist. She worked at J.H. Miller Company, where she helped make small figurines. During World War II, Toni moved in with her brother William’s family and in 1951 moved to Broadview, Illinois to live with her brother Arthur’s family. She was an organist at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Chicago. It was in Broadview that Toni met her first real suitor. Before Toni could be married, she died of breast cancer on 4 Aug 1964. She was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Broadview.

Opinions and Footnotes

It is interesting to theorize how single fathers like Anthony managed to maintain their household, care for their children, and still earn a living at their normal job. In the late 1800s, one of the few opportunities for employment that young women could pursue after they left school was to become a “domestic servant”. In fact, about 10 per cent of the American homes in 1900 had a live-in domestic servant. By age 13 – 16, young women could leave home and receive room and board and, sometimes, used clothing in return for working up to 15 hours every day as a domestic servant.