Being Labor Day, this week’s theme suggested by Amy Crow Johnson of 52 Ancestors weeks is : Working for a Living. I chose to write about my Great Grandmother Eva Guill who was born April 16, 1872 in Grevenmacher Luxembourg to Michael Guill and Katherine Revenig. She is the oldest of 5 children. Her siblings are: Mathias 1875, Nicholas 1877, Henry 1879, and Susanna 1882. Eva can be found on the 1875, 1880, 1885, and 1887 censuses in Luxembourg. The 1875 census to the right, shows her with her parents
and brother Mathias. The 1880 census shows her with her parents, and brothers Nicholas and Henry. Mathias is not on this census. I have not confirmed this yet but I believe he must have died as I do not find him after this. The 1885 census shows Eva with her mom and her siblings. Her dad died in 1882. From what I have heard, Eva went to school and was only allowed to speak French at the school. There would be severe reprimands if the teachers heard them speak in German. Sometime between the censuses in 1887 and 1890, Eva moved to France to be an upstairs maid in the home of Charles Mangin who later became a General in the French Army. The only bit that I have heard about her experience there is that she would have to blow into the leather gloves of the madame of the home to dry the inside of the gloves. I imagine her experiences were the same as those of upstairs maids of the era.
Eva and her mom and siblings emigrated in 1894. She is the only member of my family that was processed through Ellis Island. I can only imagine what they were thinking as they came into the harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty after the journey across the ocean. The paperwork that I found for them is interesting in that there seems to be confusion with the family. Eva and Nicholas are not on the list but there is Catherine listed as 17 and Mrs Nicholas Guill listed as 52. My 2x great grandmother would have been 52 but her name is Katherine and she had been married to Michael Guill. Nicholas would have been 17 but not listed and there was a female 17 year old listed as Catherine. Henry and Susanna are listed and there ages are correct. I can only assume that one of the children was inadvertently left off the list as there are only a total of 4 Guills on the manifest. I cannot find any other Guills with those names on other manifests and all of the cenuses in the United States lists them all as emigrating in 1894. The other clue that this is the right family is that they listed their final destination as Chicago which is where they are found in the next census.
Eva married George Mangen on June 10, 1896 in Chicago at St Alphonsus Church. They had four children, Catherine 1897, Nicholas 1899, Henry 1900, and Peter 1902 (who died 2 months later). The family can be found on the 1900 census along with Eva’s mom and 3 siblings living in Chicago. On May 7, 1903, her husband George was killed in an accident. This left Eva with three young children to raise. I found a court document that showed George Mangen left $10,000 which would be equivalent to $270,270 in 2015. That would have been a good amount of money to be left with. So what did Eva do? What skills did she have? We know she was an upstairs maid. We know her mom and siblings either live with her or close by.
Eva opened a confectionary store on Wentworth Ave in Chicago. She can be seen in the store in the picture with her daughter Catherine and a dog. I understand that she slept with a gun for protection and the dog was most likely used as an alarm for the family also. She had the store until at least 1913 because she is listed in the city directory as the owner of the store. According to a newspaper article in 1912, there was a flood in the store that started as a result of a broken main. By the 1914 city directory, Eva was living on Lafayette Ave and then in the 1920 census she was living on Peoria Ave with her two sons. Her mother passed away in 1920 and her sons got married that same year. The next census Eva can be found is in 1930 and she is listed with her daughter Catherine and son in law John Hoffman and grandson Clarence. From what I understand, Eva moved in with this family to help raise her grandson, and when he was old enough to not need her anymore, she moved on to help raise children in a different family. She can be found on the 1940 census living in New Jersey and listed as a maid. This family moved from Illinois and brought Eva with them. Their son was 10 and daughter was 9 so Eva must have started living with them shortly after 1930 as her grandson was old enough to fend for himself by then. The next time I see anything about Eva is a newspaper article that reveals she is living with her granddaughter Margaret who is Nick’s daughter. She was staying with her in 1943 when Nick re-entered the army.
Eva Guill Mangen first worked as an upstairs maid as a young woman. She emigrated to America, married and then because of a tragic accident became a young widow who managed to raise her family by running a confectionary store. After her children were grown, she continued to work first by raising her grandson then working as a maid for another family. I understand that she had the opportunity to get remarried when she was young. She asked her children how they felt about it and they all told her they didn’t want her to remarry. That was a bold move to reject the marriage proposal in an era that women remarried for the security of a home for herself and her children. Eva decided to go it alone and was successful.
At the age of 82, Eva Guill passed away on May 6, 1954. She is buried at St Boniface cemetery.