Grandma’s Confectionary Store

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My Great Grandmother, Eva Guill ran a Confectionary Store in the early 1900’s. Eva was born in 1872 in Grevenmacher, Luxembourg. She was my last ancestor that came to America and the only one through Ellis Island, coming over in 1894. She married George Mangen in 1896 and had 4 children, the last one passing shortly after birth. George was found dead on the electric car tracks in 1903. He was in his beer delivery wagon and there were no witnesses that came forward to testify as to why he was on the tracks and his horses and delivery wagon were a few blocks away.

He left Eva with 3 children under the age of 6 to raise and there was $10,000 for her in savings. Eva needed to provide for her children so she opened a Confectionary Store located at 3256 Wentworth Ave in Chicago, Ill. The photo shows the inside of the store with Eva, her oldest and only daughter, Catherine and a dog whose name and breed I don’t know. I am told that in addition to candy, she sold stationary and school supplies. It also appears she sold cigars according to the sign on the door. I can’t figure out what is to the left of the door on the counter. The family lived in the back and she slept with a gun. The store flooded in 1912 and the last I can associate her with the store is in 1913 when she is listed as the owner of the store in the city directory. The following year, her youngest (my grandfather) was 14 by the time they were living on Lafayette Ave and in the 1920 census, Peoria Ave. At some point during that time period, she must have sold the store. She never remarried although there was a proposal shortly after her husband died. She passed away at the age of 82 on May 6, 1954.

Chicago was considered the Candy Capital of the world in the early 1900s with over 1000 shops selling sweets in the area.


14 thoughts on “Grandma’s Confectionary Store

  1. What a neat photo- I have so few with my ancestors in places of business..mostly out in the field or yards since almost all were farmers! Love that the dog made it into the photo, too!


  2. A brave woman – especially in those times. She could have taken the easy way by accepting the proposal, but she apparently followed her heart & figured out another way to keep her family fed & shelter. Kudos to her!


  3. That is a fantastic photo with rare movement and character. From the back the dog looks like a Springer Spaniel. The tiger might be a circus souvenir. Perhaps Eva had recently taken her children to a show.


  4. In today’s dollars her inheritance would have been about 1/2 million or so. She was left well off and probably didn’t feel pressure to marry again. I wonder what happened to George?


  5. Your grandmother looks like she would have been kind but firm and capable. I had a 3 x great grandmother who ran a confectionery shop in London back in about 1840. If only I knew more about it, or about her!


  6. Fantastic! I just love reading family history stories!

    They were strong women back then! Are there any stories about how George came to be on the electric tracks?


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