Johann Christoph Heinrich Obrock
- Born: 25 May 1840, Oldendorf, Melle, K. of Hannover, Germany
- Christened: 31 May 1840, Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany
- Marriage (1): Katherine Elisabeth Thomasmeyer on 5 Dec 1861 in St. Paul's German Evangelical Church, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio
- Marriage (2): Louisa Guhe Lillemann on 3 Feb 1887 in Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois
- Died: 5 Oct 1916, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio at age 76
- Buried: 8 Oct 1916, Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois
a.k.a. Christian Henry and Christopher Henry Obrock.
It is customary to find the names Christian and Christopher used interchangably, and that is the case here. Christian sometimes went by the name Christopher, as evidenced by some signatures he made to promissary notes and loans he made for his business in the 1880's.
The preparer is in possession of a number of old documents related to Christian's business affairs and other legal papers. Included are loan papers and divorce papers from the ill-fated second marriage.
Christian and his half-nephew, Fritz Obrock departed Bremerhaven, Germany on the ship Orpheus, on 6 July 1858, destined for the port of New York. They listed New York as their destination, but many other passengers listed Cincinnati as their destination. Additionally, on the Auswanderer (emigration) papers he listed he was going to Cincinnati to be with his sister.
In the 1860 Cincinnati City Directory, Christian Obrock is listed as living at 520 Vine. The street numbering system was changed in 1890, so the equivalent address today is 1414 Vine. A Kroger grocery store occupies that address.
Only one-half block away was the Thomasmeyer Cigar Shop, located at 452 Vine. With the address change, it is now 1232 Vine, and in 2011 was occupied by an upscale furniture store. The current building dates only to 1898, so was constructed over the old Thomasmeyer building.
One must wonder whether Christian met his young bride, Elisabeth "Elise" Thomasmeyer one day in the vicinity, or exactly how this first introduction took place.
All of Elisabeth's brothers were already in Quincy, Illinois, and it is possible that after arriving in Baltimore, she stopped in Cincinnati to meet and stay with her uncle and cousins on her way to Quincy to meet up with her family. (Her older brother, Henry, was the first in Quincy, followed by other brothers, Elise and then her parents).
In his obituary, it is stated that Christian left Cincinnati in 1862 for Quincy, and returned to Cincinnati in 1894 (after the divorce from his second wife). Christian and Elise Thomasmeyer Obrock went on to have 11 children, 7 of whom lived to adulthood, with one of those dying at 25 from infected wisdom teeth. Of the 6 remaining, all lived to at least age 66 (Henry), with the oldest living to age 90 (Louisa, who happened to be the oldest child). Elise died during childbirth of her 11th child, who subsequently died 6 months later.
Christian was a member of St. Peter's German Lutheran Church at 9th & York St. in Quincy, until the founding of Luther Memorial Church, at 12th & Jersey, in 1890, at which time the Obrocks were early members.
Christian Obrock's first listing in a Quincy City Directory was in 1868, listed as a trunkmaker, residence on the north side of Walnut Alley, the first house east of 6th St. His next residence was on the East side of 7th St., the 2nd house North of Vine St. (now College Ave.) This address is listed in the 1878 Directory as 218 N. 7th St. This N.E. corner of 7th & Vine (College) was in the Willard Keyes addition, Block 18, Lot 8. Willard Keyes sold this to Christian on 2 December 1871 (Recorders office Book 69, page 501). Christian sold the south 70 feet for $2300 on 2 May 1892 (Book 143, page 339) to a Mike O'Donnell.
The divorce from his second wife was an extremely ugly and lengthy affair, particularly given the period. They were married only 6 months, but the court proceedings and business wranglings continued on for some 6 years. Repercussions of this divorce were that Christian had to divest himself of his Christian Obrock Trunk Mfg Co., selling it to his son, Henry (it is listed in the 1891 Directory as H. Obrock Trunk Mfg Co). The house at 218 N. 7th must have been sold, as he is listed in the 1891 Quincy City Directory as living at 702 N. 7th. Son Henry is living at this time at 820 N. 7th, but Henry's business is still listed at 523 Hampshire. Amelia, Fred, Louisa and Willie were still living with their father at 702 N. 7th at this time, 1891. A book "Reports of Cases Decided in the Appellate Courts of the State of Illinois", Vol XXXII, summarizes the Appellate Court decision in this case.
The business at 523 Hampshire is listed in advertisements as "Four Doors East of the Tremont House". This information, plus the legal description, would put the location on the north side of Hampshire, where the parking lot is located, immediately next to and west of, the WGEM TV studio/Hotel Quincy.
Interestingly, their close proximity to the Tremont hotel, gave them a bird's eye view on 23 Sept 1879, when President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Quincy and spoke from the balcony of the Tremont. This was the first time a sitting president had visited Quincy. The reception committee consisted of Mayor W.T. Rogers (see Rogers family mausoleum in Woodland Cemetery), Gov. John Wood, General J.W. Singleton, General J.D. Morgan, Col. I.N. Morris and Isaac Lesem. The presidential party consisted of Pres. and Mrs. Hayes, Burchard Hayes, Gen. William T. Sherman, Col. Bacon and Col. Tourtelotte of Gen. Sherman's staff, and Lt. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, among others. After the introduction and speeches, dinner was served in the Tremont, and a reception was given to a large crowd of citizens. Certainly Christian and his family took advantage of their property in close proximity to the Tremont to witness these events, and quite possibly met the president at this time.
In the book History of Adams County, Illinois, published in 1879, a biography of Christian Obrock is included which, in addition to his family, states, "He has been in business since 1875; member of the I.O.O.F. (Independant Order of Odd Fellows) and Widows and Orphans' German Association. This firm have a first-class establishment and turn out a superior class of work."
Following the divorce, and the move back to Cincinnati in 1894, Christian and the unmarried children, Amelia, Louise, and William lived at 1115 N. Poplar. Son Walter and his wife lived next door. This property was flooded and destroyed by the Ohio River in approximately the 1960's, the area was razed and a highway now travereses this area.
Johann married Katherine Elisabeth Thomasmeyer, daughter of Jobst Heinrich Thomasmeyer and Anna Marie Christine Dorothea Louise Meyer, on 5 Dec 1861 in St. Paul's German Evangelical Church, Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio. (Katherine Elisabeth Thomasmeyer was born on 17 Nov 1841 in Essen, Wittlage, K. of Hannover, Germany, christened in St. Nikolai Church, Essen, Wittlage, Kingdom of Hannover, Prussia, died on 26 Dec 1883 in Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois and was buried on 28 Dec 1883 in Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois.)
Johann next married Louisa Guhe Lillemann on 3 Feb 1887 in Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois. (Louisa Guhe Lillemann was born on 8 Jan 1843 in Prussia and died in 1925.)