Ferdinand Link, Chicago Pioneer

Ferdinand Link, Chicago Pioneer

Stories about Ferdinand Link, Chicago Pioneer


  • Chicago, IL

"Chicago and the German Influence" Circa 1900.

This article from "Chicago and the German Influence" @ 1900 was translated from German into English.


In the article his name appears as a chapter heading, and below it in larger type again, and once more at the beginning of the article.

Ferdinand Link - - "because of will power it works" is something Mr. Ferdinand Link may well say to himself. With his sharp gaze and decisive look as well as his dependability and industry, all qualities to which he could ascribe his success in America in the young city of Chicago where Mr. Link was one of the most highly respected citizens of the Garden City. Now at his side is his lovely wife who shares with him the fruit of his industry and is now enjoying the winter of his life in pleasant rest of old age.

He was born on November 1, 1829 in Birtigt in the Duchy of Meiningen and learned the trade of his father, which is to say that of wagon maker and followed his trade at an early age of fourteen years. As was the custom then he was a journeyman, to see the world and to learn his trade. He took ship from Bremen in the year 1848 when he said good bye to his fatherland as a nineteen year old lad. He shipped out to the United States of America and landed after a forty-nine day trip on July6, 1848 in Baltimore. He soon found work as a wagon builder with a certain Mr. Bishop. But he stayed here for only about one year after which he went to Richmond, Virginia and from there to Washington, District of Columbia by way of Abington and held a position there till November, 1850. From there he went by way of Kingston Springs to the Mississippi River and to New Orleans, but he turned back soon to the North. His goal was to go as far North as Chicago where he arrived in the last month of the year of 1850. Actually, he was in such demand that he was given the finest and most exacting assignments to do, so he carved a beautiful coach for Governor Wise of Virginia, and the first hearse with glass windows which came to be used locally, the first to be seen on the streets of Chicago. During his eleven years of service in the employ as foreman in a wagon factory of Richard Weil, in order to lay foundation to his success, because he saved his money for the ownership of the establishment on State and Chestnut Streets, which soon under his management became a profitable venture, for in the year 1858 he invested in houses that he rented at a good profit.

In the winter of the year 1864, Mr. Link saw the need for making a trip for his health together with his family that consisted of his wife and child, a trip to California. At that time there were no railroads to the gold country so the trip had to be made by ship. After three years of travel in the mild climate of California he was quite revived, so he traveled by way of Cape Horn, New York and back to Chicago. After his return to Chicago he undertook various ownership ventures: but the big fire of 1871 took away no less than seven of his houses. But they were soon rebuilt and others in addition to them, and he built a grocery store on the comer of State and Chestnut Streets, which he directed till the year of 1882. Toward the end of this year he sold the store and has since lived on his income in private in his elegant home at number 76 Mellon (sic Walton) Place.

He is under obligation to very few people and as here described he is a man of business and has a bent for poetry, arts and music. This kind of person we find in Mr. Link. His liking for music is so strong that in spite of his old age he quickly learned to play the piano well. It is even today a source of great satisfaction. So much that he found an opportunity in Germany in the company of Mrs. Link to be permitted to play on the piano of Frederick the Great in Pottsdam. That is the artistry of Mr. Link. This occurred on the way through FRANCE, Belgium and England. After having seen and heard so much, Mr. Link returned to Chicago and planned the building of an elegant mausoleum of great expense. This structure at the expense of some $10,000 now stands built out of blue webstone marble with two elegant statues at the entrance, in St. Boniface Cemetery. The inner part is done out of the finest carved Italian marble, and will be the eternal resting place for Mr. and Mrs. Link.

With her in the year 1852 there took place the marriage to Miss Maria Laux, they became more endearing to each other and he shared his fate with her. She was born in Losheim  near Treir, as the daughter of Peter Laux, a branch of the French family. He was the second ordnance officer of Napoleon the first. In the slaughter of Leipzig, he recaptured a lost flag even though his horse was shot out from under him and he himself was severely wounded. He was able to recover the Trophy and restore it into the hands of Napoleon.

In 1840, the Laux family set sail for America. One had not yet left French soil for America when the warship with the remains of Napoleon sailed into the harbor from St. Helena. The sight of which made him wish that he could once more be of service to the great hero. On August 25, 1840 the family came to Chicago. Mrs. Link herself was born on March 25, 1833 and has been married to Mr. Link since she was nineteen years old. At the 1900 celebration for old German immigrants, of the Roman Catholic faith, Mrs. Link was awarded the golden medallion by the Reverend G. Heldman as the oldest German Roman Catholic.

A son was born to the Link couple, his name is Mr. Ferdinand Eugene Link. He is the business manager of the Tollman King Druggery Firm. These together with their Nephews and nieces and the rest of the relatives and mends who will have the privilege to attend soon (1901) the unusual Golden wedding anniversary of the still loving couple who are still in good health.

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