In the last few weeks I have talked about the river improvements and the prosperity that came to Wilmington because of it. Today we will look at a few of the businesses of that were around during the 1870 - 1871 era.
The first one that comes to mind is the Wilmington Brewery. With over a dozen saloons and oyster bars in town, there was surely a ready market for Wilmington beer and ale. It was located about a mile downstream from town, next to the banks of the Kankakee. This was a perfect location. The fresh clean waters of the Kankakee were readily available and shipment of the final product was cheap and very close at hand. At the cost of $30,000 it was a substantial investment, but it paid off well for the owners.
It was a three-story building and included a full basement. The basement consisted of three rooms about 22' x 20' that were filled with ice the year round. In these rooms the huge casks of beer and ale were stored, each cask containing about 22 barrels of brew each. There was an elevator operated by horsepower, which allowed the hoisting and loading of the casks for shipment. The furnace and boiler were both located in the basement as well.
On the first floor was the malt mill, driven by horsepower, which ground 500 lbs. of malt per day. The process of making malt went like this; First barley is received and thoroughly saturated with water in the malt tubs. After sprouting, the barley was taken to the second floor and rapidly kiln dried. It was then ground up and called "malt." At any given time hundreds of pounds of ground malt was stored at the facility. Also on the first floor were the mash tubs. They used a cold brewing process, which required that a huge copper vessel filled with ice be kept constantly floating in the tubs.
On the third floor the beer was thoroughly cooled in a large shallow pan measuring 15 x 25 feet. It received the benefit of "the four winds" as the building had unique latticework walls along with rolling shutters on both the second and third floors. During fine weather these were opened and caught the river breezes on even the hottest days. If a storm came up, the shutters could be easily closed and locked down for protection.
Even though Editor Conley described the operation like this; "Everything about this brewery is in complete order and kept scrupulously clean." It seems to me that without screens, which had not yet been invented, the flying insects attracted to the smell of the brewing ale would have been overwhelming. But I guess a fly doesn't drink much.
August 5, 1868 - Wilmington Independent
We are indebted to Messrs. Markert & Co., for a keg of pure, choice lager. They make up small packages for family use, and an occasional glass to people in feeble health will be found healthful and invigorating. Messrs. Markert and Geo. Bez have one of the finest locations for abewery in this section, and they are turning out the finest qualities of ale and lager.
February 5, 1875 - Wilmington Advocate
Almost a "sea of ice" has been packed in our city this season. A rough estimate would show a total somewhere near the following figures:
F. N. Lafontaine - 3,000 tons
Howard Jbhneton - 2,000 tons
Edmund Cushing - 1,500 tons
Andrew Whelar - 860 tons
Markert & Co. - 2,500 tons
Total - 9,800 tons
July 27, 1872 - Wilmington Advocate
Markert & Co. are about to enlarge their brewery near this city, very materially. The vaults will be made much more extensive, and we are told that the general improvements will amount to $8,000. We look on this as an evidence of commercial prosperity, which usually rewards such enterprise as that which characterizes the well-known firm of Markert & Co.
September 3, 1875 - Wilmington Advocate
Extensive improvements are being made in Markert & Co.'s brewery.
February 8, 1878 - Wilmington Advocate
On yesterday morning one of the brewery teams appeared with tails tied up and ornamented with blue ribbons; probably some of "Ross's" work, as a fling a the present rage of blue ribbonism - already.
February 23, 1883 - Wilmington Advocate
Markert & Co. would say that in consequence of the bridge collapsing, they have a large quantity of cattle feed at the brewery, which will be sold at much reduced prices. Now is the time to buy.
July 8, 1904 - Wilmington Advocate
John P. Lynott, of the Chicago Water Works Department, who some months ago purchased the George Markert farm on the bank of the Kankakee River, north of this city, will son build a fine summer home on the premises.
August 6, 1904 - Wilmington Advocate
For Sale - A quantity of building stone. For particulars enquire of Geo. Markert.
August 19, 1904 - Wilmington Advocate
Miss Emma Markert, employed in George F. Scheibner's dry goods store, is enjoying a two week's vacation with relatives and friends in Chicago.
September 2, 1904 - Wilmington Advocate
Miss Emma Markert, one of George F. Scheibner's popular clerks, returned to her home in this city Sunday evening after a two weeks' visit with relatives and friends in Chicago.
January 14, 1907
Frederick E. Scheibner was born in Germany and came to this country when but a young man. He was married to Miss Tillie Markert 38 years ago. He was a member of the M. W. A. and the R.N. A. of this city. He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Henry Steffan, of this place and two sons, George F. of this city and Edward A. of Chicago.
February 8, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
Otto Markert and friend, Mr. W. Olsson, of Chicago, visited over Sunday with the former's parents in this place.
March 1, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
William Smith and wife, who have been living on the George Markert farm, one and a half miles north of this city, left here Tuesday evening for their new home south of Joliet, where they have purchased a farm.
*March 8, 1907
Carl Markert, son of Mr. And Mrs. George Markert, went to Chicago Tuesday to have an operation performed on his right foot, to straighten same.
April 5, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
The following named were placed on the Independent ticket by petition last Monday evening -For School Inspector, George Markert
May 27, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
Otto Markert and Louis Pepenbrink - the former of Chicago and the latter of Joliet - were guests of relatives and friends here the first of the week.
June 7, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
Otto Markert came down from Chicago Sunday and spent the day in this place with relatives and friends.
July 12, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
For sale - a few fine small pigs. Enquire of George Markert
Eugene O'Heron of Joliet and Otto Markert of Chicago, are spending their summer vacation at their homes in this city.
Miss Mary Markert called on relatives and friends in Joliet Wednesday.
September 27, 1907 - Wilmington Advocate
Otto Markert, of Chicago, visited relatives here Sunday.
June 5, 1908 - Wilmington Advocate
Miss Emma Markert left here Wednesday for Beatrice Nebraska, where she will be the guest of her aunt, Mrs. T. Stoll for a few weeks.
June 19, 1908 - Wilmington Advocate
E. Donahoe, George Markert and W. J. Davy, members of the Board of Education, were in Aurora Thursday where they inspected the Kirker-Bender fire escape which is being used on the public school buildings in the city. They came back very favorably impressed with the above named life saver.
July 24, 1908 - Wilmington Advocate
Miss Emma Markert arrived at her home in this place last Sunday after a month's visit at the home of her aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth Stoll, in Beatrice, Nebraska
September 18, 1908 - Wilmington Advocate
Mr. And Mrs. Benjamin H. Conlee, of Beatrice, Neb., are spending the week in this place with relatives and friends. Mrs. Conlee is a niece of George and Miss Mary Markert, and is well and favorably known in this city, where she has visited often.
April 16, 1909 - Wilmington Advocate
George Markert, who has been quite ill the past week threatened with appendicitis, is considerable better at this writing.
May 14, 1909 - Wilmington Advocate
Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Bez - Thursday forenoon relatives and friends of Mrs. Elizabeth Bez were shocked to hear of the very sudden death of this old and well known pioneer resident at her home north of this city. The deceased had been in failing health for the past few years but had not been confined to her bed. She was sitting in her chair when the end came, and it is thought that heart disease was the cause of her death.
Mrs. Bez was aged 83 years and was born in New York where she resided until her marriage to the late Andrew Markert, when they emigrated to this State and located at Mokena. After a short residence there they moved to this place where her husband built the first brewery built in Will Co. A few years after his death Mrs. Markert was married to George Bez whose death occurred about six years ago. The deceased is survived by four children by her first husband as follows: George and Miss Mary Markert of this place, Mrs. Elizabeth Stoll, of Beatrice, Neb., and Mrs. J. L. Lins, of Joliet.
Funeral services will be held at the late residence of the deceased Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Burial in Oakwood cemetery in this city.
May 21, 1909 - Wilmington Advocate
The funeral of the late Mrs. George Bez took place Sunday afternoon, with services at the home at 2 o'clock, and was one of the largest attended funerals held in this place for some time. Rev. John Welsh, pastor of the Presbyterian Church officiated. The Misses McCune and Messrs. Richards and Luther sang a few appropriate solos. The floral offerings from relatives and friends were numerous and beautiful. The pallbearers were all grandsons of the deceased as follows: George and Edward Scheibner, Otto and Carl Markert, Carl Stoll and Geo Lins. The burial was made in Oakwood cemetery.
Mrs. Mary Heifenfijer died of diphtheria Sunday morning at her home in Joliet after an illness of less than one week. Health Commissioner Schnessler ordered the body interred at once so pursuant to his command the funeral was held on the afternoon of the day of her death. Her husband and two children survive her, and every precaution is being taken to prevent their taking the dreaded disease. The deceased was a half sister of Mrs. George Markert.
October 15, 1909 - Wilmington Advocate
Markert - Miller Nuptials - A quiet home wedding took place in Wilmington Tuesday afternoon when Miss Emma Louise Markert, only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. George Markert, became the bride of Mr. Arthur D. Miller, a business man who resides in Braidwood.
The ceremony took place at 3 o'clock in the presence of thirty near relatives and friends. Rev. J. Wellington Frizelle, presiding elder of the Kankakee M. E. Churches, a former pastor of the groom in Braidwood, officiating. The bride wore and exquisite frock of white Messaline Satin with pearl trimmings and carried white roses. There were no attendants.
After the ceremony and congratulations an elaborate three-course supper was served. The house decorations were ferns and cut flowers.
Amid a shower of rice the happy couple left in automobile for Joliet where they boarded the 6 o'clock Rock Island evening train for Chicago to spend their honeymoon, after which they will return to Braidwood, and will be at home to their friends after October 18th.
The bride was born and reared in Wilmington and is an accomplished young lady who has many friends. The groom is a prominent jewelry merchant of Braidwood. The Advocate joins with many friends in wishing them a long, happy and prosperous wedded life.
January 28, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
A. D. Miller Saturday of last week sold his branch jewelry business in this city to his brother-in-law, Carl L. Markert. Mr. Miller had established an excellent reputation for handling first-class goods. Mr. Markert intends handling the best goods in the jewelry and silverware line and will keep a large assortment of everything kept in a first-class jewelry store.
February 25, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
Miss Irma Swanson of Chicago is enjoying a two weeks visit at the home of her uncle George Markert in this place.
March 18, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
Are you aware in the course of one year the balance of your watch makes 157,680,000 revolutions. Thin of it. In time the oil gums, produces friction and wears the delicate bearings, destroying their high finish and perfect fit, thus ruining an accurate timepiece. An ordinary machine is oiled daily. Your watch should be oiled once a year. Le me examine it; an honest opinion from me will cost your nothing. Carl L. Markert.
March 25, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
Jackson & Weidling, the painters and paperhangers have about completed papering and graining the interior of Carl L. Markert's jewelry store. When the work is finished Mr. Markert will have one of the neatest places of business in Wilmington.
April 8, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
Carl Markert has had a cement signpost erected in front of his jewelry store next to this office.
Miss Florence Short, of Saunemin, Ill., after spending a few days at the home of her aunt, Mrs. George Markert, in this place, left here Monday evening for Saunemin where she was on Wednesday last married to a prominent young man of that vicinity. The bride is a sister of Miss Addie Short of this place.
April 15, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
S. E. Osburn and family took an automobile ride to Morris Sunday last where they spent the day. On their return home and when near the site of the old brewery a colt belonging to George Markert suddenly jumped from the side of the road directly in front of the machine and was so badly injured that it had to be shot.
September 9, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
Mrs. Louis Schweigart and son Fred, of Fulda, Minn. Were guests of Mr. & Mrs. George Markert in this place this week. Mrs. Schweigart is a sister-in-law of Mrs. Markert.
December 9, 1910 - Wilmington Advocate
In order to accommodate Christmas and New Year shoppers, Carl Markert, the jeweler, will in future keep his store open evenings and also Sundays until 12 pm.
Silver toilet set and manicure sets make nice Christmas presents. For sale at Markert's jewelry store.
A nice line of jewel boxes, souvenir spoons, tie-racks, book racks and mesh bags at Markert's Jewelry Store.
If you want chains, beads, necklaces, lavalears, fobs, lockets or hat pins, call at C. L. Markert's jewelry store.
Call at Markert's jewelry store and see his fine line of diamonds, watches, charms, rings, emblem goods, belt pins, shirt waist sets, bracelets, etc. A large assortment to pick from. Store open evenings until 10 p.m.
June 2, 1911 - Wilmington Advocate
Mrs. J. L. Lins, of Joliet, with a party of ten invited friends from the Stone City came to this city Sunday morning and spent the day picnicking in the George Markert grove near the site of the old brewery.
November 2, 1917 - Wilmington Advocate
A few novelties in khaki for the boys at war. - Carl Markert
Order your engraved Christmas cards now. Carl Markert has a large assortment of new samples to select from.
November 9, 1917- Wilmington Advocate
A. E. Burdo Thursday last delivered a fine new 5-passenger Buick automobile to George Markert, who purchased same a couple of weeks ago.