Search billions of records on


Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 551-552

CAPT. JOHN UNOLD, who is now living a retired life in La Grange, is one of the honored veterans of the late war, who followed the Old Flag in  defense of the   Union for about three years and faithfully aided in securing the victory that made the United States inseparable. He was born in Germany on the 29th of November, 1829, and is a son of George and Elizabeth (Brechiesen) Unold.  The family numbered six children, four sons and two daughters, as follows: George and David, both now deceased; Christopher, who is the owner of a factory for the manufacture of wooden-ware in Germany; Elizabeth, who is still living in the Fatherland; and Mary, now deceased. George Unold was a millwright by trade, and in Germany he spent his entire life, as did the mother of our subject.

The Captain was born and reared in his native village, and attended the public schools of Germany until thirteen years of age, when he was bound out for a three-years apprenticeship to the harness-maker's trade. He then traveled through Germany for three years, working at that occupation, and in 1849, when a young man of twenty years, he crossed the broad Atlantic to America on a sailing-vessel, which after six weeks upon the bosom of the Atlantic dropped anchor in the harbor of New York City. He made his first location  in Newark, N. J., where he worked at his trade for two years. He then went to New Haven, Conn., where he spent the four succeeding years of his life, and in 1855 removed to Chicago. For two years he was there employed as a harness-maker, after which he went to Fullersburg, DuPage County, where he started a shop of his own and engaged in business until 1861. He also carried on a general store at that place, and was Postmaster of Fullersburg for a time, but in 1862 he disposed of his business interests in order to enter the service of his adoped [sic] country.

Mr. Unold had watched with interest the progress of events and saw that the war was to be no holiday affair; so, prompted by patriotic impulses, on the 15th of August, 1862, he became a private of Company D, One Hundred and Fifth Illinois Infantry. Before he was mustered into service, which event took place at Dixon, he was transferred to Company I, and became Second Sergeant. The first active engagement in which he participated was at Frankfort, Ky. He afterwards took part in the battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Cassville, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek and Clintonville. He was wounded in the left ankle by a shell at the battle of New Hope Church, but did not go to the hospital. At Atlanta, he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant, and was mustered out as Captain. He received his discharge June 15, 1865, for the war was then practically over, and the preservation of the Union an assured fact.

Capt. Unold at once returned to his home in Fullersburg, where he established another harness shop, which he carried on until 1868, when he came to La Grange, and opened a general store. He carried on business along that line until 1887, when he sold out and has since lived retired. He was successful in his business dealings and thereby acquired a comfortable competence, which now enables him to enjoy the rest which he has so truly earned and richly deserves. He now owns considerable real estate in La Grange.

On the 5th of February, 1852, Capt. Unold was united in marriage to Miss Martha Hoppach. Unto them have been born nine children, namely: Willemanie, now deceased; Lewis, who holds the position of book-keeper in his brother's store in La Grange; George, who  carries   on a large general merchandise establishment in Grange; Julia, deceased; Amelia,  wife of Edward Tillotson, who is living  in Michigan; Ottilda,  widow of Samuel Clifford; and Amanda, Louisa and Sherman, all of whom have now passed away.

In politics, Capt. Unold is a supporter of the Republican party, and from 1869 until 1875 he served as Postmaster of La Grange.   He was seventeen years one of its School Directors, and did effective service in the cause of education, proving a capable officer.  Socially,  he is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic. He came to this country a poor boy and has made all that he possesses by his own careful business management, his thrift and enterprise.  His life has been well and worthily spent, and  he  has achieved a success  which  now enables him to spend his declining years surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.

— Submitted by Sherri Hessick on February 26, 2002

DISCLAIMER:  The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.