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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Kate's Brief History


Kate Gingold Host
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Furniture Makers and Undertakers in Holland’s 1886 Directory

It was common for craftsmen who built furniture to also provide coffins and the Holland’s Directory listed two men in Naperville: Charles Babst and Frederick Long. 

The mass production of furniture was just beginning, so stores might offer both ready-made and hand-crafted items as well as furniture repair or other fine woodworking. Coffins were a natural offshoot of the woodworking business and providing funeral services was an added source of income. 

I’ve written about Frederick Long before, but here’s a review:    

Long started his career in cabinet-making in 1857. By 1861, he was operating his own workshop and had added undertaking by 1870. In 1861, he married Amelia Beidelman and they had one son, Charles, who only lived until the age of thirty and left no children from his brief marriage. 

Amelia’s nephew, Oliver Beidelman, worked for Uncle Fred and eventually acquired the business. He and his son, “Dutch” replaced the old frame building on the corner of Washington Street and Jackson Avenue with an impressively large brick building. Adjoining the building to the north was a space where funerals were held and you can still see the arched windows of the chapel on the second and third floors. 

The Beidelman’s Furniture business continues to be run by the family and still occupies the corner building. The funeral business is now helmed by a different branch of the family with two Beidelman-Kunsch locations in Naperville. 

Babst’s shop was on the corner of Main and Jackson, which is now the parking lot for Dean’s Clothing. Holland’s says that Babst has been in business “a long time” and has “a fine hearse,” but doesn’t detail when the business started. As Babst was a younger man than Long, no doubt he had less experience. The Babst family is buried in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery and the Longs are buried in the Naperville Cemetery, so apparently Charles Babst specialized in Catholic funerals. 

Long seems to have been a savvy businessman. He formed a partnership with James Nichols and John Kraushar to launch the Naperville Lounge factory in 1893. They hired a young clerk named Peter Kroehler who eventually also became a partner and then the sole owner in 1916. The Kroehler Furniture Company was a major employer in Naperville for many years. Technically, that company closed in the 1980s, but the name continues to be used with other manufacturers.

Babst also married, to Catherine Bauer of Alsace, France. They had eight children together. Two little girls, Mary and Cecilia, died of scarlet fever in 1887. Edward was a victim of the Spanish Flu and died in 1918 at Great Lakes Naval Base where he was serving during World War I. 

Two other sons also served in that war, August and Julius, and both returned home. Julius was around forty when he went overseas and it was not the first war for him as an army chaplain. The Naperville Clarion published many articles celebrating Father Babst. 

A third son, George, was married to Mayme Kennedy in Los Angeles with his brother, the chaplain, officiating. Mayme died in her forties of a cerebral thrombosis and there is no evidence she and George had children. 

Daughters Rose and Anna remained in Naperville with their parents. They seem to have been musical. Anna taught piano and both were involved in theatrical productions in town. During that time, Rose advertised for a position as an “experienced children’s nurse” so they kept busy, but neither one ever married. 

Mother Catherine passed away in 1903 and soon after Charles sold his “3-story stone building.” An advertisement in an 1908 issue of The Clarion tells that Babst offered his funeral ““paraphernalia and good will for sale. A good opening for a Catholic.” 

Where the family went from there has been difficult to trace. Tidbits in the Clarion tell of travels to Kankakee, Springfield, Colorado, and other places so it seems they liked to travel. 

The 1910 census has father Charles living in Naperville with Rose, Anna, Edward, and August. In 1924, the Clarion says that Capt. Chaplain Bapst was visiting his father and family, so they must still be living in town, but the 1930 census records Charles, Rose, and Anna in New London, Connecticut. In the 1940 census, Julius is living at the Fort Lewis Military Reservation in Pierce, Washington, with father Charles, now 89 years old, and his sisters Rose and Anna, both in their fifties. 

Charles Bapst passed away in 1941 and his son Julius followed in 1943. George was already living in California and his sisters soon moved to California as well. George died in 1951, but the sisters continued to live in Santa Clara until the 1980s. Anna died in 1984 at the age of 94 while Rose lived to be 100, passing away in 1988. All of the family is buried in Naperville in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, save George’s wife. 

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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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