On Aug. 6, 1850, Gottlieb Wilhelm Rendlen, age 25, married Anna Katharina Schumacher in Evangelisch, Bernhausen, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany. Five years later, the 30-year-old physician opened his medical office on the north side of Bird Street in Hannibal, between the levee and Second (Main) Street, and with his wife, opened a saloon at the same location.

On Aug. 6, 1850, Gottlieb Wilhelm Rendlen, age 25, married Anna Katharina Schumacher in Evangelisch, Bernhausen, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany. Five years later, the 30-year-old physician opened his medical office on the north side of Bird Street in Hannibal, between the levee and Second (Main) Street, and with his wife, opened a saloon at the same location.

The impact of this young couple’s decision to relocate to this small hamlet on the banks of the Mississippi River continues to ripple, as descendants are numerous, representing some of the most prominent surnames in Hannibal’s history, including but not limited to Rendlen, Schanbacher, Glenn and Schnizlein.

Civil War

The young couple and their already growing family was most certainly impacted by the divide in loyalties that existed in the years just preceding the Civil War. As they lived and worked just doors to the east of Hannibal’s primary business district, the presence of secession sentiment among the populace, and the presence of Union soldiers stationed to protect the government’s interest of the river port and fledgling railroads, served as a disruption to every-day commerce. Businesses failed as the economy tanked, and the town’s population dwindled from 10,000 pre-war down to 6,000 during the early war years.

Dr. Rendlen answered the call to fight for his new country, serving 15 months with the 3rd Mo. Volunteer Infantry.

Widowhood

Catherine became a widow upon the death of her husband in 1876. She forged ahead with her role as saloon keeper, and in that manner supported her family.

In 1880, she was living at 106 S. Main with four of her children, including the two youngest, Theodore, age 13, and Katie, age 15.

Fires

Between 1880 and the turn of the century, at least three fires in Hannibal affected the family’s means of making a living.

1884: A fire at the southwest corner of Main and Broadway burned two large frame buildings to the ground. The building to the west was the jewelry store of R.E. Lackner, owned by Joseph J. Johnson. The building facing Main Street was owned by Mrs. Catherine Rendlen, who carried adequate insurance to ensure her financial recovery. Her family lived on the second floor at 106 S. Main. This fire may have been the catalyst for the family’s move westward to the Lindell and Market Street area, both to live and conduct business.

1893: The Hannibal Railway Co., was located at 300 Market St., on the north side of the street near the Gordon/Lindell Avenue junction. Next door to the west at 306 and 308 Market, was William Lackner’s grocery store. He was also a watch maker and jeweler. The next building to the west at 310-312 Market, the grocery and feed store operated by W.C. Rendlen. That building was later renumbered 2226-2228 Market. (That location would later be the site for the Kroger grocery store.)

Sometime after the fire downtown nine years prior, W.C. Rendlen had equipped himself with his own fire hose. So when the roof of the neighboring street car sheds caught on fire in late August 1893, and threatened the Lackner grocery store next door, Rendlen was ready. The west side fire department was alerted immediately, but by the time firefighters arrived, Rendlen had the fire under control.

1895: A fire was discovered on the roof of A.E. Rendlen’s saloon, 103 Lindell Ave., at 2:45 a.m. in January 1895, and was extinguished before the fire could reach the interior of the building. Unfortunately, water flooded the building, and the stock and fixtures were badly damaged. The building was owned by Albert’s brother-in-law, William Schanbacher.

Motherhood

Catherine Rendlen told the census enumerator in 1900 that she had given birth to 12 children, but that only five were still living.

The Rendlen children living at the time of her death in 1902 were:

• Lydia Marie Rendlen Schanbacher, 1848-1924 (born in Germany). Lydia married Wilhelm Schanbacher in January 1870 in Marion County.

• William Carl Rendlen, 1852-1918 (born in New York State). William married Albertine Ziegler in September 1873 in Marion County.

• Albert Rendlen 1860-1914.

• Catherine A. (Katie) Rendlen Schnizlein, born 1865. Catherine A. Rendlen first married John S. Glenn, who died in 1898. She married John A. Schnizlein.

• Theodore G. Rendlen 1866-1919. He married Miss Alice Bently in April 1892.

(FYI: Records provided by Donna Brown of Mt. Olivet Cemetery show that Catharine had W. G., Albert (son), and Theodore (son) moved from Old Baptist Cemetery.  The date of burial at Mt. Olivet is May 22, 1891, for all of them.)

Rendlen house

The large multi-story house located at 2314-16 Market, (earlier known as 318 Market) to the west of the Gordon/Market intersection, was the home to Catherine A. Rendlen and various members of her family from 1888 until after Mrs. Rendlen’s death in 1902.

Mary Lou Montgomery is a writer, speaker and researcher with a specialty in history. She is the former editor of the Courier-Post.