Archive ID: 1982-070-01

August and Annie Neubieser

Date Created: undated

Created By: Tinsley Bros. Photographers

Donor: Minnie Lightfoot

Media Type: Photograph

Language: English


A large number of photographs were donated to the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum depicting the Konyvesy/Neubieser family. This photo is of Annie and August Neubieser. Annie’s parents, Fredericka and Joe Konyvesy, were one of the earliest white families to settle in the wetlands of what would later become Southeast Chicago. The region belonged to Potawatomi Native Americans whose lands were taken from them in the 1830s through treaties with the U.S. government. Fredericka and Joe Konyvesy were German/Hungarian immigrants who moved to the shores of Wolf Lake in Hegewisch in 1859. They brought with them their two-year-old daughter Annie. The wooden cabin where they lived originally belonged to a Native American family who had abandoned it, associating it with bad luck after two children died there. Native Americans, however, returned yearly to burial sites near the cabin and taught Joe Konybesy to fur trap.

In the period during and after the Civil War, the Konyvesys made their living by farming, fishing, and trapping on Wolf Lake (and, for a time, along the Calumet River on the East Side to be closer to school for Annie and was where Annie met August). The Konyvesys also received guests from the growing city of Chicago to the north who travelled by train to stay at the family’s cabin for weekends of rowing boats and fishing. Early visitors included Mrs. Sally Todd Lincoln and her boys, who were rescued from a near drowning incident by Annie’s father, Joe Konyvesy. Annie remembered gathering wild strawberries as a young girl for Mrs. Lincoln. In 1876, Annie married August, a German immigrant shoemaker who came to live with her on squatted land along Wolf Lake. Together, they had ten children. The Neubeiser family and the widowed Grandma Konyvesy would continue to receive visitors to the lake. August and Annie’s daughter, Minnie Neubieser Lightfoot, recalled the hard work of lugging lake water to wash clothes and how they stored barrels of sauerkraut and preserved foods in a dug-out in the ground. She recalled, “My grandma could make the nicest coffee cakes. And bread. Oh, we always had plenty. The people came out there just to get the bread and stuff like my folks made. All those Hungarian fancy dishes.” Their son, Joe Neubieser, continued to make a living at the Lake by hunting and trapping muskrat and mink, renting out boats, and bee-keeping, long after the steel mills and other industry had become the dominant features of the Hegewisch area.

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