Hesing, Anthony (Anton) C.

Born: 1823-01-06 Germany

Died: 1895-03-31 Chicago, Illinois

Flourished: 1854 to 1895 Chicago, Illinois

Anthony C. Hesing, businessman and politician, was born in the town of Vechta in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. He was educated locally, then following the death of both of his parents was apprenticed to a baker and brewer. Hesing gave up his apprenticeship and came to Cincinnati in 1839, where he worked as a grocery clerk and ultimately owned his own grocery business. About 1847 he built the Farmers’ Hotel in Cincinnati, which he operated until 1854, when he relocated permanently to Chicago. Hesing became a brickmaker in Chicago, first in a solo attempt that failed due to poor clay, and subsequently in a partnership that failed due to the Panic of 1857. Following the latter failure, he worked for a brief period as a commission agent and then as a water toll collector. In 1858 Hesing was appointed deputy sheriff of Cook County, and was elected sheriff of the county in 1860 and served for two years. He became a partner in the Illinois Staats Zeitung in 1862 and would go on to be the newspaper’s sole owner and editor. Politically, Hesing was first a Whig and later a Republican, and was an influential leader of German-American Republicans in Chicago. He represented Cook County at the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention and the 1860 Illinois Republican Convention, and in the latter year was commander of the newly-organized German Republican Guards, a German-American Wide Awake club in Chicago. Hesing was a supporter of Abraham Lincoln’s presidential administration and of the Union, and helped raise troops for the Union Army during the Civil War. He returned to Germany briefly in 1847, where he married Louise (Louisa) Lamping. The pair had one son.

Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men of Chicago (Chicago: Wilson & St. Clair, 1868), 203-6; Peter H. Olden, “Anton C. Hesing: The Rise of a Chicago Boss,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 35 (September 1942), 260-87; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ward 5, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, OH, 430; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 16 June 1858, 2:2; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 7, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 11; Wayne C. Temple, “Delegates to the Illinois State Republican Nominating Convention in 1860,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 92 (Autumn 1999), 291; The Press and Tribune (Chicago, IL), 9 June 1860, 1:5; The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), 1 April 1895, 1:3, 3:6-7; The Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 1 April 1895, 1:1-2; Gravestone, Saint Boniface Cemetery, Chicago, IL.