Steil Family History

From Neuerburg, Germany to Detroit, Michigan


Children of John Peter Steil:
George Peter Steil



George Peter Steil was the oldest child of John Peter Steil and Anna Ruhl.  He was born in Neuerburg, Germany on February 22, 1859. 

George immigrated to the United States in 1880.  During his first few years in Detroit, George lived in various residences and worked for different employers.  For example, the Detroit City Directory listed his occupation as a cabinet maker for D. Lynn & Co., with his residence listed in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, a city just across the river from Detroit, Michigan.  He was also listed as a cabinet maker for P P Car Co, boarding at 293 Lafayette Street.  Another entry showed him as a cabinet maker working for Clough & Warren Organ Company and living at 148 Gratiot Avenue.

His brother Valentine left Germany and came to Detroit in 1882.  His parents and four other siblings arrived in Detroit in 1884

George married Katherine Ackles at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Pullman, Illinois, on May 22, 1886.  Catherine had been living in Chicago prior to their marriage. 

Their first child, Anna, was born on January 20, 1887, in Pullman.  Anna must have died shortly after birth, although no death record has been found.  Approximately nine months later, on October 25, 1887, George Jr. was born, also in Pullman.   

Pullman was a company town on the far southeast side of Chicago.  In 1884, it had about 8,000 inhabitants.  The Pullman factory, which made Pullman railroad cars, and a few other factories were located there.  Employees lived in company provided housing (cottages), shopped in company owned stores, and their children went to company provided schools.  Living in this Utopia carried a heavy price.  After the government helped the company break a strike by workers in 1884, unions were no longer allowed.  Without a union, employees could be terminated on a moment's notice and as soon as employment ended they could be immediately evicted from their residence. 

It appears that George and his family returned to Detroit in 1889.  The Detroit City Directory does not list him for 1888.  However, he is listed in 1889 and shown living at a residence located on Mt. Elliott near Mack Avenue with his father, John Peter, and his brothers, Valentine and John Nicholas.  The 1891 directory lists the address of that home at 874 Mt. Elliott.  He was still living there in 1895.  By 1898, George and his family had moved to 1325 Canton street. 

After returning to Detroit from Illinois, George and Katherine had several more children between 1889 and 1902: Anna, William, Frank, Florence, Alice, Walter, and Marie.  Anna, William, Frank, and Florence were born when the family lived on Mt. Elliott, and the last three were born when they lived on Canton.

The 1900 census, page 1 and page 2, shows George, Katherine, and six children living at 1325 Canton.  The city directory for 1908 shows George Jr. and Anna living with George Sr. at 1325 Canton.  The occupation of George Jr. was an auto worker, and Anna was listed as a dressmaker. 

The 1910 directory lists George's sons Frank and Valentine (William) as living at 1327 Canton, and both were described as machinists.  The census for 1910 shows George and Katherine living at 1327 Canton along with their children George (machinist), Anna (dressmaker), William (machinist), Frank (stock keeper), Florence, Alice, Walter, and Marie.  The older sons worked for an automobile manufacturer.  the younger children were still in school.

The 1911 city directory says that George Peter Steil (senior) was president of the local carpenter's union.  The 1915 directory shows Frank and his brother William living at 1333 Canton, with George Jr. living at 1325 Canton. 

The 1920 census, page1 and page 2,  shows George and Catherine living at 1333 Canton with three sons: Frank, Walter, and Williams.  All three sons were working for an automobile maker.

The 1928 directory shows George living at 5415 Canton.  This may be the same home as either 1325 or 1333 Canton because street numbers changed on some street in Detroit at some point in time and so the house they lived in in 1928 may be the same as one of the prior houses but was just numbered differently.

The 1930 census shows George and Katherine living at 5415 Canton.    Living with them was their son Walter and their daughter Alice and her son Harold.

George Peter Steil died on March 10, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan.  His obituary noticed says that he was survived by his wife, all of his children, and his two sisters, Katherine Steil and Mrs. William Stephan (Anna Maria Steil).  His funeral card included two prayers, the Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer, and noted that his funeral mass was at St. Anthony church and his burial was at Mt. Olivet cemetery.  He is buried next to his wife Katherine in section 242, lot 16, and his grave marker is made of gray stone.  George and Katherine are buried on the same plot as their son Frank and his wife Catherine.

To see the descendant chart for George Steil and Katherine Ackles (4 generations), click here.  For photos of George and Katherine, click here.

George Peter Steil and Katherine Ackles

For a colorized photo of them, click here.