Fortmann, Henry

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Henry Fortmann is the anglicized name of Johannes Heinrich Joseph Fortmann. Henry was born in 1815, purchased adjacent farmland alongside Philip McGregor Rogers on the Ridge Trail (present-day Pratt Boulevard), built log cabins and undertook truck farming to provide produce to Chicago.

Henry and his family accompanied Johann Peter Schmitt and his family when they immigrated from West Rhine, Germany in 1840. The combined family properties ultimately encompassed 250 acres.

Henry Fortmann’s younger brother, Clemens August Ludwig Fortmann, born in 1824, joined him shortly, afterward and bought an adjacent parcel of land. The Fortmann brothers married sisters, Catherine and Mary Lauterman, in New Trier, IL. In 1871, at age 47, Clemens was tragically killed when a cart axle fell on him leaving his 8-1/2 month pregnant wife and 9 other children to combine with brother Henry’s wife and 6 children in their home at present day 6710 N. Seeley Avenue. This land was sold in 1910 to the Edgewater Golf Club (now Warren Park).

Henry Fortmann built the first St. Henry Church at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Devon Avenue.