Lady of the house, Elise Hilgard Romeiser, was born on a farm 4 miles outside of town in 1849. Her father, Theodore Hilgard, was of Bavarian descent and was one of the original settlers of St. Clair County. She likely lived a comfortable life, perpetuated in her marriage to Peter who was (as we mentioned before) a very successful local businessman. There is very little information on how the two met, courted, and wed.
Peter and Elise married in 1876 and went on to have nine children, six of whom had already been born when they built their stately home. An 1892 publication of ‘Portrait and Biographical Record of St. Clair County’ wrote that “everything in the home and about the grounds shows that he possesses excellent taste and is a man of refinement and culture.”
Now, the ‘he’ they are referring to is obviously Peter… but we all know that in a marriage, the man is the neck. The woman is the head, and she can turn the neck any which way she wants. Am I right? Even if it’s not mentioned, Elise was probably very involved in the design process, choosing high end fixtures, classic Victorian design elements, and simply lovely finishes.
Elise would bear 8 children over the course of 16 years, spanning 1877 to 1893. Only half would survive into adulthood… but we’ll get into that another time.
In her final years, Elise would suffer from heart trouble and hardening of the arteries. She died in the house in April 1916, only a few months before her beloved husband followed suit.
Another interesting tidbit concerning Elise’s family was that her sister, Anna, would go on to marry Edward Abend, four-time mayor of our town and a Democrat who served one term in the House of Representatives in the mid-1800s. The Abend family house is located next door.
Stay tuned as we keep posting before & afters… and definitely keep your eyes peeled for a special Halloween history post!
The Brick and Maple Fam <3