Maria Louisa (Binno) & Michael Ludwig Fischer, 1848-1929
Carl carried this baptismal certificate of his grandfather with him through his many travels around the country and the world. That it survived at all is remarkable. The tattered document was significant not only for its history, but as a pledge of faith, a testament to the abiding devotion that the immigrant Fischers had to the tenets of the Catholic Church. It motivated them to contribute to the founding of St. Mary of the Visitation Church in Kewanee and the installation of the sanctuary windows, depicting the Annunciation and Ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notably, these most breathtaking windows above the altar were donated by the Zang and Fischer families.
However, Louisa was opposed to the Catholic Church and asked Michael to convert to her church as a term of marriage. Her immigrant family were Huguenots, an ethnoreligious group of French Protestants who followed the Reformed tradition, with a long history of Catholic persecution dating back to early 16th century France. The Benno (Bennoit)-Bartz families sought refuge in the Brandenburg province of Germany, and then in Illinois.
Michael was agreeable, and Louisa bore him three sons: Karl Franz, Franz Nicolaus, and Louis Michael--Carl's father.
Michael opened a retail meat and produce store in the Fischer Building (owned by John Fischer) that sold fine food stuff and quality meat, the Fischer Bros.
Michael was a man of refined sensibilities; he brought his violin from Schaffhausen; enjoyed music and fine commodities. Carl often wondered what Louisa, whose people were Huguenot village farmers, made of the expensive jewelry and embroidered shawls her husband gave her. Nevertheless, Michael was the surviving oldest son, stable, and a leader in the township. He owned commercial property in downtown Kewanee and served as an alderman on the city council, setting policies for the burgeoning, prairie community.