Pearl Tolf and a marriage certificate

Pearl May Tolf shares a New Year birthday with her uncle Peter. Pearl’s father (Peter’s brother) Frans Tolf and his wife Mathilda settled in Dixon Illinois where Pearl and five younger siblings were born.

Frans and Mathilda’s oldest child was born in 1883, which means Pearl may have fibbed about her age when she and Algernon Chastaine Porter were married in 1913:

Cite This Record: “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1968”, database, FamilySearch ( : 10 March 2018), Algernon C. Porter and Pearl M. Tolf, 19 Jul 1913.

What brought Virginia-born Algernon to Illinois, and how he and Pearl met, are still mysteries. But their marriage certificate provides some clues about Pearl’s life.

“Marriage License. State of Illinois County of Cook. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS To any Person Legally Authorized to Solemnize Marriage, GREETING:

Marriage may be Celebrated between Mr. Algernon C. Porter of Chicago, in the County of Cook and the State of Illinois, of the age of 23 years, and Miss Pearl M. Tolf, of Chicago, in the County of Cook and the State of Illinois, of the age of 25 years.

Witness, ROBERT M. SWEITZER, County Clerk of the County of Cook, and the Seal thereof, at my office in Chicago, this 19th day of July A. D. 1913. [signature of] Robert M. Sweitzer, County Clerk.

STATE OF ILLINOIS, COUNTY OF COOK } ss, I, (name of person officiating) Algernon C. Porter T. F. Dornblaser, a Minister, hereby certify that Mr. Algernon C. Porter and Miss Pearl M. Tolf, were united in Marriage by me at Chicago, in the County of Cook and State of Illinois, on the 19th day of July 1913.

A. M. Finnell, Anna May Finnell, 2438 N. Clark St.

T.F. Dornblaser, 2249 Hamilton Ct.”

According to his listing on page 378 the 1910 Chicago City Directory shown here, T. F. Dornblaser was the pastor of the Grace eng luth ch and resided at 2249 Hamilton ct.

In the front of the 1910 Chicago City Directory are church listings. Grace Lutheran Church appears on page 15, under General Synod. Northern Illinois Synod. English. The church was on the corner of Belden av. and Hamilton ct.

I didn’t have much luck on my own learning what happened to the church.

Thankfully a member of the Chicago Genealogy group on Facebook shared this image and then generously transcribed most of the article.

It seems that NewsBank and each have different editions of the Chicago Tribune. To the left is the early edition from NewsBank. There was no mention of the church in the final edition of the Trib published later the same day.

Algernon Porter died tragically before Grace Lutheran Church held it’s Golden Jubilee. It is unclear whether Algernon and Pearl divorced officially before he returned to Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains where he died.

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