Forgotten Chicagoans: Adam Ochs

At the top of the building at 1178 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Noble Square is an epigraph that reads A. OCHS 1873.

Adam Ochs was born in Hesson, Germany in November 1841. He arrived in Chicago when he was 11 years old. He married Sophia Michels in 1864 and had 3 children with her.

It was out of this building that he ran a liquor business. Oddly enough, records have him at 622 Milwaukee (952 N. Milwaukee today) from 1873-77 and then 834 Milwaukee (1176 N. Milwaukee today). Neither quite matches with today’s address, so these inconsistencies remain a mystery. I’m guessing it took four years to build the building.

More notably, Ochs was a member of the Cook County Board from 1883-1885. He was President of the board in his final year. In grand Chicago tradition, two years later, he became one of 32 people (including eight County Commissioners and the rest ex-Commissioners, Wardens contractors and merchants) accused of defrauding the county. He and four others ended up serving two years in jail in Joliet from 1888-90.

Sadly, Ochs was killed on January 20, 1892 after being hit by a train at Kinzie and May Streets. The train workers who witnessed the accident said he was being careless. The family disputed this and a coroner’s jury soon found the railroad company was at fault because of a gate malfunction. He is buried at Rosehill Cemetery.

Unfortunately, all of his sons died within the next decade as well, likely from illness. The family remained here until just after the turn of the century.

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