Marcus Spiegel, born in 1829 near Worms, emigrated in 1848. While peddling in Ohio he met Caroline Hamlin, daughter of a prominent Quaker. They moved to Chicago where she studied Judaism and German-Jewish cooking. A board of three rabbis then convened to conduct Chicago's first Jewish conversion. Marcus and his brother Joseph were planning to start a dry-goods business when Marcus was killed while serving in the Union army. Joseph Spiegel carried on alone, starting a home furnishings company that grew into one of the country's most important mail order companies.