A Village with its Own Song: Vesper on the Hemlock Creek

The tiny village of Vesper in Wood County, Wisconsin engendered such good feelings among its early residents that someone penned a tribute song to the village along the Hemlock Creek. The Hemlock Creek runs from just north of Arpin and flows south to the Wood County line. It includes more than 80 miles of streams.

The Treutel family enjoys a picnic lunch on their property along the Hemlock Creek, circa 1924.
The Treutel family enjoys a picnic lunch on their property along the Hemlock Creek at Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1924. Pictured, L to R, are Elaine Treutel, Walter Treutel and Ruby Treutel. Marvin Treutel is partially hidden.

From the ashes of a massive sawmill fire in 1894, Vesper became a prosperous farming and manufacturing village 10 miles northeast of Wisconsin Rapids. Many of our relatives found work here and raised families. The village had a number of factories, general stores, a meat market, a locally owned bank, blacksmith shops, a community theater, a roller rink and more.

On warm summer days in the early 1900s, folks came from miles around to gather at the bandstand in Cameron Park. They enjoyed a variety of live music by the Vesper Cornet Band and other area musicians. It is not surprising such a place would win the hearts of its 300 residents.

The old Goldsworthy's Store in Vesper, which later became the Treutel Bros. store.
The old Goldsworthy’s Store in Vesper, which later became the Treutel Bros. store.

We don’t know the author of the Vesper song, or even the musical score. But its lyrics tell a story of how the pioneer residents believed in their little community on the winding creek. And if you need confirmation that it is a genuine Wisconsin song, just look at the pronunciation of the word “creek.” Or is that “crick?”


Vesper, Wisconsin on the Hemlock Creek

1) You can rave about your cities with their glitter and their show,

And the interesting places where people like to go

But to come to solid comfort we can show you all a trick,

Where? Vesper, Wisconsin on the Hemlock Creek

Chorus

Vesper for mine, yes it’s Vesper for mine,

She isn’t very big, but she’s the best on the line,

They can travel where they want to

But we’ll try our best to stick,

Where? Vesper, Wisconsin, on the Hemlock Creek.

2) It’s the home of dandy people and their children not a few,

It’s the home of cheese and butter and a big condensery, too,

They make drainage tile and silos, have a band and park that’re slick

Where? Vesper, Wisconsin, on the Hemlock Creek.

3) Now the people are so busy that it keeps them on the go,

So they haven’t got a bit of time to stop and watch her grow,

It’s the town where things are doing and we aim to do them quick,

Where? Vesper, Wisconsin, on the Hemlock Creek.

4) To each stranger who is seeking for a place to build his roost,

We extend an invitation to the town for which we boost,

We’ll be glad to have you with us and we know you’ll want to stick,

Where? Vesper, Wisconsin, on the Hemlock Creek.

The Vesper Cornet Band performed at the Cameron Park band shelter and other locales around Vesper, Wisconsin. Oscar, Charles and Henry Treutel were band members.
The Vesper Cornet Band performed at the Cameron Park band shelter and other locales around Vesper, Wisconsin. Oscar, Charles and Henry Treutel were band members.

Karl, Ruben and Official Proof of a Birthday

It is common knowledge to family members that Carl F. Hanneman was born on Oct. 28, 1901. But when he needed proof of that fact back in 1946, there was none to be found. On Feb. 22, 1946, Carl sent a letter and the 50-cent fee to the Wood County register of deeds, asking for a copy of his birth certificate.

Register of Deeds Henry Ebbe sent the letter back with an answer that must have shocked Carl: “There doesn’t seem to be any birth certificate for you on the above date. There is a Ruben born Oct. 21, 1901. Father Chas. and Mother Rose. Could this be yours? I am returning your 50 cents.” 

The earliest known photo of Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, born 28 Oct 1901.
The earliest known photo of Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, born 28 Oct 1901.

That set Carl off scrambling to find proof of his birth. He asked the pastor of the Moravian Church of Wisconsin Rapids for help. Carl’s parents, Charles and Rosine Hanneman, joined the Moravian Church on March 29, 1907. Church records did list Carl F’s birthdate as Oct. 28, 1901, so Moravian Minister George Westphal wrote a letter testifying to the church records. But since Carl was not baptized in the Moravian church, this record was only indirect evidence of his birth.

If Carl had turned to U.S. Census records (which were not available at the time), it might have confused the matter more. The 1910 Census lists the youngest son of Charles and Rosa Hanneman as Harold Hanneman, age 8. Carl’s first middle name is Henry, so no doubt the Census worker simply wrote it down wrong.

So what happened? It’s not clear, but we do know the record was officially corrected. Carl’s  birth certificate still shows the name Ruben and the wrong birthday, but the errors  are crossed out and replaced with the correct information. Wood County Health Officer Frank Pomainville corrected the record in red ink in 1960.