“Stentorian Voice.” Of all the notations in the Mauston High School yearbooks of David D. Hanneman, those two words truly stand out. In the “Report of Condition of the Students of Mauston High School” in 1950, David Hanneman’s asset is listed as “stentorian voice.” Not a common adjective, “stentorian” means “of powerful voice.” It can also mean “booming” and “loud.” No doubt the years 1947-51 were stentorian years for Hanneman, for he and his singing buddies at MHS earned accolades and medals for their singing.
Mauston High School at the time was known for its quality vocal and instrumental music programs. The boys’ double quartet or octette was among the highest profile examples of that quality. The barbershop group regularly competed at the state level in competition sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA).
The group included Hanneman and Roger Quick at second bass, Bob Jagoe and Dick Shaw at first bass, Clayton “Ty” Fieneand Bob Beck at first tenor, and Alan Banks and Arthur Volling at second tenor. Self-dubbed the “State Men” for annual appearances in competition, the group had its own cartoon likeness drawn into the Mauston High School yearbook, The Hammer.
In the many WSMA competitions, David Hanneman also sang bass solos, duets and mixed quartets and double quartets. According to one of the judge’s score cards, a Mauston quartet was rated “excellent” for tone, “good” for intonation and “good” for technique. Another judge rated Hanneman “excellent” for his bass solo and noted “maturity of quality” as his greatest singing asset. Hanneman kept the dozens of medals he won at these competitions for many decades after high school.
Singing wasn’t Hanneman’s only musical interest, however. He played the trumpet for a time and was in the Mauston public school band. He appeared in numerous parades playing the bass drum for the band.
David got his love of song from his mother, Ruby V. Hanneman. As a youngster, Ruby often performed onstage at theaters in Wisconsin Rapids. The Hanneman home in Mauston had a beautiful pump organ and a Victrola record player with a large collection of music. Later in life he appeared in a number of community musicals and sang in the choir at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. His deep voice could carry the entire parish in song, with enough volume to almost lift the church off its foundations.
United States Marine Cpl. Almeron A. Freeman was scheduled to finish his three-year military service in just a matter of months. After nearly 1½ years in Korea with the 1st Marine Division, Freeman was headed for California aboard a U.S. Navy transport in March 1955. He never made it home. The Douglas R6D airplane slammed into a mountain peak on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. All 66 aboard were killed.
My father, David D. Hanneman, played football with Freeman at Mauston High School. Although Freeman was a year behind Dad in school, he was the same age. Freeman played left guard and wore No. 64 during the 1950 season. Dad played left tackle and wore No. 66. They were both muscular and athletic. Freeman’s death left a deep impression on Dad. In 2006, when planning the Mauston High School Class of 1951’s 55th reunion, Dad made sure Freeman’s photo was included in the program.
Freeman enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 27, 1952, directly after his graduation from Mauston High School. He was an infantry rifleman with the First Marine Division. He landed for duty in Korea just four months after an armistice ended Korean War combat and began a tense “peace” along the 38th Parallel.
At the end of his tour, he flew from South Korea to Tokyo, then to Hickam Field on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Just after 6 p.m. on March 21, 1955, Freeman was onboard a U.S. Navy R6D transport that left Hickam for Travis Air Force Base in California. Some 3½ hours into the flight, the plane developed radio problems and turned back for Oahu. Just after 2 a.m. on March 22, the plane was seen roaring low over the Navy’s Lualualei ammunition depot. Marine Pfc. Joseph T. Price, on guard duty at Lualualei, said the pilot turned on the landing lights and discovered the plane was headed straight into the Wai’ane Mountains. At the last second, the plane made a hard right, but slammed into the mountain about 200 feet below the tip of Pali Kea Peak. The explosion “lit up like daylight for about a minute,” Price said.
The resulting fire was so hot that it took rescuers nearly two hours to get close enough to confirm there were no survivors. The 66 killed included nine Navy crewmen and 57 passengers: 17 U.S. Air Force, four Navy, 12 Marines, 22 U.S. Army and two civilians (a mother and her baby daughter). It was the worst air disaster in Hawaii’s history. The U.S. Military Air Transportation System, which operated the flight, had flown 1.12 million passengers and crossed the Pacific nearly 42,000 times between January 1951 and March 1955 with no fatalities. The crash was caused by crew error. The plane was 8 miles off course when it struck the mountain.
Almeron Arthur Freeman was born February 3, 1933 in Dresbach Township, Minnesota, the son of Irvin M. Freeman and the former Lilah Jenks. Prior to 1940, the family moved from Houston County, Minnesota to Mauston. Irvin worked as a service station attendant. In addition to being a starting guard on the football team, Almeron was a member of the highly rated Mauston boxing team.
He came from a proud family military tradition. His great-grandfather and namesake, Almeron Augustus Freeman, served in the Civil War with the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. The battery served under General William Tecumseh Sherman and General Ulysses S. Grant at the battle of Vicksburg, the battle of Port Gibson and later in defense of New Orleans. The elder Freeman later married and became a river pilot moving lumber on the waterways of Wisconsin.
Marine Cpl. Freeman was buried May 17, 1955 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. Due to the nature of the crash and fire, the remains of 40 service members were buried in a group grave site containing nine caskets. A memorial service for Freeman was held at Mauston High School on May 15, 1955.
The tragedy of the March 1955 air crash extended beyond the immediate victims and their families. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marion “Billy” Shackleford was scheduled to be on that flight, but because he forgot his travel papers, he was denied boarding. He was spared the fate of the 66 crash victims and returned home to Alabama to report for a new assignment. On April 19, 1955, the car he was driving was hit head-on by a Trailways Bus. He was killed instantly. His father, working on a nearby construction job, witnessed the accident. Like Freeman, Sgt. Shackleford was the great-grandson of a Civil War veteran.
Some of the earliest documentation of a Hanneman-Treutel relative in America — dated 1855 — has been discovered in the archives of the Walworth County, Wisconsin Circuit Court. John Frederick Krosch, just a year from stepping off the boat from Saxony, filed his declaration of intent to become a United States citizen on November 5, 1855 before the county court in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Krosch made the declaration on behalf of himself and his wife, Christiana. The declaration document says Krosch intended to become a U.S. citizen and that he “renounced forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to William Frederick, King of Prussia.” The document was found in the court archives, held at the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Johann Friedrich Krosch was born in 1799 in the Kingdom of Saxony, which today is part of Germany. In 1854, he brought his wife Christiana and children Charles, Augustus, Reinhold, Henrietta (grandmother of Ruby V. Treutel Hanneman) and Gustave to America.
The Krosch family landed at New York on July 21, 1854 and headed for Milwaukee. The eldest boys established farms at Lake Beulah near East Troy in Walworth County. John Frederick Krosch may have initially lived in Walworth County to help his boys get their farms started, considering that he filed his citizenship declaration in Walworth County.
By 1860, the elder Krosch had his own farm near Mukwonago in nearby Waukesha County. The 1860 U.S. Census lists the youngest Krosch boys, Reinhold and Gustave, as laborers on their father’s 80-acre farm. Plat records from 1873 show the Krosch farm in Section 23 of the Town of Mukwonago, just a few miles from where his daughter Henrietta Treutel lived with her husband, Philipp Treutel.
Krosch farmed at Mukwonago for more than a decade. We don’t know much about his later years. He died on August 7, 1876 at age 77. He is buried among the settlers of Mukwonago at Oak Knoll Cemetery, a short distance from where his farm once stood.
His wife Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch moved to Elmore, Minnesota after being widowed. The 1880 U.S. Census lists her living on the farm of her son, William F. Krosch. She died on December 3, 1884. She is buried near three grandchildren at Dobson Schoolhouse Cemetery in Elmore.
FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
The grave of Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch at Elmore, Minnesota.
Frederick Krosch’s farm was in Section 23 on this 1870 Mukwonago-area map.
John Frederick Krosch’s grave at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.