In an effort to put my family history audio recordings to better use, we’re adding a new post category: audio history. In this inaugural audio clip, my Dad shares recollections of childhood visits to Vesper and Arpin, Wisconsin. The Hanneman family from Mauston often visited Dad’s maternal grandfather, Walter Treutel (1879-1948), in Vesper. A short distance away was the home of Aunt Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1948). Listen carefully for the description of dinner preparation in Arpin, where Uncle Oscar Treutel lopped a few heads off to get things started. This was recorded in November 2006, just as Dad started treatment for the cancer that would end his life five months later.
I often heard the yarn that the Treutel family that came to Wisconsin in the 1850s was descended from royalty back in the old country. Dad would regale us with the story of the “Von Treutelers,” and he pronounced Von like the sound of “fawn.” It sounded royal. I spent more than a few research hours trying to track down the origin of this story. Yes, there were Treutelaars and Treutelers back in Germany. I found nothing to trace them or any relatives to a royal family. Until now.
While searching for something else, I was paging through a scrapbook kept by Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962), Dad’s beloved Aunt Emma from Arpin, Wisconsin. Emma was a faithful letter writer and keeper of family history. One of the pages of her scrapbook, provided to me courtesy of Bonnie (Treutel) Young, sketches out a bit of a family tree. Down in the lower right corner is a short treatise on Treutel royalty.
“The name Treutel originally was Von Treuteler,” Emma wrote. “Royalty in Germany. The name in this country goes by the name Treutel. Some Von Treuteler married out of his class in Germany and I believe lost his title or ‘Von.’ ” On another section of the page, Emma wrote: “Any persons having the name Treutel or Von Treuteler are positive relatives some way or another.”
Not exactly a certificate of royal pedigree, I realize, but an indication that the royalty story was passed through the family for some time. Back in July 1854, Johann Adam Treutel (1800-1859) brought his family to America from Darmstadt, Germany (part of the Grand Duchy of Hesse). He and his wife, Katharina (Geier) Treutel, lived at least part of their marriage in Königstädten, just north of Darmstadt near the city of Russelsheim. A rough translation of Königstädten is “king’s village.” So who was the king? Was he a Von Treuteler? That will have to be the subject of more research.
A few pages later in Emma’s scrapbook, I found another item that led me to discover another of Adam and Katherine Treutel’s children who came to America. It was an obituary clipped from the Milwaukee Journal or Milwaukee Sentinel in August 1940. The deceased was named Edward Bredel, age 67. I wondered what the connection was, and why Emma clipped this obituary.
I ran a search for the surnames of Treutel and Bredel at the FamilySearch.org web site and got a very quick answer. By looking at marriage records of a number of people, I discovered parents Christoph Bredel and Margaretha Treutel. A little more reading and I found a death record for Anna M. Treutel Bredel, with parents listed as “A. Treutel” and “Catherina T.” Looked like a match.
I had a Margaret Treutel listed as one of Johann Adam Treutel and Elizabeth Katharina (Geier) Treutel’s children. But I never found any details related to her. Until now. Margaret and Christoph Bredel had at least seven children between 1861 and 1881. It appears Margaret met Mr. Bredel when her parents came to Milwaukee sometime after July 1854. The Treutels established a number of businesses near downtown Milwaukee, including tailor, tallow chandler and blacksmith shops. Christoph Bredel was a shoemaker with a shop located at 313 State Street (now called Wisconsin Avenue). In the Civil War, he served with both the 14th and 17th Wisconsin Infantry regiments. Margaret died at age 59 on 24 April 1898 in Milwaukee. She was buried the next day at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis. Many of the original Treutel emigrants are buried in West Bend. Christoph died in January 1916. He was 83.
The discovery of Margaret’s family details puts us one step closer to filling out the history of the Treutel family that came to America from Darmstadt between 1849 and 1854. Katharina (Geier) Treutel’s obituary said she had eight children. I have eight in my database: Adam, John, Philipp, a twin of Philipp who died as an infant, Sebastian, Margaret, Henry and Peter. The only one I have no information on is Peter. Emma’s scrapbook has a notation next to his name: “Southern.” I know some Treutels settled near New Orleans, so perhaps I will find the answer there.