All posts by Joe Hanneman

Professional writer, history sleuth and lover of family. "I don't live in the past, but it's a great place to visit."

Martin Hannemann’s $2.68 Tax Bill for 1868

We have further evidence that our earliest Hanneman ancestor to come to Wisconsin went by the name “Martin” rather than his given legal name of Matthias.

The 1868 tax roll for the Town of Grant in Portage County says Martin Hannemann had property with an assessed value of $49.00. On that amount, he paid a tax of 98 cents for the school district, 66 cents for the township and 62 cents in other local taxes. His total tax bill was $2.26.

This is at least the third piece of evidence that Matthias Hannemann was known by the name Martin. On the 1870 U.S. Census he is listed as “Mart Hannemann. His name was also listed as Martin in a newspaper obituary for one of his children.

The tax document also establishes that Matthias was in America as early as 1868. We have yet to locate documentary evidence of his emigration from Kreis Regenwalde, Pomerania. We know two of his daughters came to Wisconsin in 1861.

[Update: Since this post was originally published, we found the 1866 emigration records for Matthias (Martin) Hannemann]

Hanneman Homestead Part of Brewery Complex

An oft-repeated story told of a tunnel that ran from the basement of the Carl F. Hanneman home in Mauston under Winsor Street to the property of Dr. J. Samuel Hess Jr. A new book refutes the old tunnel story, but shows how the Hanneman home was originally part of the Mauston Brewery complex.

A book by Mauston resident Richard D. Rossin Jr. tells a fascinating story of the Mauston Brewery, which produced fine German suds at 451  Winsor Street from 1868 to 1916. The brewery operated where the former Hess home now stands, up the hill from the Lemonweir River. The home at 22 Morris Street was built by then brewery owner Charles F. Miler around 1893.

There have been many variants of the tunnel story. One tale said that the tunnel was used during Prohibition to secretly move moonshine from the old brewery across the street for distribution. Another was that the tunnel was used by Charles Miller to get to work in bad weather.

A plat map shows the location of the Mauston Brewery in relation to homes on Morris and Winsor Streets.
A plat map shows the location of the Mauston Brewery in relation to homes on Morris and Winsor Streets.

The late Juneau County historian Merton Eberlein, who lived at 27 Morris Street, once wrote that the tunnel story was a myth. “My home has been on the corner of Winsor and Morris since 1904 and I believe I am capable of saying, ‘It ain’t so,’ ” the book quotes Eberlein as saying. “If a tunnel existed, I certainly would have been aware of it, as I knew every nook and cranny of both the Hanneman home and the old brewery.” Eberlein and his father both worked in the brewery.

Rossin recounts visiting the Hanneman home in the 1970s and asking Ruby Hanneman to show him where the tunnel was. She led him into the pantry on the south side of the kitchen and showed him a trap door that led down to a large cistern.

Many of Carl and Ruby Hanneman’s grandchildren might remember a different location for the entrance to the tunnel. On the west side of the kitchen was a doorway and staircase that led to the basement of the home. On the north wall of the basement was a large archway, similar to those found in the basement under the Hess home. The arch had been bricked over at some point. The bricks that filled in the archway did not match those of the arch, or the large limestone blocks that made up the foundation.

This Sunburn fire map shows the various structures that made up the Mauston Brewery.
This Sunburn fire map shows the various structures that made up the Mauston Brewery.

Eberlein said the tunnel would have been impossible, since a ridge of hard blue sandstone ran down the center under Winsor Street. When city water was installed around 1915, three contractors tried to blast through the rock along the street with no luck, Eberlein wrote.

There is an explanation for the archway, even if it wasn’t the tunnel of family lore. Charles Miller might have had his own brew cellar, similar to those built underneath the brewery. The book has photographs of the brew cellars that still exist under the old Hess home, which was built on the brewery foundation in 1928. A brew cellar would not have extended anywhere near Winsor Street, yet would have been big enough to hold Miller’s own personal stock of beer or other beverages.

Such a feature would not have been unheard of for the owner of a brewery. We know there is a large cistern built under the south side of the property. There was also a well drilled just to the left of the back porch, according to a hand-drawn property map left behind by Charles Miller’s widow, Frederica Miller Sheridan. She said the well was 22 feet deep. A stone was placed over the well casing when it was decommissioned. “When Miller had it built, he had all the best materials put in the house, even the cellar,” Mrs. Miller wrote.

According to Eberlein, the Millers drew water from the cistern via a pump to use in their laundry, which was located in what was later the pantry. A butlery was located just off the kitchen, used for serving the table in the dining room. The huge stone blocks used to build the basement were hewn at the quarry at Lemonweir Mills. 

The Mauston Brewery remains an interesting part of city history.
The Mauston Brewery remains an interesting part of early city history.

According to plat maps detailed in the book, there was once a bottling house located northeast of the Miller home. The bottling house had to be located across the street from the brewery, as brewery regulations prohibited bottling operations on brewery property. So beer was put in barrels, taxed, and then moved to the bottling works near the Miller house.

Myrtle Price bought the Miller house in 1932 and made extensive changes to the inside. Carl Hanneman rented the home from Mrs. Price for 11 years until her death in 1947. He continued making rent payments to her estate before purchasing the home in the 1950s. Mrs. Price was the widow of Clinton G. Price, the Juneau County district attorney who was assassinated in their home in April 1930.

The old Hanneman home is again for sale, with a listing price of $117,000. The Carl F. Hanneman estate sold the home for $18,000 in the early 1980s. The house has been completely renovated with maplewood floors, a new kitchen and a permanent addition where the back porch had been.

Rossin’s book is a fascinating piece of Mauston history, with significant references to the Hanneman family. The book costs $15 including shipping. You can send payment to: Richard D. Rossin Jr.,  P.O. Box 34, Mauston, WI 53948. Rossin can also be reached by e-mail.

— This post has been updated with additional images.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Remarkable Photos Show 4 Generations of Hannemans

Two newly discovered photographs show four generations of Hannemans, starting with Christian Hanneman, who came to America in 1882. The photographs were supplied by Richard Swanson, grandson of Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987).

One of the photographs shows Arthur J. Hanneman and his then-infant son, James A. Hanneman; along with family patriarch Christian Hanneman and Art’s father, Charles F. A. Hanneman. Christian Hanneman is identified in the photographs as Cristofer. The other photograph shows Frank H. Hanneman and baby daughter Dorothy. The photos date to approximately 1917.

Four Generations 2

Carl Hanneman Played Football for Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln

A recently discovered copy of the 1921 yearbook “Ahdawagam” from Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School revealed that Grandpa Carl Henry Frank Hanneman played right end for the Lincoln varsity football team.

Carl was one of 10 young men on the first string football team that opened season on September 18,

1920 at Wisconsin Rapids. It was an up-and-down season as the Rapids team racked up a 4-3 record. Highlights included a 39-0 victory over New Lisbon and a 28-0 win at Stevens Point. The team took a 56-0 drubbing at the hands of Antigo and suffered a 26-6 loss to Merrill.

Carl was one of the smaller members of the team, but that did not reflect his playing ability. “What he lacked in size he surely made up for in playing,” the yearbook said. “Carl was right there when it came to breaking up end runs. Often he would run in and stop the opponents’ play before they had got well started.”

One thing Carl did not have that his teammates did was a nickname. Other young men on the team had nicknames such as “Cyclone,” “Butch,” “Tubby,” “Kid” and “Murphy.” Carl did not have a football nickname, but he did have the nickname “Oswald” next to his high school senior portrait. We’re not sure what to make of that one.

Earliest Hanneman Photo Shows Christian and Amanda

Until recently, the earliest Hanneman ancestor for whom we had photographic evidence was Charles Hanneman (1866-1932), father of our own Carl Henry Frank Hanneman. A newly discovered photo now takes us one generation earlier, to Christian Friedrich August

Hanneman (1833-1919) and his wife, Amanda Auguste Bertha Henriette (Ladwig) Hanneman (1828-1908).

We previously had no photos of Amanda, and only a distant view of Christian on the farm of his son, Albert. The new formal portrait of the couple means we now have photographs of relatives who date as early as 1828. That puts us within one generation of the earliest known Hanneman ancestor, Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879). 

Christian and Amanda Hanneman were the last of the Matthias Hannemann clan to emigrate to America from Pomerania. They arrived in New York in late November 1882 aboard the steamship Katie. They settled in the Town of Grant, Portage County, Wis.

©The Hanneman Archive

Tragedy in the Woods: Couple Murdered, Burned

It was supposed to be a winter camping trip in the woods of northern Minnesota. Rosina and Ernest planned to spend the winter in a cabin and  improve their health in the fresh, cold air. But the trip ended in tragedy as the husband and wife were murdered and their cabin set ablaze.

The sensational crime rocked the tiny town of Allen Junction, Minnesota in early February 1911. Rosina (Ostermann) Newman and her second husband, Ernest Newman, had not been seen for two weeks. Bert Sopher, telegraph operator for the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad, traveled 7 miles into the woods to the Newmans’ camp to check on them. He found the terrible sight, with the couple dead and their shack burned to the ground.

The immediate theory was that the couple were killed as part of a robbery, then the fire set to cover up the crime. When they left home in Minneapolis on Nov. 19, 1910, they carried with them $200 in silver and gold. Each also had a gold watch and heavy gold rings. They were last seen alive Jan. 28, 1911 by J.E. St. George. Mr. St. George had paid the Newmans $55 to care for his home and barns.

Two of Mrs. Newman’s sons, William and Charles Lawrence, rushed from Minneapolis to Allen Junction to investigate the murders. No one had noticed any suspicious characters in the area. The investigation was no doubt hampered by the rural crime site, and the fact the Newmans never visited Allen Junction except for supplies.

St. Louis County Deputy Coroner Henry G. Seeley set the date of death at Feb. 8, 1911. He listed the cause of death only as “murdered and burned.” There was some talk that the couple had befriended a trapper who might have been the murderer. But the crime was never solved.

The former Sarah Rosina Ostermann married Ernest Newman on Dec. 23, 1899.  She had five sons and two daughters by her first husband, Charles Simmons Lawrence, who died in 1904. She was the aunt of Rosine Bertha Henrietta (Ostermann) Hanneman of Grand Rapids, Wisconsin.

©The Hanneman Archive

Ostermann Family Traced to St. Bernhard, Thuringia

The Ostermann family of Wood and Portage counties is one of the Hanneman-related lines still shrouded in some mystery. But we’re getting a much clearer picture thanks to research by an Ostermann descendant from Madison.

The Ostermann family is related to the Hannemans primarily through Rosine Bertha Henrietta (Osterman) Hanneman, the mother of Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982). She was the daughter of John Christian Ostermann (1844-1887).

According to new research done by Chris Bartosh of Madison, the Ostermann family originated in St. Bernhard, a small rural village in the German state of Thuringia. Thuringia is known as the “green heart of Germany” for its heavy forests. St. Bernhard, with a current population of 275, is about 75 miles northeast of Frankfurt, Germany.

Like the Hannemann family in the village of Zeitlitz in Pomerania, the Ostermanns were long established in St. Bernhard and surrounding villages. The patriarch of the Wisconsin family was Johann George Ostermann (1817-1894), the father of John Ostermann. The church register has listings for his father, Johann Martin Ostermann (1766-1844) and mentions his grandfather, Nikolaus Ostermann.

The Ostermanns had lived in Beinerstadt, a village less than a mile north of St. Bernhard. Johann Martin and his father Nikolaus were both born in Beinerstadt.

Johann George Ostermann’s occupation in St. Bernhard is listed in the church register as a “webermeister,” or the foreman in weaver’s shop.

George Ostermann, his wife Dorothea Frederica, and their four children applied for permission to emigrate to America in February 1852. On June 4, 1852, the family arrived in New York City aboard the brig Charles and Edward. The journey took 44 days from Bremen to New York. From there they headed west for Wisconsin.

The 1855 Wisconsin state census lists the George Ostermann family as living in the Town of Norway, Racine County. They lived in the Village of Wind Lake until 1858. By 1860, the family had moved, settling in the Town of Linwood, Portage County.

As a result of this new research, we have more surnames to add to the family database, including Popp, Schad and Zehner. Like the Hanneman family, the Ostermanns eventually dropped the second “n” from their last name.

Rare Photo of Family Pioneer Charles F.C. Hanneman

A remarkable photo recently surfaced showing a tie-clad, suspender-wearing Charles Frederick Christian Hanneman, one of the pioneers of the Hanneman family of north central Wisconsin.

The color photograph, which appears to date to the late 1920s, shows an aging Charles Hanneman wearing his Sunday best. He appears to be standing next to some kind of canal that was used for swimming.Charles Hanneman

The photo was supplied by Tim Swanson, one of Charles Hanneman’s great-grandchildren who descends from Charles’ son, Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987). Charles was also the father of Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982), Arthur Hanneman (1893-1965) and Frank Hanneman (1895-1947).

It is an important visual clue to the life of this Pomeranian immigrant who came to America at age 16 and built a new life for himself in and around Grand Rapids (now called Wisconsin Rapids).

For a retrospective on the life of Charles Hanneman (1866-1932), read this 2008 article from The Hanneman Archive.

Hannemann, Geh Du Voran! That (in)famous German Saying

Hannemann, geh Du voran! Type that German phrase into any search engine and it will return a mass of entries that make reference to this old saying. One of the more recognizable sayings among German-speaking Europeans uses the Hannemann surname. Pretty exciting, huh?

Not so fast.

As it turns out, the phrase isn’t exactly a compliment. This particular Hannemann, and the other men in the folklore story, are looked at with derision, although perhaps with a bit of envy.

To understand this infamous Hannemann reference, you have to look back a few centuries at an old folk tale about seven Swabian soldiers (die sieben Schwaben). Versions of this tale are said to date to the early 16th century. The Brothers Grimm published their own version in the 1800s.

The lightly armed sieben Schwaben set out into the world and encountered dangers along the way. At one point, they came across what they feared was a hideous beast (but in reality was just a common rabbit). Not wanting to face the menacing animal, one Swabian after the other insisted that the soldier Hannemann step forth to the head of the line.

Hannemann, geh Du voran! Du hast die gröβten Stiefel an, Daβ Dich das Tier nicht beiβen kann. “Hannemann, go forward! You have the biggest boots on, so the animal won’t bite you!” Here the Swabians are showing their inherent cowardice in the face of imagined danger.

In the folk-tale version penned by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the sieben Schwaben venture into the world armed with a single spear to protect them. The bravest man was said to be in front. Hearing a beetle or hornet fly by his head, the now-frightened leader jumps a nearby fence. He lands on the teeth of a rake, and the handle smacks him in the head. “I surrender! I surrender!” he shouts.

The bumbling Swabians eventually drowned in the Mosel River, thinking it was shallow enough to wade across. The leader called to a man on the other side of the river, asking how to get across the mossy river. Not understanding their dialect, the man answered back, “Wat? Wat?” The first Swabian thought he heard the man say, “wade!” So in he went, and drowned.

The others heard the same instructions: “Wat, wat, wat.” So in they went, to the same fate. What they actually heard was a frog across the river, croaking: “wat, wat!” Poor Swabians. It is reminiscent of the antics of Fatty Arbuckle and the Keystone Kops from those famous silent films.

Even today, the old Swabian saying is used routinely in Germany: “Hannemann, you go ahead!” The implication is, “I don’t want to rush into something dangerous. Hannemann, you do it!” “Don’t stick your neck out! Let Hannemann take the brunt of the trouble!”

Why have Germans poked fun at the Swabians for so long? It could be envy. Swabia is a region in southwest Germany near Switzerland and France. The Swabians have been described as strong and warlike, with a history of fighting with their neighbors. For generations they have been panned by other Germans as simpletons, cowards, stingy or prudish. These depictions may actually be the begrudging acknowledgment by neighbors that the Swabians are actually resourceful, clever and hard-working.

We need to point out that this region of Germany is not near the Baltic Duchy of Pomerania, where our Hannemann ancestors came from in the mid-1800s. So the soldier Hannemann of the sieben Schwaben was likely not related to our ancestor Matthias Hannemann, an infantry soldier in a Pomeranian regiment of the Prussian army.

But we should not be so quick to disown our Swabian cousin. For if you believe the explanations for the cheap shots aimed at Swabian Germans, this soldier Hannemann might have been a courageous and industrious fellow. Maybe some envious numskull decided to pen a derisive story about him. A bit of revenge, perhaps?

Let’s think about rewriting the old saying. Instead of “Hannemann, you get in front,” maybe it should read: “Everybody step back. Hannemann has it covered.”

Frederick Krosch Water Bottle Dates to the Mid-1800s

Like most hard-working farmers of his day, Frederick Krosch spent a lot of time toiling in the fields. First in Germany and then on an 80-acre farm north of the village of Mukwonago in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

It’s amazing to realize that the water bottle he carried with him into the fields has survived to this day, more than 130 years after his death. The glass bottle, embossed with lettering that reads “Dr. Cummins Vegetine,” has been in the possession of Bonnie (Treutel) Young, the elder Krosch’s great-great granddaughter.

Bonnie has had the bottle on display at her home, but only recently removed a handwritten note that had been placed inside in 1944.The note reads: “This is the bottle in which our grandfather Krosch, ‘mother’s father,’ used to take drinking water to the fields with him. It’s perhaps near 100 years old.”

The note was written by Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962), Frederick Krosch’s granddaughter, who no doubt inherited it from her mother, Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1839-1908).

As documented in a previous article,the Krosch family came to America inJuly 1854 and settled into farming in Waukesha County. Frederick Krosch farmed 80 acres of land that is now home to a bank and a Culver’s restaurant. The Krosch farm was adjacent to land owned by Judge Martin Field, for whom Field Park in Mukwonago is named. Krosch’s farmland was valued at $1,500,according to the 1870 U.S. Census.

Krosch continued his farming as his daughter Henrietta marriedblacksmith Philipp Treutel and started her own family. The elder Krosch died Aug. 7, 1876. He is buried at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Mukwonago.Krosch Water Bottle Note

As for the original contents of that bottle, Vegetine was sold for years as a “blood purifier.” It laid claim to curing and preventing maladies from pimples to cancer and neuralgia to “female weakness,” gout and sciatica. Vegetine was made from bark, roots and herbs.

Given Vegetine’s wild curative claims, perhaps Frederick Krosch figured out he was better off sticking to water.

FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch (1799-1876) >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.