Many decades before the social phenomenon of taking self-portraits or “selfies” became all the rage, a young honeymooning couple in July 1925 predicted the trend by snapping their own photos at a camp site in Hayward, Wisconsin.
Carl F. Hanneman and the former Ruby Viola Treutel were married on July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church in tiny Vesper, Wisconsin. For their honeymoon, they chose to motor to Wisconsin’s North Woods. Part of their time was spent at a cottage owned by friends, Mr. and Mrs. Armand Bauer, in Hayward.
Being a budding photographer, Carl took lots of photos from their trip, some candid and even playful. Two that stand out are ‘selfies’ taken by Carl and Ruby. Carl’s is at a good distance and quite sharp, while Ruby’s was an ultra-closeup, a bit out of focus. Given the camera technology of the day, these photos were more of a feat than it might seem. Nothing like snapping a quick shot today with an iPhone 6.
Other photos from the trip showed Carl walking with Ruby on his shoulders, Carl slinging a pail and Ruby sitting at a picnic table with a youngster who resembles her younger brother, Marvin Treutel (but might have been their hosts’ boy).
Carl and Ruby had no way to know that the ‘selfie’ would become a dominant means of communication among young people around the world, or that the practice would spawn social media platforms, a television series, songs and videos on YouTube.
It was the fire of the century in the tiny city of Mauston, Wisconsin. Life may have started normally on Friday, Jan. 5, 1945, but before 9 a.m. a massive fire broke out that threatened to wipe out the city’s downtown. The man called on to document the blaze for local law enforcement was Carl F. Hanneman, the druggist at the Mauston Drug Store. It may have been the most prominent collection of photos he shot, but was just one among many accidents, fires and crime scenes he photographed over the years.
Carl would have been readying himself for the trip to the pharmacy downtown when the fire broke out that January morning. About 8:30 a.m. the fire started in the rear of the Gamble Stores building along the north side of State Street. Within 30 minutes it had spread to four downtown buildings and threatened the entire business district.
As firefighters from Mauston tried in vain to control the blaze in subzero temperatures, reinforcements from fire departments in Lyndon, New Lisbon and Wisconsin Dells raced to help. Carl stood just behind the line of rescue workers and took photos.
It took five hours to control the huge blaze, which destroyed Gamble’s, Mauston Press Club dry cleaners, Samisch Bakery, the Fred Denzien barber shop and the All-Star restaurant. At one point during the blaze, the brick facade of the All-Star fell onto the street. Nearby businesses, including Vorlo Drug and Coast to Coast, were badly burned. Damage exceeded $80,000 – equivalent to more than $1 million in 2014 dollars. Mauston Fire Chief John Smith said calm winds kept the fire from sweeping through the entire downtown.
Carl’s efforts that day earned him a page 1 photo in the Wisconsin State Journal, and two additional photos on page 11. He served as a Mauston correspondent for The State Journal for many years, garnering numerous front-page stories and photographs.
Carl documented many local emergencies in Mauston and surrounding areas. He captured the moment when a semi-trailer plowed into the front of the Tourist Hotel, knocking down the sign and collapsing the awning. Many of these photographs have a custom “CF Hanneman” imprint on the back, so it’s obvious Carl shot a fair number of news photos. Some photos from the 1945 fire have even shown up on Ebay.
Back in the days when horses were the main mode of transportation, many homes across America had carriage stones near the street to assist those stepping down from horse-drawn carriages.
A fine example of the carriage stone stands in front of the old Hanneman home on Morris Street in Mauston, Wis. The carriage stone no doubt served its time as a platform to access horse-drawn transportation. But for many more decades the large granite stone was a family gathering place for photos and a launch pad for dozens of children at play.
More than 70 years of photographs held by The Hanneman Archive provide ample testimony to the importance of the old carriage stone. The earliest photographic records we have is from 1937, although the stone was likely original equipment when the home was built in the early 1890s. Brewmaster Charles Miller built the home at 22 Morris Street with the finest materials, so it’s no surprise he would have a carriage stone out front.
One photograph from about 1942 shows five people sitting on the stone for a photograph, including Ruby V. Hanneman and children Lavonne M. Hanneman, 5 and David D. Hanneman, 9. Another image from about 1957 shows Donn G. Hanneman, wife Elaine and children Diane, Caroline, Tom, Jane and Mary Ellen. The photo above shows Carl F. Hanneman and grandson David Carl Hanneman, taken circa 1965.
For the 15 grandchildren of Carl and Ruby Hanneman, the carriage stone was much more than a cool novelty. Just standing on the stone seemed to give a great vantage to the yard, even though the stone was just 18 inches high. It was always a race to see who would get first dibs on the stone.
For many of those old photos, family members sat or stood at the carriage stone in the shade of towering elm trees. The old trees are long gone now, but the stone remains, looking just the same as it did in the 1930s.
In several visits in years prior to his death in 2007, David D. Hanneman stopped at the house and asked the current owners if he could take the carriage stone. Initially they agreed, but later changed their minds. Seems the lady of the house had become attached to the old stone, as evidenced by the flowers lovingly planted around its edge. That’s understandable. Just another generation of folks who’ve come to care for that old carriage stone.
For years, family genealogists have searched in vain for the emigration records of Matthias Hannemann, the earliest known ancestor of the Hanneman family of central Wisconsin. Over the years, the registers of hundreds of immigrant ships were searched, covering tens of thousands of names belonging to people who came through ports in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans. But no Matthias.
All of that changed several nights ago. During a routine search of newly transcribed records from the Port of Hamburg, Germany, I found Matthias’ name. He and his second wife, Caroline, traveled with their son, William, daughter Justina Louisa Henrietta Saeger and her family. They were among 474 passengers aboard the SS Hyram when it sailed from Hamburg on April 19, 1866. Matthias is listed on the register as a schwiegervater, or father-in-law, referring to his son-in-law, John Saeger.
It was a long journey aboard the segelschiff, or sailing ship. The ship docked at Grosse Isle near Québec on the St. Lawrence Seaway on June 4, 1866. Grosse Isle served as a quarantine station for ships destined for the Port of Québec in Canada, to prevent the spread of disease. Grosse Isle was the site of tragedy in 1847, when more than 5,000 Irish immigrants escaping the famine in their homeland died from typhus and other diseases upon reaching Canada. A large Irish cemetery and two monuments bear witness to those sad days.
Eight passengers on the Hyram died during the journey in 1866. Two children were born onboard ship. Once the 10 members of the Hannemann and Saeger families disembarked, they likely continued traveling by boat along the St. Lawrence River, across Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. From Detroit, they might have traveled by rail to Chicago and then Milwaukee on their way to tiny Kellner, Wis.
The Hyram’s ship registry is among the earliest documentary evidence of the Hannemann family’s exodus from Pomerania to Wisconsin. We know at least two of Matthias’ other children arrived in America in 1861, but their travel records have not been found. The earliest emigration record from this family is that of Michael Friedrich Ferdinand Hannemann, who arrived aboard the ship John Bertram in May 1863 with his wife, Wilhelmina and infant son, August.
My grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, was a pharmacist for nearly 60 years. One of the treasures he left behind was a portable pharmacist’s kit in a leather satchel. The many glass vials are still filled with various pills and powders he dispensed to patients at pharmacies in Fond du Lac, Janesville, Wisconsin Rapids, Mauston and Sun Prairie. The oldest of the prescription vials dates to 1926.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”