What are the odds? I wondered that question as I flipped through a very old, leather-bound photo album purchased from a collector in Ohio. What are the odds that I would come into possession of a Treutel/Krosch family photo album stretching back 150 years, from a person in another state whom I’ve never met? The chance would seem very small indeed.
We’ve already outlined some of the wonderful finds from this photo album, including the cartes de visite showing Philipp Treutel,his wife Henrietta and his mother-in-law, Christiana Krosch. Those photos were fun and easy, because they were labeled with names by a relative long ago. Now comes the hard part: determining the identities of many faces with no names. It is certainly possible that all of the suppositions below are inaccurate. Without the aid of original photo captions or relatives who might recognize the people, we can only make educated guesses.
Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) had a long face and prominent mustache, which matched well with a number of unlabeled photos in the album. Could he be the stranger in those images? One was even a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
The other image shows a man with three young women, presumably his daughters. We know Philipp and Henrietta Treutel had three daughters: Adeline, born in November 1859; Lisetta, born in April 1861; and Emma, born in February 1877. The youngest girl in this photo appears to be 6 or 7, which would put the year at about 1883. That was some eight years before Philipp’s untimely death from influenza.
We have no photos in our collection that show Adeline (Treutel) Moody (1859-1928), who married William Jones Moody in 1883 and eventually settled near Vesper, Wisconsin; or Lisetta (Treutel) Moody (1861-1931), who married Lewis Winfield Moody in 1887 and settled at Plainfield, Wisconsin. Since the little girl in the photo could be Emma Treutel, we created a photo series to evaluate resemblance.
We next examined the wedding portrait that could show Philipp Treutel and Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. We don’t know their wedding year, but it was likely around 1857 or 1858. Below is a photo series comparing the bride to later photos of Henrietta Treutel. Again, there is a resemblance, but no other clues to help in the determination.
We can see family resemblance in many of our album images, so we’re on the right track. But to make judgments with confidence, we need more photos from the Treutel and Krosch families. There are other faces in this old album that we will review in another post, including possible youth photos of Walter Treutel and his brother Henry A. Treutel.
To borrow a phrase from the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, an old photo album is a lot like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. That was certainly the case with a very old leather-bound album we recently acquired from a collector in Ohio. In it we found the first known photograph of great-great-great grandmother, Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch.
The album was purchased from the same source who provided us the carte de visite image of Philipp Treutel. Based on his inclusion in the album, we surmised that the other photos would be related to the family tree of my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman. One of the first carte de visite photos we pulled from the album was labeled, “Grand Mother Krosch, Our Mother’s Mother.” It was right next to a photo of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. Since Henrietta was the only girl in the Krosch family of six children, it was an easy jump to conclude the photo showed her mother, the former Johanna Christiana Schlagel (1801-1884).
The photograph is the first image in our collection that goes back five generations. It was taken at the studio of F.D. Faulkner in Waukesha, Wisconsin. There are a number of other unlabeled photos in the album that could also be Christiana Krosch. We laid the photos side-by-side in Adobe Photoshop, and even overlaid a low-opacity version of Christiana’s head and face on the other images. The facial contours, distance between the eyes, etc., are remarkably similar. Could the other photos show Christiana later in life? The beady pupils in the right two photos were likely drawn in by the photographer.
If she is the woman in the far right image in the series, then we have an ever bigger discovery. That image was taken from a portrait of an elderly man and woman. The portrait was from the studios of F.L. and A.M. Bishop, who had locations in Mukwonago and Waterford, Wisconsin. Christiana and her husband John Frederick Krosch settled on a farm just north of Mukwonago after emigrating from Saxony in 1854. Based on visual comparisons, that portrait could show Frederick and Christiana Krosch. We have no images of Frederick Krosch for comparison. He died in August 1876.
Frederick and Christiana were married on May 10, 1824 at a Lutheran church in Salzwedel, Saxony, Prussia (now Germany). They had six children between 1824 and 1842. Their second youngest was Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette Krosch (born in January 1839), who was called Henrietta. According to Lutheran church records, she was baptized on January 13, 1839 in the parish at Gössnitz. We have unsourced information that she was born at Merseburg, Germany, which is not far from Gössnitz. This information conflicts our earlier belief that the family came from Jessnitz, Prussia. Many Prussian villages had very similar names, which can lead to confusion in genealogy research. More work is needed on where the family lived in Prussia.
As documented in an earlier article, the Krosch family left Germany in June 1854 for America. Theirs was a perilous journey aboard the Barque Bertha, which encountered terrible storms and stiff trade winds that delayed arrival in New York by one week. After 40 days at sea, they reached New York, set out for Chicago and Milwaukee, and eventually reached East Troy in Walworth County. Frederick took to farming on an 80-acre plat north of Mukwonago. After Frederick Krosch’s death, Christiana moved to Minnesota to live with her son, William Frederick Krosch. She died in December 1884 and is buried at the Dobson Schoolhouse Cemeteryin Elmore.
Henrietta Krosch married Philipp Treutel sometime in the late 1850s. Philipp established a blacksmith shop at Mukwonago, but he also worked as a blacksmith in Milwaukee during the 1860s. The couple had seven children between 1859 and 1879. Their youngest, Walter Treutel, became father to our grandmother, Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman. The newly acquired photo album also had a carte de visite of Henrietta at a much younger age than the other two photos of her in our collection.
Family Line: Frederick and Christiana Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
At some point in the long journey of family history research, it seems a given that you will likely never know what your earliest ancestors looked like. Through the donations of others, I’ve been blessed to discover photos of my Hanneman great-great grandparents. I never thought I’d see a photograph of Philipp Treutel, my great-great grandfather who died in 1891. Now, through the kindness of a stranger from Ohio, that has all changed.
Through an incredible set of circumstances, earlier this week I received a 2.5-by-4-inch photo card labeled “Phillip Treutel.” In my research, I’ve never encountered another Philipp Treutel from the 1800s, so this very much got my attention. Philipp Treutel is my great-great grandfather, via my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. As documented elsewhere on this site, Philipp came to America in 1854 from Königstädten, Germany, and settled in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The photo image was almost ghosted it was so light. The pigments on the card stock had flaked away and faded, but the face was still visible.
There were two things I immediately wanted to do. One was to scan the image and see if I could darken the pigments and bring out more facial detail. The other was to investigate the photography studio, based on the photographer’s stamp on the back side. To accomplish the first goal, I ran the digital photo through several software programs and experimented with different tonal adjustments, filters and special effects. Many were useless or did little more than amplify the photo’s defects. But a few did improve the image, bringing out just enough detail to see his face better.
I then turned to the photographer, listed on the back as Bankes Gallery of Photographic Art in Little Rock, Arkansas. The photo was printed on what was called a carte de visite, or visiting card. These affordable, pocket-size calling cards were popular in the Civil War era. Thomas W. Bankes, owner of the photo studio, was a Civil War photographer who initially was based in Helena, Arkansas, documenting many of the gunboats along the Mississippi River. He photographed the overloaded steamboat SS Sultana the day before it sank, killing as many as 1,800 people, including Union soldiers returning home from the war.
In late 1863, Bankes moved his studio to Little Rock. He continued to photograph many Union soldiers during the federal occupation of the city in the latter part of the Civil War. This begged the question: what was Philipp Treutel doing in Little Rock? Was it during the Civil War or years after? Bankes operated a studio in the city well into the 1880s. Based on the carte de visite style of photo, it is a reasonable bet that Philipp’s photo was taken between 1864 and the late 1870s.
There are a couple possible explanations for Philipp being in Arkansas. Perhaps he was there to meet up with his younger brother, Sebastian Treutel, a Union soldier from Wisconsin who was discharged from the war with a disability in August 1863. We don’t know if Sebastian was ever sent to Little Rock, or when he returned to Wisconsin after his discharge. We don’t believe Philipp Treutel served in the Civil War, since his name does not appear in any of the state or federal veterans databases. Two of his brothers, Sebastian and Henry, both served with the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Sebastian served in Company A, the “Flying Rangers,” and Henry was a member of Company G, the “Washington County Rifles.”
Perhaps Philipp was visiting another brother, Peter Treutel, whom we believe settled in Louisiana or Alabama after the family arrived in America. We know almost nothing about Peter. He was born on May 14, 1837 and baptized on May 17 at the Lutheran church in Königstädten, a village south of Russelsheim, Germany. A scrapbook kept by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, Philipp’s granddaughter, says Peter Treutel settled “in the South.” So far we have no documentary evidence of this, although we have records of a man we believe to be his son living near Mobile, Alabama.
Civil War records list a Confederate soldier named Pierre Treutel, who served with the Sappers and Miners. It’s unclear if this could be our Peter. Pierre Treutel enlisted in 1861 in Louisiana. Sappers built tunnels and miners laid explosives. According to Confederate military records found at Fold3.com, Pierre Treutel was a sapper in Captain J.V. Gallimard’s company of sappers and miners. Even if Pierre is the same person as Peter, it seems unlikely that Philipp Treutel would visit his younger brother during this time. As a Confederate soldier, Peter would have been subject to capture by Union forces in Arkansas. If Peter was a Confederate soldier, it could explain why the Treutel family in Wisconsin did not stay in touch with the Treutels of the South.
What do we know about Philipp Treutel? He was born Johann Philipp Treutel on August 7, 1833 and baptized on August 9 in the Lutheran church at Königstädten, Germany. He had a twin born the same day, although the twin was baptized a day earlier than Philipp. This most likely means the twin died on August 8, 1833. Church records don’t list a first name for the twin, only “Treutel.” Their parents were Johann Adam Treutel and the former Elizabeth Katharina Geier. In July 1854, Adam and Katharina left Germany for America with at least several of their children. It appears that some of the Treutel boys left Germany for America between 1849 and 1852. Shortly after arriving in Wisconsin, Philipp settled in the village of Mukwonago, where he worked as a blacksmith. By 1860, he had married Henrietta Krosch and they had their first child, Adeline Barbara.
At some points during and just after the Civil War years, Philipp lived and worked as a blacksmith in downtown Milwaukee. The 1863 Milwaukee city directory shows Philipp living and working at the southwest corner of Fifth and Prairie in Milwaukee. The 1867 Milwaukee directory shows him working as a blacksmith and living at 517 Cherry, right next door to his brother Henry. It is possible the Treutel family stayed in Mukwonago and Philipp shuttled back and forth, working in blacksmith shops in Milwaukee and Mukwonago.
While we don’t know of any official evidence Philipp was a soldier during the Civil War, the July 22, 1863 issue of the Daily Milwaukee Sentinel lists Philipp as a Civil War enrollee in “Class One” from Milwaukee’s Second Ward. His name appears along with his brothers Sebastian and Henry. It’s unclear what the listing means, since Sebastian and Henry were already fighting in the South with the 26th Wisconsin. It might have merely been a draft listing. More research will be needed, since this provides at least a hint that Philipp might have been involved in the war.
Philipp and Henrietta Treutel raised seven children:Adeline (1859), Lisetta (1861), Henry (1864), Charles (1869), Oscar (1874), Emma (1877) and Walter (1879). The family lived in the village of Mukwonago, where Philipp plied his trade as a blacksmith. His shop is found on the 1873 map of Mukwonago, located along the north side of what is now called Plank Road, just east of Highway 83. The family at some point moved from Mukwonago to the town of Genesee, near the hamlet of North Prairie in Waukesha County.
We have little documentary evidence of their time in Genesee. The 1890-91 Waukesha city directory lists him as “P.O. North Prairie.” Philipp died there on June 15, 1891 from “la grippe,” which is what they often called influenza at that time. His brief death notice in the June 25, 1891 issue of the Waukesha Freeman was listed under Genesee Depot, which is northeast of North Prairie. The newspaper misspelled his name as “Mr. Tradel,” while a nearby condolence notice under the town of Genesee said, “In the death of Trendall we have lost a good neighbor.” Is it too late to request a correction?
Philipp’s youngest child, Walter (1879-1948), is the father of our own Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman. I placed the enhanced photo of Philipp Treutel next to one of Walter and noticed a strong resemblance.
Discovery of Philipp’s photo is a big development for Treutel family history. Our source for the photograph said she purchased the photo card at an estate sale in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Right now we’re examining other photos in her collection to determine if any show the Treutels or their relatives from Waukesha County. Stay tuned.
If today’s Eye on the Past photo were made current, we might see Adeline Krosch pulling into her driveway in a family sedan or a minivan. Back in her time, as the photo shows, a horse-drawn buggy was the mode of transport to and from the market in Walworth County, Wisconsin.
The handwritten caption on the back of the photo reads simply: “Aunt Adeline Krosch, with her horse Tommy, returning from shopping.” We don’t know who wrote the caption, or where Adeline was shopping. She might have traveled north to the village of Mukwonago. We can reasonably assume she is returning to the Krosch family farm in Lake Beulah in Walworth County. The photo could date anywhere from 1900 to 1920.
What do we know about Aunt Adeline? She was born Adeline Lisette Griesbach on December 13, 1841 in Saxony, Germany. She arrived in New York on August 20, 1850 aboard the Bark Agnes, having made the journey with her mother Lisette. It appears that Lisette Griesbach was widowed in Germany, since she traveled without her husband, Johann Gottlieb Griesbach. Lisette married Karl Krosch and settled on his farm in Walworth County.
On November 26, 1863, Adeline married Reinhold Heinrich Krosch in Milwaukee. Reinhold came to America from Saxony in July 1854. The couple then settled onto a farm near Lake Beulah in eastern Walworth County along the Racine County line. The hamlet of Lake Beulah (which was sometimes called Lake Beulah Station) is a bit east of the actual lake, an 812-acre body of water north of East Troy.
Reinhold and Adeline Krosch had three children, Louis, Charles and Lusetta, between 1863 and 1881. Charles died in March 1879 at age 12. Louis never married and died in March 1942. Lusetta married Dr. Joseph C. Harland on September 28, 1909 at the Krosch farm home at Lake Beulah. The couple settled in Mukwonago in Waukesha County. They had two daughters, Esther Louise and Josephine. Joseph was a veterinarian who later became postmaster in Mukwonago. He died in April 1959. Lusetta died in February 1970.
Reinhold Krosch died on February 25, 1907 on the farm at Lake Beulah. Shortly after strolling across the barnyard talking to his son Louie, Reinhold collapsed and died. He was 69. Adeline died on May 30, 1922 at the home of Lusetta and J.C. Harland in Mukwonago. Her newspaper obituary called her “a woman of sterling character” who could “always be counted on by her neighbors.”
How are Reinhold and Adeline related to the Hanneman family? Reinhold’s younger sister, Henrietta Krosch (1839-1908), married Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) and settled in Waukesha County. Their youngest child, Walter Treutel (1879-1948), is the father of our own Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977).
On a recent trip to St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Askeaton, Wisconsin, we created a crayon rubbing of the headstone of family patriarch Daniel Mulqueen, and did a thorough cleaning of the lichen-infested monument. Both are important efforts to document and preserve family history.
Daniel Mulqueen (listed as McQueen on the stone) died on March 30, 1893. In the nearly 125 years since, his cemetery marker has become badly weathered by countless storms, wind, rain, snow, temperature extremes and environmental pollutants. And of course lichens, black mold and other biological growths that eat away at the surface.
Back in May, I traveled to Brown County, Wisconsin, with my mother’s sister, my Aunt Ruth (Mulqueen) McShane. One of our goals for the trip was to document the monument. So before we slopped everything up with water and anti-biologic chemicals, we decided to make a rubbing of the stone face. This process involves placing special paper over a section of the monument, then rubbing a hockey-puck-shape crayon over the surface, The result is a negative image of the writing on the monument. It read:
March 30, 1893
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him
Once the rubbing paper was safely rolled up and placed in its protective tube, we set to cleaning the stone. It had a heavy covering of growths. Many people don’t realize that lichens and other growths are very destructive. Their roots penetrate into porous surfaces, causing cracks, pitting and other damage. Great care must be taken in cleaning, however, so as not to inflict more damage.
We used a special chemical agent called D/2, available from cemetery supply companies. It is a safe chemical; in fact the only one approved for use at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. We spent more than an hour spraying, gently scrubbing with a brush and scraping with a plastic blade.
The chemical reaction with the growths caused the stone to turn orange. It is best to use a garden hose to rinse stones being treated, but we had no access to water. We had to settle for large spray bottles filled across the road at the church. The chemicals continue to work on the growths for weeks and months after treatment. We will have to wait for a return visit to fully gauge our efforts. A second treatment might be needed to make Daniel’s monument white and growth-free.
We repeated our two-stage effort on the nearby marker of Patrick McQueen (Mulqueen), which had moderate lichen growth that made the face very had to read. I suspect Patrick (1815-1874) is the older brother of Daniel Mulqueen, but so far I have no documentary evidence of it. Both men were among the settlers who founded St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Askeaton.
Aunt Ruth made a rubbing of the Patrick McQueen stone, which had beautiful shamrock carvings at the upper corners. Treating the stone face with D/2 removed all the growths and made the lettering much easier to read. We discovered a cracked headstone laying flat on the ground, just behind the Patrick McQueen marker. We cleaned the mud and debris from the surface. It appeared this was a marker for one of Patrick and Margaret (Hart) Mulqueen’s children. More research is needed to determine to whom the stone belongs and if he/she is buried behind the family marker.
The orange coloration shows the chemical treatment is working.
Chemical treatment temporarily makes the stone look worse, as lichens, mold and other growths are safely killed off.
The treated monument of Daniel Mulqueen sticks out like an orange thumb.
A marker covered in mud behind the Patrick Mulqueen marker is likely one of his children.
Ruth (Mulqueen) McShane does a stone rubbing of Patrick Mulqueen’s monument.
Patrick McQueen (Mulqueen) monument is difficult to read with lichens in the lettering.
After cleaning, the monument lettering is easy to read.
The images are grainy and slightly out of focus, but four digitized reels of old 8mm film from the late 1950 and early 1960s are like priceless time in a bottle. The films were shot on the 8mm film camera owned by Earl J. Mulqueen Sr., my maternal grandfather. They were loaned by my Aunt Joanie so we could get them scanned and made into digital video for all to enjoy.
Seeing these silent moving images reminded me of the 1970 hit song Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce, although the video predates the song by at least seven years. It also made me think of the wonderful Kodak commercial song The Times of Your Life by Paul Anka:
“Look back at the joys and the sorrow. Put them away in your mind.
Memories are time that we borrow.
To spend when we get to tomorrow.”
Even with the technical flaws, the video is amazing. I had never seen moving pictures of my Grandpa Earl, and I had just a few seconds of video showing my Grandma Mulqueen. This batch of 8mm film fixed all of that, giving us a peek back more than 50 years at a Christmas morning, a visit to the folks house in Cudahy and times at my parents house in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It also provides the first video I’ve seen of my Aunt Evelyn (Deutsch) Mulqueen, who died of brain cancer at age 33. That was more than a year before I was born. There are shots of Earl J. Mulqueen Jr., Evelyn and their six children. As you can read elsewhere on this blog, Earl was a war hero U.S. Marine who fought at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He lost his leg in the West Loch Disaster in May 1944 at Pearl Harbor.
I found myself choking back tears to see video of my late father holding my older brother, David C. Hanneman, in the summer or fall of 1963. For the loved ones of all the dear souls who appear in the video, the images are like spun gold. You can enjoy the full 11 minutes 47 seconds below. [We’ve also added a second volume in the viewer at the bottom of the page.]
We’re able to add some details to our Mulqueen family story from the 1894 marriage license of Charles Henry Chase and Bridget Elizabeth Mulqueen. A copy of the document was obtained from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The couple were married September 4, 1894 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Askeaton, a hamlet in southern Brown County, Wisconsin. The wedding Mass was said by the newly ordained Rev. Gervase J. O’Connell, pastor of St. Patrick’s. Witnesses to the marriage were James Clancy and Mary Mulqueen, sister of the bride.
Charles Henry Chase is described as the son of Horace Chase and Catherine Whalen. He was a resident of Marinette, Wisconsin, at the time of the wedding. His occupation is listed as “farmer, then butcher.” He was born in Bangor, Maine. His residence in Marinette lines up with the long-held belief that his son, Earl J. Mulqueen Sr., was born in the seat of Marinette County. However, the Marinette County Register of Deeds can find no record of Earl’s birth (January 7, 1895) under any surname. The Wisconsin Historical Society’s pre-1907 vital records database does not have any birth record for Earl in any Wisconsin county.
Charles’ birthplace on the marriage record contradicts what is listed on U.S. Census and other documents. Those records said Earl’s father was born in Vermont. A search of U.S. Census and other genealogy databases turned up no documents of a family headed by Horace Chase with wife Catherine and son Charles. Milwaukee once had a mayor named Horace Chase, and there was a man by that name living in Bangor in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. But neither fit the bill of the Horace we’re seeking. So it would seem that each answer we find generates several more in return.
The Mulqueen surname is listed as Micqueen or M’cqueen on the 1894 marriage record. Daniel and Mary (Corcoran) Mulqueen are listed as Elizabeth’s parents. The McQueen and Mulqueen surnames were used interchangeably in newspaper articles, U.S. Census records and church documents. We believe Mulqueen to be the correct Irish usage of the surname. If you go back far enough in Irish history, you will find the Gaelic Ó Maolchaoin, which according to the 1923 book Irish Names and Surnames by Rev. Patrick Woulfe, means “descendant of Maolcaoin (gentle chief).” This version of the name appears to date to before the year 1096. Another very similar Gaelic variant, Ó Maolchaoine, means “servant of St. Caoine.” I’ve not found any Catholic saints by that name, but perhaps there is an English translation that will provide a clue. The Mulqueen clan appears to have originated from an area that includes counties Clare and Limerick in Ireland. I have no memories of my grandpa Earl, but from what my mother has told me, “gentle chief” is a moniker that would fit him well.
Our quest to track down Charles Henry Chase continues. We were always told that both of Earl’s parents died when he was very young. Elizabeth died in March 1897, when Earl was 2. Earl and his sister, Elizabeth, chose to take their mother’s maiden name. Charles had at least one other child, Mary Chase, outside of his marriage to Elizabeth Mulqueen. Our most recent documentary evidence of Mary was in Earl’s September 1965 obituary, which lists his half-sister as living in Pleasant Hill, California.
– To see the complete 1894 marriage license, click here.
It is indeed a sad situation to be buried in an unmarked grave, seemingly forgotten by the world. Worse yet, to have no one document the burial, or have the records lost or destroyed. That is the apparent reality for five members of the Daniel Mulqueen family of Askeaton, Wisconsin. This includes Bridget Elizabeth (Mulqueen) Chase, the mother of Earl J. Mulqueen Sr. (1895-1965).
We know the family patriarch, Daniel, is buried at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Askeaton. We also have every reason to believe these five Mulqueens are buried in the same cemetery:
Mary (Corcoran) Mulqueen (1827-1913), wife of Daniel
Daughter Bridget Elizabeth (Mulqueen) Chase (1866-1897)
Son Thomas Mulqueen (1855-1913)
Son James Mulqueen (1853-1917)
Son Daniel Mulqueen Jr. (1865-1926)
Newspaper obituaries either directly state or strongly suggest these Mulqueens are indeed buried in the parish cemetery. Yet the only monument is for the father, Daniel, who died in March 1893. Worse yet, there are no cemetery records for the four siblings and their mother. A recent site inspection confirmed the situation, and deepened the mystery.
Every cemetery has unmarked graves. Sometimes, families did not have funds to create a headstone. Some burials were marked by wooden crosses or other temporary markers that were destroyed by the passage of time. Small footstones could be swallowed by the earth, lying unnoticed just beneath the surface. Records were often nothing more than index cards. Over more than a century, these records could be lost, misfiled or destroyed by fire.
The lot maps for St. Patrick’s cemetery clearly show the plot for Daniel Mulqueen, along the western property line in the oldest section of the cemetery. Underneath his name are the names Mary and Mike. Mary is Daniel’s wife. He had a son named Michael, but he is buried in Dickinson County, Michigan. It is clear upon visual inspection that there are burials to the north of Daniel’s monument. Depressions in the ground often indicate very old burials, since pressure from the earth eventually crushes and implodes wooden caskets. Today, burials in Wisconsin require use of a concrete burial vault to prevent this situation.
There is a good chance all of the “missing” graves are immediately to the north of the Daniel Mulqueen marker. The map is blank for that area, so it appears no one else holds a deed for that space. Other, similar size lots on the cemetery map contain as many as eight burials, so there would be room for a family. About 75 feet north of the Mulqueen lot, there is a small metal cross marking burial of an unknown parishioner. This makes it clear there are at least some undocumented burials at St. Patrick’s cemetery.
There are ways to find unmarked burials. Sunken grave markers can by found using a steel earth probe. The same earth probe can indicate unmarked burials, since the earth in the burial location is less compact than surrounding, undisturbed ground. Those methods can be tried on a future cemetery visit. Other methods, including use of ground-penetrating radar, are too expensive to be practical.
We plan to examine the record books for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, which should include death, funeral and burial information. Those records are most likely held by the Diocese of Green Bay, where we have already filed a request for access.
Bridget Elizabeth (McQueen) Chase, the mother of Earl J. Mulqueen Sr. (1895-1965), died of typhus on March 12, 1897, just two weeks after giving birth to her daughter Elizabeth. That fact is revealed in a death certificate just received from the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison.
The death certificate says Elizabeth was just 20, much younger than the age listed in her newspaper obituary. That is most likely an error, as the 1870 U.S. Census puts her birthdate at about 1866. That means she died at about age 31. Two weeks prior to her death, on February 26, 1897, she gave birth to daughter Elizabeth in Green Bay. Earl was just over 2 years old when his mother died.
Typhus is a bacterial disease characterized by a rash, fever, cough, headaches, rapid breathing and confusion. Before the widespread availability of antibiotics such as doxycycline, typhus was often fatal. The disease has several forms, although the most common form was spread by body lice. It is different than typhoid fever.
The Brown County death certificate helps shed a little more light on Elizabeth’s story. Until recently, we had no idea who Earl’s mother was. Earl was raised on his grandparents’ farm near Askeaton, Wisconsin after the death of both parents. He took his mother’s maiden name. His father, Charles Henry Chase, is still largely a mystery — one we hope to solve with help of Charles and Elizabeth’s marriage certificate. The couple were married on September 4, 1894, about four months before Earl’s birth. Earl was said to be born in Marinette, while his sister Elizabeth was born in Green Bay. The young Chase family was living in Green Bay at the time of Bridget Elizabeth’s death.
While progress has been made, the mysteries keep piling up. St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Askeaton has no record of Bridget Elizabeth McQueen Chase’s 1897 burial. Her newspaper obituary clearly states her funeral was at St. Patrick’s church. No burial records seem to exist for four other members of the Askeaton McQueen family, including Mary (Corcoran) McQueen (1827-1913), Thomas McQueen (1855-1913), James McQueen (1853-unknown) and Daniel McQueen Jr. (1865-1926). Newspaper obituaries for most of those individuals state that the funerals and/or burials were at St. Patrick’s in Askeaton. A planned visit to the cemetery could clear things up, but right now there does not appear to be a paper trail for those burials.
Key questions that still need answers regarding Earl and his ancestors:
What became of Earl’s father, Charles H. Chase? The 1898 Green Bay city directory lists a Charles Chase as a chef at Hotel Christie, but it’s not clear if this is the same man. The only death records for a Charles Chase for this time period are for a much older, already married man who farmed in Greenleaf, not far from Askeaton. That man died in 1905 at age 65.
Who were Charles Chase’s ancestors and what was their heritage?
Where is Earl’s birth certificate? No record seems to exist under the Chase or Mulqueen/McQueen names in Marinette or Brown counties. In fact, there is no birth certificate for him in state records at all.
Did Earl’s maternal grandparents, Daniel and Mary Mulqueen, come from County Limerick, Ireland, as did most of the settlers of Askeaton, Wisconsin?
Every family historian has come up against the dreaded brick wall. Something that stops or stalls a genealogy search and prevents you from making progress in writing your family history. So it’s a joyous occasion to smash down one of those brick walls, which is just was I did this week related to my maternal grandfather, Earl J. Mulqueen (1895-1965).
I had been stymied for years trying to learn about Earl’s parents and other ancestors. The story I’d been told was that his parents both died before he was 4 years old and he was raised by two bachelor uncles on a farm near Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was able to find him and his younger sister on the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census in the Town of Holland, Brown County. But despite years of searching, I could not find any record of his parents, who I was told were named Charles Mulqueen and Mary Chase.
Fast forward to this week. I met with two of my mom’s younger sisters, to see what information they might have about their father. Only three of 11 siblings in the Mulqueen clan of Cudahy, Wisconsin are still alive, so I was eager to finish this research now. One of the things we reviewed was a family bible originally belonging to my grandmother, Margaret Madonna (Dailey) Mulqueen (1895-1982). A small notation in the family tree section of the bible listed Earl’s parents as Charles Chase and Elizabeth McQueen. McQueen is a common spelling variant of the surname Mulqueen, and the Wisconsin branch of this family used the names almost interchangeably.
At this point, the information started to make sense. If Earl took his mother’s maiden name, it would explain my difficulty finding his parents in the records. On his 1965 death certificate, Earl’s parents were listed as Charles Mulqueen and Mary Chase. Was that information incorrect? I was about to find out. I turned to my trusty subscription to Newspapers.com, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com. I ran the obvious name searches, but turned up nothing. Then I tried a search just for the words “Chase” and “Askeaton,” the latter being the hamlet in Brown County settled by Irish families in the 1850s. Up popped a headline from the March 15, 1897 issue of the Green Bay Gazette: “Death of Mrs. Charles Chase of This City.” Bingo. One brick in the wall fell.
According to the article, Mrs. Chase died of fever after giving birth. I knew my grandfather’s younger sister was born in 1897, so this made sense. Next I turned to the Wisconsin Historical Society and its index of pre-1907 death records. Again, the typical name searches did not find anything useful. I then did a broad search for all Brown County deaths from 1890 to 1900 and manually looked through them. There I found a death record for Bridget E. Chase on March 12, 1897. Bridget? I recalled the U.S. Census records for a McQueen family in the Town of Holland, Brown County, had a Bridget listed. Her age was a close match for Bridget Chase. The Elizabeth McQueen listed in grandma’s Bible was actually Bridget Elizabeth McQueen.Boom. Down came more bricks.
I used the same search strategy with the Wisconsin Historical Society’s marriage records. I found a Charles Henry Chase who got married on September 4, 1894. This sounded promising. But when I clicked on the “search for possible spouse matches” feature on the web site, it came up blank. That usually does not happen. So I again took the long road, calling up all Brown County marriages from 1890 to 1900 and zeroing in on the letter M. There I found two matches, both with the same September 1894 wedding date as Charles H. Chase. The first was for “Bridget Micgreen” and the second was for “Bridget E. Mcinween.” Whoa. What merciless butchering of the McQueen/Mulqueen name! As I quickly ordered paper copies of these documents from the WHS, I could hear that brick wall rumbling and crumbling.
Based on the information in these documents, Bridget Elizabeth was pregnant with my grandfather at the time of her September 1894 marriage to Charles H. Chase. Grandpa was born on 7 January 1895. Now I had confirmation of my grandfather’s parents, whom he never really knew. I’m still waiting for the marriage and death certificates from Madison, and I hope they shed further light on this couple. There are still big questions needing answers. Why did Earl take his mother’s maiden name, Mulqueen, rather than his father’s name, Chase? Again, this is not typical, so there must be a significant story behind it. What happened to Charles H. Chase? I had often been told he died while my grandfather was young. But I had also been told his surname was Mulqueen. I am in the process of tracking down his story.
While I was on a research roll, I turned to Elizabeth Mulqueen’s parents. I easily located them on the 1860 U.S. Census for the Town of Holland in Brown County. Daniel and Mary Mulqueen, parents to James, 9; Thomas, 5; Margaret, 3; and Michael, 1 month old. On the 1870 U.S. Census, new children appeared, including Margaret, 7; Daniel, 5;Bridget, 4; and Mary, 1. That makes two Margarets with different ages, so either the 1870 Census is in error, or the first Margaret died and a new daughter bore the same name. The Census put Earl’s mother’s birth year at around 1866.
I next used my Family Tree Maker software (powered by Ancestry.com databases) to look for more information on this family. I found little Mary Mulqueen’s Wisconsin birth record, which listed the mother’s maiden name as Corcoran. So now I knew Daniel Mulqueen married Mary Corcoran, likely prior to 1851, when the family lived in Ohio. But I could find no birth or death records on file for any of the couple’s other children.
By digging more through news microfilm, I discovered that Daniel Mulqueen spent his final years at the Brown County Asylum, having been judged “insane.” Unfortunately, I have no information on his case, which could have simply been dementia. People with infirmities that could not be handled at home often ended up in county asylums, sometimes called “poor farms” or “insane asylums.”
Dan first entered the asylum on June 7, 1888. He was in and out of the institution over the next few years. He died at the Brown County Asylum on March 30, 1893. The only obituary, in the Daily State Gazette of Green Bay, read thusly: “Daniel McQueen, an insane man, died at the county asylum yesterday afternoon. He was 74 years of age. The funeral will be held tomorrow in the town of West Holland.” How sensitive. This man emigrated to America from Ireland, raised a large family on a successful farm in Wisconsin, yet the local paper only remembers him for an illness in his final years.
My Grandpa Earl and his sister moved to the Mulqueen farm near Askeaton after their mother died in March 1897. Their grandmother, Mary, lived on the farm until her death in 1913. The men of the farm included Daniel Mulqueen Jr. and his older brother James. I believe Dan and James are the bachelor uncles about which I’d been told.
Determined to start a life of his own, Earl left the Mulqueen farm and moved south to Racine County around 1916. He spent time as a farm hand in Kansasville, where his good friend Howard Gilson lived. Earl later moved to Racine and worked for J.I. Case before starting a long career for Wisconsin Electric. He met and married my grandmother, the former Margaret Madonna Dailey, at Racine on Nov. 23, 1920. They moved to Cudahy, Wisconsin, in the mid- to late 1920s.
The little hamlet of Askeaton, Wisconsin, is named for a village in County Limerick, Ireland. Farmers from County Limerick emigrated to America starting in 1844 and eventually made their way to Brown County, Wisconsin. Askeaton, Ireland, has a fascinating history, with ruins of a medieval castle that dates to about the year 1200 and a Franciscan abbey founded in 1389. It was once a large walled town, but in 1846 was described in an Irish gazetteer as “a poor lumpish village.” The population at the time the group of farmers left for Wisconsin was about 4,400.
In the span of just a few days, I’ve unearthed more information on Earl Mulqueen’s ancestry than I found in more than 10 years of searching. Now that the brick wall has come down, I look forward to fruitful research in the coming days and months.