Category Archives: General History

Cudahy Marine Corporal Helps Put WWII Bond Drive Over the Top

As 1944 came to a close, Sheboygan County was still short of its nearly $1.2-million goal for sales of Series E war bonds. The captains of industry in that fine Wisconsin county did what America has always done in times of crisis: they called in the U.S. Marines. Although in this case, a lone Marine from Cudahy handled his share of the duties.

In fall 1944, Marine Cpl. Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. was still recovering from the loss of his left leg in the Pacific theater when he was pressed into service promoting war bonds on the home front. The effort was one of the eight national war-bond drives between 1942 and 1945 that raised more than $190 billion. Investors purchased $25 bonds for $18.25. Bonds were redeemable after 10 years.

For the Sheboygan war bond tour, Mulqueen was paired with an Army man from Milwaukee who had been held in a Nazi POW camp. The boys made a whirlwind tour of Sheboygan to explain the importance of supporting the war effort. The county war bond committee placed a full-page advertisement in The Sheboygan Press featuring Mulqueen and Staff Sgt. Azzan C. McKagan, who was held captive for 14 months in Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems, Austria. “You think you’re making ‘sacrifices’ when you buy an extra ‘E’ war bond?” the headline read. “Look at these two Wisconsin boys and say that!”

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This full-page ad appeared in the Dec. 22, 1944 issue of The Sheboygan Press. Mulqueen is at left.

At a bond rally at Benedict’s Heidelberg Club, Mulqueen talked about his experiences fighting with the 2nd Marine Division on Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He noted the tremendous cost of fighting the war. At the U.S. Marine rest camps, he said, no rallies were necessary. The Marines gladly bought their share of war bonds. “The boys at the front are tired — damned tired — we all have to buy bonds to get them home as soon as possible,” he said.

McKagan described being shot down from the ball turret of his B-17 “Hellzapoppin” bomber, and how German civilians beat him after he parachuted to safety. McKagan suffered severe shoulder wounds from anti-aircraft fire. The Gestapo held him for two days and refused to provide medical treatment. He later underwent surgery, but German doctors withheld anesthetic. On Christmas Eve 1943, he was told he would be shot dead the next day for being a saboteur. Instead, he was moved to another POW camp. He was liberated by the Russians in September 1944.

“When I landed on German soil with my right shoulder joint knocked out as a result of flak, the younger German civilians in the vicinity immediately jumped on me and beat me up,” McKagan said. “The civilians that were too old for that sort of thing spit in my face.”

Mulqueen and McKagan appeared at American Hydraulics Inc., The Vollrath Company, Associated Seed Growers, Curt G. Joa Inc., Phoenix Chair Company, Garton Toy Company, Kingsbury Breweries Company, Armour Leather Company, Sheboygan North High School and Sheboygan Central High School.

At the high school rallies, “they were enthusiastically received, as both of the heroes were quite recently high school students,” The Sheboygan Press reported. McKagan attended Rufus King High School in Milwaukee. Mulqueen was a graduate of Pio Nono High School in St. Francis. Mulqueen was too young to enlist and needed written permission from his parents to join the U.S. Marine Corps.

VeteransStories
The Sheboygan war-bond tour received extensive media coverage.

On Dec. 7, 1944, the men appeared at halftime of the professional basketball game between the Sheboygan Redskins and the world champion Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons at the Sheboygan Municipal Auditorium and Armory. Some 3,400 fans gave full attention to the war heroes. “The messages of these young men who have sacrificed their limbs in the fight for victory brought every person in that vast armory to the realization that wholehearted support of the Sixth War Loan drive is the least that civilians on the home front can do to help these young men carry on at the fighting fronts,” read the sports page of The Sheboygan Press.

The rallies had the desired effect, helping put Sheboygan County over its Series E goal, with $1.21 million in bond sales. Overall through December 1944, county residents and businesses purchased nearly $8.6 million in World War II bonds — more than double Sheboygan County’s quota.

Mulqueen was a veteran of war-bond rallies by the time he hit the circuit in Sheboygan, In November 1944, he stood with two of his brothers at Schuster’s Department Store in Milwaukee at a bond rally that helped raise more than $500,000. None of it was easy for Mulqueen. Just six months earlier, he was blown off the deck of a landing ship-tank (LST) at Pearl Harbor in what would come to be known as the West Loch Disaster. The chain-reaction explosion that day killed 163 and wounded nearly 400 as the Marines prepared for the eventual invasion of Saipan.

After the war, Mulqueen returned to Cudahy, married and became father to six children. He had a long, successful career with his brother, Tinker Mulqueen, running Earl’s Automotive in Cudahy. He died of cancer on August 2, 1980.

Even though he was partially disabled, McKagan re-enlisted in the Army in March 1947 and became a small-arms instructor at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. He was awarded the distinguished flying cross for his World War II service. McKagan was killed in an automobile accident in Germany in July 1947.

©2017 The Hanneman Archive

Related: “You Buy the Bonds and the Mulqueens Will Win the War”

Related: Mulqueen’s Donated Knife Makes it to War in the Pacific

 

Will Houdini Break the Bonds of Death?

By Joseph Hanneman
Journal Times

Before super magician Harry Houdini died in a Detroit hospital 61 years ago today, he made a pact with several people that he would try to return from the dead and make his greatest escape.

On his deathbed in 1926, Houdini took his wife’s hand and made her repeat their pact – that the first one to die would try to come back.

They agreed on a message, the name “Rosabelle,” followed by code words spelling out “believe.”

For 10 years, Bess Houdini held seances on Halloween in a desperate  attempt to find her husband.

Detpite one well-publicized “contact,” she gave up in 1936 after many unsuccessful attempts.

The legend of the great escapist has grown over the years as fans and spiritualists have tried time and again to help him accomplish his greatest feat, escaping the bonds of death.

For 61 years, all attempts have failed.

Seeking Coded Message
In the true spirit of Halloween, a group of Houdini experts will gather tonight at a seance table in Los Angeles and again try to contact Houdini, in front of a national television audience.

The syndicated program, “The Search for Houdini,” will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on 141 stations, including WVTV Channel 18 in Milwaukee and WGN Channel 9 in Chicago. William Shatner will host.

At the table tonight will be a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs and a coded message he left his magician colleague, Joseph Dunninger, which will be used as a test if spirit contact is made.

That message includes 10 words circled on a letter written to Houdini from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of “Sherlock Holmes” fame. Ten more code words are on a piece of paper in the pocket of a Houdini expert.

NoShow
Like all other attempts before it, the nationally televised seance on Oct. 31, 1987 failed to contact Harry Houdini.

Most people don’t believe it will get that far.

At a seance last year in Appleton, where Houdini grew up, Houdini ap­parently declined the invitation. A “spirit” contacted by seance participants had trouble answering basic Houdini trivia questions.

Houdini experts are skeptical that the master magician will return tonight, but admit if he did come back, a national television audience would be a perfect forum.

“He thought if anybody could make it, he would,” said Henry Muller, owner of the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, Canada.

“What we’re willing to do is try,” Muller said in a telephone interview. “I personally don’t think he will make it.”

“If Houdini would want to come back, he would want to come back in a glamorous, spectacular way,” said Sidney Radner, of Holyoke, Mass., who arguably has the largest collection of Houdini’s paraphernalia.

“I’m obviously a skeptic,” said Radner, who before World War II was a protege of Houdini’s brother-magician, Theo Weiss, whose stage name was Hardeen.

“I would like to be around if Houdini or anybody else comes back and can prove it,” he said, also in a telephone interview.

Both Muller and Radner will be at the table at tonight’s seance.

“Like Houdini, I’m ready to be shown,” said Dr. Morris Young, a New York physician who watched Houdini’s performances in the 1920s and has written a book about Houdini.

“A lot of people would like to believe,” Young said. But, “I think we’re going to reach a black hole sooner than that.”

In 1926, Houdini fell ill after a performance in Montreal when a McGill University student punched him in the stomach to test the strength of his muscles.

By the time his tour reached Detroit in late October, peritonitis set in and Houdini’s fate was sealed.

Birthplace Controversy
Born Erich Weiss in 1874, Houdini’s place of birth remains a controversy. Houdini, who took his name from French magician Robert Houdin, claimed his birthplace was Appleton, but some biographers believe he was born in Budapest, Hungary.

Not at anytime since humbug king P.T. Barnum hornswoggled thousands in the mid-1800s had there been such a showman as Houdini.

The larger-than-life master of escape thrilled audiences with derring-do and sleight of hand and body. No pair of handcuffs, no straitjacket, packing crate, coffin or chain could hold Houdini.

Houdini_LibraryCongress
Magician Harry Houdini in an 1899 publicity photo. (Library of Congress)

He accepted challenges from jailers, prisons and packing crate companies. He won every time.

Audiences were amazed as he escaped from the Chinese Water Torture Cell. He spent 90 minutes underwater in a soldered coffin. And he walked through a solid brick wall.

Houdini also spent time disproving those who claimed to make contact with the dead.

He made no friends in the burgeoning spiritualist movement by exposing fraudulent mediums – proving those who claimed to speak for the dead were fakes.

Tonight’s seance, despite the obvious commercial draw, carries on that work.

“In essence, we’re doing exactly what Houdini would do if he were alive,” Radner said.

“In my opinion, by not having him come back, it ought to put doubts in the minds of intelligent people that it can’t be done,” Radner said. “If Houdini can’t do it, why could their Auntie Mae do it?”

And how would Houdini view the continuing attention to his life and death?

“He was the (best) showman that ever lived,” Muller said. “That’s exactly what he would love was the publicity he’s getting – to the point of being immortalized.”

Radner said Houdini’s continued popularity is due to an air of uncertainty and magic.

“Everything about Houdini leaves questions and doubts and wonderment,” Radner said. “This is what makes the mystery so great.” ♦

– This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the October 31, 1987 edition of the Racine Journal Times. View the original newspaper pages.


Postscript: The nationally televised seance failed to make contact with the long-departed Houdini. Sidney Radner died on June 26, 2011 at age 91. In 2004, he sold his 1,000-piece Houdini collection at auction. Henry Muller died on February 28, 2017. He was 86. His Houdini museum operated from 1968 to 1995, and housed many artifacts from Radner’s collection. Dr. Morris Young died on November 13, 2002 at age 93.

Further Reading: “Wild About Harry” Web Site

Further Reading: Houdini: His Life & Art

 

 

Loftus Campaign Hits a Bad Spell

By Joseph Hanneman
Journal Times

Candidates for governor often face tough questions from their opponents and the press, but Thomas Loftus got stumped Tuesday by a third-grader at Johnson Elementary School.

Loftus, the Democratic legislator challenging Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, asked students if they could think of any difficult words he could spell.

“Chrysanthemum,” chimed one student, referring to the flower.

It appeared the Assembly speaker from Sun Prairie regretted ever asking.

He turned to the chalk board and hesitantly wrote, “chrysanthinum.”

Several people in the room shook their heads, indicating Loftus’ version was wrong, but no one offered the correct spelling.

For the record, it’s c-h-r-y-s-a-n-t-h-e-m-u-m.

Loftus, who was in Racine to discuss his plan to reform school financing and cut elementary class sizes, had some other interesting exchanges with the students.

He asked kindergartners what the governor does.

“He tells people stuff,” one boy offered.

“Yeah, he tells people stuff,” Loftus replied, “some of it accurate.”

After speaking with fifth graders for about five minutes, one student raised her hand and said, “I forgot what your name was.”

“Dan Quayle,” Loftus quipped.

He then signed autographs for the students, which helped engrain his name in their minds.

As he left the room, students could be heard saying, “Loftus, Loftus, Tom Loftus.” ♦

– This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Racine Journal Times on June 6, 1990. View the original newspaper page.

Dachau Stands as a Silent Reminder

Dachau: A Silent Reminder of Nazi Brutality

By Joseph Hanneman
Journal Times

DACHAU, Germany — Forty-six years after it was liberated from Adolf Hitler’s brutal regime, an unsettling quiet hangs over the massive grounds of Germany’s first Nazi concentration camp.

A cool wind rustles through the dead leaves of last season. It whispers what seems to be an audible tale of the cruelty and atrocities committed here between 1933 and 1945.

Village near Munich

The picturesque village of Dachau, a 1,200-year-old community in southern Bavaria, is located only a few miles northeast of Munich. The area has a rich culture of its own, but the world will always associate Dachau with death.

Dachau records show 31,957 registered deaths between 1933 and 1945, but many historians believe the number is much higher. The tally does not include the scores who arrived dead in train cars from other camps.

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Dachau’s ovens are a stark reminder of the tens of thousands of victims who were cremated at the concentration camp. (Photo by Joe Hanneman)

When American soldiers liberated the camp on April 29, 1945, there were bodies all over the camp. A mass grave was established near the camp, where about 4,000 people were buried shortly after liberation.

The concentration camp site, on the northern outskirts of Dachau, has been maintained by the Committee International de Dachau as a permanent memorial and reminder of what happened here.

Directly inside the original electrified barbed wire fence is a museum that opened in 1960. The rest of the site opened as a memorial in 1965.

The museum holds haunting pictures of the torture, starvation and death that were everyday occurrences here. A stunning film was confiscated from German soldiers when the Allies liberated the camp.

In the center of the museum is a heart-rending picture of an emaciated prisoner laying flat on his stomach, arms outstretched, The look on his face seems like a silent cry for help.

Gruesome Pictures

Other pictures show stacks of corpses waiting for incineration at Dachau’s two crematorium buildings, piles of valuables pilfered from prisoners, and two men — hung upside down — being beaten by smiling Nazi SS guards.

There are also depictions of the cruel experiments carried out by the SS, which stands for Schutzstaffel — Hitler’s elite police. Some prisoners were put in special suits to determine how they reacted to depressurization.

An original torture rack stands in the center of one room of the museum.

In a display case hang examples of the identification badges prisoners were forced to wear. Jews wore stars of David. Non-German prisoners wore colored chevrons: green meant professional criminal, black meant “asocial,” violet was for “Bible inquirers,” and pink was for homosexuals.

Outside, the cement foundations of the 34 barracks stretch for hundreds of yards. The barracks were decrepit and rotting when the camp was liberated. They were torn down, but two were rebuilt as part of the memorial.

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The statue of the unknown victim stands right outside the crematorium. (Photo by Joe Hanneman)

Each building was designed for 80 prisoners, yet at the height of the war, some held more than 400.

In the courtyards between the barracks, prisoners once stood for roll call. Sometimes, they stood motionless for hours in rain or snow, the so-called “standing torture” that claimed many lives.

Even the dead had to show up for roll call, dragged by compatriots who were forced to make sure the deceased were counted each day.

Ironic motto

The original front gate still open-, adorned in iron by the camp motto – Arbeit Macht Frei – a cruelly ironic phrase that roughly means, “Work shall make you free.”

Just outside the perimeter fence are the two crematorium buildings that were once so busy that rotting bodies stacked up in a gruesome backlog.

The oven doors stand open. On the hinge of one door hangs a single, drying rose. A wreath hangs on an oven in the adjacent room.

Prisoners who died here were often shot to death. Others died of disease or torture. No one was gassed to death at Dachau, although a shower room for gassing had been installed. Prisoners marked for gassing were sent to Linz, Austria.

Several chapels were erected on the site in the 1960s, as if in an attempt to heal the destruction wrought at the camp. The Carmelite order of nuns built a convent here.

A huge granite memorial near the entrance sums up the reason the camp has been maintained for so long:

“May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defense of peace and freedom, and in respect for their fellow men.” ♦

– This article originally appeared in the April 28, 1991 issue of the Racine Journal Times. View the original news page.

NewsBits Section Highlights Hidden Family Gems

Most family history never makes the newspaper, so unless it is documented or passed down in oral stories, it can be lost. Even items that made the papers over the decades and centuries can be hard to spot. With that in mind, The Hanneman Archive has added a NewsBits page with a growing collection of “all the little news that was fit for print.”

Historic newspapers carried regular columns on what might be called “neighborhood news.” These items varied from who had dinner at whose house last night, to births in the family, to strange happenings like the poisoning of a farmer’s horses. We are fortunate, especially with our Hanneman and Treutel family lines, to have relatives who enjoyed reporting their comings and goings to the local paper. One of our favorites was when Donn Hanneman brought a tomato in to the offices of the Mauston Star in September 1942, showing the salad fruit seemingly had a V for victory grown into its skin. During World War II, patriotism was the order of the day.

Read more NewsBits and enjoy! We try to update the page weekly.

Gov.-Elect Orland Loomis’ Painting Comes Home Again to Mauston

A beautiful painting of three dogs in an ornate gold frame hung in our family’s living space and commanded attention for more than 50 years. Once belonging to Wisconsin Governor-elect Orland Steen “Spike” Loomis, the painting used to hang in the Mauston home of my grandparents, Carl and Ruby Hanneman. After a journey of 75 years, the painting is back home in Mauston and will hang permanently in the Boorman House Museum run by the Juneau County Historical Society.

The pastel artwork was delivered on Wednesday, August 2 to the museum, accepted by Nancy McCullick, president of the Juneau County Historical Society. It was a gift from the entire Hanneman family, made in memory of Carl and Ruby and their three children: David, my Dad (1933-2007), Donn (1926-2014) and Lavonne (1937-1986). It now hangs over the bookcase in the library of Mauston pioneer Benjamin Boorman. Propped up in a temporary space on Wednesday, the painting already looked at home. Its beauty and historic significance will fit in very well at the Boorman House.

Orland S. Loomis
Orland S. Loomis

The painting was a gift from Orland S. Loomis to Carl Hanneman, given in recognition of Carl’s help getting Loomis elected Wisconsin governor in 1942. It previously hung in Loomis’ law office in Mauston, and in his office in Madison when he was Wisconsin attorney general from 1937 through 1938. Loomis died on December 7, 1942 after suffering a series of heart attacks. He was 49. Loomis was the only Wisconsin governor-elect to die before taking the oath of office. Loomis previously served as Mauston city attorney (1921-1931), a state representative (1929-1930) and state senator from Mauston (1930-1934). Loomis also served as a special prosecutor in the 1930 case of the assassinated Juneau County district attorney, Clinton G. Price.

We’ve chronicled some of the other stories of Carl’s relationship with Loomis, such as the touching 1937 letter he wrote seeking help obtaining a full registered pharmacist license. Carl was in the Loomis home on election night in November 1942, and his photo of the governor-elect on the telephone ran on Page 1 of the The Wisconsin State Journal on November 4, 1942. It was published on Page 1 again on December 8, 1942, the day after Loomis died. Carl’s 1942 news article on reaction to Loomis’ death appeared in a 2014 Wisconsin Public Television “Hometown Stories” documentary.

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Ruby V. and Carl F. Hanneman lived and worked in Mauston for decades.

The beauty of the painting can be most appreciated when viewed up close. The dogs are at the edge of a wooded area, and appear to be listening to their master’s call. The woods look peaceful and serene. In the right light, the painting takes on incredible depth. It looks as if you could step into it and venture into the woods. That effect was very noticeable in the lighting at the Boorman House. The pastel work was created by an artist named F.M. West. So far we have been unable to learn anything of his or her history. More research will be needed to determine if Loomis commissioned this painting, or if it was a gift from a family friend or a constituent. West was a common surname in Juneau County in the early 20th century.

The painting was the second Hanneman donation to the Juneau County Historical Society since 2007. That year, the family donated a collection of historic photographs, ephemera and memorabilia from the Hannemans’ nearly 50 years in Mauston. The donations are in keeping with David and Mary Hanneman’s long-held practice of giving back to the community, such as the four ornate stained-glass window sections donated to St. Mary’s Hospital in 2006 while Dad was being treated there for lung cancer. In 2017, the family donated Carl F. Hanneman’s pharmacy school papers to Marquette University, where he studied in 1923 and 1924.

The Hannemans moved to Mauston from Wisconsin Rapids in 1936. Carl was the druggist at the Hess Clinic on Division Street until his semi-retirement in the 1960s. He served for 26 years on the Mauston Police and Fire Commission, the Juneau County Fair Board of Directors, the Mauston Chamber of Commerce, and the Solomon Juneau council of the Knights of Columbus. In April 1978, he was honored by the Mauston City Council for his lifetime of service. The state Assembly passed a resolution, authored by Rep. Tommy G. Thompson, honoring Carl for his civic and community service. In 1966, Carl closed the pharmacy early and took the young state Assembly candidate Thompson around Mauston to meet members of the business community. It was a gesture Thompson would never forget, even when he was the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history.

The David Hannemans moved to Sun Prairie in 1965. Dad was a longtime member of the Sun Prairie City Council and the Dane County Board of Supervisors. He served as mayor of Sun Prairie from 2003 to 2005. Mom taught reading and other subjects for more than 25 years at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic School. In 2007, Dad was posthumously honored by the City of Sun Prairie and the Dane County Board for his service. In November 2006, Gov. Tommy Thompson took time away from a presidential campaign stop to call an ailing Dave at St. Mary’s Hospital. The call brought tears to Dad’s eyes and buoyed his spirits throughout his cancer battle.

– Read more about Loomis’ life in this 1943 resolution from the Wisconsin Legislature

©2017 The Hanneman Archive

 

God Bless America – A Beacon and a Promise

It was just after daybreak on a Saturday when Father M.W. Gibson climbed to the spire of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Racine, Wisconsin. In a bold sign that faith and patriotism go hand in hand, he hoisted an American flag onto the spire, where it waved in the breeze for all to see. It was April 20, 1861 and the War of the Rebellion had just broken out. Father Gibson wanted to remind area Catholics what was at stake in defending the country’s sovereignty.

Later that same day, a crowd of 1,000 people gathered in Racine’s Market Square (now called Monument Square) and marched north across the Root River to St. Patrick’s. They sought to thank Father Gibson for his patriotic statement. Gibson implored the crowd to recall that the country for which their forefathers lived and died was calling to them. The time had come, he said, to answer that call.

BeaconPromise

This true story is from a ceremony I wrote for the Knights of Columbus in 2009 to honor the American flag and those who have died defending it.

“Let us commit to always honor our flag and protect it. Protect it from enemies without – and within – who seek to diminish its honor, lower its stature or desecrate it in protest.”

Those words were used in a ceremony providing a reverent retirement by fire for American flags that were no longer fit for service. On this Independence Day, they also offer a look at how previous generations viewed the United States and the symbol of its freedom. We quoted the stirring words of Father Raymond Mahoney, who as chaplain of the Racine Knights of Columbus penned a poem in May 1920 honoring the American flag:

“Heaven itself is unfurling the flag of the land we love, and I hear Columbia telling her children the story of how the flag came to be”

In the blood that they gave for the cause of right
A thousand true martyrs lay
And the angel that tends on hero souls
Came down at the close of day
To gather them in, and to carry them
Before the Lord of all
Then as over their forms she kindly stooped
Her snow white wings let fall

On the ground that their blood had incarnadined
And it left on them a stain
And she feared that the Master would chide her
When she came to His presence again
Because on those wings once so undefiled
Now glowed that crimson stain

But as she passed on through the evening skies
The souls to her bosom clung
She tore from the skies a bit of the blue
And over her shoulders flung
That azure so deep, that was star begemmed
In thought perhaps it might
When she came to the throne of the Master, hide
The stain of blood from sight

So she lay at his feet those hero souls
And bent low with wings outspread
And he saw that those wings were star sprinkled blue, and white, and bloody red
He asked what it meant, why the wings were stained
In fear the angel said
“Oh, the red is the blood that theses heroes spilled
The blue is Your own fair sky
And with it I have sought to hide the stain
Lest it displease Your eye”

“The stain on your wings,” he answered her
“Is truly a blessed one
And is always the mark of a crimson tide
That for liberty has run

“For it tells of service and sacrifice
Of a life and a death or right
And the blue speaks of hope, the white as truth
Sends forth a welcome light
To gleam for mankind as for travelers beams
The building star of night

“Spread out your wings o’er the universe
That all who behold may see
The flag that speaks of love, truth and hope
The virtues that make men free”

You can watch the entire flag retirement ceremony below.

Read More: Flag Retirement Ceremony Script

Read More: Father Mahoney’s Flag Tribute

 

Mauston Quiet With Tragedy at Death of Gov.-Elect Orland Loomis

The sudden death of Wisconsin Governor-Elect Orland S. Loomis on December 7, 1942 shocked the state; no place more than his home town of Mauston. Carl F. Hanneman wrote the article below for The Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday, December 8, 1942.

By CARL F. HANNEMAN
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — A few weeks ago, all Mauston rejoiced as Orland S. Loomis, known as “Spike” to the entire city, was elected governor of Wisconsin. carlsorrow

There was an impromptu celebration, and the townspeople gathered to cheer the man who had spent his life in the community except when he was serving the state at Madison and his country in France.

Today Mauston was as deep in sorrow and grief as it was in the heights as the November election returns came rolling in.

For the man who was a friend to everyone in Mauston had died suddenly, and the whole city was quiet with tragedy.

Pastor Speaks for City
The Rev. G.I. Krein of the First Presbyterian church expressed the sentiment of the entire city when he said today:

“A few weeks ago the people of Mauston rejoiced and let Mr. Loomis know how proud we all were of him. As we did them rejoice, we now mourn.

“The Sunday following his election Mr. and Mrs. Loomis worshipped with us. I then bade them Godspeed in their new home and work.

“As a young pastor I have welcomed his kindly interest in my and this church. I am thankful to have had the counsel and friendship of this Christian character,” Mr. Krein said.

Officials Pay Tribute
Gov.-elect Loomis at one time was district attorney of Juneau County, and today another Juneau County prosecutor, Charles P. Curran, declared that “the people of Mauston and Juneau County have lost a very dear friend and the state of Wisconsin have been deprived of an outstanding governor, statesman and leader.”

carlphoto
Carl Hanneman took this photo for The Wisconsin State Journal the night Orland S. Loomis was elected governor of Wisconsin.

 

Mayor Raymond W. Barnwell characterized the death “as a shock such as a community like this seldom has. It strikes every citizen as though they have lost one of their own family, and the universal sense of grief is evidence of what ‘Spike’ really mean to everyone here,” the mayor said.

Lifelong friends of the governor-elect included Dr. J.S. Hess Jr. and J.H. Ensch, American Legion official. Dr. Hess said “we can appreciate the great loss for our community and the entire state of Wisconsin,” while Ensch, who “noticed him through school, college, social, law and political days,” reported the entire community grief-stricken.

“Conscientious Servant”
Gov.-elect Loomis was characterized by Robert P. Clark, county judge before whom he often argued cases, as “a conscientious and capable public servant.”

“Mauston was proud of its favorite son,” said John Hanson, editor of the Mauston Star, and “ ‘Spike’ Loomis will always live in the hearts of everyone here, where he was known best, first as a friend, then as governor.”

“We in Mauston who have profited by his counsel and example fully appreciate the loss to the commonwealth,” said Robert Temple, editor of the Juneau County Chronicle.

Related Article: Carl’s Heartfelt 1937 Plea for a Better Future

Related Article: Carl F. Hanneman’s Contribution to Wisconsin Hometown Stories

Wisconsin’s Last Covered Bridge is 140 Years Young

When the wooden covered bridge was built over Cedar Creek in 1876, memories of the Civil War were still fresh and the main modes of transportation were horses and oxen pulling buggies or wagons. The clip-clop of hooves and the rolling thunder of wooden wheels have long since faded, but Wisconsin’s last covered bridge still stands proud at age 140.

Nina Wilson (center) and daughter Laurni Lee (at left) on the famous covered bridge in 1941.
Nina Wilson (center) and daughter Laurni Lee (at left) on the famous covered bridge on June 30, 1941. The woman at right is unidentified.

Located on a scenic route some 20 miles north of Milwaukee, the beautiful span no longer carries vehicle traffic but is still a boon to pedestrian traffic and those armed with cameras. It has served as the backdrop for countless photos over the years. It is such an important landmark to nearby Cedarburg, Covered Bridge Park was built around it and a historic marker from the Wisconsin Historical Society was placed nearby.

Nina (Treutel) Wilson (center) with daughter Laurni Lee (left) and an unidentified woman stand inside the covered bridge north of Cedarburg, Wis., on June 30, 1941.
The bridge uses wooden lattice trusses and interlaced 3-by-10-inch planks.

Our look at this magnificent bridge goes back to late June 1941. Pictured are Nina (Treutel) Wilson (center) and her daughter, Laurni Lee. Nina is the sister of my  grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. I believe the photograph was taken by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, who at the time was working at the Washington County Asylum in West Bend. In her scrapbook, Emma kept a July 1941 news clipping on the bridge from The Milwaukee Journal. Across the top of the page, she wrote, “I rode over this bridge June 30, 1941.” 

The Milwaukee Journal article bid poetic tribute to the old bridge:

“Grayed with the snows and suns of many years, it might tell a hundred tales to the traveler who would stop and bend a sympathetic ear. …Leaning under the weight of its years, this friendly bridge (it has no name) still creaks and rumbles heartily and bears its passing burdens of farmers and curious visitors as trustily as the day its last dowels and wedges were driven tight.”

This sketch of the Cedarburg covered bridge, by artist Frank S. Moulton, appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 26, 1950.
This sketch of the Cedarburg covered bridge, by artist Frank S. Moulton, appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 26, 1950.

At that time, the bridge still carried live traffic, although only vehicles weighing 3 tons or less. It was built with just enough height to accommodate a wagonload of hay. The structure was welcome shelter in summer and winter for horses and drivers alike. The bridge is 12 feet wide and 120 feet long. Its construction has been described as a masterpiece, using lattice trusses with interlaced  3-by-10-inch planks. It is held together with 2 inch hardwood dowels. Its road surface is covered with 3-inch planks. A concrete support was added beneath the midway point in 1927 to help the bridge support motorized vehicles.

Wisconsin once had dozens of covered bridges. The last one to be demolished (in 1935) spanned the Wisconsin River at Boscobel. But the folks of Ozaukee County worked hard to ensure their covered bridge would be maintained for future generations. It was taken out of active service in 1962, as another bridge was built over Cedar Creek to handle vehicle traffic. In May 1965, the state historical marker was installed next to the bridge.

Covered Bridge Park is located on Covered Bridge Road, which runs north and south between Highway 60 and Pleasant Valley Road just north of Cedarburg.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

U.S. Soldier’s WWII War-Bride Homecoming Noticed in Great Britain

In 1946, my grandfather wrote a charming article for the Wisconsin State Journal about the English wife of a U.S. soldier who came to Mauston, Wis., to find a fully furnished home waiting for her.

It seems the story of Charles Grinolds and his new bride, Margaret, got noticed across the pond in Great Britain. The former Margaret Eley was native to England. We’ll let Carl F. Hanneman of the Wisconsin State Journal tell the story from the June 30, 1946 issue:

Journal Story on Mauston Welcome to GI Bride
Moves British Paper to Congratulatory Ending

MAUSTON, Wis. — Mrs. Charles Grinolds, British war bride, and The Wisconsin State Journal’s account of her welcome at Mauston last winter, received considerable attention in the British press. The comment of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express, published May 16, follows:

ANGLO-AMERICAN

“In pondering Mr. Churchill’s suggestions that America and Britain should think about setting up house together in the political sphere, it is not entirely impertinent to think of the tens of thousands of British girls and American boys who have had the same idea in the domestic realm.

They and their relatives must be more than a little tired of the jokes on this topic and while it is true that an international marriage has special problems, it must be remembered that two out of every 10 all-British marriages are now providing work for the matrimonial courts, divorce courts or solicitors’ offices, and there is no evidence that the proportion of unsuccessful British-American marriages is as high as that.JournalStoryGetsBrit

The great majority which turn out most happily do not usually make news, so we are pleased to mention the happy welcome which was given to Mrs. Charles Grinolds (nee Margaret Eley), only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. V. Eley of Ashwell, when she arrived at her new home at Mauston, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

With her husband, former Staff Sgt. C. Grinolds, and Charles Victor Jr., who was born after his father left England last July, Mrs. Grinolds arrived at her new hometown at 4 a.m. but found crowds and (Wisconsin State Journal) photographers awaiting to welcome her, a repeat performance of what had already happened at Chicago.

It was at Chicago that Margaret had a big surprise. While she was following the military policeman assigned to her at the railroad station, a civilian came up and took the baby from her arms. She was frightened at first, but then realized that the young man was no stranger. It was her husband, whom she had not expected would meet her at Chicago and whom she had never before seen in civilian clothes.

Bigger surprises were to come.

This is what happened to Margaret at Mauston, according to the Wisconsin State Journal:

‘Thrilled with a surprise house new and completely furnished, Mrs. Grinolds found it furnished even to pictures and books, and in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken and other canned goods. On the table in a modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription ‘Welcome,’ while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.

‘Nice work, Margaret.’ ”

After publishing the original blog post on this subject in 2015, I received correspondence from Nigel Reed, a nephew of the couple from the Eley side of the family. Nigel supplied a digital copy of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express with the May 1946 Grinolds story. That, in turn, led me to discover two additional articles written by my grandfather Carl in 1946. The first is detailed above. The other appeared in The Wisconsin State Journal February 18, 1946, the day before Mrs. Grinolds reached Mauston and saw her new home:

Furnished Bungalow Awaits English Bride of Area Man

By Carl F. Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — A completely furnished five-room modern bungalow is waiting in Mauston for Mrs. Helen Margaret Grinolds as a surprise for the English war bride, wife of Staff Sgt. Charles Grinolds, FunishedHomeAwaitsMauston.

Mrs. Grinolds was among the hundreds of war brides scheduled to arrive in New York last weekend on the Santa Paula, and was to come directly to Mauston with their son, Charles Victor, who was born July 29, 1945, after his father left England for home.

She was to arrive in Mauston late today.

Sgt. Grinolds entered service in February 1942 and left for England in September 1942. He was stationed in England for 33 months and returned home in July 1945. He was discharged that September.

The couple was married in St. Mary’s church at Ashwell, England, and theirs was the first Anglo-American wedding performed in Ashwell during the war. Mrs. Grinolds is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.V. (Harold Victor) Eley, Ashwell, and she has one brother, Antone, 16. •

Grinolds_Dies_1950
Charles D. Grinolds’ 1950 obituary from The Wisconsin State Journal

My original post had details on Charles, his military history and his untimely death in 1950. But with the help of Mr. Reed and some additional digging, we can put more details to this heartwarming love story.

Charles Dockstader Grinolds died on Sunday, July 30, 1950 at his Mauston home of a heart ailment. He was just 36. By that time, he and Margaret had three sons: Charles Victor, who had celebrated his 5th birthday the day before his father’s death; Anthony Basil, 3; and Stephen McClellan, 1. After suffering such a devastating loss, Mrs. Grinolds took her sons and returned to England and the support of her family. They came back to the United States in August 1951 aboard the ship Queen Mary.

Mrs. Grinolds married William Osborne in Mauston on March 30, 1952. The couple moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1965. She died September 5, 1972 in Colorado Springs.

The three sons of Charles and Margaret Grinolds all had military careers like their father. Charles V. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and in Iraq. He died on June 10, 2006. Stephen M. Grinolds served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1967-1972. He died on December 23, 2005. Anthony B. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in England. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive