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.
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.
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.
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.”
Like most hard-working farmers of his day, Frederick Krosch spent a lot of time toiling in the fields. First in Germany and then on an 80-acre farm north of the village of Mukwonago in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
It’s amazing to realize that the water bottle he carried with him into the fields has survived to this day, more than 130 years after his death. The glass bottle, embossed with lettering that reads “Dr. Cummins Vegetine,” has been in the possession of Bonnie (Treutel) Young, the elder Krosch’s great-great granddaughter.
Bonnie has had the bottle on display at her home, but only recently removed a handwritten note that had been placed inside in 1944.The note reads: “This is the bottle in which our grandfather Krosch, ‘mother’s father,’ used to take drinking water to the fields with him. It’s perhaps near 100 years old.”
The note was written by Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962), Frederick Krosch’s granddaughter, who no doubt inherited it from her mother, Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1839-1908).
As documented in a previous article,the Krosch family came to America inJuly 1854 and settled into farming in Waukesha County. Frederick Krosch farmed 80 acres of land that is now home to a bank and a Culver’s restaurant. The Krosch farm was adjacent to land owned by Judge Martin Field, for whom Field Park in Mukwonago is named. Krosch’s farmland was valued at $1,500,according to the 1870 U.S. Census.
Krosch continued his farming as his daughter Henrietta marriedblacksmith Philipp Treutel and started her own family. The elder Krosch died Aug. 7, 1876. He is buried at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Mukwonago.
As for the original contents of that bottle, Vegetine was sold for years as a “blood purifier.” It laid claim to curing and preventing maladies from pimples to cancer and neuralgia to “female weakness,” gout and sciatica. Vegetine was made from bark, roots and herbs.
Given Vegetine’s wild curative claims, perhaps Frederick Krosch figured out he was better off sticking to water.
FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch (1799-1876) >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
William and Crystal Krosch faced unthinkable tragedy during their first years in Wisconsin. The joy at the birth of their daughter Ida Clara Krosch in February 1858 turned to dread and sadness just a few years later. Sick with diphtheria, little Ida died two days after Christmas 1861 at the family home in the town of Eagle in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
Ida Krosch was laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery about a mile south of the village of Eagle. A 2-acre parcel carved out of the Kettle Moraine Forest, the cemetery was a scenic, peaceful place that no doubt brought some comfort to the family during visits to the little girl’s resting place. What shock they would feel if they witnessed what would become of the little country cemetery long after the family had moved to Minnesota.
What was going on in the world in December 1861? “It looks now as if we are to have good sleighing for Christmas, as several inches of snow fell during Sunday last,” wrote the Waukesha Freeman on Dec. 24, 1861. The newspapers were promoting a Waukesha visit by Gen. Tom Thumb, “America’s Man in Miniature” made famous by P.T. Barnum. And many local men were leaving their businesses to join Wisconsin troops in the Civil War.
The burial records of Oak Grove Cemetery are testament to the hardships of pioneer life in rural Waukesha County. It was common for families to lose young children to diseases such as diphtheria or typhoid fever. Ironically, an article run in the Waukesha Freeman the week Ida died wrongly predicted that diphtheria would be fatal in just one of 100 cases. Diphtheria would become the No. 1 killer of children in America during the coming decades.
The cemetery is replete with stories of the sadness of youth lost. James Lowry died at age 5 in 1858. Ada Severance died at age 4 in 1855. Arden Baldwin died at age 3 just months before Ida Krosch. Oscar Jaycox was just 1 when he died in 1858. Arthur Bigelow was 2 when he died in 1855. Orlando Cook was a mere 8 months old when he died in 1852.
Peter Grems, reported to be the first veterinarian in the Wisconsin Territory, is buried here. Charles Kilts, a bugler for Company K of the 1st Wisconsin Volunteers in the Civil War, is buried here, too. He died in September 1862.
No doubt the graves of these folks were tended to with care for many decades, but Oak Grove Cemetery has now become a sad monument of neglect and abandonment.Monuments have been toppled. Headstones lie in pieces. Many headstones are leaning badly. Grave sites are covered in thicket. Some have been swallowed by the encroaching forest. The wrought iron fence that separates the cemetery from nearby Highway 67 is rusty and listing. No doubt the families of these souls would be heartsick to see the state of this burial ground.
Ironically, Oak Grove Cemetery is just across the road from Old World Wisconsin, the world’s largest museum on the history of rural life. Old World Wisconsin is run by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Maybe if they included their neighboring cemetery on their tours this hallowed ground would not be in such deplorable shape.
For the most part, burials stopped at Oak Grove in 1967, 125 years after the cemetery was founded. We did find one interment at Oak Grove in 2007. Since the cemetery association that cared for the land disbanded long ago, upkeep of the cemetery falls to the local government. It appears the grass gets mowed, but that is no doubt where the maintenance stops.
Under Wisconsin law, circuit courts can compel local municipalities to care for abandoned cemeteries, or even order the reinterment of the deceased in new cemeteries. Given that Oak Grove is a pioneer cemetery with the remains of the founding families of Eagle, as well as many Civil War veterans, it is very sad that more pride is not taken in preserving it.
Little Ida Clara Krosch’s tombstone can no longer be found at Oak Grove Cemetery. Maybe that’s just as well. Her parents and their descendants would no doubt hang their heads in sadness and shame to see what became of little Oak Grove Cemetery.
FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch >> William F. Krosch >> Ida C. Krosch