The huge explosion and fire that leveled numerous buildings in Sun Prairie on July 10 and 11 reminded me of another massive fire in the same area more than 40 years ago. On March 3, 1975, a fast-moving fire destroyed the Schweiger Walgreen Drug Store and Hillenbrand’s shoe store in the 200 block of East Main Street.
The fire alarm was sounded at 1:51 p.m. that day, bringing 33 firemen from the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department to the scene. They were shortly joined by another 25 firefighters and trucks from Stoughton, DeForest and Marshall. The fire was discovered in the basement of the Schweiger Walgreen’s store, 214 E. Main St., and quickly spread to the adjacent Hillenbrand’s and apartments above both buildings. It took more than five hours to fully contain the blaze. The last crews left the scene at around 11 p.m.
Margaret McGonigle, 75, became trapped on the roof of the drug store building when the stairs down from her apartment were blocked by fire. She was rescued by the snorkel truck from the Sun Prairie Fire Department, according to the March 6, 1975 issue of the Sun Prairie Star-Countryman. Mrs. McGonigle was the widow of pharmacist John M. McGonigle, whose family owned and operated McGonigle’s Drug Store for more than 50 years before Robert Schweiger purchased it in 1970. She was also postmaster of Sun Prairie for 38 years before retiring in 1966. John McGonigle died in September 1965.
I distinctly recall going downtown with my father to view the aftermath of the fire. I recall the outriggers on the snorkel truck, and large amounts of road salt around the tires of the fire engines. The pharmacy held special memories for us, since my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, was a reserve pharmacist who occasionally worked for McGonigle’s. The Hillenbrand clothing and shoe stores were run by John Hein, a good friend of my parents, and the shoe store was managed by Roger Reichert, also a family friend. Reichert lived above the store and lost all of his belongings in the fire.
The state fire marshal investigated the blaze, but was unable to determine a cause. Damage to the structures and contents was estimated by Fire Chief Milton Tester at $200,000. Within a week, Schweiger’s opened in temporary quarters on Bristol Street. The buildings were a total loss and had to be demolished.
“Many fine things have been said about our volunteer firemen before. But last week’s fire had to be one of their finest efforts,” read the “Shavings from the Editor’s Pencil” column in the Star-Countryman. “I spent nearly three hours in that biting cold watching those magnificent, heroic firemen work. Not once did I see anyone so much as flinch at going into a burning building or otherwise approaching a dangerous situation.”
Both the 2018 fire that claimed the life of Capt. Cory Barr and the 1975 fire had one thing in common: a pharmacy. The Barr House tavern at the corner of Bristol and Main streets, owned by Capt. Barr and his wife, once housed the Crosse and Crosse Drug Store, according to the Sun Prairie Public Museum. The building dates to the 1890s.
The Schweiger fire was one of three major blazes in Sun Prairie in 1975. On Aug. 10 that year, fire swept through the Moldrem Furniture store at 13 N. Bird St. in the Bird Street Centre. The fire did about $185,000 damage to the 34-year-old business. The store was a total loss. A backdraft blew two firefighters out the front doors of the store. Retiring assistant fire chief Arnie Kleven described the fire as his most frightening in an August 2017 interview with The Star. Kleven said the doors probably saved his life that day. Wiring in the air conditioning system was cited as the cause of the fire.
In July 1975, shorted wiring sparked a major fire in the garage and offices of Bill Gawne Ford Inc., 425 W. Main St. That fire caused an estimated $85,000 damage.
(This post has been updated with details on the Moldrem and Gawne fires.)
Firefighters battled fire, smoke and bitter cold weather. (The Capital Times/Dave Sandell)
It took more than five hours to contain the blaze. (Wisconsin State Journal/Edwin Stein)
A snorkel truck was used in the dramatic rescue of Margaret McGonigle, owner of the drug store building, who was trapped on the roof. (Sun Prairie Star-Countryman photo)
Fire crews from Sun Prairie, DeForest, Stoughton and Marshall battled the blaze. (Sun Prairie Star-Countryman photo)
Shelby Beers behind the counter of the Crosse and Cross Drugstore, circa 1920s. (Sun Prairie Public Museum photo)
When one of my sisters first showed me this photograph, I knew it was a major discovery. We know the occasion (Mom and Dad’s engagement party) and the time frame (June 1958). The task ahead is to identify every one of the 26 people in the photo. After discovering the medium-format negative, I scanned the photo larger to aid with identifications.
David D. Hanneman and Mary K. Mulqueen were married on August 9, 1958 at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Milwaukee. About two months prior, an engagement party was held in their honor. I’m not fully sure of the location, but it could be at the Cudahy home of my grandparents, Earl J. Mulqueen Sr. and Margaret (Dailey) Mulqueen.
We’ve made pretty good headway on photo identifications with the help of the then-bride-to-be and her sisters. The result so far? Of 26 people, only five remain unidentified, with one additional identification being tentative. View the full-size version of the photo here.
Since this post was first published, readers have identified several more people in the photograph. Elaine Hanneman reports that No. 2 is Bob Ripp, No. 24 is his wife, Marjean, and No. 4 is Ruby Curtis. At this party, Donn G. Hanneman and Tinker Mulqueen recognized each other from serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Elaine said.
Possibly Lois (Detlaff) Mulqueen (Identified by Jean Mulqueen Maule)
Bob Ripp (identified by Elaine Hanneman)
Vina M. (Tucker) Seely (1919-2008)
Ruby Curtis (identified by Elaine Hanneman)
Donn G. Hanneman (1926-2014)
Elaine M. (Kline) Hanneman
Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977)
Margaret M. (Dailey) Mulqueen (1895-1982)
Ruth (Cieszynski) Mulqueen (1926-2008)
Mary K. Mulqueen
David D. Hanneman (1933-2007)
Eleanor (Deutsch) Mulqueen (1929-1963)
Donald J. Dailey (1935-2009)
Thomas H. Dailey (1904-1983)
Joan (Mulqueen) Haske
Friend of Joan (Mulqueen) Haske
Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. (1923-1980)
Tinker Mulqueen (1926-2007)
Joseph A. Mulqueen (1944-2015)
Edward J. Mulqueen (1931-1991)
Marie A. Mulqueen (1925-2010)
Lavonne (Hanneman) Wellman (1937-1986)
Marjean Ripp (identified by Elaine Hanneman)
Florence (White) Dailey (1869-1966)
James Grattan Seely (1916-1990)
If you recognize any of the unknowns, leave a comment below so we can update this post.
As we make our way through the recently acquired vintage family photo album, we turn our attention to more unnamed faces. In this case, a boy and young man who could be the earlier faces of Henry Adam Treutel (1864-1962).
Henry Treutel was the third of seven children born to Philipp and Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. The earliest confirmed photo of him in our collection shows him as a member of the Vesper Cornet Band, a local music group that performed around Wood County in the early 1900s. Other family-related members of the band included Charles Treutel and Orville Carlin.
Henry has a distinctive face and a somewhat different look than his siblings. Based on the shape of his face and his expression, we found two unidentified images that seem to fit him.
Henry Adam Treutel was born in Mukwonago, Wisconsin on October 5, 1864. He learned his blacksmithing and carpentry skills from his father Philipp in Mukwonago and Milwaukee. On October 11, 1900 in the village of Eagle, he married Josephine Adelia Garlach at the home of her parents, Constantine and Josephine Garlach. Shortly after, the couple moved with the rest of the Treutel family to Vesper in Wood County.
Almost immediately, Henry and Charles Treutel established Treutel Bros. blacksmith shop. They also sold Deering farm implements, and made and repaired wagons. Business was good, as evidenced by the large barn the brothers built on their property. Henry also secured construction of what the Grand Rapids Tribune described as “one of the most modern residences in Vesper.” Sadness filled the Treutel home on January 31, 1902, when Henry and Josephine’s firstborn child, Warren Mark Treutel, died at just 1 day old. Their second and only other child, Harold James Treutel, was born on September 2, 1903.
The Treutel Bros. excelled in music as well as business. “The Vesper people did not know there was a band in town until Wednesday evening, when the four Treutel Brothers came out and surprised the people by playing a few pieces,” the The Daily Tribune reported. “Come out again, boys.” It appears that Oscar and Walter Treutel joined their brothers in the performance, although I don’t believe Walter was part of the Cornet Band.
In 1917, Treutel Bros. expanded their facilities to add a large garage for the repair of automobiles. It later became a gasoline filling station, selling Red Crown fuel. Henry retired from the business in 1940.
Josephine Treutel died on June 14, 1955 in Wisconsin Rapids, where the couple moved in 1952 after retirement. Henry died on July 19, 1962 at age 97. The couple were survived by their son, Harold, daughter-in-law Genevieve (Senn) Treutel, and grandchildren Robert, Frederick, Barbara and Kathleen. A grandchild, Rose Marie, preceded them in death in January 1928.
The house was silent and the wooden bookshelves were empty, yet a small something caught my eye. In the corner of one shelf stood a tiny metal figurine: an Indian in headdress, from a cowboys and Indians play set from long ago. The man was kneeling with a rifle pointed off in the distance. The figurine was hand-painted; possibly made from lead. It was just the kind of little toy I recall seeing in the house in which my father grew up in Mauston, some 70 miles from where I now stood. There was a box in my Grandpa’s den office that contained cowboys and Indians, toy soldiers, wooden blocks and other assorted goodies that we grandkids played with.
I looked around the room, amazed that this one little item remained hidden after all of the furnishings were gone. The house I grew up in was nearly ready for market, mostly empty of content but not of memories. After days helping clean and polish the house, I found myself saying goodbye. Yet here, some 52 years after first setting foot in this place, the house was saying something to me as well.
The Indian figurine was the second surprise of the day as I made my way around my parents’ home. A few minutes before, I noticed some crumpled salmon-colored construction paper jammed into the corner of a cupboard beneath the basement bar. I figured it was a random scrap that should be out in the trash. But as soon as I picked it up, I realized it was anything but. It was a play program from Mauston High School’s January 1950 production of The Atomic Blonde, a play my father starred in. As I carefully opened the brittle paper, I recognized my Grandmother Ruby’s handwriting across the top of the first inside page: “Jan. 6 – 1950.”
This sure was a treat. The Atomic Blonde, the program read, “takes place in the lobby of Bob Nickerson’s and Skid Weiling’s hotel and and healthitorium in Silver Springs, a summer resort town in the mid-west.” On the other inside page was the cast listing for the play, “presented by the junior class of 1950.” Dad played Skid Weiling, one of the main characters. I recognized many of the cast names from when I helped Dad design a program for his 55th high school reunion in 2006. Mary Crandall, Carol Quamme, Roger Quick, Robert “Jigger” Jagoe, Clayton “Ty” Fiene, Bob Beck and others.
I dug around in my news clippings and found an article, “Atomic Blonde Scores Hit Here,” from the January 12, 1950 issue of The Mauston Star. That article made the play sound more interesting: “Take a couple of love-sick guys, one of their pals masquerading as a blonde glamour gal, a headless ghost, a gigolo or two, an ambitious mother and several lovely gals and stir them into a broken-down resort hotel warmed by a steam bath.” Pretty spicy stuff for 1950. The paper was effusive in its praise of the student actors. “Heading the cast were Dave Hanneman and Pat Dougherty, who were well chosen and able in their resort-operator roles.”
It appeared that my late father, who died in April 2007, was here in this empty house, reminding me there are still memories to be preserved and celebrated. So, as I did years ago when I said goodbye to my own home,I walked the three levels and tried to unearth as much as I could from 52 years of memories.
The Hanneman house was built and then occupied in 1965. It was one of the first homes in the Royal Oaks subdivision of Sun Prairie. And royal the oaks were, with 17 of them towering over the rear of the half-acre property. The house’s blueprints came from Better Homes & Gardens magazine and its signature home design for 1965. While the house was under construction, we lived in a rented home on Lake Wisconsin in Columbia County. Dad made frequent stops at the house and often found things on site not to his liking. One day he was so disgusted by the builder’s sloppiness, he redid an entire window frame. Dad complained for many years that the builder messed up the plans. One room was too big and another too small. We couldn’t tell the difference, but Dad was very exacting.
Over the years, many hundreds of people came and went through the front door, including grandparents, neighbors, school friends, card buddies, bridge club members, foster children, cousins, a couple of reigning Misses Wisconsin, doctors and, in later years, paramedics. I won’t describe here about the events surrounding Dad’s lung cancer and death, since I wrote about that extensively in my book The Journey Home.
I was now standing in the family room, which was the heart of group activity. On one side I could see my Grandpa Carl, rocking in the mahogany recliner. On this day, he looked rather sad. It was probably 1978, not long removed from the July 1977 death of Grandma Ruby. Many a Friday we drove from Sun Prairie to Mauston to bring Grandpa back for a visit. He was so sad and lonely after losing his wife of 52 years. It always started the same way. One of us would pick up the phone on a Friday afternoon and hear a long pause before Grandpa burst into tears. He couldn’t even get the words out. “It’s OK Grandpa, we’ll come get you! Don’t be sad!” I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it. A few of those calls took on serious urgency, like the time Grandpa said he was laying on the floor and could not get up or walk. Dad quickly drove to Mauston to retrieve him, discovering Grandpa had a case of gout that needed attention. Our home became a haven for Grandpa Carl up until he fell to liver cancer in 1982.
A few feet away stands the white-brick fireplace with double mantle. What a treat it was when Dad would bring some firewood from the woodpile out back and build a roaring fire. We would lay in front of it, propping our bare feet on the lower mantle and toasting our toes. Each kid jockeyed for position to get the best “seat” for the fire. I noticed the upper mantle was decorated with greens for Christmas, interspersed with fake fruit covered in glitter. I can still see the Christmas stockings. Most of them were not hung but set on the lower mantle due to the weight of the oranges and apples always at the bottom of each. The fireplace became a critical asset one spring week in the 1970s when a massive ice storm hit Dane County. We had no heat or power for three days. Dad was gone on business and could not get back due to the icy weather. Mom kept things going. The experience was surreal, especially the creepy groans and creaks the tree branches made under weight of the ice. Then came cracks like thunder just before branches fell to the ground. We used the fireplace for heat. We took turns bailing out the basement sump pump to prevent the house from flooding.
The television set always stood under the bookcase to the left of the fireplace. I vividly recall watching one of the Apollo moon landings with the Greens, our next-door neighbors. Way back then, the television was a black-and-white console with vacuum tubes that glowed in the back of the cabinet. The TV had to “warm up” before it showed a picture. Every so often, repairman Phil Wedige came over to replace a tube or some other part. We watched countless hours of programs as a family. Among the most memorable were “Jesus of Nazareth,” the “Roots” miniseries and the four-part “Holocaust” miniseries recounting the Shoah. Dad loved his Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne westerns, and we all enjoyed Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider.
Televised Green Bay Packers games were always memorable, even when the Packers were forgettable. The kids sat on the floor and the adults had the real seats for the Sunday spectacle. Our usual guests for the games were Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Behrend. Dr. Joe was our family physician. I remember more groans of pain from him and Dad during those games than I ever heard at the medical clinic he founded in Sun Prairie. I was too young to really remember the Lombardi glory years, but I sure remember the painful seasons under Dan Devine, Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg and Lindy Infante. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Pack really was back, and those sad little bumper stickers we put on the car finally meant something.
A Love of Reading
A couch once stood in various places in the family room. We went through several couches over the years, from one with solid green upholstery to a truly gaudy scotch plaid number that made up for its appearance with comfort and extra length. I recall Mom reading to me from toddler age on. Even busy with five kids, she found time to read to each of us. My favorites included “Harry the Dirty Dog,” by Gene Zion. “Harry was a
white dog with black spots who liked everything … except getting a bath,” the story went. Then there was “Crictor” by Tomi Ungerer, a story about an old lady and her boa constrictor. Perhaps my favorite, though, was “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. The charming illustrations in this book (edited by Dr. Seuss) captured my imagination. They detailed in colored pencil the adventure of a baby bird who fell out of the nest and went on a grand search for his mother. Mom read these books countless times. I never tired of the stories.
When the house was first built, it had a back patio under roof with posts that supported the overhang. Eventually, Dad framed it in and installed screen panels. That was a luxury, having a screened-in porch. It was quite a treat to dine al fresco, without Wisconsin’s state bird (the mosquito) interfering. My most vivid memory of the screened porch came in July 1975, when we hosted a reception for Grandpa Carl and Grandma Ruby for their 50th wedding anniversary. Grandpa wore a dark blue blazer, crisp white dress shirt and silver-blue patterned tie. Grandma wore a pearlescent seafoam green dress. Her corsage was a lily; his was a yellow rose. I stood at the entrance to the back porch and noticed how the late afternoon sun cast itself warmly across the happy faces of people no longer with us, such as Uncle Wilbert, the “rock hound,” and my dear Aunt Lavonne, who was taken from us just 11 years later at age 48.
The kitchen of course held a special place in our hearts. As I walked in on this day, I saw Grandma Mulqueen, Mom’s mother. For some reason, we never called her by her beautiful given name, Margaret Madonna. She was just Grandma Mulqueen. She rode the Greyhound bus from Cudahy to Sun Prairie to spend a few days. Her visits meant fresh bread and cinnamon rolls; her own secret recipe. She and Mom mixed up huge batches of dough in a green plastic tub, then tucked it away under the sink, where heat from the dishwasher and water pipes helped the dough to rise. Of course we couldn’t resist pulling back the dish towel that covered the green tub and taking a pinch of dough. “Don’t touch that bread or it will never rise!” came the admonition from another room. Too late.
I sat in Grandma Mulqueen’s lap and she told stories. About what I don’t recall, but I do remember her voice was kind and soothing. We begged her to make us a big pot of oatmeal, acting like Mom never fed us. At night, after Grandma retired to her guest room, we peeked into the bathroom to see if her dentures were sitting in a glass of water. They always were. We always looked. It was always gross. Such memories!
The kitchen was also the main spot for playing board games and cards. It was the site of many bitter losses in Monopoly. Bitter for us children, who were almost always bankrupted by landowner Dad. Usually you could tell the game was nearing an end when Dad said to one of us, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.” This was usually followed by confiscation of property, and for some players like my sisters Marghi and Amy, occasional tears. Dad laughed, but not in a mean way. It was more of an “evil but loving” thing. He was competitive like that.
Other games that graced the kitchen table included cribbage (which I regret never learning), poker and dirty clubs. It was the latter card game that was responsible for some epic battles. One night, Grandpa Carl got especially upset, slammed his cards on the table and stormed away. He then uttered words that will forever live in Hanneman lore: “Baby bullcrap! I’m walking home!” If Grandpa Carl lost that game, it was a rare letdown for the veteran card shark. He was every bit as competitive as Dad. One night in high school, I sat at that table until midnight and took an unparalleled pounding at dirty clubs. When the smoke cleared, it was Carl with 80 wins, Joe with 1. One. Win. Every time he won, Grandpa patted my hand, giggled and said, “I’m so sorry.” Ha. He enjoyed every one of those 80 wins.
Back to Nature
One of the great features of our home was the huge backyard. At one time, there were 17 huge oak trees creating a dense canopy. It’s down to about six now. When I was a preschooler, I hauled my bedroom pillow down into the yard, lay in the grass and just looked up. The giant limbs swayed in the breeze, only occasionally letting a ray of sunlight pierce the cover to reach the ground. The high canopy provided a test to us budding athletes, too. If one of us could punt a football high enough to hit one of those high limbs, an offer from the Green Bay Packers was sure to await us. I’m still waiting.
In the early days before neighboring houses were built, my brother David and I liked to make our own “snow” in the back woods. We rubbed Styrofoam on the bark of the oak trees. One time we got bawled out by some nosy lady who happened upon us. She yelled that we were going to kill the trees. Pah! Never happened. On one side of the lawn near the house, Dad built an incredible rock patio out of sandstone. It included a horseshoe-shape wall and a patio surface that was probably 10-by-20 feet. The borders between the rocks were filled with tiny pebbles, which we were forbidden to mess with. Of course we did, although quickly discovering the unpleasant duty of sweeping them back into place.
During at least a few winters, Dad poured an ice surface in the back yard. It wasn’t as smooth as the local ice rink, but heck, who else could say they had a skatable ice sheet in the back yard? In the fall, we all worked to rake up what seemed like millions of oak leaves. We never had a fancy lawn vacuum like some of the neighbors. So it was a bamboo rake, blisters and arm aches for all. Our efforts created a leaf mountain that we all jumped in, which at least partially made up for the pain of raking. The video below shows my firstborn child, Stevie, romping in the leaves on a 1990s fall afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, along with Bailey the golden retriever. Aunt Marghi was behind the camera.
Back inside the house, I continued my tour with the dining and living rooms. We usually were not allowed in either unless it was a special occasion like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Thanksgiving was a big deal in our house. I recounted in my book The Journey Homehow exacting Dad was in preparing for and then carving the turkey. Those celebrations changed over the years as grandparents left us and grandchildren appeared on the scene. Eventually, the dining spread spilled onto several tables, with the grandkids assigned to the card tables. I never felt so adult as when I carved the turkey one of the first years after Dad’s death. It just wasn’t the same. The large group in a smallish space created lots of chaos, noise and stress. One of the last years we had a large Thanksgiving gathering around that table, Mom’s nerves were a bit frayed. During a particularly loud time during the meal, she snapped at my youngest daughter, Ruby, “Would you shut up and eat your dinner?” Whoa. Poor Ruby looked around the table in stunned silence, since she hadn’t said a peep.
Christmas was another chaos-inducing holiday at the Hanneman home. Everybody talked at the same time, which is evident on the video below from December 1994. When we were little, my parents made sure we had lots of things to open. I don’t know how they did it, especially when money was tight. One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a die-cast metal Batmobile with a missile launcher. It actually shot tiny plastic missiles off the back. Perhaps the most lasting, beautiful gift was an art print by Wisconsin wildlife artist Owen Gromme, which Dad exquisitely framed and signed on the back. When my son Stevie was 11 months old, my brother David taught him a disgusting skill on Christmas Day. Grandpa Dave walked in to the bathroom to discover Stevie flushing toilet paper and splashing in the water. “Don’t teach him that,” grandpa boomed. Watch below and chuckle.
Back in the 1970s, Mom and Dad decided to turn the basement into a rec room. About two-thirds of the basement was covered with a commercial-grade red carpet. Dad put wallpaper on the east wall. The pattern showed chess pieces on a board. That was OK, but the way it hung on the wall made the whole wall appear to be tilted. Even though the paper was hung with total precision. I know this bothered Dad to no end.
The centerpiece of the basement was always the pool table. I don’t know where he got it, but Dad in the 1960s put in a gorgeous full-size billiards table from the Sydney Laner & Co. of Chicago. Sydney Laner established his billiards firm in 1918. It operated in Chicago until 2010. Dad carefully laid the huge slate on the supporting beams of the table, then leveled the entire table using playing cards as shims to ensure every area of the playing surface was level. Even after 50 years, the green felt has no wear marks, and the cushions have just as much pop as the day they were installed.
As was the case with cards, action on the pool table was dominated by Dad and Grandpa Carl. Both wielded the cue stick with power and precision. There was nothing like the sharp cracking sound when the cue ball hit the racked pool balls to open each game. I learned all I know about pool from them: how to line up a shot, figure angles on the bumpers, properly chalk the cue tip, etc. My skill never rose to the level of our resident pool sharks, but it was so fun to play against them. I’ve not played pool in many years. I have fond memories of my own children playing “rollin’ bowling” with the pool balls. I will miss that table.
During the early years, the basement frequently got rainwater and an occasional sewer backup. Dad got into an epic battle with Sun Prairie city hall over the drainage for the entire subdivision. One backup was awful. It burped brown sludge 3-4 inches deep across the entire basement. This was just after the new carpet was installed. Outfitted in rubber boots, gloves and masks, we used shop vacs to slurp up the mess. We each got a 2-by-4 to squeegee the filth from the carpet. Dad used Nolvasan, a surgical scrub, to help disinfect the entire basement. What a horrid mess. I vaguely recall there was litigation over the sewer backup.
Eventually, Dad contacted NBC 15 television about the drainage controversy. They sent Bob Richards, the ‘Contact 15’ consumer affairs reporter, to city hall to cover hearings on the issue. Dad, a former Sun Prairie alderman, was interviewed on TV. The publicity helped pressure the city to put in new drainage pipes and tiles at Main Street and Thompson Road. Ultimately that solved the issue for the entire subdivision. I was so impressed with the TV reporter, I went to watch him in the studio during a 6 p.m. newscast. It was a major influence in my decision to become a journalist.
The final memory I have of the basement was of the beautiful stained-glass windows that stood hidden across from the furnace for decades. Dad obtained them from St. Mary’s Hospital as the hospital demolished its old chapel in 1973. The two tall windows included four sections. When Dad was being treated for lung cancer at St. Mary’s in November 2006, he got the idea to donate the windows back to the hospital. It was providential timing, since St. Mary’s was in the midst of a $182 million expansion. The hospital not only accepted the donation, it asked the architects to incorporate the windows into the new hospital wing. Today, there are four waiting areas at St. Mary’s graced by the windows, backlit with beautiful dramatic effect. “I want these windows to come home to St. Mary’s,” Dad said at the time. And so they did. You can read more about the windows in The Journey Home and on the Hanneman Archive website.
I walked the house a final time, impressed by how many memories flooded back to me. They could fill a book. This home has ably done its duty for more than five decades. The man of the house has gone back to God, and Mom needs the sale proceeds to ensure good ongoing healthcare. How do you say goodbye to such a special place? I thought I accomplished that by quietly pulling shut the door into the garage. On second thought, no goodbyes. Only memories, written here and displayed in the photo gallery below. My hope for this place is it takes such good care of another family for many decades to come.
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.
Sometimes good fortune comes in waves. For the second time in as many months, we’ve been blessed to find a photographic image of a long-ago ancestor. First it was a great-great grandfather, Philipp Treutel,whose faded image on a carte de visite came from the 1860s. Now we’ve been given a studio photograph of another great-great grandfather, Joseph Ladick (1846-1905). Along with a group photo taken at a wedding, for the first time we have two images of the senior Ladick.
Both of these family patriarchs come from the tree of my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977). The wedding photo above was taken on September 22, 1890 at the marriage of Joseph Chezik and Mary Moravets. Joseph Ladick is at left rear, and we believe his son, Joseph, is at right rear. The portrait below of Joseph Ladick Sr. is undated.
Joseph Ladick brought his family to America from Bohemia in June 1881. We believe the Ladick family is native to Bilina, a city northwest of Prague in the modern day Czech Republic. They sailed aboard the SS Silesia on May 22, 1881 from Hamburg, Germany. The ship register lists their residence as Ronkovic, Austria. There does not appear to be such a place, so I examined the written document and the writing is very hard to decipher. There are a number of villages near Prague in Bohemia that could fit what is written on the register, including Radonitz, Raudnitz, Rakonitz and Radnitz. The exact location might remain a mystery, but it seems clear the family was living in northwest Bohemia at the time of their emigration.
Sailing aboard the Silesia in May and June 1881 were Joseph Ladick, his wife Mary (Mika) Ladick, and sons Joseph, 6, and Frank, who was an infant. They reached New York on June 5, 1881. We don’t know their path to Wisconsin, but it probably included sailing the Great Lakes and possibly some rail travel to Milwaukee. They settled on a farm in the Town of Sigel in Wood County. Shortly after the Ladicks settled in Wisconsin, their daughter Mary Helen was born (December 28, 1883). Later children were Anna (1886) and Celia (1891). Frank married Mary Mras (1898). Anna married Harry Victor Cole (1903), and Celia married Oscar Goldammer (1908). Son Joseph died of pneumonia in November 1894 at age 19. He was buried at the St. Joseph Cemetery near Vesper.
The day after her birthday in 1902, Mary Helen Ladick married Walter Treutel of Vesper. The Treutels were transplants from the Town of Genesee in Waukesha County. They settled in Vesper, where Walter became a rural route postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Walter and Mary’s first child, Ruby, was born at 1 p.m. on June 22, 1904, delivered by Dr. F.A. Goedecke. The couple would later have four other children: Gordon, Nina, Marvin and Elaine.
In early 1905, Joe Ladick became ill with intestinal and bladder cancer. In March of that year, he went to Marshfield for an operation. By early October, his condition became critical. He died on October 12, 1905 at age 59. The newspaper pronounced it this way:
“Death’s angel visited our city last Thursday, appearing at the Lydick (sic) home and taking with it their father, who had been confined to his bed for about six months previous to his death, he leaves a wife and four children. The funeral was held at the house and the remains were interred in the Rudolph cemetery.”
Joe Ladick was actually buried at Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery in the Town of Sigel. His is one of the earlier monuments in the cemetery. On a recent trip to the area, we cleaned his marker using Treasured Lives RestoraStone™ process, which removed biological growths, dirt and air pollution from the stone. Now, thanks to a generous cousin, this beautiful stone is no longer the only visual history we have of him.
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.
Sometimes the smallest details can result in a breakthrough discovery. Such was the case in identifying the adorable little face of an unknown baby in our photo archive. Many times I passed over the photo of the tyke leaning on a small wooden chair. His face was distinctive. He looked, well, familiar. Who was he?
During a recent perusal of the photo library, I had an overwhelming sense that I’d seen this baby before. He had facial features similar to members of the Harry V. Cole family of Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Harry and Anna Cole were my father’s great uncle and aunt. Their daughter Gladys was an attendant in my grandparents wedding in 1925. Dad spoke often of the Hanneman family visits to the Coles in Nekoosa, especially of the rousing games of sheepshead played between my Grandpa Carl and Harry Cole. I recalled a Cole family portrait published in a book somewhere, and this baby looked like the one in the book.
After rummaging around, I found a PDF copy of History of Wood County, Wisconsin,a mammoth 1,000-page tome published in 1923 by H.C. Cooper Jr. & Company. There it was on Page 551, Harry and Anna Cole with four children. Wow, the baby looked so similar to the one in my scanned photograph. As I stared at the book page (which was pixelated and poor quality due to the extreme file compression of the PDF), it dawned on me that not only was it the same baby, it was the exact same photo! Except there was no wooden chair and no grass in the background.
Now why would the book publisher cut the baby from another photo and superimpose him onto the family portrait? Obviously, there was a story behind it. So I dove into my Family Tree Maker software to see what I could learn about the Coles and their children. Among the Cole progeny were a boy named Russell Robert and a slightly younger boy named Robert Russell. This was already confusing. Russell Robert was born in 1920 and died in January 1922. The book History of Wood County (Page 550) mentioned that Russell was the youngest Cole child and that he died.
I dug through the first few pages of the book and saw that it was published in April 1923. That was a little more than a year after Russell died, and six months before Robert was born. So the baby in the photos had to be Russell. Based on all of the evidence, it appeared the book publisher cut an outline of Russell from the photo with the chair and grass, and superimposed it on the family portrait. It is safe to assume the family sat for the portrait not long after baby Russell died.
I ran a search on Newspapers.com and found a short article on Russell’s death from the January 25, 1922 issue of the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:
YOUNG NEKOOSA LAD DIED ON SATURDAY
Russell, the two year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cole of Nekoosa passed away Saturday after a prolonged illness of pneumonia.
Funeral services were held at the home Monday morning, Rev. C.A. O’Neil officiating. Interment was made in Forest Hill cemetery at Wisconsin Rapids. Mr. and Mrs. Cole have the sympathy of the entire community.
The following relatives from out of town attended the funeral: Mrs. M.J. Cole, Fond du Lac; Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Treutel, Mr. and Mrs. John Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Goldammer and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ladick of Vesper.
Another photo mystery solved. The creative book production people at the H.C. Cooper Jr. company found a fitting, and convincing, way to memorialize a young life taken too soon.
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).