Sometimes family history discoveries involve a careful eye, and sometimes a bit of dumb luck. Or, as in this case, a little of both. While searching for some city directory information on the web site of the Cudahy Family Library, I started watching a 36-minute film about life in that suburban Milwaukee County city. Titled “Life in Cudahy,” the film was made in 1938.
About six minutes into the presentation, I spotted a teenage face that looked really familiar. The young man was a mechanic working on a car at Koehler Service. In another shot, he stood in the background as a man and (presumably) his young daughter, look at their vehicle. This just had to be my mother’s older brother, Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. (1923-1980). The film was posted to the library’s YouTube channel. I formatted the excerpt below for wide screen and applied some color correction.
Station attendants wore pinstriped coveralls with Wadhams Oil Company black caps and ties or bowties. It was an era when service stations delivered actual service (with a smile) to every vehicle that came in for fuel: checking fluids and wiper blades and cleaning windows. Koehler’s also offered emergency service, as evidenced by the attendant who drove off on a motorcycle carrying a gasoline can in one hand. This was no doubt before the EPA and OSHA were around to clamp down on potential dangers.
Earl was the second-oldest of the 11 children of Earl J. Mulqueen and the former Margaret Madonna Dailey. The Mulqueen children were taught hard work, so it’s not surprising Earl had a job at age 14 or 15. Money was tight during the Great Depression, so any extra income was no doubt a valued help to the family. My mother, Mary Mulqueen, was 6 or 7 years old at the time the film was made. Earl was either a student at St. Frederick’s Catholic School in Cudahy or a freshman at Pio Nono High School in St. Francis.
Earl was brand new on the job the year the film was made. He worked as an automobile serviceman, according to his U.S. military file. He greased, lubricated and fueled automobiles, assisted with transmission and differential repairs and engine overhauls.
Just a few years after the film was made, Earl enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the outset of World War II. He went on to fight with the 2nd Marine Division in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He lost his left leg in May 1944 when a massive chain-reaction explosion at Pearl Harbor’s West Loch blew up dozens of ships and injured hundreds of sailors and Marines who were preparing for the Allied invasion of Saipan. Dozens were killed.
After returning from the Pacific, Earl spent his last months in the Marine Corps making promotional appearances at War Bond drives around Wisconsin. His accounts of the battles in the Pacific kept audiences spellbound and helped put a number of war-bond drives over the goal line.
After the war, Earl got married and went on to a long career in automotive repair. Once he had recovered enough to begin working, his parents purchased Koehler Service station for him and the name was changed to Earl’s Automotive. This not-so-little detail was shared by my aunt and Earl’s sister, Joan (Mulqueen) Haske. Earl ran the business until about 1960, when he moved his family to Colorado. After his wife Evelyn died of cancer in early 1963, Earl returned to Cudahy to again take up work in automotive service.
It is amazing to think his first job was documented by a film crew in 1938, only to be rediscovered in 2020, 40 years after his death.
This story appeared on Page 1 of the Jan. 26, 1991 edition of the Racine Journal Times. It was based on observations during my second trip to Germany during the Persian Gulf War.
By Joseph Hanneman
Racine Journal Times
U.S. BASE, SOUTHERN GERMANY — Some of the first casualties of the Persian Gulf War were the emotions U.S. troops and families stationed in Europe, as they worried about loved ones in Saudi Arabia and expressed resentment toward anti-war protests back home.
In the first-week of combat between U.S.-led allies and Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces, one U.S. base in Germany displayed fear, anguish, anticipation and a host of other emotions.
People at the base clearly were in anguish. Many of them have relatives deployed in Saudi, as they call it here. Most of the deployed soldiers are in combat units.
Members of the Army’s VII Corps artillery units from this base are now at forward positions in Saudi Arabia. They would be in the thick of it if the United States starts a ground offensive into Kuwait.
“God Bless our Soldiers in Saudi Arabia,” proclaimed a banner inside one of the many post exchange shops on base. Employees wore yellow ribbons in remembrance.
At the U.S. Army hospital here, one nurse in the outpatient clinic said her husband was just deployed to the front lines.
“I’ve just been pulling my hair out,” she said, adding that she has been glued to the TV set, watching Cable News Network’s coverage of the war. She said she fears a ground war is inevitable.
Discussion on the Army’s base shuttle bus turned to one active-duty soldier, who was supposed to be sent home last week because his unit was deactivated as the United States prepares to shut down some of its bases.
Three days before his plane was supposed to leave, he was told to report for duty in Saudi Arabia.
Fear has also become a staple in the daily routine.
The threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. bases is considered very real, and the military has employed many tools to reduce the risks.
Commercials on Armed Forces Radio and Television warn against speaking about military matters in public, for fear terrorists could be listening. It was reminiscent of the old war slogan, “Loose lips sink ships.”
Soldiers were also warned that Arab terrorists may try to buy military uniforms or identification cards.
Military families were told to venture off base sparingly, and try to blend into the German population as much as possible, lest they attract undue attention.
But the post commander appealed to parents not to pull their children from Defense Department schools on base. Many families here and elsewhere in Europe kept their children home in the wake of hostilities and terrorist threats.
Security was at a peak level, called “Threatcon Charlie.” That puts scores of heavily armed military police at every entrance, checking IDs and searching for bombs. At least two forms of photo identification were required, and every bag and package was searched.
There was growing resentment among soldiers and families as they watched news reports of anti-war protests at home.
Some soldiers who oppose Operation Desert Storm wondered aloud where the protesters were over the past 5 ½ months, when the United States built its war force in the Gulf. Others said it hurt knowing while they were overseas serving their country, some back home didn’t appreciate it.
The growing number of military reservists shipped here to fill in for regular troops sent to the Middle East complained of shabby treatment by regular Army personnel.
Some reservists said regular troops seem to resent the citizen-soldiers, and treat them accordingly. Reservists are performing a host of support duties, such as medical care, transportation and administration.
“The sacrifices we have made are not acknowledged by the regular army,” one reservist said. “They seem to consider us a burden.”
One thought was universal here — a desire for the war to end quickly. For military families, that will mean loved ones come back to Germany. For reservists, it will mean going home.
(Reporter Joseph Hanneman, who covers government and higher education for the Journal Times, travelled to Germany to visit his wife, Susan, an Army reservist called to active duty at the U.S. base in Germany.)
Feature image atop the story: A sculpture outside the museum at the former concentration camp near Dachau, Germany. Photo taken during my second trip to Germany in 1991.
This story appeared on Page 1 of the Jan. 18, 1991 edition of the Racine Journal Times. I filed the story from the U.S. Army base in Augsburg, Germany.
By Joseph Hanneman
Racine Journal Times
U.S. BASE, SOUTHERN GERMANY — Heavily armed military police patrolled in front of a U.S. Army base elementary school Thursday, with battle helmets on their heads and M-16 semiautomatic rifles slung over their shoulders.
It was an unmistakable sign that the United States had entered a war with Iraq, and that any U.S. citizen — even children — was a potential target for terrorists.
As Germany slept Wednesday night and early Thursday, U.S. and allied war planes screamed into Iraq as the offensive began to drive Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.
And overnight, this large military base in southern Germany transformed from a bustling community into an armed camp, where tension was high and fear so palpable you could almost taste it.
The Army was taking no chances amid terrorist threats against U.S. facilities around Europe and the Middle East.
At every housing facility, school and entrance to the base, military police were out in force. The grim-faced soldiers wore bullet-proof vests and carried high-powered weapons. The protective gas masks were clipped to belts at their sides.
An MP, his rifle on the seat next to him, rode the school bus with children as the vehicle darted off and on base, taking students home. This military base is home to more than 2,500 children.
And while children were being zealously protected, they also were not beyond suspicion. Youngsters returning home from school were required to show ID cards before entering housing complexes.
At each gate leading to the base, cars were stopped and searched. Guards looked in trunks and under hoods; they pushed large mirrors under vehicles to check the undercarriages for bombs.
No one, soldiers of all ranks included, escaped scrutiny.
At the entrance to the post exchange, 55-gallon drums filled with concrete were lined up to prevent cars or trucks loaded with explosives from reaching the building, which is usually filled with soldiers and family members.
Barbed razor wire was laid along the length of the sidewalk. Visitors had to pass through an armed checkpoint and were only allowed in the building with two forms of photo identification. Bags were searched.
Inside the PX, yellow ribbons hung fro the ceiling outside the cafeteria. Many soldiers from this base — including medical units and some of the heaviest armor units in the U.S. Army — were sent to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield, transformed Wednesday into Operation Desert Storm.
At the commissary (the Army’s version of the grocery store) aisles normally crowded on a weekday were deserted. Families, it seemed, preferred to stay home this day.
Area car dealerships that cater to U.S. soldiers closed early, and one U.S. club posted a sign that it would not be open Thursday, a day the sign labeled “Doom’s Day.”
Even the Burger King just outside the boundaries of the post was surrounded by armed guards. Only persons with military ID cards were allowed to eat.
At the U.S. Army Hospital, soldiers, nurses and visitors crowded around a television set in the internal medicine department, watching live cable news network accounts of the air attacks on Iraq and Kuwait.
Faces were stern. No one spoke. The expressions told of concern and relief that the operation had finally started.
Hospital officials refused to discuss the hospital’s role as a possible airlift treatment center for wounded soldiers. A reporter was told he could have access to medical staff only if he did not discuss Operation Desert Storm.
But it is widely expected here that the medium-size hospital would be pressed into service if casualties in the Middle East become heavy.
Soldiers said mobile hospital beds arrived in recent days to expand the facility’s capability.
And members of the 44th General Hospital, an Army reserve unit from Madison, began arriving here Thursday to fill in for medical staff shipped to the Middle East.
Bases all over Germany were setting up temporary hospital facilities to handle the wounded. German hospitals say they would assist with casualties. And the U.S. Veterans Administration was making ready 25,000 beds in the United States for possible casualties, according to local news accounts.
Elsewhere on base, soldiers listened to Armed Forces Radio for news about the start of the war. In between news dispatches, soldiers called in to request songs. Some were love songs for family members stationed in Saudi Arabia. Others, with titles like “We Will Rock You” and “Heads Will Roll” were dedicated to combat soldiers at the front.
(Joseph Hanneman is the state government/higher education reporter for the Journal Times. He flew to Germany last week to visit his wife, Susan, who is a reservist called to active duty there. Both live in Racine.)
This is one of my favorite stories from my newspaper days. Fritz was a decorated veteran of the 82nd Airborne, a former Green Beret and a colorful character who became well-known and beloved in Wisconsin and Tennessee.
By Joseph Hanneman Racine Journal Times
Fritz Bernshausen has walked 4,500 miles — just to deliver a message.
You might have seen him, two times a week, carrying the American flag from his south side Kenosha home, through Racine, to downtown Milwaukee.
What could be so important?
“I have a message,” Bernshausen said Friday on his way through Racine. “Walk America. That’s all it is. Two words — one verb, one noun.”
Bernshausen, 59, started walking the trail to Milwaukee about 3 1/2 years ago. In July, he started packing Old Glory to grab more attention.
“This is the 119th time I’ve done it,” he said. “I’m going to keep walking with that flag until I see some indication of a transposition of those two words — America walks.”
Bernshausen believes in foot power over gasoline power. You know, pedestrians over petroleum.
“America is in trouble all the world,” he said. “I figure the only way to solve that problem is to make America energy self-sufficient.”
Bernshausen said he is concerned about tensions in the Persian Gulf and Middle East, tensions he says cause two much risk and danger, just for the oil.
“A lot of boys are probably going to die for a barrel of oil,” said Bernshausen, a veteran of Army special forces from the Vietnam War. “It ain’t worth it.”
“I’m concerned about my country,” he said. “I consider myself a public-spirited American…. This is my contribution to America.”
That contribution usually takes between 10 and 13 hours per trip, depending on the weather and how many people stop him along the way. If they ask, he gladly obliges.
“I got stopped by a policeman, I got stopped by a kid and a public works man,” he said, just before a photographer caught up with him. “I’m going to have to roll up the flag and run like hell.”
On occasion, Bernshausen packs some fruit to hand out to people along the route, which has become so familiar he said “I can almost do it blindfolded.”
Besides the flag, there is one other important bring-along.
“I carry some toilet paper,” he said, “just in case.”
While Bernshausen’s message is serious, the flag and the walking are good-natured ways of prodding citizens to think about fuel consumption.
“It’s real important to me,” he said. “It’s just too important (that) you can’t be serious.”
In that spirit, he quotes a phrase to sum up his effort: “Get off the wheels and on the heels.”
Once the long journey is finished, Bernshausen usually takes the bus home from Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Avenue. That was not the case on Friday. He met his daughter for dinner in Milwaukee and had to accept a car ride home.
A tough sacrifice for the cause.
(From the Aug. 29, 1987 issue of The Journal Times)
EPILOGUE: Fritz Albrecht Bernshausen died on March 13, 1993. He was just 64. He is survived by a son and four daughters. He requested that his cremains be scattered from an airplane at 1,200 feet — a paratrooper’s jump altitude.
The rectangular grave stone sits quietly among thousands of others at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Racine, Wisconsin. Its granite lettering pays tribute to the man who lies beneath it, but his real story has never been fully told. Lt. Edmund Richard Collins was a young lawyer and Knight of Columbus who went to war in 1917 as a leader of men. He returned home 100 years ago in a casket, a war hero with the distinction of being among the first U.S. soldiers to engage Communist Russians on the battlefield.
Most people do not know that an expeditionary force of American and Allied troops were diverted from World War I’s European theater and sent to North Russia and Siberia to fight the Bolsheviki, the Red Communist Russians who seized power during the Russian Revolution. It became known as the Polar Bear Expedition.
American and Allied troops landed in August 1918 at Archangel, a key port on the White Sea in the northern part of European Russia. The Allies were commanded by British Maj. Gen. Edmond Ironside. When Allied forces took Archangel, the Bolsheviki fled south. Over the next nine months, American troops faced brutal conditions such as minus-20 degrees Farenheit temperatures and chest-high snow. Troops moved on foot and equipment moved via sled or sleigh. Before the winter set in, commanders urgently requested 1,000 pairs of skis, 5,500 pairs of snow shoes, and 7,500 pairs of moccasins to aid the men in advancing on the battlefield. Other requested equipment included 50 long cross saws and tongs for obtaining ice blocks for drinking water, and 100 sledges with dogs and harnesses.
Just as the Armistice ended World War I in Europe on Nov. 11, 1918, the action in North Russia was just getting started. The U.S. Army’s 339th Infantry Regiment brought more than 4,000 soldiers to the many battlefields across North Russia. They fought an enemy that was often well entrenched; defended by batteries of machine guns. The Bolsheviki used the deep snow as cover. U.S. patrols reported Bolsheviki suddenly emerging from massive snow banks to open fire on Allied troops or take prisoners.
Allied troops fought and died in places with names like Obozerskaya, Chinova, Onega and Bolshie Ozerka (also spelled Bolshie Ozerki). Collins led his men in some of the fiercest fighting of the North Russia campaign. On March 17, 1919, Collins and some 30 men and one Lewis gun left Chekuevo and a traveled all night to reach Chinova. They advanced toward Bolshie Ozerka and had come within 1 verst (about two-thirds of a mile) of that place when they were fired upon by five or six machine guns at once. “It was only through the enemy’s high shooting that the whole detachment was able to slowly withdraw, crawling through the deep snow,” wrote Lt. Col. N.A. Lawrie in his battle summary.
On March 23, 1919, Collins led a detachment that engaged the enemy at Bolshie Ozerka. His men covered a front of about 300 yards, most of which ran through the woods. During the battle, the Bolsheviki laid down heavy machine gun fire, striking Lt. Collins and a sergeant from Company H of the 339th Infantry. Collins was shot through the lungs, while his compatriot suffered wounds to the shoulders and arms. Another lieutenant took command and advanced the troops 500 yards under heavy fire in waist-deep snow. The Allies returned heavy fire and held their ground for five hours until reinforcements arrived, according to a summary written by Capt. Richard W. Ballensinger of the 339th Infantry.
Badly wounded, Collins was evacuated to a dressing station. On March 24 he was being transported toward the hospital at Chekuevo. “He died from the effects of his wounds before he reached this station,” Ballensinger wrote. “I consider it my duty, since the weather permitted, to send his body at once to Archangel.” Lt. Edmund Richard Collins would be forever 28.
“Officers and men in this engagement did extremely well under trying conditions. I am sorry that I am forced to report the loss of a good officer.” –Capt. Richard W. Ballensinger
Collins was one of nearly 100 Americans killed as a result of combat before the campaign ended in May 1919. The men, who had been buried in various places around North Russia, were retrieved and sent to Archangel for transport home to the United States. Word of his son’s death reached Dr. William P. Collins in Racine over the weekend of April 5, 1919. The Racine Journal-News account said Collins died on March 29, five days after being shot. However, battlefield records indicate he died March 24, the same day he was wounded. The family would have to wait seven months for Collins’ body to return home for a funeral and final burial.
Dr. Collins would have his heart broken again in November 1919, when a series of mistakes resulted in the wrong body being sent to Racine for burial. More than 100 soldiers’ bodies were aboard the Army transport Lake Daraga when it docked at Hoboken, N.J. on Nov. 12, 1919. Collins’ body arrived at the train station in Racine just before midnight on Nov. 19, surprisingly without military escort. When Collins’ casket was opened the next day, a mistake became immediately apparent. The man in the casket was much taller than Collins and was balding. Collins had a full head of hair. The man’s dog tag read, “Charles O’Dial 2021851.” It was the wrong body. Reports came in of incorrect soldier bodies being received in several other cities. Collins’ funeral was postponed.
In Carlisle, Indiana, the funeral and burial of Odial had already taken place. The body was exhumed and discovered to be that of Frank Sapp of Summitville, Indiana. A frantic Dr. Collins wired military officials in Washington. “Body sent to me belonged at Carlisle, Ind. Body exhumed at Carlisle at my request belonged at Summitville, Ind. Body exhumed at Summitville on my request was not right body,” Collins wrote. “All bodies so far proved to be misplaced. Is it not time to get busy?”
The War Department issued a statement that did little to clear the air, blaming the mistakes on a rush to load the ships when pulling out of Archangel. In the end, Dr. Collins was the one to solve the mess after obtaining a list of the bodies on the ship and the numbered caskets. As it turned out, Collins’ body was still in Hoboken. On Nov. 25, the body was finally shipped via rail to Racine.
The tragedy took on another sad dimension when it was learned the officer who accompanied what was thought to be Collins’ body was killed in an auto crash in Chicago on Nov. 19, 1919. Further muddying an already confused story, the Chicago Tribune reported the dead man was Raymond R. Collins, the brother of Lt. Edmund R. Collins. However, according to U.S. Census records, Edmund Collins had no brother named Raymond, nor a brother who served in WWI.
The city of Racine was finally able to say goodbye to its fallen hero on Nov. 28, 1919. His funeral Mass was held at St. Patrick Catholic Church. “When the flag was sent to north Russia, Lieut. Collins unhesitatingly followed, and heroically gave up his life for his country,” said Father John Landowski, chaplain of the 339th Infantry Regiment. “When he was sent out on a hazardous expedition, he hesitated not, for he fully realized that the lives of his men depended on him. He recognized in that order, which proved fatal in the end, the call of the Most High. He fell in service, fell as a martyr of his land.”
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!”
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.
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.
It was one of the big mysteries in our family tree: what ever happened to Sebastian Treutel, brother to Philipp Treutel, who came to Wisconsin from Darmstadt, Germany in 1854? The only indication we had in our records was that Sebastian died around the year 1877 at age 41. We did not know a place or cause of death.
Thanks to some research done by a local historian in West Bend, Wisconsin, we have more answers about Sebastian. His name appears on a Civil War monument recently placed at Union Cemetery in West Bend, where his brothers John Treutel and Henry J. Treutel are buried. The managers of Union Cemetery confirmed that Sebastian Treutel is buried in Block 2, Lot 19 of the cemetery. There is no headstone visible. It could have been swallowed by the earth, damaged or removed sometime during the past 140 years.
Information provided by the local historian says that Sebastian died on January 19, 1876. We are working to confirm this with evidence, such as a news clipping. The cemetery has no recorded death date. A 1937 obituary for Sebastian’s widow, Anna Sophia (Schultz) Treutel, listed the year of his death as 1877. It appears that Sebastian’s service in the Civil War weakened his constitution and might have played some role in his death.
Sebastian Treutel enlisted in Company A of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment on August 15, 1862. He was assigned the rank of private. Company A, commanded by Capt. William Georg, was nicknamed the “Flying Rangers.” Sebastian’s last name is misspelled as “Treudel” in regimental records. At the time, Sebastian was living in Milwaukee, probably working with one of his brothers in the blacksmith trade. His younger brother, Henry, enlisted as a corporal in Company G of the 26th Wisconsin, known as the Washington County Rifles.
The 26th Wisconsin fought a critical battle in April and May 1863 at Chancellorsville, Virginia. According to the History of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry,Union forces at Chancellorsville were not prepared for the Confederate assault on their right flank. The 26th Wisconsin and the 58th New York tried to make a stand at Hawkins Farm. They could not hold, but fought bravely enough to give the Union time to evacuate supplies and forces. Sadly, newspapers in New York and Milwaukee unfairly tagged the men of the 26th as cowards, inaccurately claiming they dropped their weapons and ran. the Union suffered 14,000 casualties in the battle, but the Confederates lost their commanding lieutenant general, Thomas Stonewall Jackson.
According to West Bend historian Bev Hetzel, Sebastian Treutel became ill during the Chancellorsville battle. The illness led to heart problems and Treutel was discharged from the war on August 18, 1863. The reason listed was disability.
On November 18, 1867, Sebastian married the former Anna Schultz in a justice of the peace ceremony in the town of Addison, Washington County, Wisconsin. The marriage record says Sebastian was a carpenter. Witnesses to the wedding were Henry Schultz and John Russo. Parents of the groom were listed as Adam Treutel and Catharina Treutel. Parents of the bride were listed as Henry and Anna Schultz. The presider was Justice of the Peace Francis Forster, a farmer from the town of Addison.
Sebastian was listed on the 1870 U.S. Census as a carpenter in Addison, Washington County. Later in the 1870s, he worked as a U.S. mail carrier, working the route from West Bend in Washington County to Theresa in Dodge County. Postal service records show his contract was annulled as of July 31, 1875. Given the suggested death date, perhaps he was ailing at the time.
Sebastian and Anna Treutel had four children:
Margaretha Maria, born January 3, 1870. She married Louis Emil Dettmann in 1890. We do not know Maggie’s death date.
Ida Magdalena, born February 22, 1872. She married Edward H. Grundmann. Ida died in 1944.
Herman Sebastian Ludwig, born May 6, 1874. He married Dorothea Treutel (maiden name unknown). Herman died in 1912.
Christina Henrietta, born April 24, 1876. She married Emil Joseph Weiner. Tena died in 1960.
Anna Treutel remarried in 1880. New husband Carl Frederick Bohlmann was 48, while Anna was 29. They had one child, Clara (Bohlmann) Laisy (1881-1964). Mr. Bohlmann died in 1917. Anna died on August 5, 1937 in Milwaukee.
Note: The Treutel family headed by Johann Adam Treutel and Elizabetha Katharina (Geier) Treutel emigrated from Koenigstadten in the Hesse-Darmstadt region of Germany in 1854. Read more about that here. Our connection to the family goes this way: Johann Adam Treutel (1800-1859) >> Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) >> Walter Treutel (1879-1948) >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) >> David D. Hanneman (1933-2007).
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:
“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.
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, Mauston.
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. •
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.
More than 15,000 Catholic soldiers, along with friends and relatives, took part in a May 1918 field Mass at Camp Dix at which they heard the president of Fordham University declare the Allies would win World War I because “God wills it.”
I don’t recall exactly where I obtained my photo of this incredible event. Nor do I know how the photo was captured. The panoramic view made for a photo print that is easily 3 feet wide. It stretches from the Knights of Columbus hospitality hall all the way to the end of the crowd.
Held on the parade grounds of Camp Dix, N.J., the Mass was read by Father Patrick J. Hayes, who would later become a cardinal and archbishop of New York. Mass included a patriotic sermon by Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Mulry S.J. of Fordham University. “Dr. Mulry assailed the slacker who uses religion as a cloak for his cowardice,” wrote The New York Times. “He declared it was not only the country that is calling the men of the fighting nations, but God also.”
“We must not enjoy a dishonorable peace,” Mulry said. “Go forth, Christian men, to aid the boys who are in the trenches. They are holding them for you. Victory will come. God wills it.”
Mulry had long supported the Allied war against Germany. At a Knights of Columbus field Mass in May 1915, Mulry said 20 million Catholic men were prepared to back President Woodrow Wilson should the United States join the war. His sermon stressed the idea of a patriotic Catholic, something that was often under attack by Protestants.
“The Catholic of today puts into the state not the wavering intellectual culture of Athens, not the physical splendor of Rome, nor the deadly energies fostered by materialistic evolution,” Mulry said. “Not the ungodly tendencies of modern mechanical idealists, but the undying strength featured by the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God.”
“If the crisis were to come today, the Knights of Columbus would be the first to rally to the flag,” The New York Times wrote, quoting Mulry. While he gets his religion from Rome, Mulry told the gathering, “the Catholic soldier will lay down his life for his country and as he clasps the cross in his hands, his heart blood will ebb for faith, for country and for God.”
The Knights of Columbus put its young men up to fight, but that was only part of the expansive, unprecedented war work carried out by the K of C locally and abroad between 1917 and 1921. The Order pledged an initial $1 million to establish a war relief fund. The money helped establish a vast network of more than 300 war relief centers in the U.S. and across combat zones in Europe. These Knights of Columbus “huts” offered a place to unwind, but also supplied soldiers with scarce creature comforts like chocolates, cigarettes, candies and hot chocolate. (The large K of C hut at Camp Dix is visible at left in the panoramic photo.) Soldiers from many countries and religious denominations came to know the K of C emblem as a welcome sight. Each K of C war center hung a prominent sign for all to see: “Everyone Welcome. Everything Free.” The nickname “Casey” became synonymous with the Knights of Columbus staff at the relief centers. A typical soldier’s response upon meeting a K of C worker was, “Hello, Casey. Have you got any chocolates and doughnuts?”
Father Mulry attempted twice to retire from his job at Fordham so he might go to France and enter war work. On the third attempt in 1919, he did retire from his post at Fordham. He was so anxious to go overseas that he offered to pay $5,000 a year toward the salary of his successor. He died in Philadelphia in August 1921 at age 47 after a long illness.Two of his brothers were also priests. His other brother, Thomas M. Mulry, was a bank president, philanthropist and 1912 winner of the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame.
Sadly, Father Mulry’s patriotism isn’t always remembered fondly. Fordham University’s archivist in 2014 described Mulry as “sort of a warmonger” whose speeches did not sound like those of a Catholic priest. The patriotic fervor in his talks, she contended, “was all for image.” This modern attitude fails to appreciate the deeply held patriotic views of many priests during World War I. Men like Father Raymond Mahoney, former pastor of St. Rose Catholic Church in Racine, Wisconsin. Father Mahoney was known for his patriotic sermons, including a memorable talk on liberty and the American flag. That will be the subject of a forthcoming article.
The feature story below was written by my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, and published in The Wisconsin State Journal on February 21, 1946. It relates the tale of a U.S. army medic, his British bride and baby, who were separated from him for more than six months at the end of World War II. Below the story I provide some more detail on Charles D. Grinolds and his World War II service.
Mauston Vet Escorts British Bride and Son Into New Home Replete Even to Food on Table
By Carl F. Hanneman State Journal Correspondent
MAUSTON — Thrilled with a surprise house, new and completely furnished, Mrs. Charles Grinolds, Ashwell, England, has joined her husband here and introduced him to his son, Charles Victor, who was born after his staff sergeant father left England last July.
When Mrs. Grinolds entered her new home at 4 a.m. Tuesday she found it furnished even to pictures and books, but in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken, and other canned goods.
On the table in the 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.
It all climaxed a separation which began early last July, when Grinolds left England just before his son was born. The long wait ended happily , too, for Charles Victor, Jr., was no worse off from the long, tedious journey, and laughed and cooed in his father’s arms as father and son inspected the comforts of their five-room bungalow.
The mother, the former Margaret Eley, although totally exhausted, prepared the baby’s formula before tucking him into his new little bed.
The couple was married in St. Mary’s church in Ashwell, the first Anglo-American wedding in the community during the war. The father served overseas for 33 months, then had to leave before his son was born.
Mrs. Grinolds left England on the American “Santa Paula,” formerly a hospital ship, and was on the water 11 days, arriving in New York last weekend four days overdue because of storms. She was confined to her quarters by seasickness for three days, but the baby appeared to enjoy the trip.
The sight of land, any land, was a great thrill after the rough voyage during which seas rolled over the decks. Upon leaving the ship in New York, the war brides and babies were taken on a sightseeing tour to acquaint the new Americans with their adopted land.
Grinolds, recently discharged, was waiting anxiously in a Chicago railroad station when his family arrived. His wife, who was not expecting her husband in Chicago and had never seen him in civilian clothes, was following a military police assigned to her and became frightened when her husband came up from behind and took the baby from her arms.
But then she was home. ♦
Richard Dockstader Grinolds was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1942 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He became a staff sergeant in the Army Air Force and was stationed in England with the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. His specialty was medical technician. He was featured several times in U.S. Army news photos; twice carrying wounded and once for a feature on a rash of illnesses among troops in England. The 91st Bomb Group was home to the famous “Memphis Belle” B17 Flying Fortress.
Grinolds lost his father, McClellan Grinolds, in 1918, when the boy was just 4. He and his brother were raised by their mother, the former Ruby Elizabeth Dockstader. The Grinolds and Dockstaders were both pioneer Juneau County families. The Hanneman family lived just around the corner from Dockstader Street, named for pioneer Benjamin Dockstader.
The baby featured in the story above, Charles Victor Grinolds, was born in England on July 29, 1945, as his father was headed back to the United States. He was one of four children born to the couple. Sadly, Charles D. Grinolds died on July 30, 1950. He was just 36. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Mauston. The firstborn son grew up to have a distinguished military career, serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. He died on June 10, 2006 in Modesto, California. He was the father of six children.