Tag Archives: 1900s

Hanneman Farm in the Library of Congress

Nestled within the two dozen photo collections in the Library of Congress American Memory project is an image of grain threshing on a Hanneman farm in central Nebraska in the opening years of the 20th century.

Work on the grain threshing stopped just long enough for the farm laborers to pose for a photograph taken by Solomon D. Butcher. The caption reads: “Threshing crew on farm of E.F. Hanneman, Watertown, Buffalo County, Nebraska.” The year was 1903. The image was submitted to the Library of Congress by the Nebraska State Historical Society. 

A cropped section of the Library of Congress photo. It might be Ernest Hanneman standing at center.
A cropped section of the Library of Congress photo. It might be Ernest Hanneman at center.

The glass-plate negative photo is interesting for several reasons. One is the hand-drawn accents, such as the smoke coming from the steam engine and the straw pouring from the chute of the thresher. In the age of Adobe Photoshop and digital photo manipulation, these details might cause a chuckle. The “smoke” hardly looks real. But these details are charming nonetheless, a look at how photographers created detail and motion in photographs of that era.

Another detail section of the Library of Congress image. Note the hand-drawn grain coming from the thresher chute.
Another detail section of the Library of Congress image. Note the hand-drawn grain coming from the thresher chute.

The photo is not only of a Hanneman family farm, but it also has ties to Wisconsin. The “E.F. Hanneman” mentioned in the caption refers to Edward F. Hanneman, who lived much of his life in Buffalo County, Nebraska. Edward was born in Wisconsin in October 1880, presumably in Columbia County north of Madison. His family lived there for a time before moving west to Nebraska.

Ernest and Maria Hanneman from FindAGrave.com (submitted by Charmaine Becker).
Ernest and Maria Hanneman photo  from FindAGrave.com (submitted by Charmaine Becker).

Edward’s father, Ernest Ludwig Friedrich Hanneman, was born in Pomerania in 1843. He came to America in 1861. Ernest’s parents, Dietrich and Maria Hanneman, settled in Columbia County, but had both died by 1880. Dietrich and Maria are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Columbus, Wis. By the time of the 1900 U.S. Census, the Ernest Hanneman family had settled in Amanda Township in Buffalo County, Nebraska.

We’ve noted on these pages before that Columbia County, Wisconsin, was one of the Wisconsin Hanneman enclaves in the late 1800s. There were others in Dane, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Marathon, Wood, Portage, Racine, Winnebago and Outagamie counties. My Hanneman line settled in Portage and Wood counties, starting in 1861. There could be a connection between the Dietrich Hanneman line and my line (Matthias Hanneman, 1794-1879). More research is needed.

Many, if not most, of the Hannemans who settled the U.S. Midwest in the 1800s came from the Duchy of Pomerania, a long-ago Baltic state which is now part of Poland and Germany. My family line goes back to at least 1550 in Kreis (county) Regenwalde, Pomerania. Some of the Marathon County Hannemans moved west and settled in Lake County, South Dakota. Some Hannemans who emigrated to Wisconsin later settled in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska.

The American Memory project was one of the Library of Congress’ early efforts to digitize some 5 million images from its trove of priceless photographs. It invited submissions from libraries and historical societies around the nation. The Edward F. Hanneman farm photo was part of the collection “Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters.”

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Foresters Drill Team

Eight uniformed, ax-wielding men and their sword-bearing commander grace this photograph from Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1910. The men were Foresters, a ceremonial drill team from a fraternal group called the Modern Woodmen of America. The Woodmen organization dates to the 1880s. It was formed to provide financial relief when the family breadwinner died. Drill teams would participate in parades and at other public functions to promote the group and show patriotism.

At farthest left in the photo is Walter Treutel (1879-1948), father of our Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977). The fourth man from the left is Orville Carlin (1874-1934), Ruby’s uncle. Walter was the longtime rural-route postal carrier in Vesper. Orville operated a butcher shop and meat market at Vesper before moving his business to nearby Arpin. He was the husband of Walter’s sister, Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962).

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Frank Hanneman, Frontier Hunter

The more than century-old photo shows a stoic, proud young man wearing an ammunition belt and holding a shotgun in his right hand. At his feet lays a loyal hunting dog, seemingly tired from a day in the field. The young man is identified in the corner of the photo as Frank Hanneman, age 14. That dates the photo to 1909 or 1910.

The paper-mounted and framed portait, in nearly perfect condition, survived all of these years in the possession of Carl F. Hanneman, Frank’s brother, and later in the collection of David D. Hanneman, Carl’s son. It is one of the oldest existing photos of a Hanneman from Wood County, Wisconsin.

Frank Hanneman, 14, posed for this photo around 1910.
Frank Hanneman, 14, posed for this photo around 1910.

What do we know about this young hunter? Frank Herman Albert Hanneman was born July 7, 1895 near Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, the son of Charles and Rosine Hanneman. In his early years the family lived and worked on the farm of his uncle, William Hanneman, in the Town of Grand Rapids in Wood County. The 1900 U.S. Census lists Charles Hanneman, 33, as a farm laborer on the farm of William Hanneman. By 1905 the Charles Hanneman family moved to Baker Street in Wisconsin Rapids when Charles got work at the Consolidated Water Power & Paper Co.

The Hanneman boys enjoyed the great outdoors of central Wisconsin. We might assume by the photo, Frank enjoyed hunting birds. We have plenty of photos of a young Carl Hanneman fishing. On June 11, 1916, Frank married Irma Wilhelmine Louise Staffeld, and the couple took up residence on Baker Street in Wisconsin Rapids – a block away from his parents. The couple had five children between 1916 and 1929: Dorothy, Marjorie, Robert, Elizabeth and Joyce. Like his father, Frank had a long career working at Consolidated Water Power & Paper Co.

On July 14, 1947, Frank suffered a heart attack at home, and died shortly after arriving at Riverview Hospital. He was 52. His brother, Carl, was vacationing with his family in North Dakota, but returned for the funeral before rejoining the family vacation.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive


Eye on the Past: 1914 Wisconsin Debate Team

“The victory is not always with the strong.” Thus was the conclusion of the editors of the Ahdahwagam yearbook at Grand Rapids Lincoln High School, in recounting the 1914 performance of the school’s debate team versus nearby Marshfield.

The best Lincoln High School had to offer.
The debate team represented the best Lincoln High School had to offer.

The young men were fully prepared and valiently presented their assigned negative proposition. The question at hand, the editors reasoned, simply lent itself more easily to the affirmative: “Resolved, that the policy of fixing a minimum wage by state boards is desirable.” Marshfield won the judges’ nod on this day. “It was merely on of those times when fortune turns her wheel, then closes her eyes, letting it stay where it may.”

The young men pictured in the image, the yearbook stated, were among the very best the school had developed. Participants in forensics tended to also be those involved in other worthy extracurricular pursuits, such as athletics, music and culture. “This is what every well-organized high school should stand for,” the yearbook read, “and we are proud of the boys who represented us in debate.” Indeed, several of them went on to serve their country as soldiers in World War I. The debate team lineup:

Top Row
  • Carlton Frederick Stamm (1896-1988)
  • Leon Francis Foley (1894-1978)
  • Karl L. Zimmerman
Middle Row
  • Victor A. Bornick (1893-1954)
  • Bert W. Wells (coach, 1887-1969)
  • Myron D. Hill (1896-1957)
Bottom Row
  • Charles Harold Babcock (1895-1971)
  • Raymond Cole Mullen (1895-1944)
  • Neil Edward Nash (1894-1976)

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Grand Rapids Nabs 1918 Basketball Championship

It was a basketball season for the ages at Grand Rapids Lincoln High School. After a 14-1 season, the team stormed into the 14th annual Wisconsin state basketball tournament held March 20-22, 1918 at Lawrence College in Appleton. By defeating Columbus (32-25), Marinette (34-25) and Wausau (27-15), Grand Rapids secured its first Wisconsin state championship. Three Rapids players made the All-State team.

Three members of the squad were named All-State after winning the championship.
Three members of the squad were named All-State after winning the championship.
In the team photo, back row:
  • William Smith (1900-1991)
  • Arthur H. Plahmer (1899-1984)
  • Coach Elmer J. Abrahamson (1891-1978)
  • Roy T. “Cap” Normington (1899-1960)
  • Raymond A. “Jock” Johnston (1900-1977)
In the front row:
  • Arthur “Worry” Kluge (1898-1974)
  • Stanley S. “Pudge” Stark (1900-1979)
  • Walter F. “Kaiser” Fritz (1898-1964)

Stark was the team captain and scoring champion with 205 points. He was named a forward on the All-State team. The other All-State honorees were Plahmer (center) and Smith (guard). The only defeat of the season came at the hands of Nekoosa during sectionals play. The season high score was achieved January 18, 1918 with a 64-12 drubbing of Wautoma. A week later, that same Wautoma team nearly knocked off Rapids before falling 18-16.

The irony of the 1917-1918 season is that the school year started with  no basketball coach on the payroll at Lincoln High School. In short order, the services of Elmer J. Abrahamson were secured for the season. A 1915 graduate of Lawrence College, Abrahamson was a star college athlete in basketball, track and the pentathlon. Abrahamson only stayed for the championship season. He went on to a long teaching career in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He died in 1978.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: State Bank of Vesper 1912

This photograph from my Grandmother Ruby V. Hanneman shows the interior of the State Bank of Vesper in the village of Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1912. Scrawled on the back of the photo in pencil is the following notation: “First Vesper Bank. Jones Cashier, Martin President, Oliver V-P.”

George E. Martin was president of the State Bank of Vesper, chartered in December 1911 with capitalization of $10,000. Owen Oliver was vice president and Burton Jones was cashier. It is not clear if these are the three gentlemen shown in the photo. The bank made slow progress at first. A new management team was put in place in 1913, with Vesper hardware merchant George H. Horn serving as president, farmer Arthur P. Bean vice president and Fred Ellsworth cashier. According to the 1923 History of Wood County, Ellsworth sold his share in 1919 to three investors from Wisconsin Rapids. The bank subsequently grew from $55,000 in deposits to $140,000 and was considered one of the strongest country banks in the area.

Grandma Ruby (maiden name Treutel) grew up in Vesper. Her father Walter Treutel was a longtime postal carrier. Several uncles operated a butcher shop, general store and blacksmith/carpentry shop in the village. Her aunt Emma was postmistress for nearly a decade.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Wedding Wednesday: Big 1913 Wisconsin Party

Judging by the turnout, the marriage of Joseph John Mras and Mary V. Sternot of the Town of Sigel in Wood County, Wisconsin, was the celebration of the year in 1913. The pair were married by the Rev. John Willitzer on October 21. The group portrait was taken outside the Sigel home of the bride’s parents, Jacob and Josephine Sternot. The reception had a big turnout from Sigel and the nearby village of Vesper.

Groom Joseph Mras and bride Mary Sternot are flanked by flower girls Ruby V. Treutel (right) and Gladys Cole. Back row (left to right) includes Anton Sternot, unidentified woman, Joe Pyrch, Anna Sternot, John Sternot and another unidentified woman.
Groom Joseph Mras and bride Mary Sternot are flanked by flower girls Ruby V. Treutel (left) and Gladys Cole. Back row (left to right) includes Joseph Sternot, Josie Leu, John Pyrch, Anna Sternot, John Yeske and Mary Billiet.

As with other large-group photos in our collection, it is fun to look for details in the sea of faces. Standing just right of center is my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman, who was a flower girl at the wedding. The bride and groom are tucked away in the upper right corner, looking a bit weary. The entertainers are in center front, one with a fiddle, one with an accordion and a third holding a pitcher of beer. Three things seem to link the men in the photo: hats, beer and cigars. Some things never change.

A studio photo of the wedding party provides additional details on the big day. Ruby Treutel and (we believe) her cousin Gladys Cole were the flower girls, while one brother and one sister of the bride were also in the wedding party.

Joe and Mary Mras had three children, Clarence, Earl and William. Joe was a crane operator for 31 years for the Frank Garber Iron & Metal Co. in Wisconsin Rapids. He retired in 1959. Joe died on April 10, 1961. Mary died September 20, 1977. Their son Clarence was killed in an auto accident in September 1956. Earl died October 18, 2001. William died February 18, 1997.

— This post has been updated with corrected identifications on the wedding portrait.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Third Grade in 1910

We only have two photographs that show Carl F. Hanneman at school, and both appear to be from the same year. In the first, Carl is the second pupil in the second row at a school in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin. Wearing a tie and cardigan sweater, Carl is one of a half-dozen or so boys in the class. The clock reads 11:59, so the class photo was scheduled just before the lunch break. It is a well-kept and neatly appointed classroom. The girl sitting in front of Carl could easily be mistaken for his future bride, Ruby V. Treutel, although she went to school in nearby Vesper.

Carl F. Hanneman is third from the left in the first row. The photo was taken circa 1910.
Carl F. Hanneman is third from the left in the first row. The photo was taken circa 1910.

The second photo was taken outdoors at an entrance to the school.  Carl is third from the left in the first row. At the time, the Hannemans lived on Baker Street in Grand Rapids, so the Howe School would have been the closest public school. But the building in the photo does not match exterior details of the Howe School, so it’s unclear where Carl spent his elementary school years.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Vesper Village Gathering

It seems the entire village of Vesper, Wisconsin came out for a banquet or other big event, and stayed for a photograph. The image appears to date to about 1913 or 1914. The large crowd spilled out of the village hall for a photograph. What was the occasion? A wedding? A dance? It is fun to imagine. The portrait was taken by Moore Photo of nearby Grand Rapids (now called Wisconsin Rapids).

What makes this image especially interesting is to zoom in and look at the details. See the little girl with the Dixie Queen plug cut tobacco lunch box? It’s strange to imagine a lunch tin with smoking tobacco advertised on the side, but this was before the age of comic books or movie stars. Lunch pails with tobacco ads were common.

In the front at left/center left is my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman, who appears to be about 10 years old. That would date the photo to 1914. In the sea of men back near the stairs appears to be Ruby’s father, Walter Treutel. He is sporting a mustache, which is something I’ve not seen in any family photos.

On the building next to the window is a large thermometer with the name “Hlasatel” on it. That was the name of a Bohemian/Czech newspaper. Vesper had a large population from Bohemia, including the family of my great-grandmother, Mary (Ladick) Treutel. Her parents emigrated from Bilina in what is now the Czech Republic.

Erinnerung An Den Tag Der Confirmation

“Memory of the Day of Confirmation.” Those German words are written in ornate lettering across a beautiful certificate commemorating the confirmation of Karl (we know him as Carl) Hanneman on June 11, 1916. The roughly 11×17 inch document, found among the papers and photographs of David D. Hanneman, is remarkably well preserved and speaks to a time before Carl’s conversion to Catholicism. The certificate is written entirely in German and reads:

“Karl Hanneman received instruction in the Word of God on 11 June 1916 in the First Moravian Church, Grand Rapids, Wis.” At the bottom of the certificate it reads: Gottes Furcht is aller Weisheit Anfang, which roughly means “All Wisdom Begins with Fear of God.” The document was signed by the Rev C.A. Meilicke.

The confirmation certificate for Carl F. Hanneman from the First Moravian Church.
The confirmation certificate for Carl F. Hanneman from the First Moravian Church.

We know Carl’s father, Charles Hanneman, was raised as a Lutheran, as were most of the Hannemans. The marriage certificate for Charles and Rosine Hanneman (nee: Ostermann) only says their wedding was a “Divine Service” and does not indicate a church. In 1907, Charles and Rosine and their four sons joined the First Moravian Church of Wisconsin Rapids, a congregation of some 450 people in a brick church on First Avenue South.

The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant denominations and traces its roots to the 1450s in Bohemia and Moravia. The area is now part of the modern day Czech Republic. It is possible the family’s connection to the Moravian Church came from Rosine (Ostermann) Hanneman, whose father emigrated from Saxony in what is now eastern Germany.

Carl and Ruby Hanneman were both converts to Catholicism, but we’ll save those stories for another entry.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive