Doing research on family history is an exciting journey. That is the whole idea behind Treasured Lives, a small business dedicated to helping you map out and progress on your history journey. We invite all of the readers of the Hanneman Archive to visit and follow Treasured Lives.
There are lots of online databases and services out there dedicated to genealogy and history. If that all seems overwhelming to you, Treasured Lives is a good place to start. If you’ve started your research and need a boost from a professional researcher, Treasured Lives is also for you. Even if you’re an expert and want to put some more brawn behind your projects, we can help.
We not only offer a full-range of services, but we will also deliver interesting, useful content on our blog. We specialize in:
Photo Restoration & Retouching
Treasured Lives grew out of a love for history. Joe Hanneman, our chief researcher and owner, has been doing genealogy research for more than a decade. He runs the popular Hanneman Archive web site, and has been a professional writer and communicator for more than 30 years. In 2010, he published his first book, The Journey Home: My Father’s Story of Cancer, Faith and Life-Changing Miracles. His first history project was helping his father start piecing together his family roots from Germany and Pomerania. That grew into a major undertaking. The Hanneman Archive holds more than 15,000 images and thousands of historic documents.
History is a journey and an ever-changing destination. As we like to say, every story deserves a voice, and a champion. We are here to be your partner in history.
We’ve noted elsewhere on this blog the photography skills of Carl F. Hanneman, but lately we’ve discovered that he and his brother Wilbert G. Hanneman had talents with freehand illustration. Working on the yearbook at Lincoln High School in Grand Rapids, Wis., the brothers served almost as dueling artists.
Judging by the line drawings each made in high school and in years after, both men had artistic abilities. Wilbert (1899-1987) first served as an artist and editor for the Ahdawagam yearbook. Ahdawagam is an Indian word that refers to the “two-sided rapids” along the Wisconsin River. The yearbook was first published in 1916. Wilbert graduated from Lincoln in 1918, and Carl followed in 1921. Both Carl (1901-1982) and Wilbert drew the illustrations for the yearbook’s section pages, such as Alumni and Sports, and the various class sections.
Wilbert drew a stunning likeness based on Carl’s high school graduation picture. The latest example of hand illustrations we could find is from 1945, showing a U.S. service member next to the saying, “Keep off the Lifeline.” The Navy serviceman in the illustration bears a striking resemblance to Carl. His son Donn G. Hanneman (1926-2014) served aboard the USS Hoggatt Bay during World War II.
As he prepared his six-seat Beechcraft C35 Bonanza airplane for takeoff, Richard E. Rickman asked airport manager John Stedman if he should take the most direct route, across expansive Lake Michigan to Detroit. Stedman cautioned against it, telling the pilot to fly east across Wisconsin to the lake, then hug the shore and make his way over to Michigan. This approach would presumably be safer, and provide great views for Rickman, his wife and four children.
It was just after the dinner hour on Labor Day 1960. The Rickman family packed themselves into the aircraft at Alexander Field in Wisconsin Rapids, ready to make the flight home to Detroit. The family had been to Drummond, Wis., to visit Helen Rickman’s parents, then flew to the Rapids to visit other relatives.
Richard, the son of a longtime shoe-store proprietor, grew up in Wisconsin Rapids. He was a descendant of pioneer resident Matthias Hanneman, who came to Wisconsin in 1866 from Pomerania. A factory representative for the Ogden Manufacturing Co., Rickman married the former Helen Anderson in December 1949 and they later moved to Michigan. Their first child, Richard Edward, was born in Lansing in May 1953. Robert John was born in Lansing in March 1955. Catherine Helen was born in Detroit in June 1956; and Patricia Ann joined the family in Detroit in September 1957.
The final day of the Rickmans’ visit was spent at the airfield. Rickman gave plane rides to his sister, Elvira Pluke, her husband Nolan and their five children. Rickman primarily used the single-engine aircraft for business trips. The family had recently flown to California in the plane, and then used it for the Labor Day weekend visit.
The wheels of the Beechcraft left the ground of Alexander Field at 6:30 p.m. The Rickman family flew along the western shore of Lake Michigan. They were treated to an incredible view of the Chicago skyline as the aircraft flew less an a mile offshore. The first sign of trouble came near 7:30 p.m., when Rickman issued distress calls that were heard by ships and aircraft as far north as Milwaukee. Rickman radioed Meigs Field in downtown Chicago and asked permission to make an emergency landing because the plane’s engine was cutting out.
Officials at Meigs Field gave Rickman permission for an emergency landing. He veered the aircraft out over the lake and circled to attempt a landing. Witnesses at nearby Oak Street Beach saw sparks trailing from the airplane. The 185-horsepower Continental engine caught fire and became enveloped in smoke. Suddenly, the 25-foot-long airplane turned straight down and plunged headlong into the lake. Hundreds of horrified beach-goers saw a blinding explosion as the plane hit the water.
William J. Cempleman saw the fiery crash from aboard the yacht Playtime. “The whole lake looked afire. Flames soared twenty-five to thirty feet,” Cempleman said. “When we got to the scene, a big circle of water was flaming. All we could see was an airplane wheel floating.” As the Playtime circled the crash site, Cempleman saw the charred body of little Catherine Rickman, 4, floating about 15 feet from the flames. Newspapers across America later published a dramatic Associated Press photograph of a police marine officer carrying the lifeless body of Catherine to shore. Resuscitation efforts failed.
Police and Coast Guard vessels searched the waters off Oak Street Beach into the night. Divers used underwater lights to aid in the search, but found no trace of the aircraft or the other members of the Rickman family. Divers resume the search on September 6, but did not locate the wreckage or the other victims until September 7. Diver Jeff Daxe, a commercial pilot, was the first to reach the bodies. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that one body was found 50 feet from the fuselage, while the other four were inside the wreckage. After the victims were recovered and taken to Burnham Harbor, it was discovered that Richard Rickman’s watch stopped at 7:38 p.m.
The impact sheared off both wings, but only one was found. The engine and propeller were found some distance from the rest of the wreckage in about 30 feet of water. Two weeks after the crash, the Civil Aeronautics Board issued a preliminary opinion that engine failure had caused the crash. In late October the CAB confirmed that opinion, but said the engine would be sent back to the manufacturer for testing. It’s unknown if that ever happened.
The six members of the Rickman family were memorialized at a funeral service on Saturday, September 10, 1960 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids. They were buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Richard Edwin Rickman was born on April 27, 1926, the youngest child of Edwin and Renata (Rathke) Rickman. Edwin John Rickman was the son of Christian Wilhelm Ludwig Theodor and Amelia Bertha Emilie Auguste (Hannemann) Rickman. Amelia’s father was August Friedrich Hanneman, the son of family patriarch Matthias Hannemann. Richard Rickman graduated from Lincoln High School in 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1943. He served more than three years in the Navy during World War II and was discharged as an ensign in September 1960. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in business administration.
The change from summer to fall always reminds me of leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. With more than a dozen huge oak trees in our back yard in Sun Prairie, we always had mountains of leaves to romp through during fall. On windy days, the air in our back yard was filled with falling leaves. Before the days we had to help rake and bag the leaves, we dove into the pile with reckless abandon.
My own children had a similar experience in our first home on the north side of Racine. We had maple and apple trees that left plenty of seasonal detritus across the landscape. I have some precious video (see below) of our oldest, Stevie, running through the leaves at my childhood home in about the year 1995.
Fall always meant trips to the pumpkin farm, huddling around the fire pit on the back deck, picking fresh apples at local orchards, and of course getting the snowblower tuned up and ready for winter. It is a season of change, of color, of transitions. As the years pass, it also becomes a season of reflection and wistfulness.
As a boy, I often got to travel with my Dad on his sales routes across Wisconsin to sell veterinary pharmaceuticals and supplies. One of his routes took him to Wausau, so we got to pay a visit to Hanneman’s Rock and Gift Shop, run by my great uncle and aunt, Wilbert G. and Irma Hanneman. Visits to the shop always resulted in getting to pick out something made from the most exquisite polished rocks and colorful crystals.
Over the years, I developed a nice collection of treasures from the rock shop. I came to believe that Uncle Wilbert (nicknamed “Wib”) had made a career out of selling rocks and crystals. Actually, he and Aunt Irma took it up as a post-retirement labor of love after Wib’s long career in banking. They sold gifts from the shop in their home at 130 Ninth Avenue in Wausau in the 1960s and early 1970s, but also attended craft shows and other events to peddle their intricately patterned wares.
In December 1966, the Wausau Daily Herald-Record ran a photo page featuring the Hannemans and their rock shop. “What looks like an uninteresting rock to the average person may send a rock-hound into a joyous orbit,” read one of the captions. The photo showed Wib using a diamond saw to slice Australian red rhodonite into slabs. Another photo showed polished slabs of Brazilian agate, which were later used to make cuff links, ring settings and other items.
Although Wib and Irma used tumblers to polish many of the smaller rocks, much of the rock polishing was done by hand “to better control the final results,” the newspaper wrote. The craft has its aim to “unmask the beauty in the stones.”
Wilbert G. Hanneman was born May 1, 1899 in Merrill, Wisconsin, the third of five boys born to Charles and Rosina Hanneman. He was the older brother of my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman. In June 1923, Wib married Irma Pagels and the couple moved to Wausau. Wib had a long career working for the Citizens State Bank and Trust Co., from which he retired in 1964. Wib was a graduate of the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Wib overcame a bout of polio that left him with a pronounced limp. Late in life he suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his beloved cigars. Wib and Irma celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1973. Carl, who was the best man, attended the anniversary doings. The couple had two children, Richard D. Hanneman and Lynn (Hanneman) Swanson Zarnke. Wib died in 1987 and Irma died in 1996.
(This post has been updated with the full newspaper page image)
The book about my father’s battle with lung cancer and his final months on this earth has been in print for nearly five years. It seems a good time to update the book’s official video trailer. The new version, posted below, is in high definition. Back when the original trailer was created, HD video was still fairly novel. But now HD is the norm on home televisions and computers, so it was time to upgrade this important promotional video. You can also view the video in a larger format here.
I wish I could get you a big birthday gift this year, like prepaid college tuition or a new car. But I can’t. I think I have something much more valuable to share, though. I wrote the letter below almost 23 years ago, when you were barely two weeks old.
Much has changed in our lives and in the world since then. You grew up and overcame big challenges on your way to high school, and then college. You’ve gone out into the work work and supported yourself as you pay for your own education. I know that has been hard, but it is a great credit to you, and I’m very proud of you.
When I wrote the letter, we had no idea who you would become. You were at times a cranky baby, with lots of colic. But you were mostly happy. It was a sheer delight watching you grow up. As I see you ready to celebrate your 23rd birthday, I can say that I could not be a more proud Dad of my only son. Just like the letter says, you’ve grown up to be a good man. I love you.
Feb. 2, 1992
Dear Stevie —
You probably don’t like us calling you Stevie anymore, but right now, it fits you perfectly. It’s 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday. I’m watching a rerun of M*A*S*H on television as your Mom naps on the couch. You are asleep in your crib down the hall. I can hear you breathing over the nursery monitor.
There are a lot of things I want to say to you. The first is that your Mom and I love you very much. You’re only 2 weeks old, but you’ve added so much to our lives. And now we sit and imagine what kind of a person you will grow up to be. We know you’ll be a good boy, and eventually, a good man.
First, some history. You were born at 8:41 p.m. on Jan. 20. You weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces. I’ll never forget your little hand clutched around my finger as you lay on the incubator table. You were so alert as you waited to be put in a blanket.
The day you were born, George Bush was President of the United States. Tommy Thompson (a good friend of your great Grandpa Carl) was governor of Wisconsin. Your Dad works as a reporter for the Racine Journal Times, covering state government and politics. Your Mom works for Communications Concepts in Racine, doing graphic arts on a computer. The top TV shows are Cheers, Murphy Brown and L.A. Law.
You are a beautiful baby. You have dark eyes, red hair and soft, rounded cheeks. You’re only 2 weeks old, but already you can lift your head in the crib. I wonder what you are thinking when you gaze up at us while you’re feeding or playing. We nicknamed you “Popeye” because when you want your bottle, you look up with only 1 eye open and open your mouth.
You were conceived at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Your Mom was in the Army Reserves and was called off to war in Dec. 1990. She was stationed in Augsburg, Germany, as a food inspector. When she came home from war in April 1991, we had you. You were part of what was called “Operation Desert Stork,” named after the war, “Operation Desert Storm.”
As I write this your Mom and I are looking forward to seeing you crawl, take your first steps, and all the things that come after. But for now, there’s one thing we’re sure of — how happy we are you’re here.
At Christmas 2014 with Mr. Puggles.
A 2008 image of Stevie.
Stevie with one of his patented expressions.
We used to stuff pillows in our sweatpants and hip check each other around.
One of my favorite photos, taken at Wisconsin Dells.
This is one of the earliest photos showing brothers David D. Hanneman (left) and Donn G. Hanneman, taken circa 1936. I believe this portrait was taken in Mauston, Wisconsin, where the family moved in early 1936. My Dad (David) was 3 years old that year. The family had a good relationship with Bauer Studios, so throughout the years there were always nice portraits of the Hanneman children.
I love the curly head of hair on Dad. He always had a great head of hair, right up to the day he lost it from chemotherapy in 2007. He asked me at the time if I thought it would grow back. I said yes, although Dad died before it had the chance. I imagine one day seeing him in Heaven, with either that distinguished-looking silver mane or the wavy jet-black hair from his youth.
It was mixed in with photographs and other documents — a colorful, torn ticket stub. I picked it up and examined it and was left wondering, what is the story behind it? The game was between the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern on November 10, 1945. I presumed that my Dad was the lucky holder of the $1.75 ticket. He was 12 at the time, so a trip from Mauston to Madison for a college football game would have been a big treat. I had to find out more about this game. So I dug right into it.
The weather forecast for the homecoming game called for a high of 39 degrees after an overnight low of 18. The Friday night calm on the UW campus was broken by roving mobs of teenagers who broke store windows and vandalized cars along State Street. Madison police made 49 arrests for curfew violations, according to The Wisconsin State Journal. Still, police considered the homecoming crowd on campus well-behaved overall, so they did not use the tear gas and water wagons that were held in reserve.
Camp Randall was packed with 45,000 fans when game time arrived on Saturday. Dad (or whomever held that ticket) sat in the south end zone, Section Z, Row 6, Seat 5. This is the end of the stadium backed against the UW Field House. I’ve sat in that section myself a few times over the years. Fans were treated to a great game. “This was a game with few dull moments, one in which each turned loose a devastating running attack,” wrote Henry J. McCormick, sports editor of The Wisconsin State Journal. The first quarter ended scoreless. Wisconsin’s initial drive ended on Northwestern’s 48 when Jerry Thompson’s pass was intercepted. Northwestern fared no better, as its drive ended on Wisconsin’s 25 when Badger Don Kindt intercepted a Jim Farrar pass.
In the second quarter, Wisconsin scored a touchdown on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a reverse and a pass to the end zone. Northwestern answered with an impressive 73-yard touchdown drive. Wisconsin roared right back on the next drive. Halfback Ben Bendrick ripped off 17 of his 133 yards on one play. Kindt finished the drive by plunging into the end zone with only 8 seconds left in the half. Halftime score was 14-7 in favor of the Badgers. The second half opened with the same high tempo. Northwestern took the kickoff and moved right down the field with 70 yards on 11 plays. Farrar’s 25-yard pass to tight end Stan Gorski brought the game to a 14-14 tie. On the very next drive Wisconsin’s Bendrick tore off a 41-yard run, followed by an 11-yard scamper from Kindt. A fourth-down pass from Thompson was intercepted by Bill Hunt of Northwestern. When the Wildcats pounded down to the Wisconsin 1 yard line on the drive, the Badgers’ defense stiffened, stopping the Cats on a fourth-down pass play. As the third quarter ended, the score was still knotted at 14.
On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Bendrick continued his punishing ground game. But lightning struck as Bendrick went around left end. The ball popped out, right into the hands of Northwestern’s Hunt, who returned the ball to the Wisconsin 9 yard line. After two running plays, Northwestern took it to the end zone for a 21-14 lead. The teams then traded unsuccessful drives. Wisconsin’s Thompson threw another pick at mid-field, but Northwestern’s ensuing drive stalled. When the Badgers got the ball back, Bendrick fumbled again. Northwestern pounced on the ball at the Wisconsin 24. Seven plays later, Northwestern scored to go up 28-14. That’s how the game ended.
When your team rolls up 244 yards rushing, it typically won’t lose. But on this day, the Badgers made too many mistakes, spotting the Wildcats 14 points with two fumbles. The headlines should have been about Bendrick’s stellar 133-yard rushing day. The Badger faithful left Camp Randall entertained, but unsatisfied. If my Dad, David D. Hanneman, was the ticket holder, I’m guessing he was there with his father, Carl F. Hanneman. The first Wisconsin game I can recall attending with my grandfather was a 1977 game vs. Michigan State. The Badgers lost that day, 9-7.
Hidden behind the headlines of the 1945 game was a compelling military story. It was just the third game back for Don Kindt, who shared halfback duties with “Big Ben” Bendrick. As just a 17-year-old, Kindt interrupted his Wisconsin football career in 1943 to enlist in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. He saw extensive action in Italy and was awarded two bronze stars. He returned to the Badgers in October 1945. After his Wisconsin playing career, Kindt spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. He recounts his war experiences in an extensive interview conducted in 1994 by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
It would be easy to say that Julius Rudolph Hannemann lived his life with a boom. There were likely many in Washington, D.C. in the 1870s and 1880s who wished he hadn’t created so many of them. As president of the district artillery corps, Maj. Hannemann provided the ceremonial explosive huzzahs at civic events from decoration day to the inauguration of presidents.
Although Hannemann had a distinguished record of service with Union Army units during the Civil War, one senses just a bit of resentment at the noise created by his artillery men. Hannemann commanded the artillery for Decoration Day at Arlington National Cemetery one year. A local newspaper quipped, “All persons residing in the vicinity are advised to have their lives insured.” The article ran under the headline: “The Poisoned Major to the Front.” Another article said he “has broken millions of panes of glass, the peace of the capital, more often than can be computed, by firing cannon.”
On New Year’s Eve 1875, his corps fired a 37-volley salute to the new year in Judiciary Square. According to one news account, “the ammunition for this purpose having been furnished by the War Department.” On September 18, 1880, a platoon fired a 200-gun salute to commemorate the Republican victory in Maine, according to a front-page article in the The Evening Star. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes approved Hannemann’s promotion from second lieutenant to captain. Hannemann was later promoted to major.
Hannemann was struck with apoplexy (possibly a stroke) at the inauguration of President James A. Garfield in early March 1881. It was this condition that eventually took his life on the morning of January 28, 1885. He was just 43 years old. “His death had been expected for some time,” wrote the The Evening Critic. “A well-known and efficient militia officer and a prominent member of the G.A.R. passes to that bourne where military parades are unknown and the weary are at rest.”
Hannemann was born in Prussia in 1842 to a military family. Upon emigrating to the United States, he volunteered for duty in the Civil War on May 17, 1861. He served with the 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, known as the “Garibaldi Guard.” He started as a private, but by March 1865, he was a 2nd lieutenant with the 7th New York Infantry Regiment. In June of that year, he was named adjutant of the 7th.
We don’t know of any link between Julius Rudolph Hannemann and the Hanneman family that came from Pomerania to Wisconsin in the 1860s. The major seems to have come from an area in the Kingdom of Saxony, south and west of Pomerania.