Historical documents and photographs are the heart of any good family archive. The Hanneman Archive is already well-populated with more than 700 photographic images. Now we have added a documents section featuring a variety of declarations from our collection. Examples include ship registries, church death records written in German, draft cards, professional certifications and more. The page is among the links at the top of our home page.
The gallery will be expanded frequently. For until it is shared, a document is but a mere sheet of paper.
This is a blast from the past of the author of this blog. Reporter Joe Hanneman (skinny guy with hair at left) takes notes at a press event in Racine, Wisconsin, held by Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson. The photo was taken around 1988. Hanneman covered Wisconsin state politics and the Wisconsin Legislature for The Journal Times, Racine’s daily newspaper. The event was likely some kind of economic development announcement from the governor’s office. Also visible in the photo are Racine County Executive Dennis Kornwolf, State Sen. Joseph Strohl of Racine and State Rep. E. James Ladwig of Caledonia. Some 27 years later, Hanneman has neither thick hair nor thin waist.
The photograph is very poignant. A frail man, sitting in the afternoon sun on the front porch steps. He looks haggard and tired, maybe ill. This image is the last known photograph taken of Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman, who was known around Wisconsin Rapids as Charles or “Chas” Hanneman. The photo likely dates to 1931 or 1932, when he suffered from prostate cancer that eventually took his life.
Charles Hanneman came to America in late November 1882 with his parents, Christian and Amanda Hanneman. He was just 15 when the family made its way from Stettin, Pomerania to Portage County, Wisconsin. Charles, his three brothers and two sisters settled on a 105-acre farm in the northwest corner of the Town of Grant, near the tiny hamlet of Kellner.
Charles worked on the Hanneman farm for a time. His brothers would stay in farming (maps from that period show many Hanneman farms in Portage County), but eventually Charles left farming and found work in one of the area’s many sawmills.
At some point in his early 20s, Charles made the acquaintance of Rosine Ostermann, the eldest daughter of John and Mina Ostermann of the Town of Grand Rapids. They had many things in common. Both grew up on the family farm. Rosie’s parents were from Germany (Saxony and Prussia), and his were from Pomerania. Rosie’s grandfather George Ostermann was one of the pioneers of Portage County, listed on the earliest tax roll of the Town of Grant in 1864.
On April 2, 1891, Charles and Rosie were married atSt. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kellner in a divine service performed by A.G. Grimm. The witnesses were Charles’ father, Christian, and his brother, William. The bride’s attendants were her sister, Elsie Ostermann, and Emma Pribbernow. The groomsmen were cousins August Saeger and Herman Hanneman.
The young couple came to know heartache early in their marriage. Their firstborn, referred in the records only as “C.H. Hanneman,” died in infancy in 1892. They went on to have four sons: Arthur John (1893), Frank Herman Albert (1895), Wilbert George (1899), and our own Carl Henry Frank (1901).
Work in the sawmill must have been erratic, or Charles left that occupation for a time. In 1900, U.S. Census records show the family living and working on the farm of Charles’ brother, William Hanneman.
By 1905, Charles moved his family to the second ward in the city of Grand Rapids. He initially did manual labor for the city of Grand Rapids,possibly working on construction of the water and sewer works. The financial statements for the city in December 1907 show Charles worked 135 hours that month and earned 17.5 cents per hourfor a paycheck of $23.63.
By 1910 the family was living at 1774 Baker Street in Grand Rapids. The U.S. Census that year lists Charles as a laborer at a box factory. That may have referred to Consolidated Water, Power & Paper Co., where he later worked until his retirement, or the nearby Badger Box company.
On March 31, 1918, tragedy struck the Hanneman home when Rosine died suddenly at age 48. Her death notice, which ran on page 1 of the Daily Leader, said she was fine during the day but fell ill and died at 11 p.m. We know that she had diabetes, and that may have contributed to her death. Carl was 16 when his mother died.
Charles remarried in August 1919 and lived out his remaining years in his home at 1751 Baker Street. He became ill with prostate cancer in 1931 and was hospitalized numerous times in Wausau for surgery and treatments. He died at home on Oct. 11, 1932. He was 65. His death made front-page news in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
FAMILY LINE: Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman >> Carl F. Hanneman >> Donn, David & Lavonne Hanneman
Rosine Bertha Henrietta (Osterman) Hanneman (1870-1918), Frank Herman Albert Hanneman (1895-1947), Arthur James Hanneman (1893-1965), Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982), Wilbert George Hanneman (1899-1987) and Carl Frederick Christian (Chas) Hanneman (1866-1932).
It is the only known photograph showing six of the seven children of Christian and Amanda Hanneman, pioneers of Portage and Wood counties in Wisconsin. The undated photo was probably taken around 1915 at a family event. Left to right are: William Friedrich Johann Hanneman (1856-1939) Bertha Auguste Ernestine (Hanneman) Bartelt (1860-1945) Albert Friedrich O. Hanneman (1863-1932) Herman Charles Hanneman (1864-1945) Carl Friedrich Christian Hanneman (“Chas,” 1866-1932) Ernestine Wilhelmine Caroline (Hanneman) Timm (1870-1930)
Hand tinted photograph of Chas Hanneman, location unknown.
Left to right: Christian Hanneman, Chas Hanneman, Carl Hanneman, David D. Hanneman.
Just three weeks after becoming a father for the third time, young pharmacist Carl. F. Hanneman took the extraordinary step of writing to the attorney general of Wisconsin to ask that he be granted full licensure as a registered pharmacist. It was a heartfelt letter, written by a young man feeling the weight of responsibility of a wife and three children. Written by a well-educated and accomplished man who felt he deserved what he as asking. The very future was at stake.
“I am writing this letter in all sincerity as what I am about to ask means everything to myself as well as my wife and three little kiddies,” Carl wrote to Attorney Gen. Orland S. Loomis on Sept. 3, 1937.“I am 35 years old and will be 36 this coming October and feel that obtaining my full registered papers will mean life itself to myself and my dear family.”
Carl explained that he was fully licensed as an assistant pharmacist, working at the Mauston Drug Store owned by Dr. J.S. Hess Jr. But he was unable to officially manage the drug store due to a quirk in state law.
If Carl had worked in a smaller town with under 500 population, he could have legally managed the pharmacy. But Mauston population was about 2,100. Carl would need to be a registered pharmacist in order to manage the Mauston Drug Store.
“My capacity in the drug store is as an unofficial manager, as I do all of the buying etc., but legally cannot manage the store,” Carl wrote. “Dr. J.S. Hess Jr. has confidence in me and I a great deal in him, and as far as I am concerned am willing to stay here the rest of my life, dispensing for our own doctors.”
Carl reasoned that if he was qualified to own and manage a pharmacy in a small town (such as neighboring Lyndon Station, pop. 236), why could he not serve the same capacity in Mauston? “I have often wondered as has many others, are not the lives of 500 people in a small town just as valuable to their loved ones as those living in a town where there might be more than this amount?” Carl wrote.
By 1937, Carl had 16 years of experience in pharmacology, starting as an apprentice in 1921 at the Sam Church drug store in Wisconsin Rapids. Carl graduated from the pharmacy program at Marquette University in 1925 and became licensed as an assistant pharmacist. He wasn’t eligible to take the full pharmacist exam at the time because his apprenticeship fell just short of the required five years. Over the next decade he worked at drug stores in Janesville, Fond du Lac and Wisconsin Rapids, and even worked a three-year stint as a salesman for Consolidated Water Power & Paper Co.
“I knew my lifework was with the drug store as I truly love it and was very fortunate in securing a position with the Dr. Hess Hospital, Clinic and Drug Store organization on Feb. 1, 1936,” Carl wrote.
Carl said he would likely need three more years of study to pass the registered pharmacist board exams as they existed in 1937. With three children (including baby Lavonne born in August 1937), Carl figured that simply would not be possible. So he asked for help from Loomis, a Mauston native who served as city attorney from 1922 to 1931. Loomis was attorney general through 1938, and was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1942. He died before taking office. Eventually, Carl became good friends with Loomis and photographed him for the Wisconsin State Journal on the 1942 night of his election as governor of Wisconsin.
We don’t know if Loomis ever intervened on Carl’s behalf in his role as attorney general or governor-elect, or how he responded to the 1937 letter. A search of Loomis’ law-practice records at the Wisconsin Historical Society yielded no clues. Carl’s 1941 license from the Wisconsin State Board of Pharmacy still lists him as an assistant pharmacist. On July 12, 1944, the state of Wisconsin issued an ornate document certifying Carl as a full registered pharmacist. He worked under the new license number until his death in 1982. It would appear Carl secured his added credentials the hard way: he earned them.
My Dad’s family made several trips out West, to Arizona and the Dakotas. Sorting out and matching photos with cities has been a constant challenge. A couple of intriguing photos show Dad with a cowboy identified as Hiram Greene. I wondered, was Hiram Greene a famous rodeo rider, a film star or some other celebrity?
My first source of information was the caption on the back of one photo, written by my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman. It listed the name “Hiram Greene” and said he was from Billings, Montana. The photo, according to the caption, was taken at Canistota, Minnesota. As it turned out, that caption was problematic in several respects.
I took a chance by doing a generic search engine query and came up empty. I quickly ruled out the idea that Mr. Greene was a major celebrity. Using databases at Ancestry.com, I was unable to find anyone by that name near Billings, Montana. But I did find what appeared to be a good match right in South Dakota, where the Hanneman family vacationed several times in the 1940s.
Hiram Hoyt Greene was a farmer who lived much of his life around Mitchell, S.D. I ran a quick search and discovered the major tourist attraction in Mitchell is the Mitchell Corn Palace, home to world-famous murals made from corn. That quickly rang a bell with me. I had numerous photos of the Hannemans outside the Corn Palace. This led me to conclude that it was possible that Dad met Hiram Greene on the streets of Mitchell. Especially since there is no Canistota, Minnesota. There is a Canistota, S.D., another city the Hanneman family visited on vacation. Canistota is home to the famous Ortman Chiropractic Clinic. I could find no link between Hiram and Canistota, although it is only 40 miles from Mitchell. I took yet another look through the photo library and found an image of the Ortman Clinic. The building next to it appears to match the brick building that Dad and Mr. Greene are standing near. So it was Canistota after all.
According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Hiram Hoyt Greene was a livestock and grain producer. This made sense. A cattle rancher would certainly dress like a cowboy. Perhaps Dad saw Mr. Greene on the street and wanted to have his photo taken with a real cowboy. I wonder if that had happened to Mr. Greene before? I started out looking for a celebrity, but found a regular, hard-working cattle rancher. It was an even better story, in my opinion.
Hiram Hoyt Greene was born in May 1898. At the time of the World War I draft, he was a farmer in Mitchell, S.D. In May 1920, he married May Luella Moe. The couple had nine children. At various times in his working life, Greene farmed and lived in Mitchell, the Town of Beulah and Mount Vernon, South Dakota. He was hospitalized in November 1958, just a day after celebrating the wedding of one of his sons. He died on November 28, 1958 at age 60.
I learned several key lessons from this photo detective assignment. First, it is always a good idea to write down information on the back of photographs. Or in the case of modern digital images, to embed a caption and keywords in the photo files. But you can’t always trust the information on old photo prints. Sometimes captions are written long after the events shown in the photo. Memories can be jumbled, so it is good to check the information and correct it if necessary.
— This post has been updated with more information.
It was a tiny photograph, not much larger than an oversized postage stamp. It showed two boys, identified on the back as Bob Firlus and Sam Kaufman. Of course I was very familiar with Bob, my Dad’s lifelong friend from Mauston, Wisconsin. But Sam did not ring a bell. However, his presence in my Dad’s photo collection meant that he was a friend and likely a frequent guest at the home of my grandparents on Morris Street in Mauston. I wondered, what became of Sam?
The photo detective in me kicked into high gear. My first check was with Mr. Firlus, who had some distinct and humorous early memories of Sam:
They had a nice house on Tremont Street. One day Sammy and I walked out to Coon Rock Bluff a few miles west of Mauston. We were near the bluff and Sammy said that he had to take a pee but he asked me not to tell his dad because his dad told him he should not pee outdoors.
Ah, the troubles of youth! What a great story! Bob said he believed Sam had moved to Pennsylvania after leaving Mauston. I next dug out some of my Dad’s yearbooks and found Sam pictured with my Dad’s Mauston Grade School class in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was one of the tallest boys in class, so was usually found in the back row. In the 1939 class photo, he was standing directly to my Dad’s right.
I checked the U.S. Census and military records on Ancestry.com and found Sam’s father, Albert Ross Kaufman, a doctor at Mauston’s Hess Memorial Clinic. The elder Kaufman’s 1942 draft card showed he was 46 and living with his family at 214 Tremont Street in Mauston. That was fairly close to the Hess clinic, but not so close to the Hanneman house. So what was his connection to that photo taken on Morris Street? I looked up Sam’s mother, Ardis, and discovered her maiden name was Hess. OK, now we’re making progress. Hess was a very prominent name in Mauston, largely due to Dr. James Samuel Hess Sr., a pioneer doctor and founder of the hospital and clinic. Interestingly, Bob Firlus said he had recently thought about Sam and the name Ardis came to mind, although Bob hadn’t recalled that was Sam’s mother’s name.
Turns out that Dr. Ardis (Hess) Kaufman (also a physician) was the daughter of Dr. J.S. Hess Sr. and Maude (Robinson) Hess. She was the sister of Dr. J.S. Hess Jr., who lived directly across the street from the Hannemans. Dr. Sam, as the junior Hess was known, took over for his father at the hospital and clinic. That explained why Sammy was a frequent neighborhood visitor. My grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, worked for Dr. Sam running the pharmacy attached to the Hess clinic. So it made sense that Bob Firlus and my Dad were buddies of Sam Kaufman. I dug into my photo archives and found another shot that appears to show Sam outside the Hess home around 1942.
Now that I had a good sense of Sam’s history in Mauston, I wanted to figure out where he went and what happened in his life. Again, Ancestry.com was a crucial source. I found listings for Dr. Albert R. Kaufman under city directories in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Based on that, I ran search engine queries and located an obituary for Sam Kaufman. I reacted with sadness, since I always hope in doing this work to find a living person to track down. Sam died in October 2008 of lung cancer. Same cause as my Dad, and about 18 months later. From the obituary, it was clear Sam had lived an exemplary life.
The obituary described Sam’s college education, his longtime service in the U.S. Army, his 1957 marriage to Margaret “Meg” Floyd, and his career switch from salesman to high school teacher. He had a long teaching career at Baldwin High School in suburban Pittsburgh. The couple had two sons, James and Steve. From checking those names with search engines, it appears Steve has had a long career as an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.
Even after I finished most of my research, Sam’s name stuck in my head. There was some other clue I was missing. Dad, could you give me some help here? Then it hit me. I vaguely recalled that Sammy accompanied my Dad’s family on one of their vacation trips to the Dakotas. But how to find the photo amidst the thousands in the archive? On this day, I had some help from above. The first archive box I opened had the photo for which I searched. The caption read: “Sammy Kaufman on right, David Hanneman on left.” It was in my Grandma Ruby’s handwriting.
It took a few days of work, but with a little effort I went from a tiny photo print with lots of questions to a decent understanding of Sam Kaufman and his life in and beyond Mauston. Well done, Sam, and thank you.
For a child growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, big adventure often came in small packages. Like many boys his age, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007) was an avid collector of Big Little Books. These chunky mini-books allowed adventure-seeking children to follow the action of Buck Rogers, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Tarzan and other characters. All for 10 cents a book.
The original Big Little Books concept was pioneered by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. Whitman was a subsidiary of Western Publishing, the creator of the famous Little Golden Books (think Poky Little Puppy). Big Little Books were roughly 3¾ inches wide by 4½ inches high. Thickness varied by page count. For example, the 1934 Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express had 380 pages and was 1¼ inches thick. The layout was one of the classic features of Big Little Books. Each page spread had text on the left side and a black-and-white illustration on the right.
Whitman Publishing came out with its first Big Little Book in 1932, The Adventures of Dick Tracy. Soon after, Whitman had titles with comic strip characters like Wash Tubbs, as well as a range of Walt Disney titles. The 1934 series alone included titles such as Chester Gump Finds the Hidden Treasure, Buck Rogers in the City Below the Sea, Reg’lar Fellers, Betty Boop in Snow White, Kayo and Moon Mullins, Mickey Mouse in Blaggard Castle and Dick Tracy and the Stolen Bonds.
Most of the books had hard covers, although my Dad had one Buck Rogers title that was softcover and in a slightly smaller format (only 4¼ inches high). This book had no page numbers. The inside back cover spread was a two-page ad for Cocomalt drink mix. The 1935 Tom Mix and Tony Jr. in Terror Trailwas a larger format (4 5/8 by 5¼ inches) and featured real photographs inside.
For my Dad’s 8th birthday, he received a copy of the 1941 Tarzan the Untamed by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Ever the historian, my Grandma Ruby V. Hanneman wrote the particulars down in blue pencil on the inside front cover: “David Dion Hanneman, March 27, 1941, for 8th birthday, from Dad, Mother, Lavonne and Donn.” This title was from the Better Little Books series, also published by Whitman. In addition to the story and illustrations, it had a flip-book feature that showed an animation as the reader flipped the pages through his thumb and forefinger.
Titles in the 1941 Better Little Books series included Big Chief Wahoo and the Magic Lamp, Mickey Mouse on Sky Island, Popeye and a Sock for Susan’s Sake, G-Man and the Gun Runners, Dick Tracy and his G-Men, Red Barry Undercover Man, Ellery Queen and the Adventure of the Last Man’s Club, Inspector Charlie Chan Solves a New Mystery and others. By the time he was in high school, my Dad stopped adding to his collection. But they clearly held a special place in his heart, since he kept and safeguarded them for more than 50 years before passing them on.
Leaving the family homeland to make a trans-Atlantic trip and emigrate to America would be an intimidating prospect under the best circumstances. When Michael Friedrich Ferdinand Hannemann brought his pregnant wife Mina and infant son Albert aboard the ship John Bertram in Hamburg, Germany in April 1863, he likely had no idea the horror they would face during 46 days at sea.
Fred Hannemann, as he was known to family and friends, was not the first in the family to leave Pomerania for Wisconsin. At least two sisters were already in central Wisconsin, so Fred may have heard stories from them about their travels to the American Midwest. But that likely would not have prepared him for the life-threatening conditions the 336 passengers faced en route to New York. One of the middle children of Matthias and Maria Caroline Hannemann of Meesow, Kreis Regenwalde, Pomerania, Fred was among at least eight children in the clan who would come to America between 1861 and 1882.
The John Bertram was a 1,060-ton clipper ship built in just 90 days in Boston in 1850 and placed into service in January 1851. At 180 feet long, the ship was initially employed to shuttle cargo from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco. It was later sold and pressed into service moving emigrants and cargo from Europe to America. Between 1860 and 1869, nearly 2,100 people were carried from Europe and elsewhere to America aboard the John Bertram.
About 10 days into the journey, the John Bertram encountered a violent gale that ripped at the sails and caused the ship to pitch up and down in the massive ocean swells. The winds raged at the ship for 48 hours, tossing drinking water casks overboard and destroying the storm sails. Conditions below deck were likely horrific, with the violent rocking causing seasickness and injuries. On deck, conditions were worse. Four crewmen were lost overboard and eight others were disabled. Once the storm passed, the ship was leaking badly, making it difficult to keep under sail. Mina Hanneman no doubt had to struggle to care for young Albert Hannemann, 1, in the chaos. The former Johanna Wilhelmine Florentine Glebke was nearly seven months pregnant during the voyage.
On May 4, still three weeks from docking in New York, the John Bertram hit dense fog and became trapped in a massive ice floe. For four days, the ship was surrounded by ice that scraped the planks of the hull and ripped at the cutwater. Four other ships in the area became snared in the ice. Eventually the clipper broke free, but had to steer 3 degrees to the east in order to escape the ice fields.
The trip took its toll. Eight infants died during the trip, although two babies were born. Along with the crewmen who were washed overboard, 12 people lost their lives. Thankfully, Fred, Mina and Albert Hannemann made it safely to Castle Garden in New York. Once they reached the Town of Grand Rapids in Wood County, Wis., they settled into farming. Eventually, seven children were born into the home, as yet another branch of the Hannemann family tree took root in central Wisconsin.
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.
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.