Tag Archives: Hanneman

Martin Hannemann’s $2.68 Tax Bill for 1868

We have further evidence that our earliest Hanneman ancestor to come to Wisconsin went by the name “Martin” rather than his given legal name of Matthias.

The 1868 tax roll for the Town of Grant in Portage County says Martin Hannemann had property with an assessed value of $49.00. On that amount, he paid a tax of 98 cents for the school district, 66 cents for the township and 62 cents in other local taxes. His total tax bill was $2.26.

This is at least the third piece of evidence that Matthias Hannemann was known by the name Martin. On the 1870 U.S. Census he is listed as “Mart Hannemann. His name was also listed as Martin in a newspaper obituary for one of his children.

The tax document also establishes that Matthias was in America as early as 1868. We have yet to locate documentary evidence of his emigration from Kreis Regenwalde, Pomerania. We know two of his daughters came to Wisconsin in 1861.

[Update: Since this post was originally published, we found the 1866 emigration records for Matthias (Martin) Hannemann]

Remarkable Photos Show 4 Generations of Hannemans

Two newly discovered photographs show four generations of Hannemans, starting with Christian Hanneman, who came to America in 1882. The photographs were supplied by Richard Swanson, grandson of Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987).

One of the photographs shows Arthur J. Hanneman and his then-infant son, James A. Hanneman; along with family patriarch Christian Hanneman and Art’s father, Charles F. A. Hanneman. Christian Hanneman is identified in the photographs as Cristofer. The other photograph shows Frank H. Hanneman and baby daughter Dorothy. The photos date to approximately 1917.

Four Generations 2

Carl Hanneman Played Football for Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln

A recently discovered copy of the 1921 yearbook “Ahdawagam” from Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School revealed that Grandpa Carl Henry Frank Hanneman played right end for the Lincoln varsity football team.

Carl was one of 10 young men on the first string football team that opened season on September 18,

1920 at Wisconsin Rapids. It was an up-and-down season as the Rapids team racked up a 4-3 record. Highlights included a 39-0 victory over New Lisbon and a 28-0 win at Stevens Point. The team took a 56-0 drubbing at the hands of Antigo and suffered a 26-6 loss to Merrill.

Carl was one of the smaller members of the team, but that did not reflect his playing ability. “What he lacked in size he surely made up for in playing,” the yearbook said. “Carl was right there when it came to breaking up end runs. Often he would run in and stop the opponents’ play before they had got well started.”

One thing Carl did not have that his teammates did was a nickname. Other young men on the team had nicknames such as “Cyclone,” “Butch,” “Tubby,” “Kid” and “Murphy.” Carl did not have a football nickname, but he did have the nickname “Oswald” next to his high school senior portrait. We’re not sure what to make of that one.

Earliest Hanneman Photo Shows Christian and Amanda

Until recently, the earliest Hanneman ancestor for whom we had photographic evidence was Charles Hanneman (1866-1932), father of our own Carl Henry Frank Hanneman. A newly discovered photo now takes us one generation earlier, to Christian Friedrich August

Hanneman (1833-1919) and his wife, Amanda Auguste Bertha Henriette (Ladwig) Hanneman (1828-1908).

We previously had no photos of Amanda, and only a distant view of Christian on the farm of his son, Albert. The new formal portrait of the couple means we now have photographs of relatives who date as early as 1828. That puts us within one generation of the earliest known Hanneman ancestor, Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879). 

Christian and Amanda Hanneman were the last of the Matthias Hannemann clan to emigrate to America from Pomerania. They arrived in New York in late November 1882 aboard the steamship Katie. They settled in the Town of Grant, Portage County, Wis.

©The Hanneman Archive

Rare Photo of Family Pioneer Charles F.C. Hanneman

A remarkable photo recently surfaced showing a tie-clad, suspender-wearing Charles Frederick Christian Hanneman, one of the pioneers of the Hanneman family of north central Wisconsin.

The color photograph, which appears to date to the late 1920s, shows an aging Charles Hanneman wearing his Sunday best. He appears to be standing next to some kind of canal that was used for swimming.Charles Hanneman

The photo was supplied by Tim Swanson, one of Charles Hanneman’s great-grandchildren who descends from Charles’ son, Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987). Charles was also the father of Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982), Arthur Hanneman (1893-1965) and Frank Hanneman (1895-1947).

It is an important visual clue to the life of this Pomeranian immigrant who came to America at age 16 and built a new life for himself in and around Grand Rapids (now called Wisconsin Rapids).

For a retrospective on the life of Charles Hanneman (1866-1932), read this 2008 article from The Hanneman Archive.

Hannemann, Geh Du Voran! That (in)famous German Saying

Hannemann, geh Du voran! Type that German phrase into any search engine and it will return a mass of entries that make reference to this old saying. One of the more recognizable sayings among German-speaking Europeans uses the Hannemann surname. Pretty exciting, huh?

Not so fast.

As it turns out, the phrase isn’t exactly a compliment. This particular Hannemann, and the other men in the folklore story, are looked at with derision, although perhaps with a bit of envy.

To understand this infamous Hannemann reference, you have to look back a few centuries at an old folk tale about seven Swabian soldiers (die sieben Schwaben). Versions of this tale are said to date to the early 16th century. The Brothers Grimm published their own version in the 1800s.

The lightly armed sieben Schwaben set out into the world and encountered dangers along the way. At one point, they came across what they feared was a hideous beast (but in reality was just a common rabbit). Not wanting to face the menacing animal, one Swabian after the other insisted that the soldier Hannemann step forth to the head of the line.

Hannemann, geh Du voran! Du hast die gröβten Stiefel an, Daβ Dich das Tier nicht beiβen kann. “Hannemann, go forward! You have the biggest boots on, so the animal won’t bite you!” Here the Swabians are showing their inherent cowardice in the face of imagined danger.

In the folk-tale version penned by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the sieben Schwaben venture into the world armed with a single spear to protect them. The bravest man was said to be in front. Hearing a beetle or hornet fly by his head, the now-frightened leader jumps a nearby fence. He lands on the teeth of a rake, and the handle smacks him in the head. “I surrender! I surrender!” he shouts.

The bumbling Swabians eventually drowned in the Mosel River, thinking it was shallow enough to wade across. The leader called to a man on the other side of the river, asking how to get across the mossy river. Not understanding their dialect, the man answered back, “Wat? Wat?” The first Swabian thought he heard the man say, “wade!” So in he went, and drowned.

The others heard the same instructions: “Wat, wat, wat.” So in they went, to the same fate. What they actually heard was a frog across the river, croaking: “wat, wat!” Poor Swabians. It is reminiscent of the antics of Fatty Arbuckle and the Keystone Kops from those famous silent films.

Even today, the old Swabian saying is used routinely in Germany: “Hannemann, you go ahead!” The implication is, “I don’t want to rush into something dangerous. Hannemann, you do it!” “Don’t stick your neck out! Let Hannemann take the brunt of the trouble!”

Why have Germans poked fun at the Swabians for so long? It could be envy. Swabia is a region in southwest Germany near Switzerland and France. The Swabians have been described as strong and warlike, with a history of fighting with their neighbors. For generations they have been panned by other Germans as simpletons, cowards, stingy or prudish. These depictions may actually be the begrudging acknowledgment by neighbors that the Swabians are actually resourceful, clever and hard-working.

We need to point out that this region of Germany is not near the Baltic Duchy of Pomerania, where our Hannemann ancestors came from in the mid-1800s. So the soldier Hannemann of the sieben Schwaben was likely not related to our ancestor Matthias Hannemann, an infantry soldier in a Pomeranian regiment of the Prussian army.

But we should not be so quick to disown our Swabian cousin. For if you believe the explanations for the cheap shots aimed at Swabian Germans, this soldier Hannemann might have been a courageous and industrious fellow. Maybe some envious numskull decided to pen a derisive story about him. A bit of revenge, perhaps?

Let’s think about rewriting the old saying. Instead of “Hannemann, you get in front,” maybe it should read: “Everybody step back. Hannemann has it covered.”

Matthias Hannemann Grave Discovered in Portage County, Wis.

For decades, the records of St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Kellner, Wis., did not include a location for the grave of one of the church’s old settlers, Matthias Hannemann. His funeral and burial in May 1879 were recorded in the church register, but with no indication of burial location.

This more than century old mystery has been solved, however, and we now know where this early Hanneman forebear is laid to rest. As part of a research project for a forthcoming Hanneman history book, we found the grave location at the cemetery just southeast of Wisconsin Rapids.

The grave site of Matthias Hanneman is at left center, indicated by the partially excavated stone.
The grave site of Matthias Hanneman is at left center, indicated by the upturned earth of the partially excavated stone.

Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879) is the earliest known ancestor of the Hanneman families of Wood and Portage counties of Wisconsin. He was the great-grandfather of Carl F. Hanneman of Mauston, Wis. Matthias came to America before June 1870 from Meesow, county Regenwalde, Pomerania, to settle with his children in north central Wisconsin.

During a site visit to St. John cemetery in July 2009, we determined that the earliest burials at the cemetery were physically arranged by date of death. Based on that, we determined Matthias would have been buried between August and Augusta Knoll (April 1878) and Carl Schmidt (October 1878). There was an unmarked grave in this spot, with a small portion of headstone poking above the grass.

Once we found a portion of stone poking above grass level, we pulled the grass back to reveal the headstone.
Once we found a portion of stone poking above grass level, we pulled the grass back to reveal the headstone.

We pulled back the overgrown grass and weeds and a light layer of sand to reveal a 1 foot square remnant of headstone. Some hints of lettering were visible on the badly weathered and corroded stone face. We photographed the stone and applied a variety of filters and effects to the photo file, but could not make out a name.

We asked Sue Alft, head of the St. John Cemetery committee, to visit the site. She agreed that the plot was the burial place of Matthias and his second wife, Caroline (Steffen) Hannemann. Coincidentally, Alft is descended from Matthias Hannemann through his daughter, Friedericke (Hannemann) Kruger (1825-1918).

©The Hanneman Archive