Historical documents and photographs are the heart of any good family archive.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.
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.
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.
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.
These young ladies look like they are dressed for a Siberian winter, although the location of this photograph is central Wisconsin. Sisters Lillian M. Albrecht (left) and Esther M. Albrecht are bundled with fur coats, hats and hand warmers. The photo was taken about 1920, probably at Vesper, Wisconsin, their home town.
Lillian married George J. Ladick in June 1922, and the couple had four children: Sylvia (1923-1961), Lucille (1925-2005), Lawrence (1930-2000) and Shirley. Esther married Emil R. Gottschalk in November 1930, and the couple had two daughters, Pearl (1936-2012) and LaVon.
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.
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.
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.