To borrow a phrase from the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, an old photo album is a lot like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. That was certainly the case with a very old leather-bound album we recently acquired from a collector in Ohio. In it we found the first known photograph of great-great-great grandmother, Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch.
The album was purchased from the same source who provided us the carte de visite image of Philipp Treutel. Based on his inclusion in the album, we surmised that the other photos would be related to the family tree of my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman. One of the first carte de visite photos we pulled from the album was labeled, “Grand Mother Krosch, Our Mother’s Mother.” It was right next to a photo of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. Since Henrietta was the only girl in the Krosch family of six children, it was an easy jump to conclude the photo showed her mother, the former Johanna Christiana Schlagel (1801-1884).
The photograph is the first image in our collection that goes back five generations. It was taken at the studio of F.D. Faulkner in Waukesha, Wisconsin. There are a number of other unlabeled photos in the album that could also be Christiana Krosch. We laid the photos side-by-side in Adobe Photoshop, and even overlaid a low-opacity version of Christiana’s head and face on the other images. The facial contours, distance between the eyes, etc., are remarkably similar. Could the other photos show Christiana later in life? The beady pupils in the right two photos were likely drawn in by the photographer.
If she is the woman in the far right image in the series, then we have an ever bigger discovery. That image was taken from a portrait of an elderly man and woman. The portrait was from the studios of F.L. and A.M. Bishop, who had locations in Mukwonago and Waterford, Wisconsin. Christiana and her husband John Frederick Krosch settled on a farm just north of Mukwonago after emigrating from Saxony in 1854. Based on visual comparisons, that portrait could show Frederick and Christiana Krosch. We have no images of Frederick Krosch for comparison. He died in August 1876.
Frederick and Christiana were married on May 10, 1824 at a Lutheran church in Salzwedel, Saxony, Prussia (now Germany). They had six children between 1824 and 1842. Their second youngest was Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette Krosch (born in January 1839), who was called Henrietta. According to Lutheran church records, she was baptized on January 13, 1839 in the parish at Gössnitz. We have unsourced information that she was born at Merseburg, Germany, which is not far from Gössnitz. This information conflicts our earlier belief that the family came from Jessnitz, Prussia. Many Prussian villages had very similar names, which can lead to confusion in genealogy research. More work is needed on where the family lived in Prussia.
As documented in an earlier article, the Krosch family left Germany in June 1854 for America. Theirs was a perilous journey aboard the Barque Bertha, which encountered terrible storms and stiff trade winds that delayed arrival in New York by one week. After 40 days at sea, they reached New York, set out for Chicago and Milwaukee, and eventually reached East Troy in Walworth County. Frederick took to farming on an 80-acre plat north of Mukwonago. After Frederick Krosch’s death, Christiana moved to Minnesota to live with her son, William Frederick Krosch. She died in December 1884 and is buried at the Dobson Schoolhouse Cemetery in Elmore.
Henrietta Krosch married Philipp Treutel sometime in the late 1850s. Philipp established a blacksmith shop at Mukwonago, but he also worked as a blacksmith in Milwaukee during the 1860s. The couple had seven children between 1859 and 1879. Their youngest, Walter Treutel, became father to our grandmother, Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman. The newly acquired photo album also had a carte de visite of Henrietta at a much younger age than the other two photos of her in our collection.
Family Line: Frederick and Christiana Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
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