Over the past several years, I’ve done restoration and cleaning of many grave monuments across Wisconsin. Since the special chemicals used to clean the monuments can take a month or more to take full effect, I don’t often see the final, final product. So I was very impressed with a photograph of the monument of my great-grandmother, Mary Helen (Ladick) Treutel, sent by a dear cousin, Shirley (Ladick) Oleson.
I treated and cleaned this stone at St. James Catholic Cemetery in Vesper, Wis., in the summer of 2017. Mary Treutel’s monument was badly stained by black mold, which was even more apparent on the white stone surface. During the cleaning process, this became apparent with the many color changes caused by the cleaning chemicals. Many people don’t realize that mold, lichens and other growths are very harmful to the often-delicate headstones.
When I last saw this headstone in August 2017, it still had a bit of an orange glow. The D/2 cleaning chemical (the only one approved for use at Arlington National Cemetery) continues to work with rain and sun for three to four weeks. You can see the progression in the photo gallery below:
The “before” photo shows deep staining by black mold.
The cleaning chemical quickly attacks the harmful growths.
After a few minutes, the stone turns a brown-orange.
After treatment, the stone has an orange hue, which will fade with time
Nearly two years later, the stone looks almost flawless.
The video below shows how this monument looked as it was given a final rinse:
Sometimes good fortune comes in waves. For the second time in as many months, we’ve been blessed to find a photographic image of a long-ago ancestor. First it was a great-great grandfather, Philipp Treutel,whose faded image on a carte de visite came from the 1860s. Now we’ve been given a studio photograph of another great-great grandfather, Joseph Ladick (1846-1905). Along with a group photo taken at a wedding, for the first time we have two images of the senior Ladick.
Both of these family patriarchs come from the tree of my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977). The wedding photo above was taken on September 22, 1890 at the marriage of Joseph Chezik and Mary Moravets. Joseph Ladick is at left rear, and we believe his son, Joseph, is at right rear. The portrait below of Joseph Ladick Sr. is undated.
Joseph Ladick brought his family to America from Bohemia in June 1881. We believe the Ladick family is native to Bilina, a city northwest of Prague in the modern day Czech Republic. They sailed aboard the SS Silesia on May 22, 1881 from Hamburg, Germany. The ship register lists their residence as Ronkovic, Austria. There does not appear to be such a place, so I examined the written document and the writing is very hard to decipher. There are a number of villages near Prague in Bohemia that could fit what is written on the register, including Radonitz, Raudnitz, Rakonitz and Radnitz. The exact location might remain a mystery, but it seems clear the family was living in northwest Bohemia at the time of their emigration.
Sailing aboard the Silesia in May and June 1881 were Joseph Ladick, his wife Mary (Mika) Ladick, and sons Joseph, 6, and Frank, who was an infant. They reached New York on June 5, 1881. We don’t know their path to Wisconsin, but it probably included sailing the Great Lakes and possibly some rail travel to Milwaukee. They settled on a farm in the Town of Sigel in Wood County. Shortly after the Ladicks settled in Wisconsin, their daughter Mary Helen was born (December 28, 1883). Later children were Anna (1886) and Celia (1891). Frank married Mary Mras (1898). Anna married Harry Victor Cole (1903), and Celia married Oscar Goldammer (1908). Son Joseph died of pneumonia in November 1894 at age 19. He was buried at the St. Joseph Cemetery near Vesper.
The day after her birthday in 1902, Mary Helen Ladick married Walter Treutel of Vesper. The Treutels were transplants from the Town of Genesee in Waukesha County. They settled in Vesper, where Walter became a rural route postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Walter and Mary’s first child, Ruby, was born at 1 p.m. on June 22, 1904, delivered by Dr. F.A. Goedecke. The couple would later have four other children: Gordon, Nina, Marvin and Elaine.
In early 1905, Joe Ladick became ill with intestinal and bladder cancer. In March of that year, he went to Marshfield for an operation. By early October, his condition became critical. He died on October 12, 1905 at age 59. The newspaper pronounced it this way:
“Death’s angel visited our city last Thursday, appearing at the Lydick (sic) home and taking with it their father, who had been confined to his bed for about six months previous to his death, he leaves a wife and four children. The funeral was held at the house and the remains were interred in the Rudolph cemetery.”
Joe Ladick was actually buried at Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery in the Town of Sigel. His is one of the earlier monuments in the cemetery. On a recent trip to the area, we cleaned his marker using Treasured Lives RestoraStone™ process, which removed biological growths, dirt and air pollution from the stone. Now, thanks to a generous cousin, this beautiful stone is no longer the only visual history we have of him.
A simple family snapshot taken around 1918 is the only photograph we have showing Walter Treutel and his wife Mary (Ladick) Treutel together. Taken at the Treutel home in the village of Vesper, Wisconsin, the photo shows a teenaged Ruby along with younger siblings Marvin, 2, and Nina, 4. Elaine Treutel would come along in 1920. Baby Gordon Treutel died in 1910.
Walter was a rural route postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, while Mary tended to the family home on Anderton Avenue. The couple were married on December 29, 1902 in Vesper. Walter had recently relocated to Vesper from North Prairie in Waukesha County. Our Grandma Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman was their first child, born June 22, 1904. Ruby was born at 1 p.m., delivered by Dr. F.A. Goedecke.
We learned recently that Mary’s nickname was Molly. That factoid came from none other than cousin Mary “Mollisu” Clark, the daughter of Elaine (Treutel) Clark and Max Clark.
Mrs. Treutel died at just 42 years old in January 1925. She had an operation in nearby Marshfield, but a post-operative infection claimed her life on January 31. She did not live to see her daughter Ruby get married that summer, and she did not get to see her other three children grow into adulthood.
It seems the entire village of Vesper, Wisconsin came out for a banquet or other big event, and stayed for a photograph. The image appears to date to about 1913 or 1914. The large crowd spilled out of the village hall for a photograph. What was the occasion? A wedding? A dance? It is fun to imagine. The portrait was taken by Moore Photo of nearby Grand Rapids (now called Wisconsin Rapids).
What makes this image especially interesting is to zoom in and look at the details. See the little girl with the Dixie Queen plug cut tobacco lunch box? It’s strange to imagine a lunch tin with smoking tobacco advertised on the side, but this was before the age of comic books or movie stars. Lunch pails with tobacco ads were common.
In the front at left/center left is my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman, who appears to be about 10 years old. That would date the photo to 1914. In the sea of men back near the stairs appears to be Ruby’s father, Walter Treutel. He is sporting a mustache, which is something I’ve not seen in any family photos.
On the building next to the window is a large thermometer with the name “Hlasatel” on it. That was the name of a Bohemian/Czech newspaper. Vesper had a large population from Bohemia, including the family of my great-grandmother, Mary (Ladick) Treutel. Her parents emigrated from Bilina in what is now the Czech Republic.
Most of the men wore hats, so it is not easy to make identifications.
One little girl has a Dixie Queen tobacco lunch pail.
Judging by the dress, this must have been an important event.
Young Ruby V. Treutel is in the front row right, leaning on her right hand and tilting her head to her left.
Much of the village of Vesper came out for the photo.