Tag Archives: Milwaukee County

Mulqueen’s Donated WWII Knife Makes it to War in the Pacific

When the United States was drawn into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the war effort was put forth by everyone from soldiers at the front to school children at home. Young Edward J. Mulqueen of Cudahy, Wisconsin, wanted to do his part, so he donated his prized hunting knife to the U.S. military.

An 11-year-old student at St. Frederick’s Catholic School, Mulqueen read about the shortages of materials for the war effort. Newspapers carried pleas for donation of quality knives, since the hardened steel used in the blades was scarce. Eddie didn’t hesitate. In late 1942, he carefully packaged up his knife and mailed it to the address published in the newspaper. He was proud to do his part. After all, with two brothers headed for the Pacific theater (and later a third) he had a personal stake in the fight.

He might have forgotten about the donation, but two letters from the U.S. military, one from a general and one from a corporal,  set his heart to soaring. The first letter, dated January 21, 1943, thanked Eddie for his thoughtfulness. “Words themselves cannot fully express our gratitude,” wrote Maj. Gen. Barney M. Giles, commander of the Fourth Air Force. “However, when the battles are over and our boys  are home again, we all will thrill at the tales of how they were used.”

Lt. Gen. Barney M. Giles (left) sent a letter to Edward Mulqueen thanking him for donating a knife to the war effort. Here, he and Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold speak with S/Sgt. Leo Fliess of Sturtevant, Wis., on Guam in 1945. (Army Air Force Photo)
Gen. Barney M. Giles (left) sent a letter to Edward Mulqueen thanking him for donating a knife to the war effort. Here, he and Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold speak with S/Sgt. Leo Fliess of Sturtevant, Wis., on Guam in 1945. (Army Air Force Photo)

Giles was not just some Army bureaucrat. He was commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Force in the Pacific, who later became deputy commander of the entire U.S. Army Air Force. Giles worked alongside legendary war heroes, including Adm. Chester Nimitz, Lt. Gen. James Doolittle  and Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold. He closed his letter to Mulqueen this way: “This much I know. With your gift goes another weapon that will certainly do much to help our boys slap the Japs into a complete and lasting tailspin.”

The next letter, from a U.S. Army Air Force officer in February 1943, was especially meaningful to Eddie. “He wished he had a hundred, yes even a thousand knives to donate,” read an article in the Cudahy Reminder/Enterprise. “His knife was seeing action and was being useful to one of our service men fighting in the Pacific.”

U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. Lucas R. Boyson wrote to thank Eddie Mulqueen for the donated knife in February 1943.
U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. Lucas R. Boyson wrote to thank Eddie Mulqueen for the donated knife in February 1943.

Stationed in the Fiji Islands, Cpl. Lucas R. Boyson was glad to receive the knife sent all the way from Wisconsin. Boyson, 29, was even more impressed that an elementary school student was behind the donation. “I was fortunate to receive your knife and to say it was a treat would be to put it mildly,” Boyson wrote in a letter to Mulqueen on February 14, 1943. “It is grand to cut stalks of sugar cane or bamboo sticks and for that matter general miscellaneous uses. I shall carry it with me always and each time I use it, I’ll whisper a ‘thanks to Eddie.’ ”

A married enlistee from Elyria, Ohio, Boyson was serving with the 375th Air Base Squadron, part of the U.S. Army air corps. He was among the first wave of men from Lorain County, Ohio to volunteer for service in January 1941. He wrote to Eddie that the natives on the islands were impressed with the knife, compared with the “hand-pounded, crude machetes they carry with them in the jungles.”

We don’t know if Boyson ever used the knife in combat, but we do know he survived the war and returned to Ohio, where he lived an exemplary life of faith and public service. On February 28, 1946, Lucas and Wilhelmina Boyson welcomed a baby daughter, Mina. Lucas was an attorney who became actively involved with his American Legion post, St. Jude Catholic Church and a variety of civic groups and causes. At one time he headed the Lorain County Bar Association. He was also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a group with a special focus on patriotism. Boyson died on December 5, 1992 at age 78.

Inspired by the wartime service of three brothers and one sister, Eddie joined the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean War. After the war, he got married and started a job at Wisconsin Electric Power Co. He was an electrician for many years. Eddie and his wife Marie had three children. The couple later moved to Michigan, where Eddie died in August 1991 at age 60.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

The Treutel Family: From Königstädten to Wisconsin

They were craftsmen — blacksmiths, tailors, chandlers, carpenters — the clan of Treutels who came to Wisconsin from the Darmstadt area of Germany starting in 1849. The Johann Adam Treutel family left the village of Königstädten between 1849 and 1854 and headed for America. They were part of a huge wave of German emigrants that changed the face of Wisconsin and the United States.

The Wisconsin branch of the Treutel family tree is from Königstädten, a village just northwest of the city of Darmstadt. From this “king’s village” came Johann Adam Treutel and his wife, Elizabetha Katharina (Geier) Treutel. According to the Hessisches Staatsarchiv in Darmstadt, Adam, Katharina and at least some of their children left for America in July 1854. The emigration index simply lists that the eldest Treutel traveled “with his family.”

Their son John Treutel had already been in Wisconsin for some two years when they departed Germany. We believe the 1854 traveling party included at least three other Treutel children: Philipp Treutel, 21; Sebastian Treutel, 19; and Henry J. Treutel, 13. Their destination was Milwaukee. In May 1849, the eldest Treutel child, Adam, left for America, living in New York for a time before moving to Milwaukee.

The red stars show locations where members of the Treutel family operated blacksmith and chandler shops in Milwaukee. At right is the Milwaukee River.
The red stars show locations where members of the Treutel family operated blacksmith and chandler shops in Milwaukee. At right is the Milwaukee River.

The Treutel family ran a tallow chandler shop near downtown Milwaukee. The shop sold soap and candles made from animal fat and other ingredients. At various times in the 1860s and 1870s, Adam Jr. worked as a railroad man, a tallow chandler and a tailor. The Treutels, some of whom lived in Milwaukee’s Second Ward, had good Darmstadt neighbors, including master brewers Joseph Schlitz and Phillip Best. When their father Johann Adam died in Milwaukee in 1859, some of the Treutel sons took up residence with other German families in Milwaukee.

Although his primary residence was in Mukwonago in Waukesha County, Philipp Treutel is listed in the 1863 Milwaukee city directory as having a blacksmith shop at the southwest corner of Fifth and Prairie in downtown Milwaukee. He is listed in the 1867 directory as living at 517 Cherry St., next door to his younger brother, Henry. So it appears Philipp moved between Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, probably based on availability of work.

The tombstone of Katharina (Geier) Treutel sits in the shadow of the monument to her son, John, at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis.
The tombstone of Katharina (Geier) Treutel sits in the shadow of the monument to her son, John, at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis.

Katharina Geier Treutel was born on July 24, 1800 in Hesse-Darmstadt, the daughter of Nicolaus and Elizabetha Geier. She married Johann Adam Treutel sometime around or just after 1820. She died on April 26, 1886 in the Town of Addison, Washington County, Wis., and is buried at Union Cemetery in West Bend. The cause of death was listed as marasmus senilis, which basically means old age. She had eight children, five of whom (along with 42 grandchildren) survived her. Her tombstone reads:

Hier Ruht in Gott (Here Rests in God)

Katharina

Gattin von (Wife of)

A. Treutel

Philipp Treutel settled in Mukwonago in Waukesha County, where he married Henrietta Krosch and fathered seven children, including Walter Treutel (father of Ruby Treutel Hanneman). He was a blacksmith, and probably learned the trade from his father. After Philipp’s death in 1891, Henrietta moved the Treutel family to Vesper in Wood County, Wisconsin.

Henry J. Treutel enlisted in the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, and fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Sebastian also joined the 26th Wisconsin, but was given a disability discharge in August 1863, possibly from wounds during the war. We don’t believe Philipp or John Treutel were called into service.

Henry, Sebastian and John Treutel eventually settled in the Town of Addison, Washington County. John was a carpenter. The 1870 U.S. Census for the Town of Addison shows a Jacob Treutel, 31, living at the John Treutel homestead. It is possible that Jacob, who would have been born about 1839, was a younger brother. Sebastian was also a carpenter, but he later worked hauling the U.S. Mail in Washington County. Henry operated a blacksmith shop, a store, a saloon and a cheese factory near the village of Aurora. He later moved to Wausau.

Based on all of the evidence we’ve gathered, it appears the Johann Adam Treutel family included Adam (1822), John (1831), Philipp and deceased twin brother (1833), Sebastian (1835) and Henry (1841). Other possible children are Peter and Jacob, but more research is needed to establish their lineage.

Family Line: Johann Adam Treutel >> Philipp Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby Treutel Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.

Monument of Philipp Treutel, grandfather of Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman, at North Prairie Cemetery in Waukesha County, Wis.
Monument of Philipp Treutel, grandfather of Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman, at North Prairie Cemetery in Waukesha County, Wis. Philipp died in 1891.