Growing up in an Irish family of 11 children during the Great Depression and World War II left Mary K. (Mulqueen) Hanneman with vivid memories. The seventh child born to Earl James Mulqueen Sr. (1895-1965) and Margaret Madonna (Dailey) Mulqueen (1895-1982), she has tender memories of her parents and life in Cudahy, a southern suburb of Milwaukee.
In April 2009, she sat down for an oral history interview with granddaughter Ruby Hanneman, 9, and son Joe Hanneman. The discussion covered subjects like how the big family made ends meet during the Great Depression, how having four siblings serving in World War II changed family life at home, and the lasting impressions left by her late parents. The presentation lasts 23 minutes 6 seconds.
The photo above shows Margaret Mulqueen and husband Earl across the table for Sunday dinner in the late 1950s. The photo embedded in the SoundCloud player shows Mary with sisters Ruth (Mulqueen) McShane and Joan (Mulqueen) Haske outside the Mulqueen home on East Cudahy Avenue.
I often heard the yarn that the Treutel family that came to Wisconsin in the 1850s was descended from royalty back in the old country.Dad would regale us with the story of the “Von Treutelers,” and he pronounced Von like the sound of “fawn.” It sounded royal. I spent more than a few research hours trying to track down the origin of this story. Yes, there were Treutelaars and Treutelers back in Germany. I found nothing to trace them or any relatives to a royal family. Until now.
While searching for something else, I was paging through a scrapbook kept by Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962), Dad’s beloved Aunt Emma from Arpin, Wisconsin. Emma was a faithful letter writer and keeper of family history. One of the pages of her scrapbook, provided to me courtesy of Bonnie (Treutel) Young, sketches out a bit of a family tree. Down in the lower right corner is a short treatise on Treutel royalty.
“The name Treutel originally was Von Treuteler,” Emma wrote. “Royalty in Germany. The name in this country goes by the name Treutel. Some Von Treuteler married out of his class in Germany and I believe lost his title or ‘Von.’ ” On another section of the page, Emma wrote: “Any persons having the name Treutel or Von Treuteler are positive relatives some way or another.”
Not exactly a certificate of royal pedigree, I realize, but an indication that the royalty story was passed through the family for some time. Back in July 1854, Johann Adam Treutel (1800-1859) brought his family to America from Darmstadt, Germany (part of the Grand Duchy of Hesse). He and his wife, Katharina (Geier) Treutel, lived at least part of their marriage in Königstädten, just north of Darmstadt near the city of Russelsheim. A rough translation of Königstädten is “king’s village.” So who was the king? Was he a Von Treuteler? That will have to be the subject of more research.
A few pages later in Emma’s scrapbook, I found another item that led me to discover another of Adam and Katherine Treutel’s children who came to America. It was an obituary clipped from the Milwaukee Journal or Milwaukee Sentinel in August 1940. The deceased was named Edward Bredel, age 67. I wondered what the connection was, and why Emma clipped this obituary.
I ran a search for the surnames of Treutel and Bredel at the FamilySearch.org web site and got a very quick answer. By looking at marriage records of a number of people, I discovered parents Christoph Bredel and Margaretha Treutel. A little more reading and I found a death record for Anna M. Treutel Bredel, with parents listed as “A. Treutel” and “Catherina T.” Looked like a match.
I had a Margaret Treutel listed as one of Johann Adam Treutel and Elizabeth Katharina (Geier) Treutel’s children. But I never found any details related to her. Until now. Margaret and Christoph Bredel had at least seven children between 1861 and 1881. It appears Margaret met Mr. Bredel when her parents came to Milwaukee sometime after July 1854. The Treutels established a number of businesses near downtown Milwaukee, including tailor, tallow chandler and blacksmith shops. Christoph Bredel was a shoemaker with a shop located at 313 State Street (now called Wisconsin Avenue). In the Civil War, he served with both the 14th and 17th Wisconsin Infantry regiments. Margaret died at age 59 on 24 April 1898 in Milwaukee. She was buried the next day at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis. Many of the original Treutel emigrants are buried in West Bend. Christoph died in January 1916. He was 83.
The discovery of Margaret’s family details puts us one step closer to filling out the history of the Treutel family that came to America from Darmstadt between 1849 and 1854. Katharina (Geier) Treutel’s obituary said she had eight children. I have eight in my database: Adam, John, Philipp, a twin of Philipp who died as an infant, Sebastian, Margaret,Henry and Peter. The only one I have no information on is Peter. Emma’s scrapbook has a notation next to his name: “Southern.” I know some Treutels settled near New Orleans, so perhaps I will find the answer there.
Milwaukee was a key industrial production hub during World War II, and there was concern that spies or saboteurs would attack defense contractors or the public utilities that supplied them with power. As a master mechanic at Wisconsin Electric’s huge Lakeside Power Plant in St. Francis, Earl J. Mulqueen Sr. worked under tight security to ensure the war effort continued uninterrupted.
Nicknamed “The Governor,” Mulqueen was well known around his home in Cudahy as a Mr. Fixit. Whenever the boiler would go out at St. Frederick’s Catholic Church or school, they would call the Governor to come over and get things working again. When World War II broke out in late 1941, Mulqueen was just starting his third decade working for Wisconsin Electric. He put his mechanical skills to work keeping the turbines and other equipment at Lakeside in good working order.
Signs on and around the Lakeside plant carried a warning: “National Defense Premises. No Entry.” Armed agents guarded the plant 24 hours a day — part of a force of more than 1,000 men providing security at Wisconsin power utilities during the war. Because of his key role in keeping Lakeside in operation, Mulqueen received his own security protection. He often stayed at the plant for long stretches. When he came home to fetch clean clothes and pay a quick visit, he was accompanied by FBI agents. On occasion, an agent came alone to pick up clothes or other supplies for Mulqueen.
The security precautions were warranted. Milwaukee factories were converted to war production of artillery, fuel storage, engines, turbines and all sorts of mechanical parts. The build-up created huge demand for power. The nation could ill afford an attack that shut down a key plant like Lakeside. Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wisconsin Electric officials expressed security concerns, and fears the Lakeside power plant could be attacked with explosives by boat from Lake Michigan.
Nazi Germany launched just such a plan when it landed eight special agents on the shores of New York and Florida in June 1942. The German agents carried explosives and were tasked with blowing up U.S. defense industries and terrorizing population centers. “They came to maim and kill,” said FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Codenamed Operation Pastorius, the plot was foiled when one of the saboteurs turned himself in to the FBI. Federal agents arrested the men and recovered high explosives disguised as pieces of coal.
Such an attack could have been devastating. Manufacturers like Allis-Chalmers, Falk Corp., Ladish, Bucyrus Erie, Case, Heil Co. and many others produced components and finished goods for the U.S. military. Everything from engines, to fuel trailers, to cargo and transport ships were built in eastern Wisconsin during the war. Wisconsin utilities scrambled to add generating capacity to keep up. Opened in 1920, Lakeside carried the burden of power supply as the other generation plants were being built.
Mulqueen left his job as a machinist at the Case plow works in Racine in February 1920 to work for the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (later called Wisconsin Electric) as a machinist helper in the utility’s Racine operations. In November of that year, he married Margaret Madonna Dailey at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Racine. A former teacher, Miss Dailey had graduated in June 1920 from Northwestern University. Earl worked in Racine until 1925, when he was transferred to the Lakeside Power Plant. The Mulqueen family then moved to Cudahy. The couple had 11 children; six of whom served in the U.S. military.
It was just the kind of wartime story that made an emotional impact on Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. Three Irish brothers serving in World War II appeared together to promote the sale of war bonds at a series of rallies in November 1944. Two were home on leave from the front and one was about to embark on his first overseas tour of duty.
There they stood on stage, the baby-faced Thomas “Tinker” Mulqueen still in naval training, the serious Marine Cpl. Earl J. Mulqueen Jr., on crutches due to the loss of his left leg above the knee, and the curly-haired redhead, Patrick J. Mulqueen, home from more than 18 months at sea with the U.S. Navy.
“Maybe it is because they are Irish, or maybe it is because they look so much like little boys—or maybe it is because everyone at one time or another, lost his heart to an Irish grin,” wrote The Milwaukee Journal in a front-page story on November 10, 1944. “But no matter what the reason, more and more persons every day are agreeing that the Mulqueen brothers, Tommy, Earl and Patrick, are among the greatest things which ever happened to Milwaukee.”
The impact the boys had was most evident at a bond rally at Schuster’s Department Store on Milwaukee’s North 3rd Street. The event got off to a slow start. Ben Barkin, head of the local war finance committee (later a legendary Milwaukee PR man and founder of the Great Circus Parade) was worried. That all changed when the Mulqueen boys took to the stage. “They are so cute,” one woman said. “They look like little boys playing soldier.”
Now the crowd was interested. Barkin introduced the lads. The 17-year-old Tommy was first to step forward and said simply, “You buy the bonds and the Mulqueens will win the war.” Considering he had yet to set foot in a combat zone, such as statement could have been viewed as a “wisecrack by a fresh kid,” The Journal wrote. But it wasn’t. “When Tommy said it, you knew he was telling the solemn truth,” the paper wrote. (Tinker went on to serve as a sailor on the fleet oiler USS Mattaponi.)
Earl talked about the war. At 21, he had seen more fierce combat than most would ever see. He fought at Guadalcanal and Tarawa with the 2nd Marine Division. Those were two of the bloodiest, deadliest battles of the entire Pacific war. Earl was a mortar crewman, so he was right at the front.
Earl was helping prepare an invasion fleet for the 1944 assault on the Mariana Islands when his landing ship-tank (LST) blew up at Pearl Harbor. The massive chain explosion caused the loss of many ships and resulted in hundreds of casualties. Because of the preparations underway for the invasion of Saipan, the Pearl Harbor disaster was a classified secret until the 1960s. So Earl was only able to say that he “almost made it to Saipan.” (Details of Earl’s war service and loss of his leg in the West Loch disaster will be the focus of a future Archive story.)
Patrick spoke of his experience as a firemanaboard the light cruiser USS Concord (CL-10). He enlisted on August 7, 1942 and by March 1943 was among the compliment of 700 aboard the Concord. The ship escorted reinforcement convoys in the southern Pacific, and prowled the dangerous, icy waters of the north Pacific. The Concord was involved in numerous bombardments of the Kurile Islands. During 1943, the Concord was on a surveying mission of the South Pacific with retired Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the famous explorer. The ship visited Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Easter Islands. A huge explosion onboard on October 7, 1943 took the lives of 22 crewmen. Caused by ignition of gasoline fumes at the rear of the ship, the explosion threw some men overboard, while others were killed from concussion, burns, fractured skulls and broken necks. On October 8, those men were buried at sea. After participating in bond rallies in Milwaukee, Patrick was assigned duty on the USS Crockett (APA148), a Haskell class amphibious attack transport. The USS Crockett had just been commissioned on November 28, 1944.
The crowd at Schuster’s quickly figured out that these “boys” had seen and experienced the horror of war. “It was simple and short,” The Journal wrote. “No frills. No hero stuff, no dramatics—nothing but a couple of kids, one on crutches, asking people to buy and sell bonds.” The stories of the Mulqueen boys had the desired effect. Barkin exclaimed, “You know, the bond drive is going to come out all right.” He was right, for the Schuster’s bond drive raised more than $500,000.
Schuster’s was just one of many venues at which the Mulqueen boys spoke. At some rallies, they were joined by their mother, Margaret “Madge” Mulqueen, who was deeply involved with the war effort through the Wisconsin chapter of the Marine Corps League. She had four blue stars displayed in the window of the Mulqueen home at 3854 E. Cudahy Avenue in Cudahy — one for each of the three boys and one for her daughter Margaret, a Navy nurse based in San Diego.
The bond drives were a crucial part of the home-front effort in World War II. Across the nation, eight war-bond drives between 1942 and 1945 raised more than $190 billion. Investors purchased $25 bonds for $18.25. Bonds were redeemable after 10 years. Companies sponsored in-house bond rallies, and employees pledged purchases through payroll deduction. Children were encouraged to buy 25-cent war stamps to save up for their own war bond. Special sections of local newspapers were dedicated to promoting bond sales. On the radio, popular programs such as Fibber McGee and Molly dedicated entire episodes to war bonds and other home-front efforts.
Earl Mulqueen and Army T/Sgt. Louis C. Koth appeared at such a corporate event at Oshkosh B’Gosh Inc. on November 30, 1944. They were introduced by company president Earl W. Wyman. Koth was a radio operator aboard a U.S. Army Air Force B-17 bomber that was shot down during a mission over Schweinfurt, Germany. Koth was on his third mission in a B-17 Stratofortress when he was forced to parachute into enemy territory. Taken prisoner and repatriated 11 months later, Koth lost his right arm. Koth began participating in the bond tours shortly after being released from a hospital in Madison in the fall of 1944.
Koth and Earl Mulqueen toured Oshkosh Motor Truck Inc. and Universal Motor Co. Later they were interviewed live on radio station WOSH by local bond chairman Richard J. White. “Both of these boys are giving freely of their time to help the sixth war loan campaign,” White said. “They have made sacrifices beyond any that we are being asked to make, and although they will not see action again, they are both anxious to do whatever they possibly can to see that ammunition does not have to be rationed at the front.”
The bond rallies helped explain the costs of supplying the troops. Toothbrushes cost 8 cents each. A hand grenade was $1.56. An anti-tank shell cost nearly $3. A Garand rifle was $55. A 1,000-pound bomb cost $250, while a 75-mm Howitzer cost $11,350. A PT boat cost the military $145,000, while a 1,630-ton destroyer had a price tag of $10 million. A fully outfitted battleship cost $97 million. Bond drives supplied the U.S. government with needed cash, while giving ordinary citizens a concrete way to participate in the war effort.
Largely due to Barkin’s tireless efforts, Milwaukee’s World War II war-bond drives became a model for the nation. Described by The Milwaukee Journal as an “ace ward bond salesman,” Barkin was honored as Milwaukee’s man of the year in 1945 by the Milwaukee Junior Chamber of Commerce. For his $1 annual salary, Barkin popped up just about everywhere in Milwaukee: schools, churches, civic clubs and businesses. The 28-year-old was unable to enlist due to a disability, so he threw his energy into raising money for the war effort. Doctors told him to slow down, but the pitchman didn’t listen. He gave more than 1,000 speeches each year as head of the community division of the war finance committee.
“Let’s show Milwaukee what their money is buying,” Barkin said in 1943. He organized a “Wings for Victory” parade of tanks, jeeps, artillery and other hardware to do just that. Funds from the rally after the parade were used to buy military transport planes for Mitchell Field. Barkin convinced Milwaukee to rename Wisconsin Avenue “War Bonds Drive” for the duration of World War II, a practice later adopted in dozens of other cities. He understood the importance of having soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines tell their stories. The results were often heart-rending. He told the story of a Milwaukee woman who stood in line for two hours to buy a war bond for her boy, serving in North Africa. Her husband had just died two days prior. “Doggone it,” Barkin told Walter Monfried of The Milwaukee Journal,“that kinds of gets you, doesn’t it?”
So Barkin knew when the Mulqueen boys stepped on stage, the people would dig deeply into their pockets to support the war. “No matter what the mood of the meeting before the kids talk,” The Journal wrote, “when they finish, that meeting is sure of going over the top.
“Everyone who has heard the Mulqueen brothers agrees,” the paper wrote, “that the kids are among the best in the world.”
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 Staatsarchivin 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 sonJohn Treutelhad 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 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.
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)
Gattin von (Wife of)
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 Regimentduring 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. Mailin 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.
For years, family genealogists have searched in vain for the emigration records of Matthias Hannemann, the earliest known ancestor of the Hanneman family of central Wisconsin. Over the years, the registers of hundreds of immigrant ships were searched, covering tens of thousands of names belonging to people who came through ports in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans. But no Matthias.
All of that changed several nights ago. During a routine search of newly transcribed records from the Port of Hamburg, Germany, I found Matthias’ name. He and his second wife, Caroline, traveled with their son, William, daughter Justina Louisa Henrietta Saeger and her family. They were among 474 passengers aboard the SS Hyram when it sailed from Hamburg on April 19, 1866. Matthias is listed on the register as a schwiegervater, or father-in-law, referring to his son-in-law, John Saeger.
It was a long journey aboard the segelschiff, or sailing ship. The ship docked at Grosse Isle near Québec on the St. Lawrence Seaway on June 4, 1866. Grosse Isle served as a quarantine station for ships destined for the Port of Québec in Canada, to prevent the spread of disease. Grosse Isle was the site of tragedy in 1847, when more than 5,000 Irish immigrants escaping the famine in their homeland died from typhus and other diseases upon reaching Canada. A large Irish cemetery and two monuments bear witness to those sad days.
Eight passengers on the Hyram died during the journey in 1866. Two children were born onboard ship. Once the 10 members of the Hannemann and Saeger families disembarked, they likely continued traveling by boat along the St. Lawrence River, across Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. From Detroit, they might have traveled by rail to Chicago and then Milwaukee on their way to tiny Kellner, Wis.
The Hyram’s ship registry is among the earliest documentary evidence of the Hannemann family’s exodus from Pomerania to Wisconsin. We know at least two of Matthias’ other children arrived in America in 1861, but their travel records have not been found. The earliest emigration record from this family is that of Michael Friedrich Ferdinand Hannemann, who arrived aboard the ship John Bertram in May 1863 with his wife, Wilhelmina and infant son, August.