What are the odds? I wondered that question as I flipped through a very old, leather-bound photo album purchased from a collector in Ohio. What are the odds that I would come into possession of a Treutel/Krosch family photo album stretching back 150 years, from a person in another state whom I’ve never met? The chance would seem very small indeed.
We’ve already outlined some of the wonderful finds from this photo album, including the cartes de visite showing Philipp Treutel,his wife Henrietta and his mother-in-law, Christiana Krosch. Those photos were fun and easy, because they were labeled with names by a relative long ago. Now comes the hard part: determining the identities of many faces with no names. It is certainly possible that all of the suppositions below are inaccurate. Without the aid of original photo captions or relatives who might recognize the people, we can only make educated guesses.
Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) had a long face and prominent mustache, which matched well with a number of unlabeled photos in the album. Could he be the stranger in those images? One was even a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
The other image shows a man with three young women, presumably his daughters. We know Philipp and Henrietta Treutel had three daughters: Adeline, born in November 1859; Lisetta, born in April 1861; and Emma, born in February 1877. The youngest girl in this photo appears to be 6 or 7, which would put the year at about 1883. That was some eight years before Philipp’s untimely death from influenza.
We have no photos in our collection that show Adeline (Treutel) Moody (1859-1928), who married William Jones Moody in 1883 and eventually settled near Vesper, Wisconsin; or Lisetta (Treutel) Moody (1861-1931), who married Lewis Winfield Moody in 1887 and settled at Plainfield, Wisconsin. Since the little girl in the photo could be Emma Treutel, we created a photo series to evaluate resemblance.
We next examined the wedding portrait that could show Philipp Treutel and Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. We don’t know their wedding year, but it was likely around 1857 or 1858. Below is a photo series comparing the bride to later photos of Henrietta Treutel. Again, there is a resemblance, but no other clues to help in the determination.
We can see family resemblance in many of our album images, so we’re on the right track. But to make judgments with confidence, we need more photos from the Treutel and Krosch families. There are other faces in this old album that we will review in another post, including possible youth photos of Walter Treutel and his brother Henry A. Treutel.
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 Cemeteryin 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.
At some point in the long journey of family history research, it seems a given that you will likely never know what your earliest ancestors looked like. Through the donations of others, I’ve been blessed to discover photos of my Hanneman great-great grandparents. I never thought I’d see a photograph of Philipp Treutel, my great-great grandfather who died in 1891. Now, through the kindness of a stranger from Ohio, that has all changed.
Through an incredible set of circumstances, earlier this week I received a 2.5-by-4-inch photo card labeled “Phillip Treutel.” In my research, I’ve never encountered another Philipp Treutel from the 1800s, so this very much got my attention. Philipp Treutel is my great-great grandfather, via my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. As documented elsewhere on this site, Philipp came to America in 1854 from Königstädten, Germany, and settled in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The photo image was almost ghosted it was so light. The pigments on the card stock had flaked away and faded, but the face was still visible.
There were two things I immediately wanted to do. One was to scan the image and see if I could darken the pigments and bring out more facial detail. The other was to investigate the photography studio, based on the photographer’s stamp on the back side. To accomplish the first goal, I ran the digital photo through several software programs and experimented with different tonal adjustments, filters and special effects. Many were useless or did little more than amplify the photo’s defects. But a few did improve the image, bringing out just enough detail to see his face better.
I then turned to the photographer, listed on the back as Bankes Gallery of Photographic Art in Little Rock, Arkansas. The photo was printed on what was called a carte de visite, or visiting card. These affordable, pocket-size calling cards were popular in the Civil War era. Thomas W. Bankes, owner of the photo studio, was a Civil War photographer who initially was based in Helena, Arkansas, documenting many of the gunboats along the Mississippi River. He photographed the overloaded steamboat SS Sultana the day before it sank, killing as many as 1,800 people, including Union soldiers returning home from the war.
In late 1863, Bankes moved his studio to Little Rock. He continued to photograph many Union soldiers during the federal occupation of the city in the latter part of the Civil War. This begged the question: what was Philipp Treutel doing in Little Rock? Was it during the Civil War or years after? Bankes operated a studio in the city well into the 1880s. Based on the carte de visite style of photo, it is a reasonable bet that Philipp’s photo was taken between 1864 and the late 1870s.
There are a couple possible explanations for Philipp being in Arkansas. Perhaps he was there to meet up with his younger brother, Sebastian Treutel, a Union soldier from Wisconsin who was discharged from the war with a disability in August 1863. We don’t know if Sebastian was ever sent to Little Rock, or when he returned to Wisconsin after his discharge. We don’t believe Philipp Treutel served in the Civil War, since his name does not appear in any of the state or federal veterans databases. Two of his brothers, Sebastian and Henry, both served with the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Sebastian served in Company A, the “Flying Rangers,” and Henry was a member of Company G, the “Washington County Rifles.”
Perhaps Philipp was visiting another brother, Peter Treutel, whom we believe settled in Louisiana or Alabama after the family arrived in America. We know almost nothing about Peter. He was born on May 14, 1837 and baptized on May 17 at the Lutheran church in Königstädten, a village south of Russelsheim, Germany. A scrapbook kept by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, Philipp’s granddaughter, says Peter Treutel settled “in the South.” So far we have no documentary evidence of this, although we have records of a man we believe to be his son living near Mobile, Alabama.
Civil War records list a Confederate soldier named Pierre Treutel, who served with the Sappers and Miners. It’s unclear if this could be our Peter. Pierre Treutel enlisted in 1861 in Louisiana. Sappers built tunnels and miners laid explosives. According to Confederate military records found at Fold3.com, Pierre Treutel was a sapper in Captain J.V. Gallimard’s company of sappers and miners. Even if Pierre is the same person as Peter, it seems unlikely that Philipp Treutel would visit his younger brother during this time. As a Confederate soldier, Peter would have been subject to capture by Union forces in Arkansas. If Peter was a Confederate soldier, it could explain why the Treutel family in Wisconsin did not stay in touch with the Treutels of the South.
What do we know about Philipp Treutel? He was born Johann Philipp Treutel on August 7, 1833 and baptized on August 9 in the Lutheran church at Königstädten, Germany. He had a twin born the same day, although the twin was baptized a day earlier than Philipp. This most likely means the twin died on August 8, 1833. Church records don’t list a first name for the twin, only “Treutel.” Their parents were Johann Adam Treutel and the former Elizabeth Katharina Geier. In July 1854, Adam and Katharina left Germany for America with at least several of their children. It appears that some of the Treutel boys left Germany for America between 1849 and 1852. Shortly after arriving in Wisconsin, Philipp settled in the village of Mukwonago, where he worked as a blacksmith. By 1860, he had married Henrietta Krosch and they had their first child, Adeline Barbara.
At some points during and just after the Civil War years, Philipp lived and worked as a blacksmith in downtown Milwaukee. The 1863 Milwaukee city directory shows Philipp living and working at the southwest corner of Fifth and Prairie in Milwaukee. The 1867 Milwaukee directory shows him working as a blacksmith and living at 517 Cherry, right next door to his brother Henry. It is possible the Treutel family stayed in Mukwonago and Philipp shuttled back and forth, working in blacksmith shops in Milwaukee and Mukwonago.
While we don’t know of any official evidence Philipp was a soldier during the Civil War, the July 22, 1863 issue of the Daily Milwaukee Sentinel lists Philipp as a Civil War enrollee in “Class One” from Milwaukee’s Second Ward. His name appears along with his brothers Sebastian and Henry. It’s unclear what the listing means, since Sebastian and Henry were already fighting in the South with the 26th Wisconsin. It might have merely been a draft listing. More research will be needed, since this provides at least a hint that Philipp might have been involved in the war.
Philipp and Henrietta Treutel raised seven children:Adeline (1859), Lisetta (1861), Henry (1864), Charles (1869), Oscar (1874), Emma (1877) and Walter (1879). The family lived in the village of Mukwonago, where Philipp plied his trade as a blacksmith. His shop is found on the 1873 map of Mukwonago, located along the north side of what is now called Plank Road, just east of Highway 83. The family at some point moved from Mukwonago to the town of Genesee, near the hamlet of North Prairie in Waukesha County.
We have little documentary evidence of their time in Genesee. The 1890-91 Waukesha city directory lists him as “P.O. North Prairie.” Philipp died there on June 15, 1891 from “la grippe,” which is what they often called influenza at that time. His brief death notice in the June 25, 1891 issue of the Waukesha Freeman was listed under Genesee Depot, which is northeast of North Prairie. The newspaper misspelled his name as “Mr. Tradel,” while a nearby condolence notice under the town of Genesee said, “In the death of Trendall we have lost a good neighbor.” Is it too late to request a correction?
Philipp’s youngest child, Walter (1879-1948), is the father of our own Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman. I placed the enhanced photo of Philipp Treutel next to one of Walter and noticed a strong resemblance.
Discovery of Philipp’s photo is a big development for Treutel family history. Our source for the photograph said she purchased the photo card at an estate sale in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Right now we’re examining other photos in her collection to determine if any show the Treutels or their relatives from Waukesha County. Stay tuned.
School must have seemed just a bit smaller when Oscar Treutel went back for a visit on August 24, 1942. In the 1880s, Oscar was a student at “Allen School” in Joint District No. 3 in the Town of Genesee in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Let’s hope Oscar wasn’t returning for a spelling lesson, since the building has Genesee misspelled as “Genneese.” Perhaps the building lettering was a class project.
The school was in the southwest corner of the town on the E. Allen property, near the Saylesville Mill Pond. We should distinguish this one-room school from the Ethan Allen School for Boys, a reformatory in nearby Delafield that operated from 1959-2011.
Oscar traveled to school from the Treutel home in nearby North Prairie. He was the fifth child of Philipp and Henrietta Treutel, born Oct. 9, 1874 in Waukesha County. He moved with his family to Vesper in Wood County just after the turn of the century. He spent his sunset years in nearby Arpin. He died in 1967 at age 92.
Charles Treutel (1869-1958) poses in the Treutel Bros. Shop at Vesper, Wisconsin, in 1911. Charles and his brother Henry A. Treutel (1864-1962) opened a blacksmith operation in Vesper after moving to Wood County from Mukwonago, Wis., in 1901. As can be seen in the photo, the Treutels also did carpentry work. The brothers later expanded their shop and made the transition from shoeing horses to tuning up engines and selling agricultural implements.
A 1911 book, Vesper, Wisconsin: A Sketch of A Model City, described the business this way:
Charles and Henry Treutel, skilled mechanics, have operated the blacksmith and wagon shop at Vesper since Nov. 1901 and have built up a large and prosperous business by courtesy and excellent workmanship. They are masters of every line of their business and are especially skilled in horseshoeing and repair work. In addition to their shop work the Messrs Treutel carry a large line of farm implements and their mechanical knowledge has enabled them to select the best makes in all the lines of machines they carry. They have a model shop fully equipped for their work.
The Treutel Bros. learned their trade from their father, Philipp Treutel (1833-1891), who came to America from Germany in 1854. As detailed in a previous post, the Treutels were blacksmiths, carpenters, tallow chandlers and tailors from near Darmstadt, Germany. Philipp Treutel is buried at North Prairie, Wisconsin.
— This post has been updated with additional information.
When the Johann Adam Treutel family emigrated to America from Darmstadt, Germany, they spread out across Eastern Wisconsin. Young Philipp Treutel and his wife settled in rural Waukesha County and became neighbors of some of the area’s best known pioneers. The young blacksmith set up shop in the heart of the village of Mukwonago, former Potawatomi Indian lands on the banks of what was then called Mill Pond.
According to the 1860 U.S. Census, Philipp, Henrietta and baby Adeline Treutel lived in the same area as Sewall Andrews, the founder of Mukwonago and a major Wisconsin land owner. Andrews built a general store in 1837 that became a major trade center for the county. He built his own red brick house at the village center in 1842. The brick house still stands today along Main Street in Mukwonago and now houses the local museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Treutel residence is listed as No. 379 made during census visits in Mukwonago. The Andrews’ home was No. 372. Other nearby residents included Samuel Worthman, the village cooper (barrel maker); Martin Field, who owned the saw mill; Hezekiah Job, the tailor; and Melvin Gibson, who ran the livery stable. Field was also an attorney who became town justice of the peace and later a Waukesha County judge. The village park is named in his honor.
The 1870 plat map for Waukesha County shows Philipp Treutel’s blacksmith shop and residence mere blocks from Andrews’ famous red brick home. The Treutel shop was near the intersection of Fox and Mill streets, close to the office of H.A. Youmans M.D., the town’s physician and surgeon. Nearby was Mukwonago House, the hotel run by Adolph Platner. Just to the south were the E.H. Kellogg saw mill and grist mill on the banks of the Mukwonago River.
We know the Treutel family moved from Mukwonago to the crossroads village of North Prairie, since obituaries and other newspaper accounts referred to the family homestead at North Prairie. However, the family name is not shown on the 1891 plat map for North Prairie. It is possible they had a homestead on some of the property owned by the Carlin family.
The family included Adeline Barbara (1859-1928), Lisetta (1861-1931), Henry Adam (1864-1962), Charles (1869-1958), Oscar (1874-1967), Emma (1877-1962) and Walter (1879-1948).
After Philipp Treutel died in June 1891, his widow moved the family north to tiny Vesper, in Wood County. Her sons worked as blacksmiths, retail merchants and a U.S. Postal Service carrier. Emma Treutel Carlin served as postmistress of Vesper in the early 1900s. Henrietta Treutel died in 1908. Philipp and Henrietta are buried at North Prairie Cemetery.
When 16-year-old Henrietta Krosch embarked on a long ship journey from Jessnitz Germany to America, she could not have known that her memory would echo in family history for more than 150 years. When she and her family stepped off the ship Bertha in New York in July 1854, they were headed for Waukesha County, Wisconsin. She would meet a young blacksmith named Philipp Treutel, get married and become mother to many generations. And now we discover her photograph is still a part of living history.
Henrietta’s great-grandson, David D. Hanneman, was a pack rat. Over many decades during his 74 years, David (my Dad) tucked away countless family items, from scraps of letters to an extensive collection of old photographs. After his death in April 2007, the photograph shown above was found in his collection. Mounted on photo board with a black oval matte, the photo has the following written on the back:
“Henrietta Krosch Treutel. Married to Philipp Treutel. Parents of Lena Treutel Moody (Wm); Lisetta Treutel (Winfield); Henry Treutel (married to Josephine Garlack); Charles (Mary Miller); Oscar; Emma Treutel Carlin (Orville); Walter Treutel (Mary Helen Ladick).
The photograph likely dates to between 1901 and 1908. The Treutels moved to Wood County in 1901 and Henrietta died in 1908. The photographer’s imprint on the photo is from Nekoosa in southern Wood County.
Family Line: John Frederick Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman >> David D., Donn and Lavonne Hanneman