One of the privileges (or burdens) of being the oldest child, is you often are behind the camera and not one of the subjects featured by it. At least that was the case the day this photo was snapped of the Walter Treutel family of Vesper, Wisconsin.
Walter Treutel (1879-1948) leans on his Ford automobile. In front are his children Marvin R. Treutel (1916-2005), Nina H. (Treutel) Wilson (1914-2005), and Elaine M. (Treutel) Clark (1920-2010). The photographer that day was Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977).
The image was likely from 1925. That was a monumental year for the Treutel family. It opened with a tragedy: the death of Walter’s wife, Mary Helen (Ladick) Treutel, who was just 41. Mary died after undergoing surgery at a Marshfield hospital, but a postoperative infection set in, leading to her death. Later that year, Ruby married Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) at St. James Catholic Church in Vesper.
The other member of the Treutel family, Gordon Treutel, died of pneumonia in February 1911. He was just shy of 11 months old.
The look on Ruby V. Hanneman’s face in this classic photo says it all. “I have NO idea how to run this rig!” This image was scanned from a Kodachrome slide taken by Ruby’s husband, Carl F. Hanneman. The year is about 1958.
Judging by the other slides in the batch, the Hanneman family was attending a wedding in the Wausau or Wisconsin Rapids areas when this photo was taken.
According to a variety of equipment-collector blogs we sampled, the Oliver 99 diesel tractor was produced from 1955 to 1958. The color slide film really brings out the brilliance of the green paint. Well done, Grandma Ruby! Now get down before you hurt someone.
If you’ve spent much time sifting through collections of vintage photographs, no doubt you’ve seen samples of the hand-crafted art of photo colorization. For many decades, various techniques were used to colorize parts of all of a photographic image. When done well, the process created a rich, high-end look that stands the test of time. It is possible to digitally apply these effects to images today, but there’s something about these old photos that make them heirlooms.
As you will see in the gallery below, samples from our photo archive vary in sophistication. Some look almost like watercolor paintings, others like pastels and some appear to be airbrushed.
Marvin R. Treutel, circa 1938.
Helen E. Northcott
The colors used on this image are brighter than most in our collection.
Skin tones were the focus on this portrait. Pictured are Laura Mulqueen, David C. Hanneman and Joe Hanneman.
Most of this photograph of Charles F.C. Hanneman was hand tinted.
This U.S. Marine Corps portrait of Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. looks like colored pencil.
David D. Hanneman’s Boy Scouts uniform, as well as the surrounding grass, received tinting.
Lynne and Richard Hanneman, children of Wilbert G. and Irma Hanneman.
The roses in this bridal portrait of Ruby V. Hanneman were tinted. This digital restoration punched up the colors from the now-faded original from 1925.
This Hanneman family vacation portrait was somewhat clumsily done, with colors spilling onto skin and other areas. At front and center is David D. Hanneman. In the back are Donn G. Hanneman, Ruby V. Hanneman, Carl F. Hanneman and baby Lavonne M. Hanneman. Photo circa 1940.
I always loved this photo of five young men posing next to a Ford Model T. But the original scan I made of this late 1920s image was covered in little circular stains. I wrote of the efforts to clean the image over at the Treasured Lives blog.
With the photo scrubbed of its imperfections, it can now join the growing online Hanneman photo library. The young man in the center of the photo is my great uncle, Marvin R. Treutel, baby brother of my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. I presume the automobile that serves as the backdrop belonged to Marvin’s father, Walter Treutel. Unfortunately, I don’t have IDs on the other young men.
Marvin Raphael Treutel was born on April 13, 1916 in Vesper, a tiny village in Wood County, Wisconsin. He was the second son of Walter and Mary (Ladick) Treutel. (Baby Gordon Treutel died of pneumonia in February 1911.) Marvin attended Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, where he played in the band and sang in the boys glee club.
Marv married Mabel Martha Neuenfeldt on July 3, 1937. They are mentioned elsewhere on this site, most especially for the Rochester root beer stand the family ran in Nekoosa between 1947 and 1951. The couple had six children. Marv spent more than 25 years working for Nekoosa Papers Inc. before retiring in 1978. Mabel passed away in January 1995. Marvin died in April 2005.
Work on the grain threshing stopped just long enough for the farm laborers to pose for a photograph taken by Solomon D. Butcher. The caption reads: “Threshing crew on farm of E.F. Hanneman, Watertown, Buffalo County, Nebraska.” The year was 1903. The image was submitted to the Library of Congress by the Nebraska State Historical Society.
The glass-plate negative photo is interesting for several reasons. One is the hand-drawn accents, such as the smoke coming from the steam engine and the straw pouring from the chute of the thresher. In the age of Adobe Photoshop and digital photo manipulation, these details might cause a chuckle. The “smoke” hardly looks real. But these details are charming nonetheless, a look at how photographers created detail and motion in photographs of that era.
The photo is not only of a Hanneman family farm, but it also has ties to Wisconsin. The “E.F. Hanneman” mentioned in the caption refers to Edward F. Hanneman, who lived much of his life in Buffalo County, Nebraska. Edward was born in Wisconsin in October 1880, presumably in Columbia County north of Madison. His family lived there for a time before moving west to Nebraska.
Edward’s father, Ernest Ludwig Friedrich Hanneman, was born in Pomerania in 1843. He came to America in 1861. Ernest’s parents, Dietrich and Maria Hanneman, settled in Columbia County, but had both died by 1880. Dietrich and Maria are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Columbus, Wis. By the time of the 1900 U.S. Census, the Ernest Hanneman family had settled in Amanda Township in Buffalo County, Nebraska.
We’ve noted on these pages before that Columbia County, Wisconsin, was one of the Wisconsin Hanneman enclaves in the late 1800s. There were others in Dane, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Marathon, Wood, Portage, Racine, Winnebago and Outagamie counties. My Hanneman line settled in Portage and Wood counties, starting in 1861. There could be a connection between the Dietrich Hanneman line and my line (Matthias Hanneman, 1794-1879). More research is needed.
Many, if not most, of the Hannemans who settled the U.S. Midwest in the 1800s came from the Duchy of Pomerania, a long-ago Baltic state which is now part of Poland and Germany. My family line goes back to at least 1550 in Kreis (county) Regenwalde, Pomerania. Some of the Marathon County Hannemans moved west and settled in Lake County, South Dakota. Some Hannemans who emigrated to Wisconsin later settled in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska.
The American Memory project was one of the Library of Congress’ early efforts to digitize some 5 million images from its trove of priceless photographs. It invited submissions from libraries and historical societies around the nation. The Edward F. Hanneman farm photo was part of the collection “Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters.”
I’m generally not a fan of social media page “likes” or shares or fan praise. While it is one metric of success in the online world, it also can set us up for easy disappointment. That being said, I was quite pleased to see my grandparents’ wedding photo draw such nice comments on an Instagram page dedicated to preserving the stories behind photos.
Saving Family Photos featured this 1925 wedding portrait today, along with the newspaper story published shortly after the marriage of Carl F. Hanneman and Ruby V. Treutel. As of this writing (less than one full day on display), the photo has 1,016 likes. A sampling of the viewer comments:
“I have a similar picture of my grandparents. You’ve inspired me to frame it.”
“Wow! Beautiful picture!”
“A true treasure.”
“Stunning photo. Love every detail. A gift for you to have this.”
“Can’t love this enough…still looking for photos of my grandparents weddings.”
“That is now may favorite wedding photo! What a treasure!”
I submitted the photo to Saving Family Photos from Treasured Lives, our sister site. If you are on Instagram, find them @savefamilyphotos. You can also see the gallery on their web site.
Doing research on family history is an exciting journey. That is the whole idea behind Treasured Lives, a small business dedicated to helping you map out and progress on your history journey. We invite all of the readers of the Hanneman Archive to visit and follow Treasured Lives.
There are lots of online databases and services out there dedicated to genealogy and history. If that all seems overwhelming to you, Treasured Lives is a good place to start. If you’ve started your research and need a boost from a professional researcher, Treasured Lives is also for you. Even if you’re an expert and want to put some more brawn behind your projects, we can help.
We not only offer a full-range of services, but we will also deliver interesting, useful content on our blog. We specialize in:
Photo Restoration & Retouching
Treasured Lives grew out of a love for history. Joe Hanneman, our chief researcher and owner, has been doing genealogy research for more than a decade. He runs the popular Hanneman Archive web site, and has been a professional writer and communicator for more than 30 years. In 2010, he published his first book, The Journey Home: My Father’s Story of Cancer, Faith and Life-Changing Miracles. His first history project was helping his father start piecing together his family roots from Germany and Pomerania. That grew into a major undertaking. The Hanneman Archive holds more than 15,000 images and thousands of historic documents.
History is a journey and an ever-changing destination. As we like to say, every story deserves a voice, and a champion. We are here to be your partner in history.
This photograph has perplexed me for years. A baby in a diaper, lying on a pillow inside a steel wash tub. I strongly suspect this is my father, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007). The image raises many questions but provides no answers.
Why stick a baby in a wash tub? Was this the poor family’s playpen? The Depression-era bassinette? A brutal pre-Dr. Spock time-out? Freshly picked from the vine? In this day and age, such a photo might get you a visit from Child Services. I’m guessing my Grandma Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) just thought it made a cute photo. She was known to dote on her “little Davey.”
If this was Dad in the tub, the photo was likely taken in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, where he was born in March 1933. The family did not move to Mauston until early 1936. Usually I can confirm my Dad’s ID in photos by the ears, but they are not visible in this image.
My memories of such a steel container at the house in Mauston had nothing to do with babies. I recall bluegill, sunfish and bass in such a tub, waiting for Grandpa Carl’s skilled fillet knife. Or the tub filled with ice and bottles of orange and grape soda (known as “pop” by some of you). But no babies.
This one is destined to remain a mystery. I’m sure it would tickle my grandma to know it was a conversation piece some 80 years later, and that no one called Child Services.
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.
In every community you will find inspiring stories of courage, faith and perseverance. And so it was the case when I researched the 1863 founding of my hometown parish, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The project lasted several months, and turned up many fascinating stories from the mission-territory days of Wisconsin in the mid-1800s.
Full confession (pun intended): I served as an altar boy for years at Sacred Hearts in the 1970s, and graduated in spring 1978 from the fine Sacred Hearts School. The current church, the third edifice in parish history, has some of the most stunning stained-glass windows you will find outside of a cathedral. That’s what initially drew me to the history of Sacred Hearts.
So what did I learn?
The church was founded during the second expansion of Catholicism in Wisconsin (the first being black-robed Jesuit missionaries who explored the territory in the 1600s). Much of the area at the time was untamed wilderness, now being colonized by immigrants from Ireland, Germany and other parts of Europe.
The early missionary priests rode circuits hundreds of miles long, often saying Mass in private homes or rustic buildings with no roof. Father Martin Kundig, an indefatigable traveler and founder of many Catholic parishes in Michigan and Wisconsin, had an uplifting experience in 1843. The faithful gathered in a private home for Mass overloaded the floor, and everyone except Father Kundig crashed into the cellar. The people reached up and supported the priest, standing on a narrow plank, so he could finish saying Mass.
These pioneers led often difficult lives. The John Sprengel family lost three children to diphtheria within one week in 1882. Emerand Aschenbrucker lost his first wife during the birth of their daughter, Anna, in February 1867. Nicholas Mosel lost his wife to typhoid fever at age 54. The church brought comfort to these grieving families, offering the sacraments and a reverent burial for the departed.
The Civil War affected every aspect of life during Sacred Hearts’ early years. Two young parishioners died during their wartime service, including one who was wounded in the 1862 Battle of Shiloh and died in a Confederate prison camp. Another died on a furlough in 1864. He was just 15. A third was wounded in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864.
When you set out to research a topic, you never know just what you will find. I found a very fascinating story in the “Catholic Pioneers on the Prairie,” which is what I titled the 28-page e-book that grew out of my research. I invite you to read the whole thing at Catholic Pioneers. View it online or download the e-book as a PDF file.