Tag Archives: Portage County

Life of Chas. Frederick Christian Hanneman

The photograph is very poignant. A frail man, sitting in the afternoon sun on the front porch steps. He looks haggard and tired, maybe ill. This image is the last known photograph taken of Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman, who was known around Wisconsin Rapids as Charles or “Chas” Hanneman. The photo likely dates to 1931 or 1932, when he suffered from prostate cancer that eventually took his life.

Charles Hanneman came to America in late November 1882 with his parents, Christian and Amanda Hanneman. He was just 15 when the family made its way from Stettin, Pomerania to Portage County, Wisconsin. Charles, his three brothers and two sisters settled on a 105-acre farm in the northwest corner of the Town of Grant, near the tiny hamlet of Kellner. 

Nina and Elaine Treutel visit with Chas Hanneman, circa 1930.
Nina and Elaine Treutel visit with Chas Hanneman, circa 1930.

Charles worked on the Hanneman farm for a time. His brothers would stay in farming (maps from that period show many Hanneman farms in Portage County), but eventually Charles left farming and found work in one of the area’s many sawmills.

At some point in his early 20s, Charles made the acquaintance of Rosine Ostermann, the eldest daughter of John and Mina Ostermann of the Town of Grand Rapids. They had many things in common. Both grew up on the family farm. Rosie’s parents were from Germany (Saxony and Prussia), and his were from Pomerania. Rosie’s grandfather George Ostermann was one of the pioneers of Portage County, listed on the earliest tax roll of the Town of Grant in 1864.

On April 2, 1891, Charles and Rosie were married at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kellner in a divine service performed by A.G. Grimm. The witnesses were Charles’ father, Christian, and his brother, William. The bride’s attendants were her sister, Elsie Ostermann, and Emma Pribbernow. The groomsmen were cousins August Saeger and Herman Hanneman.

The young couple came to know heartache early in their marriage. Their firstborn, referred in the records only as “C.H. Hanneman,died in infancy in 1892. They went on to have four sons: Arthur John (1893), Frank Herman Albert (1895), Wilbert George (1899), and our own Carl Henry Frank (1901). 

Left to right: Christian Hanneman, Chas Hanneman, Carl Hanneman, David D. Hanneman.
Left to right: Christian Hanneman, Chas Hanneman, Carl Hanneman, David D. Hanneman.

Work in the sawmill must have been erratic, or Charles left that occupation for a time. In 1900, U.S. Census records show the family living and working on the farm of Charles’ brother, William Hanneman.

By 1905, Charles moved his family to the second ward in the city of Grand Rapids. He initially did manual labor for the city of Grand Rapids,possibly working on construction of the water and sewer works. The financial statements for the city in December 1907 show Charles worked 135 hours that month and earned 17.5 cents per hour for a paycheck of $23.63.

By 1910 the family was living at 1774 Baker Street in Grand Rapids. The U.S. Census that year lists Charles as a laborer at a box factory. That may have referred to Consolidated Water, Power & Paper Co., where he later worked until his retirement, or the nearby Badger Box company.

On March 31, 1918, tragedy struck the Hanneman home when Rosine died suddenly at age 48. Her death notice, which ran on page 1 of the Daily Leader, said she was fine during the day but fell ill and died at 11 p.m. We know that she had diabetes, and that may have contributed to her death. Carl was 16 when his mother died.

Charles remarried in August 1919 and lived out his remaining years in his home at 1751 Baker Street. He became ill with prostate cancer in 1931 and was hospitalized numerous times in Wausau for surgery and treatments. He died at home on Oct. 11, 1932. He was 65. His death made front-page news in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.

FAMILY LINE: Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman >> Carl F. Hanneman >> Donn, David & Lavonne Hanneman

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: 6 Hanneman Siblings

It is the only known photograph showing six of the seven children of Christian and Amanda Hanneman, pioneers of Portage and Wood counties in Wisconsin. The undated photo was probably taken around 1915 at a family event. Left to right are:

  • William Friedrich Johann Hanneman (1856-1939)
  • Bertha Auguste Ernestine (Hanneman) Bartelt (1860-1945)
  • Albert Friedrich O. Hanneman (1863-1932)
  • Herman Charles Hanneman (1864-1945)
  • Carl Friedrich Christian Hanneman (“Chas,” 1866-1932)
  • Ernestine Wilhelmine Caroline (Hanneman) Timm (1870-1930)

The sibling not pictured is August Friedrich Ferdinand Hanneman (1858-1902).

Along with their parents, this group came to America in late November 1882 aboard the SS Katie. They were the last of the Matthias Hannemann family to come to America from the Baltic Duchy of Pomerania (now part of Poland and Germany). The Hannemann clan (the name was eventually shortened to Hanneman) settled in and around the hamlet of Kellner in central Wisconsin.

Family Line: Matthias Hannemann >> Carl Frederick Christian Hannemann >> Carl Henry Frank Hanneman >> David D., Donn and Lavonne Hanneman.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

William Gaulke: Pioneer Frontiersman, Friend of Buffalo Bill Cody

He came to the United States at age 19 and lived the life of an American frontiersman: shuttling cargo between U.S. outposts in the West and ferrying people and goods across the Missouri River. For all of his adventurous living, William Johann Heinrich Gaulke retained one lasting memory that his family in Wisconsin still talks about: being a friend of a very young William Frederick ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. 

William Gaulke (standing) with his arm around William F. Cody, who later went on to fame as "Buffalo Bill."
William Gaulke (standing) with his arm around William F. Cody, who later went on to international fame as “Buffalo Bill.” (Photo courtesy of Sue Alft)

Gaulke met the famed U.S. Army scout and buffalo hunter while Gaulke was working and exploring the frontier lands in Nebraska and the Dakotas in the 1870s. A photograph in the Gaulke family album shows a twenty-something Gaulke standing with his arm around a seated William Cody.

Gaulke’s frontier experience grew out of tragedy he experienced in his native Germany. Born on October 1, 1848, Gaulke lost his father, John, before he turned six months old. When he was 11, Gaulke became an orphan at the death of his mother Fredericka. He emigrated to America in 1867 and landed in Milwaukee. After a short stint as a farmhand, Gaulke landed a job aboard a Great Lakes steamer, where he learned to speak English. After another stint working on farms in Illinois, Gaulke went west.

After emigrating to America in 1867, William Gaulke spent a number of years exploring the wild frontiers.
After emigrating to America in 1867, William Gaulke spent a number of years exploring the wild frontiers. (Photo courtesy of Sue Alft)

Gaulke experienced the wilds of the frontier lands as a teamster for the U.S. government. He guided a six-mule team hauling goods between U.S. Army posts. He was based at Fort Buford in the Dakota Territory. After tiring of that job, he built a skiff and drifted down the Missouri River to what is now Bismarck, North Dakota. Along with a group of companions, he established the town of Carlington. There, Gaulke operated a ferry moving people, goods and horses across the Missouri River near Fort McKeen (later called Fort Abraham Lincoln). Fort Lincoln was the base of Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Right alongside the Mighty Missouri River, Gaulke built himself a shanty, where he lived and operated his ferry business. He built an outdoor fireplace that was used for cooking and warmth. It was also a hiding place for the $2,200 Gaulke had saved from his business ventures. Gaulke’s shanty was a frequent target of would-be thieves, but none of them ever thought to look under the fireplace for the buried money.

In 1872, Gaulke returned to Wisconsin, securing work at Grand Rapids in Wood County. In July 1876, he married Augusta Henriette Charlotte Kruger. Her mother, Friedericke Kruger, was the daughter of Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879). A short time later, the Gaulkes bought their first land in the Town of Grant in Portage County, very near where the Hannemann family established its first homes in the early 1860s. Gaulke cleared the land and established a successful farm. He also helped build many of the farm houses and barns in the area.

William Gaulke and Augusta (Kruger) Gaulke and family. Rear, left to right: Ella (Wagner), William Jr., John, Henry, Minnie (Panter). Front, left to right: Mary (Eberhardt), William Gaulke Sr., Augusta (Kruger) Gaulke, Laura (Turbin). Photo courtesy of Sue Alft
William Gaulke and Augusta (Kruger) Gaulke and family. Rear, left to right: Ella (Wagner), William Jr., John, Henry, Minnie (Panter). Front, left to right: Mary (Eberhardt), William Gaulke Sr., Augusta (Kruger) Gaulke, Laura (Turbin). (Photo courtesy of Sue Alft)

Gaulke also became deeply involved in civic work, serving as school district clerk, drainage district commisioner and chairman of the Town of Grant. He and Augusta had eight children, born between 1878 and 1897. Augusta died in 1914, four years before her mother. William died on October 25, 1928 after coming down with pneumonia.

William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody in a late-life portrait (Library of Congress Photo)
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody in a late-life portrait (Library of Congress Photo)

Confirmation of the friendship between Gaulke and Buffalo Bill came in the early 1900s, when Cody brought his Wild West show to Grand Rapids, Wisconsin. Gaulke brought his youngest son, John, to the grounds near Lincoln High School. They watched the white-suited Cody ride about the arena on his white horse. Gaulke led his boy up to Cody, introduced himself and asked the showman if he remembered him from their time out west decades earlier. He did. “Why sure, Bill and they had quite a talk,” John Gaulke later wrote. “Finally Buffalo Bill reached into his pocket and gave my Dad a handful of tickets, who the whole family saw the show for nothing.”

A popular poster showing Buffalo Bill Cody superimposed on an image of a buffalo. (Library of Congress Photo)
A popular poster showing Buffalo Bill Cody superimposed on an image of a buffalo. (Library of Congress Photo)

William Cody was a first-rate Indian scout and buffalo hunter whose life was romanticized in dime novels written by author Ned Buntline. The pair collaborated to create a show called “The Scouts of the Plains.” In 1883, Cody developed a live show spectacular called Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. The Library of Congress says Cody “was a major contributor in the creation of the myth of the American West, as seen in Hollywood movies and television.”

©2014 The Hanneman Archive 

A Case of Mooo-nshine: Tipsy Cows Hit the Mash

The Volstead Act that ushered in the era of Prohibition was designed to prevent the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol in the United States. Don’t tell that to the cows.

It seems some of the dairy cows belonging to Robert Hanneman of Portage County, Wisconsin, found themselves in a state of intoxication in July 1922. How? Some mischievous bootleggers thought it would be fun to leave a barrel of mash in the pasture for Hanneman’s cows to eat. When Hanneman arrived at the pasture one mid-July evening, he was shocked to discover a half-dozen hammered Holsteins.

Talk about your mooo-nshine.

Wood County Undersheriff Cliff Bluett responded to the call.  “The whole herd was staggering around and they were in a worse intoxicated condition than any human can get,” Bluett reported.

According to the account in the Wood County Tribune: “One cow was missing entirely, another was dead drunk and could not be moved off the ground, five cows were finally driven into the barn but were so ‘pickled’ that it was found unsafe to leave them inside and had to be turned out and another cow was ‘so bad off’ that she collapsed in her over-intoxicated condition and could not be moved again, the undersheriff said.”

Farmer Hanneman reported one cow was so dead drunk she could not be budged from the pasture. Five bombed bovines stumbled about the barn and had to be let loose. Eventually, most of the crapulous cattle submitted to the evening milking. That left the farmer with a serious quandary: would this unusual “whole milk” put him afoul of Prohibition laws?

“A joke is a joke,” he said, “and we will deal with the culprits.”

No word if those pioneer cow-tippers were ever caught. Undersheriff Bluett was from Wood County, but the Hanneman farm was in Portage County. He sent his findings to his counterparts across the county line.

Emigration Records Found for Matthias Hannemann

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.Hyram Ship Register

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.

Matthias’ emigration record is the most significant find since we discovered his long-lost grave site in Portage County in 2009.

©2013 The Hanneman Archive

Martin Hannemann’s $2.68 Tax Bill for 1868

We have further evidence that our earliest Hanneman ancestor to come to Wisconsin went by the name “Martin” rather than his given legal name of Matthias.

The 1868 tax roll for the Town of Grant in Portage County says Martin Hannemann had property with an assessed value of $49.00. On that amount, he paid a tax of 98 cents for the school district, 66 cents for the township and 62 cents in other local taxes. His total tax bill was $2.26.

This is at least the third piece of evidence that Matthias Hannemann was known by the name Martin. On the 1870 U.S. Census he is listed as “Mart Hannemann. His name was also listed as Martin in a newspaper obituary for one of his children.

The tax document also establishes that Matthias was in America as early as 1868. We have yet to locate documentary evidence of his emigration from Kreis Regenwalde, Pomerania. We know two of his daughters came to Wisconsin in 1861.

[Update: Since this post was originally published, we found the 1866 emigration records for Matthias (Martin) Hannemann]

Remarkable Photos Show 4 Generations of Hannemans

Two newly discovered photographs show four generations of Hannemans, starting with Christian Hanneman, who came to America in 1882. The photographs were supplied by Richard Swanson, grandson of Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987).

One of the photographs shows Arthur J. Hanneman and his then-infant son, James A. Hanneman; along with family patriarch Christian Hanneman and Art’s father, Charles F. A. Hanneman. Christian Hanneman is identified in the photographs as Cristofer. The other photograph shows Frank H. Hanneman and baby daughter Dorothy. The photos date to approximately 1917.

Four Generations 2

Earliest Hanneman Photo Shows Christian and Amanda

Until recently, the earliest Hanneman ancestor for whom we had photographic evidence was Charles Hanneman (1866-1932), father of our own Carl Henry Frank Hanneman. A newly discovered photo now takes us one generation earlier, to Christian Friedrich August

Hanneman (1833-1919) and his wife, Amanda Auguste Bertha Henriette (Ladwig) Hanneman (1828-1908).

We previously had no photos of Amanda, and only a distant view of Christian on the farm of his son, Albert. The new formal portrait of the couple means we now have photographs of relatives who date as early as 1828. That puts us within one generation of the earliest known Hanneman ancestor, Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879). 

Christian and Amanda Hanneman were the last of the Matthias Hannemann clan to emigrate to America from Pomerania. They arrived in New York in late November 1882 aboard the steamship Katie. They settled in the Town of Grant, Portage County, Wis.

©The Hanneman Archive

Ostermann Family Traced to St. Bernhard, Thuringia

The Ostermann family of Wood and Portage counties is one of the Hanneman-related lines still shrouded in some mystery. But we’re getting a much clearer picture thanks to research by an Ostermann descendant from Madison.

The Ostermann family is related to the Hannemans primarily through Rosine Bertha Henrietta (Osterman) Hanneman, the mother of Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982). She was the daughter of John Christian Ostermann (1844-1887).

According to new research done by Chris Bartosh of Madison, the Ostermann family originated in St. Bernhard, a small rural village in the German state of Thuringia. Thuringia is known as the “green heart of Germany” for its heavy forests. St. Bernhard, with a current population of 275, is about 75 miles northeast of Frankfurt, Germany.

Like the Hannemann family in the village of Zeitlitz in Pomerania, the Ostermanns were long established in St. Bernhard and surrounding villages. The patriarch of the Wisconsin family was Johann George Ostermann (1817-1894), the father of John Ostermann. The church register has listings for his father, Johann Martin Ostermann (1766-1844) and mentions his grandfather, Nikolaus Ostermann.

The Ostermanns had lived in Beinerstadt, a village less than a mile north of St. Bernhard. Johann Martin and his father Nikolaus were both born in Beinerstadt.

Johann George Ostermann’s occupation in St. Bernhard is listed in the church register as a “webermeister,” or the foreman in weaver’s shop.

George Ostermann, his wife Dorothea Frederica, and their four children applied for permission to emigrate to America in February 1852. On June 4, 1852, the family arrived in New York City aboard the brig Charles and Edward. The journey took 44 days from Bremen to New York. From there they headed west for Wisconsin.

The 1855 Wisconsin state census lists the George Ostermann family as living in the Town of Norway, Racine County. They lived in the Village of Wind Lake until 1858. By 1860, the family had moved, settling in the Town of Linwood, Portage County.

As a result of this new research, we have more surnames to add to the family database, including Popp, Schad and Zehner. Like the Hanneman family, the Ostermanns eventually dropped the second “n” from their last name.

Matthias Hannemann Grave Discovered in Portage County, Wis.

For decades, the records of St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Kellner, Wis., did not include a location for the grave of one of the church’s old settlers, Matthias Hannemann. His funeral and burial in May 1879 were recorded in the church register, but with no indication of burial location.

This more than century old mystery has been solved, however, and we now know where this early Hanneman forebear is laid to rest. As part of a research project for a forthcoming Hanneman history book, we found the grave location at the cemetery just southeast of Wisconsin Rapids.

The grave site of Matthias Hanneman is at left center, indicated by the partially excavated stone.
The grave site of Matthias Hanneman is at left center, indicated by the upturned earth of the partially excavated stone.

Matthias Hannemann (1794-1879) is the earliest known ancestor of the Hanneman families of Wood and Portage counties of Wisconsin. He was the great-grandfather of Carl F. Hanneman of Mauston, Wis. Matthias came to America before June 1870 from Meesow, county Regenwalde, Pomerania, to settle with his children in north central Wisconsin.

During a site visit to St. John cemetery in July 2009, we determined that the earliest burials at the cemetery were physically arranged by date of death. Based on that, we determined Matthias would have been buried between August and Augusta Knoll (April 1878) and Carl Schmidt (October 1878). There was an unmarked grave in this spot, with a small portion of headstone poking above the grass.

Once we found a portion of stone poking above grass level, we pulled the grass back to reveal the headstone.
Once we found a portion of stone poking above grass level, we pulled the grass back to reveal the headstone.

We pulled back the overgrown grass and weeds and a light layer of sand to reveal a 1 foot square remnant of headstone. Some hints of lettering were visible on the badly weathered and corroded stone face. We photographed the stone and applied a variety of filters and effects to the photo file, but could not make out a name.

We asked Sue Alft, head of the St. John Cemetery committee, to visit the site. She agreed that the plot was the burial place of Matthias and his second wife, Caroline (Steffen) Hannemann. Coincidentally, Alft is descended from Matthias Hannemann through his daughter, Friedericke (Hannemann) Kruger (1825-1918).

©The Hanneman Archive