This photograph from my Grandmother Ruby V. Hanneman shows the interior of the State Bank of Vesper in the village of Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1912. Scrawled on the back of the photo in pencil is the following notation: “First Vesper Bank. Jones Cashier, Martin President, Oliver V-P.”
George E. Martin was president of the State Bank of Vesper, chartered in December 1911 with capitalization of $10,000. Owen Oliver was vice president and Burton Jones was cashier. It is not clear if these are the three gentlemen shown in the photo. The bank made slow progress at first. A new management team was put in place in 1913, with Vesper hardware merchant George H. Horn serving as president, farmer Arthur P. Bean vice president and Fred Ellsworth cashier. According to the 1923 History of Wood County, Ellsworth sold his share in 1919 to three investors from Wisconsin Rapids. The bank subsequently grew from $55,000 in deposits to $140,000 and was considered one of the strongest country banks in the area.
Some of the earliest documentation of a Hanneman-Treutel relative in America — dated 1855 — has been discovered in the archives of the Walworth County, Wisconsin Circuit Court. John Frederick Krosch, just a year from stepping off the boat from Saxony, filed his declaration of intent to become a United States citizen on November 5, 1855 before the county court in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Krosch made the declaration on behalf of himself and his wife, Christiana. The declaration document says Krosch intended to become a U.S. citizen and that he “renounced forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to William Frederick, King of Prussia.” The document was found in the court archives, held at the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Johann Friedrich Krosch was born in 1799 in the Kingdom of Saxony, which today is part of Germany. In 1854, he brought his wife Christiana and children Charles, Augustus, Reinhold, Henrietta (grandmother of Ruby V. Treutel Hanneman) and Gustave to America.
The Krosch family landed at New York on July 21, 1854 and headed for Milwaukee. The eldest boys established farms at Lake Beulah near East Troy in Walworth County. John Frederick Krosch may have initially lived in Walworth County to help his boys get their farms started, considering that he filed his citizenship declaration in Walworth County.
By 1860, the elder Krosch had his own farm near Mukwonago in nearby Waukesha County. The 1860 U.S. Census lists the youngest Krosch boys, Reinhold and Gustave, as laborers on their father’s 80-acre farm. Plat records from 1873 show the Krosch farm in Section 23 of the Town of Mukwonago, just a few miles from where his daughter Henrietta Treutel lived with her husband, Philipp Treutel.
Krosch farmed at Mukwonago for more than a decade. We don’t know much about his later years. He died on August 7, 1876 at age 77. He is buried among the settlers of Mukwonago at Oak Knoll Cemetery, a short distance from where his farm once stood.
His wife Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch moved to Elmore, Minnesota after being widowed. The 1880 U.S. Census lists her living on the farm of her son, William F. Krosch. She died on December 3, 1884. She is buried near three grandchildren at Dobson Schoolhouse Cemetery in Elmore.
FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
The grave of Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch at Elmore, Minnesota.
Frederick Krosch’s farm was in Section 23 on this 1870 Mukwonago-area map.
John Frederick Krosch’s grave at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
Judging by the turnout, the marriage of Joseph John Mras and Mary V. Sternot of the Town of Sigel in Wood County, Wisconsin, was the celebration of the year in 1913. The pair were married by the Rev. John Willitzer on October 21. The group portrait was taken outside the Sigel home of the bride’s parents, Jacob and Josephine Sternot. The reception had a big turnout from Sigel and the nearby village of Vesper.
As with other large-group photos in our collection, it is fun to look for details in the sea of faces. Standing just right of center is my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman, who was a flower girl at the wedding. The bride and groom are tucked away in the upper right corner, looking a bit weary. The entertainers are in center front, one with a fiddle, one with an accordion and a third holding a pitcher of beer. Three things seem to link the men in the photo: hats, beer and cigars. Some things never change.
A studio photo of the wedding party provides additional details on the big day. Ruby Treutel and (we believe) her cousin Gladys Cole were the flower girls, while one brother and one sister of the bride were also in the wedding party.
Joe and Mary Mras had three children,Clarence, Earl and William. Joe was a crane operator for 31 years for the Frank Garber Iron & Metal Co. in Wisconsin Rapids. He retired in 1959. Joe died on April 10, 1961. Mary died September 20, 1977. Their son Clarence was killed in an auto accident in September 1956. Earl died October 18, 2001. William died February 18, 1997.
— This post has been updated with corrected identifications on the wedding portrait.
It seems the entire village of Vesper, Wisconsin came out for a banquet or other big event, and stayed for a photograph. The image appears to date to about 1913 or 1914. The large crowd spilled out of the village hall for a photograph. What was the occasion? A wedding? A dance? It is fun to imagine. The portrait was taken by Moore Photo of nearby Grand Rapids (now called Wisconsin Rapids).
What makes this image especially interesting is to zoom in and look at the details. See the little girl with the Dixie Queen plug cut tobacco lunch box? It’s strange to imagine a lunch tin with smoking tobacco advertised on the side, but this was before the age of comic books or movie stars. Lunch pails with tobacco ads were common.
In the front at left/center left is my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman, who appears to be about 10 years old. That would date the photo to 1914. In the sea of men back near the stairs appears to be Ruby’s father, Walter Treutel. He is sporting a mustache, which is something I’ve not seen in any family photos.
On the building next to the window is a large thermometer with the name “Hlasatel” on it. That was the name of a Bohemian/Czech newspaper. Vesper had a large population from Bohemia, including the family of my great-grandmother, Mary (Ladick) Treutel. Her parents emigrated from Bilina in what is now the Czech Republic.
Most of the men wore hats, so it is not easy to make identifications.
One little girl has a Dixie Queen tobacco lunch pail.
Judging by the dress, this must have been an important event.
Young Ruby V. Treutel is in the front row right, leaning on her right hand and tilting her head to her left.
Much of the village of Vesper came out for the photo.
Marvin and Mabel Treutel operated a roadside root beer stand near their home on Wilhorn Road in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Aside from 5-cent Rochester root beers, they served the “Best Roast Beef BBQ.” Pictured behind the counter in this late-1940s photo are Mabel Treutel (left), niece Lavonne Hanneman (center) and Marvin Treutel (right). Out front are daughters Bonnie Treutel (left), and Patricia Treutel (center, holding dog). The woman at right and the little girl at center are unidentified.
Nearly 90 years ago on a summer Tuesday morning, Ruby Viola Treutel and Carl Henry Frank Hanneman joined in marriage at St. James Catholic Church in Vesper, Wisconsin. The marriage, which would live on for more than 50 years and produce three children and 16 grandchildren, was described in detail in a story in the July 15, 1925 edition of the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:
TREUTEL-HANNEMAN One of the prettiest weddings of the summer was solemnized yesterday morning at nine o’clock at St. James church, Vesper, when Miss Ruby Treutel, daughter of Walter Treutel of Vesper, became the bride of Carl F. Hanneman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hanneman of this city. Rev. Father Gille officiated at the nuptial Mass.
The church was beautifully decorated with greens and the season’s flowers, making an appropriate setting for the wedding party. Miss Velma Doering of Stratford played the wedding march as the party entered the church and proceeded to the altar. Miss Gladys Cole of Nekoosa, and the groom’s attendant, Joseph Ladick, of Vesper, both cousins of the bride, were followed by two little sisters of the bride, Nina and Elaine, who acted as flower girl and ring bearer. The maid of honor, Miss Esther Albright, came next and was followed by the bride and her father, who gave her away.
Mr. Hanneman and his best man, Wendell Miscoll,awaited the party at the altar. The bride was very beautiful in her gown of white georgette trimmed with gold lace. She wore a coronet of pearls, with her veil falling from a beaded butterfly. She carried a shower bouquet of pink rose buds.
Miss Albright, the maid of honor, was gowned in orchid georgette and carried an arm bouquet of rose. Miss Cole, the bridesmaid, wore a gown of orange georgette, and also carried roses. Nina, the little flower girl, was in a little frock of yellow georgette, and Elaine completed the delightful color ensemble in a dress of pink georgette. She carried the ring in a white lily.
Following the service at the church, the bridal party and relatives came to this city, where the ten-thirty breakfast was served at the Witter Hotel. The bride is a graduate of Lincoln High School and the Stevens Point Normal. Since her graduation from the normal school she has been teaching at Vesper. The groom was graduated from Lincoln High and for some time following was employed at the Church Drug store. He later graduated from the pharmacy department of Marquette University at Milwaukee and is at present holding a position with Whitrock and Wolt.
Following a week’s outing in the northern part of the state, part of the time being spent as guests of Mr. and Mrs. Armand Bauer at their cottage at Hayward, they will return here and for the present make their home with Mr. Treutel at Vesper.
The bridal photo, hand retouched to restore color to the roses.
The bridal portrait of Ruby V. Hanneman in its original frame.
For their honeymoon in July 1925, Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) and Ruby Viola (nee: Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) took a camping trip to Wisconsin’s north woods. The couple are pictured at a camp site near Hayward, Wis. They were married July 14, 1925 at Vesper, Wis.
He could be carrying milk from the barn, but Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) is actually on a honeymoon camping trip in this July 1925 photo. Carl and bride Ruby (nee: Treutel, 1904-1977) took a camping trip near Hayward, Wis., after their wedding on July 14, 1925.
An unidentified boy sits outside of a cottage near Hayward, Wis., with Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) in July 1925. Ruby and new husband Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) were on their honeymoon.
Carl F. Hanneman (at right) leans on his Ford near the camp where he and bride Ruby spent their honeymoon.
Carl F. Hanneman and an unidentified boy at the Hanneman picnic table.
The Hanneman honeymoon had a rustic theme at a cottage near Hayward, Wis.
Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman took these selfies on their honeymoon in July 1925.
Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman on their 25th wedding anniversary in July 1950.
Back of the photo: Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman on their 25th wedding anniversary in July 1950.
Carl F. and Ruby V. Hanneman on their 50th wedding anniversary, celebrated at Sun Prairie in July 1975.
Her reign may have been brief, but for one day in 1922, Ruby V. Treutel was front-page news as the most popular single woman in Wood County, Wisconsin. To help celebrate dedication of a new bridge across the Wisconsin River, the community organized a popularity contest to find the Queen of the Bridge.
The Queen of the Bridge contest invited the nomination of single women of Wood County. The contest winner would preside at the dedication of what came to be called the Grand Avenue Bridge, linking the east and west sides of Wisconsin Rapids over the Wisconsin River.
Miss Ruby Treutel of Vesper was among the early nominees for the Bridge Queen, and she jumped to a lead after the first weekend of balloting in September 1922. The front-page headline in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribuneon Sept. 25, 1922, proclaimed: Ruby Treutel and Mary Herron in Spirited Contest. “A spirited race between Miss Ruby Treutel of Vesper and Miss Mary Herron of this city developed as a result of the week end balloting in the Bridge Queen popularity contest,” the article read, “with Miss Treutel leading by slightly over 200 votes of the 43,000 cast for these two candidates.”
Ruby’s 22,570 vote total was more than twice that of the third-place contestant and far ahead of the 10 votes for Miss Pearl Brewster. But, like fame and money, the lead would not last as the contest balloting steamed along for two weeks at such a rapid pace the contest was ended early. In the first week, more than 1.3 million ballots were cast. The Bridge Committee had trouble keeping up with the tallying, which would exceed 20 million votes by the end of the contest.
By September 28, 1922, Ruby’s vote total had more than doubled, to 45,240. But this now paled in comparison to contest leaders Eva Manka and Mary Herron, who had more than 500,000 votes between them. On Sept. 30, Herron’s vote total ballooned to 989,000, far exceeding Manka’s new total of 640,000. Ruby was in a respectable fifth place with 171,000 votes. By the time the committee decided to cut voting short on Sept. 30, balloting was at a fever pitch. The final vote totals were:
Mary Herron, 5,336,570 votes
Mildred Bossert, 3,645,840 votes
Eva Manka, 1,763,360 votes
Manon Matthews, 1,016,510 votes
Margaret Galles, 711,550 votes
Alice Damon, 618,550 votes
Ruby Treutel, 608,050 votes
Maurine Dutcher, 492,410 votes
Pearl Possley, 486,600 votes
Ruth McCarthy, 460,510 votes
Miss Herron was crowned Queen of the Bridge. On Oct. 18, 1922, she attended the huge dedication ceremony and officially christened the span the “Grand Avenue Bridge.” It was indeed a grand event, with thousands of people, a parade and even aerial acrobatics performed by the Federated Flyers stunt team, which did loops in the sky with its planes, and thrilled the crowd with wing walking.
The Grand Avenue Bridge has long been an important part of Wood County’s infrastructure. The 1922 version replaced an old wood and steel span. Bridges across the Wisconsin River date to the 1870s. In earlier times, bridge was an important link between the former towns of Grand Rapids and Centralia,which later joined to form the city of Wisconsin Rapids.
Our newest “Eye on the Past” feature photo shows a charming little grocery store located about 1.5 miles west of Lake Michigan in Waukegan, Illinois. Wilson’s Food Store was located at 1814 Grand Avenue, operated by my Dad’s aunt and uncle, Nina (Treutel) Wilson and Lawrence Wilson. Nina was a younger sister of my Grandmother Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman.
The Wilson family, including children Steve and Laurni Lee, operated the grocery in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The family living quarters were behind the store. Any time someone entered, a bell rang in the back and family members took turns waiting on customers. Shown on the right side of the photo are Laurni Lee (Wilson) Breedlove and Steve Wilson. Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962) is holding baby Bonnie (Treutel) Young. In front of them is Bonnie’s older sister, Patricia (Treutel) Anderson. Emma was Nina and Ruby’s aunt from Arpin, Wisconsin. Bonnie and Patricia are Laurni Lee and Steve’s cousins.
Lawrence Wilson was a longtime chemist and plant superintendent at Pfanstiehl Laboratories in Waukegan. I distinctly remember Uncle Laurie and Aunt Nina coming to my wedding in December 1990 in Racine, Wisconsin. Somewhere I have a video of them arriving at the reception at Racine’s Memorial Hall. After retirement, the couple moved to Arizona. Lawrence died in 2001, and Nina passed away in 2005.
The little brick building in the photo still stands, although over the years it was extended on both sides to include other businesses. The vintage metal signs in the photo advertised Orange Crush and 7up soda. Window stickers promoted Sealtest ice cream, Hydrox sandwich cookies, and produce (cut corn, green beens, wax beans and broccoli).
When was the last time your visit to the Cineplex included live entertainment? (The bratty 5-year-old in front of you throwing popcorn at his brother does not count.) The movie theater was once about much more than movies, and the price of admission included live performances, newsreels, comedy shorts and more. For years our own Ruby V. Hanneman was a featured performer at some of Wisconsin Rapids finest cinemas, and her name appeared in ads right alongside Silent Era stars of the day like Neal Hart, Ricardo Cortez,Doris Kenyon and Jack Holt.
Ruby often appeared at theIdeal Theatre at 220 E. Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids. She sang a “musical novelty” at two shows on Halloween night 1925. The main attraction was The Thundering Herd, a movie based on the 1925 novel by Zane Grey. (Zane Grey happened to be a favorite author of Carl F. Hanneman and his son David, but we digress.) Seats that night were just 10 cents or 25 cents, half off the typical ticket prices.
On Thanksgiving 1925, Ruby sang for the audience at Paramount Pictures In the Name of Love, starring Ricardo Cortez and Greta Nissen. Ruby sang two numbers, “Lonesome, That’s All,” and “In the Garden of Tomorrow.” The 15 cent and 35 cent admission also included the Wisconsin Rapids Quintette, newsreels and a Will Rogers comedy.
Ruby got perhaps her most prominent billing for the October 17, 1925 showing ofThe Spaniard. Her name was most prominent in the ad in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.“Added Attraction, Mrs. Ruby Hanneman in a Musical Novelty,Please, the ad read. On Aug. 25, 1925 she appeared at the New Palace Theater singing, “I Wonder What’s Become of Sally.” The feature film that night was Born Rich starring Bert Lytell and Claire Windsor.
By the time she starred at the New Palace and the Ideal, Ruby was a veteran singer. According to the April 4, 1921 edition of the Daily Tribune,Ruby Treutel “brought down the applause of the house time after time” for her performance in the play “The Fire Prince” at Daly’s Theater. Ruby was 17 at the time.
When she graduated from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids in 1922, Ruby had years of experience in music and drama. She played the female lead in the operetta Sylvia during her senior year. She was also president of the Glee Club. Under her senior class portrait in the yearbook The Ahdawagam read the motto, “Music hath charms and so does she.”
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.