Tag Archives: Vesper

Eye on the Past: State Bank of Vesper 1912

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.

Grandma Ruby (maiden name Treutel) grew up in Vesper. Her father Walter Treutel was a longtime postal carrier. Several uncles operated a butcher shop, general store and blacksmith/carpentry shop in the village. Her aunt Emma was postmistress for nearly a decade.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Wedding Wednesday: Esther M. Albrecht and Emil R. Gottschalk

Esther Marie Albrecht was married to Emil Rudolph Gottschalk on November 12, 1930 in the Town of Hewitt in Wood County, Wisconsin. Esther was the maid of honor at the July 1925 wedding of Ruby V. Treutel and Carl F. Hanneman in Vesper, Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Gottschalk moved to Waukesha, and had two daughters, Pearl and LaVon. They were longtime friends of the Hanneman family. She is the daughter of George and Pearl (Smith) Albrecht.

Esther M. Albrecht married Emil R. Gottschalk in November 1930 in Wood County, Wisconsin.
Esther M. Albrecht married Emil R. Gottschalk in November 1930 in the Town of Hewitt, Wood County, Wisconsin.

According to the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census, Emil worked as a core maker in an iron foundry in Waukesha. Emil Gottschalk died on February 1, 1944 at just age 37. Mrs. Gottschalk operated Esther’s Food Store on Arcadian Avenue in Waukesha. In April 1946, she married Harold D. “Whitey” Buchs at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waukesha. Esther died January 1, 1985 in Vesper. Harold died April 13, 2007 in Vesper.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Emil and Esther Gottschalk with daughters Pearl and LaVon.
Emil and Esther Gottschalk with daughters Pearl (1936-2012) and LaVon, during a visit at the Carl and Ruby Hanneman home in Mauston, Wisconsin.

Eye on the Past: Bundled for a 1920s Winter

These young ladies look like they are dressed for a Siberian winter, although the location of this photograph is central Wisconsin. Sisters Lillian M. Albrecht (left) and Esther M. Albrecht are bundled with fur coats, hats and hand warmers. The photo was taken about 1920, probably at Vesper, Wisconsin, their home town.

Lillian M. Albrecht and sister Esther M. Albrecht are well-prepared for winter.
Lillian M. Albrecht and sister Esther M. Albrecht are well-prepared for winter.

Lillian married George J. Ladick in June 1922, and the couple had four children: Sylvia (1923-1961), Lucille (1925-2005), Lawrence (1930-2000) and Shirley. Esther married Emil R. Gottschalk in November 1930, and the couple had two daughters, Pearl (1936-2012) and LaVon.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Wedding Wednesday: Big 1913 Wisconsin Party

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.

Groom Joseph Mras and bride Mary Sternot are flanked by flower girls Ruby V. Treutel (right) and Gladys Cole. Back row (left to right) includes Anton Sternot, unidentified woman, Joe Pyrch, Anna Sternot, John Sternot and another unidentified woman.
Groom Joseph Mras and bride Mary Sternot are flanked by flower girls Ruby V. Treutel (left) and Gladys Cole. Back row (left to right) includes Joseph Sternot, Josie Leu, John Pyrch, Anna Sternot, John Yeske and Mary Billiet.

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.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Vesper Village Gathering

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.

Wedding Wednesday: Carl and Ruby Hanneman

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 wedding party of groom Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, 23, and Ruby Viola Treutel, 21. Wedding was July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church, Vesper, Wis.  At front left is flower girl Nina Treutel, 11, sister of the bride. At front right is ring-bearer Elaine Treutel, 5, sister of the bride. Across the back, left to right, are Joe Ladick (bride's cousin), Gladys Cole (bride's cousin), groom Carl Hanneman, bride Ruby V. Hanneman, best man Wendell Miscoll, and maid of honor Esther Allbrecht.
The wedding party of groom Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, 23, and Ruby Viola Treutel, 21. Wedding was July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church, Vesper, Wis. At front left is flower girl Nina Treutel, 11, sister of the bride. At front right is ring-bearer Elaine Treutel, 5, sister of the bride. Across the back, left to right, are Joe Ladick (bride’s cousin), Gladys Cole (bride’s cousin), groom Carl Hanneman, bride Ruby V. Hanneman, best man Wendell Miscoll, and maid of honor Esther Allbrecht.

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. 

Rev. Charles W. Gille of St. James Catholic Church officiated at the wedding.
Rev. Charles W. Gille of St. James Catholic Church officiated at the wedding.

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.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby Treutel’s Spirited 1922 Quest for ‘Queen of the Bridge’

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. 

Queen of the Bridge wasn't really a beauty contest, but Ruby Treutel would have fared well on that count.
Queen of the Bridge wasn’t really a beauty contest, but Ruby Treutel would have fared well on that count alone.

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 Tribune on 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 Treutel was in the thick of it at the beginning, but eventually fell behind in voting.
Ruby Treutel was in the thick of it at the beginning, but eventually fell behind in voting.

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.

This 1940 postcard shows the Grand Avenue Bridge in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
This 1940 postcard shows the Grand Avenue Bridge in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

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.

Oscar Treutel Goes Back to School in August 1942

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.

A young Oscar Treutel, circa 1899, when he was a college student in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
A young Oscar Treutel, circa 1899, when he was a college student in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

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.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Photos with That Memorable Something

Sometimes a photograph will strike you in a certain way that makes it memorable. It has some intangible quality that makes it almost timeless. Of the thousands of images in our library, a handful qualify for this kind of distinction. Not for their physical clarity or skill of the photographer, but that certain look. You might describe it just a bit like looking at a Rockwell painting, or a black and white photograph by Ansel Adams.

This image has a Little Rascals look and feel to it. Toddler Elaine Treutel and the family dog on her tricycle, circa 1922.
This image has a Little Rascals look and feel to it. Originally thought to be toddler Elaine Treutel and the family dog on her tricycle, circa 1922. Turns out this was actually one of the sons of Harry Cole.

View the whole collection in the gallery below:

1926 Fire Destroyed St. James Rectory at Vesper

A fire in April 1926 at the parish priest’s residence in Vesper, Wisconsin, spread so fast that the building was reduced to its foundation before firefighters arrived.

Rev. Charles W. Gille
Rev. Charles W. Gille

Fire broke out in the rectory of St. James Catholic Church on Monday, April 19, 1926. Calls went to the Wisconsin Rapids fire department, but its firemen were all out battling grass fires. Villagers were on their own.

Belongings from the burning home can be seen in the foreground.
Belongings from the burning home can be seen in the foreground.

Neighbors rushed into the burning building to pull out as much as possible before the home was lost to the flames. It’s not known if the parish priest, Rev. Charles W. Gille, was at home when the fire broke out. Within a matter of minutes, the home was, as firefighters say, “totally involved.” The buckets of water thrown at it were of no use. By the time firemen from Marshfield arrived, it was too late.

As the fire reduces the home to its foundation, a man is seen tossing water on the roof of a nearby building.
As the fire reduces the home to its foundation, a man is seen tossing water on the roof of a nearby building.

The former residence of the Henry Stahl family on Benson Avenue was purchased by the St. James parish in 1919 to serve as a home for the parish priest. The loss from the fire was estimated at more than $4,000. The photos were taken by Carl F. Hanneman, whose father-in-law, Walter Treutel, lived just down the block from the fire scene.

This double exposure appears to show a man walking through the remains of the fire.
This double exposure appears to show a man walking through the remains of the fire.