In an effort to put my family history audio recordings to better use, we’re adding a new post category: audio history. In this inaugural audio clip, my Dad shares recollections of childhood visits to Vesper and Arpin, Wisconsin. The Hanneman family from Mauston often visited Dad’s maternal grandfather, Walter Treutel (1879-1948), in Vesper. A short distance away was the home of Aunt Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1948). Listen carefully for the description of dinner preparation in Arpin, where Uncle Oscar Treutel lopped a few heads off to get things started. This was recorded in November 2006, just as Dad started treatment for the cancer that would end his life five months later.
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.
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.
Eight uniformed, ax-wielding men and their sword-bearing commander grace this photograph from Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1910. The men were Foresters, a ceremonial drill team from a fraternal group called the Modern Woodmen of America. The Woodmen organization dates to the 1880s. It was formed to provide financial relief when the family breadwinner died. Drill teams would participate in parades and at other public functions to promote the group and show patriotism.
At farthest left in the photo is Walter Treutel (1879-1948), father of our Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977). The fourth man from the left is Orville Carlin (1874-1934), Ruby’s uncle. Walter was the longtime rural-route postal carrier in Vesper. Orville operated a butcher shop and meat market at Vesper before moving his business to nearby Arpin. He was the husband of Walter’s sister, Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962).
©2015 The Hanneman Archive
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
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.
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:
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.©2014 The Hanneman Archive
It would be hard not to respect a man who worked diligently at his job six days a week for 30 years. For Walter Treutel, the job record was even more impressive. His career as a rural letter carrier took him on a nearly 240,000-mile journey making sure the people of Vesper, Wisconsin received their mail and packages from 1904 to 1934.
“The new rural mail carriers who will begin carrying mail on the 10 new routes on December 1st received their appointment from Washington last week,” the local Grand Rapids, Wis., newspaper announced in November 1904. “These carriers all took the competitive examination in this city four weeks ago and those fortunate to receive an appointment will now only have to file their bond for the faithful performance of their duty.” Walter’s first day as a letter carrier was Dec. 1, 1904. He was just two years married to the former Mary Ladick, and their firstborn child, Ruby, was just six months old.
His first trip over Rural Route 1 was made in an open buggy pulled by two ponies. He and his sister, Emma Carlin, rode that first 26.5-mile run together to deliver just 35 pieces of mail. At the time, the Vesper postal station was located inside the Treutel Bros. store, run by Walter’s brothers, Charles and Henry Treutel. Walter’s official postal substitute was his wife, Mary.
The dirt roads were rough and filled with chuckholes. The buggy rode over corduroy — soft or swampy sections that were shored up by placing logs across the path. Roads were so punishing in those early days that horses typically lasted only two years in service.
The first open postal buggy was eventually replaced by a covered postal wagon. Walter used a dozen horses on his route over the years. One of the toughest, “Old Baldy,” served for seven years in all sorts of weather. His first automobile, a two-cylinder Buick roadster, was nicknamed “The Little Red Devil.” Three other postal vehicles served on the route during his tenure.
He served under five postmasters during his 30 years, including his sister Emma Carlin, who was Vesper postmistress for nine years starting in 1906. In November 1934, Walter took his overdue two-week vacation, then returned for one final route on Dec. 1 — thirty years to the day after his first day on the job.
Walter was born July 23, 1879 in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, the son of Philipp and Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. Walter’s wife, the former Mary Helen Ladick, died in 1925 after suffering a post-operative infection. She was just 41. They had five children, four of whom (Ruby, Nina, Marvin and Elaine) survived into adulthood. Walter died Feb. 15, 1948 of lingering heart disease. He was 68.
FAMILY LINE: Johann Adam Treutel >> Philipp Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
Like most hard-working farmers of his day, Frederick Krosch spent a lot of time toiling in the fields. First in Germany and then on an 80-acre farm north of the village of Mukwonago in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
It’s amazing to realize that the water bottle he carried with him into the fields has survived to this day, more than 130 years after his death. The glass bottle, embossed with lettering that reads “Dr. Cummins Vegetine,” has been in the possession of Bonnie (Treutel) Young, the elder Krosch’s great-great granddaughter.
The note was written by Emma (Treutel) Carlin (1877-1962), Frederick Krosch’s granddaughter, who no doubt inherited it from her mother, Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1839-1908).
As documented in a previous article,the Krosch family came to America inJuly 1854 and settled into farming in Waukesha County. Frederick Krosch farmed 80 acres of land that is now home to a bank and a Culver’s restaurant. The Krosch farm was adjacent to land owned by Judge Martin Field, for whom Field Park in Mukwonago is named. Krosch’s farmland was valued at $1,500,according to the 1870 U.S. Census.
Krosch continued his farming as his daughter Henrietta marriedblacksmith Philipp Treutel and started her own family. The elder Krosch died Aug. 7, 1876. He is buried at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Mukwonago.
As for the original contents of that bottle, Vegetine was sold for years as a “blood purifier.” It laid claim to curing and preventing maladies from pimples to cancer and neuralgia to “female weakness,” gout and sciatica. Vegetine was made from bark, roots and herbs.
Given Vegetine’s wild curative claims, perhaps Frederick Krosch figured out he was better off sticking to water.
FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch (1799-1876) >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.
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
©The Hanneman Archive