Tag Archives: Waukesha County

Frederick Krosch’s 1855 Declaration of Intent for Citizenship

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.

Frederick Krosch's farm was in Section 23 on this 1870 Mukwonago-area map.
Frederick Krosch’s farm was in Section 23 on this 1870 Mukwonago-area map.

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.

The grave of Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch at Elmore, Minnesota.
The grave of Christiana (Schlagel) Krosch at Elmore, Minnesota.

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.

©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.

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

From the Mulde to Milwaukee: Krosch Family Journey to America

The spring of 1854 must have seemed full of promise for the Johann Friedrich Krosch family. After 55 years growing up and raising a family in the Kingdom of Saxony, Frederick Krosch prepared to leave his home at Jessnitz and set out for America. Two of his sons, William, 29, and Karl, 30, came to Wisconsin in 1850, and now it was time to join them.

So in May 1854 the Krosch family left their hometown along the Mulde River and began the long journey to America. When the sailing ship Bertha left the Port of Bremen around June 12, there were six Kroschs among the 218 passengers onboard: Frederick, wife Christiana, 53, sons Augustus Frederick, 20; Reinhold, 16; and Gustav, 11; and daughter Henrietta, 16.

August F. Krosch
August F. Krosch

Officially known as the Barque Bertha, the ship was a multi-mast sailing vessel. It was very likely a rough journey, with the ship both dependent on, and at the mercy of, the North Atlantic winds. The Krosch family started the voyage in steerage, the least comfortable part of the ship.

During the journey passengers noticed a shark following the ship for days, according to family stories passed down through generations. This was most upsetting, since a shark following a vessel was believed to signal impending death on board. Old sailors’ lore held that sharks had the ability to sense if someone on board was near death.

At one point severe storm blew up and damaged the ship’s rigging. The carpenter aboard the Bertha refused to scale the mast to make repairs. So Augustus Krosch hoisted himself up and fixed the mast, allowing the Bertha to be back underway. Shortly after, the Krosch family was moved from steerage to a cabin for the rest of the journey. Augustus and Reinhold then got jobs working as carpenters aboard the Bertha.

The family sold everything to make the journey to America. The Krosch men kept their money in money belts worn under their clothing. Although the belts painfully chafed the skin, no one dared remove them for fear of being robbed.

Portrait of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1838-1908). Henrietta Krosch came to America in July 1854 at age 16 from the town of Jessnitz, Saxony, Germany.
Portrait of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1838-1908). Henrietta Krosch came to America in July 1854 at age 16 from the town of Jessnitz, Saxony, Germany.

Brisk trade winds pushed the ship backward, delaying arrival in New York by a week. About two-thirds of the way across, the Bertha encountered “large quantities” of ice, according to voyage record filed in New York by the ship’s master, named Klamp.

On Thursday, July 20, 1854, the Bertha arrived at the Port of New York after 40 days at sea. The Kroschs then traveled to Chicago, likely by steamboat and railroad. Hotel accommodations in Chicago were scarce, so the family took the only room they could find. But an infestation of bedbugs forced them to flee the hotel for a livery stable, where they spent the night.

From there they likely rode the train to Milwaukee, and then continued on until reaching East Troy in Walworth County, where Karl and William were living. Frederick purchased land in nearby Mukwonago and started a farm. His daughter, Henrietta, met and married a blacksmith named Philipp Treutel. They first established their home in Mukwonago and later moved to North Prairie.

Frederick Krosch is buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery at Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
Frederick Krosch is buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery at Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

William Krosch settled near the village of Eagle, and married Christiana Naumann in 1857. “My father’s farm was only 80 acres. It was mostly woodland, so he worked very hard to clear some for farming,” wrote Amelia Krosch Richardson in a 1940 memoir. “There was but my brother Will and myself at that time. We had a sister, Ida, who died when she was four years old of diphtheria and one baby sister that did not live. Both are buried near our home in Wisconsin.” The story of Ida Krosch was chronicled in an earlier article.

On November 5, 1855, Frederick Krosch (1799-1876) filed his declaration of intent to become a U.S. Citizen.
On November 5, 1855, Frederick Krosch (1799-1876) filed his declaration of intent to become a U.S. Citizen.

Eventually, William, Augustus and Gustave Krosch moved west and settled around Blue Earth, Minnesota. After Frederick Krosch died in 1877, his wife Christiana moved to Minnesota, where she died in 1881. Reinhold and Karl stayed on their farms near Lake Beulah in Walworth County, Wisconsin.

FAMILY LINE: John Frederick Krosch >> Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.

William Carlin: Waukesha County’s Heaviest Man

Society’s obsession with weight is not a new phenomenon, but it seems a most curious detail to include in an obituary. William Carlin of the Town of Ottawa in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, suffered such a fate when newspapers made his girth the top fact in his obituary.

“Weighed 385 Pounds,” read the Page 1 headline in the The Waukesha Freeman on May 25, 1899. “Mr. Carlin weighed 385 pounds and was doubtless the heaviest man in the county,” the article said. “His death was caused by fatty degeneration of the heart.” Doubtless. It’s unclear how the newspaper reached such a conclusion. Carlin, who was just 50 when he died, was not part of a circus. He didn’t seek fame as the state’s fattest man. Yet the newspaper deemed his life should boil down to the fact he was heavy. The Weekly Wisconsin newspaper in Milwaukee also found Carlin’s weight newsworthy, but relegated it to Page 5.

The Waukesha Freeman carried the death of William Carlin on Page 1 in May 1899.
The Waukesha Freeman carried the death of William Carlin on Page 1 in May 1899.

So history won’t remember him only for his body size, we’ll shed some more light on the life of William Carlin. Born November 23, 1849 in the Town of Ottawa, he was the son of Christopher Carlin and the former Elizabeth Cobb. Christopher Carlin died at age 37 in June 1858, when William was 8 years old. The Carlins were farmers on land northwest of tiny North Prairie. Christopher Carlin emigrated from England. At one time in the 1890s, William Carlin owned 300 acres of farmland in Waukesha County.

William Carlin married the former Annie Jones, and they had two children. Orville Walter Carlin, husband of Emma (Treutel) Carlin, was born February 5, 1874. Elizabeth J. “Lizzie” Carlin was born in January 1881. Their mother died in May 1889 at the young age of 37. Orville and Lizzie suffered a second tragedy in May 1899 when their father died, as newspapers said, from “fatty degeneration of the heart.” Orville married Emma Treutel and moved to Vesper, Wisconsin, where he operated a butcher shop. He died in 1934 at age 60. Lizzie married Jacob F. Supita. She died in 1944. William’s brother, Thomas Carlin, died in 1903 at age 52, so it seems genetics worked against the Carlin men.

The Waukesha Journal carried this ad in November 1889.
The Waukesha Journal carried this ad in November 1889.

Newspapers have long carried stories about record-setters, be it for height or weight. Often the subject of the stories sought the publicity. But what of those who didn’t? Did La Crosse businessman Samuel P. Welsh approve of his moniker as Wisconsin’s fattest man? When he married Grace Dutzel in June 1911, newspapers across the Midwest carried stories on how he weighed 400 pounds, while his bride “tipped the beam” at just 100 pounds. The Indianapolis News ran a Page 1 wire story on the Welshes arriving in Milwaukee for their honeymoon.

The Green Bay Republican carried this tidbit in December 1843: “The fattest man in the world lives in Connecticut. He is so thick through that he must lie down when he wishes to look tall.”

Dave McGuire of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, posed for a newspaper photograph in May 1921. It ran under the caption, “World’s Fattest? Who Knows?” “Dave McGuire of Silver Lake, Wis., doesn’t belong to a circus, nor does he ever expect to enter one,” one newspaper caption read. “He’s six feet seven inches tall and weighs 744 pounds, but he doesn’t care to go to the trouble of finding out whether he’s the fattest man in the world or not. He’s satisfied with the simple farm life.

The Treutel Family: From Königstadten to Wisconsin

They were craftsmen — blacksmiths, tailors, chandlers, carpenters — the clan of Treutels who came to Wisconsin from the Darmstadt area of Germany starting in 1849. The Johann Adam Treutel family left the village of Konigstadten between 1849 and 1854 and headed for America. They were part of a huge wave of German emigrants that changed the face of Wisconsin and the United States.

The Wisconsin branch of the Treutel family tree is from Konigstadten, a village just northwest of the city of Darmstadt. From this “king’s village” came Johann Adam Treutel and his wife, Elizabetha Katharina (Geier) Treutel. According to the Hessisches Staatsarchiv in Darmstadt, Adam, Katharina and at least some of their children left for America in July 1854. The emigration index simply lists that the eldest Treutel traveled “with his family.”

Their son John Treutel had already been in Wisconsin for some two years when they departed Germany. We believe the 1854 traveling party included at least three other Treutel children: Philipp Treutel, 21; Sebastian Treutel, 19; and Henry J. Treutel, 13. Their destination was Milwaukee. In May 1849, the eldest Treutel child, Adam, left for America, living in New York for a time before moving to Milwaukee.

The red stars show locations where members of the Treutel family operated blacksmith and chandler shops in Milwaukee. At right is the Milwaukee River.
The red stars show locations where members of the Treutel family operated blacksmith and chandler shops in Milwaukee. At right is the Milwaukee River.

The Treutel family ran a tallow chandler shop near downtown Milwaukee. The shop sold soap and candles made from animal fat and other ingredients. At various times in the 1860s and 1870s, Adam Jr. worked as a railroad man, a tallow chandler and a tailor. The Treutels, some of whom lived in Milwaukee’s Second Ward, had good Darmstadt neighbors, including master brewers Joseph Schlitz and Phillip Best. When their father Johann Adam died in Milwaukee in 1859, some of the Treutel sons took up residence with other German families in Milwaukee.

Although his primary residence was in Mukwonago in Waukesha County, Philipp Treutel is listed in the 1863 Milwaukee city directory as having a blacksmith shop at the southwest corner of Fifth and Prairie in downtown Milwaukee. He is listed in the 1867 directory as living at 517 Cherry St., next door to his younger brother, Henry. So it appears Philipp moved between Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, probably based on availability of work.

The tombstone of Katharina (Geier) Treutel sits in the shadow of the monument to her son, John, at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis.
The tombstone of Katharina (Geier) Treutel sits in the shadow of the monument to her son, John, at Union Cemetery in West Bend, Wis.

Katharina Geier Treutel was born on July 24, 1800 in Hesse-Darmstadt, the daughter of Nicolaus and Elizabetha Geier. She married Johann Adam Treutel sometime around or just after 1820. She died on April 26, 1886 in the Town of Addison, Washington County, Wis., and is buried at Union Cemetery in West Bend. The cause of death was listed as marasmus senilis, which basically means old age. She had eight children, five of whom (along with 42 grandchildren) survived her. Her tombstone reads:

Hier Ruht in Gott (Here Rests in God)

Katharina

Gattin von (Wife of)

A. Treutel

Philipp Treutel settled in Mukwonago in Waukesha County, where he married Henrietta Krosch and fathered seven children, including Walter Treutel (father of Ruby Treutel Hanneman). He was a blacksmith, and probably learned the trade from his father. After Philipp’s death in 1891, Henrietta moved the Treutel family to Vesper in Wood County, Wisconsin.

Henry J. Treutel enlisted in the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, and fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Sebastian also joined the 26th Wisconsin, but was given a disability discharge in August 1863, possibly from wounds during the war. We don’t believe Philipp or John Treutel were called into service.

Henry, Sebastian and John Treutel eventually settled in the Town of Addison, Washington County. John was a carpenter. The 1870 U.S. Census for the Town of Addison shows a Jacob Treutel, 31, living at the John Treutel homestead. It is possible that Jacob, who would have been born about 1839, was a younger brother. Sebastian was also a carpenter, but he later worked hauling the U.S. Mail in Washington County. Henry operated a blacksmith shop, a store, a saloon and a cheese factory near the village of Aurora. He later moved to Wausau.

Based on all of the evidence we’ve gathered, it appears the Johann Adam Treutel family included Adam (1822), John (1831), Philipp and deceased twin brother (1833), Sebastian (1835) and Henry (1841). Other possible children are Peter and Jacob, but more research is needed to establish their lineage.

Family Line: Johann Adam Treutel >> Philipp Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby Treutel Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.

Monument of Philipp Treutel, grandfather of Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman, at North Prairie Cemetery in Waukesha County, Wis.
Monument of Philipp Treutel, grandfather of Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman, at North Prairie Cemetery in Waukesha County, Wis. Philipp died in 1891.

Treutels in Good Pioneer Company in 1850s Mukwonago, Wisconsin

When the Johann Adam Treutel family emigrated to America from Darmstadt, Germany, they spread out across Eastern Wisconsin. Young Philipp Treutel and his wife settled in rural Waukesha County and became neighbors of some of the area’s best known pioneers. The young blacksmith set up shop in the heart of the village of Mukwonago, former Potawatomi Indian lands on the banks of what was then called Mill Pond.

Sewall Andrews
Sewall Andrews

According to the 1860 U.S. Census, Philipp, Henrietta and baby Adeline Treutel lived in the same area as Sewall Andrews, the founder of Mukwonago and a major Wisconsin land owner. Andrews built a general store in 1837 that became a major trade center for the county. He built his own red brick house at the village center in 1842. The brick house still stands today along Main Street in Mukwonago and now houses the local museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sewall Andrews built his red brick house in Mukwonago in 1842.
Sewall Andrews built his red brick house in Mukwonago in 1842.


The Treutel residence is listed as No. 379 made during census visits in Mukwonago. The Andrews’ home was No. 372. Other nearby residents included Samuel Worthman, the village cooper (barrel maker); Martin Field, who owned the saw mill; Hezekiah Job, the tailor; and Melvin Gibson, who ran the livery stable. Field was also an attorney who became town justice of the peace and later a Waukesha County judge. The village park is named in his honor.

Judge Martin Field
Judge Martin Field

The 1870 plat map for Waukesha County shows Philipp Treutel’s blacksmith shop and residence mere blocks from Andrews’ famous red brick home. The Treutel shop was near the intersection of Fox and Mill streets, close to the office of H.A. Youmans M.D., the town’s physician and surgeon. Nearby was Mukwonago House, the hotel run by Adolph Platner. Just to the south were the E.H. Kellogg saw mill and grist mill on the banks of the Mukwonago River.

Cropped view of portrait of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1838-1908). Henrietta Krosch came to America in July 1854 at age 16 from the town of Jessnitz, Saxony, Germany. Her family settled at Mukwonago, where her father, John Frederick Krosch, became a well-known farmer. She met and married blacksmith Philipp Treutel and lived the next 35 years in Mukwonago and North Prairie. Widowed in 1891, she moved her family to Vesper in Wood County in 1901, where she died on Feb. 6, 1908. She is buried at North Prairie Cemetery.
Cropped view of portrait of Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel (1838-1908). Henrietta Krosch came to America in July 1854 at age 16 from the town of Jessnitz, Saxony, Germany. Her family settled at Mukwonago, where her father, John Frederick Krosch, became a well-known farmer. She met and married blacksmith Philipp Treutel and lived the next 35 years in Mukwonago and North Prairie. Widowed in 1891, she moved her family to Vesper in Wood County in 1901, where she died on Feb. 6, 1908. She is buried at North Prairie Cemetery.

We know the Treutel family moved from Mukwonago to the crossroads village of North Prairie, since obituaries and other newspaper accounts referred to the family homestead at North Prairie. However, the family name is not shown on the 1891 plat map for North Prairie. It is possible they had a homestead on some of the property owned by the Carlin family.

The family included Adeline Barbara (1859-1928), Lisetta (1861-1931), Henry Adam (1864-1962), Charles (1869-1958), Oscar (1874-1967), Emma (1877-1962) and Walter (1879-1948).

After Philipp Treutel died in June 1891, his widow moved the family north to tiny Vesper, in Wood County. Her sons worked as blacksmiths, retail merchants and a U.S. Postal Service carrier. Emma Treutel Carlin served as postmistress of Vesper in the early 1900s. Henrietta Treutel died in 1908. Philipp and Henrietta are buried at North Prairie Cemetery.

Walter Treutel’s 240,000-mile Journey Through Wood County, Wisconsin

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.

Walter Treutel of Vesper, Wisconsin.
Walter Treutel of Vesper, Wisconsin.

“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.

Walter Treutel picnics with children Nina, Elaine and Marvin, circa 1925. Behind the camera is Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman.
Walter Treutel picnics with children Nina, Elaine and Marvin, circa 1925. Behind the camera is Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman.

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 Treutel with second wife Vera (at left), sister Emma Carlin, daughter Ruby Hanneman and grandchildren Lavonne and David D. Hanneman.
Walter Treutel with second wife Vera (at left), sister Emma Carlin, daughter Ruby Hanneman and grandchildren Lavonne and David D. Hanneman.

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.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune wrote about Walter Treutel's last day on the job in 1934.
The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune wrote about Walter Treutel’s last day on the job in 1934.

FAMILY LINE: Johann Adam Treutel >> Philipp Treutel >> Walter Treutel >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman >> Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman.

Frederick Krosch Water Bottle Dates to the Mid-1800s

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.

Bonnie has had the bottle on display at her home, but only recently removed a handwritten note that had been placed inside in 1944.The note reads: “This is the bottle in which our grandfather Krosch, ‘mother’s father,’ used to take drinking water to the fields with him. It’s perhaps near 100 years old.”

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.Krosch Water Bottle Note

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.

Cemetery Neglect: Sad Resting Place for Little Ida Krosch

William and Crystal Krosch faced unthinkable tragedy during their first years in Wisconsin. The joy at the birth of their daughter Ida Clara Krosch in February 1858 turned to dread and sadness just a few years later. Sick with diphtheria, little Ida died two days after Christmas 1861 at the family home in the town of Eagle in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

Ida Krosch was laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery about a mile south of the village of Eagle. A 2-acre parcel carved out of the Kettle Moraine Forest, the cemetery was a scenic, peaceful place that no doubt brought some comfort to the family during visits to the little girl’s resting place. What shock they would feel if they witnessed what would become of the little country cemetery long after the family had moved to Minnesota.

What was going on in the world in December 1861? “It looks now as if we are to have good sleighing for Christmas, as several inches of snow fell during Sunday last,” wrote the Waukesha Freeman on Dec. 24, 1861. The newspapers were promoting a Waukesha visit by Gen. Tom Thumb, “America’s Man in Miniature” made famous by P.T. Barnum. And many local men were leaving their businesses to join Wisconsin troops in the Civil War.

The arch over entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery, Eagle, Wisconsin.
The arch over entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery, Eagle, Wisconsin.


The burial records of Oak Grove Cemetery are testament to the hardships of pioneer life in rural Waukesha County. It was common for families to lose young children to diseases such as diphtheria or typhoid fever. Ironically, an article run in the Waukesha Freeman the week Ida died wrongly predicted that diphtheria would be fatal in just one of 100 cases. Diphtheria would become the No. 1 killer of children in America during the coming decades.

The cemetery is replete with stories of the sadness of youth lost. James Lowry died at age 5 in 1858. Ada Severance died at age 4 in 1855. Arden Baldwin died at age 3 just months before Ida Krosch. Oscar Jaycox was just 1 when he died in 1858. Arthur Bigelow was 2 when he died in 1855. Orlando Cook was a mere 8 months old when he died in 1852.

‘Gone but not forgotten?’
‘Gone but not forgotten?’

Peter Grems, reported to be the first veterinarian in the Wisconsin Territory, is buried here. Charles Kilts, a bugler for Company K of the 1st Wisconsin Volunteers in the Civil War, is buried here, too. He died in September 1862.

No doubt the graves of these folks were tended to with care for many decades, but Oak Grove Cemetery has now become a sad monument of neglect and abandonment. Monuments have been toppled. Headstones lie in pieces. Many headstones are leaning badly. Grave sites are covered in thicket. Some have been swallowed by the encroaching forest. The wrought iron fence that separates the cemetery from nearby Highway 67 is rusty and listing. No doubt the families of these souls would be heartsick to see the state of this burial ground.

Broken tombstone of Eliza Mead, who died in 1870
Broken tombstone of Eliza Mead, who died in 1870.

Ironically, Oak Grove Cemetery is just across the road from Old World Wisconsin, the world’s largest museum on the history of rural life. Old World Wisconsin is run by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Maybe if they included their neighboring cemetery on their tours this hallowed ground would not be in such deplorable shape.

For the most part, burials stopped at Oak Grove in 1967, 125 years after the cemetery was founded. We did find one interment at Oak Grove in 2007. Since the cemetery association that cared for the land disbanded long ago, upkeep of the cemetery falls to the local government. It appears the grass gets mowed, but that is no doubt where the maintenance stops.

Graves of Mary and William Reeves, d. 1856 and 1857.
Willie Larue Snover, who died at age 8 in 1869.

Under Wisconsin law, circuit courts can compel local municipalities to care for abandoned cemeteries, or even order the reinterment of the deceased in new cemeteries. Given that Oak Grove is a pioneer cemetery with the remains of the founding families of Eagle, as well as many Civil War veterans, it is very sad that more pride is not taken in preserving it.

Little Ida Clara Krosch’s tombstone can no longer be found at Oak Grove Cemetery. Maybe that’s just as well. Her parents and their descendants would no doubt hang their heads in sadness and shame to see what became of little Oak Grove Cemetery.

FAMILY LINE: 
John Frederick Krosch >> William F. Krosch >> Ida C. Krosch

Grave of Martha Lowry,  who died in 1873.
Grave of Martha Lowry, who died in 1873.