The look on Ruby V. Hanneman’s face in this classic photo says it all. “I have NO idea how to run this rig!” This image was scanned from a Kodachrome slide taken by Ruby’s husband, Carl F. Hanneman. The year is about 1958.
Judging by the other slides in the batch, the Hanneman family was attending a wedding in the Wausau or Wisconsin Rapids areas when this photo was taken.
According to a variety of equipment-collector blogs we sampled, the Oliver 99 diesel tractor was produced from 1955 to 1958. The color slide film really brings out the brilliance of the green paint. Well done, Grandma Ruby! Now get down before you hurt someone.
It was one of the big mysteries in our family tree: what ever happened to Sebastian Treutel, brother to Philipp Treutel, who came to Wisconsin from Darmstadt, Germany in 1854? The only indication we had in our records was that Sebastian died around the year 1877 at age 41. We did not know a place or cause of death.
Thanks to some research done by a local historian in West Bend, Wisconsin, we have more answers about Sebastian. His name appears on a Civil War monument recently placed at Union Cemetery in West Bend, where his brothers John Treutel and Henry J. Treutel are buried. The managers of Union Cemetery confirmed that Sebastian Treutel is buried in Block 2, Lot 19 of the cemetery. There is no headstone visible. It could have been swallowed by the earth, damaged or removed sometime during the past 140 years.
Information provided by the local historian says that Sebastian died on January 19, 1876. We are working to confirm this with evidence, such as a news clipping. The cemetery has no recorded death date. A 1937 obituary for Sebastian’s widow, Anna Sophia (Schultz) Treutel, listed the year of his death as 1877. It appears that Sebastian’s service in the Civil War weakened his constitution and might have played some role in his death.
Sebastian Treutel enlisted in Company A of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment on August 15, 1862. He was assigned the rank of private. Company A, commanded by Capt. William Georg, was nicknamed the “Flying Rangers.” Sebastian’s last name is misspelled as “Treudel” in regimental records. At the time, Sebastian was living in Milwaukee, probably working with one of his brothers in the blacksmith trade. His younger brother, Henry, enlisted as a corporal in Company G of the 26th Wisconsin, known as the Washington County Rifles.
The 26th Wisconsin fought a critical battle in April and May 1863 at Chancellorsville, Virginia. According to the History of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry,Union forces at Chancellorsville were not prepared for the Confederate assault on their right flank. The 26th Wisconsin and the 58th New York tried to make a stand at Hawkins Farm. They could not hold, but fought bravely enough to give the Union time to evacuate supplies and forces. Sadly, newspapers in New York and Milwaukee unfairly tagged the men of the 26th as cowards, inaccurately claiming they dropped their weapons and ran. the Union suffered 14,000 casualties in the battle, but the Confederates lost their commanding lieutenant general, Thomas Stonewall Jackson.
According to West Bend historian Bev Hetzel, Sebastian Treutel became ill during the Chancellorsville battle. The illness led to heart problems and Treutel was discharged from the war on August 18, 1863. The reason listed was disability.
On November 18, 1867, Sebastian married the former Anna Schultz in a justice of the peace ceremony in the town of Addison, Washington County, Wisconsin. The marriage record says Sebastian was a carpenter. Witnesses to the wedding were Henry Schultz and John Russo. Parents of the groom were listed as Adam Treutel and Catharina Treutel. Parents of the bride were listed as Henry and Anna Schultz. The presider was Justice of the Peace Francis Forster, a farmer from the town of Addison.
Sebastian was listed on the 1870 U.S. Census as a carpenter in Addison, Washington County. Later in the 1870s, he worked as a U.S. mail carrier, working the route from West Bend in Washington County to Theresa in Dodge County. Postal service records show his contract was annulled as of July 31, 1875. Given the suggested death date, perhaps he was ailing at the time.
Sebastian and Anna Treutel had four children:
Margaretha Maria, born January 3, 1870. She married Louis Emil Dettmann in 1890. We do not know Maggie’s death date.
Ida Magdalena, born February 22, 1872. She married Edward H. Grundmann. Ida died in 1944.
Herman Sebastian Ludwig, born May 6, 1874. He married Dorothea Treutel (maiden name unknown). Herman died in 1912.
Christina Henrietta, born April 24, 1876. She married Emil Joseph Weiner. Tena died in 1960.
Anna Treutel remarried in 1880. New husband Carl Frederick Bohlmann was 48, while Anna was 29. They had one child, Clara (Bohlmann) Laisy (1881-1964). Mr. Bohlmann died in 1917. Anna died on August 5, 1937 in Milwaukee.
Note: The Treutel family headed by Johann Adam Treutel and Elizabetha Katharina (Geier) Treutel emigrated from Koenigstadten in the Hesse-Darmstadt region of Germany in 1854. Read more about that here. Our connection to the family goes this way: Johann Adam Treutel (1800-1859) >> Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) >> Walter Treutel (1879-1948) >> Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) >> David D. Hanneman (1933-2007).
When the wooden covered bridge was built over Cedar Creek in 1876, memories of the Civil War were still fresh and the main modes of transportation were horses and oxen pulling buggies or wagons. The clip-clop of hooves and the rolling thunder of wooden wheels have long since faded, but Wisconsin’s last covered bridge still stands proud at age 140.
Located on a scenic route some 20 miles north of Milwaukee, the beautiful span no longer carries vehicle traffic but is still a boon to pedestrian traffic and those armed with cameras. It has served as the backdrop for countless photos over the years. It is such an important landmark to nearby Cedarburg, Covered Bridge Park was built around it and a historic marker from the Wisconsin Historical Society was placed nearby.
Our look at this magnificent bridge goes back to late June 1941. Pictured are Nina (Treutel) Wilson (center) and her daughter, Laurni Lee. Nina is the sister of my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. I believe the photograph was taken by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, who at the time was working at the Washington County Asylum in West Bend. In her scrapbook, Emma kept a July 1941 news clipping on the bridge from The Milwaukee Journal. Across the top of the page, she wrote, “I rode over this bridge June 30, 1941.”
The Milwaukee Journal article bid poetic tribute to the old bridge:
“Grayed with the snows and suns of many years, it might tell a hundred tales to the traveler who would stop and bend a sympathetic ear. …Leaning under the weight of its years, this friendly bridge (it has no name) still creaks and rumbles heartily and bears its passing burdens of farmers and curious visitors as trustily as the day its last dowels and wedges were driven tight.”
At that time, the bridge still carried live traffic, although only vehicles weighing 3 tons or less. It was built with just enough height to accommodate a wagonload of hay. The structure was welcome shelter in summer and winter for horses and drivers alike. The bridge is 12 feet wide and 120 feet long. Its construction has been described as a masterpiece, using lattice trusses with interlaced 3-by-10-inch planks. It is held together with 2 inch hardwood dowels. Its road surface is covered with 3-inch planks. A concrete support was added beneath the midway point in 1927 to help the bridge support motorized vehicles.
Wisconsin once had dozens of covered bridges. The last one to be demolished (in 1935) spanned the Wisconsin River at Boscobel. But the folks of Ozaukee County worked hard to ensure their covered bridge would be maintained for future generations. It was taken out of active service in 1962, as another bridge was built over Cedar Creek to handle vehicle traffic. In May 1965, the state historical marker was installed next to the bridge.
For most of his adult life, Carl F. Hanneman said he studied pharmacy at Marquette University in Milwaukee, securing the academic knowledge required to pass the state of Wisconsin pharmacy board exam. Even his obituary in the May 30, 1982 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal stated, “He was a graduate pharmacist of Marquette University.”
Now, more than 90 years after Hanneman’s days of youth in Milwaukee, a question has been raised about where he studied to prepare for his nearly 60-year career as a pharmacist. As The Hanneman Archive was preparing to donate Carl’s student notebooks, study guides and formulary books from his days at Marquette, staff at the university’s archives said they could not find him in an initial search of the graduate database.
The College of Pharmacy at Marquette was disbanded in 1918, as World War I decimated the ranks of students and faculty alike. The plan was to re-establish the pharmacy program after the war, but those plans were never realized and Marquette never again had a pharmacy degree program. So what to make of Carl’s story and his history? We can assume he did not fabricate it, since he was licensed in Wisconsin for 57 years. So, what to do when presented with a mystery? We dug into it.
Some facts in our favorite pharmacist’s story are well-established. Carl Henry Frank Hanneman was born on October 28, 1901 in Grand Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin (the city’s name was changed to Wisconsin Rapids in 1920). He was the youngest of five children of Charles and Rosine (Osterman) Hanneman. (We related elsewhere on this sitesome of the confusion surrounding his birth when he sought a copy of his original birth certificate in 1946).
His father Charles, whose full name is Carl Frederick Christian Hanneman, emigrated to Wisconsin in November 1882 from county Regenwalde in the Baltic Duchy of Pomerania (now in Poland and Germany). His mother was native to Wood County, Wisconsin. The senior Hanneman toiled at manual labor. He started as a saw mill worker and later became a farm hand for his brother William at the dawn of the 20th century. Charles worked on the 1908 construction of the sewer system in Grand Rapids, earning 17.5 cents per hour. He later worked in a paper mill. Young Carl had a good role model for hard work.
Carl attended public schools, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1921. He was a smart young man, with equal talents at science and art. Shortly after high school, he began work as an apprentice at the well-known Sam Church drug store. A spark was lit. Carl felt a calling. Carl’s apprenticeship at the Church drug store lasted nearly five years. We believe the person who told Carl about Marquette University was Mark C. Whitrock, a 1913 Marquette pharmacy graduate and pharmacist at Sam Church. Nearly 10 years Carl’s senior, Whitrock was also a member of the Wisconsin Rapids city council.
Among Carl’s Marquette papers is a pharmacy course notebook originally belonging to Whitrock. It is from a theoretical pharmacy course taught by Dr. Hugh C. Russell, a physician and professor in Marquette’s College of Pharmacy. Whitrock gave the book to Carl to help him prepare to study for work as a druggist. What to do, since the pharmacy degree program at Marquette was no more? With some help from the Marquette University Archives and Carl’s own writings, we found the answer.
In 1923, Marquette began offering a “short course” in pharmacy under the auspices of the College of Dentistry. The school newspaper, the Marquette Tribune,said the course was “not part of the regular curriculum of the university.” What? The courses in chemistry, organic chemistry, pharmacy, pharmacognosy, toxicology and drug identification were rigorous. They were taught by the aforementioned Dr. Russell and Professor Frederick C. Mayer, both former deans of the Marquette College of Pharmacy. The two-semester program was designed for young men and women with pharmacy experience, in preparation to pass the state exams.
Carl enrolled in the pharmacy short course in the winter of 1924. We know he paid tuition (he referenced in later writings having to save before enrolling at Marquette). He lived in the 700 block of 37th Street in Milwaukee, just west of the Marquette campus. We have a number of photos of his fiancee, Ruby Treutel, visiting him at Solomon Juneau Park in Milwaukee in 1924.
The books Carl left behind contain hundreds of pages of meticulous notes on chemistry, pharmacy and related subjects. Two of the books have Marquette pennant stickers on the front. Carl’s pocket-size copy of the Guide to the Organic Drugs of the United States Pharmacopœia has a Marquette University seal on the cover. His exam book shows he scored an 82 percent on one test in 1924. The test was corrected by someone identified only as “A. Mankowski.” So far, we have not identified that person further.
It seems odd that Marquette would offer such a program but not count it as official curriculum. The university offered certification programs in other subjects. We have no paper certificate or other document showing Carl matriculated from the pharmacy short course, but we will ask Marquette to check its records thoroughly. Otherwise, Carl and many others like him from the 1920s would be Marquette orphans, educated by the university but not claimed as students or course graduates.
Carl traveled to Madison on January 24, 1925 for the state Board of Pharmacy examination. He was one of 105 applicants seeking licensure as either a registered pharmacist or assistant registered pharmacist. Carl was among 76 people who passed the exam that day. On January 30, the Wisconsin State Board of Pharmacy issued him certificate No. 3252 as a registered assistant pharmacist. With his credentials in hand, he returned home to Wisconsin Rapids. Mark Whitrock hired him as a druggist for the brand new Whitrock & Wolt pharmacy on Grand Avenue.
Six months later in nearby Vesper, Carl married his longtime sweetheart, Ruby Viola Treutel. After working at the Whitrock pharmacy much of 1925, Carl and Ruby moved to Janesville. Carl took a druggist job with the McCue & Buss Drug Co. in downtown Janesville. After about six months, Carl and his now-pregnant wife moved to Fond du Lac, where Carl started work for Fred Staeben at the Staeben Drug Co. Just weeks later, they welcomed their first child, Donn Gene Hanneman.
By Christmas 1927, the Hannemans moved back to Wisconsin Rapids. Carl became a druggist for his old employer, Sam Church. He stayed in that job for five years. In March 1933, the family welcomed another son, David Dion. Carl then left the pharmacy world for a sales job with the Consolidated Water Power & Paper Co. That assignment lasted for several years.
Pharmacy was his calling, so Carl looked for a chance to retake his place behind the druggist’s counter. In February 1936, Carl was hired by Dr. J. Samuel Hess Jr. to be an assistant pharmacist at the Mauston Drug Store, which was attached to the Hess Memorial Hospital in Mauston.
We wrote elsewhere on this site of Carl’s heartfelt September 1937 plea for assistance obtaining a full registered pharmacist license. He wrote to Orland S. Loomis, a well-known Mauston attorney and former state senator who was then Wisconsin’s attorney general. Carl regretted not taking the full registered pharmacist exam in 1925. At the time, he was six months short of the five years of apprentice experience required to become a registered pharmacist. Now 12 years later, lacking that higher license, he could not officially manage the Mauston Drug Store because of a quirk in state law regarding small-town pharmacies. The better license would mean better salary, something that became crucial in August 1937 with the birth of the Hannemans’ third child, daughter Lavonne Marie.
We don’t know if Loomis wrote back or helped Carl with his license issues. (Loomis became governor-elect of Wisconsin in 1942, but died before taking office. As a correspondent for the Wisconsin State Journal, Carl photographed Loomis at the Loomis home in Mauston on election eve in November 1942). Carl became a full registered pharmacist on July 12, 1944. He was among nine people issued new licenses that Wednesday in Madison. He was issued certificate No. 5598 by the Wisconsin State Board of Pharmacy. The certificate was signed by Oscar Rennebohm, a well-known Madison pharmacist who later became Wisconsin’s 32nd governor.
So the mystery is solved. Carl Hanneman did enroll in and complete a short course in pharmacy at Marquette University in 1924. It remains to be seen if Marquette will claim him and his many colleagues who studied in the pharmacy short course in the 1920s. His class notes, study guides and other materials from that time will be donated to the Marquette University Archives later this summer.
A sample from one of Carl Hanneman’s pharmacy notebooks.
Carl’s notebooks contained meticulous notes on chemistry and other subjects.
Professor Frederick C. Mayer was one of at least two faculty who taught the pharmacy short course.
Carl earned his registered assistant pharmacist license in January 1925.
Carl F. Hanneman taking his suits to the cleaner at Janesville, Wis., on April 5, 1926. Carl and his wife, Ruby V. Hanneman, were on their way to dinner. Carl was a druggist at McCue & Buss Drug Co. at the time.
Carl F. Hanneman served as an apprentice at the Sam Church drug store (shown at right) in Wisconsin Rapids. He was later hired as an assistant pharmacist after completing his education and working at three other pharmacies.
In 1926 and 1927, Carl F. Hanneman worked for the Staeben Drug Co. in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
The Mauston Drug Store, circa 1930. Image courtesy of the Juneau County Historical Society.
Doing research on family history is an exciting journey. That is the whole idea behind Treasured Lives, a small business dedicated to helping you map out and progress on your history journey. We invite all of the readers of the Hanneman Archive to visit and follow Treasured Lives.
There are lots of online databases and services out there dedicated to genealogy and history. If that all seems overwhelming to you, Treasured Lives is a good place to start. If you’ve started your research and need a boost from a professional researcher, Treasured Lives is also for you. Even if you’re an expert and want to put some more brawn behind your projects, we can help.
We not only offer a full-range of services, but we will also deliver interesting, useful content on our blog. We specialize in:
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Treasured Lives grew out of a love for history. Joe Hanneman, our chief researcher and owner, has been doing genealogy research for more than a decade. He runs the popular Hanneman Archive web site, and has been a professional writer and communicator for more than 30 years. In 2010, he published his first book, The Journey Home: My Father’s Story of Cancer, Faith and Life-Changing Miracles. His first history project was helping his father start piecing together his family roots from Germany and Pomerania. That grew into a major undertaking. The Hanneman Archive holds more than 15,000 images and thousands of historic documents.
History is a journey and an ever-changing destination. As we like to say, every story deserves a voice, and a champion. We are here to be your partner in history.
Whether by voluntary enlistment or draft, the Civil War that began in April 1861 took fathers and sons away for years — and sometimes forever.
Michael Kennedy of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, was in the first wave of men to enlist after President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to defend the Union. The son of Sylvester and Mary Kennedy joined the 16th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment at Camp Randall in Madison on November 21, 1861. The regiment mustered into service on January 31, 1862 and left the state on March 13 en route to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. After several days encampment along the Tennessee River, the 16th Wisconsin was attached to the Sixth Division, Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Brigadier Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss.
Early on April 6, Capt. Edward Saxe of the 16th Wisconsin’s Company A was ordered to make an advance toward the Confederate line. Within a short distance, an enemy volley killed Saxe and Sgt. John Williams. Thus opened the deadly Battle of Shiloh. The Battle of Shiloh went down in the annals of war as one of the bloodiest ever fought. It was a turning point for the Union. For much of the day, a desperate battle raged back and forth between Union and Confederate forces.
“The rebel hordes were coming on in front and flank, rolling up great columns like the waves of the ocean,” wrote Pvt. David G. James. Companies were moved in and out as ammunition and supplies ran short. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant told Gen. Prentiss if he could hold his position until sundown the army would be safe. Prentiss and his troops held until 5:30 p.m., when they were surrounded and more than 1,000 men taken prisoner. April 6 closed “at that time the bloodiest battle ever fought on the American continent,” James wrote. Prentiss’ Sixth Division suffered 236 killed and 928 wounded, in addition to the 1,008 captured.
At some point in wild battle, Kennedy was seriously wounded and captured by Confederate forces. Union troops were not able to recover bodies or make a full accounting of the missing until April 7, 1862. Kennedy was held prisoner at Corinth, Mississippi, where he died from his wounds on April 26, 1862. He was 20 years old.
We don’t know how much the captivity contributed to Kennedy’s death. Confederate prison camps were notorious for squalid conditions and severe mistreatment of Union soldiers. Kennedy was one of 39 soldiers from the 16th Wisconsin who later died from wounds sustained in the Battle of Shiloh. Overall, the 16th Wisconsin suffered 62 dead and 189 wounded in the battle. Kennedy is buried at Sacred Hearts Cemetery.
In every community you will find inspiring stories of courage, faith and perseverance. And so it was the case when I researched the 1863 founding of my hometown parish, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The project lasted several months, and turned up many fascinating stories from the mission-territory days of Wisconsin in the mid-1800s.
Full confession (pun intended): I served as an altar boy for years at Sacred Hearts in the 1970s, and graduated in spring 1978 from the fine Sacred Hearts School. The current church, the third edifice in parish history, has some of the most stunning stained-glass windows you will find outside of a cathedral. That’s what initially drew me to the history of Sacred Hearts.
So what did I learn?
The church was founded during the second expansion of Catholicism in Wisconsin (the first being black-robed Jesuit missionaries who explored the territory in the 1600s). Much of the area at the time was untamed wilderness, now being colonized by immigrants from Ireland, Germany and other parts of Europe.
The early missionary priests rode circuits hundreds of miles long, often saying Mass in private homes or rustic buildings with no roof. Father Martin Kundig, an indefatigable traveler and founder of many Catholic parishes in Michigan and Wisconsin, had an uplifting experience in 1843. The faithful gathered in a private home for Mass overloaded the floor, and everyone except Father Kundig crashed into the cellar. The people reached up and supported the priest, standing on a narrow plank, so he could finish saying Mass.
These pioneers led often difficult lives. The John Sprengel family lost three children to diphtheria within one week in 1882. Emerand Aschenbrucker lost his first wife during the birth of their daughter, Anna, in February 1867. Nicholas Mosel lost his wife to typhoid fever at age 54. The church brought comfort to these grieving families, offering the sacraments and a reverent burial for the departed.
The Civil War affected every aspect of life during Sacred Hearts’ early years. Two young parishioners died during their wartime service, including one who was wounded in the 1862 Battle of Shiloh and died in a Confederate prison camp. Another died on a furlough in 1864. He was just 15. A third was wounded in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864.
When you set out to research a topic, you never know just what you will find. I found a very fascinating story in the “Catholic Pioneers on the Prairie,” which is what I titled the 28-page e-book that grew out of my research. I invite you to read the whole thing at Catholic Pioneers. View it online or download the e-book as a PDF file.
MAUSTON, Wisconsin — Mauston residents don’t believe in the “unlucky 13” superstition anymore. They can’t after seeing 13 familiar faces that have been absent so long once again through their city streets.
These 13 familiar faces belong to Mauston servicemen, all of whom have seen service overseas and all of whom arrived home at about the same time to vi‘sit their families.
The 13, whose service abroad totals 240 months, were feted at an informal dinner and dance at the Mauston American Legion hall, under the joint sponsorship of the American Legion post and the Mauston Rod and Gun Club, and for a time they once again became “that kid next door” or that “Joe’s boy” as they let the cares of the war drop from their uniformed shoulders.
The group includes a man who went through the entire New Guinea campaign with the famed 32nd Division; a man who stood guard over the Japanese at a prison camp overseas; a man who was taken a prisoner of war only to be released at the capitulation of Romania; a man who went through the invasions of Italy and Sicily with the Navy, and others whose heroic deeds were written in most any theater imaginable.
It also includes four airmen who have completed a total of 118 missions. The Lucky 13 are:
Capt. Riley D. Robinson, 31, whose wife and child live in Mauston, who served as supply officer and battery commander with the 32nd Division in Australia and throughout the New Guinea campaign for 30 months.
Corp. Edward Dwyer, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. Burt Dwyer, a veteran of three and one-half years of service, two and a half years of which were spent in the southwest Pacific area.
Pfc. Harold Hagemann, 48, whose wife and child live in Mauston, who served 25 months in the south Pacific as a military policeman at a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
Pvt. Arnold L. Jobs, 20, son of Mrs. Emil Jobs, veteran of 21 months of service, of which from June 1943 to October 1944 was spent in Iceland.
First Lieut. Warren L. Hasse, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hasse, who completed 35 missions as a Flying Fortress bombardier navigator while serving seven months with the Eighth Air Force in England.
Corp. Clifford J. Flentye, 27, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Flentye, a veteran of 32 months in the southwest Pacific.
First Lieut. William R. Holgate, 21, son of Mrs. Roy Holgate, a Flying Fortress pilot who was taken prisoner in Romania after being shot down on his 13th mission and then released at the capitulation of that country.
Apprentice Seaman Robert Loomis, son of the late Gov. Orland and Mrs. Loomis, who has been in the Navy for two years, serving nine months of that time in the southwest Pacific.
First Lieut. Kenneth G. Buglass, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Buglass, a veteran of three years of service, who completed 50 missions as a bomber pilot in the North African and Italian theaters during 12 months of overseas duty.
Ripley Was Around Ensign Burdette Ripley, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Kranz, who entered service in 1939, and went overseas in March 1943, hitting ports in England, Persia, Africa, Sicily, Italy, Australia, Arabia and Ceylon.—
Staff Sgt. Earl Standish, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron St. Claire, who entered service in October 1940 and spent two and a half years in the southwest Pacific.
Tech Sgt. Joseph A. LaBelle, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. LaBelle, who completed 20 missions as engineer-gunner while service for a year with the Air Force is England.
Jack Downing, 20, yeoman third class, son of Mrs. Louis Hale, who entered the Navy in July 1942 and has been in active duty for the past year sailing in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. He was engaged in the invasions of Sicily and Italy and had one destroyer sunk under him.
— Originally published in the November 6, 1944 editions of The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.
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).
SUN PRAIRIE, Wisconsin — With a temperature of minus 2 degrees and a fresh coating of 8 inches of snow on the ground, you might think Jimmy the Groundhog would have predicted six more weeks of winter. But alas, the world-famous weather prognosticator did not see his shadow, meaning an early spring. He did, however, take a vicious bite at Sun Prairie mayor Jon Freund, who served as the official translator for the esteemed Jimmy.
A modest crowd of hearty Groundhog Day fans gathered on Cannery Square to witness the 67th annual weather prognostication from Jimmy. Just after 7 a.m. Central time, Jimmy whispered to Freund that spring was coming. But before he did that, Jimmy bit the ear of the mayor, who recoiled in pain but quickly recovered his composure. After a quick apology from Jimmy, the ceremony continued.
Despite the clear skies, Freund said Jimmy did not see his shadow. A few minutes after the ceremony, the sun rose and cast February shadows on both man and beast. A Madison television station quoted Hahn as saying Jimmy did see his shadow. The city of Sun Prairie later issued a statement saying the mayor made the right call. The controversy led to speculation from some corners that video replay officials would be in attendance at next year’s Groundhog Day ceremony.
Folklore says that if a groundhog (also called a woodchuck or marmot) emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, it will return to slumber in expectation of six more weeks of winter. If the day is cloudy and no shadow appears, spring will come early. According to a roundup on Wikipedia, predictions are pretty well split across North America for Groundhog Day 2015. Sun Prairie’s result is listed as “disputed.”
Jimmy arrived in a stretch limousine with a Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department escort. Like a Hollywood star, Jimmy emerged from his limo to camera flashes and blaring lights from two television stations. He was accompanied by his handler, Jerry Hahn, who is retiring from the groundhog business after today. Hahn shed tears as Freund and others paid him tribute for serving as Jimmy’s caretaker since 2003. Jimmy will now be cared for by Jeff Gauger, owner of the Beans ’n Cream coffee house on Cannery Square. Gauger has a hobby farm.
Jimmy has been predicting weather in the Groundhog Capital of the World since 1948. The current Jimmy is the 11th burrowing rodent to serve as Sun Prairie’s weather forecaster. And while a certain East Coast groundhog gets most of the national media attention, Jimmy has a better than 80 percent accuracy rating. According to legend, he’s always accurate. It’s just the mayor does not always translate correctly from “groundhogese” to English.
Even with the bitter cold, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. When my late father, David D. Hanneman, was mayor from 2003-2005, he presided over two such ceremonies (see video above). In February 2005, Dad wore a tuxedo to go along with the mayor’s official groundhog top hat. The year before, Dad interviewed Jimmy before a large crowd. “What? You don’t like to be kissed? Well OK, I won’t kiss you then,” Dad said to laughter from the crowd.
View a complete photo gallery from today’s event below: