Tony Melendez has serenaded Pope John Paul II and performed in front of thousands, but he says he is still shocked by the emotional reaction from the people he touches with his music.
“Some of the people’s responses are so touching,” Melendez said. “I can’t believe the response Some come crying and give me a hug. Some want to kiss the same cheek the pope kissed.”
The strong reactions are not just because Melendez, 26, sings with a smooth tenor voice, or that he plays nearly flawless acoustic guitar.
People are inspired because Melendez was born without arms and plays guitar with his feet, in a seemingly effortless manner.
Whole new world
“The music has just opened up a whole new world for me,” Melendez said before a performance Saturday night at St. Rita’s School, 4433 Douglas Ave.
“It’s been scary,” he said of the reaction he gets. “I’m not used to that overwhelming thrust toward me.”
Melendez, of Chino, Calif., performed for about 200 people at St. Rita’s, combining Christian music, storytelling and a healthy sense of humor.
Melendez is at ease with the fact he has no arms and does not consider himself handicapped. He even calls his company “Toe Jam Music.”
He told the group he stopped using prostheses because “my feet could do it so much faster quicker, neater. People ask me, ‘Do you eat with your toes or your feet?’ ” he said. “I eat with my mouth.”
With the guitar flat on the stage before him, Melendez’s bare feet glided up and down the strings effortlessly, while he sang about hope, inspiration and God.
As he walked to and from the stage, people pulled him aside for a hug, or kissed him like he was their own son.
“It still to me is very surprising,” he said. Crowd response comes from “a lot of young, and old. It’s really neat.”
Melendez earned national recognition last year when he played and sang for John Paul II– a performance that so moved the pontiff he touched Melendez’s legs and kissed his cheek.
Eight months later, Melendez recalls that performance as “a moment in my life I never thought would happen.”
John Paul’s reaction was nothing short of shocking to Melendez.
“I thought I was going to sing, then ‘clap, clap, clap and go home,” he said. “It really was a true blessing for me when he came over and gave me that kiss.”
In the time since, Melendez has been to 29 states, sometimes doing three performances a day.
Melendez was born in Nicaragua in 1962. His mother took thalidomide, an anti-nausea drug that caused the birth defect he has overcome. He spent much of his life in schools for handicapped children, but decided as a high school sophomore he wanted to be in public schools.
It was at about that time, when he was 16 he first tried playing his father’s guitar, after learning how to tune it with his feet.
“I did it and it just worked, and I kept at it,” he said. “I didn’t consider it practice. I loved it so much, I played five to six hours a day.”
While still getting a case of stage fright now and then, Melendez said the music helped him grow. He now promotes a pro-family, pro-love message during performances.
Music opens doors
”Once I start, it just automatically flows,” he said “Once I’m up there, something just takes over.”
Music “opened a lot of doors,” he said. “It’s given me a little more sense of security.
“I think they (spectators) sometimes go home saying, ‘If he can do it, I can do it,’ ” Melendez said. “When people go home, they feel a little bit better about themselves.”
Jose Melendez Jr., Tony’s concert manager, told the St. Rita’s crowd he learned things by watching his brother. He said one day when the pair was younger, he wanted to play Frisbee, but could not bring himself to ask, for fear he would hurt Tony’s feelings.
But Tony picked up the Frisbee in his toes and threw it, striking Jose in the face. It was then, Jose said, he realized his brother’s strength.
“That’s the first time I saw his arms and his hands.” ♦
Postscript: Tony Melendez continues touring, recording music and sharing his story around the world. He performed for Pope John Paul II four more times. He has recorded a number of contemporary Christian albums. He is married and lives in Branson, Missouri.
UNION GROVE, Wisconsin — Louis Armstrong, Liberace and Tiny Tim made concert appearances here Thursday. Well, not really, but it was probably as close as anyone has ever come to imitating the performers.
For nearly two hours, Leslie Lemke, 35, of Arpin, Wis., performed flawless piano and voice renditions of “Satchmo,” the king of the candelabra and the man who tiptoed through the tulips, among others.
If any of the 700 or so students and teachers in attendance at Union Grove High School had closed their eyes, they could have easily imagined Liberace’s glittery Rolls Royce, Tiny Tim’s ukulele or Armstrong’s smiling face and sassy delivery.
All this came from Leslie, a man with no eyes, severe brain damage, cerebral palsy and an IQ of of 58.
Leslie cannot carry on a dialogue or feed himself, and he requires constant care. He has never taken music lessons, plays piano with only nine fingers and cannot see the keyboard.
Yet he is a musical virtuoso.
In 1971, Leslie sat down at the piano and shocked his parents by playing a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
It is difficult to come up with words to describe or explain Leslie’s abilities. Those who see him perform call it amazing. His family chooses stronger terms.
“I feel it is a miracle from God,” said Juanita Voge, Leslie’s niece. “I’ve been around him all my life, and it still amazes me.”
“I believe it’s a gift that God has given Leslie,” said Mary Parker Larsen, Leslie’s sister and caretaker. “He has the mentality of being 1 to 3 years old, yet, in this field, he’s a genius.”
Leslie has been featured on television’s “That’s Incredible” and in was the subject of an ABC Afterschool Special, “The Woman who Willed a Miracle.”
Leslie’s ability is known as the savant syndrome. Despite his disabilities, he has an island of brilliance that allows him, based on one listen, to reproduce any piece of music, even years later.
And reproduce he did.
A smooth baritone by nature Leslie’s vocal range is as broad as his piano repertoire, from the lowest gravel of Armstrong to the highest falsetto of Tiny Tim.
The Union Grove students, who might be expected to be restless with distraction during an assembly, were mesmerized. They heard Leslie perform near-perfect renditions of Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire,” Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood,” and Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly.”
He then accepted challenges from students and teachers, who came on stage and played short songs on drums, trumpet, trombone, flute and oboe. Then they listened to Leslie play the tunes note-for-note.
Union Grove was the latest concert stop for Leslie, who continues his tour into North Dakota and Iowa. He recently played 31 concerts in 33 days in Japan.
“We like to compare Leslie’s story with a rose,” Larsen told the group. “It starts out as a rosebud and it slowly opens up into a beautiful flower.”
Larsen said Leslie – one of 12 known savants in the world – keeps expanding his ability and learning more music. He has never studied a sheet of music. He has always learned by repetition,” Larsen said.
“If we weren’t so busy flying around the world … he could probably master every instrument we gave him.”
Despite a repertoire that includes many classics, Leslie will never admit he doesn’t know a song.
“Leslie always says yes,” Larsen said. “Then he nicely makes up a song to replace the one he doesn’t know.”
Larsen said she and Leslie travel the country performing to try to have an impact on people, as part of a “ministry of love.”
The idea is to “bring a miracle of l love,” she said. “That’s one of our main purposes – to bring happiness to other people.” ♦
– This article originally appeared on Page 1 of the Racine Journal Times on October 2, 1987. View the original newspaper page. This blog post has been updated with more information on Leslie in 2017.
Postscript: Leslie’s adoptive mother, Mae Lemke, died in 1993. According to Dr. Darold Treffert, an internationally recognized expert on savant syndrome, Leslie is doing well and “playing as marvelously as ever.” He lives with his sister, Mary Parker, in north central Wisconsin.
Most family history never makes the newspaper, so unless it is documented or passed down in oral stories, it can be lost. Even items that made the papers over the decades and centuries can be hard to spot. With that in mind, The Hanneman Archive has added a NewsBits page with a growing collection of “all the little news that was fit for print.”
Historic newspapers carried regular columns on what might be called “neighborhood news.” These items varied from who had dinner at whose house last night, to births in the family, to strange happenings like the poisoning of a farmer’s horses. We are fortunate, especially with our Hanneman and Treutel family lines, to have relatives who enjoyed reporting their comings and goings to the local paper. One of our favorites was when Donn Hanneman brought a tomato in to the offices of the Mauston Star in September 1942, showing the salad fruit seemingly had a V for victory grown into its skin. During World War II, patriotism was the order of the day.
Read more NewsBits and enjoy! We try to update the page weekly.
After more than 10 years publishing the Hanneman Archive history web site, your humble correspondent can no longer cover the operating costs involved in this enterprise. So rather than risk having to take the site down, we turn to our readers and relatives to ask for support.
Since just 2014, the Archive has drawn nearly 33,000 visitors from around the world who accessed close to 84,000 page views. Our article count has topped 185, and the site includes thousands of photographs and videos.
Sometimes good fortune comes in waves. For the second time in as many months, we’ve been blessed to find a photographic image of a long-ago ancestor. First it was a great-great grandfather, Philipp Treutel,whose faded image on a carte de visite came from the 1860s. Now we’ve been given a studio photograph of another great-great grandfather, Joseph Ladick (1846-1905). Along with a group photo taken at a wedding, for the first time we have two images of the senior Ladick.
Both of these family patriarchs come from the tree of my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977). The wedding photo above was taken on September 22, 1890 at the marriage of Joseph Chezik and Mary Moravets. Joseph Ladick is at left rear, and we believe his son, Joseph, is at right rear. The portrait below of Joseph Ladick Sr. is undated.
Joseph Ladick brought his family to America from Bohemia in June 1881. We believe the Ladick family is native to Bilina, a city northwest of Prague in the modern day Czech Republic. They sailed aboard the SS Silesia on May 22, 1881 from Hamburg, Germany. The ship register lists their residence as Ronkovic, Austria. There does not appear to be such a place, so I examined the written document and the writing is very hard to decipher. There are a number of villages near Prague in Bohemia that could fit what is written on the register, including Radonitz, Raudnitz, Rakonitz and Radnitz. The exact location might remain a mystery, but it seems clear the family was living in northwest Bohemia at the time of their emigration.
Sailing aboard the Silesia in May and June 1881 were Joseph Ladick, his wife Mary (Mika) Ladick, and sons Joseph, 6, and Frank, who was an infant. They reached New York on June 5, 1881. We don’t know their path to Wisconsin, but it probably included sailing the Great Lakes and possibly some rail travel to Milwaukee. They settled on a farm in the Town of Sigel in Wood County. Shortly after the Ladicks settled in Wisconsin, their daughter Mary Helen was born (December 28, 1883). Later children were Anna (1886) and Celia (1891). Frank married Mary Mras (1898). Anna married Harry Victor Cole (1903), and Celia married Oscar Goldammer (1908). Son Joseph died of pneumonia in November 1894 at age 19. He was buried at the St. Joseph Cemetery near Vesper.
The day after her birthday in 1902, Mary Helen Ladick married Walter Treutel of Vesper. The Treutels were transplants from the Town of Genesee in Waukesha County. They settled in Vesper, where Walter became a rural route postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Walter and Mary’s first child, Ruby, was born at 1 p.m. on June 22, 1904, delivered by Dr. F.A. Goedecke. The couple would later have four other children: Gordon, Nina, Marvin and Elaine.
In early 1905, Joe Ladick became ill with intestinal and bladder cancer. In March of that year, he went to Marshfield for an operation. By early October, his condition became critical. He died on October 12, 1905 at age 59. The newspaper pronounced it this way:
“Death’s angel visited our city last Thursday, appearing at the Lydick (sic) home and taking with it their father, who had been confined to his bed for about six months previous to his death, he leaves a wife and four children. The funeral was held at the house and the remains were interred in the Rudolph cemetery.”
Joe Ladick was actually buried at Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery in the Town of Sigel. His is one of the earlier monuments in the cemetery. On a recent trip to the area, we cleaned his marker using Treasured Lives RestoraStone™ process, which removed biological growths, dirt and air pollution from the stone. Now, thanks to a generous cousin, this beautiful stone is no longer the only visual history we have of him.
A beautiful painting of three dogs in an ornate gold frame hung in our family’s living space and commanded attention for more than 50 years. Once belonging to Wisconsin Governor-elect Orland Steen “Spike” Loomis, the painting used to hang in the Mauston home of my grandparents, Carl and Ruby Hanneman. After a journey of 75 years, the painting is back home in Mauston and will hang permanently in the Boorman House Museum run by the Juneau County Historical Society.
The pastel artwork was delivered on Wednesday, August 2 to the museum, accepted by Nancy McCullick, president of the Juneau County Historical Society. It was a gift from the entire Hanneman family, made in memory of Carl and Ruby and their three children: David, my Dad (1933-2007), Donn (1926-2014) and Lavonne (1937-1986). It now hangs over the bookcase in the library of Mauston pioneer Benjamin Boorman. Propped up in a temporary space on Wednesday, the painting already looked at home. Its beauty and historic significance will fit in very well at the Boorman House.
The painting was a gift from Orland S. Loomis to Carl Hanneman, given in recognition of Carl’s help getting Loomis elected Wisconsin governor in 1942. It previously hung in Loomis’ law office in Mauston, and in his office in Madison when he was Wisconsin attorney general from 1937 through 1938. Loomis died on December 7, 1942 after suffering a series of heart attacks. He was 49. Loomis was the only Wisconsin governor-elect to die before taking the oath of office. Loomis previously served as Mauston city attorney (1921-1931), a state representative (1929-1930) and state senator from Mauston (1930-1934). Loomis also served as a special prosecutor in the 1930 case of the assassinated Juneau County district attorney, Clinton G. Price.
We’ve chronicled some of the other stories of Carl’s relationship with Loomis, such as the touching 1937 letter he wrote seeking help obtaining a full registered pharmacist license. Carl was in the Loomis home on election night in November 1942, and his photo of the governor-elect on the telephone ran on Page 1 of the The Wisconsin State Journal on November 4, 1942. It was published on Page 1 again on December 8, 1942, the day after Loomis died. Carl’s 1942 news article on reaction to Loomis’ death appeared in a 2014 Wisconsin Public Television “Hometown Stories” documentary.
The beauty of the painting can be most appreciated when viewed up close. The dogs are at the edge of a wooded area, and appear to be listening to their master’s call. The woods look peaceful and serene. In the right light, the painting takes on incredible depth. It looks as if you could step into it and venture into the woods. That effect was very noticeable in the lighting at the Boorman House. The pastel work was created by an artist named F.M. West. So far we have been unable to learn anything of his or her history. More research will be needed to determine if Loomis commissioned this painting, or if it was a gift from a family friend or a constituent. West was a common surname in Juneau County in the early 20th century.
The painting was the second Hanneman donation to the Juneau County Historical Society since 2007. That year, the family donated a collection of historic photographs, ephemera and memorabilia from the Hannemans’ nearly 50 years in Mauston. The donations are in keeping with David and Mary Hanneman’s long-held practice of giving back to the community, such as the four ornate stained-glass window sections donated to St. Mary’s Hospital in 2006 while Dad was being treated there for lung cancer. In 2017, the family donated Carl F. Hanneman’s pharmacy school papers to Marquette University, where he studied in 1923 and 1924.
The Hannemans moved to Mauston from Wisconsin Rapids in 1936. Carl was the druggist at the Hess Clinic on Division Street until his semi-retirement in the 1960s. He served for 26 years on the Mauston Police and Fire Commission, the Juneau County Fair Board of Directors, the Mauston Chamber of Commerce, and the Solomon Juneau council of the Knights of Columbus. In April 1978, he was honored by the Mauston City Council for his lifetime of service. The state Assembly passed a resolution, authored by Rep. Tommy G. Thompson, honoring Carl for his civic and community service. In 1966, Carl closed the pharmacy early and took the young state Assembly candidate Thompson around Mauston to meet members of the business community. It was a gesture Thompson would never forget, even when he was the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history.
The David Hannemans moved to Sun Prairie in 1965. Dad was a longtime member of the Sun Prairie City Council and the Dane County Board of Supervisors. He served as mayor of Sun Prairie from 2003 to 2005. Mom taught reading and other subjects for more than 25 years at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic School. In 2007, Dad was posthumously honored by the City of Sun Prairie and the Dane County Board for his service. In November 2006, Gov. Tommy Thompson took time away from a presidential campaign stop to call an ailing Dave at St. Mary’s Hospital. The call brought tears to Dad’s eyes and buoyed his spirits throughout his cancer battle.
At some point in the long journey of family history research, it seems a given that you will likely never know what your earliest ancestors looked like. Through the donations of others, I’ve been blessed to discover photos of my Hanneman great-great grandparents. I never thought I’d see a photograph of Philipp Treutel, my great-great grandfather who died in 1891. Now, through the kindness of a stranger from Ohio, that has all changed.
Through an incredible set of circumstances, earlier this week I received a 2.5-by-4-inch photo card labeled “Phillip Treutel.” In my research, I’ve never encountered another Philipp Treutel from the 1800s, so this very much got my attention. Philipp Treutel is my great-great grandfather, via my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. As documented elsewhere on this site, Philipp came to America in 1854 from Königstädten, Germany, and settled in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The photo image was almost ghosted it was so light. The pigments on the card stock had flaked away and faded, but the face was still visible.
There were two things I immediately wanted to do. One was to scan the image and see if I could darken the pigments and bring out more facial detail. The other was to investigate the photography studio, based on the photographer’s stamp on the back side. To accomplish the first goal, I ran the digital photo through several software programs and experimented with different tonal adjustments, filters and special effects. Many were useless or did little more than amplify the photo’s defects. But a few did improve the image, bringing out just enough detail to see his face better.
I then turned to the photographer, listed on the back as Bankes Gallery of Photographic Art in Little Rock, Arkansas. The photo was printed on what was called a carte de visite, or visiting card. These affordable, pocket-size calling cards were popular in the Civil War era. Thomas W. Bankes, owner of the photo studio, was a Civil War photographer who initially was based in Helena, Arkansas, documenting many of the gunboats along the Mississippi River. He photographed the overloaded steamboat SS Sultana the day before it sank, killing as many as 1,800 people, including Union soldiers returning home from the war.
In late 1863, Bankes moved his studio to Little Rock. He continued to photograph many Union soldiers during the federal occupation of the city in the latter part of the Civil War. This begged the question: what was Philipp Treutel doing in Little Rock? Was it during the Civil War or years after? Bankes operated a studio in the city well into the 1880s. Based on the carte de visite style of photo, it is a reasonable bet that Philipp’s photo was taken between 1864 and the late 1870s.
There are a couple possible explanations for Philipp being in Arkansas. Perhaps he was there to meet up with his younger brother, Sebastian Treutel, a Union soldier from Wisconsin who was discharged from the war with a disability in August 1863. We don’t know if Sebastian was ever sent to Little Rock, or when he returned to Wisconsin after his discharge. We don’t believe Philipp Treutel served in the Civil War, since his name does not appear in any of the state or federal veterans databases. Two of his brothers, Sebastian and Henry, both served with the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Sebastian served in Company A, the “Flying Rangers,” and Henry was a member of Company G, the “Washington County Rifles.”
Perhaps Philipp was visiting another brother, Peter Treutel, whom we believe settled in Louisiana or Alabama after the family arrived in America. We know almost nothing about Peter. He was born on May 14, 1837 and baptized on May 17 at the Lutheran church in Königstädten, a village south of Russelsheim, Germany. A scrapbook kept by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, Philipp’s granddaughter, says Peter Treutel settled “in the South.” So far we have no documentary evidence of this, although we have records of a man we believe to be his son living near Mobile, Alabama.
Civil War records list a Confederate soldier named Pierre Treutel, who served with the Sappers and Miners. It’s unclear if this could be our Peter. Pierre Treutel enlisted in 1861 in Louisiana. Sappers built tunnels and miners laid explosives. According to Confederate military records found at Fold3.com, Pierre Treutel was a sapper in Captain J.V. Gallimard’s company of sappers and miners. Even if Pierre is the same person as Peter, it seems unlikely that Philipp Treutel would visit his younger brother during this time. As a Confederate soldier, Peter would have been subject to capture by Union forces in Arkansas. If Peter was a Confederate soldier, it could explain why the Treutel family in Wisconsin did not stay in touch with the Treutels of the South.
What do we know about Philipp Treutel? He was born Johann Philipp Treutel on August 7, 1833 and baptized on August 9 in the Lutheran church at Königstädten, Germany. He had a twin born the same day, although the twin was baptized a day earlier than Philipp. This most likely means the twin died on August 8, 1833. Church records don’t list a first name for the twin, only “Treutel.” Their parents were Johann Adam Treutel and the former Elizabeth Katharina Geier. In July 1854, Adam and Katharina left Germany for America with at least several of their children. It appears that some of the Treutel boys left Germany for America between 1849 and 1852. Shortly after arriving in Wisconsin, Philipp settled in the village of Mukwonago, where he worked as a blacksmith. By 1860, he had married Henrietta Krosch and they had their first child, Adeline Barbara.
At some points during and just after the Civil War years, Philipp lived and worked as a blacksmith in downtown Milwaukee. The 1863 Milwaukee city directory shows Philipp living and working at the southwest corner of Fifth and Prairie in Milwaukee. The 1867 Milwaukee directory shows him working as a blacksmith and living at 517 Cherry, right next door to his brother Henry. It is possible the Treutel family stayed in Mukwonago and Philipp shuttled back and forth, working in blacksmith shops in Milwaukee and Mukwonago.
While we don’t know of any official evidence Philipp was a soldier during the Civil War, the July 22, 1863 issue of the Daily Milwaukee Sentinel lists Philipp as a Civil War enrollee in “Class One” from Milwaukee’s Second Ward. His name appears along with his brothers Sebastian and Henry. It’s unclear what the listing means, since Sebastian and Henry were already fighting in the South with the 26th Wisconsin. It might have merely been a draft listing. More research will be needed, since this provides at least a hint that Philipp might have been involved in the war.
Philipp and Henrietta Treutel raised seven children:Adeline (1859), Lisetta (1861), Henry (1864), Charles (1869), Oscar (1874), Emma (1877) and Walter (1879). The family lived in the village of Mukwonago, where Philipp plied his trade as a blacksmith. His shop is found on the 1873 map of Mukwonago, located along the north side of what is now called Plank Road, just east of Highway 83. The family at some point moved from Mukwonago to the town of Genesee, near the hamlet of North Prairie in Waukesha County.
We have little documentary evidence of their time in Genesee. The 1890-91 Waukesha city directory lists him as “P.O. North Prairie.” Philipp died there on June 15, 1891 from “la grippe,” which is what they often called influenza at that time. His brief death notice in the June 25, 1891 issue of the Waukesha Freeman was listed under Genesee Depot, which is northeast of North Prairie. The newspaper misspelled his name as “Mr. Tradel,” while a nearby condolence notice under the town of Genesee said, “In the death of Trendall we have lost a good neighbor.” Is it too late to request a correction?
Philipp’s youngest child, Walter (1879-1948), is the father of our own Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman. I placed the enhanced photo of Philipp Treutel next to one of Walter and noticed a strong resemblance.
Discovery of Philipp’s photo is a big development for Treutel family history. Our source for the photograph said she purchased the photo card at an estate sale in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Right now we’re examining other photos in her collection to determine if any show the Treutels or their relatives from Waukesha County. Stay tuned.
Sometimes the smallest details can result in a breakthrough discovery. Such was the case in identifying the adorable little face of an unknown baby in our photo archive. Many times I passed over the photo of the tyke leaning on a small wooden chair. His face was distinctive. He looked, well, familiar. Who was he?
During a recent perusal of the photo library, I had an overwhelming sense that I’d seen this baby before. He had facial features similar to members of the Harry V. Cole family of Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Harry and Anna Cole were my father’s great uncle and aunt. Their daughter Gladys was an attendant in my grandparents wedding in 1925. Dad spoke often of the Hanneman family visits to the Coles in Nekoosa, especially of the rousing games of sheepshead played between my Grandpa Carl and Harry Cole. I recalled a Cole family portrait published in a book somewhere, and this baby looked like the one in the book.
After rummaging around, I found a PDF copy of History of Wood County, Wisconsin,a mammoth 1,000-page tome published in 1923 by H.C. Cooper Jr. & Company. There it was on Page 551, Harry and Anna Cole with four children. Wow, the baby looked so similar to the one in my scanned photograph. As I stared at the book page (which was pixelated and poor quality due to the extreme file compression of the PDF), it dawned on me that not only was it the same baby, it was the exact same photo! Except there was no wooden chair and no grass in the background.
Now why would the book publisher cut the baby from another photo and superimpose him onto the family portrait? Obviously, there was a story behind it. So I dove into my Family Tree Maker software to see what I could learn about the Coles and their children. Among the Cole progeny were a boy named Russell Robert and a slightly younger boy named Robert Russell. This was already confusing. Russell Robert was born in 1920 and died in January 1922. The book History of Wood County (Page 550) mentioned that Russell was the youngest Cole child and that he died.
I dug through the first few pages of the book and saw that it was published in April 1923. That was a little more than a year after Russell died, and six months before Robert was born. So the baby in the photos had to be Russell. Based on all of the evidence, it appeared the book publisher cut an outline of Russell from the photo with the chair and grass, and superimposed it on the family portrait. It is safe to assume the family sat for the portrait not long after baby Russell died.
I ran a search on Newspapers.com and found a short article on Russell’s death from the January 25, 1922 issue of the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:
YOUNG NEKOOSA LAD DIED ON SATURDAY
Russell, the two year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cole of Nekoosa passed away Saturday after a prolonged illness of pneumonia.
Funeral services were held at the home Monday morning, Rev. C.A. O’Neil officiating. Interment was made in Forest Hill cemetery at Wisconsin Rapids. Mr. and Mrs. Cole have the sympathy of the entire community.
The following relatives from out of town attended the funeral: Mrs. M.J. Cole, Fond du Lac; Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Treutel, Mr. and Mrs. John Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Goldammer and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ladick of Vesper.
Another photo mystery solved. The creative book production people at the H.C. Cooper Jr. company found a fitting, and convincing, way to memorialize a young life taken too soon.
If today’s Eye on the Past photo were made current, we might see Adeline Krosch pulling into her driveway in a family sedan or a minivan. Back in her time, as the photo shows, a horse-drawn buggy was the mode of transport to and from the market in Walworth County, Wisconsin.
The handwritten caption on the back of the photo reads simply: “Aunt Adeline Krosch, with her horse Tommy, returning from shopping.” We don’t know who wrote the caption, or where Adeline was shopping. She might have traveled north to the village of Mukwonago. We can reasonably assume she is returning to the Krosch family farm in Lake Beulah in Walworth County. The photo could date anywhere from 1900 to 1920.
What do we know about Aunt Adeline? She was born Adeline Lisette Griesbach on December 13, 1841 in Saxony, Germany. She arrived in New York on August 20, 1850 aboard the Bark Agnes, having made the journey with her mother Lisette. It appears that Lisette Griesbach was widowed in Germany, since she traveled without her husband, Johann Gottlieb Griesbach. Lisette married Karl Krosch and settled on his farm in Walworth County.
On November 26, 1863, Adeline married Reinhold Heinrich Krosch in Milwaukee. Reinhold came to America from Saxony in July 1854. The couple then settled onto a farm near Lake Beulah in eastern Walworth County along the Racine County line. The hamlet of Lake Beulah (which was sometimes called Lake Beulah Station) is a bit east of the actual lake, an 812-acre body of water north of East Troy.
Reinhold and Adeline Krosch had three children, Louis, Charles and Lusetta, between 1863 and 1881. Charles died in March 1879 at age 12. Louis never married and died in March 1942. Lusetta married Dr. Joseph C. Harland on September 28, 1909 at the Krosch farm home at Lake Beulah. The couple settled in Mukwonago in Waukesha County. They had two daughters, Esther Louise and Josephine. Joseph was a veterinarian who later became postmaster in Mukwonago. He died in April 1959. Lusetta died in February 1970.
Reinhold Krosch died on February 25, 1907 on the farm at Lake Beulah. Shortly after strolling across the barnyard talking to his son Louie, Reinhold collapsed and died. He was 69. Adeline died on May 30, 1922 at the home of Lusetta and J.C. Harland in Mukwonago. Her newspaper obituary called her “a woman of sterling character” who could “always be counted on by her neighbors.”
How are Reinhold and Adeline related to the Hanneman family? Reinhold’s younger sister, Henrietta Krosch (1839-1908), married Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) and settled in Waukesha County. Their youngest child, Walter Treutel (1879-1948), is the father of our own Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977).