Sometimes family history discoveries involve a careful eye, and sometimes a bit of dumb luck. Or, as in this case, a little of both. While searching for some city directory information on the web site of the Cudahy Family Library, I started watching a 36-minute film about life in that suburban Milwaukee County city. Titled “Life in Cudahy,” the film was made in 1938.
About six minutes into the presentation, I spotted a teenage face that looked really familiar. The young man was a mechanic working on a car at Koehler Service. In another shot, he stood in the background as a man and (presumably) his young daughter, look at their vehicle. This just had to be my mother’s older brother, Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. (1923-1980). The film was posted to the library’s YouTube channel. I formatted the excerpt below for wide screen and applied some color correction.
Station attendants wore pinstriped coveralls with Wadhams Oil Company black caps and ties or bowties. It was an era when service stations delivered actual service (with a smile) to every vehicle that came in for fuel: checking fluids and wiper blades and cleaning windows. Koehler’s also offered emergency service, as evidenced by the attendant who drove off on a motorcycle carrying a gasoline can in one hand. This was no doubt before the EPA and OSHA were around to clamp down on potential dangers.
Earl was the second-oldest of the 11 children of Earl J. Mulqueen and the former Margaret Madonna Dailey. The Mulqueen children were taught hard work, so it’s not surprising Earl had a job at age 14 or 15. Money was tight during the Great Depression, so any extra income was no doubt a valued help to the family. My mother, Mary Mulqueen, was 6 or 7 years old at the time the film was made. Earl was either a student at St. Frederick’s Catholic School in Cudahy or a freshman at Pio Nono High School in St. Francis.
Earl was brand new on the job the year the film was made. He worked as an automobile serviceman, according to his U.S. military file. He greased, lubricated and fueled automobiles, assisted with transmission and differential repairs and engine overhauls.
Just a few years after the film was made, Earl enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the outset of World War II. He went on to fight with the 2nd Marine Division in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He lost his left leg in May 1944 when a massive chain-reaction explosion at Pearl Harbor’s West Loch blew up dozens of ships and injured hundreds of sailors and Marines who were preparing for the Allied invasion of Saipan. Dozens were killed.
After returning from the Pacific, Earl spent his last months in the Marine Corps making promotional appearances at War Bond drives around Wisconsin. His accounts of the battles in the Pacific kept audiences spellbound and helped put a number of war-bond drives over the goal line.
After the war, Earl got married and went on to a long career in automotive repair. Once he had recovered enough to begin working, his parents purchased Koehler Service station for him and the name was changed to Earl’s Automotive. This not-so-little detail was shared by my aunt and Earl’s sister, Joan (Mulqueen) Haske. Earl ran the business until about 1960, when he moved his family to Colorado. After his wife Evelyn died of cancer in early 1963, Earl returned to Cudahy to again take up work in automotive service.
It is amazing to think his first job was documented by a film crew in 1938, only to be rediscovered in 2020, 40 years after his death.
It seems the story of Charles Grinolds and his new bride, Margaret, got noticed across the pond in Great Britain. The former Margaret Eley was native to England. We’ll let Carl F. Hanneman of the Wisconsin State Journal tell the story from the June 30, 1946 issue:
Journal Story on Mauston Welcome to GI Bride Moves British Paper to Congratulatory Ending
MAUSTON, Wis. — Mrs. Charles Grinolds, British war bride, and The Wisconsin State Journal’s account of her welcome at Mauston last winter, received considerable attention in the British press. The comment of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express, published May 16, follows:
“In pondering Mr. Churchill’s suggestions that America and Britain should think about setting up house together in the political sphere, it is not entirely impertinent to think of the tens of thousands of British girls and American boys who have had the same idea in the domestic realm.
They and their relatives must be more than a little tired of the jokes on this topic and while it is true that an international marriage has special problems, it must be remembered that two out of every 10 all-British marriages are now providing work for the matrimonial courts, divorce courts or solicitors’ offices, and there is no evidence that the proportion of unsuccessful British-American marriages is as high as that.
The great majority which turn out most happily do not usually make news, so we are pleased to mention the happy welcome which was given to Mrs. Charles Grinolds (nee Margaret Eley), only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. V. Eley of Ashwell, when she arrived at her new home at Mauston, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
With her husband, former Staff Sgt. C. Grinolds, and Charles Victor Jr., who was born after his father left England last July, Mrs. Grinolds arrived at her new hometown at 4 a.m. but found crowds and (Wisconsin State Journal) photographers awaiting to welcome her, a repeat performance of what had already happened at Chicago.
It was at Chicago that Margaret had a big surprise. While she was following the military policeman assigned to her at the railroad station, a civilian came up and took the baby from her arms. She was frightened at first, but then realized that the young man was no stranger. It was her husband, whom she had not expected would meet her at Chicago and whom she had never before seen in civilian clothes.
Bigger surprises were to come.
This is what happened to Margaret at Mauston, according to the Wisconsin State Journal:
‘Thrilled with a surprise house new and completely furnished, Mrs. Grinolds found it furnished even to pictures and books, and in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken and other canned goods. On the table in a modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription ‘Welcome,’ while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.
‘Nice work, Margaret.’ ”
After publishing the original blog post on this subject in 2015, I received correspondence from Nigel Reed, a nephew of the couple from the Eley side of the family. Nigel supplied a digital copy of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express with the May 1946 Grinolds story. That, in turn, led me to discover two additional articles written by my grandfather Carl in 1946. The first is detailed above. The other appeared in The Wisconsin State Journal February 18, 1946, the day before Mrs. Grinolds reached Mauston and saw her new home:
Furnished Bungalow Awaits English Bride of Area Man
By Carl F. Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent
MAUSTON — A completely furnished five-room modern bungalow is waiting in Mauston for Mrs. Helen Margaret Grinolds as a surprise for the English war bride, wife of Staff Sgt. Charles Grinolds, Mauston.
Mrs. Grinolds was among the hundreds of war brides scheduled to arrive in New York last weekend on the Santa Paula, and was to come directly to Mauston with their son, Charles Victor, who was born July 29, 1945, after his father left England for home.
She was to arrive in Mauston late today.
Sgt. Grinolds entered service in February 1942 and left for England in September 1942. He was stationed in England for 33 months and returned home in July 1945. He was discharged that September.
The couple was married in St. Mary’s church at Ashwell, England, and theirs was the first Anglo-American wedding performed in Ashwell during the war. Mrs. Grinolds is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.V. (Harold Victor) Eley, Ashwell, and she has one brother, Antone, 16. •
My original post had details on Charles, his military history and his untimely death in 1950. But with the help of Mr. Reed and some additional digging, we can put more details to this heartwarming love story.
Charles Dockstader Grinolds died on Sunday, July 30, 1950 at his Mauston home of a heart ailment. He was just 36. By that time, he and Margaret had three sons: Charles Victor, who had celebrated his 5th birthday the day before his father’s death; Anthony Basil, 3; and Stephen McClellan, 1. After suffering such a devastating loss, Mrs. Grinolds took her sons and returned to England and the support of her family. They came back to the United States in August 1951 aboard the ship Queen Mary.
Mrs. Grinolds married William Osborne in Mauston on March 30, 1952. The couple moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1965. She died September 5, 1972 in Colorado Springs.
The three sons of Charles and Margaret Grinolds all had military careers like their father. Charles V. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and in Iraq. He died on June 10, 2006. Stephen M. Grinolds served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1967-1972. He died on December 23, 2005. Anthony B. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in England. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.
As he prepared his six-seat Beechcraft C35 Bonanza airplane for takeoff, Richard E. Rickman asked airport manager John Stedman if he should take the most direct route, across expansive Lake Michigan to Detroit. Stedman cautioned against it, telling the pilot to fly east across Wisconsin to the lake, then hug the shore and make his way over to Michigan. This approach would presumably be safer, and provide great views for Rickman, his wife and four children.
It was just after the dinner hour on Labor Day 1960. The Rickman family packed themselves into the aircraft at Alexander Field in Wisconsin Rapids, ready to make the flight home to Detroit. The family had been to Drummond, Wis., to visit Helen Rickman’s parents, then flew to the Rapids to visit other relatives.
Richard, the son of a longtime shoe-store proprietor, grew up in Wisconsin Rapids. He was a descendant of pioneer resident Matthias Hanneman, who came to Wisconsin in 1866 from Pomerania. A factory representative for the Ogden Manufacturing Co., Rickman married the former Helen Anderson in December 1949 and they later moved to Michigan. Their first child, Richard Edward, was born in Lansing in May 1953. Robert John was born in Lansing in March 1955. Catherine Helen was born in Detroit in June 1956; and Patricia Ann joined the family in Detroit in September 1957.
The final day of the Rickmans’ visit was spent at the airfield. Rickman gave plane rides to his sister, Elvira Pluke, her husband Nolan and their five children. Rickman primarily used the single-engine aircraft for business trips. The family had recently flown to California in the plane, and then used it for the Labor Day weekend visit.
The wheels of the Beechcraft left the ground of Alexander Field at 6:30 p.m. The Rickman family flew along the western shore of Lake Michigan. They were treated to an incredible view of the Chicago skyline as the aircraft flew less an a mile offshore. The first sign of trouble came near 7:30 p.m., when Rickman issued distress calls that were heard by ships and aircraft as far north as Milwaukee. Rickman radioed Meigs Field in downtown Chicago and asked permission to make an emergency landing because the plane’s engine was cutting out.
Officials at Meigs Field gave Rickman permission for an emergency landing. He veered the aircraft out over the lake and circled to attempt a landing. Witnesses at nearby Oak Street Beach saw sparks trailing from the airplane. The 185-horsepower Continental engine caught fire and became enveloped in smoke. Suddenly, the 25-foot-long airplane turned straight down and plunged headlong into the lake. Hundreds of horrified beach-goers saw a blinding explosion as the plane hit the water.
William J. Cempleman saw the fiery crash from aboard the yacht Playtime. “The whole lake looked afire. Flames soared twenty-five to thirty feet,” Cempleman said. “When we got to the scene, a big circle of water was flaming. All we could see was an airplane wheel floating.” As the Playtime circled the crash site, Cempleman saw the charred body of little Catherine Rickman, 4, floating about 15 feet from the flames. Newspapers across America later published a dramatic Associated Press photograph of a police marine officer carrying the lifeless body of Catherine to shore. Resuscitation efforts failed.
Police and Coast Guard vessels searched the waters off Oak Street Beach into the night. Divers used underwater lights to aid in the search, but found no trace of the aircraft or the other members of the Rickman family. Divers resume the search on September 6, but did not locate the wreckage or the other victims until September 7. Diver Jeff Daxe, a commercial pilot, was the first to reach the bodies. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that one body was found 50 feet from the fuselage, while the other four were inside the wreckage. After the victims were recovered and taken to Burnham Harbor, it was discovered that Richard Rickman’s watch stopped at 7:38 p.m.
The impact sheared off both wings, but only one was found. The engine and propeller were found some distance from the rest of the wreckage in about 30 feet of water. Two weeks after the crash, the Civil Aeronautics Board issued a preliminary opinion that engine failure had caused the crash. In late October the CAB confirmed that opinion, but said the engine would be sent back to the manufacturer for testing. It’s unknown if that ever happened.
The six members of the Rickman family were memorialized at a funeral service on Saturday, September 10, 1960 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids. They were buried at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Richard Edwin Rickman was born on April 27, 1926, the youngest child of Edwin and Renata (Rathke) Rickman. Edwin John Rickman was the son of Christian Wilhelm Ludwig Theodor and Amelia Bertha Emilie Auguste (Hannemann) Rickman. Amelia’s father was August Friedrich Hanneman, the son of family patriarch Matthias Hannemann. Richard Rickman graduated from Lincoln High School in 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1943. He served more than three years in the Navy during World War II and was discharged as an ensign in September 1960. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in business administration.
The feature story below was written by my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, and published in The Wisconsin State Journal on February 21, 1946. It relates the tale of a U.S. army medic, his British bride and baby, who were separated from him for more than six months at the end of World War II. Below the story I provide some more detail on Charles D. Grinolds and his World War II service.
Mauston Vet Escorts British Bride and Son Into New Home Replete Even to Food on Table
By Carl F. Hanneman State Journal Correspondent
MAUSTON — Thrilled with a surprise house, new and completely furnished, Mrs. Charles Grinolds, Ashwell, England, has joined her husband here and introduced him to his son, Charles Victor, who was born after his staff sergeant father left England last July.
When Mrs. Grinolds entered her new home at 4 a.m. Tuesday she found it furnished even to pictures and books, but in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken, and other canned goods.
On the table in the modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription, “Welcome,” while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.
It all climaxed a separation which began early last July, when Grinolds left England just before his son was born. The long wait ended happily , too, for Charles Victor, Jr., was no worse off from the long, tedious journey, and laughed and cooed in his father’s arms as father and son inspected the comforts of their five-room bungalow.
The mother, the former Margaret Eley, although totally exhausted, prepared the baby’s formula before tucking him into his new little bed.
The couple was married in St. Mary’s church in Ashwell, the first Anglo-American wedding in the community during the war. The father served overseas for 33 months, then had to leave before his son was born.
Mrs. Grinolds left England on the American “Santa Paula,” formerly a hospital ship, and was on the water 11 days, arriving in New York last weekend four days overdue because of storms. She was confined to her quarters by seasickness for three days, but the baby appeared to enjoy the trip.
The sight of land, any land, was a great thrill after the rough voyage during which seas rolled over the decks. Upon leaving the ship in New York, the war brides and babies were taken on a sightseeing tour to acquaint the new Americans with their adopted land.
Grinolds, recently discharged, was waiting anxiously in a Chicago railroad station when his family arrived. His wife, who was not expecting her husband in Chicago and had never seen him in civilian clothes, was following a military police assigned to her and became frightened when her husband came up from behind and took the baby from her arms.
But then she was home. ♦
Richard Dockstader Grinolds was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1942 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He became a staff sergeant in the Army Air Force and was stationed in England with the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. His specialty was medical technician. He was featured several times in U.S. Army news photos; twice carrying wounded and once for a feature on a rash of illnesses among troops in England. The 91st Bomb Group was home to the famous “Memphis Belle” B17 Flying Fortress.
Grinolds lost his father, McClellan Grinolds, in 1918, when the boy was just 4. He and his brother were raised by their mother, the former Ruby Elizabeth Dockstader. The Grinolds and Dockstaders were both pioneer Juneau County families. The Hanneman family lived just around the corner from Dockstader Street, named for pioneer Benjamin Dockstader.
The baby featured in the story above, Charles Victor Grinolds, was born in England on July 29, 1945, as his father was headed back to the United States. He was one of four children born to the couple. Sadly, Charles D. Grinolds died on July 30, 1950. He was just 36. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Mauston. The firstborn son grew up to have a distinguished military career, serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. He died on June 10, 2006 in Modesto, California. He was the father of six children.
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.
It was mixed in with photographs and other documents — a colorful, torn ticket stub. I picked it up and examined it and was left wondering, what is the story behind it? The game was between the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern on November 10, 1945. I presumed that my Dad was the lucky holder of the $1.75 ticket. He was 12 at the time, so a trip from Mauston to Madison for a college football game would have been a big treat. I had to find out more about this game. So I dug right into it.
The weather forecast for the homecoming game called for a high of 39 degrees after an overnight low of 18. The Friday night calm on the UW campus was broken by roving mobs of teenagers who broke store windows and vandalized cars along State Street. Madison police made 49 arrests for curfew violations, according to The Wisconsin State Journal. Still, police considered the homecoming crowd on campus well-behaved overall, so they did not use the tear gas and water wagons that were held in reserve.
Camp Randall was packed with 45,000 fans when game time arrived on Saturday. Dad (or whomever held that ticket) sat in the south end zone, Section Z, Row 6, Seat 5. This is the end of the stadium backed against the UW Field House. I’ve sat in that section myself a few times over the years. Fans were treated to a great game. “This was a game with few dull moments, one in which each turned loose a devastating running attack,” wrote Henry J. McCormick, sports editor of The Wisconsin State Journal. The first quarter ended scoreless. Wisconsin’s initial drive ended on Northwestern’s 48 when Jerry Thompson’s pass was intercepted. Northwestern fared no better, as its drive ended on Wisconsin’s 25 when Badger Don Kindt intercepted a Jim Farrar pass.
In the second quarter, Wisconsin scored a touchdown on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a reverse and a pass to the end zone. Northwestern answered with an impressive 73-yard touchdown drive. Wisconsin roared right back on the next drive. Halfback Ben Bendrick ripped off 17 of his 133 yards on one play. Kindt finished the drive by plunging into the end zone with only 8 seconds left in the half. Halftime score was 14-7 in favor of the Badgers. The second half opened with the same high tempo. Northwestern took the kickoff and moved right down the field with 70 yards on 11 plays. Farrar’s 25-yard pass to tight end Stan Gorski brought the game to a 14-14 tie. On the very next drive Wisconsin’s Bendrick tore off a 41-yard run, followed by an 11-yard scamper from Kindt. A fourth-down pass from Thompson was intercepted by Bill Hunt of Northwestern. When the Wildcats pounded down to the Wisconsin 1 yard line on the drive, the Badgers’ defense stiffened, stopping the Cats on a fourth-down pass play. As the third quarter ended, the score was still knotted at 14.
On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Bendrick continued his punishing ground game. But lightning struck as Bendrick went around left end. The ball popped out, right into the hands of Northwestern’s Hunt, who returned the ball to the Wisconsin 9 yard line. After two running plays, Northwestern took it to the end zone for a 21-14 lead. The teams then traded unsuccessful drives. Wisconsin’s Thompson threw another pick at mid-field, but Northwestern’s ensuing drive stalled. When the Badgers got the ball back, Bendrick fumbled again. Northwestern pounced on the ball at the Wisconsin 24. Seven plays later, Northwestern scored to go up 28-14. That’s how the game ended.
When your team rolls up 244 yards rushing, it typically won’t lose. But on this day, the Badgers made too many mistakes, spotting the Wildcats 14 points with two fumbles. The headlines should have been about Bendrick’s stellar 133-yard rushing day. The Badger faithful left Camp Randall entertained, but unsatisfied. If my Dad, David D. Hanneman, was the ticket holder, I’m guessing he was there with his father, Carl F. Hanneman. The first Wisconsin game I can recall attending with my grandfather was a 1977 game vs. Michigan State. The Badgers lost that day, 9-7.
Hidden behind the headlines of the 1945 game was a compelling military story. It was just the third game back for Don Kindt, who shared halfback duties with “Big Ben” Bendrick. As just a 17-year-old, Kindt interrupted his Wisconsin football career in 1943 to enlist in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. He saw extensive action in Italy and was awarded two bronze stars. He returned to the Badgers in October 1945. After his Wisconsin playing career, Kindt spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. He recounts his war experiences in an extensive interview conducted in 1994 by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Milwaukee was a key industrial production hub during World War II, and there was concern that spies or saboteurs would attack defense contractors or the public utilities that supplied them with power. As a master mechanic at Wisconsin Electric’s huge Lakeside Power Plant in St. Francis, Earl J. Mulqueen Sr. worked under tight security to ensure the war effort continued uninterrupted.
Nicknamed “The Governor,” Mulqueen was well known around his home in Cudahy as a Mr. Fixit. Whenever the boiler would go out at St. Frederick’s Catholic Church or school, they would call the Governor to come over and get things working again. When World War II broke out in late 1941, Mulqueen was just starting his third decade working for Wisconsin Electric. He put his mechanical skills to work keeping the turbines and other equipment at Lakeside in good working order.
Signs on and around the Lakeside plant carried a warning: “National Defense Premises. No Entry.” Armed agents guarded the plant 24 hours a day — part of a force of more than 1,000 men providing security at Wisconsin power utilities during the war. Because of his key role in keeping Lakeside in operation, Mulqueen received his own security protection. He often stayed at the plant for long stretches. When he came home to fetch clean clothes and pay a quick visit, he was accompanied by FBI agents. On occasion, an agent came alone to pick up clothes or other supplies for Mulqueen.
The security precautions were warranted. Milwaukee factories were converted to war production of artillery, fuel storage, engines, turbines and all sorts of mechanical parts. The build-up created huge demand for power. The nation could ill afford an attack that shut down a key plant like Lakeside. Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wisconsin Electric officials expressed security concerns, and fears the Lakeside power plant could be attacked with explosives by boat from Lake Michigan.
Nazi Germany launched just such a plan when it landed eight special agents on the shores of New York and Florida in June 1942. The German agents carried explosives and were tasked with blowing up U.S. defense industries and terrorizing population centers. “They came to maim and kill,” said FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Codenamed Operation Pastorius, the plot was foiled when one of the saboteurs turned himself in to the FBI. Federal agents arrested the men and recovered high explosives disguised as pieces of coal.
Such an attack could have been devastating. Manufacturers like Allis-Chalmers, Falk Corp., Ladish, Bucyrus Erie, Case, Heil Co. and many others produced components and finished goods for the U.S. military. Everything from engines, to fuel trailers, to cargo and transport ships were built in eastern Wisconsin during the war. Wisconsin utilities scrambled to add generating capacity to keep up. Opened in 1920, Lakeside carried the burden of power supply as the other generation plants were being built.
Mulqueen left his job as a machinist at the Case plow works in Racine in February 1920 to work for the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (later called Wisconsin Electric) as a machinist helper in the utility’s Racine operations. In November of that year, he married Margaret Madonna Dailey at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Racine. A former teacher, Miss Dailey had graduated in June 1920 from Northwestern University. Earl worked in Racine until 1925, when he was transferred to the Lakeside Power Plant. The Mulqueen family then moved to Cudahy. The couple had 11 children; six of whom served in the U.S. military.
When the United States was drawn into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the war effort was put forth by everyone from soldiers at the front to school children at home. Young Edward J. Mulqueen of Cudahy, Wisconsin, wanted to do his part, so he donated his prized hunting knife to the U.S. military.
An 11-year-old student at St. Frederick’s Catholic School, Mulqueen read about the shortages of materials for the war effort. Newspapers carried pleas for donation of quality knives, since the hardened steel used in the blades was scarce. Eddie didn’t hesitate. In late 1942, he carefully packaged up his knife and mailed it to the address published in the newspaper. He was proud to do his part. After all, with two brothers headed for the Pacific theater (and later a third) he had a personal stake in the fight.
He might have forgotten about the donation, but two letters from the U.S. military, one from a general and one from a corporal, set his heart to soaring. The first letter, dated January 21, 1943, thanked Eddie for his thoughtfulness. “Words themselves cannot fully express our gratitude,” wrote Maj. Gen. Barney M. Giles, commander of the Fourth Air Force. “However, when the battles are over and our boys are home again, we all will thrill at the tales of how they were used.”
Giles was not just some Army bureaucrat. He was commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Force in the Pacific, who later became deputy commander of the entire U.S. Army Air Force. Giles worked alongside legendary war heroes, including Adm. Chester Nimitz,Lt. Gen. James Doolittle and Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold. He closed his letter to Mulqueen this way: “This much I know. With your gift goes another weapon that will certainly do much to help our boys slap the Japs into a complete and lasting tailspin.”
The next letter, from a U.S. Army Air Force officer in February 1943, was especially meaningful to Eddie. “He wished he had a hundred, yes even a thousand knives to donate,” read an article in the Cudahy Reminder/Enterprise. “His knife was seeing action and was being useful to one of our service men fighting in the Pacific.”
Stationed in the Fiji Islands, Cpl. Lucas R. Boyson was glad to receive the knife sent all the way from Wisconsin. Boyson, 29, was even more impressed that an elementary school student was behind the donation. “I was fortunate to receive your knife and to say it was a treat would be to put it mildly,” Boyson wrote in a letter to Mulqueen on February 14, 1943. “It is grand to cut stalks of sugar cane or bamboo sticks and for that matter general miscellaneous uses. I shall carry it with me always and each time I use it, I’ll whisper a ‘thanks to Eddie.’ ”
A married enlistee from Elyria, Ohio, Boyson was serving with the 375th Air Base Squadron, part of the U.S. Army air corps. He was among the first wave of men from Lorain County, Ohio to volunteer for service in January 1941. He wrote to Eddie that the natives on the islands were impressed with the knife, compared with the “hand-pounded, crude machetes they carry with them in the jungles.”
We don’t know if Boyson ever used the knife in combat, but we do know he survived the war and returned to Ohio, where he lived an exemplary life of faith and public service. On February 28, 1946, Lucas and WilhelminaBoyson welcomed a baby daughter, Mina. Lucas was an attorney who became actively involved with his American Legion post, St. Jude Catholic Church and a variety of civic groups and causes. At one time he headed the Lorain County Bar Association. He was also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a group with a special focus on patriotism. Boyson died on December 5, 1992 at age 78.
Inspired by the wartime service of three brothers and one sister, Eddie joined the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean War. After the war, he got married and started a job at Wisconsin Electric Power Co. He was an electrician for many years. Eddie and his wife Marie had three children. The couple later moved to Michigan, where Eddie died in August 1991 at age 60.
It was just the kind of wartime story that made an emotional impact on Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. Three Irish brothers serving in World War II appeared together to promote the sale of war bonds at a series of rallies in November 1944. Two were home on leave from the front and one was about to embark on his first overseas tour of duty.
There they stood on stage, the baby-faced Thomas “Tinker” Mulqueen still in naval training, the serious Marine Cpl. Earl J. Mulqueen Jr., on crutches due to the loss of his left leg above the knee, and the curly-haired redhead, Patrick J. Mulqueen, home from more than 18 months at sea with the U.S. Navy.
“Maybe it is because they are Irish, or maybe it is because they look so much like little boys—or maybe it is because everyone at one time or another, lost his heart to an Irish grin,” wrote The Milwaukee Journal in a front-page story on November 10, 1944. “But no matter what the reason, more and more persons every day are agreeing that the Mulqueen brothers, Tommy, Earl and Patrick, are among the greatest things which ever happened to Milwaukee.”
The impact the boys had was most evident at a bond rally at Schuster’s Department Store on Milwaukee’s North 3rd Street. The event got off to a slow start. Ben Barkin, head of the local war finance committee (later a legendary Milwaukee PR man and founder of the Great Circus Parade) was worried. That all changed when the Mulqueen boys took to the stage. “They are so cute,” one woman said. “They look like little boys playing soldier.”
Now the crowd was interested. Barkin introduced the lads. The 17-year-old Tommy was first to step forward and said simply, “You buy the bonds and the Mulqueens will win the war.” Considering he had yet to set foot in a combat zone, such as statement could have been viewed as a “wisecrack by a fresh kid,” The Journal wrote. But it wasn’t. “When Tommy said it, you knew he was telling the solemn truth,” the paper wrote. (Tinker went on to serve as a sailor on the fleet oiler USS Mattaponi.)
Earl talked about the war. At 21, he had seen more fierce combat than most would ever see. He fought at Guadalcanal and Tarawa with the 2nd Marine Division. Those were two of the bloodiest, deadliest battles of the entire Pacific war. Earl was a mortar crewman, so he was right at the front.
Earl was helping prepare an invasion fleet for the 1944 assault on the Mariana Islands when his landing ship-tank (LST) blew up at Pearl Harbor. The massive chain explosion caused the loss of many ships and resulted in hundreds of casualties. Because of the preparations underway for the invasion of Saipan, the Pearl Harbor disaster was a classified secret until the 1960s. So Earl was only able to say that he “almost made it to Saipan.” (Details of Earl’s war service and loss of his leg in the West Loch disaster will be the focus of a future Archive story.)
Patrick spoke of his experience as a firemanaboard the light cruiser USS Concord (CL-10). He enlisted on August 7, 1942 and by March 1943 was among the compliment of 700 aboard the Concord. The ship escorted reinforcement convoys in the southern Pacific, and prowled the dangerous, icy waters of the north Pacific. The Concord was involved in numerous bombardments of the Kurile Islands. During 1943, the Concord was on a surveying mission of the South Pacific with retired Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the famous explorer. The ship visited Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Easter Islands. A huge explosion onboard on October 7, 1943 took the lives of 22 crewmen. Caused by ignition of gasoline fumes at the rear of the ship, the explosion threw some men overboard, while others were killed from concussion, burns, fractured skulls and broken necks. On October 8, those men were buried at sea. After participating in bond rallies in Milwaukee, Patrick was assigned duty on the USS Crockett (APA148), a Haskell class amphibious attack transport. The USS Crockett had just been commissioned on November 28, 1944.
The crowd at Schuster’s quickly figured out that these “boys” had seen and experienced the horror of war. “It was simple and short,” The Journal wrote. “No frills. No hero stuff, no dramatics—nothing but a couple of kids, one on crutches, asking people to buy and sell bonds.” The stories of the Mulqueen boys had the desired effect. Barkin exclaimed, “You know, the bond drive is going to come out all right.” He was right, for the Schuster’s bond drive raised more than $500,000.
Schuster’s was just one of many venues at which the Mulqueen boys spoke. At some rallies, they were joined by their mother, Margaret “Madge” Mulqueen, who was deeply involved with the war effort through the Wisconsin chapter of the Marine Corps League. She had four blue stars displayed in the window of the Mulqueen home at 3854 E. Cudahy Avenue in Cudahy — one for each of the three boys and one for her daughter Margaret, a Navy nurse based in San Diego.
The bond drives were a crucial part of the home-front effort in World War II. Across the nation, eight war-bond drives between 1942 and 1945 raised more than $190 billion. Investors purchased $25 bonds for $18.25. Bonds were redeemable after 10 years. Companies sponsored in-house bond rallies, and employees pledged purchases through payroll deduction. Children were encouraged to buy 25-cent war stamps to save up for their own war bond. Special sections of local newspapers were dedicated to promoting bond sales. On the radio, popular programs such as Fibber McGee and Molly dedicated entire episodes to war bonds and other home-front efforts.
Earl Mulqueen and Army T/Sgt. Louis C. Koth appeared at such a corporate event at Oshkosh B’Gosh Inc. on November 30, 1944. They were introduced by company president Earl W. Wyman. Koth was a radio operator aboard a U.S. Army Air Force B-17 bomber that was shot down during a mission over Schweinfurt, Germany. Koth was on his third mission in a B-17 Stratofortress when he was forced to parachute into enemy territory. Taken prisoner and repatriated 11 months later, Koth lost his right arm. Koth began participating in the bond tours shortly after being released from a hospital in Madison in the fall of 1944.
Koth and Earl Mulqueen toured Oshkosh Motor Truck Inc. and Universal Motor Co. Later they were interviewed live on radio station WOSH by local bond chairman Richard J. White. “Both of these boys are giving freely of their time to help the sixth war loan campaign,” White said. “They have made sacrifices beyond any that we are being asked to make, and although they will not see action again, they are both anxious to do whatever they possibly can to see that ammunition does not have to be rationed at the front.”
The bond rallies helped explain the costs of supplying the troops. Toothbrushes cost 8 cents each. A hand grenade was $1.56. An anti-tank shell cost nearly $3. A Garand rifle was $55. A 1,000-pound bomb cost $250, while a 75-mm Howitzer cost $11,350. A PT boat cost the military $145,000, while a 1,630-ton destroyer had a price tag of $10 million. A fully outfitted battleship cost $97 million. Bond drives supplied the U.S. government with needed cash, while giving ordinary citizens a concrete way to participate in the war effort.
Largely due to Barkin’s tireless efforts, Milwaukee’s World War II war-bond drives became a model for the nation. Described by The Milwaukee Journal as an “ace ward bond salesman,” Barkin was honored as Milwaukee’s man of the year in 1945 by the Milwaukee Junior Chamber of Commerce. For his $1 annual salary, Barkin popped up just about everywhere in Milwaukee: schools, churches, civic clubs and businesses. The 28-year-old was unable to enlist due to a disability, so he threw his energy into raising money for the war effort. Doctors told him to slow down, but the pitchman didn’t listen. He gave more than 1,000 speeches each year as head of the community division of the war finance committee.
“Let’s show Milwaukee what their money is buying,” Barkin said in 1943. He organized a “Wings for Victory” parade of tanks, jeeps, artillery and other hardware to do just that. Funds from the rally after the parade were used to buy military transport planes for Mitchell Field. Barkin convinced Milwaukee to rename Wisconsin Avenue “War Bonds Drive” for the duration of World War II, a practice later adopted in dozens of other cities. He understood the importance of having soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines tell their stories. The results were often heart-rending. He told the story of a Milwaukee woman who stood in line for two hours to buy a war bond for her boy, serving in North Africa. Her husband had just died two days prior. “Doggone it,” Barkin told Walter Monfried of The Milwaukee Journal,“that kinds of gets you, doesn’t it?”
So Barkin knew when the Mulqueen boys stepped on stage, the people would dig deeply into their pockets to support the war. “No matter what the mood of the meeting before the kids talk,” The Journal wrote, “when they finish, that meeting is sure of going over the top.
“Everyone who has heard the Mulqueen brothers agrees,” the paper wrote, “that the kids are among the best in the world.”
I just learned with sadness of the death of my Dad’s older brother, Donn Gene Hanneman, who died in Minneapolis at age 88. Uncle Donn was the last of the Mauston Hanneman family to pass away. My Dad, David D. Hanneman, died in 2007 at age 74.
I have many memories of my uncle. He was foremost the father of nine wonderful human beings, my cousins Diane, Caroline, Tom, Jane, Mary Ellen, John, Jim, Nancy and Thomas Patrick (March 1-4, 1949). The cousins were raised by a saintly mother, my aunt Elaine Hanneman.
Donn was a veteran of World War II and served as a seaman-second class on the USS Hoggatt Bay. The USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier (crew of 860) commissioned in December 1943.
Donn was born on August 20, 1926, in Wisconsin Rapids to Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982) and the former Ruby Viola Treutel (1904-1977). In 1936, the Hanneman family moved to Mauston in Juneau County, where Carl took a job as a pharmacist attached to the Mauston hospital and clinic. By that time, my father had come along (March 1933). In August 1937, the family expanded to include Lavonne Marie Hanneman Wellman (1937-1986).
As a boy, Donn had his share of illnesses and injuries. He spent more than a week in the Marshfield hospital in September 1929, then returned there in April 1930. Just before my Dad was born in March 1933, Donn was hospitalized in Wisconsin Rapids for more than a week, after an operation for appendicitis.
Just after his 11th birthday in August 1937, Donn was standing on the running board of a moving vehicle while leaving the Juneau County Fairgrounds when he fell and suffered a head injury. He was seen at the Mauston clinic and taken home, but soon after “lost his power of speech and all consciousness,” according to an account in The Daily Tribune in Wisconsin Rapids. “He was then rushed to the hospital.” Donn was diagnosed with a concussion and put on two weeks of bed rest, although that was extended. The September 8 edition of The Daily Tribune said Donn “is making a satisfactory recovery, although he will be confined to his bed for two more weeks.”
Back in those days, a family’s every move ended up in the newspaper. In the case of the Hannemans, it was thanks to the faithful correspondence of Ruby Hanneman. “Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hanneman and little son Don Gene were completely taken by surprise last evening when forty friends arrived to give them a house warming on the occasion of moving into their new home on Hale Street,” the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune reported on April 8, 1932.
Some of the most charming photographs in our library are of a 5-year-old Donn dressed up as a cowboy playing with friends on the sidewalks on the 1200 block of Washington Avenue in Wisconsin Rapids. We detailed those photos in a previous post.
As a youth Donn enjoyed books, and collected enough that his father built him a bookcase that held up to 175 volumes. Carl wrote to my then 6-year-old father about it in August 1939. Dad was staying with an aunt and uncle in Waukegan, Illinois. “Say David, I made a book case for Donn for his birthday, and you know that you still have something coming,” Carl wrote, “so what would you like to have Dad make something for you too, if so tell mother and I will try to start it as soon as I can.”
For a time Donn attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Grade School in Mauston, then run by the Benedictine Sisters. He was among the graduates attending the school’s 100th anniversary in 1995. At the event, he ran into one of his teachers, Sister Emeric Weber, who was just 19 when she started teaching at St. Patrick’s.
“Sister Emeric, I’m sorry I’m late,” he quipped, to which the aged nun replied, “What’s your excuse now? What’s your excuse?”
Like his brother David and father Carl, Donn was a longtime Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal and service organization. He most recently belonged to Council 1013 in Rochester, Minnesota.
There are many others better qualified to provide more recent stories about Donn. And even though he tossed my father through the bay window of their Mauston home when they were boys, my Dad didn’t hold it against him. When he was ill with cancer in the fall of 2006, Dad put it simply and succinctly: “He’s my brother and I love him.”
Donn G. Hanneman (center) in his U.S. Navy uniform, with sister Lavonne and brother David in 1944.
David D. Hanneman and older brother Donn G. Hanneman, circa 1935. Read more about the photo: http://wp.me/p4FxQb-v7
Donn G. Hanneman lounges outside his Grandpa Treutel’s home in Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1930.
Donn G. Hanneman in the world’s smallest swimming pool.
Donn at the family home in Fond du Lac.
Donn Gene Hanneman, son of Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) and Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977), sits in an indoor baby swing at the Hanneman home in Fond du Lac, Wis, ca. 1927. Carl Hanneman was a pharmacist for the Staeben Drug Co. in Fond du Lac at the time.
Donn in his cowboy threads at Wisconsin Rapids.
Donn G. Hanneman wears a convincing looking police uniform, perhaps a Halloween costume.
Donn G. Hanneman looks like a lonely cowpoke with his wagon, circa 1930.
David D. Hanneman on the shoulders of brother Donn.
Donn G. Hanneman towers over his little sister, Lavonne Marie, circa 1941.
Donn G. Hanneman at the Mauston rail station, circa 1944.
Donn G. Hanneman in his U.S. Navy uniform in 1944.