Cherry pickin’…

Fred Hamm

Because I knew so little about my great grandfather Fred Hamm, I have spend an inordinate amount of time over the years trying to figure him out. In the course of my search into the details of his life I have filled in quite a few gaps. My latest foray in this endeavor was trying to learning a little about his life in his last years.

Fred is buried in Bailey’s Harbor, Door County, Wisconsin. According to one of his obituaries he had been working at Martin Orchards before his illness. This was the, if not one of the, largest cherry orchards in the world. The cherries were definitely world renowned in the early to mid 1900s. Martin Orchards is located about 4 miles outside of Sturgeon Bay and covers over 700 acres, (or at least did in the early part of the 1900s). Fred had been in Door County for about 11 years before his death, maybe he had answered one of these ads that was placed in the local paper:

While Fred was working at the orchard in the mid 1940s World War II broke out, and after the US became involved German prisoners of war started arriving in Wisconsin. One of the places they were sent was Martin Orchards.

Here is a picture of prisoners arriving at the train depot in Sturgeon Bay. They were going to be harvesting cherries, apples, and potatoes and helping out with other field work. Apparently the POWs picked a little over half a million pails of cherries in Door County during their stay. 
I wonder what Fred thought about these Germans and if he ever spoke with them.
Dale and I took a trip up to Bailey’s Harbor a few years ago in the hopes of finding Fred’s grave, but we had no luck. It appears that there is no headstone for him at the cemetery.
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