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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Improvements in transcriptions…

Ancestry.com has a database on their site of Hamburg passenger lists. That would be those people leaving Germany from the port of Hamburg. Recently there has been an update to the database which includes an index of the records from 1850 to about 1890, I think, anyway is covers the dates I need. The great thing about this index is that it is the Archives in Germany that is doing it. Which means that the information from the transcription will be more accurate.

In my case, I was hoping to see a refinement of the entry for  Frederick William John and Henrietta Volk in the records. Which I did. The transcription confirmed that which I believed to be true, but wasn’t quite sure of, F W John and his wife Henrietta both indicated that they were born in Altraden, Posen, Prussia.

It’s not ground breaking news, but it makes me feel better about including the information in my own records. FW’s brother August did not have to give the same information when he emigrated in 1855, he only had to say where he was from, that could just mean where he last lived. We have that information.

At this time there are very few accessible records for Altraden for me to look at. I do keep checking up on Posen websites as there are a few indexing projects going on from church records, but it might be a while before we find anything, if ever.

Postmaster in the house…

The JOHN family has a few postmasters in its background. This position was due to two of our ancestors working with the rail system, Frederick William in Gillett and Victor Hugo in Wabeno and the surrounding area. Victor was in fact station agent in Wabeno for many years.

Ancestry.com just this week uploaded their postmaster appointment database with image and I decided to look for both of the above named gentlemen. The top image is FW John’s appointment and the bottom image is Victor Hugo’s (just click on the images to see a larger version). Here is a description of the collection from Ancestry:

This is a database of post office appointments stretching from 1832 until 1971. The records are mostly a register of people appointed to run post offices, but opening and closing of post offices, as well as Presidential appointments and Senate confirmations are included. The records primarily include name, appointment date, vacancy cause, vacancy date, post office location, state, county, and volume.

I looked for William A. Shepard in the database, but did not find him.

Emilia

It was early summer in 1904, Mrs. Hilda Shallman the local Swedish midwife heard a hurried knock on her door. She grabbed her bag, that was always ready for just such an occasion, and opened the door to an out of breath neighbor, who rushed to give her the news, and then Mrs. Shallman headed out the door to get to the apartment of Fred and Kari Hamm that was just a couple of blocks away.

Sometime during the day of 3 June Kari gave birth to a daughter. She was named Emilia after her husband Fred’s mother.

Sadly Emilea contracted gastroenteritis, or what is more commonly known as stomach flu. She died at the age of 1 year 2 months and 15 days on 18 August 1905. Myrtle never knew her sister.