Fritz and the in-laws…

My 3xgreat Uncle Fredrick (Fritz) Isserstedt, jr. was the only son of Fredrick and Wilhelmena Isserstedt. He was born in Gotha, Germany on the 8th of March in 1852. And was only 3 years old when the family made  their 49 day voyage over the Atlantic Ocean to America on the ship ‘Elise Rühke.’

When he was 29 years old Fritz married Phoebe Coon in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where the Isserstedts had established their new home. A few years later, in 1886, Fritz and Phoebe ‘purchased’ land from Phoebe’s parents Benjamin and Philena Coon. But this wasn’t just a simple transfer of money for property, there were some interesting stipulations with this purchase.

This indenture made this 5th day of Feb. 1886 between Benjamin Orrin Coon and Philena R. Coon his wife all of Sheboygan County Wisconsin parties of the first part and F. J. Isserstedt of said County party of the second part. 

…..on the following terms and conditions to wit: 

The said F. J. Isserstedt shall furnish one half of all seed neccessary to be used on the said premises the said Benjamin Orrin Coon the other half each to furnish one half of the cows to be kept on the farm the said F. J. Isserstdt to turn over one half of the proceeds of the farm at the end of each season to Benjamin Orrin Coon as the consideration for this conveyance made to him of the said premises and in case said Benjamin Orrin Coon shall die before his wife does, then said Isserstedt or his heirs or assigns shall turn over to the wife of said Coon the one half of the said proceeds during the term of her natural life.  

It is further agreed between the parties that when it is necessary to have new machinery or farm implements on the farm each is to furnish one half of the expense of such new machinery or farm implements.

The said party of the first part shall furnish a good able bodied man to work on the farm eight months in the years commencing about March 14 of each year each party shall furnish one half of the trains or teams necessary to do the work on the farm. 

The party of the first part and his wife shall have the privilege of residing in the dwelling house from on said described premises and in case a new house shall be [built on the?] premises by the parties of the second part the first part shall have the privilege of residing in such new house in suitable manner to be provided for them by the parties of the second part during the terms of their natural lives.

It is further agreed between the parties that a failure to perform any of the conditions of the foregoing agreement shall under this conveyance absolutely void and the party of the second part shall become a tenant at sufferance of the parties of the first part in case this agreement beomes void as aforesaid and be liable to be recorded as such tenant. 

So instead of giving the in-laws money for the property, they made a deal to work the land together with each couple doing their part to share in the profits and expenses as long as the in-laws can continue to live on the land and even move in to any new digs built on the property, if they so desire.

Another example of land records doing more than just showing a transfer of property, here you find some interesting family dynamics. (See documents below.)

Digital image of deed.1


Sheboygan County Wisconsin, Register of Deeds; Deeds (1839-1886) and index to deeds (1839-1888); Warranty deeds, v. 53 1883-1884 Deeds, v. 54 1883-1887   –  FHL film #1,392,913 – vol. 36, page 453 [image 1213]:


The jitney problem…

A jitney bus about 1924. Image from Wisconsin Historical Society.

One memory that stands out for me from when we lived in Manila, was the jeepney busses (similar to jitneys) that drove around the city, with all the bright colors and decorations, which included fringe and beads hanging from the windows. They were pretty cool to watch, especially when you are a kid.

Who would have thought that my grandfather would have been part of the jitney craze that hit America in the nineteen teens and continued until about 1923.

The jitney business, (according to a 1915 article I found1), is said to have originated in the southwest, due to the recession which broke out just after WWI, and is believed to have started because of a street car service strike. An intrepid businessman seeing folks in need, took the opportunity to make a few extra nickels in a poor economy by charging them for a ride in his automobile. They were called ‘jitneys’ because they cost a nickel to ride, and slang for a nickel at the time was ‘jitney’.

This idea took hold like wildfire, spreading across the country with great enthusiasm. It apparently also caused massive headaches for local city councils who were wholly unprepared for the problems this craze would cause. Problems like congestion and increased street accidents. Local trolley lines and chartered transportation companies began losing money as a very fast clip as fewer folks were using their systems. City officials and public utility commissioners were now tasked with the necessity of regulating the ‘rampant individualism’ that was causing such havoc on their streets.

Fleets of automobiles were appearing unexpectedly on local streets and not conforming to any regulations. Anyone who was unemployed, wanted to change jobs, had an automobile, regardless of skill or experience, was getting into the business. Street accidents became frequent due to congestion, defective automobiles, reckless driving, and competition amongst drivers.

The railroads, trolley lines and taxi companies with franchises to protect, were all solidly against the jitney. In some cities councils, sensitive to the ‘established order’ of their towns attempted to legislate the jitney out of business. One way this would work was to make jitney owners responsible for any accidents they are involved in.

Wisconsin newspaper article talking about one of the reasons jitneys were starting to die out at this time,
they were becoming too expensive to run.
Some of the advantages of the jitney as opposed to the other modes of transportation available to folks were: quicker service, a more comfortable and cleaner ride, cheaper, and not as noisy. Jitneys could provide service to suburban and interurban areas. Transportation strikes would never affect the drivers, they weren’t in a union. They also helped make a city prettier by eliminating the need for trolley poles and lines. The nickels spent for the ride generally stayed local. And, hey, chauffeur!
The jitney definitely made big business sit up and take notice, their strap-hanging public had an alternate mode of transportation and were using it.
I have no idea how long Clarence ran his business or where in Wisconsin this happened. But I am sure hoping that I can find out.

The craze had many a song written about it.
1 The Jitney Bus Problem, by E. S. Koelker, page 87; The Wisconsin Municipality, volume XV, January to December, 1915; Madison, Wisconsin.



What about the ex…

A case of researching the ex-spouse to solve a mystery.

I have known that my paternal Grandfather Clarence John had been married previous to my Grandmother Myrtle for many years. I even knew that they had had a daughter together. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to find the name of his first wife, which happened while I was going through newspaper articles from Forest County, Wisconsin. In the paper was the announcement that Clarence had married in Illinois to Esther Edwards. (My father had at one time known her name, which he had found out when an uncle of his died and she or her daughter was mentioned as a beneficiary, but over time he had forgotten it.)

For my father, finding out that Clarence had a wife previous to his own mother, Myrtle, was quite a big shock, as was the fact that he had a half-sister he never met! Clarence had done a pretty good job of keeping it a very closely guarded secret from his own children, but everyone else in the family knew her and their daughter, and had even kept in touch with them over the years.
The big questions I wanted to answer were: when did this first marriage end, and where? To do this I first needed to find out more about Esther, because research on Clarence hadn’t helped. During earlier research attempting to pin down when they might have been divorced, I had found her in 1930 living with her father and Marie (the half-sister) in White Lake. The census did indicate she was divorced, but, I still didn’t know where or when. I had tried to find a divorce for them in Forest County, but no luck. I decided to continue the search further ahead in time, so I went to the 1940 census. Bingo! There she was in White Lake, with Marie, only now she is married to an Oscar Christenson and they have two daughters of their own. This was excellent news, because, usually, on these later marriage records there is a question regarding any previous marriages. As my niece lives in Antigo I asked her to drop by the register of deeds office and see if she could find the marriage in question. A few days and a text later, there it was in black and white: previously married to Clarence John, divorced October 28, 1923 in Merrill, Lincoln County, Wisconsin, the answer to both of my questions. Now I could also breath a sigh of relief, because my grandfather had definitely not been married when he met my grandmother.
Marriage certificate for Esther and Oscar.

But of course it didn’t stop there. My first thought was, “Wow, only married a year and a half-ish. What went wrong?” The clerk of courts in Lincoln county informed me that they had divorce records from 1926 and on a little late for me. So I searched ArCat (the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives Catalog) then contacted the UW Stevens Point Area Research Center, (which holds records from Lincoln County) and asked them to sent me the case file for Clarence and Esther John/s from Lincoln County. Four days later it arrived.
The file isn’t big. Probably because Clarence never showed up in court to contest the petition or testify, even though he had been summoned to do so.
Here is the complaint:

Esther E. John vs. Clarence John
1. That she and the defendant were married at Waukegan, Ill., on January 10th, 1922; that she has been a resident of the State of Wisconsin all her life. 

2. That there has been born as the issue of said marriage, one child, a girl, named Gertrude Marie; that said child is now nine months of age. 

3. That beginning shortly after said marriage the defendant began a course of cruel and inhuman treatment towards this plaintiff and that some of his acts are as follows: That three months after said marriage he struck her in the face with his fist and caused her to have a black eye; that he repeatedly struck her [‘and kicked her’ is marked out]; that he has sworn at her frequently and called her indecent names and accused her of infidelity and has slandered her by telling untrue and indecent things about her character.
      That ever since said marriage, the parties hereto made their home with the parents of the plaintiff on an agreement that defendant was to pay one-half of the expenses of running the household and furnish the wood; that he failed to carry out this agreement; that he failed to provide her with sufficient money to support herself and said child and she was obliged to look to her father and mother for sufficient funds wherewith to maintain and clothe herself and said child and was also obliged to use a part of her savings which were on deposit in the bank at White Lake, Wis; that she had an edowment insurance policy made payable to him on which a premium became due shortly after said marriage and he refused to pay the same and she was obliged to pay it out of her savings; that at Christmas time, 1922, he gave her no money wherewith to purchase necessitites for any Christmas remembrances and she was obliged to use her own funds for such purpose; that shortly before March 1st, 1923, he was abusing her and continued the same for a period of about one week, [‘when he left home and she did not know his whereabouts for two or three days’ – lined out] and finally on March 1st, 1923, he left her and they have not lived together as husband and wife since said date; that he is lazy and when he does get work, he cannot hold a job on account thereof; that a part of the time he runs a Jitney line; that after March 1st, about May 1st, she was obliged to enter a hospital in Antigo on account of sickness and previous to that during March and April while she was sick at home he did not call on her or see her or inquire about her condition, so far as plaintiff knows, and saw her only once during all of the time she was in said hospital; that he refused to pay her doctor bill or store bill or hospital bill until compelled to pay the doctor’s bill by law, and she was obliged to pay the store account and nurses’ bill and paid $70.00 hospital bill for the time she was in said hospital at Antigo.

4. That defendant is a strong and able bodied man and has earned at common labor, $3.50 per day and while in his Jitney business earned at least $5.00 per day net; that plaintiff has had some training as a clerk and stenographer and is capable of earning good wages but on account of her recent sickness will not be able to secure a position for a period of about six months; that she has, at all times, kept her marriage vows; that since his desertion of her, on March 1st [1923], she has been obliged to  a part of the time, pay for the care of said child; that she has not sufficient money or means of her own wherewith to carry on this action or support said child.
5. That plaintiff’s maiden name was Esther E. Edwards; that no prior action of divorce has been commenced or is now pending between the parties hereto.
     WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment for a divorce from the bonds of matrimoney existing between her and the defendant; for custody of said child; that defendant be required to pay the attorney’s fees and costs in this action and provide a suitable amount weekly, for the support of said child; to repay her the $70.00 which she paid the Antigo hospital; for the restoration of her maiden name and for such other and further relief as may be just. (here is the whole case file in pdf)

The divorce was granted on October 24th (not 28th as Esther indicated on her marriage certificate, a minor quibble). They weren’t officially divorced until a year after that date though.
Esther and Clarence were married in early January of 1922. Gertrude Marie was born in early August of 1922. Which means that Esther could quite possibly have been pregnant when they married. I do not know if Marie was premature, by about a month, or not. So, if they did marry because she was pregnant, it is quite possible that they married for the usual wrong reasons, and as so often happens in these cases, it didn’t work out for them.
I have a hard time believing that my Grandfather would behave in such a manner. Granted, I never knew him. But nothing I had ever heard about him indicated he would commit these kinds of acts.  However, one has to remember when reading this testimony that before the advent of no-fault divorce in the United States, a divorce could only be obtained by showing one party to be at fault in the marriage. It meant that one spouse had to plead that the other had: committed adultery, abandoned the family, or (one I have seen in many divorce cases in my years at the archives), committed cruel and inhuman acts, which usually included physical, mental and verbal abuse, even if none of this occurred during the marriage. Many American lawyers and judges were advocates of no-fault divorce because they wanted to eliminate the need for perjury in the court by the parties involved in the cases, where they wanted out of a marriage for a variety of other reasons that weren’t deemed acceptable in court. By 1985 all but New York had adopted some form of no-fault divorce, it wasn’t until 2010 that New York finally passed a no-fault divorce bill.
So one does have to take these early divorce testimony records with a grain of salt. He could quite possibly be guilty of some of these charges, including his failure to pay bills. He was the oldest son, so he was probably a bit spoiled, and he was barely in his mid-20s at the time of his marriage, and divorce, so he might have had some growing up to do yet.

For me the mystery is finally over. One case solved, of the many remaining. In fact, comparatively speaking, this one was a piece of cake, once I settled down to solving it. Of course now I want to know all about this Jitney business!

Brother in arms…

Mary (Schaal) and Augustus C. Johns, (I believe this
 photo was taken at their home in Minnesota),
early 1900s.

My g-g-grandfather Fredrick William John had a younger brother Augustus, (who went by the surname Johns after he arrived in America). He was also a soldier in the Civil War. In fact he enlisted August 13, 1862 with Company F of the 21st Wisconsin Infantry, under the command of Col. B. J. Sweet. He was living in Oakfield, Dodge County, Wisconsin at the time. His brother F.W. didn’t join up until several years later.

Augustus, a cooper by trade, had only been in America a year when he met and then married Maria Schaal in Dodge County in 1856. When war broke out in 1861, according to his wife Maria, Augustus enlisted because of their deep belief in the inherent evilness of slavery. She recalls his leaving:

“We had just built us a 5 room cottage but the upstairs was still un-plastered. My husband left me with this cottage, a cow, a few chickens, and three children, the eldest a little over four years old. My husband was so afraid he would miss the train, that was to take him to war, that he sat up all the previous night!”

Not only was she now alone to take care of the homestead, but she was three months pregnant at the time.

The 21st organized itself in Oshkosh to start its journey to the front. They arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, by way of Chicago and Indianapolis, on September 13, 1862 about noon. As the enemy forces were marching upon Cincinnati and Louisville, they were ordered to report to Gen. Wallace at Covington, Kentucky, so they quickly crossed the Ohio river, at which time they were assigned to the 3rd division of Gen.Wallaces Corps and proceeded to take positions in the trenches. The 21st was at that time 960 strong.

On their arrival at Cincinnati, Col. Sweet reported to Gov. Solomon of Wisconsin that “everything in the way of equipping the men seems to be in a state of uncertainty and confusion. We have no tents. They cannot give us any here.”

In fact, the 21st was organized so quickly that the men hadn’t even had time to practice drills in their rush to the battlefield. And they had no tents, no clothes, no guns. While the Union Army was in a hurry to recruit men to fight the war, they didn’t seem to be well prepared to arm and supply them. It was a good thing they brought their own rations, otherwise they wouldn’t have been eating either.

The next morning the 21st was going to be sent to the front two miles away. Col. Sweet was hoping that they would have a few moments to drill the men “and teach them the whole art of war.”

After arriving at Covington’s front, they spent their time changing positions twice over the next few days and sitting around in the trenches. On the 17th were then ordered to report to Louisville, Kentucky. They were to report to General Sheridan, who was commanding the Army of the Ohio. They remained in the area until October 1st. The men were marched to the trenches at 3:00 every morning and stayed until 6 am, changing position from one side of the city to another over the course of their stay. It was at this time that they finally obtained tents and were now thoroughly equipped for field duty. However, because of the constant marches, trench duty, the company paperwork and organization of the regiment, they had only been drilled three or four times.

Their assignment now was to the 28th Brigade commanded by Col. John Starkweather, part of Rousseau’s Division.

On October 1 they proceeded to march to route out the rebel army from the state of Kentucky. Eight days of intense heat and very little running water. at the end of which they engaged in the Battle of Chaplin Hills. They arrived at the battlefield about 4:00 in the afternoon on the 8th of Oct where they were immediately ordered to take position in a cornfield at the extreme left of the line of battle, a battle which was in the midst of action and had been for some time. General Jackson’s Division was in the immediate front of their position. Many of the 21st were shot down while getting into position, the bullets passing through the front and hitting whomever was behind. Because of the Jackson line in front of them they were unable to fire back at the enemy, unless they wanted to decimate their own troops. Eventually, as the battle progressed, the 21st was facing the enemy line and fired, it was “only when overpowered by superior numbers” did the regiment commense its retreat behind a new line of battle.

After this battle over the next month they marched to Lebanon, Kentucky, and then on to Bowling Green. From Bowling Green they headed to Mitchellsville Station, Tennessee, then on to Nashville, at which time they set up camp. Then on December 26th they marched with the army in its advance upon the rebels who were at Murfreesboro 30 miles from Nashville.

On December 30th while the army was taking position at Stones River the brigade of which the 21st regiment was a part was positioned on the extreme left flank covering the Jefferson Pike. At 7:00 in the morning, as the brigade train was approaching, it was attacked from the rear by Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry which consisted of about 3500 men. The Union regiment lay in two lines nearest to the point of attack and immediately proceeded double quick by the left flank down the road past the train to drive the revels from the line, but not before twenty one of the wagons were driven off and set on fire. The 21st at once formed line on the side of the road for protection of the trains which passed on. Wheeler’s cavalry charged upon the regiment but was unable to dislodge them and fell back out of musket range. The Union army was finally able to place some battery in a convenient enough spot to cause the rebels to retreat in haste and confusion. But, not before they were able to take 64 sick men, teamsters, and conveyances from the brigade train. One of those men captured was Augustus.

Augustus was, at this point, being listed in the rolls as “prisoner at Jefferson on 30th of December 1862” until September of 1863, at which time he finally shows up as “in the hospital at Stevenson, Alabama.” It appears that he was a prisoner at least through May of 1863. The records do not indicate when he was released, nor when he entered the hospital, but at least by September he is now free from imprisonment with the rebels and recovering in a hospital. It is possible that he was part of a prisoner exchange between the two armies as there is no indication that he was ever in a particular prison during the war.

Augustus continued his service with the Union Army until he was mustered out at the end of the war.
The following excerpts are from Maria’s interview:

“And news of big battles came. My husband was in Murphysboro, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and marched with Sheridan eastward to the sea. We had always written each other once a week, but now all news of Sherman’s army ceased and I heard nothing from my husband for weeks. When a letter came from my husband, I used to put it under my pillow and pray to the Father not to let my babes become orphans as I had been. When I nursed my baby, the hot tears rolled down my cheeks and my baby looked up as if she wondered why I wept.

My husband drew $13 a month as a soldier. Of this he kept $3 for his own use, and sent me $10 every month. Also, he washed shirts for the other soldiers who did not like to do such work, and who did not save their money. These shirts would get full of vermin and had to be washed in boiling water. My husband got 10 cents for each shirt he washed. All that he earned this way, he saved up and sent me a $50 gold bond and a gold ring that he purchased with these savings. He wrote that the food the soldiers got was not good. “I get only cow tail to eat”, he said. So I sent him a box of food once, but the freight on it was $9, which I found hard to pay.

Still with Sherman, my husband marched to Washington, and was mustered out. He came home by way of Milwaukee, where he bought a cheap linen duster to protect his cloths. The night I expected him, I never went to bed. When he got in at the station, he started right for our cottage, and the neighbors said his feet never touched the ground, because he flew to his family. He was neatly shaved and clean — cleanest of the whole company that returned. I had just lain down when the train pulled in, and the children ran in to say, “There is a soldier coming.” A moment after that, my husband came in with the children clinging to him. My little 2 year old, Flora, who had never seen him, was clinging to him, too! Then, for the one time in my life, I fainted!!!”

Marie never mentions Augustus’ capture in her memoirs.

During the month of travel to the battle that would imprison Augustus, he also served as a Provost Guard, these were the military police of the Union Army during this particular war. On the field they were also the security detachment for Division and Corps Headquarters. They protected Headquarter’s units, provided men to guard captured Confederates on their way to the rear, and provided security against Confederate guerrillas and raiders. In Augustus’s case he was probably handpicked by his CO as a temporary measure to fill in a spot as needed. The position was a well respected one by the Union troops.

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.

Pencils, protractors and rulers, oh my…

When you are researching land records in this country there are generally two kinds of property descriptions you will run into ‘metes and bounds’ and ‘rectangular survey’

The latter type is pretty easy to understand, everything is divided into squares or rectangles with specific acreages in wholes, halves, quarters. But metes and bounds is a whole other animal. 
Below is an example of each of property type. The first was owned by GEORGEs (Virginia/West Virginia) and the second was owned by CONNELLYs (Wisconsin):

BEGINNING at a beech and sugar tree on the south bank of McClery’s fork, and running thence
S45 degrees E55 poles to a hickory on a ridge
E344 poles to a white oak on the side of a hill
N100 poles to a black oak on the side of a point
N53 degrees, W180 poles to a stone on a hill near some white oaks
S82 degrees W184 poles to a white oak in a narrows, and thence
S20 degrees, W160 poles to the BEGINNING

and

sw1/4 sw1/4  s23  t18  r19 (translated this means – the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 23, township 18, range 19.)

I made the metes and bounds property description easier to read by separating each description, normally you would see it as one long paragraph. You can also see the difference between the two methods in the description of each. The rectangular survey method is much easier to read and figure out.

So while I have understood for many years how to figure out what sections look like on a map. I had never tackled metes and bounds, until a few weeks ago, at which time I decided it was time to learn something new by practicing with my GEORGE family deeds. These deeds are all located in Tyler County, West Virginia.

Here is my first attempt:

This one came out pretty close, the poor quality of my tools affected the outcome.

The second one:

The trick is pretty simple, you need a protractor or something with degrees on it, a pencil, and a ruler. Put a dot on your paper center the dot on your protractor mark the first degree in the proper direction, then measure out the poles or rods. Next. Well, I won’t go into any more detail, after all it is actually something you have to do to understand better and once you learn the procedure, it is pretty easy and fun.

Once you start drawing out these property descriptions you also start finding out where the errors are in the surveyors measurements or the register of deeds copying talents, because over time errors do appear, as can be seen in this property I drew out:

Something is definitely wrong with the deed in the above drawing, now I just have to figure out where the mistake is. The squiggly line on the bottom is in fact a ‘meander’, this line actually follows a creek.

Here is another example of a bad deed. The numbers were very hard to read on this one and I believe the clerk writing it out made a couple of mistakes. I have drawn four versions of what the property looks like in this one drawing, none of them line up properly. I was going by what the numbers could be in the deed.

Guess I have some more work to do in Salt Lake City.

A little nachtmusik…

Here’s a fun one. I actually found this picture last fall and while cleaning out my iPhoto image library was reminded that I had it.

My dad and his sisters attended the Crandon, Wisconsin school system when they were younger. The county library has been digitizing their yearbooks from the schools. This image popped up during one of my searches:

It is of interest because my Aunt Claire is in this picture. She is in the third row from the bottom about in the middle of the line. I never knew she was musically inclined.

Fun facts…

Just before the holiday I thought I would share a few fun HAMM family facts that I found in the Taylor County (Wisconsin) history book. For those who don’t know, the Hamm’s lived just outside of Medford:

In 1878…At this early date Main Street looked more like a country road, with its stumps, and a slab and saw dust fill on the north end. This side walks for years were made of planks; and the ones in front of stores were on different levels…The appearance of Main street, then, was anything but citified. Among the new arrivals this year, were T.H. Fredricks, Jos. Hirsch, J. Hirsch, George Hamm, Mrs. John Kuse, C.J. Boeckler, Peter J. Olson, and John Raths. A school was built at Whittlesey, with Miss Whippler finishing the first term in June. [pg33] 

The roads out of town were possibly usable two or three miles each way but the one south in the vicinity of the Hamm farm, was muddy even in summer. [pg39] 

Rev. B. Ungrodt came here from Cape Colony, South Africa in 1881, and served for many years as the first pastor of the Immanuel Lutheran church. Chas. Faude, Henry Schoeplke, George Hamm, Wm. Thielke, F. Krueger, and Daniel Schief were among his early parishioners. [pg49] 

The first man to make a business of delivering milk was Geo. Hamm who was followed for many years by Mrs. Carl Kuehn. [pg123]

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.

Great expectations…

Well it finally arrived. The 1940 census, 72 years after the fact.

Day one of research – total server meltdown. After a few hours I just said fugetaboudit. Day two – better luck, I managed to acquire a couple of records. Day three – much better access, found a few more records and only a few more to go. By Friday I had pretty much found all the records I will be able to. The only missing one is of course, Fred Hamm, my wandering vagabond.

So for your viewing pleasure the 1940 census for Clarence and Mytle John:

This census shows Clarence, Myrtle, Claire, Victor and Carol all living in Laona, Wisconsin. My one hope for this record was to see if Clarence was listed as having worked for one of the Government programs like the WPA or CCC, unfortunately there is just a dash in the box. Clarence was also one of the two people on a page that were asked extra questions in this particular census. The only item of interest to me was his occupation was listed as forestry and government work. So maybe because he wasn’t one of the unemployed men working for the WPA or CCC, he isn’t listed as working for either program, even though he was but in a different capacity.

Next is William and Lois Shepard:

In this census you can see that Lois and William are living with William’s parent’s William and Rachel in Genoa Township, Delaware County, Ohio. This is just north of the Westerville area. None of the Shepard children are born yet, looks like we will have to wait another 10 years for the next census.

So I am pretty much done looking for relatives in this census. Carrie Cain is still around as is Eliza Hays. I even found Emil Hamm in Duluth, while looking for Carrie/Kari Amundson. Fred Hamm is my only fly in the ointment. I checked the complete census for Shawano County,Wisconsin as that was his last place of residence in the 1930 census, but that was a bust. No surprise there. Looks like I will have to wait for the indexing to be done.