Monthly Archives: March 2012

Schultz Obituaries

I received a packet in the mail with several items from the Plainfield, Minnesota Historical Society.  Included were several obituaries for various members of the Schultz (Schulz) family who lived in and around Elgin, Minnesota.  They make for interesting reading!

Gustave Rudolph Schultz (the MN folks added a “t” to Schulz) was the son of Martin Schulz, who was the brother of Wilhelmine Schulz Zierke, my 3rd great grandmother.  Ferdinandine Ballewski Schultz was the wife of Gustave’s brother Wilhelm who killed himself in the haunted house.  (See this story for more about Wilhelm.)


New Kamrath Info

Got an email last night from my cousin Lisa Machan. This news is related to Ida Kamrath (my great-great grandmother Bertha Kamrath Krueger’s sister) and her husband William Synott:

I’ve been in touch with Mollie Crain, who is related to the Synotts. She sent me copies (by snail mail) of family records that she has and included a tree copy for you. I opened it tonight and found something from the UWSP Archives in Steven’s Point. Apparently there was a Wausau centenniel project in 1939 and William Synott and Ida filled one out.

In it, Ida says that she was born May 5, 1978 in Stettin, Germany! Also, she lists her siblings and fails to mention Bertha (!!!) although she mentions Helen (John) Tisch born 29 July 1866, living in Tacoma, WA; Anne Petra [Petrie] born 12 June 1868 and living in Marinette, WI; Emma (August) Oelke born 5 August 1870 and living at 225 3rd Avenue North; Carl Kamrath (dead).

Henrietta [Ida’s mother] is listed as having the last name “Sense” and both Carl [Kamrath] and Henrietta were listed as “born in Germany.”

The “Stettin” listed is likely not the town of Stettin, but rather the District of Stettin in Pomerania. There are two towns called Roggow in the District of Stettin, Pomerania. I’m not sure which one was the place listed on the Kamrath passenger list yet, but Stettin is a huge port city and it would have been easy for Carl and Henry Krueger to stow away aboard a ship there assuming the Kruegers also lived relatively near to that city.

LDS Films

One of the films I’ve ordered has arrived here in the Madison Family History Center:

Film 245492: Kirchenbuch – Evangelische Kirche Weißenhöhe (Kr. Wirsitz)

I’m hoping to find Schmidt family members on that film (although it’s a long shot).

I also ordered this film today:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department. Roggow, Brandenburg, Prussia births or christenings (1622-1767) : A thru Z. Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. 1 reel of microfilm. Alphabetically arranged parish register extracts for Roggow B (Kr. Regenwalde), Pomerania (not Brandenburg as stated in title), Prussia, Germany; now, Rogówko (Łobez), Szczecin, Poland. Extracted from film 905037 item 4. Batch # C99880-1.

Which may have Kamrath family members on it.  They were from Roggow, Pomerania… the question is whether this is the right one or if anyone we recognize will be in there.

Robert Clifford and Agnes McWhirter – Church Records

I’ve been trying to get my hands on church records for Agnes McWhirter and Robert Clifford. I started with Rev. Craig Smith from a church in Winooski I basically selected at random. He referred me to Anne Brown, the communication minister for the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. I had written to her:

I’m researching my family history. My great-great-great-grandmother, Agnes (McWhirter) Clifford was a member of Trinity Church in Winooski. She lived in Winooski, Burlington and Colchester. Her obituary says “Mrs. Clifford was a member of Holy Trinity Church, being one of the organizers of the society”. Her funeral took place there about July 26, 1898 after her death in her home on Clifford Street in Winooski.

I’m really hoping that some church records might be available to tell me more about her and her husband Robert Clifford. They both immigrated here from Ireland, and without definite birth dates, or places, or names of parents it can be almost impossible to track their families across the ocean. Sometimes churches have little biographies or other information on members, especially founding members. I’m wondering if such a thing exists.

Ann wrote back to me to apologize for the delay in responding, then said:

I am not sure what church that might have been — there is no Holy Trinity now in Winooski. The only one we have is in Swanton, quite a ways north. I have forwarded your note to our diocesan historiographer, who may be of more help. Her name is Elizabeth Allison, email: She is in the office a couple of days a week, so you may not hear from her right away. Feel free to write back to me if you don’t hear anything from her in a week or so.

Elizabeth wrote back:

There was a mission in Winooski – Trinity, not Holy Trinity. The only Holy Trinity is Swanton. Off the top of my head, I don’t know what we have on Winooski but will check and try to provide an answer to the query.

Anne assures me that the records should be there in Elizabeth’s collection. We shall see!

Update: 29 Mar 2012

Heard back from Elizabeth. No good news:

Dear Charles,

Your request followed a circuitous route in getting to me as Historiographer of the Diocese.

Unfortunately, while Trinity Mission, Winooski was established in 1876, the pre 1899 records are limited to subscription lists for the building. I checked the 4 lists for 1875-1876 and found no references to McWhirter or Clifford families. I did scan the post 1899 records but found no references to either family there. The single history of the Mission published in the 1890 Convention Journal contains no mention of either family.

I am certain all of this is very disappointing to you and unfortunately, I have no idea where to direct you in your research to find any other records.


Elizabeth E. Allison, Registrar and Historiographer, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

Sisters of Wilhelm Schmidt

My 2nd great-grandfather, Carl Ernst Wilhelm “William” Schmidt (1862-1925), or as my mother and I call him, Wilhelm, sponsored the immigration of his mother (Wilhelmine Winkelmann,  1836-1914) and his five sisters to the US about 1892.  They did not come all at the same time.  Some came together and other came separately.  They left their home in Gornitz, Posen, Prussia and traveled to the port of Bremen, Germany.  From there they traveled by steamship to New York harbor, and from there by train to Rothschild, Wisconsin.

When the family was reunited, they went to a photo studio in Wausau, Wisconsin and posed for a photograph that is one of my favorites out of all the historic photos I have in my archives.

Wilhhelm Schmidt with his mother and five sisters in 1893.

This is just a brief bio for each of the sisters.  Hopefully I’ll be able to write detailed biographies for each of them, but until then here are some of the more important facts:

Alvine “Alvina” Schmidt (1865 – 1942)

  • Born in Karolina, Posen, Prussia on 10 Nov 1865.
  • Came to the US aboard the “Ems” with her mother, sister Bertha, and nephew Wilhelm Karl in July, 1892.
  • Family called her “Vena”.
  • Lived in Minocqua, Wisconsin around 1900 working as a servant in the home of Charles Hoofer, a printer.
  • Married Wilhelm Mueller in Wausau, WI  9 Aug 1902
  • Lived in Berlin, WI and Schofield, WI.
  • Had at least one son, Paul W. Mueller (1903-1970).
  • Was also the mother of Ernest Little (1901-1951), who was raised by Peter Little and her sister Lena Schmidt Little.  She and Peter had an affair which resulted in the pregnancy.
  • Alvina died in Schofield, Wisconsin on 7 Jul 1942 of a coronary embolism at the age of 76.
  • Has at least two living descendants as of 2013.

Alvine “Vena” Schmidt

Amelie Franziska”Amelia” Schmidt (1869 – 1932)

  • Born in Karolina, Posen, Prussia on 18 Jan 1869.
  • Married Christian Karl 28 Mar 1891 in Stieglitz, Kreis Czarnikau, Posen, Prussia.  She was six months pregnant.
  • Her twin boys, Gustav Albert and Wilhelm Friedrich were born in the town of Stieglitz on 20 Jun 1891.
  • Came to the US aboard the “Aller” with her husband and one of the twins, arriving in New York City on 19 Apr 1892..
  • Lived in Rothschild, and Wausau, Wisconsin.
  • They had six girls and four boys.
  • Died of a ruptured appendix in Wausau, Wisconsin on 14 Jul 1932.
  • Grandson Robert Karl lives in Rothschild, Wisconsin.  I have identified several other living descendants.
Amelia Schmidt

Amelia Schmidt

Antonie “Antonia” Schmidt (1872 – 1951)

  • Antonie was born in Karolina, Posen, Prussia on 31 Aug 1872.
  • She came to the US in 1892.  So far it’s not known what ship she took to come here.
  • Family called her “Tonie”.
  • She married Theodore Beste 24 Dec 1896 in Wausau, Wisconsin.
  • He was a widower who had seven children, and Antonia had to take care of them all.
  • Theodore was 24 years older than Antonie.
  • Antonia and Theodore had a daughter, Ruth J. Beste who was born 1910.
  • Antonia lived in various places around Marathon County, then moved to San Mateo, California about 1944.
  • Died on 10 Dec 1951 in San Mateo from pancreatic cancer.
  • Daughter Ruth had two children, both of whom are alive as of 2013.
Antonia Schmidt & Theodore Beste, c1900.

Antonia Schmidt & Theodore Beste, c1900.

Auguste Pauline “Lena” Schmidt (1875 – 1953)

  • Born in Gornitz, Posen, Prussia on 25 Nov 1875.
  • Came to the US in 1892.
  • Married Peter Blanchard Little in Vilas County, Wisconsin, 11 Apr 1896.  He was French Canadian.  Pauline was six months pregnant.
  • Peter worked as a saloon-keeper, barber, and ran a confection store and soda shop.
  • Lived in Minocqua, Wisconsin until 1932, then spent the rest of her life in Schofield and Rothschild, Wisconsin.
  • Husband Peter died 19 Jun 1933.
  • Had a daughter Jennie, who died in infancy.
  • Raised Irving “Ernest” Little, who was the son of her sister Lena and her husband Peter.
  • Ernest had a daughter, Karen Little (b 1937).
  • Karen married Lloyd M Schultz and lived in Schofield until 1994 when she moved to Virginia.
  • Lena died 7 Sept 1953 in Wausau, Wisconsin and is buried with Peter and daughter Jennie in Minocqua, Wisconsin.
  • There are four descendants of her line through her grand-daughter Karen.
Lena Schmidt

Lena Schmidt

Auguste Bertha Schmidt (1880-1946)

  • Born in Gornitz, Posen, Prussia on 11 Jan 1880.
  • Came to the US aboard the “Ems” with her mother, sister Alvine, and nephew Wilhelm Karl, arriving in New York City on 25 Jul 1892.
  • Married Joseph Schneider in Marathon County, Wisconsin, 10 May 1898.  Bertha was 4 months pregnant.
  • Lived in Schofield, Wisconsin until 1930.
  • Had four boys: John, Ernest, Joseph, and Harvey.
  • Died 29 Mar 1946 in Wausau, Wisconsin at the age of 66 from a heart attack.
  • I am in touch with one of her great-grand-daughters.
Bertha Schmidt & Joseph Schneider in 1924.

Bertha Schmidt & Joseph Schneider in 1924.

Fred Thomas On His Grandfather, Frederick Thomas Sr.

This is a transcription, almost word-for-word, of my dad (Frederick Clifford Thomas III) talking about his grandfather (Frederick Clifford Thomas Sr.).   My dad is a great story-teller, so enjoy!

My grandfather did a lot of traveling around. He worked for a restaurant supply outfit called “Swift and Company”. He’d go to restaurants and fraternity houses and hotels and places like that and just take their orders for food, which would be delivered to them.  Nothing in the way of alcohol, but the stuff that comes in those big Number 10 cans and an awful lot of fresh meat.  I think that’s how we got into the business because he had worked as a butcher.  One of the things he was proud of and late in life after he was retired, one of his neighbors shot a deer, brought it home whole, and he butchered the entire deer with his jackknife.  He thought that was quite an accomplishment. It proved that he hadn’t lost his touch!

Well, anyway, once in a while he’d come through town, stop in at the [Thomas Texaco] gas station to see my Dad either at lunch time or at dinnertime, and if the timing was right Dad would bring him home and he’d have a meal with us.  One night he got to the station about 5:00 at night, so Dad had invited him to come to the house for supper.  On the way they took a detour and they bought a pint of whiskey up at the state liquor store.  So they get home and my grandfather is one of these people who never had a drop of alcoholic beverage in his house ever, but if he went to somebody’s house and they offered him a drink he would never turn it down.  He loved a free drink.  So they open up this bottle of whiskey and my Dad gets out a couple of glasses — probably old fruit juice jars or something I don’t know —  out of the cupboard.   And he says to my grandfather, “How do you want your whiskey?” Grandpa says, “I want it in a glass, no ice, with just a little bit of water.” So Dad throws some whiskey in there and he goes over to the sink and he starts to put in some water.  About two drops come in and Grandpa yells, “Jesus Christ, don’t drown it!”

One time he stopped into the gas station and I was home sick.  When I was in elementary school I would frequently get so tense that I would get sick to my stomach and would have to stay home from school. There was one particular morning I had a real bad stomachache and he learned about it down at the gas station, and he says, “I’ve got just the cure.”  So he comes up to the house, he goes to the kitchen and he gets a saucepan, pours some milk in it, heats it up on the stove so that it’s almost boiling and then he puts a whole bunch of pepper in it and stirs it up.  He puts it in a cup for me and says, “Here drink this and you’ll feel better.”  And I thought this is probably going to kill me.  God, it worked.  An old home remedy that he had.

When he moved into his new house, he only had two houses in Essex Junction. He built this new place on the edge of Town and he was constantly in a feud with one of his neighbors over where the property line was between their land.  And he got on the phone and he’s yelling at this neighbor and finally he says to him, “Why don’t you come over here and I’ll kick you in the balls?  That will give you a couple of acres!”.

And there was his owl story which I’ll never forget.  He tells a story of this old owl sitting up in a branch of a dead tree up on Mount Mansfield night after night all his life. He’s staring down at lights in the village of Stowe. He’s always curious about what the hell is going on down there.  He had never been there in his life and finally one time he decides, “I’m going down there and see what this is all about.” So he goes down there and he’s flying around in the dark and he manages to hit a utility wire in his flight which knocks him unconscious and he falls down to the sidewalk.  In the meantime the local veterinarian is out for an evening stroll and he comes upon this owl laying on the sidewalk like this and thinks the owl is dead.  He picks it up and he’s going, “the owl’s not dead he’s just unconscious”. So he says “I wonder what the hell is wrong with him anyway?”.  So he takes it back home to his shop, takes him and puts him up on the operating table, starts to examine him and he can’t find anything wrong with this owl but he notices that he’s got tonsillitis.  He says, “Well, I’ll take his tonsils out”.  He examines him some more and he discovers that the old bird has got hemorrhoids. So he says, “Well, we ought to take these out too”.  In the meantime he gets a phone call and he answered the phone call and the owl wakes up.  He has no idea where he is but there’s an open window and he goes out the window and back to his dead tree branch up on Mt. Mansfield.  He’s up there night after night staring down at the lights in the village and one night his little grandson owl sitting next to him and he’s peering down at the lights he says, “Grandpa, I’ve always wondered about those lights down in the village. I always wondered what’s going on down there. I think one of these nights I’m going to go down there and see for myself.”  And the old owl says, “Oh son,” he says, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”  He says, “A while ago I went down there to see what was going on and since then I can’t hoot worth a shit and I can’t shit worth a hoot!”

That was my Grandpa’s joke.

One of the things that bothered him a lot, he must have been in his 40’s, almost 50 then but he was losing his hair and that bothered him greatly. It was an obsession with him and he was always trying some new remedy to cure baldness. And one of them was you rub your scalp with bear grease and this was an old Indian remedy. He says, “You never saw a bald Indian did you?”.  Well that didn’t work so then he decides the most recent cure is you rub your scalp with lanolin.   He said, “You never seen a bald sheep have you?”

After he retired he worked part time as a security guard. He was actually a night watchman at the Shelburne Museum. Christ, he was in his 70’s when he was doing that. He wouldn’t be much of a threat to anyone trespassing.

LaVila – Krueger Family

I called my cousin LaVila Krueger Luedtke today.   She lives in Edgar, Wisconsin and she’s 88 years old.  Still as sharp as a tack. Funny, charming, and quite beautiful.  I had a few questions to ask her about the Carl Bertold Krueger (1864-1949) side of the family.  They were farmers in the Town of Maine, Marathon County, Wisconsin.   Carl Krueger was one of the four original Kruegers to come over to the US from Pomerania, Prussia.  I had a few questions I wanted to ask her and these are her answers:

  • She didn’t know anything about the Krueger origins apart from the fact that they were from Pomerania.  She never heard a town mentioned.
  • She never heard anything about how Henry Krueger and Bertha Kamrath met.  Nor did she hear how Carl Krueger and Bertha Strehlow met, although she knew that the Strehlow family property actually touched the property of the Krueger family in the Town of Maine (the two plots were diagonal to each other, so they touched in one corner).  So they most likely just met via proximity.  “They couldn’t get around anywhere except on horseback, so it must have been really convenient to have a girlfriend who lived just next door.  You could go chat at the fence!”
  • She had no idea what Henry did for a living.  “He lived in Wausau.  What did he do there, do you suppose?”  🙂
  • She confirmed that there were only the four Kruegers in the family.  Just Wilhelm and Caroline and their two boys Henry and Carl.  No other children left behind in Prussia.  “They would have brought them over with the parents I’m sure.  No, it was just the two boys.  I never heard about anyone else.”