Tag Archives: Bertha Strehlow

Carl August Strehlow – Military Petition

Carl August Strehlow (1842-1900) was, I believe, the uncle of Bertha Strehlow (who married my great-great-grand-uncle Carl Bertold Krueger).  I first “met” August on the German passenger list for the “Teutonia” bringing the Strehlow family from Hamburg to New York, arriving 6 Jun 1868:

Passenger list for the “Teutonia” bringing the Strehlows to New York from Hamburg.

August is 25 years old and traveling with Wilhelmine, Bertha and Hermann Strehlow.  He is listed as a “Zimmerman”, or carpenter.  Based on his age, who he’s traveling with, and the town he’s from (the Strehlow home town of Wandhagen, Schlawe, Pommern, Prussia), my guess is that he’s the brother of Ferdinand Strehlow.  I am continuing my search for proof of this relationship.  He may be a cousin.

After arriving in the US, the Strehlow family was living in Polk, Washington County, Wisconsin.  The 1870 census shows Ferdinand Strehlow, his wife Wilhelmine, their children Bertha and Hermann and August Strehlow all living together.  Ferdinand and August are both listed as “Carpenters”.

1870 Census for Polk, Washington, Wisconsin.

Until recently, this was all I knew about August prior to and including 1870.  Then my German contact Jörg Schrick got in touch with some news from his friend Jürgen, who has been looking for Strehlow records in the archives in Berlin and online.  He found a petition, dated 1 April 1870 in Schlawe, Prussia that outlines Carl August Strehlow’s failure to return from his granted leave abroad, and informs him that if he doesn’t report a “desertion investigation against him will be initiated”:

80) Oeffentliche Aufforderung: (Seite 137)

Der Pionier (Zimmermann) Carl August STREHLOW, am 12. November 1842 zu Wandhagen (Kreis Schlawe) geboren, vom 16. Oktober 1864 bis 31. Juli 1867 bei der 3. Compangnie Pommerschen Pionier-Bataillions No. 2 gedient und bis 17. März 1869 ins Ausland beurlaubt, hat sich bis jetzt von diesem Urlaub nicht zurückgemeldet, und keine Verlängerung desselben beantragt.

Derselbe wird hiermit aufgefordert, sich binnen 3 Monaten im Bureau des königlichen Bezirks-Commandos des 1. Bataillions (Schlawe) 6.Pommersches Landwehr-Regiments No. 49 zu melden, widirgenfalls die Untersuchung wegen Desertation gegen denselben eingeleitet wird.

Schlawe, den 1. April 1870.

königliches Bataillion (Schlawe) 6.Pommersches Landwehr-Regiments No. 49.


80) Public summons: (page 137)

The Engineer (Carpenter) Carl August Strehlow, born November 12, 1842 in Wandhagen ( district Schlawe) has served from October 16 1864 through July 31, 1867 at the 3rd company of the Pommeranian Engineer Battalion No. 2. He had been granted leave for foreign country until March 17, 1869 but has not reported back from this leave and has not petitioned extension of it.

Herewith, he is summoned to report to the Office of the Royal District Command of the 1st Battalion (Schlawe) 6th Pommeranian Territorial Reserve Regiment No. 49, within 3 months. In default whereof a desertion investigation against him will be initiated.

Schlawe April 1, 1870

Royal Battalion (Schlawe) 6th Pommeranian Territorial Reserve Regiment No. 49

This tells us so much about when August Strehlow served in the military, what he was doing there, his trade, where he was from, when he was born, and what he did during his service.

Pioneers served in special pioneer batallions. On active service (in the Prussian Army) they moved at the head of marching columns with axes, shovels and pickaxes clearing obstacles or building bridges to open the way for the bulk of the regiment to move through difficult terrain.  My great-great-grandfather Wilhelm Schmidt was also a carpenter and also such a “Pioneer” in the Prussian Army.

It also shows that he left the military, came to the US and never went back.  In cases like this the person was usually tried in absentia and  found guilty of desertion.  If he had ever returned to Prussia he would have been arrested and imprisoned.

Instead, he moved to Merrill, Wisconsin and tried to raise a family with his wife Wilhelmine Eleanor Rubow.  Sadly, of the eight children I know about, six of them did not live beyond the age of four years.   Many of these unfortunate children are buried with the parents at the Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery.  (See attached document.)  Fortunately, at least one of their children, Alma Louise Strehlow (1888-1951) survived.

Cemetery Records for the Strehlow family showing the many children who died in infancy or early childhood.

The Krueger Family – Bios

Wilhelm Krueger & Caroline Hoge

Wilhelm J. Krüger (Krueger) was born 21 Jan 1835. We don’t know exactly where he was born, but based on the clues we have it is possible he was born near the town of Kahlen in Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  It was a part of Germany at that time, but is now located in Poland and is called Kaleń, Poland today.

This photo of Wilhelm and Caroline is courtesy of Lloyd O. Krueger.

From her burial record from Grace Lutheran Church in the Town of Maine, Wisconsin, we know that Caroline Wilhelmine Florentine Hoge was born 18 Jun 1836 in the town of Stuchow, Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  It is called Stuchowo, Poland today.

According to the 1900 census, they married in 1857 in Prussia, and had five children.  Their first child, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Krueger, and another son, Carl Bertold Krueger, survived.  Three other unknown children did not.  According to family legend the Kruegers were farmers and raised animals.  They were said to have been “as poor as church mice”.  According to family legend, their eldest son Heinrich stowed away aboard a ship and came to the US in 1882 to avoid being conscripted into the Kaiser’s army.  The other son Carl followed in an identical manner later in 1882 or in 1883.

According to census records, Caroline and Wilhelm arrived soon after their son Carl did, in 1883.  The family settled on a farm in the Town of Maine (near Wausau, Wisconsin) at first, but Heinrich and his bride Bertha Kamrath moved into Wausau while Wilhelm, Caroline, and Carl lived on the Krueger family farm in the Town of Maine.  Wilhelm was one of the founders of the Andrew-Grace Lutheran Church there.

Caroline died on 5 Oct 1917 from pneumonia.  She was buried in the Town of Berlin Cemetery (west of Wauasu, Wisconsin) just down the road from the family farm.  Wilhelm was buried next to her after his death on 16 Mar 1926.

Krueger Grave in Town of Berlin Cemetery, Marathon County, Wisconsin.

Krueger Grave in Town of Berlin Cemetery, Marathon County, Wisconsin.

Carl Krueger & Bertha Strehlow

Carl Bertold Krueger was born 3 Jul 1864. Based on information he gave in his marriage record (“Kalem, Provinz Pommern”), we guess he was born in or near Kahlen, Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  About 1883, Carl followed his elder brother Heinrich’s example and stowed away aboard a ship to come to the US.  According to his granddaughter LaVila Krueger Luedtke, Carl hid on board until he was far enough away from the port that he knew the would not turn around.   Then revealed himself and he worked his way across the Atlantic in the ship’s kitchen. The last few days of the voyage there was so little food that only the children were allowed to eat… and oatmeal was the only food left.  So each morning Carl would announce in German: “Haferflocken für der kinder!”.  Oatmeal for the children (only).

His wife, Bertha Albertine Wilhelmine Strehlow, was born 13 Dec 1862 in Wandhagen, Kreis Schlawe, Pommern, Prussia.  She came to the US when she was five years old traveling from Hamburg, Germany and arriving in New York on 6 Jun 1868 aboard the “Tutonia” with her mother, Wilhelmine Schwarz, her brother Herman, and her Uncle August Strehlow, who was a carpenter like many men in the family.  They settled first in Polk, Washington County, Wisconsin, then moved to the Town of Maine, Wisconsin when Bertha was 11 years old in 1873.

The Krueger family farm actually touched the Strehlow family farm in one corner, so according to their grand-daughter LaVila Carl and Bertha met simply by “leaning over the fence”.   They were married at Grace Lutheran Church in the Town of Maine on 10 Dec 1886, the day the attached photograph was taken.  Carl was 22, Bertha was 23. They lived in the Town of Maine and had six children, four of whom survived childhood.

Photo courtesy of LaVila Krueger Luedtke.

Carl was a bricklayer and build the parsonage across the road from Grace Lutheran Church in the Town of Maine (where the current Pastor Nate Biebert still resides).  He also built the foundations of many barns in the area and boasted to his family of having built the brick houses along Highway K in the Town of Maine.

The Grace Lutheran Parsonage. Brickwork was done by Carl Krueger.

Bertha died of pneumonia on 6 Feb 1931 and was buried in the Town of Berlin Cemetery.  Carl lived with his son William until his death on 3 Feb 1949 when he was buried alongside his wife.

Heinrich Krueger & Bertha Kamrath

Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm “Henry” Krueger was born 31 Dec 1857.  As with the rest of his family, our best guess that he was born near Kahlen, Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  Henry grew up as the eldest son of farmers of very modest means.  In 1882 family legend says that he stowed away aboard a ship and came to the US to avoid fighting in the Kaiser’s wars.  He was 25 years old.  His parents and brother followed him to the US in 1883, and the family at first settled on a farm in the Town of Maine just outside Wausau, Wisconsin.  Eventually, Henry moved into the city of Wausau and, according to his grandson Lloyd Krueger, he “worked in the saw mills as a millwright, developing new machines to keep pace with the progress in the veneer mills and to keep those in existence running”.  For a good part of his career, Henry worked at the Underwood Veneer Mill on the South side of Wausau.  At other points he worked as far away as Stevens Point, and only came home on weekends to see his family.

Bertha Augusta Wilhelmine Kamrath was born 3 Aug 1864 in Pommern, Prussia.  Her place of birth is still uncertain.  The passenger list for her voyage to the US mentions a town called Wandau or Wansau in Pomerania.  Her sister said “Stettin”, so it may be a small town near there.  Bertha and Heinrich had known each other in Prussia, according to family lore, and after Henry was established in the US, Bertha and her family immigrated as well.  Bertha, her parents, and three of her siblings boarded a ship called the “Hammonia” in Hamburg, Germany on 3 May 1885.    Eleven days later on 14 May 1885, the Hammonia pulled into New York harbor.  It was 4:00am and the Kamrath family beheld the bright lights of the biggest city they had ever seen.  They were about to begin a new life in the United States.

Bertha Kamrath, shortly after her arrival in the US (c 1885).

Henry and Bertha were married in a German ceremony at Grace Lutheran Church in the Town of Maine on 20 Dec 1890.  Henry was 32, and Bertha was 26.  The attached photo was likely taken at or around that occasion.

Photo courtesy of Harvey Krueger.

They had 12 children total, 8 of which survived childhood.  Their eldest son Arthur Krueger was killed in the last battle of World War I fighting alongside his brother Oscar.  He died in the Battle of the Argonne Forest, one week before the end of the war.  After escaping Prussia to avoid fighting in the Kaiser’s wars, Heinrich had to cope with his eldest son being killed in a war against Germany.  Their other surviving children were Oscar, Agnes, Elsa, Norma, Edmund, Lawrence, and Alfred.

Henry and Bertha had a small home on 3rd Avenue North, and later built a larger home at the same location.  Henry worked in the saw mills, then later as a carpenter in Wausau building houses.  He enjoyed building lawn ornaments in his wood-shop.  Bertha raised their children, planted beautiful flower beds around their home, and was active in many church groups.

Henry & Bertha in front of the original home at 221 3rd Ave. North in Wausau (c 1903).

Bertha passed away from cancer on 29 Mar 1928.  Henry lived with his son Edmund until his peaceful death on his 88th birthday, 31 Dec 1945.  After a large meal with his family he was preparing to go home and sent his granddaughter to get his boots. By the time she returned with them he had had a sudden heart attack and had slipped away.

Heinrich Krueger and Bertha Kamrath are buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau, Wisconsin next to their sons Arthur and Lawrence.

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.”

Strehlow Family Origins

The Strehlow family is connected to mine by virtue of the fact that Henry Krueger (my great-great grandfather)’s brother Carl Bertold Krueger married Bertha Strehlow.  Like the Kamraths and Kruegers, the Strehlows were from Pomerania, Prussia.

The German passenger list for the Strehlow voyage to the US in 1868 mentions two towns:

Rügenwalde” for Wilhelmine, Bertha and Hermann, and “Wandhagen” for August Strehlow.

Rügenwalde was on the northern coast of Prussia, and is called Darłówko, Darlowo, Poland now.  It is straight north on the coast from Jastrowie (where the Zierke family came from) and the Netzbruch region (where the Schmidts came from).

Bertha Strehlow gave her birthplace as “Waldehagen, Roning, Pomerania” on her marriage certificate, so it may be that the family lived in Wandhagen first then some of them moved to Rügenwalde before they came to the US.  Wandhagen is about 12 miles from Rügenwalde and is called Wierciszewo, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland today.

Bertha’s mother Maria Wihelmine Schwarz was born, according to her death record, in Böbbelin, Pommerania.  She was baptized in the nearby town of See Buckow.  Bertha’s grandfather Johann Ferdinand Strehlow Sr. was listed on his marriage record in 1829 as a resident of Neuenhagen, which was in the same area.

Wandhagen & Rügenwalde

Wandhagen & Rügenwalde

Rügenwalde  (Darlowo), from 1816 to 1945 in district of Schlawe (Slawno) in administrative district of Köslin (Koszalin), Province of Pomerania.

Wandhagen (Wierciszewo, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland), a village in “Hinterpommern” = East Pomerania, district Schlawe in administrative district of Köslin until 1945.