Monday, October 10, 2011

The Six Zweifel Brothers (3) - Mary Zweifel

Part 3 - The Next Generation
If you missed Part 2 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .

By the 1880's the five surviving Zweifel brothers were all married and raising families in the Town of New Glarus and the Town of Washington in Green County, Wisconsin. They came to America in 1853 and 1854 as part of a wave of Swiss settlers from Canton Glarus, Switzerland. When they arrived, they found a community of immigrants that were very familiar to them. These were German speaking farmers, many of whom they probably knew from the "old country." The brothers put down roots in southern Wisconsin. Two of them went off to fight in the Civil War and both survived. One brother died young but the rest acquired large farms and raised large families.

A Birds-Eye View of New Glarus in 1891.
There are many stereotypes about the Swiss. I had heard them growing up and also read about them when researching this report, as they are even discussed in the written family history. The extend to which any stereotype can be applied to a whole group of people is debatable but some of the "traits" associated to the Swiss immigrants have been applied to the Zweifel brothers. According to family accounts, all of the brothers were strong and hard working but also extremely stubborn and with violent tempers. Bernhard once became so angry that he allegedly killed a cow with his fist. Jost became so enraged that he abandoned his family and joined the Union Army. It was said that Fridolin had the most violent temper of them all. It has also been noted that as they got older, the surviving brothers came to regret the antics of their youth. These personality traits may have been passed on to the next generation as well. At least two eldest sons, that of Adam and Fridolin, left the family over disputes and were never to be heard from again.

Regardless of any inherent personality flaws or shortcomings, the Zweifel family has generally been regarded as good citizens in both the old and new countries. In America, the family would spread throughout southern Wisconsin and beyond. There are over 70 Zweifel names at the Swiss Cemetery in New Glarus and probably many more buried in the cemeteries of nearby towns. At least 18 children of the six brothers would stay in the Green County, Wisconsin area. Others would settle nearby, in northern Illinois and still others in more remote places such as Iowa and as far away as Oregon. A few would venture out to parts unknown. Fridolin Zweifel, the ancestor in my line of the family would have 11 children. One would leave the family, never to be heard from again, one would remain a bachelor, five would die in childbirth or as young children and four would grow up to marry and raise families of their own.

Children of Fridolin Zweifel

Fridolin, one of the six brothers and his wife Regula raised their children on the farm in the Town of Washington. These included:
  • Johannes Heinrich (b.1856, d.?); he left home after a feud with his mother over the family farm and never returned. It was said he married and had at least three children. Census records show a few men named John Zweifel of the right age living in the Midwest who could be Johannes.
  • Fridolin A. Zweifel II (b.1857, d.1939); known as Fred, he married Anna Barbara Adank (b.1857, d.1941) in 1882. Anna was born in Whartan, Switzerland and was the daughter of Alexander Adank and Maria Magdalena Glatthar. Fred and Anna had three children. They first rented a farm in the Town of Jefferson but eventually took over the family farm in the Town of Washington. Fred's son, who would be Fridolin III, would be the third generation to farm at the homestead. Fridolin III would marry Henriette (Ette) Holcomb the daughter of Ernest Holcomb (Ernest was the brother of Reuben Holcomb a direct ancestor of this writer). Fridolin II and Anna are buried at the New Glarus Cemetery.
  • Albrecht (b.1861, d.1865) died as a young child.
  • Adam (b.1863, d.1945); he married Catherine Zweifel (b.1870, d.1936) in 1888. She was born in Switzerland and was the daughter of Rudolph Zweifel and Rose Voegli. Adam and Catherine farmed in the Town of Buckey in Stephenson County, Illinois which is just south of Monroe, Wisconsin. They had eight children.
  • Maria (b.1865, d.1944); known as Mary, she married Frederick Roth (b.1862, d.1912) around 1884. See below for additional information. 
  • Jost (b.1869, d.?); he was noted as a farm laborer in the Green County Directory of 1906 but little else is known about him.
  • Infant twins were born in 1870 and did not survive.
  • Roseana (b.1873, d.1963); she married Fred Charles Austin (b.1863, d.1941) in 1888. He was from Vermont and may have met Roseanna in Chicago. They were married in Cook County and that is where both of their children were born. The family would head east and by 1920 were farming in Onondage County, New York. Parents and children are all buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Fabius, New York.
  • A twin sister of Roseana was born in 1873 but did not survive.
  • Albert (b.1874, d.1881) died in childhood.
Mary Zweifel

Maria (Mary) Zweifel, the fifth born child of Fridolin Zweifel and Regula Oswald, married Frederick Roth sometime before 1885. He was born in Switzerland and was the son of Frederick Roth and Rosaine Haedorn. He came to Wisconsin as a young man, around 1880. Fredrick and Mary lived in Monroe where they operated the Monroe Hotel (or Monroe House) and later ran a tavern near the Illinois Central railroad depot. They had two children, Rose and Frederick. Frederick II would venture to Chicago where he became a police officer. There, he would marry Louise Goldner (b.1882, d.1964) and start a family. In 1920, the family would come back to Monroe and purchase the same Monroe Hotel. They would be in the hotel business for over 20 years. Rose Roth would marry John Hauser (b.1881, d.1958) who was also of Swiss ancestry. At first they would farm but then settled in Monroe where they operated a tavern and lived above it. The business was located on the square and the building still stands today.

Mary Zweifel, the daughter of Fridolin
Zweifel and Regula Oswald.
Fredrick Roth's mother, Rosaine Haedorn, would come to America and spend her last years living near her son. In the 1891 Monroe city directory, she is living on the west side of Jackson Street between Russell and Payne. Mary Zweifel's mother, Regula Oswald would also live in Monroe after her husband's death. In the 1891 city directory she was living on the south side of the square above a store. Mary would also live in Monroe after her husband's death and would re-marry in 1928 to a man named Rudy Wenger. Rosaine Haedorn, Regula Oswald, Mary Zweifel, Frederick Roth I, Frederick Roth II, Louise Goldner, Rose Roth and John Hauser are buried at various locations at Greenwood Cemetery in Monroe, Wisconsin. Fridolin Zweifel is buried in New Glarus.


Six Zweifel brothers came to America in the middle of the 19th Century from Canton Glarus, Switzerland and settled in the Swiss Colony of New Glarus, Wisconsin. In many ways, they were typical examples of European immigrants who came to America at that time. They had little money but were young, strong and determined and worked hard to carve out a life for themselves and future generations. Their children and children's children would spread throughout the southern part of the state, northern Illinois and beyond. Some of the descendants of Mary Zweifel still reside in Wisconsin, including one in Monroe. Others can be found in Illinois, Arizona, South Carolina and elsewhere. The Zweifel name, itself, is still very numerous in south central Wisconsin with many still living in Green County.

For a related family, read about the Goldners of Chicago.

For more about New Glarus, check out the Swiss Historical Village.

Research Notes: Some of the information for this series was found in the "Genealogy of the Zweifel family, 1555-1972" by Alice Zweifel - 1972. Additional information was obtained from the United States Census, websites about Glarus and New Glarus, other on-line sources, various vital records, obituaries and my own family information.

1 comment:

  1. Update:

    Johannes Zweifel, the son of Fridolin who left the family has been found. He married, had no children and lived, not far away, in Lafayette County, near the Illinois border (southwest of Monroe).