Thursday, March 1, 2012

David Hermann - Arrived 1862 (2)

Part 2 - A Life in Wisconsin
If you missed part one of the story, go here . . .

Note, this post has been revised. The original David Hermann article has been updated and more information has been added. Because of its length, it has also been split into two parts with most of the new information in this part.

David Hermann was born in 1838 near the Baltic Sea in the Principality of Mecklenburg. His family and ancestors were of the peasant class and of very modest means. Life was probably very hard for them and advancement in that society was unlikely. In 1860, he married Anna Rohde and two years later, the two of them, along with their first born child, boarded a ship and sailed for America. They would travel from New York to Wisconsin and settle in the south-central part of the state.

Farm buildings from the Hermann farm in the Town of Verona, Wisconsin;
they are no longer in use but still standing in this 2011 photo.

The Hermann house, circa 1870s/1880s, on Section 26 in the Town of Verona, Dane
County, Wisconsin. Though in a state of disrepair, the house was still standing in 2011.

The Hermann Farm - Verona

David Hermann and family first settled on 40 acres in The Town of Verona in south-central Dane County. The area is a mix of rolling plains and woodlands and probably reminded them a bit of home. 40 acres is about the smallest a farm gets in these parts but it probably seemed enormous to an immigrant who never had such an opportunity in his homeland. Within a few years, he would trade-up to 82 acres just north of the first farm. David and Anna would raise a family of nine at their small homestead. Most of their children would marry into local families, some would stay in the Verona / Madison area and others would head farther west.

Henrietta Dorothee Hermann
David and Anna's first born was a daughter, Henrietta Dorothee (b.1861, d.1933). Born in Mecklenburg, she was their infant child on the voyage to America. In 1878 she married Heinrich (Henry) Stier, also a German immigrant. They first lived in Verona and Madison where Henry worked as a blacksmith. Sometime before 1910, they headed to the Town of North Fork, Stearns County, Minnesota where they farmed and raised at least seven children.

Mary Jane Hermann

Their second child was another daughter, Mary Jane (b.1864, d.1925). She married John Cowie in 1885. He was born in Wisconsin of Scottish decent and they farmed in the Town of Verona and raised at least three children.

Carrilena Hermann

David and Anna's third child was also a daughter, Carrilena (b.1869, d.1938). She married Edwin Morgan in 1888. He was born in Wisconsin of English descent. They headed to the Town of Getty, Stearns County, Minnesota sometime before 1900 where they farmed and raised at least four children. Carrilena and sister Dorthea lived a few miles from each other in central Minnesota, just north and west of Saint Cloud.

Their forth child was a son, Henry (or Heinrich) (b.1863, d.1939) -
Read about him farther below.

Their fifth child was a son, John (b.1869, d.?). He married Emma (?) and farmed in the Town of Verona. It does not appear that John and Emma had any children.

Charles Hermann

Their sixth child was also a son, Charles (b.1872, d.1949?). He married Barbara (?) and lived in the Town of Verona and then Madison. In the 1920 census they were living on Gilson Street and had five children, three of which were listed as stepchildren. At various times, Charles worked as a bartender at a saloon, teamster for a coal company and laborer for the railroad.

Emma Hermann

David and Anna's seventh child was daughter Emma (b.1874, d.1954). She married Herman Goth in 1893. He was the brother of Minnie Goth (the wife of Henry Hermann listed farther below). They had seven children and farmed in the Town of Verona.

Their eight child was a daughter, Edith (b.1879, d.1975). She married Arthur Goth in 1899. Arthur is from another Goth family that came America from Mecklenburg. His father, Joachim Friedrich Christian Goth settled in the Town of Middleton sometime after 1865. Joachim and Jurgen Goth (mentioned in Part 1 and below) were first cousins. Edith and Arthur lived in Madison on Williamson Street, had four known children and may have been divorced sometime after 1920.

Frank Hermann with his bride,
Wilhelmina Becker

Their ninth child was a son Frank (b.1881?, d.1953). He married Minnie Becker and had nine children. In the 1920 census, he is farming in the Town of Fitchburg. By the 1930 census, he is living in the Town of Madison and listed as a laborer. He may have had a prior marriage with a couple children from that one as well.

The rolling hills and farmland of Dane County, Wisconsin

Anna Rohde died just shy of here 73rd birthday on May 26th, 1914. David Hermann would live to be 95 and died on October 10th, 1933. He spent his last years living with his daughters, first with Edith and then with Emma.

Anna Rhode and David Hermann

The Next Generation - Henry Hermann Family

The fourth child of David and Anna was Henry Hermann. In 1886, he married Minni (Wilhelmina) Goth and they would farm 80 acres on Section 32 in the nearby Town of Middleton. Minni was the daughter of Jurgen Goth and Marie Grandt. The Goth family settled in Middleton in the early 1860's and are the Mecklenburg Goth family mentioned in Part 1 of this article (read about Jurgen Goth here). Henry would acquire Jurgen Goth's original farm and they would raise six children. With this family, we are reminded of how hard life could be, even into the early 20th century. Henry and Minni would bury three of their children; a result of the 1918 influenza pandemic that swept around the world in the fall and winter of that year.

The children of Henry Hermann Wilhelmina Goth, circa 1905;
front row, left to right: Vernon, Erwin, John (Johnie)
and William (Willie); back row: Ella, Fannie and Jennie.

  • Daughter Fannie (b.1888, d.1853) never married. She was noted as living at home in the 1920 census (at the age of 30) and was still there when her brother William took over the farm. Fannie spent her last years at the Dane County Home, a victim of dementia or possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Daughter Jennie (b.1890, d.1918) was a casualty of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic; she was 28 and it doesn’t appear that she ever married.
  • Son William (b.1892, d.1970) took over and operated the farm. Around 1955, he sold it and settled in Middleton. It has been noted that after Vernon Hermann died, William, who never married, would often visit the Hermann family in Mount Horeb. He seemed to be the family caretaker. At one time or another, Ella, Fannie and his elderly father, Henry were living with William.
  • Daughter Ella (b.1892, d.1965) was a twin of William. She first married Henry Broton (or Braaten) sometime before 1916. They had a son, Victor. Both Henry and Victor died in 1917. After that, she lived with her twin brother William for a few years and then married Edward Sanftleben around 1923. Ella and Edward had at least three children: Kenneth, Norman and James (d.1931). Ella and Edward were divorced in 1939. Ella was again living with brother William in Middleton shortly before her death.
  • Son Erwin (b.1895, d.1918) was a casualty of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic; he was 23 and it doesn’t appear that he ever married.
  • Son Vernon (b.1898, d.1948) married Corella Peterson in 1924. They settled in her home town of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. Vernon reportedly played in a band and met Corella at her uncle's dance hall. He may have worked briefly in the Peterson Plumbing business but then owned and operated a bar and bowling alley. They had four children: Phyllis (b.1926), LaVonne (b.1929), Vance (b.1930, d.2006) and Saundra (b.1938). They were divorced in 1939.
  • Son Johnie (b.1900, d.1918) was a casualty of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic; he was 18.

Ella Hermann on her wedding day about 1915 from her first marriage
to Henry Broton who died in 1917. The other two in this  photo are the
Bridesmaid Jennie Hermann and the Best Man, Ella’s twin, William.

Vernon Hermann and Corella Peterson on their wedding day in 1924.
Also pictured, Corella’s brother, Leonard, and a cousin, Leona Ward.

David Hermann's story is a common one. It is the story of hope and opportunity that an immigrant to the New World could dream of . . . "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," . . . With little opportunity for advancement, Friedrich David Julius Hermann would leave his ancestral home on the Baltic Coast and take his young family across the Atlantic Ocean to America. They would settle in the developing middle of the country and build a life for themselves. Most of their neighbors were just like them, immigrants from Germany, Norway, Switzerland and other places. It was not easy and there would be hardships but they would endure and become Americans.

Additional Information:
Read about another Dane County related family, the Petersons here.

Research Notes: Much of the information for this article came from Goth Family History, compiled by Gary and Ronald Goth. Other sources include: census records, other vital records, various web-based sources and accumulated personal family history.

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