Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carl Herman Zillmer, 1860-1933

Early Marion Businessman, Entrepreneur, Industrialist

by Delores Miller

Carl Herman Zillmer (1860-1933) was born in Granow, kr. Arnswalde, Brandenburg, Pommern, Poland  Prussia and emigrated to America with his parents Michael Zillmer (1814-1895) in 1868  Siblings Augusta Durkee     Arnd(t), 1840-1906, Fredericka Herrman, (1850-1907), Wilhelmine Schoneck, (1841-1917), William Zillmer of Symco, (1855-1907), Friedrich Zillmer, (1853-1877), John Albert Zillmer (1869-1939).

Teddy Roosevelt said in 1907:  'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else.'  So it is with Carl Herman Zillmer, an emigrant who became an American.

On April 13, 1883 Carl Herman married Fredericka Detert, (1861-1944).  For a few years,  farmed in Dupont until they sold the farm to Wepners, and moved lock stock and barrel  to the village of Perry's Mill or Marion.  Blessed with three children, John, (1887-1969), Emil, (1891-1957), and Clara Miller, (1893-1995).  Neighbors  on the north side of town  were Heller, Strasburg, Schmidt, Popendorf, Case, Bertram, Westphal, Peters, Halpot, Elandt.  Their home was later occupied by Vic and Ruth Seyler.

Education was important and John, Emil and Clara were some of the first graduates of Dupont/Marion High School.

Carl Herman owned a dray and trucking business, delivering goods from the railroad station.  Owned and operated a grain elevator, a huge brick building next to the train tracks.  A pioneer entrepreneur and industrialist.  He was a founding member of the South Dupont St. Paul Lutheran Church, later gave religion away, and became a Mason Lodge Member.  Also a charter member of the Dupont Farmers Insurance Company and the Marion Telephone Exchange, although his house never had a telephone.  Loaned money out of his capital for farm mortgages at 2% interest.   Worked for Max Dapin, the Jewish businessman. 

Carl Herman had one of the first automobiles in Marion, a big touring car.  After driving horses for many years, he was never able to get the hang of three pedals on the floor.  Fredericka crocheted curtains and made flowers to put in the decorative vases adorning the inside of the motorcar.  Although he was born in Germany and brought the ship over the ocean, once he moved to Marion, he never ventured far.  Ambled down town to the Post Office and check his many enterprises.

When Carl Herman Zillmer became old, ill, infirm, he had cancer of the bowels, he was always constipated and took one of Carter's Little Liver Pills each day.  He was a teetotaler.    He died of complications of surgery for cancer on May 10, 1933 at the age of 73.   The Masonic service was held at the house and the small room in back of the Uttormark Funeral home. 

Blaine Bud Miller, born in 1929, a grandson could remember Carl Herman promising to take him fishing after his surgery, but alas, he died on the operating table.  Bud went on to a long life of fishing, and involved in the insurance business in Marion, traits and genes inherited from his Grandfather Carl Herman.

John Ewald Zillmer, (1887-1969) after graduation from Marion/Dupont High School traveled north to the Elmhurst, Minocqua and Woodruff area.  Railroad and   bakery business.  Two children, Evan John and Fern Krenger.  John was involved with the Chicago Black Sox Baseball Team of 1919.  He spent a year with the team, barnstorming around the country while his wife and two small children to fend  for themselves, by this time he was 32 years old.  This was before the Black Sox scandal of 1921 prior to when  they changed their name and were banned from professional baseball forever.  Bill Kinsella, an author wrote the 'Shoeless Joe Jackson' books which became part of the 'Field of Dream's movie shot in Iowa.  John came back to Woodruff, also an entrepreneur and capitalist and leading businessman of that area.

Emil Zillmer graduated from Marion High School, attended the Armour Institute of Technology and pursued a career in architecture.  Lived in Grand Rapids Michigan, three children, Bruce, Lois and Carl.

Clara, the only daughter of Carl Herman and Fredericka Zillmer graduated from Marion High School where she played basketball.  Went to college to become a teacher, but her parents deemed that too dangerous.  In December 1912 married Marshall John (Jack) Miller.  Lived in Milwaukee for several years where he worked for the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company.  Three children, John Carleton, Beth and Blaine.  Moved back to the Marion area, sold insurance and had a labor-intensive ginseng farm in back of their house, now located at the golf course and pond.  Gingseng was sold to the Chinese and they used it to cure many ills, including aphrodisiac.

Evan John Zillmer (1919-2006) was the son of John and Sadie Zillmer of Woodruff.  Often spent time in Marion visiting his grandparents and cousins.  When he was 22 years old on September 7, 1941 he asked his Mother for fifty cents for gas for his Harley Davidson Motorcycle so he could go to Rhinelander to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps.  On December 7, 1941 he flew to Bassingbourn, England.  While at Boeing he completed a course on the B-17 Flying Fortress.  Even though he was with the Honor Guard, and played base drum and trumpet, he applied for combat duty and went to gunnery school for the .50 caliber machine gun.  After that, with the U.S.A.s entering World War Two, Evan became part of an enlisted crew that flew 30 missions over Germany and received many medals.

When Evan had time off, he would ride into Cambridge, England where he met the Palmer sisters, Doris and Evelyn.   Both were part of the Women's Land Army working on neighboring farms, riding their bicycles.   After his 30 missions, in 1944, Evan qualified for a 30-day furlough back in Woodruff.  While in the states, Evan volunteered for another combat tour so he could go back to Bassingbourn to get married on January 13, 1945 to Doris Palmer.  He flew another 30 missions over Germany.

Whenever Evan and Doris were separated, both wrote daily letters, which survived and surfaced after his death.  For some reason, before she died, Doris destroyed all of hers written to Evan. Going through these letters now, it shows a legacy and commitment, love and legacy for the 45 years of marriage.

After the war ended Evan returned to the states on a LST ship for 18 days.  Four months lader, his bride Doris came on the RMS Queen Mary with thousands of other war brides.  Moved to Woodruff, where in 1951 he became owner and operator of Zillmer Electric.   Beautiful home on Lake Minocqua.   Five children, Evan Jr, Valerie, Wendy, Penelope and Renate.  Doris died in 1990.

Evan John Zillmer passed away of emphysema one cold January day 2006.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth;

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.

Put out my hand

And touched the face of God.

Evan Ernst Zillmer (1951-) is the great grandson of Carl Herman and Fredricka Zillmer.  When he was 19 years old, he joined the Marines and assigned to the jet engine school.  Spending time in Japan and other Far East Countries, seeing the world.  Reinlisted in 1979, a professional life long Marine.  Tours of Vietnam. Retired and now a federal employee working for the Naval Air Facility in Jacksonville, Florida.  Historian and genealogist.  Traveling through the USA, Evan has managed to track down every descendant of Michael Zillmer (1804-1895.)

It is uncountable how many descendants Carl Herman and Fredericka Zillmer have now in 2012, perhaps none in Marion but scattered around the United States.  Carl Herman and Fredericka are buried at Greenleaf Cemetery.  Remembering where we've been, so we can appreciate what we have before it's all lost in time....  That is history and genealogy.
copyright 2012, Delores and Russell Miller

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Hospital Visit

by June T. Bassemir

They said to be there at six a.m.   My goodness did they know that I lived an hour away?  That meant getting up at four fifteen in order to leave by five and get there by six.  So be it.

The check-in began.  After receiving the two hospital gowns, a nurse arrived to ask questions.  She was poised on a stool in front of a full screen computer on wheels.

Do you smoke? ...No, never.
Do you drink?...No, never.
Are any of your teeth loose?  Do you wear dentures?  Do you have a pace maker?  Do you have any metal parts within?  Are you wearing any jewelry?  When did you eat last?  When was your last bowel movement?  Did you take any Tylenol, Aspirin, Motrin, etc. etc.?

On and on went the questions as her fingers flew over the keyboard.  Are you diabetic?  What operations have you had?  How many times were you pregnant?  How many children have you had?  Are you allergic to anything?  Then…..Did you remove your underpants?

“What?...Huh?...No.”  Why do I have to remove my underpants?  They are working on my eyes, not my pelvic region”

Well, they need a sterile environment in the operating room.
“How does removing my clean underpants make for a sterile environment in the operating room?”
 No answer.

“Are the nurses and doctors removing their underpants?” 
No answer.

Her hands dropped into her lap as we waited in silence.  We had reached an impasse.  My son sat quietly in the corner listening and I could feel his thoughts.  “Don’t make waves, Mom”.  No one spoke.

I wondered if I should be another Rosa Parks and hold my ground.  Finally she said… Well you can keep them on for the moment…and out of the room she rolled with her computer.  The moment stretched into four hours, as the doctor was late.  I hoped she would forget about the underpants.  But then I had a nagging thought.  Had I come this far after waiting so many months, only to wake up from the anesthesia with the news that the operation was cancelled due to the fact that “She wouldn’t take off her underpants.”?

The final hour had come, along with the anesthesiologist who kindly told me to get up on the table.  I did as I was told, but first, not wanting to chance it, I reluctantly succumbed to the “Underpants Regulation”.

However, when the survey letter arrives, I’m thinking of making a suggestion that they provide disposable panties for senior ladies like me who just want to retain a little bit of dignity, as they prepare for their eye operation.

copyright 2012, June T. Bassemir


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life In Big Falls - 1887

by Delores Miller

Big Falls, Wisconson -  Kitzman, Barkholtz Families

A. W. Whitcomb was born February 2, 1832  in the State of Maine, a Civil War Veteran, before drifting west to Wisconsin in search of the  American dream.  Married twice and had three sons.

A. W. Whitcomb trekked from Oshkosh to  Waupaca County to an area later known as Big Falls and Wyoming Township.  Found a territory covered with virgin timberland of pine, basswood,  red, white and burr oak, hemlock, beech, birch and elm trees.  By 1887 he had a saw mill up and running, and organized a railroad, bringing logs in, and sending millions of board feet lumber out to build homes and businesses in Oshkosh.  The trains also carried passengers, freight,  and mail.  The railroad had spur lines to Hunting, Granite City, Marion and the world beyond.  Little Wolf River provided power with a natural dam and waterfall.

The Campbell Brothers  and George H. Cameron also of Oshkosh had their operation of lumber and farming enterprises south of Little Falls in Helvetia.  The only memory of Campbell is a nice fishing lake named after him.

James Spaulding and Thomas Wall and their sons purchased the saw mill from Whitcomb who had died January 7, 1901 of Bright's (kidney) Disease at the age of 69.  Buried at the Little Wolf Cemetery, south of Manawa.  Sadly today in 2012 the only remembrance of A. W. Whitcomb, the founder of Big Falls is a straggling trout stream wandering through the townships. 

When Wall-Spaulding came to this village in 1895, it  proved to be the hey day of Big Falls and the surrounding area.  Hundreds of men were employed both in the woods and mill.   A cedar shingle mill, water powered, sawed 50,000 roof shingles in a day.   The saw mill was located north of the Pond in Big Falls, run with turbine engines and water power. 

Hotels, boarding houses,  butcher shop,  saloons,  hardware stores selling among other things - burial caskets for dead people, general merchandise and groceries, livery stable, blacksmith and wagon  shop, grist mill to grind flour and corn, creamery, German Methodist Church,  cheese factory, bank, post office,  restaurant, furniture store, pickle receiving station, shoe and boot store.  

Dr. John Gygi, a physician  from Switzerland set up a medical shop in Big Falls.  Sadly he died of an overdose of ether at the age of 43 on October 22, 1919 and is buried under the only full length marble tombstone in the Big Falls Cemetery.

During prohibition and the 'dry' years, moonshiners kept stills in the back woods to provide alcohol to the thirsty hard working lumbermen, who  after drinking the 'white lighting'  had to cool off in the Big Falls Jail for a few days.

A roller skating rink and dance hall was built in 1909 by Rudolph Konopatzke and provided entertainment for the young folks.

Patrick Killin, born in 1840 in Ireland immigrated  during the 1863 potato famine, to Wisconsin and Big Falls and erected in 1889 a 20-room hotel complete with food and drinks in his saloon.  He sold it in 1917, died in 1925 and is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Marion.  In 1922 Charlie Polzin took over the management of the Big Falls Hotel.

During the 1919 Spanish Influenza Epidemic, many local young adults died of the dread disease.  Winters were longer, snow deeper and temperatures way below zero for weeks on end in those days.  Poor roads made impassable, especially in the spring slush. 

Dismally, the Wall-Spaulding ceased operations on March 20, 1920.  The forests were depleted, Tom Wall died in Florida of a prolonged illness.  Trains discontinued service to Big Falls, and for a time a stage coach shuffled mail and passengers.  Otto Faehling later had a saw mill, pickle factory, and blacksmith shop.

According to the 1920 census 766 people lived in the township of Wyoming, including Big Falls.  Now in 2012 it has dwindled to 270.  Where have all these good people gone?

Because the saw mills needed workers, pamphlets and brochures  were mailed back to Europe promising a land of riches.  Off on a boat they exited  from Norway, Ireland, Germany and Russia.  A melting pot of ethnic refugees came to colonize and settle Big Falls. 

The Kitzman clan began arriving from Russia in 1890.   Villages like Wolgmien, Lublyn, Tarnafka, Shitomir, Wilhuft, Suzke, Milaschof, Rossbludge, Lubin, Wollinien.   These Kitzmans were part of the German Lutherans in Russia that Catherine the Great, a German Princess took along with her when she married Alexander in the mid 1700s to the Volga River wheat growing Steppe area.  For 140 years they lived in peace until Czar Nicholas needed men for his Army and many wars.  That is why they began sneaking off and seeking asylum  to America and Big Falls.  Sent emigrant tickets back for more tribes to migrate.  Once here, they married and begat large families.   Some joined the military, all had to register for the draft.   Along with their meager belongings  in a steamer trunk, they brought their  Lutheran Religion and were founding members of both St. Luke and St. Peter Lutheran Churches.  Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages and finally funerals were held from these churches, before the cortege to the Big Falls cemetery where many Kitzmans are awaiting eternity.  Only the epitaph on their tombstones remind us of who these founding families of Big Falls and Wyoming were.

This life has now passed away
They are with the Lord today
Enjoying a better life anew
Their memory shall we carry through
Until we again RENDEZVOUS...

AUGUST Kitzman, 1864-1947, the first to immigrate in 1890, became a naturalized citizen in 1914, wife Henrietta, children Ferd, Henry, Elsie, Albert, Theodore, Leona, Cora. 

ALEXANDER, 1884, arrived in 1897, wife Louise, children Reinhardt, Susan, Hugo, Alois, Paul, Alvina. 

HERMAN, 1881 came in 1897 wife Marie, children, Harvey, Arthur, Lena, Bertha, Meta, Harry. 

LOUIS LUDWIG, 1892, came 1899  wife Emma, children Virgil Lowell, Eroneal.

CHRISTIAN  Kristgan Kitzman 1863-1925 the Patriarch of the family arrived  in 1900 with his sons Gustav 1884-1948 and Daniel 1874-1945.    Departed Hamburg Germany on May 9, 1900 and arrived in New York three weeks later on June 4, 1900. The name of the ship was Albano which held 790 passengers.  Eventually the ship was mined off Tunisia on August 8, 1917 and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

 GUSTAV married Anna Barkholtz . 

DANIEL and wife Emma had Martha, William, Dorothy, Ella, Otto.  JOHN Kitzman 1873-1825 imigrated in 1902, wife Wilhelminia, children Gust, Julius, Hulda, Linda, Helena, Adam, John, Adolph, and Albert.

 All these Kitzman families are listed on the 1920 census for the Township of Wyoming, Waupaca County, Wisconsin, Lewis Arndt Enumerator.  Included information on the internet  provides valuable dates of immigration, language, homeland, ages, sex, marriages.

After Wall-Spaulding closed their doors, and sold equipment to the Tigerton Lumber Company, agriculture and dairy farming on this cutover land were the main sources of income, after they dynamited and blasted away all those tree stumps. Many Kitzman families left for greener pastures and high hopes but always managed to call Big Falls home.

Wilhelm Barkholtz 1872-1956 and wife Ernestine 1870-1914 and daughter Anna 1891-1986 arrived at Ellis Island, New York on November 7, 1898 on the ship Palatia which held 2060 passengers, was 460 feet long, by 52 feet wide, built in 1894 and scraped in 1925.  Other immigrants on the ship were from Russia, the USA, and Hungary. When Wilhelm arrived, he had $30 in his pocket and records confirm they were from Wulkezien, Germany (Prussia).  Emigrant tickets were sent by Wilhelm's uncle and aunt Ernest and Lena Lembke.   Four sons, Wilhelm, Carl, Harry, Ludwig (Louie).  Eight years after William Barkholtz came to America, he became a Naturilized Citizen on September 25, 1906, August Opperman and Carl Fetter were witnesses.    Sadly Ernestine in 1914 died in a grass fire when her clothing caught fire.
 Wilhelm Jr changed his name to William Smith, joined the Canadian Army in 1918 and died while in service and a fine monument commemorates his grave in the Big Falls Cemetery.

Anna Barkholtz 1891-1986 wed Gustav Kitzman 1884-1948 on October 20, 1908.  Legend says it was an arranged marriage.   Twelve children Evelyn Chiles, Arnold, Alfred, Laura Arndt Van Nuland, Gehardt, Wilbert, Edwin, Herbert, Milton, Victor, Eleanor and Carol Zimmerman.

All the children of Christian, August and Gustav Kitzman attended West Hill School.

Today in 2012 Big Falls is a village consisting of two saloons, churches, post office, feed mill and the everlasting cemetery, and 85  live souls which call Big Falls home.  Second and third growth timber provides hunting land for out-of-town people who seek quiet times in the mid-Wisconsin woods.

Information furnished by Myrtle McNinch Hanson, Mary Rahr, Richard Dixon, Russell Miller, Historians,  cemetery, church, census documents, From Sawmills to Villages book and other sources.

copyright 2012 by Russell and Delores Miller

This article ran earlier in Delores' local newspaper.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boot Print in Time

Commanding one of Cortez' legions,  Captain Cisaro Longario never dreamed he would experience other worlds ... in the future.

A Novella by Kevin Schmitt

 “Maldicion,” the horseman groaned as his right boot cleared the hind quarters of his battle weary mount.

 Pulled muscles were rare in the nether regions of a cavalryman, but this particular warrior had been reaching too far with his sword. Primarily because the enemy heads were too close to the ground. The young man yanked off his helmet, which along with his stained riding boots were the only belongings that identified him as a Conquistador, albeit a torn and battered one.

 His clothing was made up of dense quilted cotton, courtesy of the people he had been fighting. The material was called lchcahuipilli, and while it was inferior to steel plate armor, it could turn away most obsidian swords or atlatl darts. It was lighter and cooler than chain maille and didn’t rub against the flesh. It also didn’t rust, not that the young nobleman would have to concern himself with that little problem. A gentleman need only keep his beard trimmed and his cock out of reach of any pox infested whores, and as of late, that had been fairly easy to do.

The gore covered Spaniard took a swig f cheap wine from a goat skin then wordlessly nodded to the servant who was never out of calling distance, regardless of the circumstances.
 “Jefa---I am wondering---do you think there are cities in hell?” queried the servant as he slung the goat bag over his chest and shoulder.

 Captain Cisaro Longoria gazed up at the red haze that haloed the nearest wall of the Aztec metropolis. It came from a thousand fires that would illuminate the city until dawn.

 “Oh yes. But that need not concern you my old friend. The Devil would never allow you in. Your farts would be worse than any brimstone smell. Not to mention the rest of you.”

 Old Pedro Gonzales smiled at the joke; anything to divert his attention from the sounds of women shrieking in the distance. Gonzales had long served Cisaro’s father, and in those days he had learned that a city is not simply taken, it is raped, looted and brought down to its lowest possible level of humanity. The Spaniards were taking little joy in that. Their leader, Hernan Cortes had spent the last year recruiting native warriors from the outer regions, and those men were teaching the Spaniards the real meaning of total warfare.

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