From Ahnapee Record Thursday, May 25, 1893
Mrs. Chas. Schrailing
“Maria, widow of Chas. Schmiling, died last Thursday, May 18, 1893, at the home of her son, Albert Schmiling, in the town of Ahnapee. Mrs. Schmiling was one of the pioneer settlers of Ahnapee; she was held in high esteem by neighbors and friends. She had been an invalid for a number of years, her disease becoming more complicated this spring and developing into dropsy from which she died.
Mrs. Schmiling’s maiden name was Maria Westphal. She was born in Zarpen, Pomerania, June 4, 1814. In 1835, she was married to Charles Schmiling, who died in Ahnapee town in 1885. Nine children were born to them, four of whom are still living. Henry Schmiling, of this city, Albert Schmiling and Mrs. Chas Damas of Ahnapee town and Mrs. Chas Noll, of Waterford. She came with her husband to America in 1857, and settled in the town of Ahnapee where she had ever since resided.
The funeral took place last Saturday from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in this city. Rev. F. J. Eppling officiating, and was numerously attended. Among those present at the funeral from abroad, was Mrs. Chas Noll, daughter of the deceased, of Waterford, Wis.”
Also, on the same page as the above:
“A band of gypsies have gone into camp near Albert Schmiling farm on the north river road. There are about fifteen people in the band and they are a motley looking set. They have about a dozen horses and mules with them. Fortune telling is an important factor in their business and through it they add many dollars, it is said, to their store of cash. The camp is visited quite extensively, though principally by those only who are curious to see how the wondering homeless people live and work.”
Albert and Johanna
I know nothing of Albert’s early life. I assume he was a typical farm boy of his time with a minimum of education and plenty of chores around the farm. His older brother, Henry, served in the Civil War but Albert would have been too young.
The earliest I can recall anything that was said about Albert was that he fell hook, line and sinker for his cousin Johanna. This according to Minnie. She said she understood Albert had gone out with other girls. Johanna, or Hanna, for short, came over with her parents, Gotlieb and Caroline Grunewald, in 1872, from the Kolberg area of Prussia. (There are also other spellings of Grunewald.) She was eighteen at the time. Johanna’s mother was Albert’s right aunt, or his father’s sister. Hanna was about three years younger than Albert.
I’m almost positive Albert knew of his cousin before he met her. There must have been some letters going to Germany as well as some from there to here.
Albert and Hanna were married June 20, 1874, two years after she came here. They had seven children who lived to adulthood.
*Hanna’s parents settled on a farm near Kolberg, Door County.
Albert must have started dairy farming on a larger scale than his father, Charles.
He had a fairly large dairy barn built. The basement area could hold about a dozen cows
and a pen for young stock. It had a mow overhead. The basement part was about thirty
by thirty plus a 30 f t . mow and thrash floor at ground level about 60 f . i n all by 30
f t . wide. Part of t h i s barn still stood until 1939. The ground level part, or north end, was torn down i n 1917 to make way for the new barn built by Herman. The rest was
torn down to make room for the present machine shed and granary, again by Herman.
Before the Civil War, wheat and peas were major crops in Wisconsin. When the western
lands opened up the land here got to be too expensive for such crops, so dairying was
pushed. At first, cows were only milked during the summer months. The cheese factories
closed down as colder weather came and pasture was gone. Albert held a check too long,
according to Herman, and, the owner of the cheese factory had taken the money out of the checking account. Albert had to see him personally to get his money.
Women used to make butter at home from what ever milk they could get in winter. They
tried to get enough extra to sell in town to help pay for groceries.
According to Herman Welter, who owned the present Elbert Schmiling place, Albert had
a very commanding voice. He could be at the far corner of the farm and still shout instructions to his sons, Carl and Hugo, as they worked near the buildings.
About 1888, Albert built the brick house on the home farm, now owned by Clarence and
Anna Mae Alexander. Herman Schmeling remembers him saying many times about how all the things that could fit into a pocket, like door hinges, locks and nails were the most
expensive items to buy.
Ed Paape’s father was the carpenter who started the house. The Paape’s l i v e d just
north of the Hilton’s, or, present day, Stoller farm. I remember Ed as being somewhat
older than my father, Herman, but I don’t know his father’s name. Paape had much of the framing up when a big wind storm blew the entire thing down. He became disgusted as he looked over the mess and told Albert he was too busy to clean up the wreckage and start over. After some delay, Paape managed to get another carpenter to take over.
During the great fire of 1871, also called Peshtigo Fire, my brother Walter, recalls
hearing that the fire truck in the area during thrashing season, and, the men in the
area, and, I assume, this included Charles and Albert, helped move a thrashing machine to Lake Michigan so it wouldn’t be burned. Thrashing machines were scarce items, and,
thrashing by hand didn’t appeal to the area men. I don’t think any fire struck the home
farm, Walter said the Kolberg area, in Door County, had quite a bit of damage and the
area was just starting to green up the next year when Johanna and her parents arrived.
At the 100th anniversary of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, in Algoma, the son of a —
former pastor was preaching the sermon. He was recalling some of the things his father
told him about the Algoma area. He mentioned how the fire of 1871 raced toward the church on gale force winds. The men did all they could to beat back the fire in the area of the church but the wind was very strong and at last when it seemed hopeless, the pastor had everyone kneel down to pray and, shortly thereafter, the wind switched. The fire moved in a different direction and the church was spaired. Incidentally, Charles was a charter member of St. Paul’s.
When Albert died in the accident with the train, Hanna had what might be termed a
nervous breakdown. She was unable to function as either a mother, or manager of a farm. Carl and Hugo were already married and on their respective farms. That left Minnie, Martha, Herman, Elsie and Hulda at home. If my figures are right, Hanna was 49, Carl was about 29, Herman 19 and Hulda 9. Charlie Krause was appointed overseer, or guardian, of the ones at home. (Charlie Krause was the father of August and Martin Krause and lived in what I remember as the Martin Krause farm, near present Elbert Schmiling place.) Hanna’s sister-in-law, Ida Meister Grunwald, took Hanna to her farm home i n the Kolberg area. I don’t know how; she accomplished it, but, I understand she worked Hanna from dawn to dusk, never giving her time to think about herself, (source, Bertha Heuer, daughter of Gothilf and Ida). Ida was also a widow at the time. I don’t know anything about Ida, but, I recall Herman saying Hanna had only one brother, Gothilf. He was a hunch back as the result of a bad fall as a baby. He had red hair and a number of his children have red hair.
Charlie Krause used to try and come in on a daily basis to see that things ran
smoothly. I don’t know how long this went on, but it must have been for at least a
year. Hanna did return , but she never recovered completely. She seemed like a
frightened woman, afraid of any change. Herman, and, I guess, the rest of her children,
had a hard job convincing her to s e l l the farm to Herman. I don’t know how the farm
was operated during this time but Hanna must have had a widow’s share of the farm if
she didn’t own it all herself. There were things Herman wanted to do and improvements
he wanted to make. He especially wanted to build a new barn. It took from 1903, when
Albert died, until 1917 before Hanna sold the farm to Herman, with a bond of support.
What I remember mostly about Hanna was that she was an invalid . We had to bring
her to the table i n a wheel chair. She was bedridden f o r the last year of her l i f e.
She died on the Easter weekend of March 27, 1937. She and Albert are buried on the
Evergreen Cemetery, on Hy. 54, west of Algoma.
I remember Bertha Gruendeman, Hanna’s sister , living with us. Bertha was blind,
having had an operation f o r cataracts that wasn’t successful. The two old ladies used
to sit in the front room and talk for hours. They talked about things that happened
yesterday, last year, and, a l l the way back to their girlhood in Prussia. Bertha was
married before she came here and did not come with her parents like Hanna did. I remember her saying the year they got here was a very early spring. It got so warm a
few of the farmers planted grain the last week’ of February. Most farmers wouldn’t take
such a chance. As it turned,out, the early birds got the worm. It turned rather nasty
after that, never too cold, but, with some snow and later rains. Spring planting got to
be late. There was a dry spell and grain didn’t do well. The farmers who planted early
had a good crop.
These are recollections from my brothers, Walter and Reuben, and some from what I
remember. Living with a grandmother in your home brings in quite a number of older
relatives. They are bound to speak of things gone by and little people have big ears,
There may be errors in this history, but, it is the best of my recollections. I welcome
any comments, additions, or recollections from any family member to help make this a more complete history.
March 13, 1984
Note: The Carl Schmiling I refer to, as a reference source, should not he confused with
Charles, who sometimes signed his name Carl, especially on the warranty deed conveying the farm, to Albert, Charles, or Chas., also called Carl, was born i n 1811, i n Prussia. The Carl I refer to for reference was my oldest uncle born in 1875, and, the one I went to for information right after my father’s funeral.