I am sure that everyone is getting bored with Herman’s letters, so I thought I would change things up again. The Hamm Family letters, that I had professionally transcribed and translated, about 15-20 years ago, are a good choice. These letters were shared with the family many years ago, but I feel they deserve a re-visit.
These letters are correspondence to George and Amelia Hamm who lived in Medford, Wisconsin. They are from: siblings of George’s who lived in Germany, a friend of his from the old stomping grounds, and his Godfather, both of the latter from Schwabsburg, Germany.
Schwabsburg, 21 January, 1893
I have owed you a letter for a long time. But I wanted to wait until our new church was dedicated. The enclosed sheet shows you our church [this sheet was lost]. The tower is in the exact spot where our spray house [?] used to stand. The other little tower is precisely at the corner of our old church. The gable and entry are directly facing your father’s house.
I have several other news items to tell you about. The mason Franz Horn died on January 4, 1895. He was the first person to be buried in the new cemetery. He was also the first one for whom the new bell was tolled, the first one buried by the new pastor, and the first one to have his funeral held in the new church.
Your brothers and sisters are all still well and happy. Especially your sister Mari and her husband are doing very well. I would consider it a pleasure if you would come to see us some time soon. It is now wintertime. We’ve slaughtered our pigs and the cellar is full of wine. If you were at our house, you could enjoy yourself and it would be a pleasure for us as well.
Kaspar Franke Andreas and I are pals. He is present even as I write and sends you his best regards. His wife also died five years ago. My father died on the first day of Pentecost. He was 87 years old.
You promised to send me a picture of your family, and I’m going to hold you to your word.
I’ll close now. Our warm regards to you and your entire family.
NOTE: Peter is an old friend of George’s. By 1893 George had been in America for 20 years, having arrived in 1873.He never went back to Germany, and no one else in his family emigrated to America. He had 11 brothers and sisters.
I have actually written quite a bit over the years about Carrie. I am not sure if there will be anything new to learn when I finish this post, but at least it will be all together in one neat little package.
Julia Caroline, went by the name of Kari or Carrie throughout her life. She was the second known child born to Amund Amundson and Jorgina Johnsdtr. She was born on the 29th of August 1879, in Kenyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota (according to her obituary). At this time I have been unable to find a birth record for her in either government or church records.
Kari’s parents were married in Goodhue County1, and for a short time afterwards can be found living there, along with Jorgina’s parents and family. They bought land just to the south in Dodge County in 1875, (while they were still living in Goodhue County), and by 1880 they were living in Vernon, Dodge County, where they stayed until sometime before March of 1880 when they skedaddled quietly and stealthily in the cover of night out of Dodge. It looks like Amund and Jorgina were having problems paying their mortgage and keeping up with the expenses of their farm, so they decided the best course of action was to leave all their debts behind. Although, they didn’t go very far. In the 1885 state census we find them back in Goodhue County. Strangely enough buying more property.
Sometime after 1886 Amund decided that farming was not his cup of tea and moved the family around the state a bit until they ended up in Carlton County. He had a growing family to feed and was finding work as a laborer wherever he could. They stayed for approximately 7 years. By 1903 he and Jorgina had moved to Duluth where Amund found work on the ore docks, a job he would stay at until he retired shortly after 1913.
We really know nothing of Carrie’s early childhood. She was able to grow up around her mother’s Norwegian family until she was about 7-8 years old, then her parents hauled her off to another county far away from Goodhue and all she knew. She had an older sister Christina, and a younger brother John who sadly died between 1885 and 1895. Her mother had another child that never made it to any census records other than a statistic (the 1900 census asks the wife how many children they had had and how many were living, Jorgina’s answer was 4, 2 living).
In 1898 another tragedy struck the family. Christina, the eldest daughter, developed mental health issues and ended up being committed to the Fergus Falls insane asylum.
Christina’s medical records indicate that instances of her mental health problems started when she was about 17 years old, and were supposedly brought on by puberty. It was also noted in her records that her condition was inherited, but did not state from whom, or from which side of the family the illness is supposed to have originated (possibly her mother’s side). The Fergus Falls asylum, where she was taken, had been built in 1890 on the ‘Kirkbride Plan’, being spacious and well planned with lots of light. She was at the Fergus Falls facility until at least April 6 of 1902. She continued as a patient in an asylum for the rest of her life, dying December 11, 1927 at the Anoka State Asylum, of tuberculosis.
from John Family Book, 2008 edition
So now Carrie was the only child left at home.
The next thing we know is on October 25, 1900, Carrie had a child she named John. I can find no evidence that Carrie had married the father of this son. We know his name was John Gustafson, he was Swedish and he was born about 1876, and that’s about it.
Carrie was in the Duluth directory in 1900, she went to her parents in Moose Lake when she was due, as that is where John’s birth certificate says he was born. So, it doesn’t look like she was kicked out of the house, otherwise he parents wouldn’t have let her come home to have her child. Did she move to Duluth because she would have a better chance of getting a job that would support herself and her child in the city rather than a lumber town like Moose Lake? Was she in Duluth because the father of her child was there? We don’t know.
The fact that her name is listed as ‘Amundson’ in the directory, rather than Gustafson, raises the suspicion that she was an unwed mother. But, she also hails from a Nordic background where women keep their names when married. So we can’t with certainty say that she was an unwed mother, although, the 1900 census has her entered as single, not widowed. The census was recorded as being taken in August of that year, and her son was born two months later.
Regardless of her married status, she does not appear to be living with a man of any name in the early years of the 1900s. And she was working as a domestic, cleaning and working in other’s homes for a living. It would have been exhausting and tiresome work, for very little pay.
Sometime in 1902 Carrie met a man newly arrived in Duluth from Wisconsin. His name was Frederick Hamm and he was quite the looker. (Hey, even I can admit great-gramps was hot, I can see why the ladies would drop their knickers left and right.) The two were certainly smitten with each other, enough so that they were married on the 24th of February 1903. Carrie would have been relieved to no longer have to work as a domestic, she had a husband to bring home the paycheck now. Fred, when he met Carrie, was working as a carpenter about town. The 1903 directory had him listed as a laborer, probably getting any labor type work he could and by 1904 he had found work on the ore docks of Duluth.
About this time Carrie’s parents decided to make the move to Duluth also. They are found in the Duluth directory in 1904 living with (or in the same building with) their son-in-law and daughter, so they probably made the move sometime in 1903 (there are no directory entries for her parents earlier than 1904). Carrie’s father had also gotten work at the ore docks, maybe with his son-in-law’s help.
On June 3, 1904 Fred and Carrie welcomed their daughter Emelia into the world. And in 1905 they are found in the state census, in an error ridden entry, so who knows who gave the information to the census taker:
Mr. Hames [Fred Hamm] age 31, 2nd St. born Germany [Wisconsin], parents born Germany, carpenter Mrs. Carrie Hames [Kari Hamm] age 25, born Wisconsin [Minnesota], parents born Norway, wife Emilea Hames [Hamm], age 1, born Minnesota, parents born [can not read entry]
—1905 Minnesota Territorial and State Census, Duluth, St. Louis County:enumeration dist. 22, ward 7, sub-division B, precinct 2nd; sheet 18, page 101, City of Duluth June 7th-8th lines 37-40
Sadly they lost Emilia to gastroenteritis a few months after this census was taken.
Fred didn’t like dock work and went back to carpentry not long after their marriage. He continued in this line of work until 1907 when he became a police officer.
Annual Report of Police Department, Duluth, Minn., Jan. 1st 1907: Fred W. Hamm, appointed patrolman, Oct. 13, 1906; page 122
And then was fired two years later due to misconduct and dereliction of duty.
In 1906 the couple had another daughter, Myrtle Caroline, my grandmother.
But Carrie and Fred’s marriage was not destined to last for much longer. On April 28, 1907 Carrie’s mother died, after having been committed to an asylum for a short time. She most likely had dementia and Amund was unable to handle her erratic and violent behavior. Then a year later these articles started appearing in the local newspaper:
Non-Support Charge Fred Hamm, charged with non-support, was arraigned in municipal court this morning. His hearing was set for Wednesday morning, upon his pleas of not guilty. He lives as 2615 West Second St. and has a 2-year old child.
—Duluth Evening Herald, Monday November 16, 1908 page 8
POLICEMAN PROMISES TO PROVIDE FOR FAMILY Policeman Fred Hamm was let go on suspended sentence by Judge Cutting yesterday on his promise to contribute $25 a month to the support of his wife and child. The officer was arrested by Court Officer Jensen on a warrant sworn out by his wife charging him with failing to contribute to the support of his family. Mrs. Hamm, who carried her baby into court, testified that two months ago when the separation took place her husband said he was tired living with her. The evidence showed that the couple have had many quarrels which began when Mrs. Hamm’s mother died nearly two years ago and the patrolman was called upon to support a former child of Mrs. Hamm’s which had been living with her parents.
–Duluth News-Tribune (1908-11-19): page unknown
CHARGED WITH NON-SUPPORT Fred Hamm, a Policeman, Arraigned in Municipal Court. Fred Hamm, a local policeman, was arraigned in municipal court before Judge Cutting this morning on the charge of non-support. The case was continued for three months, under Hamm’s promise that he would contribute $25 monthly to his wife’s support. The couple have not been living together since last August. Hamm claims the trouble started because his wife objected to having his sister visiting at the house, claiming that the sister wanted to “boss” her. He said he had been perfectly willing to support his wife, and always had contributed liberally to her support, but that he insisted on the right to have relatives visit him, as long as he was paying the bills. He denied that the sister did any bossing. Mr. and Mrs. Hamm have one child, an infant in arms.
–Duluth Evening Herald. Publication Date November 19, 1908: page 2, column 1
Obviously the two were not getting along and Fred was feeling boxed in by his marriage. On July 19, 1910 Fred filed for divorce in Koochiching County, Minnesota after having run away to Montana. Here he is in the 1910 census:
HAMM, Frank, boarder, male, white, age 36, single, born in Wisconsin, parents born in Germany, speak english, laborer in a logging camp, works for wages, hadn’t been out of work on April 15, 1910, or all of 1909, can read and write.
–1910 census Hellsgate Twp, Missoula County, Montana details:Missoula National Forest-North Division, Enumeration Dist. 61, Sheet 5A, 23 April, line 21
Carrie was having a rough go of it. She has two children, a husband who now refused to support them, and then disappeared, (he objected to supporting Carrie’s son from another man), a mother now dead, and a father who would be useless to help. She was now all on her own, and not really capable to doing so.
The details of why are unknown, but their daughter Myrtle was living with her grandparents George and Amelia Hamm by the 1910 census. In fact she ended up growing up on the Hamm farm. And Carrie’s son John isn’t found again until a 1920 newspaper article when he was injured on the job and his mother sued the railroad for compensation.
Other than the newspaper articles related to her marriage to Fred, we know nothing about Carrie’s life after his desertion, other than what is found in directories and census records. She wasn’t at the divorce hearings in Koochiching County. I doubt she even was aware that they were going on, she didn’t live anywhere near there. And even if she did, she most likely couldn’t afford a lawyer or the trip.
So Carrie was now back living on her own and working as a laundress/domestic, a job she had until her death in 1949. As far as we know she had no further contact with her daughter, my grandmother after she was farmed out to her grandparents. If she wrote, we have no correspondence to confirm any such contact.
And she really had no other family to speak of from 1917, when her father died, until her own death in 1949.
From the Wednesday, June 1 1949 Duluth News-Tribune (Funeral Notice): AMUNDSON, Mrs. Carrie C., 212 West Second Street. Funeral Services 2 p.m. at the Johnson Mortuary Chapel, the Rev. Benjamin Urshan officiating. Interment Park Hill.
Same Paper: Mrs. Carrie C. Amunson, 67, of 212 West Second Street, died yesterday in a Duluth hospital. Born in Kenyon, Minn., she resided here 60 years. Surviving are a son, John C. Gustafson, Minneapolis; a daughter, Mrs. Myrtle John, Rothchild, Wis., and three children.
The clues that Carrie left behind regarding her life, lead me to speculate that the mental issues, (like depression), that plagued the family probably also affected her. She didn’t really raise her own children. Her son was farmed out to her parents in his early years, and her only other living child, Myrtle, was farmed out to her ex’s parents in Wisconsin by the time she was 4. Carrie only shows up again in her son’s life when there was a chance to make some money from the railroad.
Not everyone is meant to be a parent, and it is quite possible that Carrie was one of those people. So maybe both of her children were better off not being raised by their mother.
Her life seems a bit sad and lonely to me, I hope she had a good one in spite of herself.
SOURCES: 1. Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson entry, page 60; “Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X2BR-JQK : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson, 1874. Image saved as marriage_amundson_to_johnson [FHL Film number: 1379159 online Digital Folder Number: 004540657 online Image Number: 01315
2. Fred W. Hamm vs Carrie Hamm divorce case file #492 Koochiching County, Minnesota 1910; Civil and Criminal Case files, 2907-1950, 1961, Minnesota District Court, Minnesota Historical Society. Accession number(s): 999-71; 2006-58; 2007-20; 2008-22; Catalog ID No.: 1735999. Forwarded by Koochiching County Clerk of Courts office.
Fred Hamm, maybe in a desperate attempt to get away from his ex (my great grandmother Carrie Amundson), ended up settling in Koochiching County, Minnesota for a while.
According to his second marriage certificate he married Emma Steinbach March 22, 1912 at Fort Francis, Ontario, which is just over the border north of International Falls.
International Falls press and border budget. Pub. Date January 22, 1914: Fred Hamm moved his family and stock to his claim on the upper Black River last week. [Emma, Margaret, himself]
And the 1920 census above shows Fred and a different family there, because by 1918 he had divorced Emma Steinbach and was now living with his brother’s wife Emma Paugel and his brother’s children, along with his and Emma’s son Raymond.
As far as I can tell Fred’s only purchase of property, ever, was a homestead purchase from the United States Government in 1918. So I do not know if he actually owned a different property that the family was moving to in 1914, or if it was the same property, and he just hadn’t purchased yet.
Even today you can see that there are no real roads out in this area. Here’s another view a bit further away in airspace:
The pink box in the image above is a close approximation of his property. The closest road appears to be Hwy 101/Black River Road and Fiero Truck Trail. Just the name of the latter road brings forth visions of rough travel. When you get up close using satellite images, it almost looks like this was pretty much swamp land, but according to various online histories about the area there was plenty of good farming.
There was a US agricultural census made in 1920, and Fred was on it, but unfortunately it was destroyed by the US Government, who saw no reason to keep it. Only a few states survived the destruction, Minnesota was not one of them. So that means we have no idea what Fred and Emma were growing and farming on their property during the 8-10 years that they lived there.
In 1924 he quit claimed the property to Asa Kelsey. (According to current maps on the county’s register of deeds site, it is all now owned by the State of Minnesota.) It might be at this time that the family moved to Shawano, Wisconsin, where he finally saw fit to marry Emma Paugel in 1931.
This is the only evidence I have found of Fred settling down anywhere for any length of time. After this bout of farming fever, he never owned property again, although he did work as a farm hand of some sort until he died.
Here’s a fun tidbit: As of the 2000 census, there were 23 people, 11 households, and 6 families residing in Rapid River township.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_River_Township,_Lake_of_the_Woods_County,_Minnesota]
You probably don’t remember anything about Clarence Hamm. That’s most likely because he was only 8 years old when he died from injuries received in a car accident in 1935.
It was a nice 80º day in Wisconsin. Clarence, his brother Arthur, his mother, Emma, and Uncle Paugel were heading home from a day of berry picking north of Antigo, when disaster struck.
The Wittenberg Enterprise, August 8, 1935 — Clarence Hamm Funeral Is Being Held This Afternoon Funeral services for Clarence Hamm, the eight-year-old boy who died Sunday as the result of an automobile accident, is being held this afternoon at the Dobber Funeral Home and at First Lutheran church in this village. The Rev. N. B. Ursin officiated in the absence of the Rev. T. Aug. Lillehei, pastor of the congregation, who is on a vacation. Interment was in Forest Home Cemetery. The pall-bearers were Marty Swensen, Vernon and Kenneth Matson, Robert Heistad, Kenneth and Magnus Gunderson.
August 21, 1935 Clarence Hamm Dies Following Auto Crash Eight-Year-Old Wittenberg Boy Is Fatally Injured Early Sunday Evening An eight-year-old boy was killed and seven people were injured, two critically, Sunday night when two cars collided head-on on highway 45 just north of Koepenick. The boy, Clarence Hamm, of this village, died on his way to Memorial hospital at Antigo from a severe skull fracture. The injured are: Mrs. George Hamm, Wittenberg, mother of the dead boy, condition critical, suffering from a fractured skull and badly lacerated right arm; doctors doubt she will live. Mrs. Harold Zeiler, Chicago, broken arm and leg and body injuries. Albert Paugel, Wittenberg, driver of the Chevrolet coach carrying the Wittenberg party, lacerations over entire body. Arthur Hamm, 12, Wittenberg, son of Mrs. George Hamm, lacerations to the head. Harold Zeiler; Chicago, head injuries. Kenneth Anderson, Ironwood, Michigan, lacerations to his head. Bert Wesley, Antigo, dislocated shoulder. It could not be learned definitely, just how the accident occurred, says the Antigo Journal. The Wittenberg party was bound south after a day picking blueberries. Zeiler, his wife, Anderson, and Wesley were going north in an Oldsmobile sedan. Zeiler was driving. Paugel turned out to pass a Chevrolet truck being driven by Vernon Stoltenberg, Amherst Junction. Evidently seeing the other car Paugel tried to turn in again but side-swiped the truck. The Chevrolet then swerved directly into the path of the oncoming Oldsmobile the cars colliding head-on. Almost all the people in the Chevrolet were thrown clear of the car. Mr. and Mrs. Zeiler were thrown through the windshield of the Oldsmobile. Passing motorists picked up the injured and rushed them into Antigo. Both cars, especially the Chevrolet, were demolished. Bill Hamm, 23, of Wittenberg, a brother of the dead boy, and Emil Klabunde, about 40, also of Wittenberg were sitting in the rear seat of the Chevrolet with Arthur Hamm. They were not injured, although they were thrown clear of the car. Zeigler, who lives in Chicago, is a traveling representative of the McClellan stores. He is stationed at Wausau at present. Anderson, also an employee of the McClellan stores, is working in the Antigo store as a relief man. The impact of the two cars colliding could be heard for more than a mile. Parts of the demolished cars were scattered around the wreckage for more than 25 ft. A warrant charging reckless, driving was issued Monday against Albert Paugel, driver of the Chevrolet coach carrying the Wittenberg party. The warrant will be served on Paugel as soon as he is discharged from the hospital, says the Antigo Journal.1
The case against his Uncle did indeed go to court and was reported in the Oshkosh paper:
WAUSAU MAN HELD NOT AT FAULT FOR FATAL AUTO CRASH Judgment Reversed in Supreme Court Also Releases Indemnity Company From Liability
Madison (AP) — The state supreme court ruled today that Harold Zeiler, Wausau business man, was in no way responsible for a traffic accident near Antigo in 1935 in which a child was killed and several persons injured. The high court reversed lower court judgments returned against Zeiler and the Bankers Indemnity Company, with which he was insured, and ordered that the complaint against them be dismissed. Nine year old Clarence Hamm was killed and several persons injured in an automobile collision on Highway, 45, 15 miles north of Antigo, Aug. 4, 1935. I[n] one car were Harold Zeiler, Wausau business man, his wife, Vera and Bert Wesley, Zeiler was driving. In the other car were Albert Paugel, Wittenberg farmer, Emma Hamm, his housekeeper, and her son, Clarence.
HAD DEFECTIVE BRAKES Trial of three damage suits in Circuit court disclosed that Paugel, whose car had defective breaks, turned to the left side of the road when a truck stopped in front of him and collided with the Zeiler car, approaching from the other direction. Call uncle, and the latters insurer, Bankers Indemnity Company, were named defendants in suits brought by Mrs. Zeiler, Mrs. Hamm and Wesley. Paugel did not offer defense. The jury, however, found that Zeiler was partly to blame for the accident by not maintaining a proper lookout. Against Paugel, Zeiler and the insurance company the jury returned the following judgments; For Mrs. Zeiler, $3,688.75; for Mrs. Hamm, individually and for her son’s death, $5,191; for Wesley, $467.28. Zeiler and the Bankers Indemnity Company appealed to the supreme court.2
As you can read in the article the insurance company was not happy with the outcome, so they took the case to the State Supreme Court. I was able to find a summary of it online, (use the link to see it.) The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the County court and refused any rehearing of the case.
Combining all the details from the newspaper articles, and case summaries, I was able to get a pretty good sense of where this accident happened too.
According to the court case the accident happened about 15 miles north of Antigo, by a golf course on (old) 45 (now known as B). Well, the map shows the golf course. The bit circled is where there appears to be a dip in the road as mentioned in the case, which you can see if you use google maps street view. The Paugel car was going south towards Antigo, probably heading back to Shawano where they lived.
The newspaper reported that his mother Emma was critically injured and not expected to live, but she did survive her injuries. However she died not too many years later, in 1943. Fred does not appear to have been living with Emma at the time of the accident. He was somewhere in Becker County, Minnesota, according to the 1940 census (the 1940 census asked where you were living 5 years earlier). This is confirmed by the 1934 directory for Shawano, Emma is the only Hamm listed.
Clarence was one of my grandmother Myrtle’s half brothers. I do not know if she ever met him, or even if she ever heard about his death, as he was a son from her father’s 3rd marriage. And if we have a picture of Clarence in our family albums, I am unaware of which one it might be. (The problem of unlabeled family photos rears it ugly head.)
SOURCE: 1. Clarence Hamm accident, The Wittenberg Enterprise, Wittenberg, Wisconsin, 8 August 1935, page ? column?, in Antigo Journal, Antigo, Wisconsin. (Transcription of newspaper article found online <www.ancestry.com> HAMM surname message boards.)
About 10 years ago I came into contact with a Hamm cousin who descended from Emil, the youngest child of George and Amelia Hamm. We kept in contact for a while, and then over time, as happens, we lost touch. But, earlier this year, out of the blue, he contacted me again. He had recently moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family, and was interested in re-connecting, now that he was closer to our neck of the woods.
My husband and I dropped in for a visit a few months ago and we all had a nice visit. I was able to go home with a few pictures that I needed to scan (and then send back), and some excellent dried fruit! Which I didn’t have to send back, which is good, because it didn’t last very long.
During our visit I mentioned my hope that he would want to help out in the DNA front by getting his HAMM yDNA tested. Thankfully, he said yes.
And the results have come in.
According to FamilyTreeDNA‘s website the HAMM yDNA’s haplogroup is I-M170:
Haplogroup I dates to 23,000 years ago, or older. This haplogroup is found throughout Europe, although some branches may be present in low frequencies in Northeast Africa, Central Siberia, the Near East, and the Caucasus regions. Haplogroup I represents one of the first peoples in Europe.
There are three very interesting items of note regarding the results.
First, there was only one match to be found, in all the thousands of yDNA results that are available to compare to at FamilyTreeDNA.
Second, that one match is with a man whose surname is Hamman. (This Hamman has only tested 25 markers – and is 2 markers off from our Hamm line, our cousin’s test was a 111 marker test)).
Third, this Hamman surname comes from Hesse-Darmstadt, almost the same place as our Hamm’s (Rhineland-Palatinate they are very close neighbors). Now, these areas in Germany are pretty large, so, you think ‘well that’s a stretch that they are closely related’, but when you look at the two towns on a map and compare the distance. Hmmm. Not so far apart.
This also makes a very intriguing argument in favor of my belief that George Hamm really is a son of Jacob Hamm, and his parents didn’t get married until after he was born.
One can easily imagine the Hamman/Hamm name changing slightly over time, even within the same family. Maybe our Hamm’s got kicked out of town a couple hundred years ago, (our Hamm’s appear to be the type that would get kicked out of a town), and headed west to work in the vineyards. Or, some of the Hamms moved to find better work in a different area.
Of course, this is only speculation, I need to know more about this Hamman family before we can make any definite conclusions.
But I have to say, for me, Yule presents don’t get much better than this!
Just a heads up to let folks know that on my recent visit with one of our Hamm cousins, I snagged a couple of pics that we don’t have in our own family collection. They have been scanned and uploaded to my flickr site.
Here’s a good one of George Hamm and folks in an automobile, the sign on the vehicle says Marshfield Auto Club. Amelia might be sitting behind the driver, the image is small and not very detailed, so I am not sure.
Thanks Larry! for trusting me with your precious pics.
I was doing some more newspaper research recently, (have I ever mentioned that I love newspaper research), and I found a couple of interesting ads in the Gillett Times newspaper:
Thursday, February 2, 1933 Want Ads REGISTERED GRADUATE NURSE Eight years experience. Very reasonable rates. Mrs. C. F. John, R.N.
Then another, slightly different, ad a few months later:
Thursday, April 27, 1933 Want Ads Mrs. C. F. John, R.N. For Professional Services,$3. Day or night.
At this time Clarence and Myrtle had no children, (their first wasn’t to be born until 1934), so no doubt Myrtle was bored to death sitting at home with nothing to do, except wait for Clarence to get home from work. Heck, I got bored just writing that sentence!
Of course, I have no idea if she got any work that way. I’m hoping something came up for her sake. But then, by November of that year she was pregnant, and waiting to welcome their first bundle of joy, who was born mid-summer of the next year. Her focus was now raising kids.
She got back into nursing after Clarence died in the 1950s. After all she was alone now and had to support herself. No more ads though.
For years I had been looking for evidence that my great grandparents Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson had actually married, and my grandmother was in fact not illegitimate, which was thought that that might be why her Hamm grand-parents had raised her.
And then, miraculously, I found their divorce case mentioned in a newspaper, while searching for something else entirely, of course. Yay!! And then, I found their marriage record at the register of deeds office. Yay!! And just this month I found the actual church record for their marriage. Again, a total accident. Yay!
Apparently, some Swedish Lutheran Church records were recently added to the Ancestry.com databases, and while doing Amundson searches in Minnesota, I ran across the church record for Fred and Carrie in this most unlikely record series. I guess that’s why it doesn’t hurt to keep sticking the same names in the search box every few months, because something unexpected can turn up. This find certainly put me in a good mood.
I guess this means that it is official, my grandmother Myrtle was totally legit!
Fred Hamm, my great grandfather, died in Door County in 1951. According to his obituary he is buried in a cemetery at Bailey’s Harbor. (Hubby and I went to find his burial plot a few years back, but no luck finding a headstone in the cemetery for him; had a great brunch in town though.)
For those of you who don’t know, Door County in Wisconsin is one of the ‘go to’ places for tourists, which means if you live in Wisconsin, you avoid it like the plague. Plus, purchasing and owning property up there is extremely expensive. And according to newspaper research, Fred and his son Arthur owned land, possibly together, in the area. I only know this because there were several foreclosure notices in the newspaper regarding Bernice, Arthur and Fred, which culminated in the property being sold at auction.
Arthur’s disappearing act no doubt contributed to the money problems that lead to the eventual sale of the property. It looks like Fred was getting some kind of assistance, according to the article below, but not enough to make a difference.
Of course now I was curious as to where exactly this property was located in Door County. So I did a little digging. (Sometimes it is very hard to find plat maps online.) The property is described as being: SW 1/4 NW 1/4 S15 T27 R26
The fire mentioned in the article above happened in March of 1949, Arthur ‘disappeared’ in April, Bernice divorced him in July, the property started showing up in the paper regarding foreclosure proceedings August 25th, and continued in the paper until the sale in 1952. Fred died in 1951. Poor Bernice was left to deal with the mess.
Well it is not a very exciting post, but I was curious about where Fred was living up in Door County all this time. Now I know. Driving around up there will certainly be a lot easier then heading up to Canada to see the old Shepard cottage, as long as we avoid tourist season. Plus, I know a great place to get brunch.
I just wanted to know if the Isserstedt’s had a court case in Sheboygan County, because I remember a letter from George Hamm to his in-laws where he had asked if there was anything he could do regarding somesuch, and his father-in-law, Friederich, said to paraphrase ‘No. It’s all cool. They had everything in hand’.
Thankfully, Sheboygan County recently gave the Wisconsin Historical Society their court case microfilms. Yay! (Otherwise I would have to travel to Sheboygan to do research, and I didn’t wanna.) With a little digging, I was able to find that there was indeed a court case with Fred Isserstedt and, bonus, there was also a case that sort of mentions a George Hamm/en.
So, in a nutshell, it appears that both George Hamm and his brother-in-law Friederick Isserstedt, jr., (aka Fritz), were in court for bastardy. Meaning both men were accused of being the father of a young woman’s child. To be clear though, these are two different women and two different cases.
The case against George was in November and December of 1874. A woman by the name of Auguste Harp accused George of being the father of her child, which she had conceived in June of that year. The case against Fritz was in 1881, and appears to have continued to 1883. The accuser in Fritz’s case was Amelia Hecker.
About the time that George’s case was going on he was preparing to get married my great great grandmother Amelia Isserstedt, (which they did on 22 December 1874). Fritz had just married Phoebe Coon when his case was brought to court, (22 May 1881).
I can only imagine the stress and confusion of my great great Grandmother, and her sister-in-law at the time these cases came to court. Fritz Issersted in the pic below:
The above two pictures are George Hamm and Auguste Harp (I found her picture on an Ancestry.com family tree site. )
The Harps moved to Iowa shortly after the case was brought to trial and concluded. And it is there that Auguste probably had her child. It is possible that Frederika Wilhelmine Harp Ludloff raised her for a short time, after which she was raised by Auguste’s parents, as a Minnie Ludloff is listed as a ward of the family, age 5, in the 1880 Iowa census, the age Auguste’s child would be in this census.
It is unclear in the case file if George was determined to be the father. Of course only DNA could prove it one way or another now. It is quite possible, and wouldn’t be at all surprising if George was. Although it would make for a refreshing change in the Hamm family sagas to know that he wasn’t, and couldn’t possibly be the father because a Hamm would never…nah.
In Fritz’s case we know the child was born 19 May 1881, but I have been unable to find anything more, not even if it survived. Amelia Hecker married Henry Sampse in 1883. And, again, we do not know if indeed Fritz was believed to be the father. It appears that the final conclusion of the jury was ‘Not Guilty’.