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A Treichel Genealogical History

Carl Treichel Emigrates From Prussia

Carl Treichel was standing on the deck of the ship as it crossed the Atlantic. It was June of 1852. They had left the dock in Bremer just a few days ago and Carl was wondering if he had made the right decision. His brothers, Wilhelm and Herman, had emigrated to the the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin the previous year. Back home in Prussia there were continuing problems with politics and the prices for crops were not meeting expenses. It was time to make the trip to a better world. They left Kukahn, Kr. Greifenberg, Pomerania, Prussia.  His brothers had gone to the farming community of Granville near Milwaukee to buy land for farming.  This was his destination.  He would live with a family member until he could find a home for his family.  

Johanna was the same age as Carl - 34.  Johanna fretted over the health of their five children -- ages one year to ten.  The children were on an adventure and they made friends with the ship's large population of children their own age.  It was a rough crossing with long days.  People were sick and some buried loved ones at sea as they crossed.  There were also some births during the almost three week crossing. 

Carl did not have a lot of money for the crossing, so he and the entire family were living in a dormitory with many others. The entire ship was full of his countrymen leaving Germany for a better life in America. Some of his acquaintances from the old country had headed to Australia rather than North America. Carl decided on America after letters from his brother and other relatives who had emigrated in previous years.  There was available land at low prices. The climate and the terrain were like the old country; glaciated rolling hills. There were large forests of trees.

Johanna would rather have stayed back in the old country, but it couldn't be. They had discussed it many times. Carl was a farmer and there was no more land to be had. There were other social problems. There were the labor uprisings. These problems were all over Europe at that time and it seemed like it would only get worse. Being from the rural area of Kuchan near the town of Griefenberg, they saw little of the urban problems, but they heard about them. The market for their farm produce was not making enough money and there were general food shortages from time to time.

At the same time there was also religious intolerance by the Catholics who were trying to turn the country into a Catholic Church country. This was not good for their Lutheran faith and there were several laws that were passed that made the practicing that religion difficult. They had passed laws just the year before that there would be religious toleration. By that time it was too late. Carl had already made the decision to leave. Religion had been a factor, but he also needed to look for land to farm. It took time to save the money to make the trip. So a few more years had passed. His father gave him some money to assist in purchasing passage for the entire family.

So here he was standing on the deck and anticipating what life would be like in America.  In a few more days they would be standing on American soil and the rest of his life in the United States. There would be no going back. It had cost too much to get here and what would there be that he could go back to. There was no land for a man who only knew how to farm. Of course as a farmer, he knew many other skills as well.

Now it was time to quit looking back and look forward.

From Bremen to Quebec

From the time they left Bremen, it was almost three weeks before they arrived in Quebec.  Their final destination of Milwaukee was still a couple of weeks away.  At Quebec, Carl purchased steamship fare to Montreal. There they took a ferry across the St. Lawrence River.  On the south shore, they found a stage coach that took then to Buffalo.  This was worse than the ship crossing, but less boring.  There was something to the scenery besides water in every direction.  

When they arrived at Buffalo, NY, they set foot on American soil for the first time.  From there they boarded ship on the Great Lakes to continue their journey. Three days later, they docked at Detroit and there they boarded a train to Chicago. At Chicago, there was another hundred miles to go. There was no train available to Milwaukee and the prospect of more ship travel was not what any one wanted. But that was the only practical way to go. So they boarded a ship to Milwaukee. It was another very long 24 hours and they were in Milwaukee the next afternoon.

Arrival in Milwaukee

It was a long trip and they were glad to be on land once again after all these of travel from the old country. Although Carl's brother knew that they were coming, he had no idea when or how. So when Carl and his family arrived at Milwaukee, the last leg of the journey was to Granville. They stayed at a hotel that evening and the next morning they rented a driver and coach to take them to their new home in Granville. Granville was about ten miles from the hotel. They would be in Granville by noon or shortly after.

Rather than having the coach go to his home, Carl took the family to Willie's home. Willie and his wife Henrietta (Henie) met them as the coach stopped in front of the house. The children were finally free of a ship, railroads and coaches. They were no longer confined and they could run and explore the new home or at least their uncle's home.

There was a welcoming party the following Sunday after their arrival to welcome Carl and the family. Everyone there spoke German. It was like the old country and Johanna began to feel at home even though she was home sick for her family that she had left in Germany. The children were immediately at home and enjoying the opportunity to run and play unfettered. They were home.

Move to Green Bay Area Farm

August was six years old when they arrived in America in 1852. Herman was just three years old. Carl worked hard to create a home for his growing family. In 1853, Wilhelmine was born followed by Emilie in 1858. In 1860, they had seven children and now August was already ten years old. In just a few years, he would be thinking that he would want to farm. There was not land enough here. They needed to consider a move again. In 1868, Carl uprooted his family once again. There were land dealers who were telling of the land that was available elsewhere. He heard that there was land to be had for the purchase near Green Bay. That was about a hundred miles away. They would have to find land, carve out a home and clear land for farming. It would take several years, but they could do it. He loaded two wagons with the possessions that they had and headed north. This trip took several days. Each evening they stopped and camped.

They found a 160 acre piece of land that was vacant because the previous owner had died. There was a lot of paper work to be completed to become the owner of the land. Six persons each owned a sixth of the land and four of those were minor children. The previous owner, Lorenzo Howard, had died trying to carve a place out of the forest and fulfill his dream. It now was Carl's turn to fulfill a dream. On the cleared land stood a small cabin and a small barn. In 1868, Carl was 51 (b. 1817) and the boys, August was 20 (b. 1848) and Herman was 17 (b. 1851) helped in clearing more land. Johanna (b. 1817) and the girls also helped with the many duties to carve a home out of the wilderness. The three girls were Wilhelmina (b. 1854), Albertina (b. 1844) and Emilie (b. 1858). Two other daughters, Bertha and Justina, stayed in the Milwaukee area when the rest of the family had moved to Brown County.

More farm buildings were needed. They felled and skinned logs which would become the walls for the new buildings and the addition to the existing home. Some logs were taken to a local saw mill where the logs were exchanged for boards to build additions and ease the chore of building construction.

Upon arriving at the new farm, Carl purchased two cows. This would give them some milk and would be the beginning of a small herd of cows. In a couple of years, he would have a couple more and that would be enough for the family and a little left over for selling at the general store. There were chickens that were always the best thing to raise. They were easy and they grew fast. This was also good for eggs and chicken dinners. In 1875, Carl deeded the south 80 acres of the land to August. In 1880, Carl deeded the remaining 80 acres to Herman. Johanna and Carl lived with Herman and his growing family. Johanna died in 1889 and Carl died in 1900.

The process of clearing land and improving the farm practices continued for the farmers. Using horses and a single plow share the farming continued. Much of the work was done by hand. But as the years passed, there were mechanical hay cutters and grain reapers that were used to increase the productivity of the farm labor. Large families were always useful on farms. There was a lot of work to be done and in order to make some money farming, cheap labor was the major ingredient.

Most of the family needs could be acquired at one of the general stores that were in the many villages. One of those was Falck's General Store was in Morrison which was about three miles away. Whenever there was a need to see a doctor, that meant they went to Greenleaf which was a six mile trip. The largest town in the area was DePere which would have been about nine miles away. Depending upon the conditions of the roads to those towns, those journeys could be an all day trip including the business to be conducted.  Railroads would have gone through both of those towns. When any of the Treichel relatives would arrive from the Milwaukee area to visit, they would come by train and they would be met at Greenleaf or DePere.

August Treichel

Carl's two sons continued the farming tradition. August (b. 1848) married Albertine Woldt (b. 1852) in 1876. He was already 28 years old and Albertine was 22. In a time when most males were working at the age of fifteen and girls were married by that time, to be that old before marrying was unusual. They had seven children - six lived to be adults - three boys and three girls. Albertine died in 1907 and August died in 1926.

My grandfather on my mother's side, Reinhard Treichel was born in 1891 - a son of August and Albertine. The Conrad Public School was about a mile away by road. They could go across the fields and cut the journey by a little. Since these were German families, they spoke German all the time. Life was in German. The community was German. Since this was a public school, English was the language to be spoken. It was then that Reinie had to learn English. He was embarrassed to be speaking a language that others may have spoken at home and he didn't know how to speak English. He vowed that he would never do that to his children. They would learn English.

Herman Treichel

Herman (b. 1851) and Wilhemina (nee Pantzlaff b. 1863), or Minna as she was known, were  married in 1881 and Herman and Minna had 10 children, two of which were girls. My grandfather on my father's side was their third child, Wilhelm or William, and was born in 1885. He also attended the Conrad school with his cousins.

Religion for the families was at the Morrison Lutheran Church. This church was less than four miles away just beyond the village of Morrison. The cemetery was another two miles beyond the church. Many times there wasn't a full time minister for these small churches.

It was a small community and many of the residents grew up and married and settled into farming just as their parents had. Wilhelmina, one sister of Herman and August, married Frederich Bliss and they farmed an 80 acres farm that was next to August's farm.  

Third Generation of Treichels

The lives of a male who grew up on the farm were that of being a farmer and most of these boys would work for local farmers when they were 13 or 14. William and Reinhard would have worked for local farmers if there were the opportunity. There were always farmers who were in need of laborers. There was wood to be made or trees to fell and land to clear. Many times, their labor was traded as well. During harvest times there was lots of labor required. That is when all the neighbors would get together to help out their neighbors and then go to the next neighbor.

The situation for the girls was about the same. There was always some farmer's wife who would need help in the last term of a pregnancy or there were a lot of children to take care of. They would get some small amount of money and in return they would have their room and board provided. Most would have attended at least fourth grade.

School attendance for most amounted to a fourth grade education. Some may have continued attending school when there were no chores to do on the farm.

William married Matilda Weidenhoeft and they moved in with her father's family and helped with farming there. This farm was about a mile just east of the old Carl Treichel homestead. After his father-in-law died, William continued farming at that location until they moved to DePere shortly before Matilda died in 1946 of cancer. Later he married a widow lady from the village of Wayside after which they moved to Green Bay. They had good retirement years and traveled to Florida for many years. I remember in the early years that they had gone to Cuba several times to visit. This was before Castro. Grandpa Willie died in 1971. 

My father, Earl, the youngest, was born in 1915. Dad went to a public grade school that was about a mile from home. He tells of the times when he was older that he would ride his horse to school. Sometimes they were able to get a ride in the wagon or sleigh, depending on weather, to school when Grandpa would take milk to the cheese factory just up the road from the schoolhouse.

Reinhard Treichel married Josephine Lemke in 1916. Grandpa Reinie was a farmer as well. His farm was located just two miles south of the Carl Treichel homestead. They had three daughters - my mother Irene was born in 1918. Josephine died in 1932. Reinhard married again - married Josephine Falck and he continued to farm. My father, Earl in his teens, was day labor and continued as day labor after he married my mother.

Fourth Generation of Treichels

My mother and father (second cousins) were married on January 31, 1937. They moved in with Grandpa Willie and lived there while my father continued to do farm day labor where he could.  During the fall he worked at the sugar beet factory in Green Bay. In 1938, Grandpa Reinie decided to give up farming. He had been having lots of angina pains and doctors said it would be best if he would quit farming. Grandma Jo and Reinie moved to the village of Morrison. My father and mother ran the farm. Grandma Jo died in 1948 and Grandpa Reinie died in 1963. Not bad for a guy with a bad heart! As a small child and after Grandma Joe had died, I remember staying at Grandpa's once in a while and his usual breakfast was eggs. But I can also remember him having an apple many times. He always ate an apple with a knife - slicing off each bite before he put it in his mouth.

Fifth Generation of Treichels

Earl and Irene had three children: my sister, my brother and myself.  So we kids all grew up on the farm. I was not a natural farmer, but then again what kid would want to work that hard. We always had a lot of milk cows. Dad sold the dairy herd of 70 cows in 1962. He continued to farm raising beef and veal calves. That he continued until 1972 when he sold the farm.

The farming tradition was broken with me - or was it? Is it possible that my great-great-grandfather Carl was not a farmer in Germany? He could have been a cabinet-maker, carpenter, stone worker, harness maker or he could have any number of other professions. But perhaps he really wanted to farm, but there was no land to be had in Prussia at that time so because he wanted to farm, he immigrated to the new land. Is it possible that he was more than I know? And I know very little about it. What I wrote about him is fictionalized history.

Sixth Generation of Treichels

I (Lloyd Treichel) married Eileen Kriewaldt. We had two children: TJ  and Vanita . Eileen and I are divorced.

Since I have no grand children, there is no seventh generation in my part of the tree. The seventh generation continues with Dennis and Lois since they both have grandchildren. However, there are no Treichel surnames in those legs.


Note: Some of the material regarding my grandparents early lives and their parents lives is "creative non-fiction" based upon other research about the way their lives may have been.

Click here to see some photos of some of the ancestors mentioned in this piece.


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