Monthly Archives: April 2014

John Meyer family photo

John Meyer family photo.

This week my cousin Joanne sent me a family photo of the John Meyer family I’d never seen.  Seated left to right are Mary (Maria) Thomsen and John Meyer the three boys behind them are their sons. L-R Arno Meyer, Frank Meyer and George Meyer.  Judging from the boys I’d say this photo was taken between 1900 and 1903.  Thanks Joanne for sharing this nice photo.

 

 

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John Meyer Gets Married

John Meyer and others at is home in Cascade

John Meyer and others at is home in Cascade. PD_0050

 

When Johannes’ and Julia Meyer went back to New York state they  took their youngest son Charles back with them. Johannes’ daughter, Catherine (known as Kate) was still in New York.  The remaining 5 Meyer children remained in Wisconsin. Margaret married Phillip Welter and eventually ended up on a farm in Kaukauna, WI.  Anna had married Fredrick Seyforth ( Julia’s son) and moved to a farm in the area of Pepin, Wisconsin. Mary married Wilhelm Demand, a civil )war veteran.  They lived in Sheboygan, WI. The two boys John and George were still unmarried when their father left but also remained in Wisconsin.  George married Sophia Allman and eventually moved to Brown county, South Dakota.  And John, my great grandfather settled in Cascade, Wisconsin where he became a shoemaker.

The 1880 census shows him boarding with August Hafenmeister, also a shoemaker and his wife. In the same census a young woman  by the name of Maria (Mary) Thomsen is living and working as a servant in the town.  The following year these two would marry on July 10th, 1881.

Mary was quite a bit younger than John. She had been born in 1860 in Denmark.  Thus making her almost 16 years younger than he.

They settled into a house in Cascade and soon their first son was born.  They  named him William.  He died about a year later of summer complaint.  He was followed by three more sons, Frank born in in 1884, Geroge H. in 1888 and Arno A. in 1893.

In 1892 John and August Hafenmeister dissolved their partnership and John continued to run the shoe business until 1925 on his own.

The picture below is a photo taken of John Meyer in front of his shoe shop.PD_0067

I know very little about their life there in Cascade except through frequent mentions in the Sheboygan Press after 1914 until his death in 1926.  His shoe shops was reported as a popular meeting place for the villagers to congregate to share the happenings and news of the day so he must have been a friendly, outgoing kind of man.

In January 1915 the Shebogan Press reported that John Meyer had remodeled and repainted his store and added electric lighting an improvement the paper suggested others in the village should also do.

The frequent postings in the Sheboygan Press similar to the ones below tell us friends and family were an important part of their life.

Feb 19, 1915

“Mr. and Mrs. John Meyer are entertaining Arno Meyer of Madison and George Meyer of Ladysmith and Miss Rose Allman of Dundee.”  (This post is  tells us John and Mary had their sons over along with George’s fiancé Rose Uelmen.  It also tells us George must have moved to Ladysmith before his marriage and that perhaps Rose is teaching school in Dundee.)

March 11, 1915 reported that; “Mrs. Koch and daughter Marion left for their home in Sheboygan on Monday after spending several weeks with their rleatives Mr. and Mrs. John Meyer.”  (Mrs. Koch would have been John’s niece and daughter of his sister Mary Meyer Demand. Although it is only 11 miles between Cascade and Sheboygan the frequency of family members  remaining several days on visits suggest getting to and from the two places was time consuming in the late teens).

In February of 1916 the paper reported: “John Meyer has returned home after he spent several days with his son George in Jersey.” ( This would have been just after George took over the farm there.  His Dad was probably helping him get situated. Rose had given birth to their first son John on Dec. 13th while the couple were visiting George’s parents in Cascade. According to my mother, Jeanette Meyer Caple, he was premature and very small. His grandmother Mary Meyer,  put him in a shoebox and kept him warm by the stove. Mary’s good care during the first few weeks of his life was credited with keeping him alive.)

June 30, 1916 the paper reported: Mr. and Mrs. George Balhorn, Dr. and Mrs. A W. Kraelzoch, Mr. and Mrs. Selle and Mrs. Thomson of Milwaukee, Mrs. Koch and daughter Marion and Mr. and Mrs George Meyer were week-end guests of Mr. and Mrs. John Meyer. (Mrs. Koch was John’s niece and Mrs. Thomsen was probably the wife of Mary’s brother Tom.)

On October 20, 1916 the paper reported: “Mr and Mrs. John Meyer motored to Jersey and were guests of Mr. and Mr.s George Meyer. (This post also indicates they own a car.)

Still other posts tell of John and Mary going to spend time with the same people in their homes.

In 1925 their are several posts mentioning that their grandchildren: John, Gertrude, Margaret and Marilyn have spent time visting their grandparents over night indicating that the couple enjoyed having their grandchildren around.

On Dec 8th, 1926 the paper reported that Mr. and Mrs. George Meyer and children visited on Sunday at the John Meyer home. Also that Mr. Arno Meyer of Waldo spent Monday at the John Meyer home. These 2 visits were most likely precipitated by a stroke John had suffered at about that time. A week later on Dec 13th he died at the age of 81. His obituary reported he had been in the shoe business for more 60 years and had enjoyed good health up until the stroke that resulted in his death. His funeral was held at the Cascade Lutheran Church and he was buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran cemetery, in Cascade.

 

 

 

Life in New York

When we last left off, Johannes and his family were standing on the docks of New York City. Whether they had purchased the land for their new home while still in France or after their arrival in New York is unknown. However,we do know French land agents worked hard enticing Alsaceian families to settle in Lewis county, New York.

According to Johannes’ grandson Pierre, they had either settled first in Belford, which would have been in New Jersey or more likely Belfort, Lewis county, New York. Since it was already fall the family must have had enough additional money to buy most of the provisions they would need to survive until the next year.

They built a log home on the property which was what most families in the area had. In the spring of the following year Marguerite,Johannes’ wife, died.The cause of her death is unknown. She was buried in a clearing near the log home.

Did the lost of his wife make Johannes ponder the wisdom of moving his family? Did a hard winter and a lack of enough resources contribute to her death or had some epidemic rage through the community? We will never know but Johannes was now left with 6 mother-less children ranging in ages 2-12 and a farm with poor soil.

He moved his family to Naumburg, another small village in the area, in 1851 or 1852. There he married Julia Schlieder Seyfarth, the widow of Frederick Seyfarth. She owned the farm adjoining his new property.

In the fall of 1953 Johannes began building a very fine home. According to his grandson Pierre it was larger and bigger than most of the homes of the time. Travelers often mistook it for a tavern. Today a large farmhouse exists on this same property. Further research needs to be done to determine if this is the same house.

The new farm was in Croghan, Lewis County, NY and is described as being lot 5 of Mocombs Purchase. From a Croghan pamphlet dated 1858 we know there were 500 European families in this area most from E. France or adjacent Germany. In 1848 the population of 1,168 were broken down to 646 American and 522 as French.

In 1854 Johannes and Julia had a son they named Charles Julius. Later that same year Julia’s daughter Wilehmina married Ferdinand Sonatag.

In the 1855 census New York census Johannes is listed as John Mairars age 37. His framed house is marked with a value of 600$ considerably more than the log homes of the rest of the area. He has 40 improved acres and 110 unimproved acres. The total value of the farm is given as $2,200. He has another $190 in stock and $50 in tools.

Crops were listed as wheat, oats, potatoes and hay. He owned one head of cattle, 2 butter cows, 2 sheep, 2 swine and one working ox.

In 1856 another son Augustus Lewis was born. At the age of 6 months Johannes and Julia allowed Augustus to be adopted by Julia’s daughter Theresa. The family story was that she and her husband Fredrick Hoffman were unable to have children.

In Feb. 0f 1862 Julia’s son Fredrick married Johann’s daughter Anna.

In May of 1863 Johannes and Julia sold their land in New York and moved with their unmarried children to Wisconsin where they settled near Lima township, Sheboygan county. Their now married children – Anna Meyer and Fredrick Seyforth – either went with them or came the same year.

Their new property was near what is now Kohler state park. It would need to be researched more but it is possible part of his land is now within the park boundaries.

In 1865 Johannes’ daughter Margaret married Phillip Welter in Sheboygan Falls, later the same year his daughter Catherine, married Fredrick Sauer in Lewis County, New York. In 1866 his daughter Maria Meyer married Wilhelm Demand in Sheboygan, Wi.

It is not known why but sometime before 1870 Johannes and Julia decided to move back to New York. This time to a small farm in Wayne county.

In 1870 the couple decided to separate and split their assets with Johann moving back to Alsace to live with a brother while Julia took their son Charles to Watertown, NY to live.

When Johannes got back to Alsace, he only stayed 2 days before war broke out. He returned to the U. S. living for times with each of his married children until 1872 when the war ended. Johannes then returned to Alsace to live the rest of his years with his brother.

He died around 1906. A document found in Sheboygan shows that one of his daughters was appointed to see to the dispersal of his small estate. The lawyer handling his affairs in Alsace was from Neiderhausbergen (a small town near Strassburg) indicating that was where he was living at his death.

We have now documented 8 children and 35 grandchildren for Johannes Meyer.