November 28, 2011

Yule, Alexander and George and John

Alexander Yule and his wife, Jane Watson Yule
Oakwood Cemetery

George Yule
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens in Racine and Kenosha Counties, Chicago, Lake City Publishing Co. 1892)
About George Yule, son of Alexander and and Margaret (Leeds) Yule
George Yule, who is connected with one of the leading industries of Kenosha, being vice-president and superintendent of the Bain Wagon Company, is a self-made man.  In business circles he ranks high, and is well deserving of representation in this volume.  His life record is as follows.
Mr. Yule was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on the 31st of August, 1824, and is one of eight children. His father, Alexander Yule, was also born in Aberdeenshire, as was his mother, who bore the maiden name of Margaret Leeds.  She died in her native land, and the father afterward again married.  In 1840, with his wife and eight children, he crossed the Atlantic to Quebec, Canada, reaching that city six weeks and four days after leaving his native land, and in July of the same year he arrived in Southport, Wisconsin.  There was then no pier and they were landed by a lighter.  Mr. Yule embarked in farming in Somers Township, where he made his home until his death.  In the old country be belonged to the Scotch Presbyterian Church, and in politics was a supporter of the Republican party.
George Yule, who name heads this sketch, acquired his education in the land of his nativity, and for three years engaged with his father in operating the home farm.  When nineteen he served a two year's apprenticeship with Henry Mitchell, receiving $5.00 per month in compensation for his services.  We thus see that he began at the very bottom but by indomitable energy and ceaseless activity he has worked his way upward.  Soon after Mr. Bain had purchased the wagon factory established by Mr. Mitchell, he selected Mr. Yule, who was then working as a journeyman, to superintend the works, which position he has since filled, and upon the organzation of the Bain Wagon Comapny, he was made vice-president.  The factory then turned out some three hundred wagons per year and employed about forty hands, but now employment is given to about three hundred and fifty hands, and the annual output of the concern is about thirteen thousand wagons.  This establishment is unique in that they have never employed an attorney at law or a traveling salesman.  Mr. Yule is also connected with other manufacturing industries in the State.
On the 1st of January 1848 in Kenosha was celebrated the marriage of George Yule and Catherine Mitchell, sister of Henry Mitchell, the noted wagon manufacturer of Racine.  The lady is a native of Fifeshire, Scotland, and unto Mr. Yule and his estimable wife have been born six children, two of whom are yet living - George, Assistant Superintendent of the Bain Wagon Company, and William, who is shipping clerk for the company.  The boys are both college bred, the former having been educated at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the later at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  The mother is a member of the Baptist Church and a lady whose excellencies of character have won her many friends.
Mr. Yule is a Republican in politics.
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens in Racine and Kenosha Counties, Chicago, Lake City Publishing Co. 1892)

About John T. Yule, son of Alexander and Margaret (Leeds) Yule
John T. Yule, foreman of the wood work department in the Bain Wagon Factory, is classed among the leading citizens of Kenosha.  Of Scotch birth, he was born in Fraserboro, Aberdeenshire, on the 21st of January 1831.  When he was a lad of nine years he came with his parents, Alexander and Margaret (Leeds) Yule, to the United States,s the family settling in Kenosha County, in the Territory of Wisconsin.  He was reared as a farmer lad and educated n an old log schoolhouse, such as were common in those early days.
When 19 years of age our subject began learning the wagon maker's trade, working sixteen hours per day, for $5.00 a month and board.  Having pursued his trade in Kenosha some two and a half years, he went to Chicago and worked for Welch & Minson, carriage manufacturers, in whose employ he remained for a year and a half, when he returned to Kenosha, and engaged with Mitchell & Quarles, manufacturers of wagons, but work soon became slack.
In the meantime, a company had been organized to operate a quartz mill at Pike's Peak.  Of this company Mr. Yule was elected Secretary and Treasurer and went to St. Louis to make ready a a large twelve-stamp quartz crusher and transport it across the plains on wagons, which took nearly six weeks to make the trip.  The machine proved to be just what was needed and would have made every member of the company rich had it not been for the extreme obstinacy of the President, who seemed to have been born in the objective case as he objected to every measure proposed.
the following summer Mr. yule disposed of his interest and returned to Kenosha, where he opened a wagon factory for Peter Wood, operating the same successfully for a period of five years.  In 1869 he became associated with the Bain Wagon Company, working by contract and some give years later became foreman of the woodwork department for that company, which position he has held for about eighteen consecutive years.
Mr. Yule has been three times married.  For fifty-one years Kenosha county has been his home.
(Source:  Portrait and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens in Racine and Kenosha Counties, Chicago, Lake City Publishing Co. 1892)

Alexander Yule Family Record
(Source:  Gail Jensen Lesjak/daughter of Chris A Jensen)

William Yule Descendants (Source: Gail Jensen Lesjak/daughter of Chris A. Jensen)

Yule, Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin "B.F." Yule died April 12, 1934
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet USGenWebWisconsin)

Source: Plat Book of Racine and Kenosha County Hennessey & Co., Delavant, Wis. 1908)

Benjamin F. Yule
Benjamin F. Yule is the owner of thirty-six acres of land in and near Somers.  He formerly conducted farming interests on a much more extensive scale and for a long period he was identified with industrial activity as a carpenter.  His birth occurred in Somers, Wisconsin November 17, 1851, his parents being Alexander and Jane (Watson) Yule, who were natives of Scotland.  Leaving the land of hills and heather, they arrived in the U.S. in 1840 and almost immediately afterward settled in Somers Township where Mr. Yule purchased two hundred and forty acres of land, then largely wild and undeveloped.  He bent his energies to its cultivation and for twenty years engaged in farming upon that place but desirous of putting aside the more active duties of agricultural life, he left the old homestead and made an investment in a small tract of thirteen acres, upon which he lived until his demise.
He was married twice and by his first union had seven children:  William, James, Alexander, George, John, Couts and Beatrice.  The children of his second marriage were nine in number:  Mary, Joseph, Thomas, Ann, Henry, Robert, Andrew, Benjamin and Edward.
Mr. Yule was a Democrat in his political views and a Presbyterian in religious faith, and his upright, honorable life won him the respect and goodwill of all with whom he came in contact.
His son, Benjamin F. Yule, attended the common schools to the age of seventeen years; afterward spent one term in the high school at Racine and then began learning the carpenter's trade, at which he worked for forty years.  He next engaged in farming, making investment in one hundred and ten acres of land, which he cultivated for a considerable period but afterward sold eighty acres of that tract.  He now owns thirty-six acres of land in and near Somers and gives his attention to the development of his farm.  his has been an active and useful life, crowned with a substantial measure of success, and his record proves what may be accomplished when energy and laudable ambition lead the way.
In 1878 Mr. Yule was married to Miss Jessie M. Strang, a daughter of Robert Strang, and they have become the parents of six children:  Mabel, who is the wife of Edward Longmore and has one child; Blanch, who is the wife of James Thom and has four children; Clarence, a resident of Iowa; Edith, who married C.A. Jensen and has three children; Earl, living in the Town of Somers; and Everett, at home.
The religious faith of the family is that of the Presbyterian Church and they are interested in all those forces which work for the moral development of the community.  Mr. Yule is a Mason, loyal to the teachings of the craft, and is also identified with the Modern Woodmen.  His political endorsement is given to the Republican Party and, while he does not seek nor desire public office, he has never been remiss in the duties of citizenship, but supports those measures which are matters of civic virtue and civic pride.
(Source:  History of Kenosha County, Vol. II, 1916, Lyman Clark Publishing Co.)

About Jessie Strang Yule

Jessie Strang Yule (wife of B.F. Yule)
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet, USGenWebArchiveWisconsin)

Children of B.F. Yule and Margaret Jessie Robena Strang Yule
Mabel Watson Yule, Born April 27, 1882 at Somers, Wisconsin.  Married Edward Longmore.
Blanche Monteath Yule, Born June 27, 1884.  Married  James A. Thom.
Edith Jessie Yule, Born June 25, 1890 at Somers, Wisconsin.  Maried Chris A. Jensen of Somers.
Earl Strang Yule, Born November 30, 1894 at Somers, Wisconsin.  Married Lilian Turkelson.
Everette Stanley Yule, Born August 30, 1897 at Somers, Wisconsin.  Married  Katherine Marie Lichtner.
(Source: Photo Courtesy of Joan Marti, B.F. Yule's great-granddaughter)

Margaret Jessie Robena Strang/Mrs. Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Yule  (photo date about 1885)
She received the first names of three older sisters that had died of scarlet fever.
(Source:  Photo from the collection of Glenn Dawson Strang shown on Historic Millburn Community Assn., Inc)

B.F. Yule, Floyd, Mabel, and Joan
(Source: Photo Courtesy of Joan Marti, B.F. Yule's great-granddaughter)
House built by B.F. Yule.  House still stands on Highway E, "downtown" Somers, Wisconsin
(Source: Photo Courtesy of Joan Marti, B.F. Yule's great-granddaughter)

Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Yule
(Source:  Photo Courtesy of Joan Marti, B.F. Yule's great-granddaughter)
About Clarence L. Yule
"Clarence L. Yule, 58, a native of Somers, died Tuesday in Milwaukee where he was engaged in architecture.  Mr. Yule was born December 10, 1886, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin F. Yule.  He attended Burr Oak rural school, and was a graduate of a military academy and Armour Institute of Chicago.
After serving in the first World War, he lived in Creston, Iowa, where on November 14, 1917 he married Edna Beckwith.  In 1939 he moved to Milwaukee and joined the United States Soil Conservation Bureau.
Surviving are his wife; two brothers, Earl S. Yule of Somers and Everett Yule of Kenosha; three sisters, Mrs. Edward M. Longmore and Mrs. C.A. Jensen of Somers, and Mrs. James Thom of North Bend, Neb.
Thursday a group of relatives from Somers will accompany the body to Creston where services will be held Saturday.
(Source:  Racine Journal, March 7, 1945)

November 18, 2011


Jacob Philip Schaffer and his wife Nellie H. Schaffer
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet USGENWebArchiveWisconsin)

Jacob P. Schaffer, Jr.
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source: Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet USGENWebArchiveWisconsin)

(Source:  Plat Book for Racine and Kenosha  County, Hennessey & Co., Delavan, Wis. 1908)

1887 Partial Map of somers Township, Kenosha County
Section 18.  J. Schaeffer parcel and Peter Schaeffer parcel
Click on map for closer view
Katherine Louise Schaffer Passport
(Source: U.S. Passport Applications)
Click on Passport for closer view
Jacob Philip Schaeffer (last name spelled Schaefer on gravestone)
Jacob Philip Schaeffer, whose well cultivated and highly productive property is situated in Section 7 (west), Somers Township, is one of Kenosha County's most enterprising agriculturists.  Mr. Schaeffer was born in Somers Township, on an adjoining farm, June 3, 1861, and is the son of Jacob and Wilhelmina (Volkman) Schaeffer, natives of Germany.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was Nicholas Schaeffer, a native of Germany, where he died at the age of eighty-five years.  His wife also attained advanced age and they had a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, two of the sons, Adam and John now living in Germany.  The maternal grandfather of Jacob P. Schaeffer was also a native of Germany, where he died at an advanced age.  He was taken prisoner by pirates off the coast of Algiers.  The ship's crew was held for a ransom of $200 but while this was being sent he died.  He married Sophia Schulz and they had two daughters and one son, the later still surviving and now living in Modoc County, California.
Jacob Schaeffer, father of our subject, followed farming in his native country.  On coming to this country some time in the early fifties, he went to work in New York State, remaining under the same employer for four years.  He then came to Wisconsin and purchased a farm of forty acres in Somers Township, to which he added fifty acres and later added forty-five acres more.  This farm he improved, and upon it spent the remainder of his life, dying in 1874, aged forty-nine years and eleven months.  His wife had passed away in 1871, aged thirty-five years.  Both were Lutherans.  They had these children:  Jacob Philip; Elizabeth, the wife of August Bohm of Somers, and Miss Katherine, a Presbyterian Missionary in China.
Jacob P. Schaeffer was reared in Kenosha County and was brought up on the farm on which he was born.  He attended the district schools, and lived at home until twelve years of age, and then, his parents having died, he worked on neighboring farms for some time.  He then returned to his father's farm, which he operated until the heirs of the property sold it.  He then purchased his present farm of 160 acres, which he has improved finely.  He also works fifty acres of land, which belongs to the Schaeffer estate.
On February 1, 1900, Mr. Schaeffer married Miss Nellie Hamilton, daughter of Robert and Ida (Foster) Hamilton, and two sons have been born to this union:  Ralph Eugene and Russell Sage.  Mr. and Mrs. Schaeffer are members of the Presbyterian Church in which Mr. Schaeffer is an elder.  Politically he is a Republican, and served as Town Constable for a number of years.
The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Schaeffer was Robert Hamilton, a native of Scotland.  He came to America, settling near Union Grove, Wis., where he carried on farming.  There he died at a very old age:  his wife, Sarah, also attained advanced years.  They had a family of six children:  Robert; John; William; Sarah who is the wife of John Baker of Ives Grove, Wis.; Alice who is the widow of William Jamieson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Mary, the wife of Charles Robertson of Williams, Iowa.  On the maternal side, Mrs. Schaeffer's grandfather was Thomas Foster, a native of New York State, and a farmer.  He was an early settler near Franksville, Wis. where he died at an old age.  He married Sarah Parker, who lived to be nearly seventy years of age.  They had one daughter and two sons.  Ida; Thomas of Milwaukee, Wis.; and Charles of Denver, Colorado.
Robert Hamilton, father of Mrs. Jacob P. Schaeffer, was a native of Scotland, while his wife was born in the state of Wisconsin.  Mr. Hamilton came to America settling near Union Grove, in Racine County where he engaged extensively in agricultural operations.  He now makes his home in Mason City, Iowa.  Mr. Hamilton was married in Franksville, and to him and his wife a family of four children, two sons and two daughters, were born as follows:  William, who resides in Mason City, Iowa; Alice, the widow of William Buttrick, who resides in Bristol; Nellie, the wife of our subject; and George, a mail carrier of Somers, Wisconsin.
(Source:  Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin, J.H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1906)

(Source:  Plat Book for Racine and Kenosha County, Hennessey & Co., Delavan, Wis. 1908)

About Peter Schaeffer
When death called Peter Schaeffer he was a resident of Somers Township and was laid to rest in Paris Township.  For a third of a century he had been a resident of Kenosha County where he worked at farm labor for several years and then engaged in agricultural pursuits on his own account.  He was born in Germany in 1838, and acquired a common school education there.  When thirty-two years of age he crossed the Atlantic and made his way at once to Kenosha county where he was employed in the fields for a time.  he afterward went on a prospecting trip to Colorado, where he remained for a year and a half.  On the expiration of that period he returned and again was employed by other for two or three years, but during that period carefully saved his earnings until his frugality and industry enabled him to purchased eighty acres of land in Somers Township upon which he continued to make his home until his death.  During that period he converted his land into a rich and productive farm, supplied with modern equipments, while from the fields he annually fathered rich harvests.
In 1878 Mr. Schaeffer was married to Miss Elizabeth Henn, and to them were born four children:  Peter G.; Jacob P. a resident of Montana; Louise the wife of Gust Palomer of Wheaton, Illinois, by whom she has two children; and Katherine, the wife of Otto Paphop by whom she has one child.
In his political views Peter Schaeffer was a Republican.  He belonged to the German Lutheran church, and his life was upright and honorable, commending him to the confidence and goodwill of all with whom he came in contact.
His son, Peter G. Schaeffer, was born in Somers Township on the 10th of January 1875, and at the usual age became a public school pupil.  he began working with his father when quite young, being early trained to the best methods of tilling the soil and cultivating the fields.  Since that time he has now lived upon the old home place on Section 18 in Somers Township where he now owns eighty acres of land that is rich and productive.  The farm presents a neat and thrifty appearance, and it is evident to the passerby that the owner is both practical and progrressive in his methods.
On the 20th of April 1904, Peter G. Schaeffer wedded Miss Rose Hetzler, a daughter of William Hetzler and they have two children, Alma and Stanley, both in school.
(Source:  City and County of Kenosha Record of Settlement by Frank H. Lyman, Vol. II, Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1916)

November 17, 2011


Wallace H. Talcott and Mary Cady Talcott, his wife
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet, USGENWeb Archive Wisconsin)

1887 Partial Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Parcel in Section 26
W.H. Talcott
S.D. Talcott
(Click on the map for a closer view)

Talcott, Wallace
"Overcome by grief over the death of her husband, Wallace H. Talcott, a Somers pioneer, who died on Saturday, Mrs. Mary E. Talcott was stricken with paralysis on Sunday morning and is not expected to live.  Because of her advancing years and the strain which she has been under due to the last illness of her husband, physicians do not believe she can rally from the attack.
(Source:  Racine Journal News publication date Feb. 14, 1922)

Talcott, Jonathan
Jonathan H. Talcott removed to Wisconsin in 1838 with his family and settled on a farm near Kenosha where he lived and died.  He and his family are listed on the 1840 U.S. Federal Census for the Wisconsin Territory.  Wisconsin became a state in 1848.  The County listed is Racine because Racine County and Kenosha County (Pike/Somers) did not split boundaries until 1850.  The 1861 Plat Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County shows Lydia owning the same parcel Wallace owns on the 1887 map above.  Jonathan H. Talcott was one of the earliest pioneers of Somers Township.

More About Jonathan H. Talcott
Jonathan H. Talcott was born October 20, 1794 in Glastonbury, Hartford, Connecticut.  He was the son of Jonathan (1754-1847) and Sarah Hubbard (Died 1830) Talcott.  In 1803 at the age of nine, he removed from Connecticut to Rome, New York with his father and was engaged during the War of 1812 in government work.  On November 8, 1820 Jonathan H. Talcott was united in marriage to Seviah H. Dewey of Rome, Oneida, New York.  Seviah was born in 1798.  Six children were born of this union: Sarah S. born 1821 and died 1825; Caroline C. born 1824 and died 1828; Dewey Bradley born 1825 and died 1829; Jonathan H. born 1827 and died 1829; Lester Asahel born 1828 and Sarah L born 1830.
Seviah H. Dewey Talcott died August 19, 1830 in Rome, Oneida, New York.
On October 20, 1830, Jonathan H. Talcott married the second time to Miss Lydia M. Stover in Rome, Oneida, New York.  Lydia M. Stover was born in 1810.  Five children were born of this union:  Rosetta Adeline born 1834; James Henry born 1837; Wallace H. born 1841; Mary Ann born 1843; and Cyrus Dallas born 1844.
Jonathan H. Talcott died April 16, 1847 in Kenosha.
(Source:  Talcott Family Tree public site on  

November 16, 2011

Smith, Charles W.

1861 Partial Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Chas Smith parcel of 160 acres in Section 15 and another 40 acres in Section 11

Charles Smith, his wife Anna Reid, and son James
Oakwood Cemetery

C.W. Smith
(Source: Racine: Belle City of the Lake, F. Stone, Chicago, S.J. Clark 1916)
Charles (C.W.) Smith
C.W. Smith, a most enterprising lumber merchant of Racine, putting forth every effort to promote the growth of his business along legitimate lines, was born in the Town of Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin on February 15, 1847, his parents being Charles and Anna (Reid) Smith, who were natives of Scotland.
The father came to the U.S. in 1835 and established his home in the Town of Somers, there remaining until he had prepared a home.  he then returned to Scotland and about seven years later came again to the new world, accompanied by his bride.  The Indians still lived in this section of the state at the time of his arrival and the seeds of civilization had scarcely been planted.  he developed a farm from the raw land and carried on general agricultural pursuits for many years, becoming one of the representative farmers of this part of the state.  All who knew him respected him and his worth was widely acknowledged.  He died about twenty years ago, while his wife passed away in 1856, when their son, C.W. Smith, was but nine years of age.  Both were laid to rest in the Town of Somers (Oakwood Cemetery).  They had a family of three children, namely: Anna R., who resides at No. 1547 College Avenue in Racine; C.W., of this review, and James R., who died in El Paso, Texas, twenty years ago.
Reared in the Town of Somers, C.W. Smith remained at home until he reached the age of seventeen years, when in response to the country's call for troops he enlisted in January, 1864, as a member of Company H, Thirty-third Wisconsin Infantry, to serve for three years.  He was honorably discharged in the fall of 1865 after having participated in many hotly contested engagements.  At the Battle of Spanish Fort he had his gun shot out of his hand.  He was first under fire at the Battle of Fort De Russey of Red River, also participated in the Battle of Nashville and various other engagements of lesser importance.  He never faltered in the performance of duty, whether called to the firing line or stationed on the lonely picket line, and his patriotic loyalty to his government made his military record a most creditable one.
When the war was over Mr. Smith returned to his home in Kenosha County and for two years was a student in the Racine Commerciall College.  He then secured a position with the lumber firm of Murray, Slauson & Company, continuing with that house for nineteen years.  For a half century he has made his home in Racine and is one of its most respected and worthy resident.  He acquainted himself with every phase of the lumber business while in the employ of the above mentioned firm, and during that period he carefully saved his earnings until his capital was sufficient to enable him to engage in business on his own account.
He then organized the West Shore Lumber Company in association with W.H. Bradley of Milwaukee, who became its first president.  In turn the office was filled by O.P. Pillsbury, D.M. Bejamin and M.J. Smiley, and about seven or eight years ago Mr. Smith was elected to the presidency of the company and has since continued in the office.  In the meantime he acquired more of the stock as opportunity for purchase occurred and is now the owner of the entire stock of the company.  This is the oldest business of the kind in Racine, Wisconsin, the West Shore Lumber Company handling lumber, lath, shingles and posts.  Mr. Smith is thoroughly familiar with the trade in every department and something of his enterprise and attractive methods is indicated in the fact that he brought forth attractive advertisements under the heading of the West Shore Lumber Company, 947 Erie Street, Racine.
In addition to being at the head of the oldest lumber business of Racine, Mr. Smith also owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in Somers Township, Kenosha County constituting the farm upon which he was born and which is situated eight miles south of Racine, besides various other properties that are scattered about Racine and its environs.
When twenty-two years of age Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Mary C. Halenbake and they have a son, Fred W., who was born in Racine and is a graduate of the high school here.  In 1896 he went to Denver, Colorado, where he was employed in connection with the lumber industry for nineteen years.  He then returned to Racine and is now identified with the West Shore Lumber Company as secretary.  In 1906 he married Miss Pearl Brame and they have become the parents of two children, Vance Reid and Cornelia Rose.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith attend the Presbyterian Church, in the faith of which they were reared.  He gives political allegiance to the Republican Party and fraternally he is connected with the Elks.  For twenty years he has been a member of the Heyer Whist Club and he greatly enjoys the fame.  He is also identified with the Grand Army post and thus maintains pleasant relations with the boys in blue with whom he marched on southern battlefields.
(Source:  Racine: Belle City of the Lake, F. Stone, Chicago, S.J. Clark 1916)

Veteran of Civil War
Of the many young men who went out from Racine and Kenosha counties to fight in the Civil war was Charles W. Smith, 914 Lake Avenue, president and principal owner of the West Shore Lumber Company.
Mr. Smith was born in Somers, Kenosha County in 1847.  He was reared on a farm.  When the war broke out he desired to enlist, but he was only 17 years old.  However, he enrolled at Kenosha January 4, 1864, and was mustered into Company H, thirty third Wisconsin infantry and immediately made connection with the regiment at Pittsburgh, and performed military duty there until January 1865 when he went on the Meridian expedition and returned in March, after a march of 350 miles.  Orders were received to connect with the Red River expedition and Mr. Smith enjoyed the triumph of a victory in his first engagement at De Russey, after which the command started for Alexandria and he was detailed to guard duty on a commissary boat and he had some experiences, the boat being under rebel fire incessantly.
Afterward he went to Vicksburg and Memphis, St. Charles and to Duvall's Bluff.  he took part in the fight at Camargo Cross Roads and went on the Tupelo expedition.  He was also assigned to many other important localities.  He took part in the relief of Thomas at Nashville and two weeks later was in a chase after Hood.  They took large numbers of prisoners and chased the rebels to the Tennessee and went to Eastport, raided for six weeks and then took part in the move to Iunka.  Afterward he went to the assault on defense of Mobile.  He traveled on the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans and across the bay to Fort Gaines and Morgan; was detailed with a command to make a feint on the city itself.  Then he went to the trenches at Spanish Fort and after ten days the fort surrendered.  Next orders took him to Montgomery, Ala. to aid in destroying rebel sinews of war, and while on a foraging expedition narrowly escaped capture by a rebel cavalry.  At Montgomery he learned of the surrender of Lee and then went to Tuskegee and thence to Mobile.
The regiment was sent home but Mr. Smith was transferred to the eleventh Wisconsin and detailed as mail messenger, running from Mobil to Columbus.  Two months later he returned to Wisconsin and was mustered out.  He did not receive an injury during his many experiences and his narrowest escape was at Spanish Fort, when his musket was shot from his hand.  Coming to Racine he entered into the lumber business and is now at the head of the big lumber company.
(Source:  Racine Journal News, publication date March 8, 1922)

November 08, 2011


Emma M. Rasmussen (wife of M.A. Rasmussen)
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source: Photo by Jacqueline Klapproth Nelson. Copyright October 2011)
Emma M. Rasmussen
June 15, 1917, Mrs. Emma Mary Rasmussen died early this morning at her home in the village of Somers. The cause of her death was due to a lingering illness with a complication of diseases.
Emma Mary Donsing, daughter of Fred W. and the late Mary Donsing was born in Lake, Milwaukee County, March 26, 1888, and came with her parents to Somers when a little girl and passed most of her young life in this community where she was highly esteemed. Her joyous nature had its influence over all with whom she came in contact and in her passing our vicinity loses one of its most prominent and noble women - one who will be missed in all walks of life.
During the six years of failing health, she manifested those qualities of womanhood that will ever endear her to the hearts of all who knew her. In all her brief life she has taken an active part in social and civic affairs and was ever ready to do her part in the various undertakings of her church and the society's to which she belonged. Earl in life she united with the Presbyterian Church.
March 12, 1905 she was united in marriage to M. A. Rasmussen, who with two little daughters, Dorothy and Bernice, her father, one brother, Fred W. Donsing, three sisters, Mrs. William Lauer, Mrs. William F. Bose, Jr., and Mrs. Curtis Smith, survive her.
The funeral services will be held from her late home in the village on Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock.
(Source: Racine Journal News, publication date June 15, 1917)

Matt Rasmussen-Donsing Marriage
A pretty wedding was solemnized at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Donsing, Tuesday, December 12th when their daughter, Emma, was united in marriage to Mr. M.A. Rasmussen. Rev. Broudy officiating in the presence of the immediate friends and relatives. After a sumptuous dinner the happy couple departed for the south where they will spend several weeks, after which they will be at the home of their new residence, east of the village.
(Source, Racine Journal, publication date December 23, 1905)

Matt Rasmussen Death
"Sadly the story of the "Cabbage King" Matt Rasmussen, ended in tragedy when Rasmussen took his own life December 2, 1932."
(Source:  Kenosha News, text linked to the Neumiller Tower)
(Note:  No records other than this date can be found to confirm Matt Rasmussen's death.  No burial records, gravestones, news articles, or court records can be located.)

November 03, 2011

Bradley, Joseph

1899 Partial Map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
 J. Bradley Estate, Section 5 West
Joseph Bradley
Joseph Bradley was born in 1837 in Simondley, England.  He married Miss Barbara Robertson in Kenosha December 28, 1871.  Barbara was born in 1841 in St. Fergus, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and was the daughter of William Robertson and Barbara (Smith) Robertson.

Partial 1861 map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
Note parcels of William Robertson
80 acres Section 23, and 60 acres Section 22
Location known today as Green Bay Road (Hwy 31) the north/south road.
Notice to the north Oakwood Cemetery (Green Bay  Road and Somers Rd./Highway E)
Joseph and Barbara had six children:
Carrie May Bradley.  Born 1875.  Married George Custer Flett on December 1, 1899.
William Reuben Bradley.  Born 1873.  Married Hannah Mary Linnington February 28, 1912.
Margaret Anna Bradley.  Born 1877.  Married Lawrence Edward Ozanne June 21, 1925.
Sarah Evelyn Bradley.  Borm 1880.  Died 1910 at age 30.
Eunice Isabel Bradley.  Born 1881.  Married Albert Bullamore September 20, 1904.
Joseph Franklin Bradley. Born 1886. Married Jeanette Holloway December 28, 1911.
(Source:  bradley2 at

Hannah Mary Linnington Bradley, wife of William Reuben Bradley
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source: Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet, USGENWEBARCHIVESWisconsin)
Original Gravestone of Sarah "Sadie" Bradley
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source: Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet, USGENWEBARCHIVESWisconsin)

William Reuben Bradley
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source: Photo by Larry & Linda Kopet, USGENWEBARCHIVESWisconsin)


November 01, 2011


Thomas Richard Birchell
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Jacqueline Klapproth Nelson.  Copyright October 2011)
Charlotte E. Birchell, wife of Thomas Richard Birchell
Oakwood Cemetery
(Source:  Photo by Jacqueline Klapproth Nelson.  Copyright October 2011)

About the Birchell Family
Thomas Birchell was born in Lancashire, England on about 1807.  He married Ann Collier on August 21, 1826 at Pennington, Lancashire, England.  They had 7 children, of which 4 died in England before the Birchell family came to America.
Thomas' eldest son, William, came to America in 1848 with his three cousins: Joseph Collier, Joshua Boydell, and Joshua Collier.  Joshua Collier served in the Wisconsin cavalry during the Civil War and he was a minister at the M.E. Church at Kellogg's Corners.
William worked on the Jonathan Dorning farm.  His father Thomas, mother Ann, and two children followed in May, 1853.  Thomas farmed land in Section 25 of Yorkville Township, Racine County.  Thomas died September 25, 1876 and Ann died May 30, 1889.
Children of Thomas and Ann Collier Birchell are: William died in Kansas in 1926, Mary died in England in 1932, Roger died in England in 1847, Richard died in England in 1849, Elizabeth died in England in 1847, Mary married Leonard Steiner of Yorkville and died 1910 buried in Sylvania Cemetery, and James married Christina Meinzer and died April 3, 1916 buried in Sylvania Cemetery.

James Birchell, about 1900, Yorkville, Racine County, Wisconsin
(Source:  Culshaw-Lee Family Tree/

James Birchell came to America with his parents in May, 1853 arriving at the Port of New York.  He married Christina B. Meinzer on June 4, 1867 in Racine, Wisconsin.  The Meinzer's came to America from Baden, Germany in 1847.  James farmed in parts of Sections 25 and 26 in Yorkville Township.  James and Christina had seven children.  Christina died on the family farm on April 16, 1901.  James later married again to Anna E. Johansen of Racine and they lived in Racine.  He died there on April 3, 1916.  His second wife, Anna Johansen Birchell, is buried in Mound Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin.
Children of James Birchell and Christina K. Meinzer:

Elizabeth A. Birchell.  Born April 26, 1868 in Yorkville Township.  She married Alvin B. Jones (Feb. 22, 1866 - Nov 23, 1957) on December 6, 1893.  They had one daughter, Gertrude, who died of meningitis as a baby.  Elizabeth died August 6, 1950 and is buried in the Union Grove Cemetery.

Wendell Thomas Birchell.  Born July 7, 1870 in Yorkville Township.  He married Minnie F. Jones (Nov 22, 1876 - Feb. 2, 1904) on December 25, 1899.  Minnie was the sister of Alvin B. Jones (see above).  Wendell and Minnie had one daughter, Ella Florence who was born May 18, 1901.  Wendell died July 20, 1956 and is buried in Yorkville Cemetery.

Katherine H. Birchell.  Born March 26, 1872 in Yorkville Township.  She married Anthony Jackson (June 12, 1878 - Aug. 13, 1945).  They had no children.  Katherine died December 17, 1950 and is buried in Mound Cemetery in Racine.

Frank A. Birchell.  Born May 14, 1875 in Yorkville Township.  He married  Lulu Bell Woolfenden (Mar. 1, 1874 - May 30, 1948) on December 25, 1898 in Stratton, Nebraska.  The had one daughter, Helen (Oct 9, 1908 - March 4, 1980).  Frank died as the result of an automobile accident at Douglas, Wyoming on August 19, 1932.  He is buried in West Lawn Cemetery in Gering, Nebraska.

Thomas Richard Birchell.  Born June 29, 1877 in Yorkville Township.  He married Charlotte Edna Haigh (March 24, 1882 - December 22, 1943) on December 29, 1904.  Charlette is the daughter of Enoch and Charlotte (Bowers) Haigh (See map and Section 8) of Somers Township.  Thomas and Charlotte had two children:  Gladys (Mrs. Archie Bush) and Jesse Enoch.  Thomas died in Somers Township on November 2, 1955.  He and Charlotte are buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Somers, Wisconsin.

Ada F. Birchell.  Born March 27, 1879 in Yorkville Township.  He married William P. Pultz (July 7, 1877 - June 22, 1946) on November 28, 1905.  They had no children.  Ada died January 24, 1932 at Racine and is buried in Mound Cemetery in Racine.

Charles M. Birchell.  Born December 4, 1886 in Yorkville Township.  He never married.  Charles died in Somers Township on May 8, 1932 and is buried in Sylvania Cemetery.

About Ann Collier Birchell
Ann Collier had several siblings who resided in Yorkville.  They are buried in Sylvania Cemetery.  One of Ann Collier's brothers, Richard Collier, owned approximately 121 acres in Section 6 West of Somers Township.  It is shown here as the "R. Collier Est."  See map below.

"Richard Collier was born in Lancashire, England on May 14, 1814.  He was married to Martha in England.  He had a daughter Betsey before he was married to Martha.  Richard and Martha came to America in 1851.  They settled first in Connecticut, and came to Wisconsin three years later.  Martha died September 16, 1882.  Richard Collier first farmed in Yorkville township in Racine County.  He sold that farm on September 5, 1889 and bought a larger farm in Somers Township on August 28, 1894.  Richard died from a farming accident on July 20, 1897.
Richard's daughter Betsey was born June 2, 1830 in Lancashire, England, married William Woodward, had a son Henry and came to America in 1883 to keep house for Richard after his wife died.  Betsey died Feb. 10, 1913 and is buried at Sylvania Cemetery."

About Mary Birchell Steiner
Leonard Steiner was born on March 12, 1836 in Oberwalden, Goppingen, Wurtemburg, Germany. He came to America with his parents who settled in Greenfield Township, Milwaukee County, but Leonard came to Racine County by the early 1850's to work on farms in the Sylvania (Yorkville) area.  On November 20, 1864 he married Mary Birchell, daughter of Thomas and Ann (Collier) Birchell.
(Source: Mary Ann Culshaw Falk and the Sylvania Cemetery Trustees)

1899 partial map of Somers Township, Kenosha County
This map highlights the North West corner (I-94 and Racine-kenosha County Line Road)
of Somers Township, also known as Kellogg's Corner.  Notice on the map there is a church and school icon which represent the M.E. Church and Kellogg's Corners School.

A Little More About the Birchell's
"The Somers Farm Bureau Association will hold a big picnic at Birchell's Woods on Labor Day.
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication date August 24, 1921)

"Mrs. Harry Dixon and daughter are spending the week with her sister, Mrs. Thomas Birchell at Sylvania.
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication date April 6, 1906)

"Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Birchell and family of Yorkville will move into one of Enoch Haigh's farms after November 1.
(Source:  Racine Journal Times, publication date October 26, 1917)