Happy Valentine’s Day from 1899!
I received this Valentine’s Day note from a fellow photo collector and antique seller Chase Benjamin Antiques from Canada. It says:
“From your cousin Martha Frank Fairchild Wis. To her cousin Luie Schumacher. Feb 14, 1899”
At first, I was looking for a Martha Frank Fairchild who might be related to someone with the surname Schumacher. Nothing came up. It’s only then I realised Fairchild might be a place in Wisconsin and Martha’s surname might be Frank. And voilá, there she was!
Martha Wilhelmine Theresa Frank was born on April 16th, 1880, in Sheridan, Calhoun in Michigan, to German immigrant parents August Fred Frank and Amalia Augusta née Schumacher. Her parents had come to the United States in 1879 and father August was a farmer. Martha was the oldest of altogether 11 siblings: Charles J. Frank, William R. Frank, Bertha Augusta Reichow, August Fred Jr. Frank, Otto Francis Carl Frank, Anna Marie Kamp, Louis Frederick Godlire Frank, Alber G. Frank, Reinhold Henry Frank and Robert J. Frank. In 1900, the family was living in Mentor, Wisconsin.
In June 1910 Martha married Carl Richard Wilhelm Haeske in Fairfield, Wisconsin. The Humbird Enterprise from July 3rd, 1910, reports about the wedding:
“On Tuesday afternoon, June 21, 1910, at the Lutheran Church in Fairchild occurred the wedding of Miss Martha Frank of the town of Mentor, Clark County, Wis., and Mr. Carl R. Haeske of Albion, Mich. Rev. Otto Neumann officiated. The bridesmaids were Miss Anna Frank and Miss Bertha Haeske. The groomsmen were Mr. Henry Haeske and Mr. August Frank. Immediately after the ceremony the party returned to the home of the bride where the wedding supper was served and the festivities held. Those from away present at the wedding were Mrs. A. Holcomb of Neillsville; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lahn and Mr. and Mrs. John Spielman of Fairchild; Miss Bertha and Henry Haeske of Albion, Mich., and a few relatives and friends in the neighborhood, about thirty in all being present.”
Someone on Instagram pointed out that perhaps a photo had been attached to the front of the note (you can see something ripped off). Oh how I wished to know if that was true and what the photo might hvae looked like! To my very pleasant surprise, I found Martha’s wedding photo on http://www.findagrave.com (Click HERE)! This is Martha with her husband Carl Richard Haeske! I can’t believe I have a face to go with the Valentine’s Day note from 1899!
The couple remained married for more than 50 years and celebrated their golden anniversary in 1960! On December 18th, 1916, Martha and Carl became parents to their only child Carl Richard Haeske.
Martha passed away in September 1966 at the Sheldon Memorial Hospital in Albion, Michigan, and was buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Albion.
I found her obituary in the Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) from September 21st, 1966:
The obituary says that Martha was survived by her husband, her son Carl Haeske Jr. and 2 grandchildren. Martha’s son Carl Jr. went to Albion High School (Click HERE for his sophomore group photo from 1931) and attended Albion college. He served in the US Navy during WWII. He married Joan Frieda née Lahn in May 1940 and they remained married until 1998 when Carl J. passed away. You can see photos of Carl and Joan on Find a Grave (Click HERE). They had two children who are mentioned in Carl Jr.’s obituary: son Douglas A. Haeske, born in 1952, of Vandercook Lake, and daughter Sue Haeske of Litchfield, as well as one grandson whose name I don’t know.
But who was this Valentine’s Day note addressed to? We know that Martha’s mother Amalia’s maiden name was Schumacher, so it must be a cousin from her maternal line. I have found Martha’s uncle Herman Schumacher in the records. He came to the United States together with his sister Amalia and brother-in-law August Frank in 1879 (Click HERE for passenger list from 1879). Herman passed away in 1944 and I’ve found his obituary in the Lansing State Journal, Michigan, from December 26th, 1944:
Herman Schumacher had three sons: Herbert (born 1890), Louis (whose original name was Ludwig August and who was born in 1888) and William Carl (born 1885). Looks like Martha’s Valentine’s Day note was addressed to Louis (or Luie) Schumacher who was 10 years old at the time. Louie later served in WWI and lived a long life of farming together with his brother Herbert. In 1913, he married Aletha Campbell but the couple divorced in 1920 on grounds of “desertation”. The couple had no children. Louie passed away in 1974.
Amazing how much information a small Valentine’s Day note can hold! Martha’s mother and Louie’s father were siblings, who had endured the journey into the unknown in 1879 when crossing the ocean to start a new life in the United States. They both had many children and remained close all through their lives, geographically as well as in familiar ties. More than 120 years ago cousins Martha and Louie, 8 years apart in age, probably had a beautiful friendship, too. I wish I knew more about that friendship and what made it special. I’ve found a teenager photo of Louie (Click HERE) and another photo of Martha on Find A Grave (Click HERE)