1 Both families are ethnic Germans who came from what was once known as Prussia and is now part of Poland. The Boldewahns came from Pommern. The Dragorius (Drigolias) family came from Posen. The two families lived within 140 miles of one another.
2 The Boldewahns came from Kreis Neustettin. "Kreis" was a smaller district, about the size of most counties. The entire "state" of Pommern could fit inside the state of Wisconsin.
3 The Pommern area has been under the control of many countries in the 1600-2000s: Germany, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. As a result, many families fled to the United States and their cemetaries have been destroyed. This is a memorial placed in Kreis Neustettin to remember them.
4 The Boldewahn family in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the early 1900s. Top row: Meta Boldewahn and Otto Boldewahn (children). Bottom row: Ernestine Dragorius (mother), Erna Boldewahn (daughter), Wilhelm Boldewahn (father). Both Ernestine and Wilhelm emigrated to Wisconsin as part of the German Migration in the 1860s-1870s.
5 Wilhelm Boldewahn was born in the village of Gruenwald, near the town of Gramenz in Kreis Neustettin, Pommern. His mother's name was Charlotte Freiberg and his father was Johann Boldewahn.
6 Aerial view of Gruenwald (Mieszałki) today. You can see older pictures of the town: here.
7 A local church still standing in Gruenwald (Mieszałki)
8 Wilhelm Boldewahn came to the US in April 1876 on the steamship the SS Braunschweig, leaving Bremen Germany and arriving in Baltimore, Maryland
9 A photo of the SS Braunschweig from 1884.
10 The steamship Braunschweig left the port of Bremen Germany in March 1876. On the way, the ship made a stop in Southhampton England. This is Wilhelm Boldewan's entry on the ship manifest. He was approximately 24 years old.
11 Closeup of Wilhelm Boldewahn's port entry on the ship manifest. Note the name is spelled "Boldean"
12 German newspaper announcing the arrival of the Braunschweig steamship in Baltimore, MD in 1876. The ship carried 10 cabin passengers and 482 passengers in steerage. The newspaper (Der Deutsche Correspondant) also listed the cargo which inluded everything from wool wares to cheese to straw hats to live pigeons to templates for making children's toys. The ship had good weather for the crossing and had no accidents. The steerage passengers "came from all parts of Germany and the majority of them continued to travel onwards to other Western destinations."
13 In June 1880, William roomed at 20 7th Street in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and worked in the saw mill. Source: 1880 US Census
14 Closeup of the 1880 US Census entry.
15 Wilhelm married Ernestine Dragorius in Oshkosh WI in July 1880.
16 Wilhelm and Ernestine's marriage certificate. The witnesses names are hard to read. The first may be Carl ? The second may be Albert Klinz
17 William Boldenwahn is found in the 1883 Oshkosh City Directory. He lived at 303 9th Street. In the 1884 directory he is listed as "William Baltimore" In the 1886 directory, his father Johann Boldewahn is still living with William and his wife Ernestine. The family name was often misspelled: in 1891 it was "Boldewahl"
18 Wilhelm brought his parents, Johann and Charlotte to the US in 1885. They were quite elderly: 78 and 68 years old. This is the manifest from the steamship Australia which sailed from Hamburg Germany into New York.
19 SS Australia, a steamship on the Hamburg-America Line from the book "Ships of our Ancestors"
20 In 1887, William "Baldewahn" sued William Chase for unpaid wages in the amount of $36.75. He won.
21 Wilhelm's Declaration of Intent to become a US citizen in 1888. He did not become a citizen until 1922, after WW1 ended.
22 Wilhelm's father Johann also filed a Declaration of Intent in 1888. His father would die before it was completed.
23 A Boldewahn family portrait from 1890s: on the left is Wilhelm Boldewahn, on the right Ernestine Dragorius. The two children are Meta and Otto Boldewahn.
24 Wilhelm Boldewahn close-up
25 In 1892, Wilhelm Boldewahn was arrested for assaulting Albert Gumz, a former Oshkosh Alderman. He entered a plea of guilty in the criminal case and had to pay a $50 fine. Daily Northwestern Oct 27, 1892
26 Bail was set at $1000. Daily Northwestern Nov 3, 1892
27 Albert Gumz survived. He later brought a civil lawsuit against Wilhelm asking for $2000 damages (around $50,000 in today's money). At trial he testified: "Gumz can find no reason why the man should have had anything against him except that Baldewande constantly complained of wet bark which fell beneath the carriage in Morgan's saw mill where they both worked and where the deed was committed. In fact [the victim] Is not certain that the man accused Is the one who committed the assault but says that he must be the one because no one else had an opportunity, Baldewande being nearest to him." Daily Northwestern Nov 22 1892
28 Because Wilhelm was re-arrested for the civil trial, the bond was again set at $1000. Wilhelm's wife Ernestine had to pledge a considerable sum of money to secure his bail. In fact she pledged her entire inheritance. She gave a $500 mortgage deed and $450 cash to Mr. Schmidt, a friend of her lawyer who was supposed to pay for the bail out of his own funds and keep her money as security. When the court rejected Schmidt because he was $50 short, he decided to instead use Ernestine's money to pay for the bail without telling her. The court clerk agreed to accept the lesser amount after some back and forth debate. When Ernestine's husband appeared in court for trial, she tried to recover her money from Schmidt but she was told that not only did the court have possession of it, but that it would be held to pay for her husband's damages if the jury found for Albert Gumz. In fact, Albert Gumz won $500 at his personal injury trial. Because Ernestine's money was an inheritance it normally would not be used to cover her husband's damages. But now that the court had the money, it had been converted to marital property and when her husband lost at trial, she lost half of her inheritance. She sued Schmidt for the "conversion" saying she had never given him permission to give her money and mortgage deed to the court. But before the jury could rule on the case, the judge rendered a verdict in the favor of Mr Schmidt. On appeal, the Wisconsin Supreme Court felt that the judge should have allowed the jury to weigh the facts and come to their own verdict and the case was sent back for a new trial. She won on the second trial and was awarded the full $1000 and another $150 in court costs. This is the first page of the Wisc. Supreme Court opinion. Click the download link for a full size copy.
29 Page 2 of Boldewahn vs Schmidt. Ernestine lost her case. (1893) Click on the "Download" link to see a full size image.
30 Page 3 of Boldewahn vs Schmidt. Click on the "Download" link to see a full size image.
31 Wilhelm's father died in the county asylum in 1893 during this time. The newspaper reports his name as "Henry". It may be a typo or "Heinrich" may have been one of Johann's middle names.
32 John Boldewahn's death certificate. He died of old age. Although the certificate states he was buried in Riverside Cemetary in Oshkosh, WI there is no record of his internment there.
33 In 1895, Mrs Begske, a neighbor was fined $2 for assault and battery against Ernestine Boldewahn.
34 In 1905, Wilhelm Boldewahn returned the "favor" and was charged with using indecent language against Mrs. Begske
35 William Boldewahn and an unknown group of men in the early 1900s..
36 In 1905, ten years after his father passed, Wilhelm and his family were still living in Oshkosh. His mother Charlotte Freiberg had moved in with him. 1905 Wisconsin Census.
37 Shortly after 1905, William bought a farm in the nearby township of Vinland, WI. It was a small farm by Wisconsin standards only 40 acres. This photo was taken in the 1920s. The farm was on Rural Road 7, seven miles north of Oshkosh, WI
38 E. Bowron was the owner of the farm and this is his ad in the October 1905 newspaper.
39 William's initial farmland purchase may have been even more modest. In 1906, a William "Bolderwack" living on Rural Road 7 was listed as owning 10 acres.
40The initial farmland purchase may have been even more modest. In 1906, a William "Bolderwack" living on Rural Road 7 was listed as owing 10 acres. Closeup of the 1906 listing.
41 One of the occupants of the Vinland, WI farm.
42 On June 7, 1906, William sued Elijah Bowron and won to recover the costs of feeding his neighbor's cows. He asked for $175 and won $42.50 plus costs.
43_025, 4/24/05, 2:16 PM, 8C, 3350x4706 (110+154), 62%, Default Settin, 1/40 s, R72.2, G55.3, B69.2 The original 40 acre farm may have been owned by Elijah Bowron. Wilhelm's first 10 acres were most likely part of Elijah's 40 acres. Across the road was another neighbor who would soon be in the news: Thomas McCool.
44 A few years later in Feb 1908, Elijah Bowron killed himself.
48 In 1907, William was accused of theft by his neighbor Thomas McCool for tearing down a stone wall that bordered their properties. The case was later dismissed. Thomas McCool brought many lawsuits against his own family and neighbors over the years.
49 The judge was not impressed with the case.
50 And the case was dismissed in Dec 1907.
51 A larger view of the Vinland Township farms. The Boldewahn farm was in Plat 19 (lower right corner)
52 By the 1910 Census, Charlotte Freiberg was 94 years old. Here she is listed as an inmate in the Winnebago County Hospital. The asylum housed many types of patients ranging from tuberculosis to mental illness to general old age and dementia. The Hospital was only a few miles away from the family farm.
53 Charlotte Freiberg, Wilhelm's mother passed away in 1912. She was around 96 years old.
54 Wilhelm's 1888 Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen lapsed in 1900. After the US entered into WW1, he refiled his declaration, presumably to combat the rising tide of anti-German sentiment. He would finally become a US citizen in 1922.
55 Wilhelm's Oct 1922 Naturalization Petition
56 The 1920 Vinland Township directory shows William Boldewahn owned 39 acres, 3 horses and 8 cows.
57 Closeup of the 1920 listing
58 The farm was located in Wisconsin, which is north of Chicago Illinois.
59 The town of Oshkosh is 175 miles north of Chicago, next to Lake Winnebago.
60 The farm was located 7 miles north of Oshkosh in the township of Vinland. Townships are not towns, but smaller rural areas within counties (in this case Winnebago County).
61 The home was situated along what is now called "Sherman Road." The road runs between Indian Point and Rural Highway GG. A spur of the former Northwesteran Railroad runs along the western edge of the property.
62 Hixson (W.W.) and Company Atlas 1928 Map and Platte of Vinland Township, Winnebago County shows the 40 acres owned by "W. Baldewahn". In the upper right, next the to the number 17, you can see that "Max Block", the young man who assaulted Otto now owned 80 acres.
63_0047rescan, 2008-02-26, 08:36 , 8C, 3126x5102 (1367+1543), 100%, 412E BetterLig, 1/60 s, R53.4, G41.3, B53.5 Once again the German name is mangled: Bolderinvhan
64 The house may no longer be standing and the property lines have changed over the years. But the two closest street addresses are 5939 Sherman Road and 6025 Sherman Rd. The Wusw-FM Oshkosh radio station transmission tower is either on, or next to, the property.
65 It is also possible that the house stood between what is now 5939 Sherman Road and 6025 Sherman Rd. See the outlines of an possible old structure and driveway.
66 An aerial view looking across the farm east towards Lake Winnebago.
67 The 1924 address book for the town of Vinland shows that the family farm was valued around $5600.
68 Closeup of the 1924 address book showing the farm value.
69 In Dec 1925 Wiliam Boldewahn listed two pregnant milk cows for sale.
70 One year later in Oct 1926 he listed the farm for sale.
71 By June 1929, William and Ernestine moved back to Oshkosh and bought a duplex in Oshkosh at 172 Ceape Street. This is the ad listing the upstairs apartment for rent.
72 The Oshkosh 1930 City Directory with the Boldewahns living at 192 Ceape Street. It is unclear when the farm sold.
73 Wilhelm Boldewahn in the 1920s or 1930s. At some point the picture was torn in half.
74 1930 - Wilhelm and Ernestine celebrated their 50th golden wedding anniversary. The Daily Northwestern misspells their name as "Oldewahn" making this a tricky article to find in the archives. William's sister "Minnie" (Wilhelmine) who also emigrated to Wisconsin from Germany attended the wedding anniversary. She married a John Schoblaski.
75 Ernestine Boldewahn passes away on Jan 28, 1935.
76 Funeral service notice for Ernestine Boldewahn.
77 Ernestine Boldewahn's grave in Riverside Cemetary, Oshkosh Wisconsin.
78 Text: "William Boldewahn, 172 Ceape Street, passed away suddenly at 1 o'clock Sunday morning at his home. He had been up and active during the preceding day. He was born May 30, 1851, in Germany. His death occurred on his birthday anniversary. He came to the United States in 1873, coming directly to Oshkosh. He worked in various woodworking mills and resided here until 1905, when he went to live on a farm in the town of Vinland. In 1929, he left the farm and came, back to Oshkosh to reside. He was a member of Christ Lutheran church. His wife preceded him in death, in January, 1935. Survivors are one son, Otto of Oshkosh; two daughters, Mrs. Fred Zimmerman of Oshkosh and Mrs. John Kamuchey of Milwaukee; eight grandchildren; and two sisters, Mrs. John Schoblaski of Oshkosh and Mrs. Minnie Pommeraning in Germany. The funeral will be Tuesday at 1:30 o'clock from the Konrad funeral home and at 2 o'clock from Christ Lutheran church,. the Rev. G. M. Weng officiating. Burial will be in Riverside cemetery. Friends may view the remains this evening at the funeral home and up to the hour of the services. The casket will not be opened at the church." Oshkosh Daily Northwestern 1 June 1937
79 Wilhelm Boldewahn's grave in Riverside Cemetary, Oshkosh Wisconsin.
80 Card of thanks placed by the family in the Oshkosh newspaper for their help with Wilhelm's funeral
81 By Feb 1938 Wilhelm's estate was settled. With the money she inheirited, daughter Erna Boldewahn Kamuchey was able to purchase a home for her family in Milwaukee, WI. The article may be incorrect that the bulk of the estate went to his grand-child Evelyn. Most likely they meant to say his daughter "Erna Kamuchey". She inheirited a little over $3000, which is around $55,000 in today's money.
82 Ernestine and Wilhelm Boldewahn's graves in Riverside Cemetary, Oshkosh Wisconsin.
83 Ernestine and Wilhelm Boldewahn had one son, Otto Boldewahn. He was born 1886 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This is his confirmation photo.
84 A later picture of Otto Boldewahn.
85 In 1909, after the family moved to Vinland, Otto was involved in an altercation with neighbor Max Block over the neighbor's dog and his chickens. The man was fined for assaulting Otto during a "charivari " which is the noisy banging of pots and pans as a mock serenade to a newly married couple. An interesting note is that the man defending Max Block was W.C. Cowling whose relatives owned large farms near to or next to the Boldewahn farm.
86 This is Otto Boldewahn's World War 1 draft registration card dated 1917. It notes he may be blind in one eye.
87 The Victory Liberty Loan drive was held in the spring of 1919 to fund the lingering costs of the Great War. The “Honor Roll” was often published in newspapers and listed contributors. In this June 14, 1919 edition of the Oshkosh Northwestern, Otto Boldewahn donated to the cause. His father's name is not listed. Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_bond#United_States and here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_bond…
88 Otto Boldewahn's World War 2 Draft Registration card (front)
89 Otto Boldewahn's World War 2 Draft Registration card (back). It mentions he is crippled in one hand.
90 Otto Boldewahn and friends, possibly from the 1920s or 30s
91 A close-up of Otto Boldewahn.
92 Otto died in 1952 of an apparent suicide.
93 Otto Boldewahn's grave location at Riverside Cemetary in Oshkosh Wisconin has no gravestone. The flowers were placed there by the volunteer from "Find A Grave" who took the photo for the Kamuchey family.
94 The Boldewahn's oldest daughter was named Meta Frances. She was born in Oshkosh WI in 1888. This is her confirmation photo.
95 Meta Boldewahn in her youth.
96 Meta Boldewahn (left) and her friend from the earlly 1900s.
97 Meta Boldewahn in her 20s
98 A photo of Meta Boldewahn in her later years.
99 Meta married Fred Zimmerman in June 1911. She was 23 years old.
100 A closeup of Fred Zimmerman, possibly from the 1930s.
101 Meta Boldewahn goofing off - 1920s.
102 Meta Boldewahn in her later years.
103 Meta Boldewahn and Fred Zimmerman in their later years.
104 Closeup of an older Fred Zimmerman.
105 On Dec 12, 1935, Fred Zimmernan was arrested for stealing gasoline from a pastor's car as it was parked in front of a hospital. He pled guilty and was fined $25.
106 Meta and Fred in 1961
107 Meta Boldewahn's funeral notice. Her husband Fred would die 8 years later in 1972.
108 Meta Boldewahn died in 1964 at age 75.
109 She was buried in Riverside Cemetary in Oshkosh, WI
110 Erna Wilhelmine Boldewahn is the youngest daughter of Wilhelm and Ernestina. She was born in 1898. This is her confirmation photo from 1910 when she was 12 years old.
111 Erna Boldewahn on the family farm in the early 1900s. She is sitting in the front.
112 Closeup of Erna
113 Erna Boldewahn (left) on the family farm in Vinland, WI - 1920s.
114 Erna Boldewahn (far back) on the family farm. The collie's name was "Shep"
115 Erna Kamuchey at her wedding in March 1926.
116 Erna married John Kamuchey in March 1926. Their daughter Violet was born a month later.
117 Erna in her later years at her daughter Marie Kamuchey's wedding in the 1960s. For more info about the Kamuchey family please return to the main family page.
118 The Boldewahn family on the family farm in the 1910s-1920s.
119 Close-up of the previous picture. The woman to the far right may have been Wilhelm Boldewahns's sister Henriette who married John Schobloski.
120 The Boldewahns as adults. Top row, left: Erna Boldewahn. Middle: Fred Zimmerman. Right: Meta Boldewahn. Bottom: Wilhelm Boldewahn. Middle: Ernestina Boldewahn. Right: Otto Boldewahn