Today’s Tidbit | Nelson Alonzo Harris – July 16, 1822

My 2nd great grandfather and I share the same birthday, albeit some 139 years apart!

Nelson Harris was born in Saratoga Co., NY on July 16, 1822. He and his family moved to Pierpont, OH when he was 11, and then to Indiana in 1837. Few details about those early years are known. They made their way to Manitowoc Co., WI, probably in 1850. Nelson worked as a carpenter in the shipyards there.

Envisioning the lumber and saw-mill business as a profitable venture, he moved his family to Cato, WI (which was once known as Harrisville – named after Nelson), in 1853. He built a saw mill there in 1856, which he continued operating until all the oak was used up. It was the town’s first industry. Once established in the lumber and saw-mill business, Nelson began laying away choice pieces of lumber and timbers for building a home in Cato. He meant it to be the finest in all of Manitowoc County. Much more about the Harris home in Cato can be found by clicking the link below.

In 1873, he built a boarding-house and mill in Forest Junction. This was the first business in that town.

Because of the weather, Nelson and his wife, Louisa, moved to Waldo, FL in 1881. He owned a mill in Waldo and spent the rest of his life there.

Related links:

The Harris Family

Harris Home in Cato, WI

Nelson Alonzo Harris gravestone in Waldo, FL

My Voiland Family in the 1836 France Census

I was recently introduced to the website of the Departmental Archives of the Territory of Belfort by a French cousin. My Voiland family emigrated from the commune of Essert in the Territory of Belfort, France. The site contains scanned census images beginning in 1836. I was thrilled to find my 3rd great grandparents and their children listed!

Seeing my family listed in the census continues to amaze me. It really brings them to life – just imagining someone going to their house and writing down the information that I’m looking at. This census was taken 175 years ago! 21 years later, Jean Baptiste (Charles Francois Xavier) Voiland, his wife Adelaide (Perrin) and their children would cross the ocean and settle in America.

Please click on for a larger image

Today’s Tidbit | Frank Heller – March 19, 1878

My maternal great grandfather, Frank Heller, was born on this day in 1878. He was the youngest son of Mathias and Frances (Swiderski) Heller, and was born in Princeton, Green Lake Co., WI. He worked on farms at Fox Lake and in the lumber camps at Ashland.

After several years, he came to Montello, WI and joined the Montello Granite Co. In the 1920 census, his job description is that of a “polisher”.

Frank married my great grandmother, Catherine Jackowski, in 1905. He worked for Montello Granite for about 45 years until becoming ill in July of 1944.

Today’s Tidbit | Chelsea Private Hospital

The other day, I came into contact with a cousin of my wife’s, related through their Notten family line. She had found one of my other blog postings. I look forward to sharing information her. It got me to wondering what else I could find out about the Nottens that I didn’t already know.

I ran across an interesting article about the Chelsea Private Hospital, which was located in Chelsea, MI. I had never heard of this before.

Ehlert Notten is a 1st cousin, 3 times removed of my wife. Their common ancestor is also named Ehlert Notten, and he is her 3rd great grandfather. The younger Ehlert was born in 1876 in Chelsea. He became a well established dairy farmer.

The Chelsea Private Hospital was owned by Ehlert and his wife Nellie. The Nottens opened the hospital in 1926, in a house on Main Street in Chelsea. It then relocated, ten years later, to 138 Middle Street when the federal government wanted the original location for a post office. This Middle Street house was built in 1885 by Dr. George Palmer.

The hospital served the patients of 2 local doctors. Nellie attended to the patients, and Ehlert would commute daily to the family farm. They lived on the house’s first floor and would also sell some of their dairy products out the back door.

The hospital occupied 3 bedrooms on the house’s second floor. Two of the rooms had patient beds, and the third served as the operating and delivery room. An adjoining alcove was made into a nursery. New mothers were put in one of the two patient rooms and were usually the hospital’s only patients. They stayed in bed ten days, not even getting up to go to the bathroom!

One of the doctor’s retired and, when WWII broke out, the other joined the military in 1942. As a result, the Nottens closed the hospital. After that, patients wanting to go to a home hospital were referred to one in Stockbridge.

After the hospital closed, Nellie’s health declined and she died in 1946. Ehlert remarried and sold the house. He died in 1960.

In 1991, new owners bought the house and have been restoring it to it’s original elegant look. In 1996, the George W. Palmer house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

More about the hospital can be read here. Most of the information in this posting came from this article.

Today’s Tidbit | August 25, 1874 – John Hau

On this day, 136 years ago, my great grandfather, John Hau, was born in St. Joe, Marshfield Twp., Fond du Lac Co., Wisconsin. He was the son of Wilhelm and Kathrine (Tuepper) Hau. He married Elizabeth Fuhrman on June 12, 1900.

John ran the Cozy Tavern at 102 North Main St. in Fond du Lac, but after prohibition began, he when into the restaurant business. In 1919, he founded the H & H Cafeteria, with Edward Halverson, at 105 S. Main Street. The restaurant moved to the former Commercial Bank Building, located at First and Main, which they purchased in 1923. In its first year of operation, the cafeteria employed seven persons, but over the years it expanded to employ 21. He bought out Halverson and renamed the restaurant the Lion Cafeteria.

Following 50 years in the business, John retired in 1959, selling the business to his sons Clarence and Raymond (my grandfather).

Much more about John Hau and the Lion Cafeteria can be found here.

John Hau - early 1900's


John and Elizabeth (Fuhrman) Hau | 50th Wedding Anniversary - June 12, 1950

Today’s Tidbit | William Bradford and Alice Carpenter Southworth Wedding

This Saturday, August 14th, Plimoth Plantation will re-enact the August 14, 1623 wedding of Governor William Bradford and Alice Carpenter Southworth. William’s first wife, Dorothy May, drowned while the Mayflower was anchored in Provincetown Harbor in 1620. Alice came to Plymouth aboard the Anne in July 1623, following the death of her first husband, Edward Southworth. William and Alice are my 9th great grandparents.

More on the event can be found at the following links:

Plimoth Plantation to re-enact 1623 wedding of Governor Bradford
The Governor’s Getting Married!

Today’s Tidbit | Seamstress Sisters

Ursie and Mary Fuhrman worked as seamstresses at the Albert E. Isaac Co. in Fond du Lac, WI in 1928. The sisters, my 2nd great aunts, never married and lived together their entire lives. Both were about 50 years old at the time.

Ursie and Mary dressed for their sister Elizabeth's wedding in 1900

Albert E. Isaac, Co. - Fond du Lac, WI

Today’s Tidbit | June 15, 1798 – John Earl Harris

On this date, in 1798, my 3rd great grandfather, John Earl Harris, was born in Greenfield, Saratoga Co., NY. Unfortunately, I don’t know for sure who his parents are. John married Nancy Ormsbee in 1820. They moved to Pierpont, OH, Porter Co., IN, and eventually to Cato, WI.