One of Paul's passions is researching and narrating family history. He has written many articles about grandparents and great-grandparents.
My Paternal Grandfather's Family
Remembering My Aunt Marie
Marie Antoinette Kuehn Hyland was one of my favorite paternal aunts.
In this article, I first remember Aunt Marie's birth and early childhood in Door County, Wisconsin. After researching my aunt's life from 1924 to 1949, I recall her short marriage and remaining years as a widow until 2003.
My sources include a picture from my second cousin Margie Kuehn Nelson, census records, ancestry.com, and personal memories.
Early Childhood in Door County, Wisconsin
Aunt Marie was born on November 20, 1918, in Egg Harbor Township in Door County, Wisconsin. She was delivered at home on a farm on Sunnyslope Road by her grandmother (my great-grandma) Bertha Kuehn who worked as a midwife.
Marie Antoinette Kuehn Hyland was the third eldest child of Charles and Mary Kuehn small farmers. She was preceded in birth by my uncle Augie born in 1914 and my father Charles born in 1916. Following Marie in birth were uncle Dick born in 1921, and aunts Laura, Helen, and Florence born in 1923, 1926, and 1929 respectively.
Little is known about my aunt's first five years of life other than she had her siblings Augie, Charles, and Dick as playmates. After grandpa and grandma Kuehn lost their farm due to bank foreclosure in November 1922, they lived with their mother and youngest brother Paul (my great uncle) until October 1923. At that time, grandpa Kuehn found work in Milwaukee and then moved his family to Greenfield, a western Milwaukee suburb.
Life in Greenfield (1924–1949)
Aunt Marie spent the remainder of her childhood growing up on 97th Street in Greenfield with my father and other siblings. She attended public schools but dropped out of high school following her sophomore year.
Grandpa and grandma Kuehn must have regularly traveled to Door County in the 1920s and 1930s. They probably visited grandpa's two youngest brothers, Herman and Paul. Evidence for this is seen in a picture of uncle Augie and aunt Marie with their uncle Herman and cousins who are children of uncle Paul. In the picture taken around 1930, uncle Augie appears to be about 16 and aunt Marie around 12.
I have no records of aunt Marie's employment after she dropped out of school in approximately 1934.
In the late 1930s or 1940s, my aunt had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. Fortunately, she made a complete recovery.
In the late 1940s, aunt Marie met her future husband, Charles (Chuck) Hyland in West Allis which now included Greenfield. Chuck was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and had briefly lived in Madison with his parents. After moving to West Allis and working as a mechanic, Chuck joined the Army and served in Europe during the Second World War until 1945. Military records show that Chuck was wounded in battle in 1945.
After his discharge, Chuck was probably working as a mechanic when he met my aunt in probably either 1948 or 1949.
Aunt Marie and Kuehn Relatives
Married Life (1949-1957)
According to ancestry.com records, Chuck Hyland was working as a mechanic and probably living with his sister and brother-in-law in West Allis. Aunt Marie was probably living with grandpa and grandma in West Allis, too, when she met Chuck.
On August 27, 1949, aunt Marie and Chuck Hyland got married in Milwaukee.
According to a 1950 census record, aunt Marie and Chuck lived in an apartment on South 74th Street and West Greenfield in West Allis. Chuck was employed as a salesman for automobile parts.
I can still remember visiting the apartment on 74th with my mom and dad in October 1952. Aunt Marie was ironing clothes and a World Series game was playing on the television with Joe Black for the Brooklyn Dodgers pitching.
Aunt Marie and Chuck only had one child, a daughter named Susan Carol who was called Susie. She was born on December 31, 1951.
After mom and dad moved to a rented farm near Mukwonago in March 1954, aunt Marie and Chuck Hyland would sometimes visit during the summer. We always had a big garden and would give vegetables to all of our relatives.
On March 1, 1957, we moved from our rented farm to a farm that mom and dad purchased just north of Honey Creek. Then, a few months later, we received the tragic news that Chuck Hyland died of a heart attack on May 9, 1957. From what I recall, Chuck was playing the saxophone in a band when he had his heart attack.
I attended the church funeral with dad and saw Chuck's body in a casket. He was a big man standing at least 6' and weighing about 230 pounds but looked so small now.
After Chuck was laid to rest, there was a luncheon buffet in aunt Marie's home. Between 1952 and 1957, Chuck and Marie had purchased a new home on South 95th Street in West Allis not far from uncle Dick's new home. I recall seeing a very sad aunt and trying my best to comfort her.
Chuck and Marie Hyland
Life as a Widow in West Allis: (1957–2003)
Aunt Marie would often come out to our farm for visits in the summer when I was in high school and college.
In 1958, my aunt surprised me by presenting an autographed picture of Milwaukee Braves pitcher Lew Burdette. Lew was a star pitcher for the Braves in the 1950s. He was also the MVP in the 1957 World Series that the Braves won.
Aunt Marie surprised me again in June 1962. She attended my high school graduation along with my aunts Laura and Helen. After my graduation ceremony, we had a nice visit at home.
When home from college during the summers of 1962-66, I would often see my aunt Marie. She was a smoker and I always saw a cigarette butt in the commode when I used the bathroom.
My last vivid interaction with aunt Marie was in July 1965. At that time, I was attending a summer session at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Late on a Friday afternoon, Marie and her daughter Susie met me outside of my Lakeshore Hall dorm. We had a pizza in a snack bar and Susie got very excited when she heard a Tom Jones song blaring from a jukebox. Aunt Marie was in Madison visiting some of her late husband Chuck's relatives.
I saw aunt Marie only once more before she passed away. The occasion was uncle Augie's funeral in December 1987. It was such a sad and unexpected death that I cannot remember anything about interacting with my aunt Marie.
After I joined the Navy, lived in Taiwan during the 1970s, and then got a job in Maryland, I only saw Marie in 1987. Although my dad would often visit uncle Dick on 97th Street, he never visited Marie on 95th. Aunt Marie also never visited when I was home visiting my parents in the 1980s and 90s.
My cousin Susie got married in 1979 and had three children. I never saw her or her family after 1965. Susie passed away in 2015.
Aunt Marie passed away on August 24, 2003. That was the same date that I left the United States to take a job assignment in Thailand.
Aunt Marie was a kind and friendly woman. I only regret not knowing her better.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Paul Richard Kuehn