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Remembering My Paternal Great-Uncles

One of Paul's passions is researching and narrating family history. He has written many articles about grandparents and great-grandparents.

Four Great-Uncles and a Great-Aunt with Mother in Germany

Back L to R:  Thekla, great-grandma Bertha, Otto, and Gustaf; Front L to R:  Arthur and John; Taken circa 1880

Back L to R: Thekla, great-grandma Bertha, Otto, and Gustaf; Front L to R: Arthur and John; Taken circa 1880

Remembering My Paternal Great-Uncles

This article attempts to understand the lives of my seven paternal great-uncles. Four great-uncles were born in Germany and lived in Chemnitz until 1882. The other three were born in Wisconsin and grew up in Door County.

In reconstructing the lives of each great-uncle, I list all available biographical details. I pay special attention to their childhood, early adulthood, family, and how they made a living.

Biographical details are derived from Ancestry.com, Door County Newspaper Archives, and a Kuehn family genealogy book edited by my second cousin, Margie Kuehn Nelson.

Childhood in Germany

My seven great-uncles and grandfather were sons of Carl August and Bertha Kuehn.

The eldest four great-uncles were born in the old Saxony state of Prussia in the 1870s. My great-grandfather had just been discharged from the Prussian Army and settled in Chemnitz after a brief stay in Bautzen. He supported the new members of his family as a Wagonschriber by registering the wagons at the railroad station in Chemnitz.

The Kuehn family lived in a large red-brick apartment on Hilbersdorfer Strabe. They attended the Evangelical Lutheran Trinitatiskirch on Frankenberger Strabe. I have learned nothing about their education in Germany.

Carl August and Bertha Kuehn

Picture taken around 1870 in Chemnitz.  My great-grandparents, Carl August and Bertha Kuehn

Picture taken around 1870 in Chemnitz. My great-grandparents, Carl August and Bertha Kuehn

Apartment Building in Chemnitz Where the Kuehn Family Lived in the 1870s

Apt. Building in Chemnitz where Kuehn Family Lived in 1870s.  Picture taken in 2010

Apt. Building in Chemnitz where Kuehn Family Lived in 1870s. Picture taken in 2010

Growing Up in Wisconsin

My great-grandfather immigrated to America in 1881. After landing in New York, he made his way to Milwaukee. There he worked as a cigar maker.

In 1882, Bertha and the Kuehn five children, Thekla age 11, Gustaf 9, Otto 7, John 5, and Arthur 3 arrived in New York on September 20, 1882. A short while later, they traveled to Milwaukee and were reunited with my great-grandfather.

The Kuehn family lived at 2430 North Avenue in Milwaukee. While there, my grandfather Charles and his twin brother George were born in 1885.

In 1886, the Kuehn family moved to Door County and purchased land on County T in Jacksonport. In 1887 and 1889, my second youngest great-uncle Herman and youngest Paul were born.

Carl August was a farmer up until his death from appendicitis in 1899.

The eldest great-uncles were farmers and lumberjacks. I have no records about the lives of my grandfather and three youngest great-uncles during the 1890s.

In the following sections, I provide biographical sketches of each great-uncle.

Carl Adolph Gustav Kuehn

Carl Adolph Gustav Kuehn, most commonly called Gustav, is my eldest great-uncle. Gustav was born on January 13, 1873, in Bautzen which is in the Saxony State. Bautzen is 133 kilometers from Chemnitz.

After immigrating to America with my great-grandparents in 1882, Gustave lived with them in Milwaukee until the Kuehns moved to Door County in 1886. I have no records of Gustav's schooling in Milwaukee or Door County.

On July 11, 1895, Gustav married Louise Spittlemeister in Jacksonport, Door County. He was a Lutheran and had six children with Louise.

According to the 1900 census, Gustav was a farmer living in Jacksonport. In 1910, however, based on the census, my great-uncle was living with his family in Escanaba, Michigan, and probably working as a lumberjack. Gustav probably sought work in Escanaba because a Door County Advocate newspaper article revealed that his farm was foreclosed on in 1908.

By 1920, Gustav and his family had moved to Milwaukee and were living at 1132 South 3rd Street. The 1930 census also shows Gustav living in Milwaukee.

Although I don't have his obituary, I assume that Gustav died in Milwaukee.

Otto Herman Kuehn

Otto Herman Kuehn is my second eldest great-uncle. Otto was born in Chemnitz on November 5, 1874.

After immigrating to America with his parents and siblings, Otto first lived in Milwaukee and then in Door County. I have no records of his life and education up until 1900.

In 1900, my great-uncle married Johannah (Hannah) Mosgaller at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Institute, Door County.

Otto and Hannah had 12 children, nine of who reached adulthood.

From 1901 until 1908, Otto and Hannah purchased land in Egg Harbor, Door County, and cleared it for dairy farming. Later they planted an 18-acre cherry orchard.

During the winter months in his 20s, Otto went to Escanaba, Michigan, and was a lumberjack at a lumber camp.

Otto was 5'8'' and weighed 146 pounds as stated on his Citizenship Declaration.

My second eldest great-uncle had a stroke in 1949 and passed away on August 15, 1959.

Otto Herman Kuehn and Family

Otto Kuehn and Family

Otto Kuehn and Family

John H. Kuehn

John H. Kuehn is my third eldest great-uncle. John was born in Chemnitz on August 7, 1876.

I have found no records of John's life and education in Chemnitz and Wisconsin up until 1902.

On April 27, 1902, my great-uncle married Barbara Mosgaller probably at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Institute, Door County.

John and Barbara were blessed with eight children.

After John married Barbara, they bought a farm in the Egg Harbor area. In 1904, a barn was built and by 1915 they were milking cows by hand. Later, the land was cleared so that it could be farmed.

An article in the Door County Advocate reported that in 1915 great-uncle John was one of the well-to-do farmers of Egg Harbor. Another article in 1920 noted that he sold a load of potatoes for $292.12 at a rate of $3.75 per bushel.

John died on September 19, 1960, and is buried at St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Institute.

John and Barbara Kuehn

John and Barbara Kuehn

John and Barbara Kuehn

Frederick Arthur Kuehn

Fredrick Arthur Kuehn, better known as Art, is my fourth eldest great-uncle.

Art was born in Chemnitz on August 6, 1878.

I have learned nothing about great-uncle Art's life and education in Chemnitz and Wisconsin up until 1918.

On an unknown date, my great-uncle married Minnie Goetsch and they had six children.

An article in the Door County Advocate revealed that great-uncle Art was a farmer. In 1918, he sold his farm and land to Mr. Carmody.

After selling his farm, Art probably moved to Milwaukee. An Ancestry.com article about my grandfather, Charles August Kuehn, revealed that great-uncle Art was living at South 68th and West Beecher in West Allis in 1940. He was less than a mile from my grandfather who lived at 960 South 63rd in West Allis.

My great-uncle Art passed away in 1946.

George Leonard Kuehn

George Leonard Kuehn is my fifth eldest great-uncle.

He was born on September 13, 1885, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. George is my grandfather's twin brother.

I have learned nothing about my great-uncle's life and education in Wisconsin up until 1910.

The 1910 U.S. census showed that George and his brother Herman were lodgers with their brother Gustaf Kuehn in Escanaba. George had worked as a lumberjack there.

The 1920 census of Door County listed George married to Susan Williams who was 13 years George's senior. Susan was a widow who had four children from a previous marriage.

George then returned to Escanaba because a news article revealed that he was working as a lumberjack in the woods in 1920 and 1922.

After Susan died in 1942, George remarried a woman named Mary. Great-uncle George didn't have any children of his own.

Great-uncle George died unexpectedly of a heart attack in June 1958 in Escanaba where he was employed as a watchman.

Herman Frederick Kuehn

Herman Frederick Kuehn is my sixth eldest great-uncle.

Herman was born on June 9, 1887, in Egg Harbor, Door County.

Nothing is known about Herman's life and education up until 1910.

The 1910 U.S. census indicated that Herman and his brother George were living as lodgers with their brother Gustaf in Escanaba, Michigan.

While working as a lumberjack there, Herman met Phiolomen Dausey and married her in Escanaba on December 27, 1910.

In 1917, Herman and his family moved to a farm in the Egg Harbor area. They stayed in Egg Harbor until 1935 when they moved to a farm with a cherry orchard in Sevastopol.

In 1942, Herman was living in Sturgeon Bay and he died on November 23, 1961, in Plymouth, Wisconsin. My great-uncle is buried in Door County.

Great-uncle Herman and Phiolomen had two children. Herman was a happy-go-lucky man and played the guitar. He was in a band called the Sodbusters with his brother Paul and Henry Bongle.

Great Uncle Herman Frederick Kuehn

Great-uncle Herman Frederick Kuehn with nieces and nephew

Great-uncle Herman Frederick Kuehn with nieces and nephew

Paul Richard Kuehn

Paul Richard Kuehn who has the same name as this author is my seventh eldest great-uncle.

Paul was born on July 2, 1889, in Jacksonport.

As the youngest child, Paul lived on the homestead of his mother, Bertha Kuehn, on Sunnyslope Rd. in Egg Harbor.

On November 20, 1913, great-uncle Paul married Lizzie Miller at Jacksonport. They had four children.

Paul was a farmer and had a cherry orchard.

He played the fiddle, banjo, and ukulele, and sang in the Sodbusters band with his brother Herman.

Great-uncle Paul died of a heart attack on October 30, 1969, and is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Jacksonport.

Great-uncle Paul Richard Kuehn and Wife Lizzie

Great-uncle Paul Richard Kuehn and wife Lizzie

Great-uncle Paul Richard Kuehn and wife Lizzie

Sources

  • Ancestry.com
  • Door County Advocate Newspaper Archives
  • Kuehn — a German Family Comes to America book edited by Margie Kuehn Nelson

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

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