ZellTree Home
zellree.NET - Zellhöfer Research
Zelltree.NET (formerly Zelltree.com), researching Zellhöfer Zellhofer Zellhoefer Zilhaver Zelhofer, Austria > Bavaria > USA , and much more!
Autobiography by GGZ

Scroll down for
family tree formats

Main Pages:

ZellTree Home
ZellTree News
Search For..
Autobiography by GGZ
Dodge/Jefferson Gen Soc WI
Stephan Zellhofer b.1600
Permission to Leave
Mike,  "Anna" & Elnora
Early Z-list from Judith
Zilhaver History
Zellhofer / Kitzman
Klipstein / Petzke
Lautenbach / Zelhofer
Wellhoefer Main Page
Maps, Places & Pics
Source Documents
Bavarian Docs
Miscellaneous Finds
Legacy by Millenia
Gen Websites
GedView Database

(changes as you surf)

Parent Page

Family Tree Formats
Zelltree Data

Gedcom > Family
Tree  Legends
Download Files
Permission to
Leave 1846-53
Lost & Found
My other Websites
Great USA Collapse!
Blogger Website

After the Collapse!
Living well without
Force or Ruler


Truly Passive Solar
Homes by RonKZ

Critical Gen-Helpers

LDS Website!


"Autobiography of the Zellhoefer Family"

by Rev George G. Zellhoefer, written c.1922

This is probably the most important document in all of the Zellhoefer research; without this, our findings may have been impossible, or certainly (even more!) extremely difficult.  The author was son of George Leonhard Zellhoefer, who had migrated from Bavaria to Wisconsin with family in 1846.

Because of it's length, I recommend you  download this family history in RTF format for perusal at your later convenience.  That will certainly be more suitable for printout!


I received this delightful and essential paper from Anne Zellhoefer of Madison, Wisconsin, USA, for which we are eternally indebted and grateful. Without this manuscript, it would have been difficult or even impossible to track the Zellhoefer family roots back into the Germany homeland. Along with entertaining and useful insights into the family members of George's world, he has given us many of the names and some of the essential dates necessary to properly tracing members of this rather large tree thru to the present time.

The copy I received was a rather poor photocopy of the old typewritten manuscript. Due both to the usual loss which results from copying a copy of a copy (my assumption) and to an obvious need that George replace his typewriter ribbon, it was time that someone retyped the document for protection and clarity. Thank goodness for the current availability of modern computers and digital technology!

Much of my copy of this document was in such poor condition that it had to be re-typed. Several days were consumed with such, which included spell-checking and grammatical checking. Hopefully I was diligently careful that I not change any of the nuances or syntax, as the goal was simply to preserve the original document. I even chose a font which approximates the appearance on the manuscript, and tinkered with margins to keep each page with the same words as on the original. George seems a competent a writer, but seemed to have problems with placing commas and with length multi-subject paragraphs. Thus I admit to editing for clarity, but took care that nothing was rearranged or otherwise re-written, that the facts and intent remain unchanged.

One cannot know for certain just when this manuscript was written. George had written that all four of his brothers had died. At this point I do not know all the death dates, but found that brother August died in 1921, at which time George was 66 years old, so... sometime after that. While there are many factual errors within this document, much was "in the ballpark" and has proven most useful in giving tracks to the truth.

The manuscript ends abruptly at the end of Page 29. I am hopeful that somewhere will be found the remainder (assuming there IS more!), as it seems certain that we would learn the answers to many other questions which still perplex us. If such is found and if I am still able, the remainder will certainly be worked up and added to that which we now have.

Ron Klotz Zellhoefer - Friday, 16 May, 2003

By George G. Zellhoefer (b.1856, written after 1921)

As far as my knowledge attains, no one has ever undertaken the task of writing a history of the Zellhoefer family or has given any serious thought to the genealogy of the origin and the spreading growth of the Zellhoefer stock.

I, being the only survivor of the five sons of Father George Leonhart Zellhoefer and being the one who was more or less looked upon as the family historian, having, it seems, always taken a greater interest from childhood up to manhood in the family lore than any other member of my branch of the family, and seriously thinking of the fact that my children, my grandchildren and later generations being born with the burden of this unusual name fastened upon them for life, will want to know who their remote ancestors were, what they were and where they came from, think it duty to posterity before I too shall be called to join the long list of those of the Zellhoefer family who had their days and years of toil, sorrows and joys in this earthly life and then passed out into the higher life unseen by the mortal eyes yet realized by the inner consciousness and seen by the eye of faith kindled in the inner chamber of the soul by the spiritual presence of God.

In the beginning of this endeavor I feel compelled to state that my knowledge of the family tree is but fragmentary and the whole pieced together from a few written and printed facts as to dates, names, and incidents as they occurred in their turn. The other parts I have written from memory as I recalled them one by one, as having heard from the lips of Father and Mother, grandfather and grandmother Tartsch, and my uncles Jacob, Leonhart and Michael "Mike" Zellhoefer and my father's youngest sister Christine.

I distinctly remember when but a child of four years of age, before the Clvll War, after harvest time when the nights were lengthening and Jack Frost came to do his work in laying a silvery carpet over the still green grass which sparkled with myriad's of diamonds in the rays or the rising sun, Grandfather Tarsch Uncle Mike Z., and perhaps a neighbor or two with Uncle Bill Trash, would gather in our kitchen to talk over odd and old experiences in the old country, as well as the current topics of the day as it affected the political situation of their adopted country at that time.

Always after supper, which was generally eaten after candle light, we boys had to wash our feet so as to be ready for bed, but in the fall of the year, night came on too early to be shooed off to bed, so Mother would allow my brother John and me to sit under the kitchen stove oven next to the wall while the company eat around the dining table, where each one tried to talk the most and the loudest. Mother, too, would take part in the conversation going on and of course, would lose all thought of her two small sons under or behind the kitchen stove. My brother John, under these circumstances and the accustomed warmth from the oven, (after having chased around out of doors all day long) would soon succumb to the climate of the "Land of Nod", gradually slipping his back down the plastered wall until he lay prone on the floor lengthwise under the stove where he

could not be seen by anyone in the room either standing up or sitting on a chair. Then too I would slip the full length of my body along side of John's, only in a reverse position -- where John's head was, my feet were and visa versa. That position brought my head under he front, or the fender, of the stove, from which vantage point I could not only hear better but could look directly into the speaker's faces. Laying there on my stomach, I could lay my head on my folded arms and anyone locking my way, all I had to do wag close my eyes and the looker would immediately conclude that I was fast asleep and was hearing nothing of what was being said or done. Often, while thus listening to the tales and recitals of my elders, some part of old European political history, some legend, lore, personal experience or ghost story would be told that aroused my curiosity to such an extent that all inclination to sleep completely disappeared from me.

I remember two such falls and winters before my parents moved from the farm, and always in the winter evenings after supper, brother John and I had our places under the cookstove oven with two or three cats for companions. Then when the night callers came, there was always something doing and a lot for me to learn from the wonderful recitals of Grandfather, grandmother and the uncles. Yes, I still remember most of the harrowing stories I heard when beneath the stove, as well as these that were truly enlightening. Then after ten o'clock at night the company would break up and start for their homes. Then Mother would haul us out from under the stove and chase us up the stairs without a light into the cold frosty room and to bed. Many a black cat with fiery eyes followed me to our bedroom and stood watching while I yanked my clothes off and dived between the cold sheets and pulled the covers up over my head. At that time nights were unknown to me.

I wish to state here that at this time my Father was already preaching the Gospel at certain appointed places and was rarely at home for any length of time, and had very little if any part in the night gatherings in our home. I think that Uncle Mike, Grandmother Tartsch and the Uncles Bill and August Tartsch came so often because Mother, with her children, was left alone so much.

Having heard so many family tales in my childhood days that left their indelible impression on my mind and memory, I would further seek later, use opportunities in questioning Mother, grandmother aunt Christine and others pertaining to the stories I had overheard them relate and usually I got more and often new information. All this verbal information came to me though personal contact with and solicitation of the relatives, who were in a position to give straight and truthful information regarding family history at least insofar as they knew and understood it. My bureau of information consists largely of my Father, Mother, grandfather Taetsch, Aunt Christine, Uncle Jacob Zellhoefer, and last but not least, Uncle Bill Tarsch.

In tracing the name "Zellhoefer" I was led by the view expressed by Jacob Zellhoefer, the eldest of five sons of my Grandfather Zellhoefer. He said the name originated during the feudal Period in European history. When the country was divided up between lords and dukes who claimed ownership of lands of greater or less extent, built their castles on their respective estates in order to be secure and to govern the people dwelling within the bounds of their estates. The castle was the seat of government for that particular landed estate. The lord and master had his trained military forces who live in barracks close to or sometimes within the castle enclosure. There was also a great gord of servants within the castle grounds or court (Hoff). Every apartment of the "Hoff" had its retinue of servants who in turn were managed by appointed officers of various grades and authority. Every branch of government as well as industry, agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, dairying, etc., had its appointed officer or overseer.

The highest officer next to the castle lord was the Hofmeister; below him came the heefners and meisters. The head forester was called Baummeister, the overseer of the tree nurseries was called Baumgartner or tree gardener, that of the vineyard was called Weingartner, the dairy and cattle barns were called Mairei, the boss for short was called Maier or Hofmaier, so all the way down the list of names Schneider, Schmidt, Schumacher, Fischer. Now if we take our own common county seat organization, we find a good parallel to that of the feudal system. The court or Hof had its distinct but separate departments which were usually designated by what they contained, for example -- Schutzehof (arsenal and drill grounds); Zellenhof (jail and jail yard); Maierhof (dairy and cattle yards); Frauenhof (women's quarters). Now the officer or overseer of his assigned department (or Hof) was usually named or designated hofner with the prefix mane of his particular hof. The servants being practically slaves of the Graf or lord, were often punished for minor offenses and put in jail, called Zelle, meaning cell. This jailor cell must not be confused with the castle dungeons underneath the castle walls. The overseer of these cells and jail yard (or hof) was called “Zellenhofer”, which name was retained after the feudal period, but in the abbreviated form "Zellhoefer”.

When in the winter of 1876, I accompanied my Father to his church appointment in West Dayton, Iowa, to assist him for a period of four weeks in revival meetings, I made use of the opportunity so presented to me especially on the day's trip by horse and buggy, from Grand Junction to Dayton and the trip back home, to gently persuade him to tell me all about his birthplace, his Father and Mother and the history of the Zellhoefer family as far back as his memory went and of what he had learned when a boy, as to family tales and family history from his grandparents, especially from his grandmother who had attained the age of ninety or more years. Curious to say, that at home I would not have dared to approach Father with questions of this nature, but away from home and on a trip like the one mentioned above, I found him very affable, kind and full of good humor. I then could ask him any question on any subject I desired, and he would give answer seemingly with pleasure and elaboration. He appeared to be pleased with my thirst for knowledge, not only as regarded family lore but also subjects of history, science and theology. These weeks of intimate intercourse with Father are unforgettable to me. But there was a reverse side to this intimacy which developed the fact that the nature of my mind and will was very much like his and that led to mental conflicts in later years between us. In order to get along well and smooth with Father, one had to, at least seemingly submit to, or acquiesce with his point of view. He could not stand deliberate and persistent mental opposition.

After I had found Uncle Jacob (the incident of which I will relate in its proper place later on) I made it a special object to question him regarding family history. He not only verified everything I had heard along this line but informed me of many missing links as well as of entirely new parts and parcels of family history. So the reader may safely conclude as I have concluded, that at least the major and most important recitals as presented in these pages rest upon facts and that the main dates and incidents as by me related herein, are true and undisputable. Certainly some of the tales which I relate are of such minor import as to facts, resting as they do upon mere superstition which exclude them as actual happenings, yet showing the peculiar trend of mental and spiritual activities and beliefs in which all peoples of the European continent were more or less immersed during centuries of time. So it was by no means unique to find the same beliefs current in the Zellhoefer as well as in the Tartsch families. Yet I feel duty bound to relate these so-called happenings as I heard them in my boyhood days, because they have some vital part in the true history of the two families.

Needless to say that after my parents conversion, and in the course of the passing years, these witch and spook stories were laid aside, discarded as imaginations and illusions, having their source in impregnated superstition. Only Uncle Bill clung to these spectral allusions to late years, and until we of the younger generation laughed him out of that state of mind, at least to the extent that he stopped relating such tales.

If you look over a modern map of Europe starting with the head of the world-famous River Rhine, and follow the river's course northward between the state of Baden to your right and Alsace to your left to a point where begins the northern boundary of Alsace which extends in a westerly direction to a point where the West, northwest boundary of Lorraine begins, you will find a small province called in more ancient history, Rhine Palatena. In modern history you will find it designated New Bavaria or the Rhine Bavaria. As you will find in history, this province was assigned to the Kingdom of Bavaria after a war upheaval and a readjustment or this part or the European map. There is quite a distinction between the people of the Rhine Bavaria and those of Old Bavaria, both as to dialect religious faith, the former being Lutheran, while the latter are largely Roman Catholic. You will also find that this province as all of the Kingdom of Bavaria, was at times closely connected politically with France, and that Rhine Bavaria, like Alsace - Lorraine was greatly affected by the French Revolution, and the establishment of the French empire under Napoleon the Great. You will also find that a range of mountains extends from the southern extremity of Alsace northward between France proper and Alsace, then Alsace and Lorraine, and finally divides down to a mere chain of high hills as it extends through Rhine Bavaria.

This range of hills is quite a distance west of the Rhine. This mountain range is heavily covered with native forests and ie.called Vosges Gebirge (mountains). In this Rhinish Bavaria my Grandfather, George Jacob Zellhoefer, appears as a boy living with his parents in the old ancestral home, a small hilly and rocky farm in a farming village called Ahrnsbach. The old house was built of limestone rock and heavy oaken timbers, one and a half stories high, with dormer windows built out from the sides of the roof. It was quite a large or rather long house. Connected up with it were the necessary farm buildings or stock rooms as cow stables, horse stables, chicken roost, hog-pen; then the grain and hay barn with its threshing floor where the wheat, rye, barley and beans were threshed out with flails swung with both hands, during the winter season.

Of my father's grandfather, little is known at this day and age. He died long before my great grandmother died, even before my Father and his brothers were born.

My grandfather served in Napoleon's Campaign against Austria and then was invalided home to his native village. He married and upon the death of his Father, fell heir to the old home, which of course remained to be the home of Mother (my great grandmother) as long as she lived. It appears that my Father and Mother never got along with the old lady, her mother-in-law, and this ill-feeling on the part of my grandmother was transmitted to her children, especially to the boys, and in place of honoring their grandmother and sympathizing with her age and infirmities, they were taught to despise and fear her as a witch who sold her soul to the devil for a certain number of years to be added to her earthly life and for the gift or flight through the air or to change herself at will at night into the form of Some savage animal, preferably a cat, so that she could take revenge upon her enemies and punish them physically whenever she desired so to do.

On this small frame and in this ramshackle old house, all the Zellhoefers were born and raised to manhood and womanhood. The first born was Jacob, then Frederick next in line Leonhart, then George Leonhart, then Michael (Mike) and the last Christine the baby. There were three other sisters; one, who came to America, was born between my Father and Mike. Just where the other two came in, I have forgotten. The two sisters, whose names I have forgotten were married before the family immigrated to America, and the report received by them of the terrible hardships and deaths the family endured in the new country blotted out any and all desire on their part to follow the family or what was left of it, into the wilds of the state of Wisconsin. So in the course of time, all trace of the two married sisters left in the old country was lost. I will speak of this later on in my narrative.

Uncle Jacob was born in 1810. My Father George Leonhart was born April 1, 1918. The boys were sent to the public schools where the fundamental branches of education then in vogue were taught by rule and birch switches, also the Bible and Catechism. During these School days the younger boys got into many a scrap or fight and played some very mean pranks on the others, they played tricks on their Mother and did many a spiteful turn on their grandmother. One day their Mother was baking the usual weekly batch of rye bread in the bake-room where the brick bake-oven was located, and whenever this oven was fired up in the wintertime, the room made a very comfortable place to sit and get warm. So on bake days, the aged grandmother would move her easy chair into the bake-room and would spend all day and most of the following night sitting near the bake-oven. So when a loaf of bread was cut that had been baked on this particular day, a large bunch of long human hair was found inside the loaf when it was still in the stage of dough. All eyes and fingers pointed to grandmother. She had done this in order to bewitch the whole family. But grandmother shook her stick at the boys and said, "Yes, I'll bewitch you rogues so that you will never forget it." So became henceforth, of course, a self-confessed witch, even though the boys (Father and Leonhart) had in some way smuggled that bunch of hair into that loaf of bread. But grandmother's angry retort had aroused their native superstition to such an extent that they firmly believed in the literal fulfillment of her threat to bewitch them.

One night when the two, George and Leonhart, had gone to be in the room just under the roof of the house, they were awakened by a scraping noise coming from the direction of the dormer window. They saw the window swing open inwardly, and there on the window sill appeared an enormously large black cat with eyes like burning coal. The cat jumped down onto the floor and started towards the boy's bed; they could only see the two fiery eyes directed at them. Just then Leonhart grabbed up one of their wooden shoes (sabots) and hurled it at those eyes. There seemed to issue forth a human moan, the cat disappeared through the open window and the window closed of its own accord. The next morning grandmother did not show up for breakfast. Upon inquiry, Mother said that grandmother was still in bed with an awful headache. But at night she appeared at the supper table with a big black and blue lump on her forehead where of course, the wooden shoe had hit her the night before when she had changed herself into a cat in order to do the boys harm while they were asleep.

At fourteen years of age, Father was graduated or as they called it, Absolved, from the public school and confirmed in the church. Now he was ready for the Seminary or the learning of trade. He attended some nearby high school for a year or two, and then was apprenticed to a linen weaver for two years.

In the meantime the Father had died and the running of the farm fell to Jacob and Fred. Then Jacob took to teaming, hauling freight, and Fred and Leonhart did the farm work. Of course, these years were long before the introduction of steam railroads. The great artery of commerce was the Rhine and the large cities on both sides of this great river. So, for a hundred or more miles to the east and the west of the Rhine, great wagons with four or six horses hitched to them hauled the outgoing and the incoming produce and goods to the Rhine inland. The Fuhrmeister (teamster) usually drove at night because then the roads were clear of other traffic.

The ports on the Rhine for Rhine Bavaria were Germersheim, Mannheim, and Ludwigshafen - to and from these harbors Jacob did his freight hauling. One dark, drizzly night he was on his way to Germersheim with a very heavy load of grain. Up the road among the gill somewhere a pin that holds the wheel to the axle had either broken or dropped out of its place and the rear wheel slipped off the axle, letting it drop down on the ground. Now what to do? He had no jack, the load was too heavy to be raised with a rail or hard spike; he could not unload the heavy sacks of grain and expose them to the drizzling rain, and even if he did unload, one man was not able to raise the axle off the ground high enough to slip the wheel back onto the spindle. While he was so standing, lantern in hand pondering what next to do, there stood a tall lean man with glowing eyes alongside of him. As Jacob looked Up into his face, the man motioned with his hand toward the wheel laying where it had dropped. The man's motion signified to Jacob to pick the wheel up. In doing so he turned his back for a moment to the stranger, and when he turned with the wheel upright in his hands, he found the stranger holding the axle with the heavy load of grain just high enough for the slipping on the wheel where it belonged. When the wheel was in place, the stranger motioned to Jacob to put in a new pin. He went forward, opened the tool box, got a pin and hammer and drove the pin into its place; the stranger looking on to see that everything was done right, but never speaking a word or uttering any kind of a sound. When all was finished and ready to start up the horses, the stranger held out his hand to Jacob as though to bid him good bye, but the stranger's hand looked like hot iron. For an instant, Jacob hesitated, then quickly enfolded his hand in the flap of his long mantle, and then shook hands with the stranger, who as quickly disappeared. But that part of Jacob's mantle that had come between his hand and the strangers had entirely burned away, leaving only a singed ring all around where the cloth has disappeared.

During these years, each of the five sons had to take his turn serving the government in the military ranks, and at the end of these six years, they found themselves well toward thirty years of age, without money or any other property in their possession, and since the law of the land required a certain amount of money value in possession of the men, he could not obtain a license to marry any woman, unless she had the required amount.

So it occurred to Jacob to become the pioneer of the family and seek a new home in the wonderful new world America -- where political air was free; where there were millions of acres of virgin land to be had on time payments; where taxes were very low; religious beliefs unrestrained and where each citizen had equal voice in government and no military service to perform.

Early in the spring of 1840 or '41, Jacob packed his small ironbound wooden chest, bid the family adieu and Leonhart drove him to Ludwigshafen where he took a down river sail and rowboat to Rotterdam. Here he found a three-masted schooner bound for the golden west, the great harbor of New York. Besides the fare paid in gold or silver, each passenger had to supply his own rations as well as cooking utensils and bedding for the trip.

All the ship owners supplied their passengers was Schiffszweiback (ship bread) water and fuel for cooking. Jacob found himself on a fast sailing ship; consequently the trip from Rotterdam to New York consumed only ten week's time. Arrived in New York, he looked about the city a couple of days and then took passage on a small sailboat up the Hudson River to Albany, thence by canal boat to Rochester, N.Y., which was at that time quite a thriving village. Here he found employment in a factory. But the chances for securing cheap land on easy terms of payment were not to his liking and as there was a continual stream of emigrants passing through the town pressing westward to Buffalo, Dunkirk, Erie, into the western reserve and still further west from Buffalo over the Great Lakes to Milwaukee on Lake Michigan he finally concluded to go further west too. In the meantime he wrote letters to the folks back home informing them of the various prospects in the new country and that so many German emigrants were going into Wisconsin he was tempted to make that journey too.

During his two years stay in the northwestern part of New York he received two letters from the folks at home. Then a newspaper fell into his hands which was printed in the German language -- The New York State Zeitung -- in which he found descriptions of virgin lands in the northwestern corner of the state of Pennsylvania, south of Fort Erie. So he and another young German took sail from Buffalo to Fort Erie from which point they traveled south in the hills and dense forests of Northwestern Pennsylvania. They found a number of settlements scattered along the various small streams which form the headwaters of the Allegheny River. The land was excellent though heavily timbered with white oak, black walnut, and chestnut. Land was being sold in the raw state for from a dollar and a quarter up to two and one-half dollars per acre. Here Jacob remained, bought some land, built a log cabin and went to work clearing the land, rod by rod, of the immense forest trees. After he had finished his cabin, he wrote a letter to the folks In the old home but never received a reply. In another two years he wrote again, still no reply. Soon after he secured the land, he married and started raising a family. Letter writing became a lost art to him. The years drifted on, one by one. The Mexican War had come and gone, had become a memory. The Civil War came and shook the whole United States until it seemed it must fall to pieces or at least be rent in two. That too, passed over. Uncle Jacob prospered to such an extent that he felt himself a landgraf, indeed. As his sons grew to manhood he gave them each eighty acres of land with a house and farm buildings on each eighty.

The family back home in the old country became only a memory to him, although he often longed to find some trace of his brothers. He always felt sure that at least some of them had come to America, but where to? That was the question which remained to be answered with the unfolding of the years and by direction of God's providence. It seems to me that I was predestined as the medium through whom the remnants of the long lost members of the family found each other -- of this later on.

Now I must turn back to the old home in Rhine Palatena. At the time Jacob left, my Father was doing military duty. The baby in the family, Christine, was fourteen years of age. The two older sisters were married and went with their husbands to their respective homes. Fred was driving freight wagons. Leonhart and Mike were doing the work on the small, poor rocky farm.

The aged grandmother had died. The grandmother's tragic end came about this way -- George was home on a furlough. The three boys were asleep in the same room upstairs where the grandmother also had her sleeping room. Sometime during the night the boys were awakened by a terrible commotion throughout the garret, all sorts of solid articles seemed to be hurled from side to side,

striking the walls and their bedstead. The boys whispered to each other that this surely must be a witches dance right here in their home. As the commotion subsided, it ended up with a tearing noise like the rending of a linen sheet from top to bottom, and then a deathlike stillness followed and the boys resumed their slumbers. In the morning, grandmother's body was found in bed with the neck broken and the head turned in such a manner that the face was even with the back of the head rested even with the front of the body. Of course, this was the work of the Devil to whom she has sold her soul and had come that night to claim his own. She was about ninety hears of age when she died.

The folks received several letters from Jacob, all right, but the one he wrote soon after he had his cabin built, never reached them. So too, the letter from Leonhart to Jacob addressed to Rochester, never reached Jacob. The post offices did not forward mail matter without extra postage and uncalled for letters were not returned to the sender, especially not to one in a foreign country. The postage on a letter from the U.S.to Germany and vice versa was thirty-five cents. Quite a large sum in those days. Then, too, the sender of a letter which had to cross the Atlantic Ocean had to count on from four to six month's time to reach the sendee, especially if the letter was sent from some interior territory like Wisconsin to an interior point in Europe. It took three weeks for a letter to go from Milwaukee to New York City and sometimes longer.

In Leonhart's last letter to Jacob addressed to Rochester, he wrote the information that he and Frederick were coming to America and that he, Jacob, should wait for them in Rochester, and the three of them would go together out to Wisconsin. Then in the spring of l844, Fred and Leonhart left the old home and over the same route which Jacob had taken before them. My Father having served his six years in the military ranks, was now free to look after the old farm with Mike as second hand. After eleven weeks on the ocean, the two brothers reached N.Y.

They spent several weeks scouting around the sights of the blessed new country. Fred fell in love with the prosperous looking and rapidly growing town of Newark, New Jersey. He told Leonhart that Newark looked good and well civilized to him and he saw no use going so far out west where there was no civilized community as yet established and nothing but vast forests, wolves, bears and Indians to fight. Life to him seemed too short to be wasted in such a foolhardy undertaking. The brothers parted near anger on Leonhart's departure for he was determined to reach the great El Dorado whither every German emigrant that had a bit of sense left in his head was bound -- Wisconsin -- (accent on the first syllable).

So Fred stayed in Newark and Leonhart traveled on to Rochester. Here he spent several days looking for Jacob but no Jacob appeared. Yes, he met several people who knew one Jacob Zellhoefer but he had departed westward some months ago, but to just what place, no one seemed to know. Leonhart naturally concluded that Jacob had tired waiting at Rochester for his brothers and had gone on to Milwaukee, Wis. With this supposition in mind Leonhart, with a number of emigrants going to Wisconsin, went to Buffalo also and secured passage on a two masted sailing ship around the Great Lakes, arriving at Milwaukee in the fore part of September. Milwaukee at that time was a small village, most of the business houses were built on pilings close to the river when flowed into Lake Michigan at this point, and which was used as a harbor for the shipping going out and coming in over the lakes. Upon diligent search and inquiry, no trace of one Jacob Z. was found.

As there was then already considerable traffic between this lake port and the interior, west and northwest from Milwaukee, there were, especially at this time of the year, many loads of grain (wheat and oats) drawn by oxen coming into Milwaukee every day and returning lightly loaded with the needed supplies for the settlers, it was an easy matter for an emigrant for whom no one in particular was looking or expecting, to engage in transportation with oxteams of the homeward bound settlers. This is what Leonhart did, which landed him with his baggage in a small town situated on the Bark River in Jefferson County. This small town boasted a blacksmith and wagon repair shop, a tavern and general merchandising store with a post office. This place was called Rome. All the dwellings as well as the business houses were built of logs and the roofs covered with hand made shingles of white pine or tamarack.

As soon as there were enough children of school age in the settlement, a school district was formed, a day was announced when the schoolhouse was to be erected and every able bodied man was called upon to help in the erection of the schoolhouse. Some came with a yoke of oxen and log chain, others with sharp axes, some with crosscut saws, broadaxes, hammers, etc. The men were divided into groups, some were sent into the nearest forest to fell the trees and cut them up into logs of the prescribed length, the oxteams with their drivers snaked the logs out to the place where the building was to be erected. Others were assigned to roll the log into their respective places forming the walls, several who know something about carpentering made the door and window frames which had to be set in their places as the log walls grew in height, others with their broadaxes cut and dressed the floor joists and rafters. The women brought and prepared the food for the men at noon and by night the house was built all but the laying of the floor, the shingles on the roof and the setting of the window sashes. The second day, all those handy with carpenter tools completed the building and had it ready for school on the third day.

I do not remember ever seeing a fireplace built in a log house in Wisconsin. Everybody secured cast iron cooking and heating stoves. These stoves were shipped in, either from Buffalo around the lakes or from St. Louis up the Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River or other streams in the state.

Leonhart found employment at once with some of the farmers who were finishing up their fall work, at thirty-five cents a day, board and lodging. In the summer time, a work day consisted from sunup to sundown, in the fall from dawn till dark. Leonhart wrote quite regularly to the folks at home telling them that he had surely found the right spot on earth for establishing a new home, that the finest forest on earth were so immense that they were a nuisance and had to be destroyed by axe and fire out that the soil was so rich it bordered on the marvelous, land was cheap per acre and payments very easy. Why, with a few years hard work you could have your own farm (Bauereil) cattle, sheep and hogs galore; better all come, for this is God's country, etc. Of course such reports kindled wonderful enthusiasm and longing for the new land in the minds of these still left back in the old home.

As ship traffic over the lakes closed down for the long winter, the mail had to be transported overland by horse and saddle or when snow was on the ground by horse and jumper (homemade cutter or sled). Leonhart had to wait till spring before he received any news from overseas.

In his second year at Rome, he bargained for a quarter of land, and when winter approached, he went to work on his "farm", built a log cabin and then started clearing the land. The summer of 1845, he wrote a final letter to my Father, George, urging him to persuade the rest of the family to sell the little old farm and all come to Wisconsin the following year, and he urged his brother George to also persuade a certain pretty girl of about twenty-two summers, whom Leonhart had learned to love long before he had left home but could not marry there for reasons previously stated. Of course he had written her several passioned letters and told her of the wonderful outlook and chances of prosperity in the new country. Yes, but to break away from her own Father, Mother, sisters and brothers, who had no intention of leaving their old home. She would be all alone, a stranger, a defenseless young woman to undertake such a journey to Wisconsin. It wasn't thought of -- there were other young men right there at home. Being pretty in face and form, she had no cause to worry of ever becoming an old maid, and Leonhart was no peach in looks -- really he had a very homely face.

So George had a double task to perform; firsts to persuade Mother to sell out, pull up the old stakes and pack up the household goods and the rest of the family and go into the unknown faraway country blindly led by faith and hope. George had made up his mind to go to America even if he had to go alone, Mike too, was enthusiastic, especially to get away from that six years military service which was soon to begin for him. The two younger daughters were quite willing to go as it would keep the family together. So after much thinking and many consultations it was decided to do the seemingly impossible.

While this was going on, George was quietly working on his second task. Of course he knew Leonhart's beloved very well and when he called on her as a lover by proxy and talked to her about Leonhart, she at first thought that George was talking for himself, that he was fighting around the bush. If George had asked her to marry him and go with him to America, she would have said "yes" at once. George liked the girl very well, but not to such an extent as to make her his wife. Her good looks and form and bright mind were all in her favor (she would have made a fetching flapper in this day) but she had a sharp tongue and a domineering spirit, two traits that George had always disliked in a woman.

When the girl's illusion was dispelled and her mind opened to the fact that Leonhart wanted her for a wife and that he had requested his brother to bring her along with the Zellhoefer family to America, she demurred and hesitated for sometime, finally she asked George "but what are you going to do about getting a wife for yourself?" "Well," said George, "there is a girl living here in town that I have taken a great fancy to, but I think she would turn me down if I would ask her to marry me and take her along to America." When he told her who the girl was, it turned out that this second girl was a dear friend and chum of the first girl. Then she told George if he was in earnest about the proposition, she would have a talk with that young lady and if she could persuade her to go along, then, she too, would be willing to go with the Zellhoefers to America, as then the two girl friends could stick together and be of assistance, one to the other.

By the time this understanding was agreed upon, spring of 1846 was close at hand. The farm and stock had been sold and must be relinquished to the purchaser, and the house vacated in time for the new owner to move his house furnishings, the spinning wheels and weaving looms, etc., iron bound chests and boxes, save the necessary clothing, bedding and cooking utensils, etc., were packed into large strong homespun linen sacks easy to carry on a man's back. For about two weeks the family made farewell visits among the numerous friends and neighbors, the two married daughters had also come to bid their Mother, brothers and sisters "good-bye."

Then by about the middle of April, the first leg of the long journey began by wagon transportation to Mannheim on the Rhine. By the time the party was aboard ship ready to sail towards the golden west, the month of May had well advanced. Through the English Channel, the weather and sailing were fine but 100 leagues out on the Atlantic, the voyagers struck heavy winds from the West that piled up the rolling waves as high as the tallest building on terra firma. The captain of the three-masted schooner ordered the sails set so as to drive the ship north to northwest which course gave the ship a peculiar slant and caused her to roll and lurch diagonally over the tops of the oncoming waves. Only tried sailors could navigate the deck without being pitched over the ship's rail into the boiling sea. All passengers were ordered to remain below decks in the dark cabins, lighted only by tallow candles fastened to the walls. All the hatches and vents were securely battened down in order to keep the waters from the great combers that broke over the ship's rail and flooded the deck, sometimes to a depth of three and four feet, from filling the ship's hold and drowning all the passengers. This storm kept up for three days without a respite. The majority of the passengers were seasick and were strewn around in their straw-filled bunks. Those that were not sick attended to the sick as best they could without having their heads cracked against the timbers by the constant lurching of the ship.

Finally the ship got so far to the North that she encountered icebergs and snow storms and every one aboard ship shivered from the cold, and still the head winds blew a gale. One night the Captain gave orders to tack ship. The turn to the South was successfully made, though the ship's timbers creaked, groaned and shivered. Passengers were pitched or rolled out of their berths onto the floor and the waves poured over the ship to such an extent that at one time she seemed to be completely buried beneath the raging waters. All the passengers thought their last day had come and would never see daylight again. But they did not sink.

When daylight appeared, the ship was headed south by southwest, and now the rolling of the ship was reversed. Gastronomical sensations also changed, some felt relief while others experienced a more intensified seasickness. As the ship advanced towards more southern latitudes, the air grew warmed, the sun broke through the clouds but the wind, though with much less force, steadily blew from the West.

George, through all this storm and turmoil of the sea, never once felt even the smallest twinge of seasickness. He was the only one of his party to escape this dreaded malady. It kept him busy day and night attending to the wants and needs of his family. He was cook, nurse, chambermaid, doctor and whatnot. He was the first of the passengers to reappear on deck after the turn southward had been made. The two girls (brides to be) occupied a berth or bunk together and assisted each other nobly and without help from others. But when the weather had moderated to such an extent that it was safe for escorted women to appear on deck, George invited the two girls to come on deck with him. Which they did. But when they were the high but now lazily rolling waves coming toward them and throwing the broken spray high over the prow of the ship, they took alarm and retreated to their cabin below deck.

After several days more of the gradually dying down of the wind and the waves, George persuaded his girl, whose name was Anna, to come on deck with him for fresh air and a little promenade. She accepted and of course the little ship, of only eight-hundred tons burthen, still heaved and twisted her neck over the rollers which gave a landsman poor footing for a straight walk, so George had taken Anna by the arm in order to steady her. This close and warm contact of the two bodies caused a peculiar though pleasant sensation to course through the veins of both, and as they promenaded back and forth and talked of their future prospects in the new land, if they ever reached 1t, they became more confidential toward each other. George had wonderful ambitions -- what all he was going to do, what a fine farm he was going to make, how many cows, oxen, hogs, sheep he was going to raise for market, etc. Anna in return said the first thing she was going to do was to get a position in some Yankee's farmer's home in order to quickly learn American housekeeping and butter making.

So the days on board ship passed, one by one, and the days passed into weeks and the weeks into months. The ship was still headed towards Brazil; the wind was still from a westerly direction, sometimes veering for short periods to the Northwest. The air grew hot and hotter as the ship clipped southwest. The promenading of passengers on deck became numerous and more regular. George and Anna grew closer together and their promenades on deck became more regular. Confidences of a more intimate nature were exchanged, the seeds of conjugal love began to sprout, and one day as they were strolling together in the hot sun that scorched the deck and drew blisters on the paint on the deck house, they had come well toward the prow of the ship where a furled sail cast a shadow on some folded shrouds lying on deck. "This is a good place for a tee-a-tee between lovers, make use of this opportune invitation and rest a while in the cool shade."

Inspirationally, the two lovers sat down side by side very close together. George was telling Anna for "the Nth" time of his aspirations in the new country; how he would first of all secure some land, build a house and barn of logs and as soon as the dam was built across the Bark River and the saw mill put up to turn trees into boards and scantlings, he would cut the large trees on his land and haul them in winter, when the deep snow was on the ground, on a sled to the saw mill and so get plenty of lumber to build a regular frame house. "But you see, my dear Anna, to do all this I must first have a wife as a companion and helper". Anna had listened without saying a word or giving a sign that she understood what George was driving at, only now she said: "Yes, that is true, you will need a wife if you are going to do all you say you intend doing." George slid closer to Anna and started talking again while her eyes locked straight ahead out over the vast and deep blue Atlantic. George's left arm stole softly around Anna's waist without her seemingly noticing it. He pressed his face closer to her ear and in a low voice said, "Anna, I want you to accept that position as wife to me and helper in making the farm of my dream. Will you do it? And then our future is solved and our fortune made together." While thus speaking, the muscles in his left arm grew taut and gently pressed her to his heart. Her answer was, "Yes, I will", and turned her face up to receive the sealing kiss of her promise.

Meanwhile, the other girl whose name was Charlotte had been looking for her chum and found the two beneath the reaved sail in each other’s arms. "So that's what you two are doing, you are nice ones to play such a deceitful trick as this, how long has this been going on, etc. etc.?" She played fast and loose, but all to no avail. The two lovers laughed at her and George said, "Just wait until you meet Leonhart, you've been promised to him over two years and when we get to Rome we will have a double wedding and then you will be my sister, which is something to highly appreciate." Then Mother Zellhoefer was informed of George's and Anna's engagement, and she said, "Well that is what I had anticipated and why Anna had been induced to come with us to America."

By this time the ship had sailed as far south as the northern edge of the Saragossa sea and the wind had almost died down completely. Again the ship's nose was turned northwestward, a light wind still being from the West. The heat during the day was oppressive and almost unendurable. The ship's drinking water became very warm and almost foul, the people had to boil it and cool it off at night, worms had gotten into the bread, all vegetables were consumed, only some potatoes were still at hand. Butter and lard had become rancid. Coffee, tea and sugar still held out; also the salt pork and beef packed in strong brine in large barrels. Of course canned fruits and vegetables were unknown in those days.

The month of September was drawing near and the ship's population had not seen or tested any green things so far that year. Salt meat, potatoes, hard ship bread, coffee, tea and sugar in small doles, constituted the menu for the passengers. Several passengers, a man, a woman and two children had become sick and died, their bodies sewed in canvas and iron weights attached to the feet and the bodies slipped off a plank into the sea.

As the ship crept north westward still bucking a westerly wind, the weather became more tolerable and also more stormy. Heavy clouds appeared coming from the West and by late afternoon the wind and rain hit the ship, sails were spread on deck in such a way that the rain water thereon caught was directed into large casks. The storm increased in violence, veering off to the Northwest. It blew with such violence that the ship had to be tacked with the wind. The Captain did not want to risk another turning like the previous one that nearly scuttled the ship with its load of human freight, as the ship was allowed to drive before the wind with just enough sail up to keep the boat steady. When this storm had exhausted itself and the wind veered to east by northeast, the Captain told George that they were 600 miles nearer Europe than they were several days ago, made them disconsolate indeed. But strange to say, after the storm passed on the Southeast, the wind began to veer off to the east and finally to the Northeast. Coming from that direction, and increasing in velocity, the ship was soon under a full head of sail and speeding with the wind toward New York at a tremendous clip. This breeze held good until the ship reached New York harbor and landed its passengers at Castle Garden, the free for immigrant station.

It is now the latter part of September. The immigrants had been aboard ship just fourteen weeks and three days, and still a long way to go before reaching their destination. Going along the docks and streets of New York, everywhere they looked there were all sorts of fruits and vegetables staring them in their faces. Even before they sought or chose lodging places, they purchased fruits, melons, cucumbers, etc., and devoured them right on the spot.

In New York the company of family spent a number of days. Arrangements had to be made for transshipment of their goods as well as passage secured for Buffalo and Milwaukee and then too, All the wonderful things to be had to eat at such low prices, who knows when, if ever, there would be another chance to get such wonderful things to eat, so let's eat our fill for this is America the land of wealth and great abundance. Of course they should have known better than to indulge so heavily in these unaccustomed fruits and vegetables after months of such diet as they had aboard ship. Still who could blame them, no one told them of the tremendous price they would have to pay for this orgy of over indulgence. Soon after, others of the party became sick with colic, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They became very disgusted with New York's unhealthfulness, bad water, unclean streets, etc., and hurried to resume their journey.

The railroad having been completed from New York to Albany, they went by rail at the great speed of 15 miles per hour to that town, and then over the Erie Canal to Buffalo. Nearly all of the party were still sick, some almost dangerously ill with dysentery. They were two weeks on the water from Buffalo to Milwaukee and about a week and a half from New York to Buffalo, so by the time they landed at Milwaukee the fall of the year was well advanced.

In Milwaukee they had to first send word to Leonhart of their arrival and then wait until he came with two wagons drawn by oxen. By the time they reached Rome some of them were so weak they could hardly walk a few steps. Happily a couple of vacant cabins were secured for the winter and here they started their career in the new world.

The Mother never fully recovered from the illness and had to be kept in bed from the very beginning. George and Charlotte seemed to have been the toughest of the lot and had regained their usual health in a very short time. Charlotte accepted the hand of Leonhardt and so a double wedding took place in one of the cabins, she going immediately with Leonhardt to his farm, as he called it.

Cold, raw weather set in very early, with rain and snow, and it looked like a hard winter coming on, which indeed it was.

During the summer and fall of that year, cholera raged in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and other sections and also in the southern part of Wisconsin; whole families were wiped out by this scourge and thousands of people had died from the deadly disease, as far south as Memphis, Tenn. The scourge had also reached Rome and it seems the newly arrived immigrants were especially susceptible to it. So in spite of cold and snow, the winter of '46 and '47 called for a large number of death victims. All through the winter the houses were turned into hospitals, nearly everybody was sick, one after another died and the relatives could not bury their dead; they too lay helplessly sick in bed.

Mother died first, then George's wife, then the older of the two sisters. They were all buried hurriedly by strangers on a plot of ground outside the village; not one grave being marked. When spring finally arrived and the snow disappeared, there appeared 38 fresh earth mounds and all looked alike. In the summer, a rail fence was built around this plot of ground and about an acre secured across the road and a regular cemetery laid out in time.

As a boy, I often visited these unknown graves and often wondered which was grandmothers, which auntie's and which father's bride whom he had won on the bosom of the great Atlantic and who was torn from his side just eight weeks after marriage. But no-one, not even the grave diggers, could tell one grave from another. The ground looked so different with the snow removed than it did in the winter with three or four feet of snow on the ground.

When the late March sun shone bright and warm and the warm April winds brought showers of rain the snow melted and disappeared like magic, the creeks and the rivers overflowed their banks and washed the earth as if it were clean from all contamination and perfect health and strength returned to the sick.

Now there were only three left in the cabin where Mother, wife and sister had been living only such a sort time and then carried out and laid away beneath the snow and earth. The golden glow and glitter of the new country had disappeared. The plans so enthusiastically laid during the long sea voyage were shattered, the air castles built had tumbled into ruins; all the golden dreams of joy and prosperity had turned into rough skeletons and sorrow untold. George was seized with brooding thoughts of providential wrong and fates cruel injustice.

Mike seemed to be more cheerful for he started out to look for work with some Yankee family and found a place near the village of Janesville. Christine also found a place in Rome as a house maid. That left George alone.

Leonhardt with his bride was very happy and since there was considerable money left from the sale of the home in the old country and which was their mother's property, an administrator had to be appointed for their mother's estate which consisted of household goods and about $2000 in American money deposited in the Jefferson County Bank. I have never been able to learn the exact amount for the simple reason that the brothers could not agree on which one of them should be appointed administrator. George thought that since he had a far better education that Leonhardt and had brought Mother to America, was looked after by him, died in their mutual home that he should have the office; while Leonhardt claimed prior right because he was the older. Lawyers were engaged with promise of payment of fees out of the estate, the costs of probate court were also heavy, but Leonhardt won out and received the appointment. By the time the lawyers and other fees were paid and final distribution was made, the sum total had dwindled almost to a vanishing point. Each of the surviving members of the family received $40 including the two married sisters in Europe. Of course no one knowing where Jacob was or what had become of him, his portion remained in the hands of the administrator, (Leonhardt).

Considerable bad feeling and resentment had arisen during this period, in the hearts and minds of George, Mike and Christine, against their brother, Leonhardt, and they openly made the claim that he had manipulated matters with the connivance of a shyster lawyer, so as to gain the major portion of their deceased mother's estate for himself and because it soon appeared that Leonhardt's farm was clear of debt, a new house built, etc., which all went to prove to their satisfaction the correctness of their accusation.

One night Leonhardt and George met each other in the tavern bar room where drinking and card playing was carried on in which both the brothers freely indulged. Under the influence of alcoholic stimulants, brotherly love was dispelled and hate and resentment took its place. At a late hour Leonhardt arose to start for his home. George spoke to Leonhardt that he would go some distance with him as he wanted to talk some matters over with him privately. On the way, the subject of this private talk was the division of their mother's money. Hot words were exchanged between them which turned into blows of the fists, a clinch, a staggering back and forth and a fall together on the frozen ground with Leonhardt on his back and George on top of him with his left hand clutching hard on Leonhardt's throat. In his raging fury George desired then and there to strangle his brother until he was dead. Just then a late moon shone through a rift in the clouds above and lighted up the scene of brother murdering brother. As the dimmed light revealed Leonhardt's face, it appeared ghastly gray and blue and a voice seemed to say: "What are you doing, killing your brother as Cain killed Abel?" His hand relaxed and trembling he regained his feet. Leonhardt was unconscious and it required considerable effort on George's part to shake him back to life, then he said, "Now I had nearly killed you but I am sorry for what I have done: I will never again lay hands on you or ever mention this detested subject to you again." Leonhardt made no reply and so the brothers parted and spoke to no one of this occurrence.

I doubt whether Leonhardt's wife or even my Mother heard the true side of this story or any particulars about this episode more than the report of a violent quarrel between the brothers. From that night on, George's moroseness of mind took a change for the better. He honestly believed that it was God's voice that saved him from becoming a murderer. A sense of thankfulness filled his mind and with it his heart became lighter and new courage took hold of him. In the fall of '47 Mike came back home with his summer wages in his picket and together with what George had saved, a tamarack farm with a two-roomed house on it was secured. Christine kept house for the two that winter, while George and Mike cleared land.

Christine had become engaged to the village tailor, a young man with the name of "Veit" Debereiner and early in '48 the two were married, bought a small farm on the south side of the river a short distance down stream, but Uncle Veit did not abandon his tailoring but walked back and forth from farm to tailor shop, while his wife managed the small farm.

But at this point in my narrative, I will leave Rome on the Bark River and once more take my reader across the Atlantic Ocean to an altogether different part of Europe from where we saw the Zellhoefer family leave the ancestral home to seek a new one in America.

If you take a map of Europe to hand and look it over carefully, you will find a watershed from where the rains and melting snows form rivers which flow from the one side into the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and on the other side flow south and west until they empty into the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Seas. This watershed in Central Europe is composed of a range of mountains that curve around from south east, north west, and then in an eastwardly direction way off into Rumania and the Balkan states. This mountain range forms the western border of Bohemia and bears the name Bohmen Meld and, from where the chain swings to the East and forms the boundary between Bohemia and the Kingdom of Saxony, it takes the name "Erzgeberge" meaning mineral mountains.

Tracing this chain of mountains westward, we find on the north side a state or province called Silicia or rather "Schlesian". It joins Poland on the East, Bohemia on the South, Saxony on the West, and Aesen on the North. This Erzgeberge has been mined for its various ores and salt for ages. No historian is able to tell just when the first mine was worked by human hands. Breslau is the capital of this province and Dresden to the West in the capital of Saxony. Starting at a point south of Dresden and following the mountain range eastward, we come to a mountain peak called Hirshberg -- this peak is seldom seen without its snow cap on the top. A short distance toward the north of this peak, clustered in the foothills of the range, is the town bearing the same name as the mountain peak -- Hirshberg.

All along the northern side of the Erzgeberge, in the foothills, up the steep mountain side, in the gulches, canyons and small valleys, where ever a stream of water gushes down, westward and eastward from Hirshberg, untold generations of pure blooded Germanian peoples have lived and worked, built castles and miles upon miles of tunnels into the bowels of the mountains for metals and as places of refuge when hard pressed by enemies. During the centuries when the feudal system was in vogue, the lords owned rich lands to the North and East of the mountains down to and across the valley of the River Oder, and built their castles on the lower peaks of this chain of mountains, looking out over the fertile lands to the North and east. These lords, when combined, formed powerful forces in the government under the so called German Kaisers whose capital was the City of Vienna. Often too, these lords got to disputing among themselves over political or land boundary questions usually settled these questions by force of arms against each other.

In this particular region and in sight of Hirshberg peak, two lords were at loggerheads and fought each other for years, neither one gaining a victory over the other, until one day a simple plan of conquest was formed by the one party, which, when consummated and carried out, proved so disastrous to the defeated party, that nothing was left of the great castle but ruins and desolation. The legend runs something like this:

A truce had been agreed upon between the contending parties and an apparent peace had settled down upon the estates, when the one lord noticed that the doves from both estates often flew back and forth during the daytime and mingled together in one flock. He gave orders to his men to watch carefully when a flock of his neighbor's doves alighted on the Hof and then to entice them with feed and snare or entrap as many as possible and shut them up. This was carried out most successfully and when a sufficient number had been caught, they were taken out of the cages just after sundown, pitch stuck to their tail feathers, the pitch set afire and the doves released. Of course they immediately flew for home to their own cots and with the burning pitch attached to them, set every building in the castle afire. When the court population was at the highest peak of excitement, the hired mercenaries from the other castle appeared on the ground and, in place of assisting in quenching the fire, they took fire brands and carried them into the castle proper. When the morning sun appeared, there was nothing left but smoking ruins.

Most of the castle people had perished in the flames, those who did not, sought refuge in the labyrinth of tunnels that had the main entrance from deep down underneath the castle walls; but few of these underground refugees ever saw daylight again, they wandered from one passage to another until they dropped exhausted from thirst, hunger and fatigue. The conquering lord took possession of the destroyed castle's lands and in turn suffered equal destruction by the Kaisers forces and a company of other lords. In this and in similar manner, this region in later years became known as the land of ruins.

In the time of the seven-years war [1756-1763], when King Frederick, the so-called Great, was making war on Austria, great battles were fought in Silicia, around Breslau down to the mountains around Hirshberg, there lived a wealth and rather aristocratic family by the name of Tartsch, who carried on a lucrative exporting and importing business, between Breslau, Vienna, Budapest and further down the Danube River.

During this seven-years war the Tartsch family became bankrupt, as did many others, and when peace was signed they found their native province detached from Austria and attached to the Kingdom of Prussia. All trade routes down to Vienna on the Danube were blocked if not entirely destroyed by the war and high tariff after the war.

Still the Tartsches resumed their former business on a small scale with headquarters in Breslau. Later came the Napoleonic wars against Austria. Napoleon was hailed as a deliverer of the oppressed, and many young men from Silicia joined his ranks, but alas, the whole country round about was ravaged, scoured clean of almost everything that goes to sustain human life, and after the battle of Koeniggratz and the signing of the peace, little Sales found itself devastated and still a part of Prussia.

Nearly all the Tartsches had disappeared, some died on the fields of battle, others of want and disease, a few female members remained in Breslau, on branch of the family moved to Dresden in Saxony, one moved into the neighborhood of Hirshberg, became know as a desirable place for summer tourists because of the beautiful mountain scenery and mountain air as well as for its many and wonderful ruins of former centuries.

Here we find one of the surviving members of the Tartsch family, named Gotlieb Tartsch. He had brought his bride with him from Breslau, Rented a Wirschaft which contained numerous rooms for guests, had a brewery and distillery connected with the place and close to an immense castle ruin and a labyrinth of tunnels and underground passages extending into the mountains to cut down distances. This young Tartsch couple were the parents of my sainted Mother. Here she was born and with her one sister, Ernstine, and her two brothers William and August, grew to womanhood, her name being Friederika. Father and Mother Tartsch being well endowed with native shrewdness, frugality, good education and above all an asset, the business in their line, bore a veneer or polish such as the higher class assumed in the social scale then in vogue.

Everything in the establishment was kept orderly, clean and inviting to strangers, no rough, boisterous or loud performances were allowed and heavy drinking or drunkenness was strictly discountenanced on the premises. The Father and Mother being strict adherents to the Lutheran faith, their children received their training and schooling in strict accordance with that faith in the home and in the village school and church near by.

The close-by ancient ruins were those of the castle ostensibly destroyed in the manner previously described and contained numerous vaults and underground chambers whose heavy arched roofs and walls were still intact in spite of the hundreds of tons of rock and rubbish from the destroyed castle on top of the ruins. Here grandfather had trails or paths laid out and some parts of the ruins cleared of the rubbish in such a manner that quite a number of these old buried dungeons were accessible to visitors. About two and one half miles up the gulch, someone had discovered in the solid rock wall, traces of masonry and after securing a permit from the authorities, an opening was made through the wall and a hewn out passage was found extending into the hills at right angles. In following this passage some distance, other passages were encountered branching off to the right and left at various degrees. Farther in, a much wider and higher tunnel was encountered which appeared to form the main artery of this peculiar system of underground passages but it too branched off in various directions with a number of sharp turns to right or left and numerous other tunnels branching off and running in various directions into the bowels of the mountains.

By utilizing packing twine and lanterns, grandfather with two of his men employees, penetrated these tunnels to a distance of five German miles in as nearly straight line as it was possible to do so, but no end to the passages was discovered; Passage led into passage until the whole appeared a labyrinth of passages without order or any kind of system. Some human bones and skulls were found, the air was foul and stifling to such an extent that the candles gave but a small light and the explorers feared for their lives because of the foul air and noxious gasses that grew denser as they advanced inwardly. In all these passages so far explored and at spaced intervals, benches of solid rock appeared which had been formed when the passages were hewn out. These benches varied in size, some just large enough to serve as a seat for one person, some in the wider passages were broad and long enough to permit a person to lie down and stretch out at full length. Needless to say that the supposition prevailed that these passages had their main entrance somewhere underground in the ruins of the castle. Perhaps at this day and age, the ruins have been fully cleared of rubbish, the underground entrance discovered and the system of tunnels surveyed and opened up for inspection by the general publish under the guidance of properly appointed persons and an admittance fee charged.

While the Tartsch children were growing up and attending school, they spent many a bright sunshiny holiday exploring and roaming around in these old ruins, playing hide and seek or digging for buried treasures, such as silver and gold coins and articles but above all diamonds.

Even you, of this practical, unromantic and shall I say unimaginative age, can form a picture in your mind what these youngsters must have though, felt and imagined while playing amount the old ruins where hundreds of years ago aristocratic ladies and gentlemen lived, ate, drank, laughed and danced, wore costly and fine clothes, jewels of every description and all of a sudden during one night their lives were snuffed out by fire and sword. No wonder that some of these dead often returned in the spectral forms to live over again the jolly times they had in the flesh or hunt as ghosts for the sparkle of the diamonds which had so exhilarated their spirits on earth and which had been buried deep under the ruins of their once happy home. The fruits or effects of such a cataclysm were hard to understand even at the beginning of the 19th century after centuries of Christian teaching and advancement of modern civilization.

Even Martin Luther the great apostle of Protestantism and the man endowed with God's Holy Spirit in such a measure as no other man of that day and age and who gave the Devil -- Old Satan -- with his own eyes and threw his ink bottle well filled with ink at him. Of course, the Devil dodged quickly enough to permit the bottle to hit the stone wall and splash the contents of the broken bottle all over the surface of the wall. Now we call it an hallucination of an overworked mind, a self mind presentation of his supposed spiritual opposer. Yet Luther believed it and because he believed in a person Devil, he derived more energetic courage to fight against the sinister and dark forces of immorality, unbelief, savagery and devilish superstitions under which the people were laboring and groping in the darkness and sin, praying to heaven and the Saints for spiritual light to dispel grief, sorrow and the pangs of death.

Who today would be crude and misunderstanding enough to mock or laugh at the past generations for some of the beliefs, traditions, fables, superstitions and other indulgences they harbored and lived in?

One day as William and Friederika went to play and explore in the old ruins, they spied a large rabbit on the edge of the ruins and William chased it inside where it disappeared among a pile of rocks. Thinking that the rabbit had simply sought temporary refuge they began to carefully remove some rocks, thinking they could get hold of the rabbit and so catch him alive. They removed rock after rock, but no rabbit was found. Friederika left off and went to another part of the ruins, but William was determined to find the rabbit so kept on prying away the stones, when all of a sudden the hand spike was jerked out of his hands, a peculiar whistling sound emanated from the excavation he had made, and a gray fawn leaped out past him and disappeared in a farther section of the ruins; but the whistling sound kept right on producing a fluttering sensation around his head. Of course Will did not tarry long, but ran to where his sister was and reported his experience to her. This stopped their play for the day.

Grandpa later send a couple of men with proper tools to continue the excavation which the children had begun and after working a while with crowbar and shovel, disclosed an opening beneath. After the opening was enlarged enough, they took a rope and let it down till it touched the bottom. One of the men descended with a lighted candle and found himself within a fault or dungeon. There still were rusty rings encased in the masonry and rusty chain links on the floor -- two human skeletons also lay on the ground, all fallen to pieces at the joints and parts of rust consumed iron bands around the ankle bones. It was presumed that these men had been prisoners of the castle and chained to the dungeon walls at the time of destruction and that they either suffocated or starved to death afterwards, and that their spirits haunted the ruins seeking vengeance and rest for their souls.

At the age of 14 years, Friederika finished her schooling, was confirmed in the village church and pronounced ready for life's work. Now she was at liberty to participate in the gayeties of society and dances held in her father's Gasthof. She was soon installed as a waitress and barmaid attending to the pleasures and wants of the numerous summer guests frequenting this resort, as also the numerous village folks who liked to spend an evening or a holiday at grandfather's Gasthof where they drank beer at the tables, played cards or dancing in the adjoining dance hall. Friederika being a rather vivacious pretty girl, learned to dance superbly and was much sought after as a dancing partner.

As Grandfather brewed his beer and distilled his own alcohol and brandy, the profits were quite considerable, especially too that he furnished a great part of the beer and "Schnapps" consumption of the town's population. The standard drinks were beer and "Zwetschen schnapps" (prune brandy) also Kartoffel schnapps (potato alcohol).

Another part of Friederika's duties consisted in guiding tourists in and about the underground passages above described, using the entrance discovered up the gulch. Lanterns or candles were carried and signs hung on the walls as far as it was safe for anyone to penetrate these tunnels.

One tourist, a young man, laughed at the idea of a guide and persuaded grandfather to permit him to do more exploring on his own accord. After hesitating for some time, grandfather allowed him to go; he took several candles, a lunch and a bottle of water with him, started off in the morning with the assertion that he would be back before evening. Evening arrived but the man did not get back. In the morning there was still no sign of the young man's return. On the third day, grandfather organized a searching party. As they advanced, they heard the echoing call of the man somewhere in the interior, but as the sound seemed to come from all directions, they could not locate the place where the sound originated. They kept the search up all day until midnight, and the next day they resumed the search and so on the fifth day when the sound of the calling voice grew dimmer and farther away until it ceased altogether. The man was never found, neither dead nor alive. From that time on, the tunnel visitors respected the guide more and followed instructions better than before the incident just related.

But the time has arrived when everything seemed to point to the desirability if not the necessity for a change in a material sense. There came along summers growth, the prunes and other fruits dried on the branches of the trees, potatoes were nil, the owner of the place asked for higher rent.

Bill and August were becoming to be young men and therefor subject to six year's service in the Prussian army. Some other friends from Breslau had immigrated to America and had written of the wonder prospects in Wisconsin, so that all told the Tartsch family resolved to sell out and go to the land of gold -- America. Grandfather quickly found a buyer who bought his interest cash, in German gold including all of the house furnishings except enough bedding, cooking utensils and dishes to set up housekeeping in the new country. The women retained their spinning wheels and flax holders.

Early in the spring of 1846, they loaded their goods and themselves on an oxen-drawn wagon and started for Bremerhaven on the North Sea. As they went along, they passed through Magdeburg and other historical places. After two weeks travel, they arrived safely at the harbor and soon found passage on a small sailing vessel bound for New York, well supplied with provisions and plenty of good water. On the sea some very heavy storms were encountered, but in spite of this, the ship crossed over the Atlantic from Bremerhaven in just 12 weeks. Poor Friederika was seasick all the way over and all the rest of her life this tendency to seasickness never left her. Just watching the waves, say on Lake Michigan, or riding in a -- (illegible) on the railroad caused her to become seasick without fail.

Arrived in New York the family found plenty of fresh fruits, etc., but having been well fed on board ship they were not so hungry as some other immigrants spoken of before, consequently did not over indulge with eating new foods. They found a canal boat in the harbor which was rigged with a sail and had come down through from Buffalo to New York, and was about ready for the return trip. On this boat they took passage with all their goods and luggage. Arrived at the junction of the Erie Canal with the Hudson, two decrepit horses were hitched to a long tow rope and the start westward was made. It proved to be a very slow and tedious trip. The women whiled away the days by sitting on top and knitting woolen stockings and mittens. In two week's time they reached Buffalo and from there a fast run around the Great Lakes landed them in Milwaukee. A forty mile trip inland with ox team brought them to Rome on the Bark River.

Grandfather, having considerable money left over from the sale of his property, immediately bought a farm to the south and east of the village. This farm had a well-built house and barn (both of logs) as well as a forty acre clearing ready for seeding fall wheat. With the farm he got all of the farming implements, wagon, a yoke of oxen, several cows, pigs, chickens geese and ducks. So the family found itself well established by the time winter set in and escaped all the scourge of sickness and death which overwhelmed so many others less fortunately situated than they.

Friederika, having been born on the 22nd day of April 1828, was then just in her 18th year; not tall in stature but strong in body and very healthy. She had been described to me as a very pretty girl with abundant hair (dark) small feet, small ankles and shapely limbs extending from a well-formed body, showing her to be a product of an ancient aristocratic stock. In my younger days, back in Wisconsin, I heard more than one person who had known my Mother as a girl, express their wonderment that such a fine looking woman as Friederika Tartsch was ever induced to marry such a homely looking man as George L. Zellhoefer, especially too, since he was ten years older than she. But I am getting ahead of my story.

There was a young man named Ernest Aurbach, also a native of Silicia who had settled farther west in Dane Co., and who had settled at Rome, he soon came over to welcome the family in the new country and renew their former acquaintence-ship; needless to say that young Aurbach courted and won Ernstine before the winter was over, were married and at once moved to their new farm home in Dane Co. I am sorry to say that I can tell but little pertaining to the Aurbachs. I saw Aunt Ernstine but once and that was at a time when I was still a very small child.

There seems to have arisen some sort of an estrangement between the family members following the conversation of my Father and Mother and joining with the detested and persecuted Methodists before I was born.

The marriage of the older sister left Friederika as solo help to Mother Tartsch in performing the duties of the farm household. Father Tartsch with his two sons William and August did the farm work till harvest time when all the women-folks had to assist with the making of hay and harvesting the grain. The grain cradle was an American invention and far superior to the hand sickle as used in their old home for gathering the standing grain. It was the man's job to sing the cradle, cut the grain and lay it in even swathes, to be raked up with hand rakes and bound into bundles. The latter was done by the women or half grown boys. So Friederika spent many a long and warm day in the hay and grain fields until all was gathered under roof of the barn or put into stacks outside.

George and Mike had separated, leaving George to work on his land and keep house by himself the best he could. Often he would go to the village tavern in the evening for company and diversion. Here the usual topics of conversation were crops and national politics. At that time there was great political excitement throughout the U.S. on account of the Mexican situation and the slavery question. Needless to say that with such an alert but excitable nature as that which George possessed soon found himself in the very midst of various political agitation's and since he took such a decided stand for freedom and liberty to all who dwelt under the protection of the stars and stripes, was against slavery of any kind or nature and for the freedom of Texas and consequently in favor of war with Mexico, he made deadly enemies of those who held an opposite opinion. He already at that time showed himself as being very intolerant to opinions contrary to his own.

More often he would go of an evening, over to his sister and brother-in-law (the Debereiners) and as Uncle Debereiner was one of those quiet sort of men who would rather listen to someone else talk rather than talk himself, George found it more congenial to spend the evening at the D's than at the tavern. But in order to keep posted on what was going on, he was almost obligated to visit the tavern, for it was the place where news originated and exchanged. Christine often said to George, "Why don't you look around and find yourself a wife, no use going on the way you are going now." "Yes," he replied, "you can talk because you are settled and have a good husband, but where would I find a woman that would to marry me and that would make a good wife for me? I think I'd better enlist and go down to Mexico and fight the Mexicans and perhaps find a gold or silver mine or make my fortune some other way down in Texas."

Christine would not listen to such talk but called his attention to a family on a nearby farm just up the hill by the name of Tartsch, who had a girl named Friederika and if he tried hard enough and made himself agreeable, he might be able to win her. But George had scruples of his own that discouraged him. These Tartsches seemed sort of exclusive, apparently too high toned and aristocratic to tack such notice of George Zellhoefer. But there was a native or intuitive trait of character in George which, when brought into use seemed to captivate people. He could smile a perfect smile as well as cast a perfect frown; he could talk fluently, intelligently, convincingly in a smooth and almost perfect high German language. In other words, he had the knack of making himself very agreeable with others whenever he chose to do so. Of course his sister Christine knew this and believed that if she could only get him to make the start, he would succeed with the Tartsches.

So one evening in the early summer of 1848, he ventured forth, cleanly shaven and dressed in his best clothes. Of course he had often met old man Tartsch and the boys, and therefor was not exactly a stranger to the family. He was heartily welcomed by Pa and Ma and the boys, introduced to the girl, and spent a very pleasant evening. These visits grew more frequent and the purpose and design of the visitor were soon discovered. George made himself very agreeable and neighborly. The men exchanged work, i.e., helped each other during haying and harvesting and many Sundays were spent by George in the Tartsch family.

Meanwhile, the sister, Christine, proved herself very active in visiting the Tartsch women and vice versa, so that quite an attachment grew up between Christine and the girl Friederika. Whether there ensued a regular courtship between George and Friederika, no one ever found out.

When I asked my Father about it his eyes just stared into the distance with a grim look in them followed by a slight motion of the head which could be interpreted as either yes or no. When I asked my Mother about it she just smiled and said "Why of course he courted me", but that was all she would say. Way down the years when Mother had been a widow for sometime, I put this question to her, "Mother, did Father ever kiss you before you were married?" The dear old mother's face lightened up and she said, "You foolish boy, of course he did." Then I said, "Mother, I wish you would tell me all about the way and manner Father gained your consent to marriage. He always appeared to me as so much of a matter of fact man that romance seemed a foreign element to him. I know he hated love stories or anything that was colored with the least bit of romance in the dye." Then she told me just how it happened. She said, "it is true that Father seemed stern and unromantic but he had a very soft and sympathetic heart and the stern cold appearance was the result of his bringing up, etc."

It was on a Sunday afternoon when he had been visiting with the family and partaken of the noonday dinner. The two Tartsch boys went off to some doings in the village, Father T. and George smoked their pipes while Mother and she washed and put away the dishes. Mother Tartsch lay down on a couch to rest, and Father T. began to doze off in the rocking chair. The two, George and Friederika slipped out through the back door for a stroll through the garden, then across a field into the maple woods or sugar bush as they called it and here under the shadow of a Hard maple they halted and sat down on the moss covered ground at the foot of the tree. George began to talk very earnestly about the seriousness of matrimony, how this state was ordained of God in purity and holiness, etc., ending up with the all-important question, "Will you consent to become my wife?" She accepted and promised to do so, then, for the first time he put his arm about her and kissed her on the lips and that was all there was to it, all else in this connection was taken for granted. Late in the month of November 1848 they were married.

Every German bride is fitted out with complete sets of bed linen, table linen, towels and dishes, so Friederika moved her personal belongings from her parents house over to the groom's cabin, a distance of about one mile and a quarter, and that constituted the honeymoon trip.

After the first year of their married life had passed, George's old cronies began to twit him about having married a barren young woman and that he was doomed to a fatherless condition, but after two years and two months, on Christmas Day of 1850, a daughter was born to them and named after Aunt Debereiner. Then as the years rolled by at quite regular intervals of two years, five sons and six daughters were born to them. These were -- Christine, William, John, George, Anna, August, Mary, Emma, Carolina, Edward, and Sarah, eleven in all, not much barrenness here, was there?

Father and Grandpa Tartsch got quite chummy and as Grandfather had an unusual amount of egotism and imagination, he was continually building mental castles of wealth. Being an old hand at brewing and distilling liquors, he soon, after Father and mother's marriage formed plans of erecting and installing a distillery. All the hard liquors, as well as beer had to be hauled in either from Milwaukee or Janesville, to the South. So Grandfather's idea was to put up a distillery plant and supply all the surrounding country with the necessary whiskey. He persuaded my Father to go in partnership with him in this business and they would become rich from the industry.

The plan was to get the timbers ready during the winter months, hew the logs, and have everything ready for the spring raising. So they went to work. Uncle Bill Tartsch was a sort of a carpenter, so he dressed the logs with axes and broadaxe, Father felled the trees in the woods and Grandfather snaked them out into the open space with the oxen. The distillery was to be erected on father's land as that was the closed to the village. By the time spring had arrived, there appeared strong opposition to the project on the part of Mother and grandmother. They told their men that they had had enough of that sort of business in their old home; That the climate and living conditions here were different from that of the old country; that the drinking of alcohol here caused men to become drunkards, vagabonds or thieves and if the put up and run a whiskey factory, the place would soon become the headquarters for everything that was vile, degrading and a hellhole for the whole neighborhood. They were not going to put up with it.

Father, who had entered into this project reluctantly, was easily persuaded by Mother to withdraw. When he notified his father-in-low of his intentions, the latter at first tried arguments, but he soon learned that argument with a Father only made him the more resolved and stubborn after he had once made up his mind to a thing. Grandfather began to cuss and swear and call my Father a coward, etc., and of course Father cussed back. It would have come to blows between them had not Uncle Bill stepping in with his cool deliberate way. So the distillery project fell through. Grandfather hauled the logs off to his farm and built a new barn with the material, but a coolness had sprung up between the two, which was never fully eradicated but greatly augmented by later occurrences. Yet Bill, August, and Grandmother always remained friendly with Father and rather took sides with him and his ideas.

Uncle Mike Zellhoefer got married and settled close to and adjoining the village, about a mile from father's farm, so the two brothers -- Father and Mike -- helped each other to the best of their ability. This relationship grew more intense and loyal with the passing of the years as my proceeding narrative will abundantly show.

One of the greatest pleasures of childhood's memory was to drop in to see Uncle Mike on my way to or from the village, or to see Mike come over to our house of an evening and hear him talk and laugh. He was always so cheerful and inspiring. Oh yes, I liked Uncle Mike -- he was always so amusing and had so many stories included some restless ghost as a grinning witch. There was something about Uncle Mike that appeared to my child's mind as the embodiment of good sense, cheerfulness that was not just put on, and manliness complete. He was my boyhood example and, like Uncle Mike, I wished to be.

As railroads were beginning to be built all over the settled portions of the northern states, there opened up a market for cross ties, therefor during the long winter months when the clearing of land was in progress, Father and Uncle Mike also cleared land on father's farm; all trees cut down that were of the proper size, were dressed and cut into railroad ties and hauled by sled with ox teams the forty miles to Milwaukee. Usually there was plenty of snow and therefore good sleighing, and enormous heavy loads could be hauled by oxen even if they would travel only twenty miles per day. Of course the oxen were shod with iron shoes, two to each foot, which enabled them to pass over the most slippery ice with finesse and perfect security. Arrived in Milwaukee, they sold their ties for three or four cents a piece and at times as low as two and one-half cents each. But it was money and with money could be bought the necessary articles and supplies which they could not raise or make for themselves on the farm.

Along about 1852 or 1853, someone built a dam across the Bark River right in the village and put up a sawmill. When, in the spring, high waters came from the rains and melting snows, the mill pond, as it was called, overflowed around the bend, burst through my father's land, flooding through the swampland and across the highway, and cut a channel through to the South where the overflow met the river a mile below the dam. This caused considerable commotion among the people and Father was sore perplexed because the overflow went right through his quarter section farm. The sawmill people who had built the dam had done so with the permission of the County Board of Trustees, as they were then called, so the mill owners felt themselves relieved of any responsibility for damages. The whole matter was carried into court where Father was awarded some money as payment for damages and the sawmill people were compelled to reduce the height of the dam as well as build a dyke along the river where it touched father's land.

I now must relate some facts and historical instances which changed their whole conception of life's purpose and its duties and brought them and their yet unborn children and their future generations into entirely new thought of pathways, of spiritual destiny.

Along in the last decade of the 17th century, there arose a man by the name of Jacob Albright who had been converted to God through the gospel efforts of the M.E. church in eastern Pennsylvania. Having seen and experienced the true light from God as it was brought to earth by our Lord Christ Jesus, he felt himself called upon to proclaim this marvelous light to the then benighted though nominal Christians, to his Pennsylvania German compatriots and with such success that a new denomination of the Methodistic Christians was organized in the year of 1800. This purely American church organization grew with such rapidity that its preachers and circuit riders soon spread over the boundary lines of their native state into adjoining states into Canada and the then far west, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and about the year a848 were penetrating north into Wisconsin and Michigan. In Ohio, as well as in Indiana, the Evangelical preachers proclaimed the gospel in both German and English languages and classes and churches were organized in which either one or both languages were used. But since the Methodists were well covering the country but made no special effort to bring the gospel to the thousands of Germans immigrants flocking into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, the Evangelicals felt it as their special call to do so, consequently these ministers who visited from house to house inviting the people to attend their preaching services, found their way into Rome and into the home of my parents where the received but scant welcome. Of course, these missionaries traveled by horse, saddle and saddlebags. At Rome as well as at Jefferson, they met with good success as well as in a settlement halfway between Rome and Jefferson.

Uncle and Aunt Debereiner were converted and helped organize a class or congregation; a log church was built where regular Sunday prayer-meetings and Sunday School was held. My Mother was soon brought under conviction of sin, but Father could not see the necessity of a so-called conversion. He knew the Bible well and could hold his ground with any of those self-made, poorly educated circuit riders and often apparently routed them in argument. In the winter of 1852, a great revival meeting was held in this log church. Out of simple curiosity to see the new religion at work and to get pointers at first hand to refute these preachers successfully, my parents visited the meetings, both day and night. Mother soon found herself under conviction, surrendered herself, and soon found peace in her soul.

Father, too, got over powered by the spirit and power manifested in these meetings, but it seemed he could not wholly surrender himself. Being born and raised a good Christian, knowing the Bible as he did, what more could God require? Yet he resolved to better his life, stop drinking, card playing and using profane language and if necessary break himself of the tobacco habit. He was an inveterate smoker, his pipe being the first thing in the morning even before he put his clothes on, and the last thing at night when he went to bed and whenever he got angry which happened quite frequently when at work in the field with his ox team, he would cuss and swear till the neighbors a mile away could hear it. Well, the more he tried to reform, the heavier the burden of sin and condemnation bore him down until his body seemed to waste away and all pleasures of life disappeared. He fell victim to the cold fever or shittelfeber, a form of ague or malaria which came near ending his life.

So things went on for two years and no change occurred either in his spiritual or physical condition until one late afternoon he started to bring the cows home that were pasturing back of a timber lot in the marsh next to the river. As he and the dog entered the woods, such a terrible sense of guilt and shame overpowered him that he fell prone on the ground under an oak tree. He cried and prayed to God to deliver him. This in a loud voice and the dog joined in by running around the tree and barking for dear life. Mother heard the dog and supposed that Father and the dog had treed a raccoon and paid no further attention to the commotion in the timber. Presently a bright light appeared to Father all around him, it enveloped and overwhelmed him to such an extent that he could not speak, see or hear for several minutes, but he felt the burden and sorrow gone. He rose to his feet, put his arms about the dog's neck and squeezed so hard that the dog howled for mercy. He forgot the cows, hastened back to the house, fell upon Mother's neck and kept repeating over and over "now I am saved." -- "Jetzt bin ich geratted." This happened in 1854. Brother John was a babe in arms and I was not yet born.

From then on things took a radical change. Father did not hide his light under a bushel but straight-way went forth to the relatives and neighbors, telling them his new experience and urged upon them not only the necessity but the wonderful joy and happiness of conversion. He very soon nicknamed the bowlegged Pfaff. His pipe and tobacco went into the kitchen stove; the playing cards and whiskey bottles had been previously discarded. His ague stayed with him as well as the nicotine from the overindulgence in the use of tobacco. The physical system retained its craving for tobacco, so another battle had to be fought out to a finish. This craving for tobacco finally overpowered his already weakened body that he had to take to his bed. A doctor was called who gave him some medicine for his ague and urged to again smoke tobacco in small quantities otherwise the lack of nicotine would kill him, but if he wanted to break with the tobacco habit, to do so gently and gradually. But Father said "No more tobacco if it kills me," and so he fought it out by himself and came out gloriously victorious. As much as he loved tobacco before, so now he hated it intensely and for many years after just the smell of tobacco nauseated him.

Of course, he too joined the Evangelical Church and was at once elected class leader. But the spiritual hornets were soon set free and began to center their persecuting propensities upon Father. They surely had it in for him. Grandfather Tartsch and Uncle Leonhardt with his sharp tongued wife took the lead. He was called all sorts of vile names and threw stones at him, but nothing seemed to faze him, intimidate him, nor arouse his fire. So after a year or two the persecution ceased of its own accord. Only Grandfather and Grandmother would not overcome the narrow mindedness. George and Friederika had fallen from faith that was a deadly sin and unforgivable. Both her parents gave notice to their daughter that, unless she came back to the old faith and the Mother church, they would disinherit her, etc.

After father's conversion, he urged anew upon his brothers and sister that real effort should be made to find their oldest brother, Jacob. They did so by placing advertisements in the New York States Zeitung, a German weekly newspaper, and in the church's semimonthly Evangelical Notschafter (messenger). In the former named paper, the advertisement ran for six months and in the latter a year.

Uncle Mike and his wife were also converted and joined the Evangelical Church. Even before Father had received his last papers making him a citizen of the U.S., he took a deal of interest in the political agitation of the times, and after his conversion he took a still more lively interest in politics, local and national. He helped to form a political organization in the town under the auspices of the County Committee in order to give body and weight to the then newly forming Republican party in whose principles, declaration and teachings he believed in as implicitly as in the word of God. In taking this political stand, he had to face new enmity among the family's relations and neighbors since the greater majority of these newly made citizens had affiliated themselves with the old reliable Democratic Party.

By the year 1856 (the year I was born) the newly formed party put forth a national ticked and party platform with Gen. Freemont (the pathfinder) at the head. For the last time in many following years, a Democratic President was elected -- Buchanan. The four years from 1856 to 1860 proved stirring times in more than one way. Foremost, the heated discussions on the slavery question and the seething political situation in the states to the South. Even the first year of Buchanan's administration showed the helplessness of his party in power to save the country from economic disaster or to keep the union intact.

Time went from bad to worse. Paper money issued by the State banks, became worthless in most cases. Under the Wisconsin state banking laws, any company of men could create a bank, issue paper money and put it in circulation. The national government's gold coin and its subsidiary silver became very scarce; the state banks gobbled it up and replaced it with their paper money. Hundreds of instances occurred where banks were doing business today and the next morning the bank patrons found the doors closed and the bank wept clean of all money. Under these conditions the pioneer farmers were hardest hit.

and here the Autobiography abruptly ended on Page 29.  We've been looking for anything further for several years now, and have nearly given up!  Perhaps author GGZ died at this point? - RonKZ

The names ZellTree, SolarSense Designs,  and all works within this website, are copyright 1998 thru 06 Dec 2009 by Ron Klotz Zellhoefer.   Permission is given to copy & print for private archival purposes only.  Republishing of DATA ONLY (not webpages!) to other websites is permitted IF credited to Ron Klotz Zellhoefer and ZellTree.  Please, let's verify and collaborate first!