Bio: Mueller, Herman and Wilhelmina Helena (Duenow)

Contact: Stan

Surnames: Mueller, Rietbrock, Duenow, Brickner, Weigand, Becker, Lesczynski, Rahn, Wondereys Hencke, SwitlickEngebrecht, Heldt, Penno, Riley, Hannah, Rahm, Kannenberg, Gluch

----Source: 1880 - 1980 Rietbrock, Marathon Co., Wis. Centennial,pg. 49

Herman Mueller Farm

Herman Mueller was born April 20, 1855, in FREISTADT, Wisconsin. He received very little formal schooling....actually about two years of grammar school. His parents deemed it more important for him to give assistance on their eighteen-acre farm near Mequon. Until he was twenty-five years of age, he continued to assist with the farm work, and in addition, he helped his father Melchior in a carpenter business, learning the trade for himself. Interested in getting cheap land, he contacted the Rietbrock Land and Lumber Company in Milwaukee, Wis., and from them purchased two eighty-acre tracts of virgin timber for five hundred dollars each, in Section 7 in the Town of Rietbrock. Moving to Athens, together with his brother Frank, he cleared part of the land, sold the logs, and did some part-time carpenter work. He was employed by the Rietbrock Company to help build the first sawmill at Black Creek Falls, as the community was known at that time.

He, together with twenty-three others, became a charter member of the newly-organized Trinity Lutheran Church on August 20, 1882, at Athens, Wisconsin.

While working at the Rietbrock Company, he met Wilhelmina Helena Duenow; her father had been working at Rietbrock at the same time. The two were married in 1886. The ceremony of Herman & Welnelmina Mueller took place in the public school which was also used for church purposes at that time. This school building was removed to make way for the present post office in Athens. They lived in town for a period of about two years, and during that time their first son, Edwin, was born. Wilhelmina Duenow was born in 1864 in Prussia. Her formal schooling was received in the State Public School. Her father, Henry Duenow, was born in Prussia in 1838, son of a feudal landowner. He entered the brass industry establishing a successful business. He married Bertha Brickner, a Bavarian girl of noble birth. Of their thirteen children, three survived: Wilhelmina (Mueller), Minna (Becker), and Ida (Weigand).

At the age of thirty-nine, Henry was forced out of business, a casualty of the industrial revolution. While searching for employment he met a relative of Mr. Rietbrock who recommended him to the Rietbrock Lumber Co., Milwaukee, Wis. He applied for and got the job and was sent to the mills at Athens, Wis. He held the job as night watchman. He and a Mr. Jensen also established a gardening business. One year later he sent for his wife and three daughters, meeting them at Dorchester, Wis., and bringing them by wagon to Athens. He built a house, and soon quit the night watchman's job, and began to log a claim on a road near Athens. His first home burned, and he built a second, high on a hill, maintaining it and supporting his family with a profitable gardening business. This property is presently owned and occupied by the John Lesczynski family. Henry Duenow died of typhoid fever in Alameda, California, on the twenty-fifth of September, 1913. He, his wife lie interred in the Athens Cemetery.

Herman Mueller and his wife then moved to their land, clearing it, and from then on devoted his life entirely to farming. It was here that the remaining five of their children were born: Edwin, Walter, Arthur, Herbert and Irma (Rahn) in that order. Applying his skill as a carpenter, he greatly enlarged and remodeled his original home. Just before it was completely finished, however, it burned to the ground in February, 1906. The home was rebuilt during the following summer, and he continued living there with his family until his children became married and he himself retired at the age of seventy-two.

After selling the homestead to his youngest son, Herbert, he moved to Milwaukee. Herbert, in turn, sold this farm to his son George, in 1942. Herman Mueller passed away on the sixteenth of March 1937, of a cerebral hemorrhage. His body lies in Wondereys Rest Cemetery in Milwaukee. His wife Wilhelmina passed away of a cerebral hemorrhage on the twenty-second of December, 1945. Her body was interred beside that of her husband.

Edwin Mueller, deceased owned the property presently occupied by Alice Wisnewski. Walter Mueller, deceased, was born March 8, 1889, educated in Athen's schools and, until he was about nineteen years of age, helped his father with work on their farm. He worked at the carpenter trade; later he moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, with his family, to work in the construction of buildings. He married Esther Hencke, a school teacher from Fond du Lac County. He built the home which is presently owned and occupied by the Stan Switlick family.

Arthur Mueller was born on August 25, 1891, the third child of Herman and Helena Mueller. Arthur

spend about six months in Milwaukee learning about the carpenter's trade. He, his brother Herbert, and his cousins Art and Ed Becker built many homes and other buildings in the Athens-Rietbrock area. In 1918, Arthur went to the Army. He was married to Mathilda Engebrecht, daughter of Henry Engebrechts, on June 12, 1919. Upon his return to Athens, he purchased forty acres from his father and built a house there. The family lived there until 1946 and then sold the farm to Leo Bruss. Today Walter Heldt owns this farm. The Arthur Muellers had six children: Martin (who died at age 8), Robert of New Berlin, Wis., Margaret (Mrs. Carl Penno) of Edgar, Wis., Elfrieda (Mrs. Robert Riley) of Annapolis, Maryland, Roland of Win- field, Kansas, and Carol (Mrs. Paul Hannah) of Park Ridge, Illinois. Arthur now lives at 924 S. 6th Avenue in Wausau, Wisconsin. Herman's daughter Irma (Rahm) also lives in Wausau, at the Kannenberg Plaza. Herbert Mueller, deceased, had owned the homestead. Today Walter Heldt owns this property. Mrs. Herbert Mueller (Adela Gluch) lives at 421 Maple Street, Athens, Wisconsin, and their only son George resides in Wausau, Wisconsin.  

Family Notes

1900 Federal Census, ED 94 Rietbrock town, Marathon, Wisconsin, United States, pg. 8, family 141

Herman A Mueller, white, male
marital status: Married
years married: 14
estimated marriage year: 1886
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's birthplace: Germany

Household Members
head Herman A Mueller M 45 (Apr 1855) Wisconsin
wife Helen Mueller F 36 (Sep 1864) Germany, mother of 5 living children, parents b. Germany
son Edwin Mueller M 13 (Feb 1887) Wisconsin
son Walter Mueller M 11 (Mar 1889) Wisconsin
son Arthur Mueller M 9 (Aug 1891) Wisconsin
son Herbert Mueller M 6 (May 1894) Wisconsin
daughter Erma Mueller F 1 (Jun 1899) Wisconsin



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