The Perils of Albert . . .

Sometimes you have to wonder what causes a person to uproot his family once to move to a new country. But why would someone move his family around his new state and country? While all the reasons may not be known, in the case of Albert Nehmer, there may be some tragic reasons.

Albert Nehmer was born in Wittstock, Prussia Germany on 9/27/1872. He was the third child of Daniel Nehmer (ABT 1832) and Fredericke Faber (16 MAY 1835). He had one brother (Wilhelm F. A. Nehmer (11 FEB 1868)) and three sisters: Louise Nehmer (21 DEC 1866), Augusta Nehmer (18 MAR 1874), Marie Fredricka Nehmer (22 MAY 1875).

At age 18, Albert joined a wave of Germans coming to America. He immigrated to the United States in 28 April 1891 through the port of Baltimore with his father, mother, and two younger sisters on the SS Slavonia from Casekow.

Certainly, between the naming of Otto von Bismarck as minister of Prussia in 1862 and his leaving in 1890, almost 3 million people left Germany. The Nehmer Family was one. What caused this emigration has been the source of study.

For typical working people in Germany, who were forced to endure land seizures, unemployment, increased competition from British goods, and the repercussions of the failed German Revolution of 1848, prospects in the United States seemed bright. It soon became easier to leave Germany, as restrictions on emigration were eased. As steamships replaced sailing ships, the transatlantic journey became more accessible and more tolerable. As a result, more than 5 million people left Germany for the U.S. during the 19th century.

Leni Donlan, producer. Immigration. Library of Congress.

The Nehmers joined their daughter Louise and son William in Lake Mills, Jefferson County, WI. Louise and William had immigrated a year earlier.

But Albert’s tortured journey was just beginning.

On 4 March 1893, he married Anna Stelse (10 JUL 1875) in Jefferson, Wisconsin. He was 20 years old when he married Anna Stelse, who was 17 years old at that time. He had eleven children with Anna Stelse: Ernest Albert Nehmer (16 AUG 1893), Helmuth Elmer Nehmer (16 AUG 1894), Henry Eric Nehmer (14 AUG 1895), Edward H. Nehmer (4 JAN 1897), Gertrude Nehmer (4 MAR 1898), John Albert (Jack) Nehmer (7 OCT 1899), Rose Nehmer (21 JUL 1901), William Albert Nehmer (24 MAR 1903), Theodore Nehmer (4 NOV 1905), Howard William Nehmer (6 SEP 1912).

After the journey, the family settled in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. When he was 24 years old, his father Daniel Nehmer died (4/21/1897). His mother, would die 28 years later in the home of daughter Auguste and her husband Herman Tews in Dodge County where she had lived after Daniel’s death.

Albert Nehmer Family – Nielsville, WI
Edward, Ernest, Jack, Henry, Helmuth, Albert and Gertrude and Anna holding Rose.

In 1900, he moved to Lake Mills, Jefferson, Wisconsin. At the time, neither Albert nor Anna could read or write, and only Anna spoke English.

In 1902, a family tragedy allowed us to track Albert and his family to Levis, Clark, Wisconsin. There, his four year old daughter, Gertrude, died from burns suffered while dancing around a fire pit. (The mystery is recounted here.)

Why were they in Clark County? Albert Nehmer was working as a dairyman and was listed on the Day Creamery Ledger,  (See Page 2) Levis Twp., Clark Co., Wis. as one of its suppliers.

The picture shows the family before the fire.

. . . the Youmans house [is] located on Pleasant Ridge, about two miles east of Neillsville. Youmans, an attorney developed and owned that farm for some time, where he had employees who operated the farm that was stocked with an excellent dairy herd, hybrid sheep and other livestock. After he disposed of the property, there had been renters. That house was razed in the early 1950s and was near the Grant & Pine Valley township line. The only original building presently on that site, is the large barn. The Day creamery was located about three miles south of Neillsville, near the State Road 73 and 95 split.”

Email from the Clark County Historical Society, circa 2012.

Perhaps pushed on by the tragedy, the 1905 Wisconsin Census, had Albert and his family in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Listed as a day laborer, he had been employed 10 months and owned a home.

By 1910, Albert and family had moved again. This time returning to Oakland Township, Jefferson County. Albert was listed as a farmer working on his own account and Anna was listed as a “hired man” at a neighboring farm. It was reasonably clear that the Nehmer family was economically struggling.

Albert’s son, Ernest, registered for the WWI draft while in Lake Mills. It is not known for sure where Albert and his family where. But, as Ernest prepared to embark for Europe in July of 1918, Albert was listed as his emergency contact at 1010 Foster St, Evanston, Illinois on 7/6/1918.

A year later, Albert had moved to Mission, Texas before 6/2/1919 when Ernest was returning to the States after a year in Europe and listed Albert as being in Texas. He also filed out his WWI draft registration card there.

An ad in a paper listed Albert as seeking a farm to rent.

In 1924, he moved to 2441 Keefe Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1927, he moved to 615 19th Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was there on 8/30/1928, he died in Milwaukee when he was 55 years old. His death was a suicide. Albert had taken strychnine. The reason was listed as ill health. He was working as a laborer in the Seaman Body Corporation plant.

On 9/2/1928, he was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Milwaukee. His wife Anna Stelse died on 10/16/1943, 15 years after him. in the 1930 census, she was listed as having no job.