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Survivor Stories of the Peshtigo Fire

This page is dedicated to the people who lived to tell of their survival and stories of the Peshtigo Fire. All submission’s are from the family members and are welcome for posting.

Great great grandfather was Joseph Martin and great great grandmother was Mrs. Marheine. Mrs. Hallen was great great grandmother. Godfrey  great great grandfather.
contributed by: Cynthia

Gottfried Von Hallen

Obituary of Peshitgo Fire Survivor


Another sturdy pioneer linking the Marinette of the present with that of the past has responded to the inevitable summons of the Death Messenger, Godfrey Hallen dying Thursday evening at 8 o'clock in the M. & M. hospital.

Born in Germany

The decedent was born July 20, 1836, in Düsseldorf, Germany, coming to America with his parents. Gottfried Von Hallen and Elizabeth Wink Hallen. The family located at Waterford, Wis., and when Mr. Hallen was 25 years old he came to Marinette, having resided here more than sixty-one years. On June 17, 1869, he was married to Barbara Bohman, who survives. The couple made the trip to Green Bay, where they were married in the cathedral, by stage, there being no railroad at this time. The following year they went to Waterford to remain at the former home of Mr. Hallen, remaining there until the death of Mr. Hallen’s mother, two years later. They returned to Marinette during the historic Peshtigo fire of 1871. Shortly after their return Mr. Hallen cut a trail thru the dense woods to where Carney Avenue now is and built a log house on the present family resident site, 1420 Carney Boulevard when the house was remodeled in later years part of the log portion was retained and is still doing service. The Indian trail past the log house which was the first in that section and one of the first, if not the first, to be built after the disastrous fire.

Faithful Employee

For forty-two years Mr. Hallen associated   with   the N.  Ludington company, of which the late U. S. Senator Isaac Stephenson then was the head, as sealer and foreman. He was considered an authority on   scaling in those days and if ever a dispute arose in scaling he was called upon to settle the matter and his decision was never questioned. Mr. Stephenson regarded him as one of the most faithful of his many employees, when he reached the age of 73 years, Mr. Hallen resigned active work, and contested himself working at intervals upon his farm three miles from the city, out Pierce avenue way, which he had owned  forty years.  It was while returning from the farm where he had been at work, a week ago last Tuesday, June 6, that he received the injury that resulted in his death.  He and his son, Fred, were seated in a buggy, when the horse, becoming frightened at a sudden clap of thunder, kicked over the dashboard, striking Mr. Hallen's knee with such force as to shatter the bone and break the leg. He remained sitting in the vehicle and went to the B. & M. hospital, which is on the site of the house occupied sixty years ago, and where he died last evening.  His health had been failing for three yrs. but the past few months he had been feeling better, but was not strong enough to survive the shock of the injury. The end came peacefully as he was surrounded by family members. Every care and attention that could be given was bestowed upon him. He endured his sufferings patiently and with heroic fortitude.

Of the Old School

 He was a gentleman of the old school, whose sterling qualities were prominent factors in his career and will keep his memory revered for ages to come by those who knew and respected him. For four-score and six years Wisconsin had been the home of Mr. Hallen, who led an exemplary life. He was a trustee of Our Lady of Lourdes church for eighteen years, before the formation of St. Anthony's congregation, composed of German- speaking families.   He was a charter member of the Catholic Knights of Wisconsin and of St. Joseph's society.

Burial on Monday

The body was removed to J. R. McLain's funeral home and this evening will be taken to the family residence. The funeral will be held Monday morning at 9 o'clock from St. Anthony's church, the Rev. Father Emil Seiter officiating. Sepulture will be made in Calvary cemetery, where four children are buried, three of whom died in infancy and Miss Mary Hallen, who died in 1902 at the age of 23 years.

The Survivors

The survivors are the widow, the faithful life-partner, who shared the hardships of pioneer days and the life's pleasures with him throughout a long married span, and the following children, Michael, city; Mrs. J. N. Hamm, Coeur de Lene, Idaho; Mrs. P. I. Miller, Fond du Lac; Mrs. J. Kinney, Milwaukee: Mrs. Thomas E. Finn, city; Mrs. W. A. Siebenthal, Vulcan Mich.; Godfrey Hallen Jr., and Joseph Hallen, city; grandchildren, Margaret, Lester and Betty Hallen; Fred Hamm, Detroit; Irving Hamm, Coeur de Lene, Idaho; Wilfred Drexler, Milwaukee; Helen and Wilda Ann Siebenthal, Vulcan, and three great grandchildren. The only living sister is Mrs. Johanna Dorset o£ Lyons, Wis., who is 92 years old; a brother, Theodore Hallen of Waterford and a sister, Mrs. Hennigfeldt of Phillips, dying three years ago.

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