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.August Henry Birr.

Descendant contact   Owen Reinhart Birr


August Henry Birr
Birr Family Collection

Margaret Hammel
Birr Family Collection

These portraits are charcoal renderings from photographs sent by families to companies that employed mostly young art students. They came into prominence from the 1870's into the early 1900's. Their popularity was based on the fact that the price was within the ability of the general population to afford. They were large and came with a fancy pressed wood and composite gilded frame. Many are still in existence, even though the identity of the people is no longer known.

For the detailed August Henry Birr and family memoirs, press HERE.

FIRST GENERATION - For more on Birr family genealogy and history, press HERE 
Ferdinand Birr was born April 7, 1816 and died March 17, 1900. 
+ He married Caroline Stecker born October 10, 1820 and died November 2, 1892. Both buried in Morgan Cemetery, Oconto County, Wisconsin. No Marriage date found. They came from Stople, Pommerania, Germany. According to a book called GERMANS TO AMERICA (Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports) Volume 27 - May 1872 to July 1872 by Ira Glazier, page 442, the BIRR family arrival was on the EUROPA from BREMEN, MAY 25, !872.

Ferdinand Birr and Caroline Stecker were both born in Stolpe, Pommern, Germany. The father was tall and slender. He wore long sideburns, was a man of dignity and he had a great deal of pride. He was a member of  Emperor Frederick William's bodyguard, and for this was paid four cents a day. As a member of the guard, he accompanied the funeral cortege when the emperor died.

He was married to Caroline Stecker, an orphan, a descendant of rich feudal lords and a member of the nobility, Among the articles which she brought to America were fine linens, lace caps, and other articles such as only the upper class had. In Germany she was a nurse. They had seven children, five sons and two daughters.

Child of  Ferdinand Birr and Caroline Stecker :

    August Henry Birr -  
        born: December 20 1846
Stolpt, Pommern (now part of Germany)
        immigration : 1870 (1920 Oconto County, Wisconsin Federal Census) "After six weeks of sailing, he landed at Castle Garden (New York), now called Battery Park, on October 1, 1870."  Written by daughter Lucille Ruth Helen Birr Getke
        occupation: farmer        
        citizenship: 1906

        died: April 22, 1931 town of Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
        (Notes on August Henry Birr -Third child of Fredinand and Caroline- listed as step child in one family genealogy, source unknown.
Live with son Reinhard and family in town of Morgan after he was widowed).

  + Marguerite Hammel
        born: October 22 1850
        married: 1874 in Dodge County, Wisconsin

        died: May 2, 1908
        burial: Morgan Cemetery

(Notes on Margaret Hammel Birr -
Young Margaret Hammel lived in Lomira, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of a maker and seller of grain sieves. She was a sister-in-law of a Mr. Delzer for whom August Henry Birr had worked. She was born in Bavaria, near the Black Forest, and came with her family to America at the age of 19. It was a strange coincidence that she landed at Castle Garden the same day August H. Birr did, unbeknown to each other until they later met in Lomira.  From a daughter's memoir)


Oconto County Reporter
May 7, 1908

Mrs. Birr Dead
Resident of Morgan 34 Years Passed Away May 2

Morgan, May 12, - Margaret, wife of August Birr, one of the oldest pioneers of Morgan, Wis., died at her home last Saturday evening, May 2, of hemorrhage of the lungs.

Deceased was born in Bavaria, Germany, Oct. 22, 1850. In 1870 she immigrated with her parents to Lomira, Dodge County, where she lived until 1874, when she married Mr. Birr and together they settled at Morgan in the primitive forest, isolated from friends and neighbors. The monotony of the dense maple forest, which surrounded the temporary cabin, was slowly broken by the appearance of new neighbors, larger fields and increased cares – cares which involved the rearing of the nine children, which remain to mourn the loss of a noble mother. Besides her children, William, Edward, Reinhardt, Anna, Mary, Ella, Margaret, Christine and Adelaide, she leaves two sisters, Mrs. Fred Wellniz of Morgan and Mrs. Conrad Le Sueur, Minn.

Four weeks ago, Mrs. Birr suffered from an attack of Pleurisy. She recovered from this and was in apparent good health before her death. She ate a hearty supper with the family Saturday evening and later joined Margaret (daughter) at the organ and together they sang several of Mrs. Birr's favorite hymns. After having sung "Face to Face" she suggested that they retire, which was done almost immediately. Twenty minutes later she had a coughing fit of sufficient violence to burst a blood vessel. Hastily springing from her bed and calling Margaret, she seated herself in a rocker near the bedroom door, Mr. Birr and Margaret were immediately at her side and were endeavoring to help her condition, but without speaking a word she extended a hand to each and expired.

Mrs. Birr was a Christian woman in every sense of the word; she was ever willing to give up personal considerations for the good of her family, ever ready and willing to give her time and energy for the good of all, with an unselfish spirit. This spirit of unselfishness that so predominated in Mrs. Birr's character made itself manifest in many ways in her family and neighborhood.

Rev. Zeller of Peshtigo conducted the funeral services, which were held Wednesday, May 6, from the Morgan Evangelical church.)

Children of August and Margaret (Hammel) Birr - 11 born, 9 surviving in 1900)

        1. William A. E. Birr (Willie, Wilhelm)
            born: October 1875 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            died: before 1910
        + Margaret Apfel

            born: December 1879
            married: September 20, 1899
in Oconto County. Wisconsin           
            occupation: Widowed servant by 1910 in town of Virginia, Vernon, Wisconsin - 1 child


        2. Anna Birr - One son, born 1915
            born: February 1877 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            (note: Lived in  Chase, Oconto County in 1900; Morgan, Oconto County in 1905; 39th Street, Milwaukee in 1920 and 1930)

        + William James Muckel

            born: 1866 in Scottland    
            immigration: 1884
from North Ireland
            naturalization: 1889
           married: 1913
            occupation:  President of shoe manufacture/Proprietor of Shoe Store in 1930   

        3. Mary Birr 
            born: September 1879 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            occupation: Teacher - Oconto  and Milwaukee Counties, Wisconsin
            died: December 27, 1970 in Oconto County, Wisconsin

        4. Edward J. Birr (Eddie)
            born: December 1883

            died: 1933
            buried: Morgan Cemetery

        + Hazel ? (Edward J. Birr was her first husband)

        5. Ella Birr
            born: March 15, 1885 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            died: July 4, 1956 in Morgan, Oconto County,, Wisconsin

Ella Birr Lawton - Obituary
contributor: Richard LaBrosse 


Death Takes Mrs. Wm. Lawton
At Family Reunion

Oconto Falls - A happy family reunion at the Reinhard Birr farm home in Morgan had a sad ending on July Fourth when Mrs. Wm. Lawton of Milwaukee passed away following a heart attack.

The former Ella Birr, daughter of the late Mr. And Mrs. August Birr, Sr ., of Morgan, was born March 15, 1885 and was 71 years of age. She had mentioned during the day that she was uncomfortable, but thought it indigestion. About five o'clock she suffered the seizure which claimed her life almost instantaneously. She was pronounced dead on the arrival of the physician.

Soulek's ambulance took the remains to the Harder Funeral Home of Milwaukee, where rites will be held Saturday afternoon. Survivors are her husband, four daughters (should be sisters), Mrs. Anna Muckle and Miss Mary Birr, both of Milwaukee, Mrs. Ray Pankratz of Suamico, Adeline Birr of Morgan and one brother, Reinhard of Morgan.

All were present at the reunion with the exception of Mary.

Sincere sympathy is extended to the bereaved by all.
 buried: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        + William Lawton

         6. Christina H. Birr (Tina, Christine)

            born: July 4,  1889 in Morgan, Oconto County. Wisconsin
            died: March 31, 1945 in Morgan, Oconto County. Wisconsin
        + Thomas Ryner

            born: July 25,  1885 in  Wisconsin
            married: September 2, 1906 in Oconto County. Wisconsin 
           died: January 24, 1973
in  in Oconto Falls, Oconto County. Wisconsin
           Children of Christine Birr and Thomas Rymer were:
                1. Allen Sherman Rymer
                2. Barbara Margaret Rymer
                3. Morris Thomas Rymer
                4. Blanche Eleanore Rymer
                5. Kenneth Birr Rymer
                6. Neal William Rymer

        7. Margaret Birr - 
            born: September 1891 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            occupation: Private Houskeeper
            (note: Lived in  Chase, Oconto County in 1900; Viroqua, Vernon, Wisconsin in 1910; Suamico, Wisconsin in 1956)

        + Ray Pankratz

         8. Reinhart H. Birr (Richard) -
            born: December 4, 1893 Morgan, Oconto County, Wisconsin
            occupation: farmer 
            died: May 8, 1974 in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin
            buried: in Morgan Cemetery,
Oconto County, Wisconsin
         + Edna A. Dobberke
            born: February 20, 1897
            died: March 8, 1969
            buried: in Morgan Cemetery, Oconto County, Wisconsin

            Children of Reinhart and Edna Birr: 
                1. Nathan A. Birrr  born September 30, 1923 in Morgan, Oconto County, WI; died September 11, 2007
                2. Lois H. Birr
                3. Carol E. Birr
                4. Robert R. Birr

        9. Adeline S. Birr - single
            born: June 15, 1896
            died: October 1979 in Oconto Falls, Oconto, Wisconsin
            buried: Morgan Cemetery, Oconto County, Wisconsin