There are two different stories on how Karl Charles and Gustave Frederick Ziesmer immigrated to this country. The first is that the two brothers immigrated together. Which would be in 1881. Charles obituary supports the first story. Lulu Ziesmer in an interview with Lola Bridger stated that Karl Charles August Ziesmer, was the second member of his family to immigrate to Wisconsin. Family stories have the date 1883 and 1885 which would support Lulu statements. His obituary states 1881. Until we locate papers indicating his arrival I think it best both stories be recorded.
It is evident the brothers worked together, by pooling their money. One version has them travelling together, the other having Charles joining his brother in Fort Howard, Wisconsin after they had again saved enough for him to come. If they came separately the decision for Gustave to come first was supposedly made on the fact he was older. The story of the trip from New York to Fort Howard is the same in both instances.
Lulu states the first Ziesmer to immigrate to Wisconsin was Gustave Frederick Ziesmer, he emigrated from Germany arriving in New York on 6/26/1881 at Ellis Island, with 10 cents in his pocket. Records on his arrival are at Marinette, WI., in Vol. 10, Page 20, No. 520. He pawned his watch to get funds . They were the sons of Christian Eslinger Stephes Ziesmer & Louise Wilke. They were both born in Ambash, West Preusen (Posen), Providence Germany, Gus on 9/24/1855 and Charles on 11/15/1862.
Gustave first job after arriving was picking fruit on a Farm in New Jersey. Next he worked in Maryland for a farmer, earning $35.0 a month. At that time it compared to $40.00 a year in Germany. From there he hopped a freight to get to Chicago. His next stop was Fort Howard, Wisconsin to work in the mill. Charles obit tells us he worked in Fort Howard for a few years before moving to Stiles. There is also a story that Charles & Gustave were in Abrams for a while working for the Kohloff family before they moved to Stiles.
The brothers were definitely in Stiles, where both were married. Gustave married Bertha Hanneman on 6/7/1885 and Charles married Elizabeth Karoline Marie Jahnke on 12/14/1889. The families evidently both stayed in the area till 1893 because both had children born at Stiles and that is the year Charles first purchase of land is recorded..
During the years in Stiles Charles and Lizzie had Otto Karl born 9/22/1890, married Minnie Barlament and Karl Charles Ziesmer born 7/19/1892; who married Esther Zoerb and Esther Huebscher.
During this time family stories have it they were joined by their mother and a sister Rosa married to Wilhelm Frease. The exact details on their arrival are not known yet. Raymond Ziesmer said Rosa died at Stiles, and her two sons August & Emil were raised by his parents for several years until their father married Bertha Drearves.
On 10/3/1893 Charles made his first purchase of land in Town of Pensaukee, Range 21 Sec 15, from James E & Katherine Brown for a cost of $2,485. The property included a log house, which at one time had been a stage stop. Charles & Elizabeth moved their growing family to this location. In the same year Charles brother Gustave bought land in Lena. It is at this point the two brothers who had worked together to emigrated went in different directions.
The young family settled into their new farm along with Charles mother. In circa 1894 they had Edward Ziesmer who died as an infant or young child. He is buried at the Brookside Cemetery. The year 1896 saw big changes for this family as Charles acquired and sold a considerable amount of land and they had their first daughter Emma Ina Ziesmer born 6/9/1896. She married Gus Hunt.
The land transfers expanded the size of the farm considerably and squared it off. They included purchases of 40 acres from Charles Renka, 160 acres from F.B. Gardner & Mr. Coon and land purchased from Blue & Farley. Also, in this year he sold 38 acres to Fred Risotto (Ristow), 42 acres to Herman Risotto (Ristow) and 120 acres to H. Seigner (Zeugner).
They had their fourth son Herbert Ziesmer on 7/18/1898, who later married Wilhelmina Janssen. By this time their small log house had to be getting pretty full. Since this structure still stands, I find it hard to believe they all lived in it.
In 1900 Charles made his final land transfers selling 120 acres to his father-in-law Carl Jahnke and a section to Emil Frease his, nephew. With the exception of land deeded to the state for the state highway in 1929, and approximately 10 acres sold to the Milk Pool in the mid to late 1930's, all other land transfers have been between his descendents.
Charles & Elizabeth worked diligently and prospered. They also had four additional children. Gladys born 5/8/1902, married Herman Werth; Ida born 8/1/1904, married Fred Rienhart Topel; Arnold Frederick born 3/30/1907, married Maion Claire Laduron; and last Raymond Ziesmer born 8/30/1911, married Clara Bloom.
With this growing family they build a new home in the early 1906. The new home may have been built with the proceeds of the land sales in 1900. Arnold was the first child born in this house. With the new house the family had a tremendous change in life style. The kitchen was almost the size of their previous log cabin.
Charles was very strict when it came to discipline, and kept his large family working. In the winter they would sit around the large kitchen table and sort dried beans at night. Picked over dried beans sold for a higher price than those that were not. They also had a herd of sheep, which provided them with wool for yarn to make sweaters, hats, socks and mittens. The family hired a seamstress who would come during the winter months and sew for everyone in the household. She would live with the family for several months making the majority of their clothes.
There was also a lot of card playing, for beans; and parties. A favorite at the Ziesmer home was homemade ice cream. This was always a special treat at Elizabeth's birthday parties, which was celebrated on Mother's Day; and I can remember having this treat and looking forward to it each year as a child.
Charles was a civic mined person and was school director for Pensaukee for twenty years in addition to serving on the town board at various times.
Charles died on 1/21/1928 of cancer, after ailing for about two years.. At this time his sons Raymond and Arnold were at home as the others had all married or left the farm. Family stories are that after his death his son Charles returned to the farm with his family to run it. His obituary states he was already there. As Raymond matured they ran the farm together until 1955 when the farm was taken over by Raymond.
Elizabeth lived on this farm till she died at age 97 on 11/9/1967. In her 90's she was still collecting eggs, from the chicken coop. Both Charles and Elizabeth are buried at the Brookside Cemetery.
Sources for information. Land transfers, Lola Bridger. Family stories, personal interview conducted by Lola Bridger with Lulu Ziesmer and information provided by family members.
by Gloria A. Olson