October Ancestral Newsletter #23

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1 October 2013 Ancestral Newsletter #23 Hello again, The Great War (WWI) wrought more destruction on the world than any previous war and this was due to Industrial Revolution technology. It was the first war to be fought in the air and underneath the surface of the sea. Many European countries had to dig their way out of both the rubble of decimated buildings as well as financial ruin. The Allies wanted Germany to pay for it to the tune of $33 billion dollars. Germany did not believe they should be expected to carry the full responsibility; they didn't fire the shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and they certainly did not cause all the destruction by themselves. But the Allies would not back down and the Germans were forced to accept unreasonable terms. America, however, did not have to deal with the devastation so many European countries faced. The war actually became a boon to Americans by creating an opportunity for an industrial and economic boom. The war left many countries in need and America could fill those needs while, at the same time, building up her own country. Factories worked around the clock. Young men left their rural lives behind and headed to the cities in search of fortune and excitement. West Allis was quickly becoming one of those cities. John Weitzer started his hardware store in West Allis. Alois Weitzer moved to West Allis as a young teenager and probably lived and worked with his brother, John. Their youngest brother Anton Tony may have taken up employment at the John Weitzer Hardware Co. at the age of 19 if that is the store Alois referred to in the letter he sent to Barbara in Feb. 1919: I got a letter from Anton the other day and he says he is working at the store. Anton Weitzer and Clara Rieder are the featured relatives for this month. Women, not yet liberated and having fewer employment opportunities, generally made their way to the cities by following in the footsteps of the men. Clara and her sister Laura married Anton and Alois respectively and, only after marriage, moved to West Allis. Barbara Weitzer moved to the city after all of her brothers left Plain. Only Anna Weitzer Haas remained on a farm but had moved to Roxbury with her husband Philip. Every person's life is a story. When I think about the lives of Anton and Clara I think of a Romeo and Juliet type love story/tragedy. They only had 7 ½ years together as a married couple. I hope they found a great deal of happiness in that short time. Before we get started with Tony and Clara's story, I would like to request, one last time, that you send a recipe to cousin Lillian Anderson who is still looking for contributors for her recipe book. The recipe can be anything, but please send something. So far, no one from the Weitzer family has sent any recipes. I am adding her this time for your convenience: Lillian Anderson 7396 River Road Arena, WI We are nearing the end of the Weitzer biographies. If I missed anything that you think would be of interest, please let me know. I may be able to add it to next month's edition. Thank you. Deb Debby Klug S. Wind Lake Rd. Wind Lake, Wi

2 Anton Tony Weitzer

3 Anton Tony Weitzer Anton Weitzer Jr. was born on May 8, 1899 in Plain, WI. He was the youngest of the children born to Barbara and Anton Weitzer. The Weitzer family portrait (below) was taken a few years before Tony was born. Tony attended church at St. Luke's and may have been a student at the school there. Anton Weitzer Jr. The Weitzer Family The family lived on a farm when they first came to live in Plain. Tony's mother moved to East Bristol when she became ill with consumption. Unfortunately I don't have information on Tony's father at that time. Did he keep the farm or sell it? Did he move to East Bristol with his wife or stay in the area of Plain with his children? Below is an excerpt from a letter written by Anne Huemmer to my mother. Anne was the daughter of Joseph Rieder and she was in her 90's when she wrote the following: So we know the Weitzers were neighbors of the Joseph Rieder family but did Anne mean they lived in the town of Plain or were they farm neighbors who lived in the area outside of Plain? It's a mystery. Tony was only four years old when his mother passed away in Around 1904, three of his sisters became nuns so he did not see much of them. Then, when Tony was eleven, his oldest brother George died and, at age 16, Tony's sister Theresa ( Sr. Junilla) died. Tony knew loss and separation at such an early age. His brother John moved to West Allis and started the John Weitzer hardware store and Tony probably began working there in 1919, the same year Alois came back from his tour of duty in France. Then, in 1922, John, Alois and Anton pooled their money together and created the Weitzer Brothers Plumbing and Hardware store located at 7235 W. National Ave. Tony was a hardware clerk and Alois was a plumber. John was the head of operations.

4 The article above was printed in the West Allis Enterprise on Nov. 15, The men in the photo may be Tony, John and their father Anton Sr. The photo postcard of Tony with his brother Alois was probably taken prior to WWI. Improvements on cameras made them easy to use and affordable. Photo postcards lost popularity around the time of the war. Below left to right: Tony Weitzer, Sr. Donalda (Catherine), Sr.Damian (Marie) and Casper Haas

5 Clara C. Rieder Weitzer

6 Clara C. Rieder Clara Rieder was born at Plain, WI on May 21, She was the first born child of Ferry and Anna Rieder followed by Albert, Herman, Laura, Frieda, John and Donald. The family lived on a farm. Clara Rieder The Rieder Family Clara may have attended both Meadow View School and St. Luke's School. In her letter, Anne Huemmer writes: The Rieder's were parishioners of St. Luke's Catholic Church and in 1911, Clara made her first Holy Communion along with Anton Weitzer and several other children. The following is taken from A History of Plain, Wisconsin: Other familiar names from the list are Albert and Herman Brechtl and Albert and Herman Rieder. Clara, Frieda and Laura Laura, Clara and Hildegard Thering

7 Anton Weitzer and Clara Rieder Rieder farm with Clara, Hildegard, Laura, Martina, Frieda & friends In 1918, two days before Clara's 20th birthday, a cyclone hit the town of Plain and surrounding areas. Strong winds tore off half the barn, damaged the house, blew her father across the yard and tossed the chicken coop into the field. Thankfully everyone in the family survived but there had been much damage done throughout the community. Happier news came in November of that year with the announcement that the Great War was over. A few years later, on July 3, 1923, Clara married Anton Weitzer in Plain. In the photo from left to right in the back row is Alois Weitzer, Albert Rieder, Frieda Rieder, and the groom Anton Weitzer. Front row: Laura Rieder, Germaine Brechtl, unknown girl, and the bride Clara (Rieder) Weitzer. The couple made their home in West Allis and then, on March 14, 1926 Clara gave birth to their daughter Lorraine. On New Years Day of 1931, a son, Walter Joseph was born but only lived for about one hour. Clara would soon follow him. She passed away on Jan. 6, 1931 at the age of 32. Back: Florence Haas, Clara, Sr.Dolnalda, Julius < Front: Sr. Damian, Lorraine and Junilla. It seems John, Alois and Tony had a falling out with their hardware store business and wound up going their separate ways. For awhile Tony owned a tavern across from the Paradise Theater in West Allis and later he owned one on 71st and National. He died on Jan. 4, 1955 at the age of 55.

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