Michael F. Moldenhauer, 1849

stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org on Thu, 15 Feb 2001


Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge

Mr. and Mrs. Michael F. Moldenhauer

MICHAEL F. MOLDENHAUER, an elderly resident of Neillsville, now retired, was born in Prussia, Germany, May 21,1836, a son of Michael and Christine Moldenhauer. Michael and his family came to the United States in 1849, the party consisting of himself and wife, and seven children: Charles, August, Frederick, Gotfried, Minnie and Frederica. He had been a miller and farmer in his native land, and was headed for Milwaukee, near which place he had relations. The family were eleven weeks on the voyage from Hamburg to Quebec, and thence continued their tedious journey to Milwaukee.

After reaching his destination Michael Moldenhauer soon located in the township of Cedarburg, Ozaukee County, three miles from the village of Cedarburg, and sixteen miles north of Milwaukee. From the cedar swamps, in the vicinity he hewed out square timber with which to build a log house, in the meanwhile, occupying a rented farm house, which burned down before he had his own house finished. In the fire he lost all his personal possessions. Undaunted by this calamity, however, he persevered until he had erected a primitive residence. Soon another misfortune overtook him, as his wife died from cholera, which she caught while in the service of neighbors who had the disease and whom she was caring for.

Subsequently Michael contracted a second marriage, and the rest of his life was spent in that vicinity. Michael F. Moldenhauer, the direct subject of this sketch, was 15 years old when he came with his father's family to the United States. After reaching Cedarsburg he secured a place in a store there, and also attended school there, acquiring what was then regarded as a good education for a youth in his position. Later, to earn more money, he went to the pine woods of Michigan in the employ of a logging company, and, wishing to save his money, allowed his wages to accumulate in the hands of the company. This proved an unfortunate move, however, as the company went bankrupt and he lost all his savings. His next strenuous experience was as a soldier in the Civil War, he enlisting at Milwaukee Aug. 22, 1862, in Company A, 26th Wisconsin Volunteers. He was led to take this step at a meeting held in Cedarburg calling for volunteers from that vicinity, when he with five others stepped forward and agreed to serve. With another young man he left Cedarburg at 5 p. m. that evening on foot, and arrived in Milwaukee the next morning. While in camp there, the Indian outbreak in the Northwest occurred, and some fifty men of Company A, with ten or twelve guns and a few cartridges were sent towards Cedarburg to help put down the uprising. At the same time his future wife, who was then a girl living in his township, was speeding towards Cedarburg in fear of the Indians that never came. After getting into active service in the South, however, Mr. Moldenhauer saw plenty of hard fighting, taking part in such battles as Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge and a dozen other engagements, and marching with Sherman to the sea. At the battle of Auersborough he was wounded and was sent home to Madison, Wis., where he was discharged in May, 1865, being thus prevented from taking part in the Grand Review at Washington. As soon as he recovered from his wound he engaged in farming in Ozaukee County and was thus occupied in that vicinity until 1870.

Grand Review in Washington D. C., May 23, 1865

In that year, being now a married man, he came to Clark County and located on forty acres of land in Lynn Township, eight miles east of Neillsville, later increasing the size of his farm by adding eighty acres more. He had to build his first residence on the farm, a log structure, 16 by 22 feet, and he then started work with nothing but his hands and one ox, and his wife assisting him in the manual labor. They grubbed in their first crops, but later bought a pair of steers and a brake for oxen. Their first dwelling was their home for some thirty years, with the exception of five years spent in Missouri and short periods in Neillsville and Arcadia, where Mr. Moldenhauer followed the trade of cigar-maker which he had learned in Milwaukee. In 1902 he sold the farm and moved to Missouri, but returned in 1909 and took up his residence in Neillsville, which place he has since made his home. While residing in Lynn township he served as chairman of the township board, also as a member of the side board and as school clerk. In 1874 he joined the Odd Fellows' order in Neillsville and is still a member, also belonging to the Encampment. He belongs to the G. A. R. post in Neillsville, his wife being a member of the Woman's Relief Corps.

Their five children are: Alma, Clara, Adelaide and Irwin (twins), and Walter.



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