Life On The Farm

The Vinland farmhouse sometime in the 1920s.

My grandmother Erna Boldewahn was the youngest of 3 children.  The Boldewahns lived in Oshkosh Wisconsin, with father William working in the saw mills like many German immigrants.  In 1905 or 1906, the family bought a small farm near Vinland, a few miles outside of Oshkosh.  My grandmother was around 7 years old.   The farm started with 10 acres, then grew to 40 acres by 1920.

from the 1906 Rural Oshkosh directory a "William Bolderwack" is the proud owner of 10 acres.
From the 1906 Rural Oshkosh directory a “William Bolderwack” is the proud owner of 10 acres.

By 1924, the farm was valued at $5600  (or $90,000 in today’s money).   40 acres was still very small by Oshkosh standards.

From the 1920 Viland director, William Boldewahn owns 30 acres, 3 horses and 8 cows. No telephone.
From the 1920 Vinland directory, William Boldewahn owns 39 acres, 3 horses and 8 cows. No telephone. It lists his wife Ernestina, his son Otto and his youngest daughter “Erma” (Erna)
1924 Boldewahn Farm Value Vinland
From the 1924 Rural Oshkosh Directory, the 30 acre farm is valued at $5,600

The house was situated along “Route 7” and was a few miles north of the Winnebago County Asylum .  Today, the street is known as Sherman Road, Oshkosh WI, between County Highway GG and Indian Point Road. The nearest Interstate is  I-41 and the property is  either under or next to the WUSW-FM Oshkosh radio station transmission tower.  Since property lines have changed over the years and homesteads have been torn down and rebuilt, the property is most likely part of, or between, 5939  and  6025 Sherman Road.

Sherman Road, north of Oshkosh Wisconsin.

 

1928 Farm Map for Vinland Township.

More importantly, the property runs alongside the Northwestern Railroad line where my grandfather, John Kamuchey worked.   The railroad workers would come to the farm house to get water to drink and my grandmother, now 25 years old met my grandfather, 36 years old.

The Northwestern Railroad runs along the West side (left) of the property
It is also possible that the house stood between what is now 5939 Sherman Road and 6025 Sherman Rd. See the outlines of an old structure and driveway.

The farm could not be sustained and in 1926 William listed it for sale in the Oshkosh newspaper, The Northwestern. It eventually sold and in 1930 the family moved back to Oshkosh where they bought a duplex on Ceape Street.

William Boldewahn Oshkosh_Northwestern_Sat_Oct_2_1926_
By October 1926, William started listing the farm for sale.
1920 ad for rent for the upper apartment in the new home at 172 Ceape Street, Oshkosh.
1930 ad for rent for the upper apartment in the new home at 172 Ceape Street, Oshkosh.

In August 2017,  one of Wilhelm’s grand-daughters, Evelyn Kamuchey wrote the following:

I recall this house was well built for rich farmers. My grandfather was well to do til [the] Depression ….. He decided to sell house & moved to Oshkosh on Ceape St.

Only Violet and Elaine lived at [the] farmhouse. I lived [in the] Ceape house. All of us (Violet, Elaine & me) were together with grandfather most of time. Dr P. Stein delivered us ….at St Mary’s hospital in Oshkosh.  Dr Stein’s daughter Hope Stein became our good friend for years. I remember Hope served us tea/cookies at her lovely home. Dr Stein played with us at backyard throwing ball.

Below are some photos of Erna Boldewahn (my grandmother) on the farm.

Erna Boldewahn (sitting in the front) on the Vinland farm in the 1920s. The other two girls are unknown.

ErnaBoldewahnandDogShepBW
Erna is hiding in the back. In the front is her dog Shep.

 

The Boldewahn family on the family farm in the 1910s-1920s.
From left to right:1. Ernestine Drigolias/Dragorius, wife of Wilhelm Boldewahn, 2. Meta Boldewahn – their oldest daughter, 3. unknown man, 4. unknown girl, 5. Minnie (Wilhelmine) Boldewahn, William Boldewahn’s sister.

What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name?  Those odd immigrant names really took a beating in the US. Our German great-grand-father’s name was “Boldewahn” But it was spelled:

Baldewan
Boldwahl
Boldean
Boltewahn

My favorites are:
Oldewahn
Bolderwack 
and Baltimore

To be fair, the name was often spelled in the German church books as Bolduan. The Nagel family think that these spelling variations are due to how  cursive writing was taught in Germany before the 1940s. The script was stylized and ornate and is hard for many of us today to read. It was called the “Sütterlin Schreibschrift”. After WW2 the modern “Latin” script was taught that most of us are familiar with here in the USA.

William Baltimore 1884

Baltimore, 1884 Oshkosh City Directory)

 

William Bolderwack 1920
Bolderwhack (1920 Oshkosh Rural Address Book)
Oldewahn Wedding Anniversary 1930
Oldewahn (1930 Oshkosh, WI newspaper)

 

Boltewsku 1930 Census
Boltewahn or Boltewsku (1930 US Census)

 

Bolduan
Bolduan (German Church Register 1851, Gruenwald, Kreis Neustettin, Pommern)

Friedrich Dragorius’ name was also many variations:

Drigolias (this is the name that Erna Boldewahn said was the correct spelling)
Dragolis,
Dragorus,
Dragores,
Dragoras
and even Tragorius or Gragorius

The Greeks fared even worse. The “Kamoutsis” family name was spelled:

Kamoutsi,
Kamuchy,
Kamoutzis,
Kamuches,
Kamuchas,
Camoutsis,
Kamutes,
Camoutzis,
Coumountzis
Kamuckey,
Camouzis.
 
At one point family members used “Kames
Camountzis (Ellis Island) – Line 4
Kames, 1935 Northwestern Railroad Employment Card
Kamuchas or Kamuches (1910 US Census)