Who was Baby Buelow?

In the summer of 1878, Wilhelm Boldewahn fathered a child

The child’s mother was  Wilhelmine Buehlow and she lived in or near Oshkosh Wisconsin. Wilhelmine’s age,  her parents, and where her family came from are not known, but Wilhelmine sued Wilhelm for support and he was charged with bastardy. Bastardy was often a civil, not a criminal matter and used to determine paternity and secure child support for an illegitimate child. In Wisconsin at the time bastardy was treated as a criminal case. 

William was bound over for trial in May 1878 (before the birth of the baby) and jailed in lieu of a $100 bond. He was tried in September 1878, after the child was born.  He pled guilty, refused to provide a surety or bond to pay for the support of the mother and child and he was sentenced to 3 months in jail. After those 3 months he had no further obligation to support the mother or child. He spent a total of 8 months in jail.

No direct mention of  Wilhelmine or the child can be found after these events of 1878.

The Oshkosh Northwestern Mon May 13 1878

“A bastardy case drew a big crowd in Judge Sarau‘s court this morning. William Baldewande was arrested Saturday on a warrant sworn out by Wilhelmine Buelow, who was about to become a mother. William was lodged in jail until this morning, when the examination took place. Wilhelmine offered to settle the matter for $500, and finally reduced her figures to $35, which William still refused to fork over and had the case adjourned for a week.”

The Oshkosh Northwestern Mon May 20 1878

“The bastardy case of William Balderwande came up for final examination before Justin Sarau on Saturday. After hearing the testimony the court held that there was reasonable evidence that the defendant was guilty of the offense charge and held him for trial at the county court. The defendant was committed to jail in default of $100 bail”

The Oshkosh Northwestern Thu Aug 29 1878

The Circuit Court

The September term of the Circuit Court commences next Tuesday. The calendar consists of 63 issues of fact for the jury, 17 issues a fact for the court, six issues of law for the court, and 9 criminal cases. The criminal cases are as follows:…. State vs William Baldewande, bastardy….”

The Oshkosh Northwestern Tue Sep 10 1878

“William Baldewande, charged with bastardy, was next brought in. In the further corner of the courtrooms sat the girl on whose account William had been thus arraigned, with the 6-months-old responsibility in her arms squalling lustily. William’s attorney announced to the court that the prisoner was, and had been willing all along to marry the girl. The girl, Miss Buelow, announced her refusal to marry him unless he would give bonds to live with her and not run away and dessert her. The Court finally gave William until morning to think the matter over, and he was taken back to his chamber of reflection.

The Oshkosh Northwestern Sat Sep 14 1878

“The case of William Baldewande charged with bastardy was disposed of this morning. William was still willing to marry the girl, but the girl refused to marry him unless he could give bonds not to desert her. This William could not do and an order was entered that the defendant pay $50 for expenses and part maintenance of the child, and $1 week for its future sustenance. William was unable to raise the amount and has gone to jail for three months at the end of time he will swear out.”

Page 228

State of Wisconsin


Wm Baldermande Bastardy

Transcript from Justice Saurau’s docket

filed  May 18th 1878, Transcript shows that

Examination here before

Justice Sarau May 18th 1878. Defendant held

to bail in the sum of $100 to appear in Circuit

Court at next general term

This matter came up for final hearing

Sept 14th 1878

The defendant pleaded guilty

And Judgment was passed upon him

See judgment on file in the case

What happened to Wilhelmine and the baby after 1878?

For years, the identity of Wilhelmine and the fate of her and the child have remained a mystery. DNA results point to possible answer. It should be cautioned that much of the historical record and reports are inaccurate and contradictory – however the DNA connection seems to support that the mother was Wilhelmine Buelow, age 27 and the child’s name was Mary Fredericka Buehlow.

Wilhelmine Buelow was born May 22 1851 in Baerwalde, Kreis Neustettin. The village is 10 miles north east of Gruenwalde, Kreis Neustettin where Wilhelm Boldewahn’s family lived.

Image: My Pomerania

She came to the US in 1874 on her own and stayed with Buelow relatives living in or near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After the birth of the baby she resurfaced in Cripple Creek, Colorado where she married a recently arrived Swiss immigrant Henry Taube. They had son William in 1884 and returned to Oshkosh where William was baptized in the Peace Lutheran church in 1885.

There is no record of Baby Buelow during this period. In fact there will be no record of her for the next 15 years as many records from the 1880s and 1890s have been lost or destroyed.

However, sometime after 1885, Minnie Buelow and her husband Henry Taube moved to Streator, Illinois. There they had a second child – a daughter – called Minnie in 1890. She died at 16 months in September 1891. In 1892 the Taube’s had a second son, Albert.

What follows has been pieced together from newspaper reports in the local newspaper, The Streator Free Press. In 1891, around the time of the death of her daughter, Minnie began experiencing what the newspaper later called a “mental unbalance”. Then she began to suffer more serious health problems.

1893 – The Taube residence, 1008 South Bloomington Ave is listed for sale: “House; seven rooms; closets; price $1200”

1894 – Minnie was reported to suffer from a large tumor growing on her tongue. Her husband Henry Taube decided to take her to Chicago to have it removed, but a local doctor persuaded him to stay and allow him to remove it surgically. She is able to walk home after the surgery

1896 – March 3 – she and her husband go to Chicago to remove a cancer which had caused “throat trouble”

1896 – March 20, Minnie was reported to have been in hospital in Chicago for removal of a cancer. Mr. Henry Taube received a telegram saying she was not doing well and had ‘lost her reason’ and found her in ‘deplorable condition’ and brought her home.

1896 – April 17 – Minnie is judged to be insane and is taken to Kankakee, Illinois insane asylum. Cause of insanity was listed as the result of the cancer operation. In a later newspaper report, she was reported to have jumped into a well prior to her being committed, suffering minor injuries.

1897 – Jan 22 – Minnie walks home from the Kankakee asylum (52 miles, 20+ hour walk) in the middle of winter and declares herself well. Newspaper says she seems to be able to talk rationally and appears sane but will need to go before a board of inquiry.

1897 – February – June
A later newspaper article states that during this period, Minnie makes multiple attempts to kill herself. Her daughter Mary is reportedly present and prevents her mother from succeeding

1897 – June 1- June 16 – A later newspaper article reports that during these 2 weeks Minnie attempts to kill herself by hanging and drinking poison. Her daughter Mary prevents the attempts and the family pastor visits to talk to her mother

1897 – June 17 Minnie kills herself – the newspaper reports her body was found by her “14 year old daughter” Mary

1897 – Minnie Buelow Taube is buried in Riverview Cemetery Streator, LaSalle County, Illinois.

1897 – July 3 1897 – Henry Taube announces in the local newspaper that he plans to place his two sons [Albert age 6 and William age 13] into a Lutheran orphanage in Muscatine, Iowa

1897 – July- newspaper article states that Mary Taube who was “called here due to the death of her mother” had left Streator, Illinois and returned home to Oshkosh. This contradicts earlier newspaper reports that Mary was already in Illinois weeks before her mother’s death and that she is the one who found her mother dead.

1898 Jan – Henry Taube remarries to Mary Bauhofer – 6 months after his wife’s death. She is from Switzerland and recently arrived in the US

1900 – Now in Oshkosh, age 21, Mary Buehlow marries William Riedi, a day laborer at Reliance Flour Mills. She is 8 months pregnant. They settle in Oshkosh and go on to have 9 children. For many years the family name is spelled “Reedy” in town directories.

1903 – May 22 – Henry Taube attacks his second wife Mary Bauhofer and drives her into the street. She refuses to press charges

1905 – Son Albert is still in the Muscatine, Iowa orphanage – he is 13 years old. By this time William is over 18 and out of the orphanage

1922 – William Riedi, Mary Buehlow Taube’s husband dies in Oshkosh, WI. She is 44 years old with 9 children

1965 – Mary Buehlow Riedi dies in Oshkosh, WI at age 87. She is survived by her many children, grandchildren and her “step-brother” Albert in Milwaukee, WI

Go here to read the step by step analysis of the historical record and the possible DNA connections.

(Readable text for these newspaper articles are at the bottom of this page).

The Streator Free Press Fri Jun 18 1897 (originally printed in the Streator Times on June 16, 1897)

The Streator Free Press July 9 1897

The Oshkosh Northwestern 29 Sep 1965


The Streator Free Press Fri Jun 18 1897 (originally printed in the Streator Times on June 16, 1897)

Insane woman suicides 

Mrs Henry Taube hangs herself to a rafter in the cellar of her home

From Wednesday’s daily

Yesterday afternoon, about 4:00, Mrs Minnie Taube, the insane wife of Henry Taube, an employee of the Cathedral Glass Works, was found by her daughter, Mary, hanging by the neck from a rope attached to a rafter in the cellar of their home at 1008 South Bloomington Street. The girl, who is about 14 years of age, ran to the home of several neighbors and gave the alarm, and, in a short time, a number of men employed at Willey’s brickyard, a short distance away, reached the scene, and one of them cut the body down. The woman was probably dead when her daughter discovered her, as the men who arrived at the house a few minutes later stated that they saw no signs of life at that time.

Dr JJ Taylor was called for, and he and Officer Malloy went with the patrol wagon. The doctor pronounced the woman dead and immediately impanelled a jury who held an inquest and returned to verdict to the effect that it was a case of intentional suicide by hanging. The corpse was in brought up out of the cellar and prepared for burial by Henry Howland.

Mrs Taube is supposed to have committed the act between the hours of three and four o’clock yesterday afternoon. About 4:00, the daughter missed her mother from the house, and upon going to the cellar made the horrible discovery above related. The body was in a sitting position and rested partially on a 3 gallon crock which was turned upside down. The woman, it seems, had driven a half dozen nails into the side of one of the rafters which support the floor above. To two of those nails she attached a clothesline doubled; then she mounted the jar and tied the other end of the rope around her neck and again stepped to the ground. The rafters not being not more than 5 ft from the ground, and the woman finding it impossible to suspend herself in the air, she must have, with great determination, held her feet in the air until the rope had strangled her, when her body sank into the position in which it was found.

Two weeks ago the unfortunate woman made an attempt to hang herself in her bedroom, but the nail, to which she had attached one end of the scarf, broke, and her daughter, hearing the noise, came to her assistance and loosened the scarf which had choked her quite severely. The woman, we are informed, had also prepared to suicide at another time by soaking matches and water, with the intention to drinking the liquid .

Of late the daughter has pulled out a number of nails, driven by her mother in different parts of the house, probably with the idea of using them to carry out her plan of self-destruction .

Yesterday morning, Reverend Haskarl, pastor of the German Lutheran Church, the one which Mr Taube and family attended, called at their residence, and while in conversation was Mrs Taube, she said she had attempted to kill herself several times. He advised her not to try it again, but it seems she was determined otherwise .

Mrs Taube was born March 22nd, 1851, in Baerwalden Germany. She came to this country in 1875 and settled with relatives at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where she remained  until 1882 when she went to Colorado, where she met and married Mr Taube. There were born to them five children, three of whom – Mary, William and Albert, ages about 14, 12 and 5 years respectively – together with the husband, survive the deceased. The family has lived in Streator for about 10 years .

For five or six years Mrs Taube has shown signs of mental unbalance. Last fall she was sent to the asylum at Kankakee, but during the following January she escaped from that institution and walked the entire distance to her home in the city, where she has since remained. The funeral services over the remains of the deceased were held by Reverend Haskarl this afternoon, at the house, after which the internment took place at Riverwood cemetery. 


The Streator Free Press July 9 1897

Ms Mary Taube who was called here several weeks ago but the death of her mother, Mrs Henry Taube, left this morning on the Burlington, for her home at Oshkosh Wisconsin


The Oshkosh Northwestern 29 Sep 1965

Mrs Mary F Riedi

87, of 112 Broad Street, died Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. at Mercy Hospital. She had been ill for years .

The former Mary Below was born in Streator, Illinois, on July 2nd, 1878, and came to Oshkosh when she was a young woman. She was married in June, 1900, to William M Riedi, who preceded her in death on January 11th, 1922

Mrs Riedi was a member of the Lutheran Trinity Lutheran Church .

Surviving are four sons, William, Carl, Lawrence and Harold Riedi, Oshkosh; two daughters, Mrs Henry Babler, Van Dyne, and Mrs Frank Willy, Markesan: one stepbrother, Albert Taube, Milwaukee; 13 grandchildren, 12 12 great-grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren .

Services will be held Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church with the Reverend KR going officiating. Burial will be at Riverside cemetery. Friends may call at Conrad Funeral home from 3:00 p.m. today until 10:00 a.m. on Thursday and at the church on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until the hour of services