Friday, February 8, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 8 - Henrietta Burbach's Story

Henrietta Burbach circa 1909  

Henrietta Burbach was born 23 Aug 1888 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She was the second daughter and youngest of six children born to Hermann Burbach and Eva Schmitz.  Hermann came to the United States with his family in 1856 from the German state of Hesse. Eva was born in Wisconsin to German born parents. 
Henrietta’s father owned a butcher shop with his brother John.  Both lived close to each other and also their parents Georg Burbach and Catharine Caspari.  The brothers had worked as butchers before opening their own shop about 1876[i]
Herman and Eva had six children and John and Stephanie had six also.  Henrietta had many cousins to play with.  In 1892 Henrietta was four years old and on Sunday 8th May attended the Confirmation ceremony of her older brother John at St Joseph’s Church. It was a nice Spring day so John and two friends decided to take a raft out on the river that afternoon.  A storm came on suddenly and capsized the raft. John’s two friends were rescued but John was drowned.  His body was not recovered for two weeks.[ii] [iii]
In 1896 Henrietta was eight years old and her beloved Grandfather Georg Burbach died at the age of seventy two.  In 1897 Henrietta’s forty four year old father died suddenly followed by the death the same year of her only sister Catherine.
On 8 October 1898 Henrietta’s mother Eva Schmitz Burbach married Charlie Meuller.  Charlie worked in a meat market in 1900 and Eva and her children lived on Grand Avenue in Milwaukee at the time of the 1900 Census. This is probably the last year Henrietta attended school.  According to the 1900 census she was in school for nine months and was thirteen years old.  In the 1940 census Henrietta reports that she completed the eighth grade. 
Family stories tell of Henrietta working in a shop at the Grand Hotel for her step-father Charley Mueller. It is said that there is where she met Adolf H Hansen whom she married on 30 Oct 1907.

[i] History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
[ii] Milwaukee Journal Online
[iii] William Bramwell Sizer Diaries May 1892


  1. How is she related to you, Donna? It's lovely to have Henrietta's story of her life - you're doing a great job writing! Now I wish I'd taken on the challenge too, but it's a busy month for me! Cheers for your perseverance.

  2. Thanks for your comments Celia! Henrietta was my paternal grandmother.