Contents ©2016 by Harold Pfohl”

For a guide to the Nieman and Lueder families see link: 1890s/1900 – GUIDE TO THE NIEMAN AND LUEDER FAMILIES

The Young Adults – What Did They Do? Where Did They Go?

All of Joachim and Albertina Lueder’s children, Albert, Otto, William and Martha, became dairy farmers.  Johann and Sophie Nieman’s children were a bit more diverse: Charles and Augusta farmed, John started as a school teacher and became a businessman involved in lumbering in Hermansville, Michigan, and Alvina married a farm boy who became a storekeeper in the Michigan Peninsula very near the Wisconsin border and her brother John.

Lueder Nieman farms twnshp plat 1915 LOC
Farms of Albert, Otto, William & Martha Lueder and Charles & Augusta (md. William Lueder) Nieman

1915 Township of Cedarburg plat – source: Library of Congress

The Lueder siblings lived in close proximity and remained close as an extended family throughout their lives.  They were also close to Charlie Nieman and his wife Minnie.  Charlie and Augusta were brother and sister.  Minnie’s mother (Wilhelmina Mintzlaff nee Lueder) was a Lueder, niece and a neighbor of Joachim and Albertina.

NIEMAN INhermansville powers mi copy
Hermansville, MI, short term home and beginning of business for John Nieman Jr. – Powers, MI, permanent home for Alvina Nieman.

Source – David Rumsey Collection


German-Americans brought with them a culture from Germany that valued education greatly.

The homeland, especially Prussia, placed a high value on universal education.  This had its beginnings with Frederick the Great in the late 1700s.  As a result of defeat in the Napoleonic wars Prussia increased the emphasis on education as well as instituting major reforms in most other aspects of governmental affairs.

For more information on early education in Germany see footnote to this post and see Wiki link PRUSSIAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

This was carried over into the German-American community in Cedarburg, but without religion as a topic in public schools.  Additionally, there was no oversight from the national level.

The Lueder and Nieman children received an 8th grade education.  Whether this was at the local one room country school, or at the parochial school in Cedarburg is not known.  High school was instituted in Cedarburg at the turn of the century which would have been too late for both families – the children were adults by then.

John Nieman Jr., started out as a school teacher.  Presumably he had some sort of education beyond 8th grade to qualify him for that.  In the earlier parts of the 20th Century “Normal” schools provided a two year course for high school graduates that qualified the students as teachers in elementary schools.  John was born in 1868, and High School in Cedarburg arrived much too late for him.

cedarburg twnshp plat 1915 LOC blog schools
Farm homes in relation to schools

Cedarburg Township, 1915 plat – Source:  Library of Congress

The map above shows the locations of the Johann Nieman and Joachim Lueder farms in relation to their local schools.

Lueder children:

  • Walk to Sherman School (shown as school no. 3), 1.2 miles
  • Walk to Immanuel Lutheran Parochial School, 3.7 miles
001_021_GRWG UP eIMG0085_019_resize
Sherman School on Bridge Rd.

Sherman School on Western Ave.  The Lueder children may have attended this – but…this picture was taken in the early 20th century, and it is not known whether or not this building was erected as early as the 1870s and 80s when the Lueder children would have been in attendance.  An 1878 Wisconsin Atlas shows a school house in the location of the Sherman School.

Nieman children:

  • Walk to local school (shown as school no. 7), 0.4 miles
  • Walk to Parochial School, 3.4 miles


hp 04-23-2013 12 blog
Elm Tree School, School House No. 7 – Nieman’s school – ?

This picture is thought to have been of the school that the Nieman children may have attended, on Pioneer Rd. It would have been very convenient for Johann and Sophie’s children. Oral history indicates that this building was modified by an addition and is still in existence.   Note that the 1878 Wisconsin map referred to above shows a school house at the same location on Pioneer Rd. as the 1915 plat above shows as School House No. 7.


Fig 118b Edw Rappold 02 parochial school 1896 1926 copy
Die Zweite Kirche as Immanuel’s Parochial School

This image has appeared in previous posts.  The parochial school, formerly the second church structure for Immanuel Lutheran, served numerous students at the turn of the century, but was not so utilized early enough for the Lueder and Nieman children who were adults by then.  Nonetheless, many German-Lutheran children received all of their formal education here.


Immanuel Parochial School blog ca000039
Location of the Immanuel Lutheran Parochial School

Sidebar note: A curious matter regarding this map is that it shows “J. F. Niemann”
just below and to the right of the circled parochial school, but does not show Immanuel Lutheran Church at the right/East end of Western Ave.  John Nieman, Jr., bought that property at turn of the Century, and the new Immanuel Church was completed and dedicated in 1883 when John was only 15 years old.  The date of the map is not available.


“Pa” is William Lueder.  This may be an 8th grade graduation picture for the township – perhaps the county.  The children appear to be all the same age with the exception of the tall boys in the back left.  The only decipherable word on the sign held in front is “Cedarburg” The number of children is too large for this to have been a confirmation picture, and the age is too uniform for it to be a Sunday school picture.

 Community Service 

Fig 036
Cedarburg Township Board meeting

Charlie Nieman on the left.  Church, schools, mutual assistance among neighbors in farming, isolation due to limited transport, lack of electricity – all helped to create a sense of community.  One suspects that the deliberations of this group were helped along by a beer or two – lots of gemütlichkeit, enjoyable companionship.

Augusta Nieman Becomes an Accomplished Seamstress

Fig 018b grandma lueders sewing certificate blog

Augusta spent some time studying “Ladies’ French Tailoring.”  She had exceptional aesthetic taste.

Fig 022 RESCAN  0018b augusta nieman Mid 1890'st
Augusta Nieman

Augusta made her own clothes, including those shown in this photo.  In later years she made her children’s clothes as well.  She was an accomplished seamstress.


Augusta’s sewing circle

Augusta is second from the left in front.

 Getting the News

German language daily papers were readily available and broadly subscribed to.



German language publications persisted for many years and were common in the upper Midwest, e.g., the Cincinnati paper below:


The “Abendschule” was a magazine that the Lueder family subscribed to in the early 20th Century. WIS GPA LUEDER GERMAN MAG  IMG2894 resize blog


With the great improvement in railroad equipment and the huge increase in trackage, the USPS became quite efficient with postcards and letters which were a comparatively fast method of communicating.

carrie boettcher card front

carrie boettcher 1912

Augusta Nieman (Mrs. William Lueder at the time of this postcard) kept up a relationship with her cousin, Carrie Boettcher, who wound up in Williamsburg, Virginia from near Augusta’s Fromm grandparents northwest of West Bend.

Fig 073 MM BK 021
Postcard, Alvina Nieman Pipkorn to her sister Augusta Nieman Lueder

Near railheads, communication was swift.  The note above was penned in Michigan on February 1, 1910, in response to a letter regarding the birth in Cedarburg (200 miles distant) of Augusta’s daughter, Cordelia, on January 30th.   It took only two days for the letter to be posted in Cedarburg and arrive in Hermansville.  The USPS had accomplished a great deal over the preceding 50 years.

Northbound – Out of Farming and Into Business

hermansville powers mi blog 1
Cedarburg to Hermansville, MI – 200 miles

Source – David Rumsey Collection

John Nieman’s first wife died (more on that in a future post) and he headed to Hermansville, Michigan in the upper Peninsula with a brother-in-law by the name of William Buch to see if he could make some money from the lumber camps.


NIEMAN INhermansville powers mi copy
Lumber country and destination for two Niemans

Source – David Rumsey Collection

John did well up there in the 1890s.  In 1901, his little sister, Alvina, and her husband, Albert Pipkorn headed up to nearby Powers, Michigan to open up a store perhaps to emulate John.  The primary motive for leaving the Cedarburg area for Alvina and Albert was religious disagreement among in-laws.

The Buch & Nieman store in Hermansville, MI

Beginnings of a fortune for John Nieman, Jr. – Buch and Nieman, about 1899.

Fig 040 blog crop
John Nieman is the mustachioed figure by the doorway to the store

Enlarging the store front portion of the photo shows general merchandise for sale as well as meat.

John Nieman made a considerable fortune in his lifetime. Excepting Carl Kiekhaefer (founded and built Mercury Outboards), he has probably been Cedarburg’s most successful businessman. He started as a schoolteacher. After the death of his first wife, he moved to Hermansville, Michigan, where he opened a general store with his brother-in-law, William Buch, to serve the needs of the lumber camps. He was intensely competitive. After succeeding in his endeavors in the North woods, he returned to Cedarburg with keen ambition, a fine mind and aggressive instincts.  His business interests expanded enormously over  his lifetime.

Fig 041Fig 041b John N at lumber camp 

John Nieman is the figure right of center with a mustache and a cap, leaning against the logs. Lumbering in Northern Wisconsin was a huge business involving large numbers of people and large quantities of equipment. It was a gold rush of sorts, with vast fortunes being made. John’s fortune started there.  More on lumbering in a future post.

  hp 4 2 13 ced exhib 07 copy1 c copy blog copy

Alvina’s husband Albert Pipkorn in front of their store in Powers, Michigan.  They worked hard to make a living but only with modest success.

Homesick for Cedarburg and Family for Many Years

Albert and Alvina remained there for the rest of their lives.  Alvina missed her family and Cedarburg home deeply.  She longed for news from home, and in particular, letters from her older sister, Augusta.  Augusta, married to William Lueder, was raising seven children on the farm, had hardly a moment to spare, and didn’t write her little sister as frequently as desired.

Alvina to Augusta blog
Excerpt from letter, Alvina to sister Augusta 23 years after leaving home in Cedarburg for Powers, MI

“I have seen you so little since I have left home that whenever my thoughts dwell around there it is when you and I were young,.  There does not seem to be a spot anywhere on the old homestead where my thoughts cannot ponder and see some memories.  “Oh for days of yore – Mother’s love and Home.”


 Footnote – Education in Germany

 From Wiki:

“The…Prussian education system was introduced as a basic concept in the late 18th century and was significantly enhanced after Prussia’s defeat in the early stages of the Napoleonic Wars.”

“…(Prussia) required that all young citizens, both girls and boys, be educated by mainly municipality-funded schools from the age of 5 to 13 or 14. Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce tax-funded and generally compulsory primary education. In comparison, in France and Great Britain, compulsory schooling was not successfully enacted until the 1880s.

“The Prussian system consisted of an eight-year course of primary education, called Volksschule. It provided not only basic technical skills needed in a modernizing world (such as reading and writing), but also music (singing) and religious (Christian) education in close cooperation with the churches and tried to impose a strict ethos of duty, sobriety and discipline. Mathematics and calculus were not compulsory at the start and taking such courses required additional payment by parents. Frederick the Great also formalized further educational stages, the Realschule and as the highest stage the gymnasium (state-funded secondary school), which served as a university-preparatory school.

“The Prussian system had by the 1830s attained the following characteristics:

  • Free primary schooling, at least for poor citizens
  • Professional teachers trained in specialized colleges
  • A basic salary for teachers and recognition of teaching as a profession
  • An extended school year to better involve children of farmers
  • Funding to build schools
  • Supervision at national and classroom level to ensure quality instruction
  • Curriculum inculcating a strong national identity, involvement of science and technology
  • Secular instruction (but with religion as a topic included in the curriculum)”

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