Johann F. Faßbender was born February 2, 1811, the sixth of seven known children born to Johann and Maria Apollonia Stüsser. Then as now, the birth needed to be recorded with the government officials. The very next day Johann, “age fifty-four years farm-worker living at Oedecoven” trudged through the early morning chill with his newborn son (the average February temperature for Oedekoven is 37°F). He appeared before the mayor of Oedekoven to present the child, declaring his name as Johann. 
Very little is known about the life that Johann and Maria Apollonia led. We know that they were successful farmers who made sure their children received an education and served as needed in the German army. Johann was also a skilled artisan. A 1921 article published in Wisconsin newspapers, tells of a snuff-box, given to his grandson while on a visit home to Germany in 1901.  “The cover is inlaid with mosaic work which represents two robins on a bough tree. The stones are no larger than a point of a pin and a magnifying glass has to be used to distinguish them.  The snuff box remained in the family until sometime in the 1940s when it was sold. 
Born October 19, 1812, in Oedekoven, Salome Barbara Bel was the fifth of ten known children born to Joseph Guilleaume Bel and Anna Maria Schweikart.
Joseph passed away September 12, 1837, at age 66,  and so did not live to see his daughter Salome marry Johann F. Fassbender a few months later on Thursday, April 19, 1838. At 10:00 a.m. 27-year-old Johann and 25-year-old Salome appeared before the mayor of Oedekoven requesting to be married. They arrived with the required proof that they had posted the announcement of their wish to marry on the main door of the town hall on April 8, and again on April 15, 1838, and that no “contradiction against this marriage had been brought.” The mayor confirmed that Johann had been born on February 2, 1911, Salome on October 19, 1812, that the father of the groom had died on January 12, 18135, and the father of the bride on September 12, 1837. After the “co-present mothers of the bridal pair” agreed to the marriage, the mayor read aloud the vouchers, and “the sixth chapter of the marriage-title of the Civil Code.” He then asked Johann and Salome if they were willing to marry each other, and upon receiving an affirmative reply, he announced them “together legally married.”
Joining them in the mayor’s office, and acting as witnesses, were Johann’s brothers, 28-year-old Adolph, and 31-year-old Theodor, both stating their profession as “farmers in Oedekoven,” and Salome’s brothers, 27-year-old carl, profession, farmer, and 29-year-old Joseph Ignatz, who was an innkeeper in Duisdorf. Signing the marriage document was the bridal couple, Salome’s mother, Anna Schweikart, and the four witnesses. “The mother of the new husband declared not able to read and write.  As was the custom, Salome and Johann had their marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. This blessing occurred in the family chapel at Behlsmühle. 
Johann and Salome started married life with great hope and promise. Their first child was born on December 22, 1838.  One can only imagine how cold it must have been, when two days later at 9:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Johann arrived at the office of the mayor of Oedekoven and “presented to [him] a child of male sex,” declaring they were giving him the first names: Peter Joseph Hubert. Acting as witnesses were his brother, Heinrich, and Johann Lommerzheim.
Over the next five years, two more children would be born to the couple, but neither survived to adulthood. Nothing is known about these children other than what was included in published biographies about their brother, Peter. “She [Salome] was the mother of three children, all of whom are dead save our subject Peter Fassbender…” and “…[Peter] is the only survivor of three children born to John and Salome Fassbender, the former of whom died in 1843 in Germany, leaving three children, of whom Peter is the only survivor.” 
The day before Peter’s fifth birthday, December 21, 1843, Johann died. The civil record that records his death does not include any details as to the cause of death. Witnesses to the death record were Heinrich Faßbender, and Johann Lommerzheim, the same men to act as witnesses to the birth of Peter just five years earlier.
Oedekoven, Administrative District Cologne, Germany, “Births,” 1811, No. 23, 12th Certificate of Birth, Johann Fasbender. Cit. Date: Apr 1999.
I believe that the trip referred to in this story was made in 1899, not 1901 as I have yet to find a trip made that year.
“Has Snuff Box More Than 100 Years Old,” The Capital Times, 10 Feb 1921, p. 3, col. 7; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspapersarchive.com : accessed 6 Nov 2002).
Interview with Arthur Ellenbecker, by Susan C. Fassbender, Appleton, Wisconsin, 6 Dec 2002.
Administrative District Cologne, Germany, Certificate of Marriage, “Fasbender to Bel, 1838, No. 7”. Cit. Date: 6 Oct 1999.
Administrative District Cologne, Germany, Certificate of Marriage, “Fasbender to Bel, 1838, No. 7”; Community Oedekoven, Circle Bonn; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 6 Oct 1999; translated by Karl Wüllenweber.
Interview with Arthur Ellenbecker by Susan C. Fassbender, 10 Aug 1999, Appleton, Wisconsin.
Oedekoven, Administrative District Cologne, Germany, “Births,” 1838, no: 139, Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 29 Sep 1999.
J. H. Beers & Co., editor, Commemorative Biographical Record of the Fox River Valley Counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families., 2 (1895; reprint, Chicago, Illinois: J. H. Beers & Co., 2004), volume I: 570.
Thomas H. Ryan, History of Outagamie County Wisconsin (Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911), 924.
I was first introduced to Behlsmühle in 1999 while visiting with Arthur Ellenbecker, the grandson of the Fassbender patriarch and immigrating ancestor, Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender. As we sat talking with Arthur in his home – the very home that his grandparents purchased when they “retired” to Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin, he stood up to take a picture off of his wall. We immediately offered to assist him, but he brushed off the help stating that it wasn’t heavy, as he had dropped it a while back and the glass had broken.
Handing the framed image to us, he continued with the story. We had been talking about his great-grandparents, Johann Faßbender and Salome Barbara Bel. The image he handed us was a chalk drawing of the property in Oedekoven, Germany, owned by his maternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Bel. Arthur told us that before his marriage, his great-grandfather, Johann, had lived in an apartment behind the “third upper window from the right.”
The property was known as Tempelhof Manor and the Tempel-Mühle (Temple Mill). Today, in 2021, the building is called Behlsmühle, for Joseph Bel. The manor, first mentioned in print in 1362, originally belonged to the Hospital of St. John and St. Cordula in Cologne run by the monks of the Johannites. The monks were descendants of the Tempel-Knights who operated many hospitals along the roads leading to the Holy Land and the Temple of Jerusalem.
The French conquered the Rhineland during the French Revolution. It was at this time they also confiscated the property of the churches and monasteries of the region. Over the next 20 years, they sold the property back to the German people to fund the war. It was at this time that Joseph Bel had the opportunity to purchase the property. The property included an oil mill, a 4-wing structure, a chapel, and a two-story manor house.
In 1812 Joseph Bel became Mayor of the 14 villages that comprised the Borough of Oedekoven. He held this position for two years. Joseph died at the age of 66 on September 12, 1837,  having spent his later years as a Gutsbesitzer, or “Gentleman Farmer.” 
Behlsmühle still stands. In 1984 the manor house was given Monument status. The plaque on the house reads: “Anna 1818 Joseph Bel.”  While the house and the mill’s wheel still stand, the rest of the property has been converted into a multi-family housing complex.
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Administrative District Cologne, Community Oedekoven, Germany, death certificate no. 68 (1837), Joseph Bel; Schloß Augustusburg, Brühl. Cit. Date: 27 May 2002.
Rheinisches Amt für Denkmalpflege, Central Monuments Archive, 23, Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, Alfter, KZ.
This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 8 Feb 2013.
On November 21, 1905 Henry John Fassbender took the plunge, and purchased the White Clover Dairy Company in Hollandtown, Brown Co., Wisconsin. Not a young man, as he would soon turn 26-years-old, he knew what it would take to keep a factory of this size running. He would have help, as on January 17, 1906, he would marry the love of his life, Ida Emma Schultz.
Henry had been working in cheese factories all of his life, as in 1887 his father had built one of the first cheese factories in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, not far from the family farm in Ellington. One factory grew to two, and these family factories were now being run by his elder brother, Hubert; their parents, Peter and Elizabeth, had retired to Appleton, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin, in 1901.
One of the tasks of a cheesemaker was to harvest enough ice to last the summer. Harvesting began as soon as the ice was thick enough, usually by mid January, and continued until the house was full. That first year it was reported in the Kaukauna Times on February 9, 1906 that: “Our hustling cheesemaker Henry Faustbender [sic] is harvesting his next summer’s ice.” A couple of years later on January 31, 1908, the entry in the Kaukauna Times reported: “The ice harvest has begun in earnest and our cheesemaker and others who store ice are busy putting up next summer’s supply.”
Reporting on January 13, 1913, the Kaukauna Times stated: “Mrs. E. Van Abel, H. J. Fassbender and Matt Becker were harvesting their ice supply.” Matt Becker was a friend, and business associate of Henry’s, and Mrs. E. Van Abel is the former Ellen Wassenberg, the 71-year-old widow of Martin Van Abel, and grandmother of Wilfred and Don Van Abel. She was harvesting ice for her “Hotel.”
As we move further into the 20th Century, gasoline motors become more readily available, making harvesting ice a much quicker and easier process.
Why am I writing this post about ice? What does it have to do with food? Many years ago I had the good fortune to sit down with Henry’s daughter Mildred (Hunce), and she told me many wonderful stories about growing up in Hollandtown. Two centered around Henry’s ice house.
Always the humanitarian looking out for the people of his community, each year Henry would open up his ice house to the people of Hollandtown. Anyone who had a need for cold storage larger than what would fit into their household ice box, could carve out a niche in the ice house as their own. As Hunce remembered it, many people took advantage of this offer, coming and going throughout the summer.
The second story occurred on Monday, May 22, 1922, when at approximately 10:30 p.m. a boiler exploded at the factory. Hunce remembered hearing her father fly out of his bedroom on the first floor, and out the side door of the house. This door led straight to the factory. Eighty years later she could still hear the shower of sparks and debris hitting the tin roof of the house. An article published in the Appleton Post-Crescent on May 23rd states: “…the farmers were powerless to do much more than prevent flying sparks from communicating with nearby dwelling houses. At one time the sparks had started a blaze on the roof of a stucco house [Henry’s] about 200 yards away, but it was quickly extinguished…” There was nothing that could be done to save the factory, the papers reported the loss at $20,000, only “partly recovered by insurance.” One can only imagine Ida’s fear as she stood helplessly by watching the factory burn to the ground, and as she tried to comfort and protect her children. At the time of the fire Harold (Fat) was 14, Laurine (Ena) was 12, Red 11, Butch 9, Hunce 7, Cub 4, and Ann (Hank) was just eight months old.
Hunce also told me that day of her memory of the ice that was left after the ice house burned to the ground. She had a clear and distinct memory of how tall the remaining ice was, and how long it took for it to melt. Her memory, again corroborated by the newspaper article: “The ice house adjoining the factory also burned to the ground leaving a tower of ice about 35 feet high.”
Work began to rebuild White Clover Dairy began that very summer.
It was an exciting and optimistic day 115 years ago, April 16, 1901, when Hubert Fassbender, Anna Schwamer, Peter Ellenbecker, Elizabeth Fassbender, family and friends, gathered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Appleton, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin, to witness the marriages of the two couples. The newspaper marked the event as a “double marriage,” but the vital records tell us that they each had their own set of attendants. As with all newly married couples, I am sure they looked towards their future as being bright, happy, and long-lived. From my perspective 115 years later, I am glad they could enjoy the day, and not worry about the years ahead.
While Hubert and Anna’s lives were peppered with success and also great sadness, this post is about Peter and Elizabeth. Peter Ellenbecker and Elizabeth Fassbender chose as their attendants, Peter’s brother and sister; Maggie and John Ellenbecker, and Elizabeth’s sister Anna, and brother Henry.
Shortly after their wedding day, the couple settled into the Town of Bovina, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin, farming the land that Peter had purchased in November 1899. The homestead sat on 36.40 acres of land, with an additional 80 acres ready for cultivation.
On February 5, 1902, Peter and Elizabeth welcomed a healthy baby boy into their family, naming him Wilbert. Life was good. As the growing season was coming to an end in 1902, tragedy struck this small family. On October 15, 1902, Peter’s appendix burst, and he died eight days later on October 24th. 
I wonder how Elizabeth sent the news to her family? Or were her mother and father already there to help her during those long days and nights of Peter’s illness?
Elizabeth’s father, Peter, helped to arrange and pay for the funeral, which was held on October 27th. The receipts entered for probate do not give a clue as to where the funeral was held, but I do know that he is buried in the cemetery at St. Mary’s in Greenville, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. The receipt states that Peter paid $3.00 for the service of the pastor (neither church nor pastor were named), Heid & Groth, Dr. Livery and Boarding Stable provided the Hack and Hearse, which was $16.00, and the casket and box was purchased from Frank Schreiter, Furniture and Undertaking. Baby Carriages &c for $34.25. Miscellaneous other expenses brought the total for the funeral to $92.05.
The couple had only been married for a year and a half before Peter so tragically passed away, leaving her with a nine month old, and another baby on the way, as Arthur would be born January 10/11, 1903. Peter died intestate with a mortgage remaining on the property he purchased, debts to various merchants, and a small amount of personal estate.
Why is this story important for me to noodle through? Because it plays a very large role in the “Appleton” chapter of my revision for the Fassbender book. The Fassbender siblings were married April 16, 1901, Peter purchased the house on State Street the next day, April 17th. At age 63 he had plans to retire and “take life easy,” allowing time to become involved in his church, play cards with friends, and not be tied to the tasks of running a large farm, and cheese factories. Upon the death of his son-in-law, all of this would change.
While this is just speculation, I can feel fairly confident to say that Peter and Elizabeth packed up their daughter and grandson, and moved them into the house on State Street. Almost immediately they appeared in the county court in Appleton to start the probate process. By the first of November, the personal estate of the household in Bovina had been inventoried, totaling $246.35, with Elizabeth having the right to choose certain household goods to keep, such as beds, kitchen table etc. On November 5, 1902, Elizabeth appeared before the judge to request that her father be appointed administrator to the estate, and the next day the estate was entered into probate. The estate would not be closed for nine long years, during which time Peter and Elizabeth were in and out of court. To help me better understand the sequence of events, I needed to create a timeline spreadsheet using the 111 pages included in the probate file as the source.
It is heartbreaking to read the transcription of Elizabeth’s testimony on December 9, 1902, declaring that her husband had died at home intestate, leaving her with a nine month old, and $1,000 mortgage. She was again in court on January 16, 1903, stating that her husband was the father of a son born January 11, 1903, and asking for the money that had been received from the sale of the personal estate to be used for the “maintenance” of the family during the progress of the settlement. She begrudgingly received a single payment of $75.00, as total claims against the estate amounted to $1,075.23.
Through all of this time her family was there to help her out, both financially, and I am sure emotionally. Her brother Hubert paid the interest on her mortgage in 1910, and payment for one-year loans made by family members to Peter Ellenbecker in 1901, were put on hold for nine years. Throughout this time she continued to reside with her sons in her parents home, assisting her sister Anna in her dressmaking business.
What is puzzling to me, is that the land was not sold through this long period of probate. If other property could be sold to pay off the debt, why not the land? Peter as administrator continued to pay the property taxes each year, some of the land was leased out, but the estate was closed December 12, 1911 showing a deficit of $1,258.23.
There are 111 pages included in this probate file. The story that this file tells is a chapter of its own. Fascinating to see the farm inventory, and the inventory of animals they were raising. Great detail, but too much detail to continue to move the book chapter forward. Seeing the detail on spreadsheet helps pinpoint the major events over the nine years. Hopefully I can relay the tragedy, but not drown the reader in too much detail.
Elizabeth would marry again on September 23, 1913, to Peter C. Tatro Jr. She would have two children with Peter, Ann born in 1915, and Henry born in 1916. They lived together in a home on South Elm Street, not far from her parents home. The reason this is important? Her son Arthur, who was born in the house on State Street, was eleven years old when she remarried, and he was given the opportunity to choose to move with her to Elm Street, or remain with his grandparents on State. Arthur chose to remain with his grandparents, and he lived with them till they passed away, and he continued to live and own the house till his own death in 2003.
It takes a family. My husband likes the quote: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Peter and Elizabeth planned on retiring to Appleton, having sold the farm to their son Joseph, the cheese factories to their son Hubert, John and Anna were already living and working in Appleton, and Henry was working as a cheesemaker in Little Chute. The family was settled, it was time to “take it easy.” But God had other plans.
Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1987 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2015. Original data: Wisconsin County, District and Probate Courts. Peter Ellenbecker; accessed 16 Apr 2016.
Writing two posts in a row that referenced theJohn Stephens 1872 Map of the City of Appleton, I found myself surprised at how different the city looked over the span of the few blocks between the addresses that I was studying. Looking at the map of the first address, the Jacob Harrison Cook home onDrew Street, the neighborhood looks much as it does today, recognizable at least. And this would make sense as it was located close to Lawrence University, which was founded in 1847, just as the city was being settled. Appleton would not incorporate as a village until 1853, and as a city until 1857.The biggest change that would occur near Jacob’s home in Block 35, Lot 5, is that the University Grounds would be broken up, streets would run through it, and City Park wouldbe established in 1882. But this neighborhood 144 years later, is recognizable.A few blocks to the west, the view of the city is very different, still wild, and not heavily inhabited. Lot 14 in Section 26 of the John Stephens 1872 map changed greatly over the years. And I find it fascinating, and frustrating.I realized that in order to truly understand the property as it changed from 1872 till 1901, I needed to start with the basics, the plat map showing the Township and Range, in this case the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Township 21 and Range 17, Section 26. See the map below with all my red markings.
On September 25, 1882, a Sheriff’s Certificate was filed in Outagamie County, for the sale of the above named land to Gustave Zuehlke. I have been unable to locate the actual deed in the records online at FamilySearch.org, but it is referenced in the Quit Claim Deed filed December 9, 1882, when he sold the land to Christina Gross for $128.00.  A Quit Claim Deed is usually filed between family members, yet a quick search on Ancestry.com for Christina Gross, only told me that she was 53 years old in 1880, and lived on Packard Street, which is the street that runs below Lot 14. I am not sure if she is related to Gustave Zuehlke.
Continuing my search for the next sale, I was surprised to discover a Warranty Deed for Lot 14 with an earlier date, March 13, 1882.  In this sale, Christina, along with her husband Mathias sold to Lewis Albrecht the North 246 feet of the lot, for $600.00. With this sale, the large lot that measured 162 feet fronting Packard, and 495 feet along State Street, was starting to be divided and developed.
Two years later, State Street had continued north along the edge of Lot 14, and so the lot was reduced by approximately 38 feet, leaving a depth of 123.19 feet. It was at this time that Lewis, his wife Christine, Christina Gross and her husband Mathias, sold the North 60 feet of the South 180 feet of the lot. The purchaser, J. W. Corter, paid $350.00 for this small piece of land. The description of the sale makes me feel that I have missed a sale somewhere, as the numbers don’t add up, but this cropped image from an 1889 map, clearly shows the land that the Albrecht’s owned, and the smaller parcel that belonged to Corter.Time to get confused again, as on May 29, 1893, Mathias and his wife Christina Gross sold ALL of Lot 14 excepting the South 240 feet, and the parcel dedicated to State Street to B. W. Robeling for $500.00. Robeling in turn sold the North 60 feet of the South 300 feet to Peter Miller on September 18, 1893 for $475.00.  He in turn sold this exact land description, including a house to Peter Fassbinder [sic] on April 17, 1901, for $1,600.00. The block would continue to change in appearance over the next few years, but has now become recognizable as we see it in 2016. These two maps, Assessor Maps, one from 1900 and the other dated 1907 show the final changes. By 1907 Peter’s lot was known as Number 5, and the current description of this lot today reads: “FIFTH WARD PLAT 5WD N7FT OF LOT 4 AND ALL OF LOT 5 BLK 17” Peter’s grandson, Arthur Ellenbecker, and owner of his grandfather’s home until his death in 2003,
explained that his aunt, Anna Fassbender, had purchased the home on Lot 4 to use for her dressmaking business. When Peter decided to build a garage, he took this small parcel so as to make a proper driveway, and a better placement for the freestanding garage.Appleton.orgproduces nice maps of neighborhoods, and includes interesting facts about the homes here in Appleton. This is how the block looks today, in 2016. On this map it is very easy to see how the garage sits right on the property line. According to this site, the home has once again been converted back into a single family home, from the duplex that it was in 1999 when I took this picture, and when I first visited with Arthur.
I am still amazed at how complicated buying and selling city property was in the late 1800s. I know that I am missing some of the buying and selling of Lot 14. The numbers just don’t add up. So in reality a stop at the courthouse is in order. But I don’t regret the exercise that I tasked myself with, of using the un-indexed records found on FamilySearch.org to learn more about the land and home that would shelter Fassbenders for over 100 years, from 1901 until 2003.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22094-5633-20?cc=1463639 : accessed 24 March 2016), Land and Property; Deed record, 1882-1886, vol. 56; image 56 of 644; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,”images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22094-4015-60?cc=1463639 : accessed 24 March 2016), Land and Property; Deed record, 1881-1882, vol. 53; image 277 of 646; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22094-30335-60?cc=1463639 : accessed 24 March 2016), Land and Property; Deed record, 1893, vol. 83; image 280 of 645; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22094-31835-88?cc=1463639 : accessed 24 March 2016), Land and Property; Deed record, 1893, vol. 83; image 587 of 645; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22094-50055-67?cc=1463639 : accessed 24 March 2016), Land and Property; Deed record, 1900-1901, vol. 103; image 586 of 663; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
I like to challenge myself in new ways of looking at the genealogy search, and the tools that are at hand, most often these days, the tools available to me from the comfort of my own home and computer. As I pondered how I wanted to expand on the information about Peter’s house on State Street to include in my book about the Fassbenders, I wondered how far back I could trace the property. Now I know that I could have jumped into the car and driven the ten minutes downtown to the courthouse, walked in, and asked for all they had on 529 North State Street, but that would have been almost too easy, and kinda rude. And because it was early on a Sunday morning and I was still in my robe, it wasn’t going to happen. So I did the next best thing, and turned to FamilySearch. As I have mentioned before they have in their collection, available for browsing, a large segment of the early deeds for Outagamie County. I started in 1901 and moved backwards.
Peter Fassbinder (sic) purchased the home from Peter Miller on April 17, 1901.  The purchase price was $1,600.00. Moving in to town after having lived almost 40 years on acreage, and wide open spaces, he now lived on a lot 60 X 123, “more or less.” This had to be quite the adjustment, and a huge change in the way that they lived. What caught my eye on this Warranty Deed was the phrase: “…according to John Stephens map of the City of Appleton, published in the year 1872.” John Stephens had mapped this parcel as Lot 14, in Section 26. The piece that Peter purchased was the North 60 feet, of the South 300 feet of Lot 14. So, it would appear that Lot 14 had been divided into two parcels of land by 1901.
According to the City of Appleton, a home was built on this lot in 1894. (Still kicking myself that I had not noticed that this home sadly went into foreclosure in August 2012. It would have been so much fun to make this house special again.) Knowing the year the house was built, I was pretty confident that Peter Miller was the owner who had built the home – just seven years old when Peter and Elizabeth purchased it, and moved to Appleton.
Moving backwards, I discovered that Peter Miller had purchased the lot from B. W. Robeling on September 18, 1893, paying $475.00 for this unimproved piece of land.  Looking at the City Directory for 1893, I found no listing for Peter Miller, but found William B. Robeling residing in Brigg’s House. My next step was to discover how long W. B. Robeling had owned the property.
B. W. Robeling (As I type Robeling, I can’t help but think rambling. Which I hope I am not doing). B. W. Robeling purchased ALL of Lot 14, excepting the south 240 feet, from Mathias and Christina Gross on May 29, 1893, for $500.00. The lot size listed was 123.19 from State Street more or less, and 123 more or less in depth. 
It was time to search for the John Stephens map of 1872. I was pleasantly surprised that I could view this map in my robe, and without a drive to the library. It was online! This section of Appleton in 1872 looked very different than it does today, a side by side comparison with Google was needed.
It is now apparent just how large this original parcel of land was. Lot 14 is just above the “T” at the bottom of the original map. The road that would eventually cut through this parcel, and is just visible below the “T” is unnamed on this map.
I think that I will stop this post with the Robeling purchase, stop my rambling, and continue with another post soon. Unless I have lost you all together.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22094-50055-67?cc=1463639 : accessed 12 March 2016), Land and Property > Deed record, 1900-1901, vol. 103 > image 586 of 663; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22094-31835-88?cc=1463639 : accessed 12 March 2016), Land and Property > Deed record, 1893, vol. 83 > image 587 of 645; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.
“Wisconsin, Outagamie County Records, 1825-1980,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22094-30335-60?cc=1463639 : accessed 12 March 2016), Land and Property > Deed record, 1893, vol. 83 > image 280 of 645; Outagamie County Courthouse, Appleton.