The Fullmers of Wisconsin

News and history for the Fullmer family

Category: Projects

Family History is Rad!

Yesterday, Saturday, was Spring-like for a February day, 40+º, melting, puddles, mud. I was actually home to enjoy it. I had plans. We stripped the two guest beds and our bed. Hung the quilts outside to freshen. Put in two loads of bedding right down to the bed pads.

We had gotten an early start, so after that I baked some oatmeal raisin cookies. My next planned project was cleaning the office. Then about 10:30am, the phone rang, our land line.  We had just sat down to put our feet up for a bit while the cookies finished baking. Norm answered and handed the phone to me. He said it is someone about the museum.

It was a young lady who was in the area taking pictures of Westfield for a 99-year-old lady who grew up here, and was in a nursing home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Would there be any way that she could see the museum. We get those requests from time to time, and in my mind, I was going to see if Uncle Neil was available. Remember, I had projects in mind for the day.

I am not sure what made me ask, but I said, “Who is the lady who grew up here?”  Her response was “Martha Jost”. “Do you know who her father was?” I asked, “She may be related to my husband. His grandmother was a Jost.”

“Yes, her father was Ted,” Jessica, the young lady said. “Were there twins in the family?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied surprised, “Martha is one of them. Her sister Lydia was the other.” “Oh my gosh,” I replied, “That makes her a first cousin to my husband’s father.  We can show you lots of things to take pictures of that relate to Martha’s family.”

So we met in the afternoon, brought her the information that we had on that family including a pedigree chart to show Martha her parents, grandparents and great grandparents. We showed Jessica the museum and then took her to the cemetery, the old high school (we knew she would have graduated from that school building because she was in the same class as Aunt Vaudice Fuhrmann Mills), the farm area that Martha would have grown up on across from Cant Hill (it is no longer a farm), Cant Hill where Jessica knew Martha always went sledding, Thal Acres where Martha’s dad would have grown up (of course it was a farm then and not Thal Acres).

In my notes, it was Aunt Vaudice who had showed us the area of the Ted Jost farm. She remembered the twins as being very artistically talented and pretty.

We exchanged e-mails, phone numbers and hugs. Jessica is going to see if Martha can fill in any information on that particular family group, possibly scan me some pictures at least of Martha and her twin. Jessica was so excited. We were so excited.

This was not just a chance meeting. The Jost family was the line that we were working on when we went down to Farmington. It is the family that I have been entering information on into Family Search. Interestingly, when I was making up documents for Jessica to take to Martha, I realized that I had all kinds of information on her family in the Reunion program on my desktop that had not been entered into Family Search. I would have missed it entirely. It makes the hairs stand up on my arms to realize just how thin the veil is at times. What a great experience! Thanks to whoever up there was putting this meeting together. Family History is indeed Rad!

Grandpa Kie

KIE-2This is a picture that was taken by my sister Rosa one hot June Sunday morning back in 1956. My dad had to go out after some milk for the house. He slipped on his overalls and out he went. The overalls are how I remember him the most. Usually there was a blue work shirt under and some work boots instead of the slippers. There were times when he was dressed up. He had a Sunday suit, but the overalls were his everyday apparel.

I remember one time his saying that the overalls had saved his life. He got too close to the auger for the corn silage to be blown up into the silo. It caught the overalls and jammed. He was very grateful that it was not his leg, arm  or any of the rest of him. I don’t think this is that pair of overalls because they were pretty much chewed up, but notice the patches that Mom sewed on this pair. He had several pair of overalls.

Aunt Eloise has passed at 95

My Aunt Eloise has passed away yesterday, February 2, 2016. She was 95 years old.

Here is a photo from 2007 and some memories written by my cousin Joyce Kruger Natzke, Bonduel, who is also in the photo.

3aunts From left to right: Three of my aunts – Evelyn Kruger Miller, Lucille Kruger Heath, Eloise Kruger Quinn and cousin Joyce.

Just my Aunt Lucille, the one I consider to be most like my dad Kie – she is a real card – and Joyce are the only ones still here.

“Word came yesterday that Aunt Eloise passed. She was my Dad’s youngest sister, and spent about two years with us, at the age of 18, running our household. She married Ivan(Pete) Quinn on the lawn at Grandma’s.on Nov. 15, 1941. Not long after that he was drafted and served in WWII. Actually 4 of the Quinn boys were in the army, and I remember Mrs. Quinn had four stars in the window. Pete was sent to Iceland and I know one of  the boys was in the Pacific. While they were gone, Eloise and her friend, who was married to another brother, Ellis, decided to join the war effort too. They went to Chicago and were two of the “Rosie the Riveters” that you have probably heard of. She was 95, and her birthday was in June, so almost 96.
“One thing I remember about the wedding. After the ceremony, she exclaimed, “My flowers!” She had forgotten them in  the house!” by Joyce Kruger Natzke

Cousins – Distant and Dear

Cousins-2smOn the right is my brother Neil and his wife  Pat. But on the left, is our first cousin once removed and his wife – Loren King and Shirley. There is such a family resemblance between Neil and Loren. Our grandfather, John Fuhrmann and Loren’s mother Lorena Fuhrmann King were brother and sister.

Lorena’s husband, William King, was a minister and a really fun person to be around. At the end of their life, Uncle Willie and Aunt Lorena lived on Lawrence Street in Westfield in the same house that Great Grandma and Grandpa Fuhrmann lived in.

I don’t know if I could ever find it, but somewhere I have a tape that we made with Mom (Alta), myself, Aunt Vaudice and Great Aunt Lorena. Aunt Lorena was not all that much older than my mother – ten years. It was Aunt Lorena who shared her obituaries and other family papers with me. One obituary was for my Great Grandpa Kruger. No one else on the Kruger side seemed to have that document.

William, Lorena, Loren and Virgil King (3) This picture of the family was probably a scan or picture taken with the photo still in a frame under glass (not by me), but I thought it was worth putting it in here. In back Loren and Virgil King. In front Great Uncle Willie and Great Aunt Lorena Fuhrmann King. Willie King is related to me through the Boniers. Aunt Lorena is my grandfather John Fuhrmann’s sister. They are not related to each other.

Cool Names on New Family Search

As you play around on New Family Search, you can’t help but begin to see how far back some of these lines go.  For example, if you follow the Scribner line to Robert Scriven and Elizabetha Alicia Corbet and then follow the Corbet line, you will find all sorts of lines that go waaaay back.  I realize that the further back you go the more errors there could be, but for me it was just neat to go so far back that I could see biblical names on a genealogical line, such as King Solomon and Caesar Augustus.
As I browsed through connecting lines, I came across many interesting names.  So here is my list of top ten cool names that I found on Family Search:
1) Charles the Bald
2) Ardaric, King of the Gepids
3) Escam Princess of the Huns
4) Wacho of the Lombards
5) Gandolf Alggeirsson King in Norway
6) Aud “The Deep Minded” Ivarsdatter
7) Godwulf King of Trojans
8 ) The Scarlet Woman Rahab
9) Bezaleel “The Master Craftsman”
and my favorite…
10) King Odin Wodin of Asgard

The History of Grandpa Fullmer – part 3

Jim and Ruth Fullmer on their wedding day

Jim and Ruth Fullmer on their wedding day

This is part 3 of a three part article. If you haven’t read the first or second parts, you can catch them here and here.

Dad was asked by neighbors to run for town supervisor and he won. He had served in this capacity for a few years and I remember hearing a discussion between he and my mother about something that wasn’t right with the town board. I asked about it and he explained that Gasser Construction Company out of the Dells had invited the town board members in the area to a very elaborate dinner. Dad refused to go because he felt the board should maintain its independence and be free to choose who got road contracts. He said it just didn’t look right for them to be treated by Gasser who certainly wanted those contracts. It was a minor stance for him but it confirmed to me the necessity of honesty in public life.

As John and I grew up and went to college, we had reached an age when we felt we knew as much as Dad did, and sometimes more. By this time, 1963-4, we had sold the farm and moved to Lake Delton where dad took over a very prosperous Shell station located on highway 12, across from what is now a Field’s Steak House. He had 2 full time employees and 2 part timers and John and I worked as we were available. One of the most valuable employees was a mechanic named Marvin. We worked with him for a long time. One day dad confronted him with stealing from the till and told him to take a few days and decide what he wanted to do to keep his job. John and I were shocked and sure dad was not correct about Marvin. We mustered up the courage to talk with him on Marvin’s behalf and admitted that perhaps Dad was mistaken. Dad described all the signs of behavior that tells an employer he is being robbed by an employee. Marvin had done them all. Dad explained that knowing how much Marvin needed this job, he let the small thefts go and just did not give him a raise. Now, however, the amounts were too much to ignore. John and I were thoroughly impressed by Dad’s knowledge and the effectiveness and sensitivity with which he handled this situation. We were both humble in his presence and came away with a new respect for him. As for Marvin, he came back and behaved himself for a while. While John was home from college large amounts of money began disappearing from the till. John recounts how systematic and careful Dad investigated who the employee was and when the proof was clear, Marvin was fired for good. Even though Dad probably had his suspicions, he was very careful to make sure he was right.

One story deserves telling because it reveals the overly cautious side of my father. When Joanie and I lived in Asia, we had hoped mom and dad would take advantage of free air travel throughout the world which is a benefit of airline employees, which we were, officially. Mom was all for it but dad could not see going somewhere where english was not the language. When it became clear that Joan would have to leave Asia early due to being pregnant with Becky, we contacted my father and stressed the need we had for him to meet Joan and the kids in London and help her get them back to the States. Joan could actually handle this task just fine but we wanted to get my parents out into the world. He accepted our request and we made arrangements to have them arrive in London the same time that Joan and the kids would be arriving. All went well. Bishop Howe of a London LDS Church guided them around touring London. On the last day before they were to leave for the U.S. dad was concerned about finding a taxi the next morning in time to get to the airport at Heathrow. (Finding a taxi in London when you want one at this time is never a problem). Dad asked the cabbie if he would be good enough to pick them up at a set time tomorrow. The cabbie caught on that my dad was overly concerned and assured him he would be there to take them all to the airport. The next morning all was going fine except the cabbie, knowing that my father was nervous, arrived 15 minutes early thinking that would reassure him. It put him into a tailspin of getting everyone going and into the cab as fast as possible. Nearly to Heathrow, Joan is checking to make sure they have everything and when passports are mentioned, my father gets a pained look on his face. He left them in the hotel safe. The cabbie said ”you have got to be kidding” and promptly turned around, sped back to the hotel and returned to Heathrow in time for their flight. I told my father “Whatever you tipped the cabbie, it wasn’t enough.” As Joan witnessed all of this, she can tell it better.

It is time to bring this to a close and I will do so with two stories of things I learned about my father after I had grown up. While working at the Shell station one time, a salesman stopped in for gas. John and I waited on him and he noticed my father walking around the garage stalls. He looked carefully and asked us who he was. We told him and then he asked if he had ever lived around Westfield or Harrisville. We said he had. He promptly introduced himself to Dad and told him he had been in the Harrisville tavern when my father died. He said he has told that story all over the country. Dad just smiled and said it was a fun stunt and he was glad the fellow enjoyed it. The salesman left. We wanted to know the story immediately.

Dad was at the tavern in Harrisville one afternoon and said to Mary the bartender, “Mary, I think I’ve had it. Call Dutch Schultz in Westfield and tell him Jim Fullmer is dead on your floor and to get out here and pick him up. Dad was serious. Mary refused saying she was not going to bother Dutch with such nonsense. Dad said,” No you call him, he’ll come,” and all the other patrons in the bar convinced her to do so. Dutch Schultz was the undertaker in Westfield and long time friend of Dads. Mary called reluctantly and said that Dutch did not say anything, he just hung up. Ten minutes later someone in the bar said that Dutch and his hearse had just pulled into the parking lot. Dad promptly laid in the middle of the floor with his arms folded across his chest. Dutch burst through the door and proclaimed “By God, Fullmer, I have waited for this moment and now I’ve got you. He grabbed Dad’s legs and started pulling him across the floor toward the door. One of the men at the bar said that because they had called him and given him this bit of business, Dutch ought to by a round of drinks for everyone. Dutch dropped Dad’ s legs and bought the house a round at which point Dad jumped up and said, “I’Il have one too!”

This last story happened a few years ago as I was part of a team to solve some problems with the teachers’ union in Platteville, WI. Over dinner we were getting acquainted with other team members and the woman next to me explained that she grew up in Reedsburg, which is near the Dells. We shared stories about the area and she explained that she worked in the Dells at her brother’s Mobile service station. I said that I knew her brother. My father had worked for him just before my father retired. She looked at me and said “Jim Fullmer. He was your father?” She was so serious all of the sudden that I considered that her memories of Dad might not be good. “Oh,” she continued, “he saved my life. I was in so much trouble all the time that my brother wanted me to work for him so he could keep an eye on me. He would give me the evening shifts to keep me away from trouble. Jim often worked the same shift and we would talk a lot. He was so kind and understanding and he made so much sense. He valued his family so much that I decided to straighten myself out and look at life differently like he did. He meant the world to me.” She had lost touch with him when he moved away and I told her of his years in retirement and how he had passed away a few years before. It was a grand moment for me and I came away thinking “Well I’ll be damned Dad. You never quit influencing people for good.”

Even as I prepared this lecture, I remember stories and incidents that were meaningful if you are to understand this man Jim Fullmer, but they are not included here. He often surprised me with his patience and understanding when you were most afraid he would just be angry. As difficult and challenging as his life was for him, especially since nothing ever worked out the way he planned, he lived his life with love, grace, and fun. I hope I can do half as well. Thanks Dad, you were great.

Your son, Robert.

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