Photograph of Trenkle's Sausage Company sign used by permission. Original photograph (Image #151), taken by Cara Pusateri of Dubuque, Iowa, a few years ago as the building on which the sign was painted was being demolished. It was located on Central Avenue across from the former Trenkle's Sausage Company.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering All the Brave and Valiant Veterans in Our Family

When I began this memorial to those in our family who served our country, I had only a few names on my list. the more I probed, the more veterans I found and the more research I had to do to fill in the blanks. I'm sure you will notice that there are still stories to add. Because of the growing list, the tributes were not completed in time for last Memorial Day. Instead, I will acknowledge their many contributions to our freedom and peace today, Veterans Day, November 11, 2009.

For now, I've chosen to focus just on my family tree...the Fischer, Holz, and Andresen men...including fathers, sons, brothers-in-law, uncles, and cousins. Soon, I'll write and post stories about my husband's and children's lines. If you have additional names for this list, including information or photos of our family's men in uniform, I would love to hear from you.

It's now several months since I posted this long list of the veterans in our family. In the meantime, I've continued to discover more names and a little of their stories. I've added these to commemorate tomorrow's Memorial Day, 2010.

War of the Rebellion

Louis Fischer, My Great, Great Grandfather

Louis was born in Bavaria in 1837. At age 24, just seven years after he emigrated, he joined the Jackson Guards, company H, first Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry on 23 April 1861. He fought in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri and was discharged on 20 August 1861. He died in Dubuque, Iowa in 1875.

The Spanish American War

Henry Charles, My Great Uncle
& William Peter Andresen, My Grandfather

Henry was born in 1871 in East Elkport, Clayton County, Iowa and William, his brother, in 1876. They enlisted in the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry in 1898. William served as a private and barber in Company A. Before the 49th became part of the occupation forces in Cuba, Will was hospitalized in Jacksonville, Florida for seven weeks with typhoid fever. Because of this and other physical problems from his service, he was not able to re-enlist for the Philippine Insurrection as he planned. Henry was promoted to corporal and later served with the 7th US Signal Corps. They sailed for Cuba on the USS Minnewaska from Savannah, Georgia on 19 December 1898 and as the ship entered Havana Harbor, they and the rest of the 49th witnessed what was left of the Maine. They were discharged in 1899. Henry died in 1930 in Seattle, Washington and William in 1955 in Dubuque, Iowa.

World War I

Alphonse Edwin Holz, My Great Uncle

Born in 1892, Alphonse was the only son in a family of four sons to serve in the military. He enlisted at age 25 in 1918 and was assigned to the Port of Bordeaux, France as part of the refrigerating plant, Company 501 with the American Expeditionary Forces. He also served in Bendorf, Germany. He was awarded a Victory Bronze Button and discharged in 1919. He died in Dubuque in 1965.

World War I Postscript

Edna Anna Michels Holz, My Grandmother

Born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1888, Edna would have been about 29 years old in this photograph if this is a WW I uniform. Why is she in uniform? Was she in a theater production or was she a member of a support group for the enlisted men?

Peacetime: Pre-World War II

Charles Joseph Holmberg, My Uncle

Charlie was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1905. He joined the Navy at age 14 in 1920 under an assumed name and assumed age. He was discharged on 8 December 1922 as a Seaman First Class on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, a ship that was sunk at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. He later was able to change his Naval records to his correct name. He died in 1975 in California.

World War II

Wilfred John Andresen, My Uncle

Andy was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1904. He enlisted in 1941 and was first stationed in Iowa City for one year. He was then transferred to Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air Station. He was discharged in 1945 once peace was declared. He died in Dubuque in 1962.

Louis Michael Holz, My Uncle

Louie was born in Dubuque,Iowa in 1916. He enlisted 29 December 1942 in the Army at Camp Dodge Herrold in Iowa after one year of college and was assigned as a Warrant Officer. He served in Hawaii. He is still living in Dubuque, Iowa.

Paul Joseph Dodds, My Cousin-In-Law

Paul was born in 1923. He enlisted in the Marines at age 20 on 23 May 1944 and served in the Pacific from 1 June 1945 and in China from 13 October 1945 until 25 July 1946. He was a heavy truck driver and, despite the lack of training, convinced his superious that he could drive a bulldozer. He was discharged on 27 August 1946 and died in Dubuque in 1999.

Joseph James Dolan, My Uncle

Joe was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1911. He enlisted at age 30 in 1941 and was assigned to the 405th Signal Company Aviation in California from 19 February 1941 to 12 November 1941. He then transferred to the Army Reserve Corps and returned to Dubuque. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was unable to join his old unit. He joined the 35th Signal Company, 35th Infantry Division from 27 January 1942 until 12 October 1945, when he was discharged. He achieved the rank of Technical Third Class (Staff Sergeant). His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was Teletype and Telegraph Operator. He told his son that he was an expert in transmitting and receiving high level code. Because of his duties and expertise, he was assigned to the Command Headquarters instead of the front lines. The 35th Division was assigned to General Patton's 3rd Army for much of the war. He died in Dubuque in 2007.

Charles Nicholas Andresen, My Uncle

Charles was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1919. He enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific. He died in Dubuque in 1965.

Marcelo Hilario, My Sister's Father-in-Law

Marcelo was born in 1905 in the Philippines and emigrated in 1929 through Hawaii.  He settled in Sacramento and joined the Army in 1941.  He served in the 1st Calvary and Infantry in Japan during WW II and in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He was awarded two Combat Infantry Badges (CIBs) and was a Combat Engineer. He was later assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington State, and Fort Ord, in California. He retired in 1961 as a SgtFC.  Marcelo died in Tacoma, Washington in 1979.

A World War II Postscript

Edgar John Holz, My Father

Ed was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1913. He made it as far as basic training at Fort Des Moines but was turned down by the Army, most likely because he had "scarring" on his lungs. He died in Dubuque in 1989.

Korean Conflict

James P., Paul V., and Richard L. Andresen, My Cousins

Jim, Paul, and Dick, brothers in a family of six sons and two daughters, were all born in Dubuque, Iowa...Jim in 1930, Paul in 1932, and Dick in 1933. Jim enlisted in the Air Force, Paul in the Marines, and Dick in the Army during the Korean Conflict.

George David Smith, My Cousin

George was born in Lead, South Dakota in 1936 and grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. He enlisted in the Army in 1956 and served during both the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Era. His Army career spanned 28 years, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning George the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was a professor of military science at the University of South Alabama from 1981 to 1984. He died in Alabama in 2004.

Vietnam Era

Nicholas Joseph Sutton, My Cousin

Nick was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1944. He enlisted in the Army and served in California and Vietnam.

James McCoy, My Cousin-In-Law

Jim was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1941. He enlisted in the Air Force and served from November, 1963 until April, 1968. After a year of Officer Training School and missile training, he was assigned to Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa. There, for 40 months, he was a Launch Officer at one the four Mace nuclear missle sites. Jim lives in Dubuque, Iowa.
If you wish to learn more about the hard missile sites on Okinawa, click here and go to Kadena Air Base. The Launch Control Center was Jim's "home" away from home.

James Dolan, My Cousin

Jim was born in Dubuque in 1942. He was drafted and served in the Army from December 1966 until December 1968. His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty was Accounting Specialist and he achieved the rank of Specialist 5. Basic Training was at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He went to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana for Finance and Accounting school even though he had a BA in Accounting. He was staioned at the Arm Forces Institute of Pathology in DC, assigned to the Budget Office. From January, 1968 until discharge, Jim was an Accounting Specialist for the 1st Logistical Command in Long Bihn, Vietnam. He lives in Florida.

Michael Dolan, My Cousin

Mike was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1946. He was drafted and served in the Army from 18 September 1969 until 14 August 1971. His MOS was pay Disbursement Specialist. Mike achieved the rank of Specialist 5. Basic Training was at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He went to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis for Finance and Accounting school, even though, he, too, had a BA in Accounting. He then was stationed at Fort Sheridan north of Chicago. He was assigned to the 45th Finance Section, US Forces Support District Rheinland Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany from 2 September 1979 until 14 August 1971. He lives in Iowa.
Daniel Dolan, My Cousin
Dan was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1948. He was drafted and served in the Army from 10 October 1970 until 16 March 1972. His MOS was Personnel Management Specialist. Dan achieved the rank of Specialist 5. Basic Training was at Fort Lewis, Washington. He went to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis for Personnel school. From May 1971 until 16 March 1972, Dan was assigned to the 95th MP Battalion in Long Bihn, Vietnam.

Sadao James Hilario, My Brother-In-Law

Sadao was born in Niigata, Japan in 1947 and emigrated to California in 1955. He enlisted in the Army at age 19 on 11 August 1966. After completing Huey (finished in top 10%) and Chinook Crew Chief / Flight Engineer training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, he was assigned to the First Flight Platoon as a Flight Engineer with the 132nd Assault Support Helicopter Company in Fort Benning, Georgia. He decided not to accept an offer for Artillery Officer Candidate School. Then, as part of the advance party, his unit flew all 16 aircraft from Fort Benning to Sharp Army Depot and then to Alameda and Oakland. He left on the USS Core for the Philippines and for Vietnam. After thirty days spent getting the aircraft ready to fly north just in time for the Tet Offensive, Sadao was assigned to the base camp at Chu Lai, where he flew as Flight Engineer in Chinooks, transporting howitzers, ammunition, fuel, food, supplies, South Vietnamese infantry soldiers, US troops, and civilians. Sadao returned home on 29 April 1969 as a Staff Sergeant (E-6). He eventually was hired by the Army Corps of Engineers. He's volunteered during the last several years for projects for the Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sadao lives in Washington.

Panama Invasion

Donald Andresen, My Second Cousin
Don was born in Dubuque in 1966. He was among 2,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division on duty in Panama. On 20 December 1989, he and the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry jumped onto Tocumen-Torrijos airfield east of Panama City. By the time he landed, the airfield was secure. His unit was then involved in securing the barracks, freeing Americans and other foreigners staying at the Marriot Hotel, and patroling the area.

Gulf War

Robert George Hoch, My Second Cousin
Robert was born in Colorado in 1970. He enlisted in the Marines and served in the Gulf War. He lives in Colorado.

Nicholas Hoch, My Second Cousin

Nick was born in 1971 in Colorado. He served in the Army. Nick died in Colorado in 2009.

Iraq War

Justin Sadao Hilario, My Nephew

Justin was born in Seattle, Washington in 1983. He joined the Marines at age 18 and served from 26 November 2001 until 26 November 2006. He was promoted to Sergeant in October of 2006. Following training as a Telephone-Computer Intermediate Repairman, he was staioned in Okinawa, Japan for one year, working in a computer repair shop with the 7th Communication Battalion. At the end of that tour he volunteered for the Marine Security Guard program and after rigorous traing at Quantico, was given his first post in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as internal security for the U.S. Embassy. During his stay in Thailand, he was assigned briefly to Manila, Philippines. He returned to Thailand for about 14 months. His second embassy post was in Beijing, China. While in Beijing, he volunteered to serve in Baghdad, Iraq for seven months. He was discharged from Beijing at the rank of Sergeant.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dubuque & Trenkle's Meat Market

To Dubuquers, sausage and cold cuts meant Trenkle's. Never mind that there were four sausage manufacturers listed in the 1901 Dubuque City Directory -- to Dubuquers, there was only one place to shop for luncheon meats, sausages, and weiners. Stopping by every Saturday was as much a weekly activity as hanging the wash outdoors every Monday (and yes, even on
the coldest winter days).

I have vivid memories of my mother or my Grandma Holz waiting to be served. There were always several customers in line, no doubt patiently holding numbers. I remember the tall glass display cases piled high inside with sausages and cold meat loaves, the clean black and white tiles, the men, including Henry himself, in white aprons quickly wrapping purchases in white heavy butcher paper or handing out samples to anyone who asked and always to the children, including me. The smells were fresh and pleasant. Henry died in 1948 so I must have been four-five-six-or seven years old at the time.

Heinrich Trenkle was born on 29 September 1866 to the shoemaker, Karl Trenkle and his wife, Therese (Volk) Trenkle. After serving as a private in the German Army, he sailed for America on the Normania and arrived at age 25 on 6 November 1891. He made his way directly to Dubuque where he found work in George Wiedmer's meat market on 19th and Jackson. I wonder if he would have had time to apprentice with a sausage maker in the old country. Nevertheless, from 1892 until 1894, Henry, as he now called himself, continued to absorb all he could about the meat and sausage business in a variety of positions in Iowa and Wisconsin. On 16 April 1894, he opened his own meat market on 14th Street in Dubuque and eventually had twenty employees, some of whom did bring the needed skills from Germany and many of whom continued to work for him for more than thirty years.

In 1895, Henry married Miss Katherine Gassman and the following year, the first of five children were born. His two sons, William and Henry, would eventually take over the business.

In 1897, he bought property at 1227 Central Avenue and began to manufacture his own sausages and luncheon meats. That same year, Henry became a naturalized citizen. The business grew and thrived as the city and the region discovered the uncompromising quality of his meats. Soon, he was supplying grocers as far away as Sioux City, Iowa and into Wisconsin and Illinois. The daughter of a grocer in Guttenberg, Iowa remembers the welcomed deliveries of Trenkle's sausages to her father's store.

Between April, 1923 and October, 1924, Trenkles completely remodeled and added the latest in equipment, a huge revolving smoker and only one of four in the United States like it at the time. During a typically busy Saturday, Henry and his employees would serve 1,400 to 1,800 customers, many who had first stopped at the outdoor market up the street.

Of the 45 varieties of smoked and unsmoked sausages and cold luncheon meats, my mother's favorites were veal loaf, head cheese, braunschweiger, ring bologna, and wieners. All except the unattractive head cheese became mine, too. When Trenkles finally closed after 76 years, my mother sought out the veal loaf at Pike Place Market's Bavarian Meat Market or the German Continental Store on Roosevelt whenever she visited Seattle.

1. 1901 Dubuque City Directory. Page
2. Passport Application, 1902. Footnote, Inc. Accessed 15 January 2009.
3. Passport Application, 1922. Footnote, Inc. Accessed 15 January 2009.
4. "Trenkle's Sausage Plant One of Most Modern in Country." Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. 5 October 1924, pg. 29-31.
5. Flyer: Invitation to Formal Opening. 8 October 1924. Vertical File: Dubuque Carnegie Stout Public Library; Dubuque, Iowa.
6. "Trenkle Co. Sale is Told." Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. 13 November 1970, pg. 5.
7. "City Demolishes Trenkle Building." Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. 23 March 1981, pg. 3.
8. Dubuque: The Encyclopedia. First National Bank. 1991.
9. "Henry Trenkle, Sr., President H. Trenkle Sausage Company." 2 March 1940. Citizens Historical Association, Indianapolis. Vertical File: Carnegie Stout Public Library; Dubuque, Iowa.
10. Tigges, John T. and James L. Shaffer. Dubuque: The 19th Century. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S.C. ; 2000. Photograph of the Henry Trenkle Company building, pg. 54.

Trenkle's Sausage Company Sign

I discovered the above image of Trenkle's Sausage Company sign on notecards for sale by Cara Pusateri at Dubuque's historic Saturday market last June. As I took my time, looking for historic cards of the Dubuque I remember, one of Henry Trenkle's descendants arrived and proceeded to pick out all the copies of the cards. When I explained how much the shopping trips during the 1940s and 50s to Trenkle's with either my Grandma Holz or my mother meant to me, she let me keep two to bring home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Please Stop At My Booth

This is my grandmother, Edna Anna Michels, dressed as a Dutch girl for a booth at the fair held at her high school, the Academy of the Visitation, in Dubuque, Iowa. The photograph was taken in either 1903 or 1904, the two years she attended the "Viz". She would have been fifteen or sixteen. I treasure this photograph because it shows her as a little "saucy" and dramatic. Also, when I knew her from the 1940s to her death in 1970, she had white hair and was not this trim.

Not only did my two grandmothers attend the Visitation, a private Catholic girls' high school founded in 1871, but my great aunts, my mother, her five sisters, my cousins, my four sisters, and I were also graduates of the Viz.

She was the best grandma a girl could have...always welcoming and loving, generous, a talented milliner, seamstress, crocheter, and quilter, and an excellent cook. But best of all, she loved her grandchildren unconditionally.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Serendipity ~ a fortunate discovery made by accident and sagacity while searching for something else. Originally coined by Horace Walpole in 1754.

In the late 1970s, during one of my trips back to Iowa, my mother and I decided to drive to East Elkport, the birthplace of her father and to learn more about his German emigrant family. In over sixty years, she had never visited her father's birthplace even though he was born a mere 50 miles north of our hometown. But in those intervening years, she developed a love of history and now had a bad case of family history fever. We were both excited to take this journey together.

We climbed the small hill to the cemetery above the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Elkport, a nearby town. We had no map or guide so we carefully searched the rows of moss-covered monuments until at last we came upon the gravestone of my mother's grandparents and their young daughter, Sophia Dora (or Baby Dora) whom we had not known about. The monument showed she died in 1871 at age two, along with entries for 1887 and 1892 for Dora's parents. We carefully copied the fading inscriptions and took several photos.

A view of Elkport with Immanuel Lutheran Church in the middle.
Above on the hill and to the right of the steeple is the cemetery. Date unknown.

At the bottom of the hill, we stopped by the Lutheran pastor's home to ask if any church records existed. He graciously let us search the fragile pages until we found entries for the family, including the baptism in 1876 of William Peter Andresen, my grandfather.

William Peter Andresen with his mother, Margaretha Dorothea Thomsen Andresen. Since she is wearing widow’s black, it appears she is in mourning for her husband, Karl Heinrich Andresen (known in East Elkport as C.H. Andresen), who died at age 52 in 1887. She died in 1892 at age 57. Based on these dates, this photo was probably taken about 1888-1889, when William would have been about twelve or thirteen. This is the only known photo of Margaretha Andresen.

Original was owned by William’s oldest daughter, Margaret who, no doubt, was named after her grandmother. Now in possession of her sons.

Although the sun was setting, we headed for the library to see if there were any town or county histories. We quickly found The History of Clayton County, Iowa (1882) on the shelf but the index listed a C. H. Anderson, not the correct spelling. As I pointed this error out to my mother, a woman searching at the sole microfilm reader looked up and asked which name we were looking for. When we said, "Andresen", we were rewarded with a big smile. "I'm related to you!" She explained that our ancestors followed her ancestors from Schleswig-Holstein and that several descendants remained in the county. We never dreamt that we would discover a distant cousin that day, specifically a distant cousin who was descended from the older sister of my mother's grandmother and who could fill in many of the empty branches on our family tree.

What's more, since she was a school teacher, she was only able to research her family during summer vacations. What if we had arrived during the school year?

My grandfather was orphaned at age 15 in 1892 and soon after, moved to Dubuque, Iowa, to learn the barber's trade from his older brother-in-law. Since he was the youngest of a family of six children, three born in Schleswig-Holstein and three born in Iowa, I imagine he did not carry early stories with him of his family or ancestors. But an older aunt and her children might.

This seredipitous discovery of a distant cousin and the information we both shared, eventually took us back to original documents from the 1600s in Germany and to the uncovering of many stories since about my grandfather's origins.

That day, when we returned home, my mother and I, usually very serious-minded, definitely did The Genealogists' Happy Dance.