Happy Birthday Carl Lemke




Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke (1845-????)

Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke was born on 22 May 1845 in Gross Justin, Pommerania, as the child of Heinrich Lemke and Friedericke Stroede. He had at least three siblings, namely: Wilhelm, Bertha, and Gustie. He was known as Carl LemkeGross Justin was part of Prussia when he lived there, but now falls within the country of Poland and is known as Gostyń, Swierzno, Pomorskie, Poland.

“Gross Justin,” Gostyń, Swierzno, Pomorskie, Poland.

When he was 35, Carl married 21-year old Clara Christine Elsabe Freese, daughter of Johannes Freese and Alida Elisabeth Henriette Wallhöfer, on 05 Feb 1881 in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.

Clara Freese and Carl Lemke, marriage record.

We don’t know anything about Carl’s childhood, so don’t know whether he moved with his parents west to Frankfurt or whether he found himself there as an adult. Between his birth in 1845 and his marriage, 35 years later, political boundaries had changed and Prussia had been absorbed into the country of Germany.

Hamburg, Germany.

Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke and Clara Christine Elsabe Freese had eight children. Their first daughter was born in Germany. Then, the next four children, who were born in America, all died young. Of their eight children, only four lived to adulthood.

  1. Frieda H Lemke was born on 11 Feb 1881 in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.  She married Bernhard Richard R Krueger on 05 Aug 1899 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She died on 21 Apr 1926 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  2. Wilhelm Friedrich August Lemke was born on 19 Jun 1883 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He died on 09 Aug 1887 in Marathon, Wisconsin.
  3. Carl Lemke was born in 1884. He died in 1885.
  4. Auguste Bertha Elsa Lemke was born on 05 Sep 1885 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She died on 09 Apr 1886 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  5. Ferdinand Carl Heinrich Lemke was born on 03 Nov 1886 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. He died on 13 Apr 1887 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  6. Clara Loese Pauline Lemke was born on 12 Jun 1888 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She married William F Peterson. She died in 1918.
  7. Elsa Anna Emilie Lemke was born on 08 Mar 1892 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She married first to Albert Sutton and then to Mr. Fairfax. She died on 19 Aug 1973 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  8. Johannes Max Leo Lemke was born on 16 Jul 1894 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Known as Max, he married Mildred Buckley. Mildred died at the birth of their son. The son was adopted and raised by another couple, the Rasmussens. Max pretty much disappeared. He died between 1940–1959.

Carl  immigrated to America about 1882. His wife Clara and daughter Frieda later joined him in America. They made the trip together on the ship called the Wieland. They arrived in New York on 07 Sep 1882 and made the trip from there to Milwaukee by water and rail.

Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin.

The Lemke family lived in Milwaukee for a few years where Carl worked as a sailor, then in 1886 moved to Marathon County, Wisconsin, in order to find employment. They settled in the town of Wausau. Clara had trained as a midwife in Germany so was able to obtain a license to practice as a mid-wife in Wisconsin. In Wausau, Carl worked a variety of jobs. He was listed as a mill hand, a fireman, a laborer, and an engineer in city directories. The fireman and engineer jobs might have been on a train. On steam locomotives, the firemen were responsible for feeding the firebox with fuel and the engineer was responsible for operating the locomotive.

1895 Wisconsin State Census,; Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin.

Sometime around the middle of August 1895, Carl Lemke just disappeared. Maybe the call of sea led him back to working as a sailor? Maybe he boarded a locomotive and just rode to the end of the line? Maybe the lumber industry in Wisconsin lured him away from the city? Maybe he suffered a tragic death somewhere? Maybe he simply ran off to escape his family? We simply don’t know what became of Carl.

From Clara’s perspective, Carl had abandoned his family, leaving her to take care of the children alone. She attempted to find him and began divorce proceedings. He was never located. The court found Carl guilty of willful desertion and failure to support (his family). The divorce was final on 09 December 1896 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.

Sheriff’s Report, Lemke divorce file.

Carl Lemke disappeared! No further trace of him has been found.

Carl Lemke died sometime after the middle of August 1895. He was 50-years old at the time, so probably lived another decade or two or more. It is likely that he died in Wisconsin or somewhere else in the United States, but a death record has not been found. What happened to Carl remains a mystery.

Where is he in the tree?

Relationship chart, Norman Arthur August Krueger to Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke.
Pedigree chart, Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke.


Ancestry.com, Hamburg, Germany, Selected Marriages, 1874-1920 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, Record for Clara Christine Elsabe Freese.

Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm serial: M237; Microfilm roll: M237_456; Line: 40; List number: 1281.

Clara C. E. Lemke vs John K. F. Lemke Records of the Circuit Court, Marathon County, Rec. Vol D on page 544 of Judg. Record, Area Research Center, UW-Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

“Clara Christina Lemke Boettcher, Personal interview”, 1939 Wausau Centennial Association, Area Research Center, UW-Stevens Point, WI 54481.

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