A Biography of
By Patti Laessig email@example.com
Edward Laessig, Sr. the patriarch of our central Wisconsin USA Laessig clan, was born in Saxony, Germany 5 July 1835. As a young man he came to America in the year 1855 according to the 1860 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois census records. It is possible that he came with his brother, as a record of two young men has been found, "Eduard Lessig age 21" and "Robert Lessig age 24" sailed from Bremen to New York on the ship "Orpheus" arriving in the USA 1 September 1855. His naturalization papers have not been located. According to family, it was in Chicago that Ed met Jeanette Baenen, born 6 January 1836, an immigrant from s'Hertogenbosch, Holland. Her parents were Francis J.J. Baenen b. 15 Oct. 1806 - d. 14 Nov. 1887 and Clara Vande Vaart b. 28 Sept. 1803 - d. 24 Jan. 1851. Jeanette immigrated with her father, step-mother, Cornelia (Van Grunderbeek) and siblings. Jeanette remained in Chicago and married Edward circa 1856 or 57, and her family moved to the town of Scott, Brown County, Wisconsin, to a small village known as Bay Settlement, near Green Bay.
Ed and Jeanette's first child, Edward M. Laessig was born in Green Bay on 10 March 1858. Their next three children: Mary, Henry and Augusta, were born in Chicago. A family story that was handed down told how Jeanette would smuggle each baby out of the house to be baptized Catholic a few weeks after it was born, without Ed's knowledge. He was Lutheran and did not want the children baptized Catholic, however records at a little church located near their home was once a German Catholic Church, and verify the family lore. At several weeks of age, each baby was baptized.
The family lived between sets of railroad tracks, and it is believed that is why their location was sometimes overlooked for census taking. The address was 81 West Liberty Street. It is described as the `north side of West Liberty, between South Canal and South Jefferson' and 'N.B. Mitchell is the street one block south of Liberty', in a Chicago city directory of 1860-1861. That address today, and since 1909, would be 550 W. Liberty Street. The directory also stated that Edward worked at J.C.W. Bailey & Co. as a laborer 1865 - 1866 edition.
Birth records indicate that the family relocated to Green Bay, Wisconsin by the year 1867 when daughter Philomena "Minnie" was born. Cornelia, Fred, Frank and Charles were likewise born in that area. Son Louis, "Stoner", daughters Julia and Anna were later born in Marathon County, Wisconsin where the family relocated to Wausau for a number of years, then to Webertown (Weber), a small settlement on the Big Eau Pleine River, on the north side of the river. A sawmill, Catholic Church, store, post office and homes were located on the south side of the river.
Edward and Jeanette's family consisted of the following:
*Henry Weber, husband of Minnie Laessig, was the son of Michael Weber and Elizabeth Kaiser Weber. Henry's brother Christian Weber was the founder of Weber Settlement. Christian Weber and his wife Anna Kaiser, daughter of Andreas Kaiser and Magdalena Esslinger Kaiser, were the parents of Mary Weber Laessig.
On September 13, 1884, the township of Brighton in Marathon County was divided in two. The new township that was formed was Eau Pleine, named after the big Eau Pleine River that flows through the township and Weber Settlement. In the spring of 1885, Edward Laessig, Sr. was elected the first chairman of the town of Eau Pleine.
Edward was also responsible, at least in part, for the establishment and building of the first Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s, just east of where he made his home. Although the church building no longer remains standing, a small cemetery, maintained by the Lutheran Church in Stratford, remains. It is located about a mile and a half north of the village of Stratford.
Edward Laessig worked as a stone mason and laborer for much of his life, and he farmed after moving to Marathon County. He remained in that location for the remainder of his life, passing on 10 April 1915. He was laid to rest in the Webertown cemetery maintained as the Eau Pleine Cemetery by St. Joseph's Catholic Church. As a final choice, Edward converted on his deathbed. Jeanette lived until 13 May 1924. She is buried beside her husband.
Patti Laessig firstname.lastname@example.org
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