Vincenz Kreuziger (1844-1921)
Francesca Kalupka Kreuziger (1844-1925)
Vincenz and Francesca Kalupka Kreuziger were emigrants form the District of Landskron, Bohemia, who settled in Watertown, Wisconsin in the 19th century. Information about them comes from a newspaper article, interviews, archival research and other research sources.
Excerpts from the article “Will Celebrate Golden Wedding” from the Watertown Daily Times of July 25, 1918
Mr. Kreuziger was born near Landskron, Bohemia, November 25, 1844 and spent his childhood and early manhood days in that vicinity. He was a weaver by trade, and could weave a yard and a half of cotton fabric such as ginghams on a hand loom in the course of an hour. But the Civil war, cutting off the supply of cotton from “the states” raised havoc with the business, and there were hard times for the weavers across the waters.
Not far from Mr. Kreuziger’s home lived Fraulein Francesca Kalupka, whose parental home was in Rottwasser, a nearby village. She had been born in that village in January 1844. The young couple became acquainted and decided to marry and emigrate to America. Their decision was made early in the year 1868, but too late to allow for marriage before the Lenten season. So they decided to come to America at once. They arrived in Watertown April 28, 1868. Both found employment at once, and their plans having matured, they were wedded in midsummer.
The following spring they removed to the neighborhood of Richwood, a mile north of that village, to be exact. During the first years, Mr. Kreuziger “worked out” among the farmers. In 1874, Mr. Kreuziger purchased a twenty-acre farm in that vicinity. The little farm did not require Mr. Kreuziger’s entire time, and he still continued to be employed on other farms at intervals until 1883, when he purchased a larger farm in the Juneau road, town of Emmet, where they resided until 1906. They then removed to this city, building the home at 901 North Fourth street, where they have since resided.
The couple has two sons, one daughter, and eight grandchildren. The sons are John, Route 1, town of Emmet; and Henry, who now owns the home farm but is retired on account of poor health and resides in North Eighth street. The daughter is Mrs. John (Mary) Roffeis, also of Route 1. The children and grandchildren will all be at the family celebration Sunday afternoon except Herbert [sic Hubert], son of John, the oldest grandchild, who left Thursday to enter the army.
Era of High Prices.
Mr. Kreuziger talks most entertainingly of the Watertown of fifty years ago. His first employment was at the old Sprague brick yard. He worked twelve hours a day, from 6 o’clock till noon and from 1 o’clock till 7. It was hard work too – especially hard for a man who had done no manual labor previously. August 15 there was some relief, as the working hours were cut to eleven, from 6 to 6 with an hour for noon [meal]. For this labor, Mr. Kreuziger received $32 per month. Fortunately: though, everything seemed to be high except wages, he was able to secure board at the brick yards for $12 a month. Evidently boarding house keepers did not expect, or at least did not get, very high returns for their labor in these days.
The $20 per month which Mr. Kreuziger had left after paying his board did not have a very high purchasing power. Everything was high, including foodstuffs, though the latter dropped greatly in price after the harvest.
During the spring and early summer, wheat was $2.00 per bushel. After harvest, however, Mr. Kreuziger says he was able to buy wheat at $1.10 a bushel. He took the wheat to the mill and had it ground for winter use, though later in the fall it went still lower in price. Meat was high, too, but of course, not so high as now.
Even after the price drop at harvest time, Mr. Kreuziger says he remembers having paid twenty-four cents a pound for butter, a very high price in those days. In later years, when as a farmer he had butter to sell, he sold it for as low as eight cents, and he remembers carrying eggs to town on his back and receiving six cents per dozen for them.
Additional facts about the Kreuzigers
Vincenz Kreuziger was born on November 25, 1844 in Ober Johnsdorf 117, the son of Wenzel Kreuziger and Theresia Kohler. He was the youngest of ten children. His father was a cottager (Hausler). His grandfather was a farmer (Bauer) in Nieder Johnsdorf 54.
His siblings were Wenzel, born 1822, Johann Baptist, born 1824, Theresia, born 1826, Josef, born 1828, Anna, born 1830, Franz, born 1832, Rosalia, born 1834, Ignatz, born 1836 and Viktoria, born 1838.
Little is known about Francesca Kalupka since no records in Landskron have been found. There are two possible reasons for this: 1) We do not have the correct spelling of her last name and 2) when she said she was from Rothwasser, she meant one of the village near Rothwasser, not Rothwasser itself. In American records, we find she was born on January 4, 1844 and her father’s name was Pilgrini.
Vincenz and Francesca arrived in American on April 28, 1868 at the Port of Baltimore. It is likely that one of the reasons that Vincenz and Anna came to America was the Austro-Prussian War which resulted in Prussian soldiers being billeted in the Landskron area. Vincenz’s granddaughter Helen Kreuziger Kaul said one of the reasons they came to America was because the “soldiers marched over everything.” Helen also said her grandmother would never eat butter after she came to America since the ship food was so rancid.
They married on July 7, 1868 at St. Henry’s Church in Watertown, Wisconsin.
Both Vincenz Kreuziger and Johann Langer, a fellow Landskroner, moved from the Richwood area to the Juneau Road (County M ) in 1883.
Vincenz was naturalized on June 15, 1891.
After he retired in town, he would go to the library on a weekly basis. He would frequently stop at the offices of the Watertown Weltbürger, a German newspaper, to talk to the editor. In 1910, he ordered nine items from a book seller in Landskron, most of them dealing with the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.
Their grandson Hubert died of influenza on October 5, 1918, shortly after his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
Vincenz died on May 19, 1921 due to cancer of the liver and pancreas. He is buried in St. Henry’s Cemetery in Watertown, Wisconsin.
After his death, Francesca moved to 806 North Fourth Street to live with her daughter, Mrs. John Roffeis. Francesca died on February 26, 1925 of chronic myocarditis and arteriosclerosis. She is buried in St. Henry’s Cemetery in Watertown, Wisconsin.
Vincenz’s siblings in America
Four of Vincenz’s siblings emigrated to America: Theresia, Anna, Franz and Rosalia. In later years, some nephews also emigrated to the Watertown area.
His sister Anna Kreuziger, who was married to Wenzel Kreuziger, was the first to emigrate. They came in 1867. They lived on a farm in Clyman Township, Wisconsin.
Franz Kreuziger, his wife Theresia and children, Josef, Bernhard and Franz, traveled to America on the SS Braunschweig which arrived at the Port of Baltimore on May 23, 1874. He farmed near Richwood, Wisconsin.
Rosalia and her husband Ignatz Steiner arrived in 1877. At some point, they returned to Landskron. After her husband’s death, she returned to the Watertown area in around 1894 with her sister Theresia and some nieces and nephews.
Theresia Kreuziger married a Langer and a Schless. Both husbands died in the Landskron area country. She emigrated to the Watertown area in about 1894 with her sister Rosalia and some of her children.