[Editor], daguerreotype with added color highlights c.1855 (slightly cropped, and color adjusted), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Charles Isaacs, (link), Creative Commons CC0 license. Click to open larger image in new window.
Hey! It’s almost been a month since my last post. Sorry about that. I haven’t gone this long between posts in several years, I think, and now I’ve got (the digital equivalent of) a towering pile of half-written posts to finish and topics to discuss. That said, I have been busy…
That was fun!
Bartender Standing Behind a Bar, Holding up a Glass of Beer in His Right Hand., Cincinnati, Publisher Not Transcribed , 1889 [cropped] Library of Congress. This is not Fred Beckmann. But I call him “Fred,” anyway. Prost!
I’ve actually been very busy with Clark House research and writing, much of which was included in my presentation last week at the Cedarburg History Museum. I spoke about the life and the extended circle of family, business associates and friends of Fred Beckmann. His biography connects the hardscrabble early days of our area’s Yankee, Irish and German pioneers (Jonathan and Mary Clark’s generation) with the following generation of established and settled German-American farmers, business owners and civic leaders, such as Fred Beckman. And Fred connects and illuminates the story of the Jonathan Clark House with those of nearby Hamilton—and its Concordia Mill—and the development of downtown Cedarburg in the 19th-century.
Many thanks again to Cedarburg History Museum director Joel Willems for the invitation to speak, and for his valuable assistance, especially by providing some rare and excellent graphics to illustrate parts of the presentation. We had a modest but attentive crowd on April 22, and they asked excellent questions afterward. I hope everyone enjoyed the event.
A question for you, dear readers…
I had to do a lot of genealogical and historical research to make sense of the many intertwined strands of Fred’s extended family and his careers as a teamster, farmer (on the Jonathan Clark farm), and hotel proprietor in Cedarburg. In the process, I discovered a trove of useful maps, documents, and newspaper clippings, many of which I used to illustrate my talk. And while there is a video recording of my presentation (here), the video’s focus/exposure are not ideal and the images that were displayed so crisply on the museum’s video screen are mostly unreadable on YouTube. So I think I’d like to post those images and the accompanying information/narration here, as they may be of interest to many of you.
My maps, photos, diagrams and other Fred Beckman information currently exist as a (large) deck of PowerPoint slides, and are not ready to be shared “as is.” So I’m thinking I can share the information with you in one of two ways:
- I can convert the PowerPoint images and text into a series of typical-format Clark House Historian blog posts. I’ll tidy up the narration as readable text, and publish the visuals as downloadable and enlargeable images, with full citations. This has the advantage of archiving all the facts and images here on the blog for future reference and/or downloading. Or…
- I can record my slides and narration on one longish (circa 60 minutes) or 4 shorter (c. 15 minutes each) YouTube video(s). This has the advantage of being something you can just click on to watch, and the added benefit (?) of my mellifluous (?) narration and some cool PowerPoint visual transitions. It’s not quite the same as a “live” presentation, but might be a reasonable facsimile.
So what do you think? Before I go ahead and archive my presentation one way or another, I’d like your feedback. Please scroll down to the Leave a Reply box, below, and where it says “Enter your comment here…” leave your vote for “Blog post” or “YouTube video” and we’ll see if there’s a preference.
Who might be interested?
The Fred Beckmann story should be of interest to Clark House friends and supporters, as Fred is part of the Clark farm and family experience from 1868-1873.
Fans of Cedarburg and/or Hamilton and Concordia Mill history will find a number of items of interest, as will those studying early Cedarburg hotels, livery stables, teamsters, taverns & saloons and…bowling alleys!
Readers with an interest in 19th-century German immigration to the USA and, especially, to southeastern Wisconsin, will find much useful info in this talk. Fred Beckmann and his family came from various parts of the pre-1871 German-speaking lands. The presentation has info on that and, in particular, the Beckmann’s home in the Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg, and their emigration from there, via Hamburg, to New York.
And did I mention that I did a lot of genealogy work to figure out “who is who?” in this story? (Hint: they’re all—eventually—related by marriage. Just kidding. Sort of.) So if you have German ancestors from the Ozaukee county area, this may be useful for you, particularly if your family tree includes any of these surnames (including some of the variant spellings):
- BECKMANN. BECKMAN
- GOTTSCHALCK, GOTTSCHALG
- HABERMANN, HAFERMANN, HAFFELMANN
- HACKFELD, HACKFELDT, HOCHFELD
- RIGBERS, RICHTBERS
So please vote in the Leave a Reply box, below, and let me know if you’d like to me to share the Fred Beckmann story as a series of blog posts, or a (series of) YouTube videos (slides with narration).
Meanwhile, I need to sharpen my quill and get back to the writer’s desk. I’ve got lots of Clark House History to share with you. I’ll be back soon…
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I vote for YouTube video!
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