“She was a good old German,” recalled one of the grandchildren of Hedwig “Hattie” (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch of Minnesota Lake, Faribault County, Minnesota.1 Raised in what is now Poland, Hattie came to America in 1873 at the age of eighteen.2 Although she married twice, neither of her husbands was buried at her side.Hattie’s first husband, Joseph Lutz,3 died of tuberculosis in 1887.4 According to family lore, a wooden cross once marked his grave, but it has long since disappeared.5 Hattie was still a young woman at this time, however, and with four children at home, she made what was no doubt a practical decision to remarry less than a year after his death.6 Unfortunately, Albert Rindfleisch, with whom she had five more children, was said to have struggled with alcoholism.7 By 1900, he had left his family, and he allegedly made his way to Milwaukee.8 Records indicate that he may have wound up at the Milwaukee County Infirmary, formerly known as the Milwaukee County Almshouse and Poor Farm.9
In his absence, Hattie supported her family as a seamstress, and, with three acres of land, proved to be remarkably self-sufficient. She kept a milk cow and chickens, saving the egg money for groceries, and she also raised pigs. She prepared her own ham, bacon, sausage, braunschweiger, and pickled pigs feet. Hattie surely also grew her own vegetables; one of her grandchildren remembers her making sauerkraut for what must have been hearty, home-cooked meals.10
Hattie was eighty-nine years old when she passed away on 10 November 1944. She is buried at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery on the border of Blue Earth County and Faribault County, Minnesota.11
1 William “Bill” Catlin, conversation with the author, September 2002; notes in author’s files. The late Mr. Catlin was the grandson of Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch and was acquainted with her until her death, at which time he was thirty years old.
2 “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 December 2013), manifest, S.S. Hansa, Bremen to New York, arriving 13 November 1873, Hedwig Cluchas [Cichos]; citing National Archives microfilm M237, roll 384.
3 “Minnesota, Marriages, 1849-1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 9 Dec 2013), Joseph Lutz and Hedwig Joice or Tchrichor [Cichos], 19 April 1875.
4 “Mr. Joseph Lutze,” Wells (Minnesota) Advocate, 5 May 1887.
5 William “Bill” Catlin, conversation with the author, 2002.
6 “Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 9 Dec 2013), Albert Rindfleisch and Hedwig Lutz, 29 December 1887.
7 William “Bill” Catlin, conversation with the author, 2002.
8 1900 U.S. census, Faribault County, Minnesota, population schedule, Minnesota Lake, Enumeration District (ED) 92, sheet 10-B, p. 4834 (handwritten), dwelling 178, family 178, Hattie Rindfleisch; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 December 2013), citing National Archives microfilm T623, roll 763.
9 1930 U.S. census, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Wauwatosa, Enumeration District (ED) 40-385, sheet 7-B, p. 5401 (handwritten), Milwaukee County Infirmary, Albert Rindfleisch; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 December 2013), citing National Archives microfilm T623, roll 763.
10 William “Bill” Catlin, conversation with the author, 2002.
11 Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital image (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 9 December 2013), photograph, Hedwig B. Rindfleisch (1855-1944), Memorial No. 23967168, Saint John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, Blue Earth County, Minnesota; photograph by judyvv.