Tag Archives: Minnesota

Hedwig

It has been said that Hedwig had “fiery red hair.”1

However, by the time color photographs became mainstream, her hair was white.

And, in fact, no color photographs are known to exist of Hedwig at all.

Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch was born in 1855 in what is now Nowa Wieś Książęca, Poland, but what at the time was the village of Neudorf in Silesia.2 She immigrated to the United States at the age of eighteen,3 settling in southern Minnesota, and at nineteen, she married fellow immigrant Joseph Lutz.4 They had five children together, although the eldest did not survive childhood.5 After Joseph’s death, Hedwig remarried to Albert Rindfleisch and gave birth to five more children.6 She raised her nine surviving children in Minnesota Lake, Faribault County, Minnesota, and spent many years as a single mother, supporting her children as a seamstress and tending her small farmstead where she processed and preserved much of their own food.7

There are no widely known family stories about Hedwig having a stereotypical temper to match her red hair, although she was said to have been stern. A tale that perhaps comes the closest suggests that when her first husband, a butcher, would give generous gifts of meat to new immigrants in their community, she would chide him and say that the newcomers would not even have a pot to cook with.8

Back: Anna (Lutz) Catlin, Melanie (Lutz) Adam, Elsie (Rindfleisch) Beyer, Edward Rindfleisch, and Front: Keith Beyer, Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch, and Albert Rindfleisch, Danville, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, circa 1937-39; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2019.

Two of the three known photographs of Hedwig were taken on the same summer day at her daughter’s farm in Danville, Blue Earth County, Minnesota. The year is uncertain, but based on the presumed ages of the children in the photograph, was likely circa 1937-39. Although this gathering may not have included all of her surviving children and grandchildren, four of her children and three of her grandchildren are pictured.

Back: Anna (Lutz) Catlin, Permelia Adam, Melanie (Lutz) Adam, Adelheid (Brandt) Rindfleisch, Elsie (Rindfleisch) Beyer, Mary (Grover) Rindfleisch, Alfred Beyer, Helen (?) Catlin, Vance Catlin, Edward Rindfleisch, Henry Adam, and Front: Keith Beyer, Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch, and Albert Rindfleisch, Danville, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, circa 1937-39; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2019.

Surrounded by family, Hedwig, who had celebrated her eightieth birthday in 1936, looks relaxed and content, with a wisp of hair blowing in the breeze and her mouth pressed into a smile. She wears a printed dress in a light color, suitable for a summer day, and squints in the sun.

Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch, Minnesota, circa 1940; digital image 2019, from a photocopy courtesy of Armond Sonnek, 2002. Provenance of the original unknown.

The only other known photograph of Hedwig shows her seated at the kitchen table in the home she shared with her eldest son and his family during her later years. Wearing a loose patterned house dress, her hair pulled back, she clasps the fingers of one hand in the other as she appears to gaze peacefully towards a window.

It was at this table that she was said to have sat to churn butter and clean vegetables, an industrious soul still determined to contribute to the household as much as possible.9

Copyright © 2019 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

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A Prayer Book from Home

Before Joseph Lutz left his home village, he carefully inscribed his name inside a leather-bound prayer book, small enough to be tucked inside a coat pocket. “This book belongs to me, Joseph Lutz of Sondersdorf,” he penned in French. The book, however, was printed in German; Joseph spoke both languages, having grown up in an area that was the subject of dispute between France and Germany.1

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Joseph Lutz prayer book, Adam Family Collection; privately held by Brian Adam (personal information withheld), 2014.

Joseph Lutz of Sondersdorf, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France, the son of François Joseph and Marguerite (Meister) Lutz, was baptized on 31 May 1844.2 He left his homeland following  the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. It was said that he had been injured during his time of service, which may have limited his opportunities for occupation, and, furthermore, he did not wish to live under Prussian rule.3 Thus, like many of his relatives, he set his sights on Minnesota.

Once settled, Joseph may have read from his prayer book with his wife, a Polish immigrant who also spoke German, as they began their life together.4 Perhaps it inspired his generosity during his career as a butcher, when he was said to have provided gifts of meat to struggling immigrants. When he later became a saloon keeper, it may have given him the strength to avoid the temptation of alcohol, a quality appreciated by his wife.5 Perhaps the prayer book brought him peace as he suffered from tuberculosis, an illness that claimed his life on 3 May 1887 when he was forty-two years old.6

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Joseph Lutz prayer book, Adam Family Collection; privately held by Brian Adam (personal information withheld), 2014.

Joseph was said to have been buried in Danville, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, and though a wooden cross once marked his grave, it is no more.7 His well-worn prayer book was passed down to his daughters, who kept his tintype – his only known photograph – tucked inside to ensure its safety. These items may have been their sole mementos of their father, a slim man with a handlebar mustache, a Catholic, a veteran, and a businessman who hailed from the border of France and Switzerland.

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Tombstone Tuesday: Hedwig Cichos

“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.

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Grave of Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz Rindfleisch (1855-1944), Saint John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, Blue Earth County, Minnesota; image date unknown, privately held by A.S. [personal information withheld], 2013.

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



SOURCES
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.

The Lutz Sisters

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Sisters Hedwig, Julia, Anna, and Melanie Lutz, ca. 1900, Minnesota; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.

Julia, Anna Marie, Hedwig “Hattie” Eulalie, and Melanie Veronica Lutz were the daughters of French and Polish immigrants, respectively Joseph and Hedwig (Cichos) Lutz of Minnesota Lake, Faribault County, Minnesota.1 By the time that this photograph was taken, circa 1900, Joseph had passed away, and Hedwig had remarried and given birth to five additional children.2 Her eldest daughters must have been close, however, as they chose to have a photograph taken of just the four of them.

Standing with her arms protectively behind her seated sisters is Hattie, who would have turned nineteen in the year 1900.3 Although her position suggests that she was the eldest, she was not; it’s possible that she may have been the tallest, however, if the photographer were to have posed the sisters based on height. She is also the only sister wearing a dress with a white collar, offering contrast; the other sisters seem to be wearing their good black dresses. None of the dresses, however, are alike, each having unique decorative pleats, panels, and/or bows. The collars are extremely high, perhaps an example of what would have been known as “officer’s” collars.4

Julia is seated at right, her dark eyes serious. She would have turned twenty-four in 1900, and was the eldest of the sisters.5 Seated at the center is Anna, who would have turned twenty-two that year.6 Melanie, the youngest, is at left; she would have celebrated her sixteenth birthday in 1900.7

At this time, all four sisters had left their mother’s household.8 Julia was married with two young children at home; she and her husband kept a hotel,9 and Anna was employed as a servant there.10 Hattie lived with her elderly maternal grandparents.11 As Melanie cannot be located in the 1900 U.S. census, she may have been away at school, where she trained to become a teacher. Later in life, Julia, Anna, Hattie, and Melanie made their homes in four different communities across three different states, but their sisterly bond is apparent in this photograph of them as young women.



SOURCES
1 “Minnesota, Marriages, 1849-1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Joseph Lutz and Hedwig Joice, 19 April 1875. Cichos was likely transcribed incorrectly as Joice.
2 1900 U.S. census, Faribault County, Minnesota, population schedule, Minnesota Lake, enumeration district (ED) 92, sheet 10-B, p. 4834 (penned), dwelling 178, family 178, Hattie Rendfleisch; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 763. Rendfleisch was a variation of Rindfleisch.
3 “Minnesota, Births and Christenings, 1840-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Hedwig Lutz, 06 September 1881.
4 Joan Severa, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1995), 526.
5 “Minnesota, Births and Christenings, 1840-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Julia Lutz, 13 December 1876.
6 “Minnesota, Births and Christenings, 1840-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Anna Lutz, 12 May 1878.
7 “Minnesota, Births and Christenings, 1840-1980,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Nov 2013), Melanie Veronica Lutz, 28 May 1884.
8 1900 U.S. census, Faribault Co., Minn., pop. sch., Minnesota Lake, ED 92, sheet 10-B, p. 4834, dwell. 178, fam. 178, Hattie Rendfleisch.
9 1900 U.S. census, Nobles County, Minnesota, population schedule, Adrian, enumeration district (ED) 209, sheet 2-B, p. 43 (penned), dwelling 29, family 29, Julia McColm; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 778.
10 1900 U.S. census, Nobles County, Minnesota, population schedule, Adrian, enumeration district (ED) 209, sheet 2-B, p. 43 (penned), dwelling 29, family 29, Anna M. Lutz; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 778.
11 1900 U.S. census, Faribault County, Minnesota, population schedule, Minnesota Lake, enumeration district (ED) 92, sheet 5-A, p. 4719 (penned), dwelling 73, family 73, Hattie Lutz; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 763.