Category Archives: David Mader Family

Mary (Suhling) Mader Wife of Dominick Mader 1856-1946

Wife of Dominick Mader

Mary Julia was the daughter of August and Maria Suhling born in America in October of 1856. Her parents came from Germany in 1847. The family had traveled by oxen to Milwaukee and purchased land in what is now the Milwaukee business district. Her father August was a cobbler and made shoes with wooden pegs instead of nails. He sold his property when friends wrote that Bostwick Valley near Barre Mills looked just like Germany and purchased a farm there.

Mary married at age 22 to Dominick Mader. He was short and she was tall and slim. Besides having to care for her family and later her father, Mary did all the cooking for the men working in the brick yard across the road. Margaret (Mader) Seiler wrote to her grandchildren;

“One day Mrs. Mader and the maid walked a mile to visit a neighbor. Mrs. Mader told the children if they went outside to be sure to have the door closed. After she left they thought it would be nice to go wading in the creek. Away they went as fast as they could, leaving the door open. When Mrs. Mader returned she found chickens on top of the bread she had raising in the tins. This was terrible, twenty two people to feed and no bread. Long, long ago people baked their own bread. There were no bakeries and stores did not sell bread. Mrs. Mader hurried up and made biscuits to go along with the other food for the evening meal. In the morning she made pancakes and started some more bread.”

“Grandma Mary was stern,” Bill Mader said, “and used to dress all in black.”

Widowed at age 78, her son Hank and his wife took care of her in her home at 1406 Johnson St. After a lingering illness, Mary, age 89, died in a local hospital May 22, 1946.

Dominick Mader 1851-1934


Two years before the family immigrated to America, Dominick was born September 20, 1851, the youngest child of David and Mary Mader. Until he was 27, Dominick lived at home and worked on his father’s farm.

In December of 1878, Dominick bought out his brother Frank’s share in the (Weimer) brick yard becoming the sole owner and that same year married Mary Suhling.

“…Dominick Mader has manufactured brick since that time, turning out from 8-10 hundred thousand each season, and selling them in La Crosse. He is a self-made man who has procured a good income from his business.”(1)

The 1880 Federal Census lists Dominick age 28 as a brick maker, Mary 23 keeping house, Arthur one month old, two sisters as servants, and 14 hired men working in the brick yard. Dominick must have built the attractive two-story brick house across the road from the brick yard. (The house was built by 1892 but was not there when the photo was taken from Irish Hill.)

The first child of Dominick and Mary lived only 5 1/2 months. Her name is engraved on David’s tombstone; “Maria M. Born the 4th of February and died the 25th day of July, 1879.” Five more children were born and raised on the brick yard; Arthur in 1880, August 1884, Henry 1885, Dominick 1886 and Mary 1889. Also living with them was Dominick’s father-in-law August Suhling, from the time his wife died in 1886 until his own death in 1904.

In a letter to her grandchildren, Margaret (Mader) Seiler wrote:

“…There was not much time for the Mader children to have fun. As soon as they were able they had to help in making the bricks.”

Brick became two cheap to be profitable ca. 1893, so Dominick rented his place to a dairy man and moved his family to 226 So. Third St. in La Crosse where he had a saloon business up town. After four years time they moved back to the brick yard and dairy farmed for awhile before they started to make brick again. Dominick sold the brick yard in 1906 to his nephew John Boma. In 1909, Dominick purchased the old Neumeister farm of 240 acres called Oak Springs farm for $22,000, located just south of the County Poor Farm (Hill View Nursing Home). By this time all the children were in their twenties. They lived in the big farm house which had five bedrooms. Dominick and his sons, who were still living at home, dairy farmed. Much of the bluffs behind the farm were treeless then became fields.

Many fourth generation members recall trips to Dominick’s farm in horse and buggy.

After ten years Dominick sold the farm to Hyde and Funk on a land contract and retired to 1406 Johnson St. Some years later Funk and Hyde were unable to make the payments and Dominick got the farm back. Dominick Jr. and Arthur became partners and went back to the farm for their father who was too old. One month before he died, Dominick moved back to the farm home, passing away May 14th 1934.

Memories of their Grandfather

Grandson Bill Mader remembers being scared,

“When Grandpa died they brought him in that great big room and we had to take turns staying up with him all night to drive away the evil spirits. It seemed like he stayed in the house for days and Grandma looked like a witch dressed in all black.”
“Grandfather had a white mustache cup from Germany with “Remember me” written in gold lettering on it. Mother said whoever had a mustache would get it and when I came home from service with a mustache she gave it to me,” Frank Mader said, “I treasure it.”


(1) Biographical History of La Crosse Co., Monroe and Juneau Co., WI (Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1892.) p. 126.

Jacob Boma Husband of Caroline Mader 1841-1930

Husband of Caroline Mader

In Baden, Germany, Jacob was born the son of Franciska Boma in July of 1841. He served in the army under Kaiser Wilhelm. Jacob had said, “If Kaiser Wilhelm told you to climb up that wall, you climbed up the wall!” He immigrated from Germany in 1865 with his father, three sisters; Salomea, Sophia and Caroline, a brother Martin and a nephew Sebastian.

The Boma farm was originally his father’s but upon his father’s death in 1875, Jacob took over the farm. At this time Jacob was 34 and had married Carolyn Mader three years previously. The Platt Book records the Boma farm to be large even in 1874 and by 1906 it consisted of 380 acres.

Andy North related the following story of his Grandpa Jacob having had too much to drink:

“He didn’t know two sheets to the wind and pulled into the wrong farm where he unhitched the horse. The horse took off for home and Jacob had to walk. The next day he had to go back and get the wagon.”

Jacob lived to be 90 years old, a resident of La Crosse county for 65 years. He died in his home November 5, 1930.

Caroline (Mader) Boma ca. 1847-1931

ca. 1847-1931

Caroline left Germany for America when she was a little girl about 6 years old, having been born in February ca. 1847. (1) In 1872 she married Jacob Boma, a boy from the neighboring farm across the road. Carolyn was only five feet tall while her husband Jacob was six feet and four inches.

All the children of Caroline and Jacob were born at home on the Boma farm. One could say they had two families: The first family was Frank, born in 1873, John 1874, Joseph 1876, Edward 1878, and Mary 1880. Of the five, four died while still young children and only Frank, the eldest, lived to adulthood. Edward four, and Mary two, died of diphtheria in January of 1882, about one day apart and John eight, died less than one month later. Joseph died an infant two months old in 1876. The second family was John born in 1882, Julia 1884, and Mary 1885. This left nine years difference between Frank and the “second family.” John too was to die as a young man of 26 in a hunting accident.

Jacob built the beautiful big brick house on Boma Road. The walls were 18 inches or more thick, lined with plaster inside. At first it was a square, one-story house, then the roof was raised and an upstairs was added. The last addition was two rooms built on the east side of the house in 1884, which included a summer kitchen. With the summer kitchen the house had two big kitchens and eleven rooms all together; seven rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs. The most unusual feature was an inside rounding wall which everyone commented on. The enclosed stairway off the dining room curved around this wall in a ‘S’ shape.

“Every Sunday all the family came out to Caroline’s. She was known for her fried potatoes.”
–William Schnell

“Grandma Caroline cooked potatoes a day ahead with the jackets on and fried them with lard in a heavy pan on the wood stove.”
“On Sundays we used to have some meals there cooked on the wood stove. Bash Boma, the Schnells, Ed, Billy, Helen, Florence and Marie, Gladys and me.”
“The old folks ate first in the dining room while we kids sat in the kitchen waiting. Between the two rooms was a door with a glass window. This one Sunday, Ed Boma would go look through the window and say, ‘They’re still eating.’ A little while later he would look again and say, ‘They’re still eating.’ After a little while he looked again and said, ‘ They’re still eating as steady as before.'”
“Ed Schnell would go to Grandma’s and the first place we’d go was the pantry, help ourselves to ham and apple kuchen.”

–Andy North

Frank Mader Sr.’s grandchildren remember going out to Boma’s when they were children for family occasions. They went for rides in the Boma’s horse and buggy that had a top with tassels on it.

Caroline was a very quiet woman who spoke very little English. Widowed only two months, Caroline passed away on January 6, 1931 at her home on Boma Road. She was survived by three children; Frank Boma, Julia Schnell, and Mary North; one brother, Dominick Mader and seven grandchildren. Caroline was laid to rest beside her husband Jacob in an unmarked grave in the Boma family plot. Near the fence on the hill of the old cemetery stands a tall Boma monument which reads; “Kinder Von (Children of) J. and K. Boma” with the names of the four young children beneath.

An ornate gold crucifix under a glass dome that came with the family from Germany and belonged to Caroline, is now a treasured heirloom.

(1) The records all disagree on Caroline’s birth ranging from 1845-49. By the ages of the other children of David and Mary, 1847 seems to be more accurate.

Catherine (Delphenich) Mader Wife of Theodore Mader 1858-1931

Wife of Theodore Mader

Catherine was born in Iowa of German parents from Prussia in October of 1858. Her husband was thirteen years older than she. Kate survived him by three years and they are buried by her parents, Canton and Catherine Delphenich, in the La Crosse Catholic Cemetery.

Florence (Mader) Hoff remembers her great aunt Kate as being very stern. She said, “They had their squabbles. Once Theodore came over and exclaimed, ‘I wish the battle-ax would die!”

“She heckled the heck out of him.” William Schnell said. He recalls his great uncle Theodore coming over when he was a boy and saying, “She has a tongue like a rattlesnake, club her to death and her mouth will still go!”

Julie (Boma) Schnell told her children, “Aunt Kate cut her yard with a sickle in the moonlight. No one else did. She was so meticulous.”

Theodore Mader 1845-1928


In Baden,. Germany on September of 1845, Theodore was born to David and Mary Mader. He immigrated with the family when he was eight years old.

Theodore was living at home when he bought the farm and brick yard, at age 33, from his father with the provision that he would care for his parents in their old age. Two years later, the same year of David’s death in 1880, he married Catherine Delphenich who was 22. They lived in the stone house with his mother Mary for nineteen more years.

Theodore and Kate did not have any children. John Mader said, “Theodore fell off a barn roof and hurt his leg. He always used a cane and walked with a limp.” Florence Hoff remembers him as a very nice person and a lot of fun. He was very short. In the old Mader pictures, Theodore and Kate are the only two immediately recognized by all of the older family members.

Frank Mader, Jr. stated in a La Crosse Tribune article on July 1, 1951, “The fourth brother Theodore operated another brick yard nearby.” The photo taken from Irish Hill, shows that Theodore was still making brick in the 1890’s after the Schnell yard opened. After that there is no further record of this brick yard. Possibly Theodore stopped making brick when the demand for brick began to decrease with the coming of cheap and limitless lumber.

Theodore sold the Mader farm Oct. 30, 1899 to Sara Hodge for $7000. It had been in the Mader family forty four years. Theodore and Kate retired to La Crosse, his occupation being landlord in the 1900 Federal Census. In his home at 1229 Vine St. La Crosse, Theodore died age 83.

Rosa (Gantert) Mader Wife of Frank Mader 1840-1908

Wife of Frank Mader

Near the Swiss border in Baden, Germany, Maria Rosa Gantert was born February 18, 1840. In 1872, when she was 32 years of age she came to America, then to La Crosse and four years later married Frank Mader.

“Skill she acquired as a girl cooking at some of the resorts in the Swiss Alps soon made her famous as a culinary expert here — a fame still mentioned with reverential awe by the remaining few who were fortunate to sit at her table.” La Crosse Tribune “Prominent in City’s History” (1)

Viola Winkel said Rosa went to Switzerland because of skin problems which cleared when she drank goat’s milk.

Stephen Gantert, founder of the Gantert Furniture Co. was Rosa’s brother and known were her three sisters living in La Crosse, Mrs. Agatha Groman, Mrs. M. Josepha Peters, and Miss Philippine Gantert. The family did not immigrate at the same time.

After an illness of only a few days, Rosa died unexpectedly in her home on January 7, 1908 at age 68. Frank Jr. thought the cause of his mother’s death was appendicitis. Her husband, all her children and her sisters were at her bedside.


Mrs. Frank Mader, Sr. died Monday night at the home of her son, Frank Mader, Jr. 1502 South Thirteenth Street after an illness of only a few days. Her husband, all her children and sisters were at the bedside when the end come.

Mrs. Mader was born the 18th day of February, 1840, in Baden, Germany. She came to La Crosse in the year 1872 and on the 24th day of February was married to Frank Mader, who with three sons survives her. They are Henry F. Bookkeeper for James J. Hogan, Joseph and Frank, members of the well known firm of Reuter and Mader. The decease also leaves three sisters, Mrs. Agatha Gromann, Mrs. M. Josepha Peters, and Miss Philippine Gantert, all of this city. Deceased was also a sister of the late Stephen Gantert.


(1) La Crosse Tribune “Prominent In City’s History,” (La Crosse, WI) July 1, 1951, p.5.

Frank Mader 1842-1916


The second son of David and Mary, Frank was born February 14, 1842, in Baden, Germany and came as a boy of eleven to America.

At age 34, Frank was joined in marriage to Rosa Gantert on February 24, 1876. It appears the couple lived with the Mader family in the stone house for two years and their first child Frank B. who only lived five months was born in the stone house.

“It was written in an old family Bible belonging to Frank Jr. that Frank and Rosa had five sons. Two children died, one an infant and one several months/years old. The Bible has since disappeared.”

David’s stone, engraved in German letters, reads; “Frank B., son of Frank Mader, born 29 January 1877, died 15 June 1877.” Following a German custom from the old country, Frank and Rosa gave all their sons the first name of Frank.

Frank worked on his father’s farm and brick yard until he was 36 years old. In January of 1878, Frank and his younger brother Dominick purchased the Weimer Brick Yard located on adjoining land. It is probable that Frank and Rosa moved into the house belonging to the brickyard.

In the spring of the year, Frank Henry was born on April 29th. The partnership ended after only eleven months when on December 12th, Frank sold Dominick his half of the brick business and on that same day purchase the Charles Fritz farm of 160 acres for $6,000 (The Mormon Coulee overhead of the Burlington Railroad on Highway 14 is above its center. In later years it was known as the Shelby Dairy.)

On this farm in a little white frame house, Frank Joseph was born March 1880 and Frank, Jr. in May 1882. Frank John also would have been born here. Enclosed walkways connected the house to other outside buildings. Frank Jr. remembered when he was about 10 years old one of the chief activities on his father’s farm was raising strawberries which he helped to pick. A 16 quart crate of berries hauled to the John C. Burns Fruit House in La Crosse brought his father 45 cents. The profit was 19 cents a crate. He also raised a lot of watermelon.

Part of the property was sold to the Burlington Railroad. In 1895, Frank sold the farm and moved his family to La Crosse. At that time Frank was 53, Rosa 55, Frank Henry 17, Frank Joseph 15, and Frank Jr. 13 years of age.

First they rented a house on Park Ave. and then in 1896 Frank build a big two-story frame house at 1402 So. 13th Street because he wanted to be close to the church. The new house sat on two lots with an open front porch running around the side and another porch off the kitchen. Inside the front door was a beautiful open stairway. When they opened up the new house, Holy Trinity Church held an ice cream social in the yard and the parishioners toured the house.

A horse barn stood in the back of the second lot by the alley, with a garden in front. Frank kept his horse there and a two-seated buggy with fringes on top. His grandchildren can remember riding in the buggy out to Caroline and Dominick’s farms. The children played on the open double lot between the two houses on 13th Street. Water collected here and in the winter they skated on it.

The 1900 Federal Census is very descriptive of the Mader family living on 13th St:

Frank Mader, Feb. 1842, age 58 m. 25 years. Naturalized.
Occupation Capitalist, Own House Free.
Rosa Feb. 1840, age 60, Im. 1872, cannot speak English
Frank H., May 1878, age 22, Bookkeeper Laundry
Joseph, March 1880, age 20, Coachman
Frank Jr. May 1882, age 18, Grocer/Clerk

Frank converted the house into a duplex, ca. 1906 when Frank Jr. got married. Frank Jr. and his wife Magdaline lived in the upper apartment while his parents lived in the lower apartment. When Rosa died in 1908, F. Joseph with his wife Angeline moved in with the Father to take care of him in his reclining years.

Using the house as collateral in 1914, Frank borrowed $2,500 to set his sons up in the Mader Clothing Co.

He died at his home at age 75 on April 20, 1916 after a year of illness.

Memories of their Grandfather

“Someone was locked in the church and was ringing the bell to get out. Everyone just stood around and was afraid to see who was in there but grand father wasn’t afraid and let the person out.”
“He always sat in the kitchen because in those days it was the only room being heated.”
–John Mader

“One of the few remembrances that I have of my grandfather was when I was three years old. I was so mad! Grandpa was going to kill a turkey for Thanksgiving and he chased me out of the barn and wouldn’t let me watch.”
“Grandfather Frank was of medium height in stature and had the most luxuriant hair which his sons Joe and Henry inherited. As young men they never went bald. The luxuriant hair is a Mader trait.”
–Florence (Mader) Hoff

“Our father always said his father Frank was a pallbearer for the first funeral and burial in the Catholic Cemetery in La Crosse.”
“My Dad said something funny about Grandpa Mader. ‘He worked hard all summer but in the winter he just read love stories!'”
“He was so sick when I knew him, he would sit out by the barn with his head back.”
–Viola (Mader) Winkel

“Grandpa would sit in front of the wood stove with his legs crossed and I would sit on his foot. Grandpa would give me a ride swinging his foot and say ‘Benny, Benny, Dockendorf!”
“Before his funeral, Grandpa just laid out on the front porch and the pallbearers just walked off the porch and into the church.”
–Ben Mader

“Grandfather Frank was gentle, genteel, and a very nice man!”
–Isabelle (Mader) Anderson


(1) Florence (Mader) Hoff
(2) We could not find Frank John in the cemetary records.
(3) Bernard Dockendorf was a friend of Frank.

FRANK MADER, farmer, Sec. 22 La Crosse; was born in Germany in 1842; emigrated to America in 1853 and came direct to La Crosse, where in 1876, he was married to Rosa Gantert, born in Germany in 1842. In 1878, purchased his present farm of 160 acres. The children are Frank H. and Joseph. His father, David Mader (deceased) was born in Germany in 1798. Was married to Mary Schalk in 1837. Emigrated to the United States in 1853, purchased land and settled in La Crosse Co. where he worked at farming until his death, March 1, 1880; he left a wife and five children — Martin, Frank, Theodore, Dominick, and Caroline. Mrs. Mader is living with her son Theodore.


Frank Mader, Sr., a resident of La Crosse since 1853, died at 9 o’clock last night at his home, 1402 South Thirteenth street, after a year’s illness due to the infirmities of his age. Mr. Mader was in his seventy-fifth year.

Mr. Mader has been prominent in La Crosse for many years. He came to the city at the age of eleven with his parents,. German immigrants from Baden, who came up the river of a rafting steamboat. The older Mader took up land in Ebner’s Coulee. After his death Frank Mader worked the land until twenty years ago when he moved to the home in the city, where he died last night. Mr. Mader at one time was largely interested in Mormon Coulee brickyards.

Three sons, Henry F. Frank and Joseph Mader survive the pioneer. All are residents of La Crosse. A sister, Mrs. Jacob Boma, lives in the town of Shelby. Of Mr. Mader’s three brothers, Theodore and Dominick live in this city. Martin Mader is a resident of Spokane, Wash. Mr. Mader had been a widower for eight years.

Funeral services will be held at 9 o’clock Monday from Holy Trinity church, Rev. Joseph Riesterer officiating. Burial will be made in the Catholic cemetery.

The following inscription appears on the Mader Family stone.

Hier ruht
GEB 14 Feb. 1842-GEST 20 April 1916
GEB 18 Feb. 1840- GEST 27 Jan. 1908
Sie waren uns lieb im Leben
Wir werden sie im tode auch nicht Vergessen
Auf ein frohes Wiedersehen

Here rests
BORN 14 Feb. 1842–DIED 20 April 1916
BORN 18 Feb. 1840–Died 27 Jan. 1908
They were dear to us in life
We will not forget them in death
Upon (we look forward to) a happy reunion

Martin Mader 1840-1928


Martin was the oldest child of David and Mary born in 1840 in Baden, Germany. He came to this country at the age of 13. In the War Between the States, Martin was a soldier in the Union Army.

In 1870, the Federal Census records Martin, age 30, and his wife Louisa, age 18, living with the Mader family in the stone house. They were the parents of seven children. Their first child, named Theodore, born in June of 1871, lived only five months. He died at Christmas time and is buried next to Kreseng on David’s plot in the La Crosse Catholic Cemetery. (The cemetery lists his date of burial December 27, 1871.) Before 1875, they had two daughters, Angeline and Clara, while still in the stone house.(1) Another son William (Willie) was born on July 8, 1878 and died at age three April 24, 1881. The last children born to them were Anna, Willard, and Edward. The family moved to Spokane, Washington in 1890.

“Martin went to Spokane to work in the lumber mills. He was a tall man.” Florence (Mader) Hoff said. She and her cousin Isabelle remembered when they were young, some of Martin’s grown children visited the family in La Crosse.

Louisa, Martin’s wife died at age 53 making Martin a widower for 24 years. Martin was a member of the Reno Post of G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). He had been a resident of Spokane for 38 years when he passed away August 18, 1928 at age 87. The G.A.R. conducted services at the funeral home and Martin was buried next to Louisa in Greenwood Cemetery.

GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC (G.A.R.)was a society of men who fought for the north in the Civil War. It was founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson in Decatur, IL, on Apr. 6, 1866. The society was founded to strengthen fellowship among men who fought to preserve the Union, to honor those killed in the war, to provide care for their dependents, and to uphold the Constitution. Membership was open to honorably discharged soldiers, sailors, or marines of the Union armed forces who served between Apr. 12, 1861 and Apr. 9, 1865. The Grand Army had 409,489 members in 1890. Its last member died in 1955 and the organization was discontinued in 1956. The society founded soldier’s homes, and was active in relief work and in pension legislation. The G.A.R. started the celebration of Memorial Day in the north by a general order issued by John A. Logan. The Woman’s Relief Corps began as an auxiliary to the G.A.R. –Cora E. Gillis


(1) There is a Martin Mader residing on the NE corner of Sixth and Division in the 1873-74 La Crosse City Directory. His occupation is listed as a watchman. The 1875 census says that he resides in the stone house. It is possible Martin lived in town during the winter and moved back in the spring to work in the brick yard which was seasonal work.