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.