Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gross and Rapp

William F. Gross
William F. Gross was born in Saxe-Meiningen, Germany.  He was the son of Casper and Christina (Turk) Gross, who left their native country and came to America in 1866.  They located in Racine and the father secured a position in a lumberyard there, which he held until his demise in September of that year.  He is buried in Racine.  He was survived for four decades by his wife, who died in 1906, and was buried in Minnesota.  They were the parents of William F. of this review; and Ernest, who is deceased.  The parents were German Lutherans and in their daily lives tried to exemplify the teachings of the church.
William F. Gross entered public schools in Germany and studied until his family emigrated to the new world in 1866.  He continued his education in Berryville, for three seasons gaining a thorough command of English.  His mother remarried as his father died the year they arrived in America and William remained at his stepfather's home until he was seventeen years of age when he began working in Kenosha.  He was employed there during the summers for seven years, while in the winters he went to the lumber woods in the northern part of the state.  Following his marriage he purchased twenty acres of land near Berryville, and for thirty-six years cultivated his land intensively gaining a good return from his labors.  He then sold his place to the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and purchased eighty-one acres in Somers Township, known as the Gibson farm.  In 1906 he added to his holdings by the purchase of a seventy-two acre tract, but subsequently he sold sixty-nine acres of his farm to his son.  He has erected an attractive home on his place on Section 18, Somers Township, and all of the other improvements are modern and in good condition.
Mr. Gross was married on the 8th of January, 1879, to Miss Annie Fleischmann, a daughter of Teronimus Fleischmann.  To this union have been born six children of whom Ernest is deceased, the others being:  Fred, who is married and has two sons, Alfons and George; William, who is married and lives near Berryville; Agnes, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Aloys, who is a member of Coast Battery, No. 169, and is stationed at Fortress Monroe, Virginia; and Madeline, who is employed at Pfennig's grocery.
Mr. Gross is an adherent of the Republican party and for three or four terms has served as a member of the school board.  he is connected with the Woodmen at Somers and in religious faith is a Roman Catholic.  When he began his independent career he had no capital but was willing to work and possessed sound judgment.  As years have passed his industry and good management have brought their reward and he is now in comfortable circumstances.
(Source:  City and Kenosha County Record of Settlement by Frank H. Lyman, Vol. !!, Chicago, S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916)

1880, 1900, 1920, U.S. Federal Census and U.S. Naturalization Records
William Gross (same as William F. Gross)
Born about July 1854 in Germany/Saxony
Spouse:  Annie (Anna) Gross was born about 1856 in Bavaria
Marriage Year:  1880
Immigration Year:  William arrived June 15, 1866 at Port of New York
Naturalization Date:  William, June 18, 1919
Household Members:
Annie Gross, spouse, born about 1853 or 1856
Frederick Gross, son, born about January 1883
William J., son, born about 1885
Alois (Aloys), son, born about June 1887
Agnes, daughter, born about February 1890
Madeline, daughter, born about May 1895
Christina, mother, born about 1832, divorced and lived with William and family in 1880 Census as well as Charles, listed as a half brother.

About Christina Turk Gross Rapp
Christina Turk was born in Saxony, Germany.  Her parents names according to her marriage licence were Michael and Sophia T(u)erk.  She cam to America in 1866 with her husband, Caspar Gross and two children:  William and Ernest.  They settled in Racine, Wisconsin area and joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Racine where Christian Rapp and his sisters went.  Caspar died in September 1866.  She married Christian Rapp in November 1866.  She lost her son Ernest; and a baby girl, Christina Barbara; and a baby boy named Christian by the year 1869.  She had two more children: Christian and Matthias.  A few years later, she another baby boy, Charles out of wedlock.  By 1879 Christian had left her with his two sons and his mother Anna to settle in Arlington, South Dakota.
(Source:  kaybriggs53 public site at Ancestry.com)

Christina Gross
(Source:  Photo by kaybriggs53 at public site of Ancestry.com)

About William J. Gross, son of William and Anna Gross
William Gross, well known farmer of the Town of Somers and a deputy sheriff of the county, is sleeping with his full brace of revolvers under his pillow just at present and he is keeping his home pretty well guarded during the day light hours.  All of this is being done on account of a threatening letter recently received by Gross which is now in the hands of the sheriff.
In the letter a demand was made on Gross that he place $50 in money under a stone at the foot of a designated telephone pole along the Lake Shore road.  The penalty of refusal was a threat to take the life of Gross and the members of his family and burn his home and other possession.  Gross has been waiting some ten days for things to happen.  There was not signature to the letter beyond a significant "skull and cross bones."  It was mailed in Kenosha and delivered to Gross by a rural carrier.
Gross was inclined to take the letter as a joke.  It reached him just a little while after he had been instrumental in recovering a bunch of stolen goods which had been taken from the Wilson store at the north end of Milwaukee Avenue.  After he turned it over to the district attorney Gross began to get frightened.  The attorney ordered an investigation.  A roll of money was placed under the stone in question at the foot of the post and just after midnight the men who had been set to watch the stone saw an automobile come near the corner.  Then some one made a break  and coughed.  The man driving the automobile turned into a side road and managed to get away before the bungling deputy who had coughed could get the number of the machine.
Since that time the police and the sheriff have been making almost nightly trips into Somers to make an effort to get some new clew to the identity of the men who have sent the letters to gross.  A half a dozen automobile owners have been called before the district attorney and the sheriff for examination in connection with the investigation of the death threat, but none of them have been able to give any real information.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date November 6, 1915)
The funeral of William J. Gross was held on Monday morning from his late home on Lake Shore Road. Mr. Gross was born on the Berryville Road on the farm now owned by Henry Schmunck on March 23, 1884. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Frances Gross, one daughter Madeline, his mother Mrs. Anna Gross, one brother, Fred; and a sister, Mrs. Richard Gehl of Milwaukee. His father preceded him in death 18 months ago. A large number of members of the Knights of Columbus have been in attendance different times as the body lay at the home.(Source:  Racine Journal publication date September 23, 1932)

About Frederick Gross, son of William and Anna
Mr. Fred Gross rented one of his father’s farms, better known as the Gypsen place.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date April 3, 1913)

Mrs. Fred C. Gross and child disappeared from home at Berryville last Thursday afternoon.  Mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Fred C. Gross and her two year old son, from her home on a farm near Berryville, has alarmed her husband, and the police departments of Racine and Kenosha, also Chicago, have been requested to locate her, and the boy if possible.
Mrs. Gross started from home on Thursday, march 20 accompanied by the little boy, to take a Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light company car for Kenosha for the purpose of attending church.  The day wore on and the husband, busy with his farm work, did not notice that she was not home until night came on and then he became alarmed.
Making inquiries, he ascertained that no one had seen her take the electric car, she had not been in Kenosha, and did not attend church.  Previous to marriage, her home was in Chicago and he thought perhaps she might have decided to visit her parents and other relatives in that city, but a trip to Chicago convinced him that no one had seen her in that city.
Then he came to this city and notified the police department and offers a reward of from $50 to $100 for information leading to her whereabouts.  Mr. Gross said that his wife, before he married her, was an only daughter and resided in Chicago.  Following their marriage he bought a farm at Berryville and they came there to live.
There was no trouble between him and his wife and he says that she was always a loving and dutiful helpmate and was fond of her home, seldom going way.  At the time she left, so far as he could discern, she was in good health and mind and made no complaints.
Mrs. Gross is described as a woman about 22 years old.  Her weight 124.  She wore a light shirt waist and short black coat and a large black hat.  Mr. Gross admits that he is greatly alarmed and fears that his wife may have suddenly suffered a derangement of the mind and wandered off.  Careful search of this city and Kenosha  police departments fails to reveal any trace of the woman and child.
(Source:  Racine Journal publication date March 24, 1913)

1908 Partial Map for Somers Township, Kenosha County
Willliam Gross, 72 acres in Section 18 on Lake Michigan
William Gross, 20 acres in Section 7 on Berryville Road
More parcels owned by William Gross
The 1908 map of Somers townships shows the following owned by W. Gross
50 acres in Section 11
5 acres in Section 11
28 acres in Section 12
Note:  Section 11 and 12 are now part of Petrifying Spring Park. See tab at top of blog for additional information and photos about the park.

Christian and Christina Gross Rapp
1870 U.S. Census, Township of Somers
Christian Rapp
Born about 1822 in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Spouse: Christina Gross Rapp
Son: William Rapp born about 1855 in Saxony
Son: Ernest O. Rapp, born about 1861 in Saxony
Son: Christian Rapp, born about 1870 in Wisconsin
Mother:  Anna Rapp, mother of Christian, age 73, living with her son.  Anna born in Prussia.

1861 Partial Map of Somers Township, Berryville neighborhood
C. Rapp parcel, Section 6 on Berryville Road
Kenosha County Land Records stated Samuel Hale sold acres to Chris Rapp March 18, 1967.

Anna Rapp
(Source:  Photo  by kaybriggs53 public site at Ancestry.com)

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