Clara Christine Elsabe Freese (1859-1943)
Clara Christine Elsabe Freese was born on 29 Jun 1859 in Grossen, Broda, Holstein, Germany as the first child of Johannes Freese and Alida Elisabeth Henriette Wallhöfer. She had three siblings, namely: Ferdinand Heinrich Ludwig, Henriette Pauline Friedricke, and Wilhelmine Henriette Emilie. Clara attended school in Germany until she was fourteen years old.
When she was 21, she married Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke, son of Heinrich Lemke and Friedericke Stroede, on 05 Feb 1881 in Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland.
Johann Carl Friedrich Lemke and Clara Christine Elsabe Freese had eight children. Their first daughter was born in Germany. Then, the first four children born in America all died young. Of their eight children, only four lived to adulthood.
- Frieda H Lemke was born on 11 Feb 1881 in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. She married Bernhard Richard R Krueger on 05 Aug 1899 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She died on 21 Apr 1926 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
- Wilhelm Friedrich August Lemke was born on 19 Jun 1883 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He died on 09 Aug 1887 in Marathon, Wisconsin.
- Carl Lemke was born in 1884. He died in 1885.
- Auguste Bertha Elsa Lemke was born on 05 Sep 1885 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She died on 09 Apr 1886 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
- Ferdinand Carl Heinrich Lemke was born on 03 Nov 1886 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. He died on 13 Apr 1887 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
- Clara Loese Pauline Lemke was born on 12 Jun 1888 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She married William F Peterson. She died in 1918.
- Elsa Anna Emilie Lemke was born on 08 Mar 1892 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. She married first to Albert Sutton and then to Mr. Fairfax. She died on 19 Aug 1973 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
- Johannes Max Leo Lemke was born on 16 Jul 1894 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Known as Max, he married Mildred Buckley. Mildred died at the birth of their son. The son was adopted and raised by another couple, the Rasmussens. Max pretty much disappeared. He died between 1940–1959.
Clara Christine Elsabe Freese left her parents and siblings behind in Germany and immigrated to America in 1882. Her husband had made the trip earlier, so she and her infant daughter, Frieda, made the trip together on the ship called the Wieland. They arrived in New York on 07 Sep 1882 and made the trip from there to Milwaukee by water and rail.
The Lemke family lived in Milwaukee for a few years where Carl worked as a sailor, then in 1886 moved to Marathon County, Wisconsin in order to find employment. Clara had trained as a midwife in Germany so was able to obtain a license to practice as a mid-wife in Wisconsin. In Wausau, she inquired at the court house for permission to put up a sign advertising her services and the Register of Deeds told her that there were others who had no training who already had their shingles out, so she certainly could. She practiced as a mid-wife in Wausau from 1886 to 1911. She retired completely in 1923. During her career she delivered 2,000 babies.
Meanwhile, once in Wausau, Carl worked a variety of jobs. He was listed as a mill hand, a fireman, a laborer, and an engineer in city directories.
Sometime around the middle of August 1895, Carl Lemke just disappeared. He abandoned his family, leaving Clara to take care of the children alone. She attempted to find him and began divorce proceedings. He was never located and the divorce was final on 09 December 1896 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
When she was 37, she married again, this time to August F Boettcher on 06 Mar 1897 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
August F Boettcher and Clara Christine Elsabe Freese had one son together:
- Lawrence A Bernhart Boettcher was born on 07 Apr 1898 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Lawrence married a woman named Gladys and then remarried to Florence. He died on 27 May 1957 and is buried in Graceville Cemetery, Mayville, Dodge County, Wisconsin.
August had previously been married to Louise Krueger, who was a sister to Clara’s son-in-law, Bernhard Krueger. Louise died 7 December 1896 leaving August with two children, Otto and Ida.
Clara and August were married for 28 years. Then, tragically, August Boettcher was hit by a truck and eventually died of his injuries on 18 September 1925. Clara lived alone as a widow the remainder of her life.
She outlived six of her nine children. Clara Christine Elsabe Freese Lemke Boettcher died on 13 Nov 1943 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin at the age of 84.
Where is she in the tree?
Ancestry.com, Hamburg, Germany, Selected Marriages, 1874-1920 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, Record for Clara Christine Elsabe Freese.
Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm serial: M237; Microfilm roll: M237_456; Line: 40; List number: 1281.
Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), ancestry.com.
“Clara Christina Lemke Boettcher, Personal interview”, 1939 Wausau Centennial Association, Area Research Center, UW-Stevens Point, WI 54481.