Pgs 620 - 1
JOSEPH RUNDHAMER. Among
the first settlers of the pleasant little village of Birnamwood, Shawano
county, must be mentioned the subject of this sketch who settle there in
1882, and is well and favorable known throughout the county.
Mr. Rundhamer was born in the village of Goisern, Upper Austria,
January 17, 1841, and is a son of John and Tressa (Pilz) Rundhamer, farmers,
who had a family of seven children. In 1841 the father and five daughters
died of smallpox and in 1852 the son John also died. Two years after, in
1854, the mother died, and our subject, then a lad of thirteen years, was
left alone in the world. He learned the butcher's trade at which he worked
until of age and then as is the custom in his native land, became a soldier.
He was in an infantry regiment in the Austrian army, serving five years,
during which time he took part in the war of 1866 between Austria and Italy.
Mr. Rundhamer was married May 36, 1867, in his native country
to Marie Deubler, and six children were born to them: Josephs (1), who
died when about fifteen months old; Mary, Alex, John, Tressa and Joseph
(2). Our subject came to America in 1867, his wife joining him the following
year. He first settled in Manitowoc where he worked for five years in a
brewery, afterward opening out a butcher shop. After the death of his wife,
in 1877, he gave up that business and dealt for a time in stock. In 1882
he came to Birnamwood and worked in a sawmill some two years; then bought
a piece of wild land adjoining the village, which he cleared and improved,
and on which he lived until 1893 when he moved into the village and opened
a saloon. When he first came to Birnamwood his house was a sort of tavern,
and it was burned down in 1884. The neighbors at once went to work, cut
timber, had it sawed and in three days had built him a new house 22 x 32.
When his wife died Mr. Rundhamer was left with five small children to care
for. This task he performed with remarkable fidelity, looking after the
little ones to the best of his ability, and, in addition to his other duties,
washing and cooking for them until they were old enough to help themselves.
John, one of his sons is now a clerk in a store in the village, that of
Roepke & Meisner; the oldest boy is on the farm; Alex is at home; Mary
married Theodore Bilfuss and lives in Birnamwood; and Tressa is in Chicago.
In 1892 Mr. Rundhamer was again married, Miss Mary Androsco
becoming his wife. In politics he is a Democrat, and has been supervisor
and has held other minor offices. The family are members of the Catholic
Church. Mr. Rundhamer is a self-made man, and is popular in the community.