The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 155 years


The Mueller Farm, on Kammerer Road east of Kendallville, Indiana, photographed in rain June 4, 2007, by Mark Nickel

The Frau Erica Texts
An index of biographies, memoirs, histories, recipes, and oddments

The Frau Erica Project has lots of text files — long and short, English and German — all of them linked from the appropriate family pages. That means, however, that some readers might not discover things of interest that are available elsewhere on the site.

This index gathers most of those text files, sorts them by genre, and provides links (usually a name). There are 78 of these text files in the archives. To narrow your search, select:

Biography | Memoir | History | Literary Work | Letters | Recipes | Oddments || All Files

All text files in this index

Bigelow McMillan, Molly    Obituary: Rev. Mary Allison Bigelow (Molly) McMillan, 97
Molly’s obituary ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

Bigelow McMillan, Molly    Opened Doors – Walking Through: My Life and Its Times
Fifteen short chapters on topics ranging from her parents, to childhood, to marriage and children, to ordination and to the years alone after Dick’s death.

Bigelow McMillan, Molly    Nana's 100-Year-old Fruitcake
Molly McMillan — Nana to most generations — sent fruitcake to family members every Christmas. Her handwritten recipe credits the Minnesota Centennial Cookbook as a starting point but includes her own refinements. Where the original called for two cups of water, Molly replaced a half cup of the water with an equal amount of scotch or bourbon.

Bigelow Spoons    Heirlooms twice engraved
Nana — Molly McMillan — wrote this small history of a dozen golden spoons that became Bigelow family heirlooms in 1909.

Bosenbüttel    A Visit to Bosenbüttel
In July 2015, the 150th anniversary year of Fritz’s sale of Bosenbüttel and departure for America, Mark Nickel and Allison McMillan drove through Bremerhaven, Dorum, Midlum, and Hamburg and stopped for a serendipitous encounter with the current owners of Bosenbüttel.

Chan, Kam Kwai    A Fighting Determination to Survive
Kam Kwai Chan, Joyce Leung’s mother, wrote the short article, above, for a newspaper in Chicago’s Chinatown, where the family first settled. An English translation of her original, prepared for the family by Chin Gin Kwei, follows here.

Chan, Kam Kwai    Five Poems
Some of Kam Kwai’s writings appeared in Chinese-language newspapers in Chicago. Her poetry incorporates more personal reflections on a long and eventful life. These poems, presented in the original Chinese with English translation, were written in 2016.

Christmas Letters    The annual report from Gideon Lawton Lane
Annual Christmas letters get a mixed reception, but they do have some historical value. Links to the archive since 1995

Crawley, Daniel    A grandson interviews Nana
As a high school freshman, Dan Crawley was assigned to interview a family member and prepare an essay. He decided on Nana almost immediately.

Crawley, Willard    Obituary: Willard Batchelor Crawley
A brief biography was included in the bulletin of the funeral service at Bethesda Lutheran Church, New Haven, Conn., on 30 November 1983.

Emigration rationale    Emigration rationale: Why did Fritz do it?
One overriding, unresolved question for the Frau Erica Project is the important one: Why did Fritz do it? There is no clear statement of purpose in the archive, but there are some important themes and clues.

Five Rocks    Five Rocks: History and Rules of the Game
Some beachcombers make little piles of stones, call them cairns, and walk on. For the LeRoi-Nickel household in Portland, Oregon, that spur-of-the-moment creative task has evolved into a planful, aspirational, competitive art form evocative of work by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988). The annual roster of invited participants grows; the rules continue to evolve.

Gelhausen, Albert    Obituary: A love of all things Michigan and a taste for painful puns
Albert “Al” Gelhausen, 79, of Evanston, Illinois, formerly of Lapeer, Michigan, died Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

Gilvarg, Charles    Obituary: Charles Gilvarg (1925–2013)
Charles and Frieda Mueller met at the University of Chicago in 1949, where they met fellow graduate student H.C. Nickel, husband of cousin Addie.

Grams, Adolf    Adolf and Anna Grams
Notes on Adolf Grams’ immigration and life on the north side of Chicago.

Grams, Paul    From Seventy-Eight Sonnets (1978)
Poet Paul Grams turned 30 in 1978. His self-published Seventy-Eight Sonnets gathered more than two years of his work.

Hedder, Helen    Helen Hedder: Oma bails them out
Around the turn of the century, Helen Hedder Mueller lent substantial funds to her husband’s parents. She waited almost 30 years for repayment.

Hedder, Hermann    Hermann Hedder, purveyor of wood and coal
Hermann owned a wood and coal service in Chicago with office and yard at 403 West Chicago Avenue.

Heirlooms    Heirlooms: Moneybelt and Tobacco Box
Johanne, short and stout, wore the money belt full of gold coins when she and Fritz emigrated. The wooden tobacco box, a cube about six inches on a side, was owned and used by Fritz’s father Georg in the late 18th century.

Heirlooms    Heirlooms: Allison McKibbin’s engagement ring
The diamond solitaire has been in the family for four generations — as an engagement ring, then as a solitaire necklace, and again as an engagement ring — first in Minnesota, then throughout Europe, then in Switzerland, in Minnesota again, in Rhode Island, and now resides in Madrid.

Knief, Gretchen    Gretchen Knief, principled librarian
Librarian Gretchen stood up to the Kern County (Calif.) board that sought to ban The Grapes of Wrath. She won, eventually.

Knief, Ludwig    The Autobiography of Pastor Ludwig Ernst Knief
An eight-chapter Lebenslauf, of immigration, Muellers, and Missouri Synod — in German with English translation.

Luecke, Louise    Louise Luecke: Grandma Hedder
Louise Luecke, born and raised on a farm near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, married Hermann Hedder, an immigrant Chicago wood and coal merchant.

Luther On Politics    Brother Martin on government officials
Elected officials who are interested only in themselves “grow furious and foolish, begin to rage, and turn everything topsy-turvy ... and the government collapses.”

McKibbin, Dorothy (Scarritt)    Visiting Dorothy McKibbin
Anne McMillan, Dorothy McKibbin’s grand-niece, grew up in St. Paul and attended Pomona College in Claremont, California. Traveling to Pomona by car brought her within reach of Santa Fe; she visited Dorothy three times.

McMillan Manufacturing    McMillan Manufacturing Company
In September 2002, Molly Bigelow McMillan wrote a short history of McMillan Manufacturing, corporate predecessor of McMillan Electric Company.

McMillan, Richard Sr.    Obituary: Richard McMillan dies; known for his philanthropy
Dick’s obituary ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Monday, June 19, 1995.

Miller, Fred    Frederick George Miller, 95
Frederick George Miller, age 95, a lifetime resident of Kendallville, died Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at his residence near Kendallville.

Mueller Erbschaft    Klaus Mahler’s Erbschaft
Long after Wilhelm and Adelheid were dead, the Muellers received an inheritance from the estate of Adelheid’s uncle Klaus Mahler.

Mueller Lexicon A Mueller Lexicon
Certain German words and phrases had currency and particular meaning within the Mueller family circle. Many are no longer to be found in German/English dictionaries or online translators. So here they are, more than two dozen of them.

Mueller, Carl    Obituary: Carl Diass Mueller: Casualty of War
Carl Mueller’s obituary notice ran in the LaGrange Citizen on June 7, 1945.

Mueller, Elizabeth A.    Obituary: Elizabeth A. Mueller
Beth Mueller’s obituary notice ran in the Chicago Tribune on June 3, 2021.

Mueller, Erich E.A.    A minister sues his congregation
Erich E.A. Mueller, a failed entrepreneur and self-styled “Christian socialist,” testified against Rev. C.L. Janzow, who was suing his congregation for defamation.

Mueller, Ernie    Ernie’s Foot, Foot foot, and Foot Foot Foot story
Ernie Mueller was, among other things, a born storyteller. No one knows whether “Foot, Foot Foot, and Foot Foot Foot” was his original composition, but his telling was highly original and memorable for a generation of nephews and nieces.

Mueller, Ernie and Charlotte    Healthy and very happy in Eagle Lake
A long reminiscence of life in Freedom Township, Minnesota

Mueller, Ernst and Helen (Opa and Oma)    The Muellers of Freedom Township
A brief biography of the Mueller family (Oma and Opa, Freedom Township )

Mueller, Ernst and Helen (Opa and Oma)    Life in the Bakerhouse, 1911 – 1948
Six short reminiscences by Adelheid Mueller Nickel of life in Freedom Township, including WWI, the 1918 influenza, winters, food.

Mueller, Friedrich (Fritz)    Fritz Mueller’s Journal of the Voyage to America
An extensive six-chapter emigration memoir, written mostly about ship and completed after a train trip to a new home in Indiana.

Mueller, Gerald    Obituary: Gerald Mueller
Gerald was a great-great-grandson of Fritz Mueller, great-grandson of Erich E.A. Mueller.

Mueller, Gerhard    Gerhard Wilhelm Mueller: Boo-Boo
Gerhard was the most reclusive and enigmatic of Ernst and Helen’s children.

Mueller, Gerhard    “Immer eine Freude in Height of Land zu predigen”
Gerhard Mueller’s last Christmas letter to the California aunts, written December 20, 1969, and transcribed by his sister Frieda.

Mueller, Gerhard    Obituary: Rev. Mueller Services to be Held Thursday
The obituary ran in the Becker County Record on Thursday, September 10, 1970, page 5.

Mueller, Herbert    Herbert C. Mueller: Celebrating 25 years in the Lutheran ministry
A brief biographical text from the worship service bulletin at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Frankenlust, Michigan, marking the 25th anniversary of H’s ordination.

Mueller, Kurt    Kurt Walther Johannes Mueller: Sarge
Because of his pharmacy training and fluent German, he served in the Medical Corps during WWII

Mueller, Kurt    Kurt Mueller Weds Good Thunder Girl
The Waseca Herald described Kurt and Lorraine’s wedding in exhaustive detail but offered only a single irrelevant sentence about Kurt.

Mueller, Milton    Obituary: Milton Mueller
Milton was owner/operator/partner of a vegetable farm and greenhouse operation in Missouri from 1948 to 1972.

Mueller, Rev. Ernst    Opa makes a bad investment
In 1940, Opa Mueller was convinced to buy 10 shares in a North Carolina mica mine. He never saw his money again.

Mueller, Rev. Ernst    Obituary: The Rev. E.H.C. Mueller
The obituary appeared on page 324 of The Lutheran Witness for October 5, 1948. A German version followed in October’s Der Lutheraner.

Mueller, Rev. Ernst    Opa’s report card: almost satisfactory
His German and Math were Unbefriedigend (unsatisfactory). No A's (Lobenswert)‚ no F’s (Schlecht)

Mueller, Wilhelm    Wilhelm and Frau Erica: Staying the Course, Righting the Ship
A three-part history of Wilhelm and Adelheid (Frau Erica) from the Mueller farm, to Kendallville proper, and finally to Chicago.

Mueller/Feiertag, Frieda    Tante Fieks: Bright and Dark Days
A biographical essay by Frieda Katharine Magdalena Caroline Mueller Feiertag (a.k.a., Tante Fieks), Opa Mueller’s sister.

Mueller/Knief, Dora Elizabeth (Dodo)    ‘Der Little Guy’ gets married
An account of Paul Mueller’s marriage to Henrietta Strelow. Not all the Muellers made it to Milwaukee for their kid brother’s wedding.

Mueller/Knief, Dora Elizabeth (Dodo)    Dodo Knief: Columnist, woman of mystery
Dodo Knief seems to have been a free spirit whose relationships with certain of her siblings were not always close.

Mueller/Nickel, Adelheid    Obituary: Adelheid Erica Amanda Mueller Nickel
This brief biography, written by son Mark, was read at Adelheid’s memorial service in Calvary Lutheran Church, Stayton, Oregon.

Mueller/Oren, Charlotte    Obituary: Charlotte Oren
The Mankato Free Press carries Charlotte’s obituary in the Valley Section of the Thursday, January 25, 2007, edition.

Nelson, Kenneth    Obituary: Ken Nelson
Olga Koetke’s second husband, Ken became close to a large multigenerational family.

Nickel, Adele    Adele dances at Jacob’s Pillow
The Liz Gerring Dance Company, in residence at Jacob’s Pillow in August 2012, won critical acclaim from the Boston Globe.

Nickel, Albert F.    Albert Friedrich Nickel: Machinist and Socialist
Al Nickel arrived in Milwaukee as an immigrant toddler just shy of his second birthday, the last of the German-born Nickels.

Nickel, Hilbert C.    Obituary: H.C. Nickel, stock seller, teacher, dies
The Chicago Tribune’s obituary for H.C. Nickel ran on Wednesday, October 19, 1966.

Nickel, James    James Hilbert Nickel: Artist in Venture
A three-part fraternal Festschrift written by brother Joel in celebration of the artist’s 55th birthday, November 30, 1998.

Nickel, Joel    Reflections on 40 Years of Ministry
In August 2005, Joel wrote the following reminiscence of his years in ministry, anticipating his retirement on January 15, 2006.

Nickel, Joel    The Chicago Memoirs: Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1967-1972
A six-part memoir of a turbulent time in the world, the nation, and the city of Chicago.

Nickel, Michael Sr.    Michael Nickel Sr. — In Amerika ist alles herrlich
Michael Nickel emigrated only after his sons had established themselves in Milwaukee. He traveled alone, leaving an adult daughter in Pomerania.

Pautsch, Lorraine    Obituary: Lorraine Pautsch (1920–2014)
Lorraine and Kurt Mueller were married in 1949. The obituary ran in the Mankato Free Press May 16, 2014.

Rehnlund/King, Marnie    Obituary: Margret Julena Rehnlund
Marnie — mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother — died August 21, 2014, aged 94. Her son-in-law Timothy prepared this obituary.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    Frau Erica: Recipes, household advice, devotional verse
When Frau Erica arrived in the 1860s, there were already about 2.45 million Germans in a country of about 35 million people. This is the preface to her German-American cookbook.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    Frau Erica’s cookbook: Sauerbraten
There are countless variations on the sauerbraten theme, from chopped celery to stewed raisins, and many German families have their own recipes. This is Frau Erica’s.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    Frau Erica’s cookbook: Johann im Sack
This giant dumpling recipe, also known among older family members as “Johann im Sack,” comes from Frau Erica’s Deutsch-Amerikanisches Kochbuch.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    Frau Erica’s Cookbook: Twenty Recipes for Catsup
These recipes come from a chapter on Scharf gewürzte, eingekochte Beigüße — Sharply spiced, cooked sauces.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    A sample of Frau Erica’s devotional verse
On January 16, 1921, four days before her death, Frau Erica composed this devotional poem for the Stadtmissionar. The editors described it as “fragmentärisch.

Rickmeyer/Mueller, Adelheid (Frau Erica)    Frau Erica’s cookbook: Biskuit oder Schwammkuchen
Official Mueller gatherings were never complete without a dense yellow sponge cake, often served with berries or other fruit. The Muellers called it Eierschwer (egg-heavy) because the recipe listed its ingredients based on the exact weight of the eggs. From the Deutsch-Amerikanische Kochbuch.

Schumm, Adelheid    Adelheid Schumm, entrepreneur
Among the cousins, Adelheid Schumm was something of a legend. Her millinery shop in LaPorte, Indiana, was well worth the drive.

Schumm, Edna    The Passing of Edna Schumm
An account of Edna Schumm’s last days, written by her mother, who sent it to her seven surviving siblings.

Waldschmidt, Henry    Henry (Poppy) Waldschmidt writes his history
Like the Muellers, the Waldschmidts emigrated to the American Midwest shortly after the Civil War, motivated partly by the threat of military conscription. Henry’s essay contains family history and a bit about his own childhood, up to his first meeting with Anna Wolter.

Wolter/Waldschmidt, Anna    Anna Wolter writes her history
Anna Wolter – “Dear” to Henry’s “Poppy” — wrote this-two part family history. In 1900, when she first noticed Henry, she understood his name to be “Jake.”

Zäske, Ulricka    Ulricka Zäske: Iron Woman
Ulricka was a woman of legendary dominance and iron will.

Ziesemer/Nickel, Margaret    Heppen, a German soul food
The Muellers styled themselves as sophisticated immigrants; the Nickels were straightforwardly blue-collar. The Nickels made Heppen, a pickled melange of organ meat with excellent keeping qualities — South Milwaukee’s answer to chitterlings and collard greens.

Ziesemer/Nickel, Margaret    Sauerhecht: Not quite herring in wine sauce
A Hecht is a pike or pickerel. A Sauerhecht is a pickled pike. H.C. Nickel prepared a batch at Melahn’s Resort on Lake George in northern Minnesota, to a mixed reception. His brothers-in-law, the Rev. Herbert Mueller and the Rev. Gerhard Mueller, ate it with great relish. Children left the cabin.