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Biography of Rudolph Lehnherr (1867 - 1963)

Rudolph "Rudy" LEHNHERR was born in Wimmis, Canton of Bern, Switzerland on December 2, 1867 to Margaret BERGER of Spies, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, and Peter LEHNHERR of Wimmis. They had five children; twin boys - Alfred and Gottfried, Rudy (Rudolph), Jakob (Jake) and Margaret. Of these children: Gottfried remained in Switzerland; Alfred, Jakob, Rudolph and Margaret immigrated to America, and all except Alfred settled in Wisconsin. Contact was lost with Alfred, but he is believed to have settled in the Iowa-Kansas-Missouri area.

On May 29, 1882, when Rudy was 15 years old he immigrated to America, and then to Monroe, WI. "Jake" Berger, an uncle, living in Dayton, WI had written to Switzerland for him to come to America. He came to this country with Belle Regez Roth. When they landed in New York City they were robbed of their tickets and money, but Jake sent them additional money to come out to Monroe, WI. He stayed with Ernest Regez in the Primrose Cheese Factory, where he was a second hand. He was very homesick, but determined that he would not go back to Switzerland.  In 1882 he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church in New Glarius, WI.  He was living with Regez's that first winter in Montrose, WI when he contracted "Black Diphtheria", a serious disease of the throat in those times. After he recovered from the diphtheria he went to work at Jake's Cheese Factory.

In 1886, at the age of 18, after only three years in the United States, Rudy opened his own cheese factory in Blanchardville, WI, where he lived for three years.

In 1886 and 1887 he returned to Switzerland. When he returned to Wisconsin he brought Emma Regez and three other girls with him. Rudy then worked one more year in Blanchardville, WI. (Emma Regez was a sister of Roslie, Amelia, Elizabeth and Belle Regez Roth; however, the exact identity of the "...three other girls..." mentioned above is unknown.)

 

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In 1888 he married Roslie Regez and began working in a cheese factory between Mineral Point and Linden, WI. While living there Alfred was born on 28 Feb 1889; three weeks later Roslie died. A year later the factory burned. (For reasons unknown Alfred dropped the first "h" from "LEHNHERR" and all thru his lifetime used the spelling "LENHERR", as do his descendants today.)

In the first presidential election Rudy was eligible to vote, he proudly cast his ballot for Teddy Roosevelt. He was so happy to be an American citizen!

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In 1890 Rudy married Amelia Regez, Roslie's sister, and began working at the Walwick Cheese Factory and living in Walwick Township, WI. Frieda was born 27 Oct 1892, August Oscar was born 17 Mar 1894 and Rudy R. was born 29 Jun 1895.

In 1895 or 1896 Rudy and Amelia bought the Knutson Farm in Moscow Township, WI; all the rest of the family were born there: Martha Emma on 4 Mar 1897; Alma A. on 24 Jan 1899; Arthur on 10 Apr 1900; Herman G on 24 Mar 1902; Louis Arnold and Louise Alma on 3 Sep 1904; Edwin on 25 Sep 1906; and finally, Viola Blanche on 2 Aug 1908.

In 1890 Rudy married Amelia Regez, Roslie's sister, and began working at the Walwick Cheese Factory and living in Walwick Township, WI. Frieda was born 27 Oct 1892, August Oscar was born 17 Mar 1894 and Rudy R. was born 29 Jun 1895.

In 1895 or 1896 Rudy and Amelia bought the Knutson Farm in Moscow Township, WI; all the rest of the family were born there: Martha Emma on 4 Mar 1897; Alma A. on 24 Jan 1899; Arthur on 10 Apr 1900; Herman G on 24 Mar 1902; Louis Arnold and Louise Alma on 3 Sep 1904; Edwin on 25 Sep 1906; and finally, Viola Blanche on 2 Aug 1908.

Louis Arnold LEHNHERR recently wrote to Bob Lehnherr the following:

Dad operated a 205 acre dairy farm, with a cheese making room, a cheese cellar and a packing house He made cheese from the milk that he produced, besides taking in additional milk from outside sources. In all my life's experience I have never heard of any one individual who made cheese and operated a farm of over 200 acres at the same time. If I remember correctly cheese was made twice per day in those years. Dad must have worked almost day and night.

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In 13 years, about 1900, Rudy and Amelia had paid for the big farm. While still living on Knutson farm Rudy built the Kittleson house in Blanchardville, WI. Then, in 1922 and 1923, Rudy built their stucco home in Blanchardville. At about the same time the Smith farm was for sale, so he traded the Kittleson house for the Smith farm, located 3 miles north of Blanchardville. Times were tough in those years, and there was not enough income from the farm to pay the taxes, insurance, maintenance and mortgage interest. Regretfully, in about 1929, Rudy had to let the Smith farm go back to the mortgagee.

In 1934 Rudy, Amelia (Mother), George WATRUD who had married Martha and son Ronald Dean WATRUD went to California on a vacation trip.

On 9 Aug 1938 Amelia LEHNHERR nee REGEZ (Mother) passed away. One month, later on September 9th Rudy went to California with Louise (daughter). He opened a cheese store in the San Fernando Valley, which he operated until March of 1939. He then moved back to his home in Blanchardville, WI, where he lived until his death.

Rudolph LEHNHERR died on 18 Mar 1963 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Blanchardville, WI.
Daughter Frieda LEHNHERR, now 98, lived until her recent death in Ingleside Nursing Home, in Mt Horeb, WI.

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Son Louis Arnold LEHNHERR, and his wife Adele, are currently living a very active life in Missoula , Montana, where they moved in 1984. Both are currently doing volunteer work with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). They opened and operated the first American Cancer Society office in Missoula at St Patricks Hospital. They take long walks around the appartment complex in which they live. They are constantly going on bus tours with other senior citizens. Louis still manages to take annual hunting and fishing trips with his son-in-laws. In September 1991 they drove from Missoula to Wisconsin and back for a visit with some fifty friends and relatives.

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I'll leave it up to you to figure out Louis and Adele's ages....but one thing I will tell you is that figures lie!!

NOTE: This biography was originally prepared by Louise Alma LEHNHERR, daughter of Rudolph,.with the assistance of Adele Deans LEHNHERR, wife of Louis Arnold LEHNHERR, a son of Rudolph. The information was initially verbalized to Adele by Rudolph during the 1940 -1941 time period. This final version was supplemented with information gained from personal discussions with Louis Arnold and Adele Deans Lehnherr. If anyone is aware of additional information, or corrections, that would clarify and/or amplify the above please send to Robert E. Lehnherr.

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Other family names include Andersen, Arbogast, Ashler, Bartell, Baumgartner, Baussan, Benerotte, Berger, Bevit, Blain, Bouslog, Blumer, Briggs, Broderson, Buehler, Caflisch, Case, Chapman, Cofield, Collingham, Davis, Drackley, Edds, Ely, Granger, Gurtner, Hager, Hickmon, Hoeft, Holmes, Huff, Huffman, Johnson, Karsten, Kleve, Kuehne, Leeder, Lord, Lutz, Marmet, Mendez, Meismer, Melrose, Mills, Mitchell, Muhler, Mullinix, Neumann, Olson, Palmer, Ponson, Quattlebaum, Schuetz, Stewart, Sutton, Suyama, Thornton, Valek, Wallace, Waslager, Wittwer, Zahler, Zahner, Zimbelman.

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