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Henry Louis Kurz

Descendant Host: Henry Kurz

Mary Ferm Collection
c: 1890

Henry Louis Kurz
1878 - 1947

Parents of Katherine Kurz

Peter Joseph Kurz
Born: November 2, 1820 in Scharen, Kr. Kastellaun, Rheinland
Married: January 27, 1856 in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin
Died: October 1, 1898 in Town of How, Oconto County, Wisconsin

Katherine Bibelhausen - wife
Born: November 25, 1835 in Valwig, Rheinland
Died: June 22, 1915 in Ladysmith, Rusk County, Wisconsin

Henry Louis Kurz - son
Born: June 16, 1878 in Belle Plaine, Shawano County, Wisconsin
Died: January 23, 1947 in Marshfield, Wood County, WI 
Buried: Ladysmith 

1880 Federal Census page for Belle Plaine, Shawano County, Wisconsin, showing the Peter Joseph Kurz Sr. family living on the family farm in June 1880. Henry was then 2 years old.
Rita Neustifter Collection

 The family, made up of  Mother Katherine, Henry, Vincent and Josephine were found living in town of Hutchins in northwest Shawano County, Wisconsin on the June 1900 Census, which indicates that the Shawano County farm was sold  very shortly after Peter Joseph Sr.'s death in October 1898.

Less than 2 years afterward, Henry had assumed responsibilty as wage earner for the household at the time of his father's death. Henry and Vincent were working as laborers on the 1900 Census.  Upon arrival in Hutchins, Henry, at about age 19, went to work in a pulp mill to take care of the family and managed to save some of his money. They work was very hard and the hours were long. Henry worked a 12 hour day for 10 cents an hour. Every other week they would switch to nights, so he got one day off between shift changes. When he switched back from nights to days, he worked 24 hours straight. There was no overtime, just a straight daily/hourly labor wage. In his senior years Henry related how difficult this time in his life was.

c: 1895
Henry J. Kurz
Henry Kurz Collection

Henry came to Ladysmith in the year 1902 which was found in brother Vincent's obituary.  In 1903 Henry bought a meat market from the Jez family. It was a small business to begin with. Later in life, Henry had related learning marketing from his aunt Gertrude Bibelhausen and her husband Anton Liegl, of whom he had very found memories. It is probable that he also learned meat processing and marketing from his Uncles Joseph and John Bibelhausen who also lived in Shawano County and was in the meat business, farming and cattle sales for years. His Uncle Frank Bibelhausen and wife Maggie ran a grocery for many years in Shawano and since the families were close for the years of Henry's childhood, he was thought to have also learned grocery business there during frequent visits.

There were also other extended  Bibelhausen family members in the Ladysmith area in the early 1900's. Katherine Bibelhausen Kurz was living near one of her sisters. On the 1910 Census for Rusk County I found her younger sister (Ann) Mary Bibelhausen Wenzel Optenberg living just outside of Ladywmith  with her second husband Herman Optenberg. Living two doors away was one of Ann Mary's sons from her first marriage, John Wenzel and his family. Herman was an engineer  in a local mill and age 60, John worked at the same mill, was married and had 4 children. It is probably that this part of the close Bibelhuasen family had some influence initally on the move to Ladysmith, which was a considerable distance from his mother's close Bibelhausen family in Shawano.

The 1910 Federal Census for Ladysmith shows Henry as the head of the household at age 31. He is a merchant in meats and groceries. Living with him is brother Vincent, mother Katherine and sister Josephine. They have a border whose name is Peter Bibelhausen age 20. He is the nephew of mother Katherine, and the son of her brother Frank Bibelhausen of Shawano Wisconsin. Peter is working as a salesman in meats and groceries.

Henry, front left, sits for a family photo with sister Josephine, mother Katherine and brother Vincent.
The Kurz Brothers Meats and Grocery Building on Miner Street in Ladysmith, Rusk County, Wisconsin, (building is dated 1912).

Ron Kurz Collection

Kurz Brothers Meats and Groceries
on Miner Street in Ladysmith, Rusk County, Wisconsin
Henry Kurz Collection

Henry's aunt Mary Bibelhausen Wenzel Optenberg had moved with her husband Herman to Oregon by 1912, the same year that Uncles Joseph and John Bibelhausen died in Shawano, Wisconsin. In 1912 the Kurz Brothers opened their new brick store on 107 East Miner Avenue. It was a two story building with first floor glass front and second floor residential accommodations. They sold fresh meats and groceries. In the following years, Vincent married and moved to a separate residence. He began raising a family in the "Roaring 20's".  Mother Katherine Bibelhausen Kurz passed away in 1915 and sister Josephine moved to Oshkosh.

The 1920 Federal Census forLadysmith, Rusk County, WI. shows the Henry Kurz residence with his wife Caroline and daughter Mary Ann. Also living at the home was Henry's widowed mother-in-law Anna Haarl.

Besides owning the majority interests in the Meats and Grocery, Henry also owned a farm just outside of Ladysmith, across the Flambeau River. It was there that he processed the meats sold in the store.  Henry looked after his brother Vincent and that family until his own wedding to Caroline.  His bride was the cousin of Vincent's wife Margaret. Marriage and starting a family at age 53 significantly changed Henry's responsibilities and, combined with the stock market crash of 1929 that began the Great Depression, lead to the break up of the Kurz Brothers Meat and Grocery business. The store on Miner Avenue was rented out and Henry used another building in Ladysmith from which to sell the meats processed at his farm and plant.

The 1930 Federal Census forLadysmith, Rusk County, WI. shows the Henry Kurz residence with his wife Caroline and daughter Mary Ann. Also living at the home was Henry's widowed mother-in-law Anna Haarl.

Children of Henry and Caroline Kurz: Mary Ann and Henry

left to right
Mother Caroline, Mary Ann, maternal Grandmother Anna Haarl, Henry, Henry Louis Kurz . (standing)

Henry Kurz Portrait
Henry Kurz Collection

Caroline Ann Kurz
Henry Kurz Collection


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