52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors, Number 5
Ferdinand Hermann Hachez (1818-1874), Bremen to New Holstein
I love chocolate. However, as I set out to research my mother’s ancestors, I never expected to find a relative establishing a famous brand of chocolate in Bremen, Germany, in the late 1800s. But I did.
I knew the Hachez surname well as part of our family history, thanks to my mother and grandmother. In fact, the first family surname I ever put into Google was Hachez, along with the Wisconsin town of New Holstein. When I got immediate and relevant results, I was hooked on genealogy.
Most of the settlers of New Holstein in Calumet County, came from the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany, just south of Denmark. But Ferdinand Herman Hachez was distinctive. The 1870 Census shows that he came to from Gem. Bremen, in other words Gemeinde Bremen or Municipality Bremen, located in the Hannover region. Discovering his family and his life took resources in America and Europe, online and off, including the assistance of a skilled genealogist in Germany.
We found that Ferdinand Hermann Hachez was born into the Bremen merchant family, surname Hachez, his parents being Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez and Hermine Constanze Detmers. He was born on 20 Sept 1818 in Celle, Hannover, Germany, according to an old family group sheet and the Bremen local family heritage book held at Die Maus, the Bremen Genealogical Society. He was baptized at Celle on 27 Sep 1818, according to the Kirkenbuch or church book for the Catholic Church in Celle, which is south of Bremen.
The Hachez name is well known in Bremen, due to the chocolate company that exists even today, although the family itself is gone. That fame prompted Hermann Sandkühler to write the article “Schiffe und Schokolade zweimal Joseph Hachez” (Ships and Chocolate Twice Joseph Hachez), available online in German, to explain the family origins in Belgium and arrival in Bremen in 1785. Find the article here. Then put the URL in a free online translation service to read it in English.
Ferdinand, a given name popular in his branch of the Hachez family, appears to have grown up in Bremen but as a young adult turned to agriculture. His 1874 obituary says he first farmed near Bremen, likely family lands, and then managed estates for the nobility in Holstein and Mecklenburg, today in Germany. He must have heard of the excellent farm land to be found near the German settlement of New Holstein. Wisconsin had gained statehood in 1848 and actively promoted immigration to settle its farmlands, forests and towns.
His father Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez died on 23 March 1847 in Bremen, Germany, and his will directed that each of his children was to receive a fair share of his estate as their legacy. This inheritance likely helped Ferdinand Hermann Hachez take his great journey to the New World. About this same time, Ferdinand married a woman named Louise. Where they married or who her ancestors are is unknown. Their son Ferdinand Hachez was born 10 April 1848 somewhere in Holstein, Germany, if the census records are right.
In the summer of 1854, the family of three set sail from Bremen on the vessel Robert, arriving 4 Aug 1854 in New York City, as shown on passenger lists found on Ancestry.com. They set off at once for Wisconsin, arriving in New Holstein that same year, as shown in the book Memories of the First Years of the Settlement of New Holstein, by Rudolph Puchner.
The Hachez family took up farming on land about two miles northeast of the village of New Holstein. The elder Hachez was active in local and agricultural affairs> For example:
> he provided meteorological reports for a few months in 1864 and 1865, as shown the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1874.
> when a local group met in September 1867 to incorporate the New Holstein Turnverin or Turners group, Ferdinand Hachez, father and son, became members
> F. Hachez for several years was president of the German Agricultural Society in New Holstein as seen in Report, Issue 4, by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, 1870.
> Ferdinand Hachez, Sr., Claus Oesau, Sr., of New Holstein and others incorporated the Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Wisconsin, with legislative approval granted on 25 Feb 1870.
About this time, several important changes occurred for the Hachez family. On 3 June 1869, son Ferdinand married Eliese Boie, daughter of Nicholas Boie and Cecilia (Tonner) Boie. By the 1870 Census, Louise Hachez was deceased, although the specific date is not known. And then in 1872, the railroad arrived on the east side of the village of New Holstein, opening new commercial opportunities. The Hachez family ceased farming, and the younger Ferdinand moved into the village to operate the Farmers and Mechanics Saloon on the east end of town.
The elder Ferdinand then went into business selling hail insurance. He moved to another German community – New Ulm, Minnesota – by 1872, according to A comprehensive index to A.T. Andreas’ Illustrated historical atlas of Minnesota, 1874. He died there on 10 Aug 1874, and was buried “with a great following to the cemetery. The Turnverin showed last honors ‘in copore,’ since Hachez had been a member in good standing, ” his obituary says.
Ferdinand Hachez, both father and son, experienced the call of commercial enterprise, matching the Hachez family’s merchant tradition in Bremen. Oh, and yes, chocolate. Joseph Emile Hachez, a nephew of Ferdinand Herman Hachez, founded Bremer HACHEZ Chocolade GmbH & Co. in Bremen in 1890. Today it is said to be the second largest manufacturer of chocolate in Germany.
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