Friedrich Theodor Jonas

Friedrich Theodor Jonas, was the oldest son of Gustav Christian Theodor Jonas and Auguste Marie Sophie Schroeder. He was born on 18 Jan 1849 in Kittendorf, Stavenhagen, Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg, Germany. He emigrated with his parents to Two Rivers in 1852. He was about 3 years old.

Friedrich has been seen under a number of names. His given name according to his baptismal records was Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor. Later in life he was seen as Fred Jonas Sr.

As a farmer’s son, Fred worked hard as he grew up, planting fields, tending to the few livestock the family could afford. At the age of 25 (abt. 1870), Fred left his family home, probably looking for work, and took a two year sojourn to Mokena, Will County, Illinois where he met his future wife, Wilhelmine Sporleder (Minnie), daughter of Carl Henry and Carolina (Ernst) Sporleder. (more on the Sporleder family is available). Fred and Minnie were united in marriage on 14 March 1874 by Rev. Carl Schaub pastor of the German St. John Church, Mokena, Will County, Illinois.

To this marriage were born:

  1. Wilhelm Frederich Heinrich (William, 1874-1951) born in Illinois
  2. Friedrich Heinrich Theodor (Fred T., 1875-1951) born in Iowa
  3. Ludwig Carl (Louis, 1877-1907) born in Two Creeks
  4. Caroline Sophia (Lena, 1879-1921) born in Two Creeks
  5. Johann Joachim (John, 1881-?) born in Two Creeks; we believe Johann died before 1951 as he is not mentioned in his brother Wilhelm’s obituary.
  6. Louise J. (Lizzie, 1883-1973) born in Two Creeks
  7. Herman (1884-bef. 1928) born in Two Creeks
  8. Heinrich Johann (Henry John, 1888-1964) born in Two Creeks
  9. Wilhelmina (Minnie, 1892-1980) born in Two Creeks
  10. Emil Carl Johann (1893-1950) born in Two Creeks
  11. Walter Carl Ferdinand, (Walter, 1899-1962) born in Two Creeks
  12. A child by the name of Frank or Francis (Frances) is said to be the first child of Fred and Minnie. Born prior to their marriage, he or she died in infancy. No birth or death records have been found on this child as of yet.

On 07 Aug 1874, Wilhelm Frederich Heinrich was born in Illinois. Sometime before July 1875, the couple moved to Kellogg, Jasper County, Iowa where their son, Friedrich Heinrich Theodor (Fred T.) was born on 02 Oct 1875. The family attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Clements of Kellogg, where Fred T. was baptized.

Residence in Wisconsin
By 20 Nov 1877, the family returned to Two Creeks where their next son, Ludwig Carl Jonas was born. The family took residence on Fred’s father’s family farm in section 36 in the Town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. They attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church St. John’s in Two Rivers.

We found a number of land transactions between in Manitowoc County for Friedrich Jonas. On 18 April 1879, Fred and Minnie purchased 40 acres of land from the Wisconsin Leather Company (see more on the tanning industry) for $250. The land is described as: The North West quarter of the North East quarter of Section 26, in the Twp No. 21N of Range 24E (Two Creeks) in Manitowoc County.

On 15 September 1879, Fred and Minnie sold part of this land to August and Sophia, Fred’s parents. This land is described as the west half of the North East quarter of Section 26. the farm located at the west half of the N.E. Quarter of Section 26, in the Twp No. 21N of Range 24E in Manitowoc County, WI. The mortgage for August and Sophie was recorded 13 July 1882 (V. 16, p 335)

Not a Wealthy Farmer

Fred and Minnie were not wealthy farmers. They owned and farmed only the 79 acres in section 26.

1890 land value $575; 1 horse, $25; 2 neat cattle, $20; 6 sheep/lambs, $9; no pigs; 1 wagon, sleigh or carriage; no watches; no bank stock; total personal property value, $102.

1892 land value, $600; 79 acres
1893-1897 land value, $625; 79 acres
1900 land value, $1450; 79 acres
1907 land value, $2400, buildings $300
1915 land value, $5145, buildings $1610

In September 1890, Fred and Minnie sold 1 acre of their property in section 26 to School District No. 2 as property on which to build a school house. They sold it to the district for the sum of $42.

The Jonas children attended school at School District No. 2. There are not many annual reports or school registers that have survived the years. Shari Milks was able to rescue some records in the attic of the town hall.

In the annual reported dated 1880 Fred Jonas is shown as having 4 children, 3 males, 1 female. The 1887 report is very light. I could not make out the family in the district.

In the Teachers’ Registers I did find some listings of the family. None of the girls were listed. From the registers that were available, we find the following entries:

Attendance October 4 1880 thru January 28 1881
Mary Jonas is listed age 14. This is probably sister to Fred Jonas. She attended school 17, was absent 61.

Attendance October 3, 1881 – January 27, 1882
Willie Jonas age 7, attended 11 days, missed 67
Freddie Jonas, age 6, attended 11 days, missed 67

Attendance January 30, 1882 – June 16, 1882
Willie Jonas, age not listed, attended 11 days, missed 68
Freddie Jonas, age not listed, attended 11 days, missed 68

Attendance Oct. 1, 1883 – May 29, 1884 (fall term)
Willie Jonas, age 9, attended 15 days.
Freddie is not listed

Attendance Oct. 1, 1883 – May 29, 1884 (spring term)
Willie Jonas, age 9, attended 34 days
Freddie is not listed

Attendance October 6, 1884 – January 28, 1885
Freddie Jonas, age 9 years attended 17 days, absent 29 days
Willie Jonas, age 10, attended 14 days, absent 32 days.
Louis shows up this year, age 7, attended 17 days, absent 24 days

Annual Register of Parents and Scholars October 6, 1884 – June 5, 1885
Fred Jonas (parent)
William Jonas, age 10, Kept at home to work
Louis Jonas, 7, Kept at home to work
Fred Jonas, 9, Kept at home to work

Annual Register of Parents and Scholars Oct. 5 1885 – June 4 1886
Fred Jonas, 10, no notations.
William Jonas, 11, no notations
Louis Jonas, 8, no notations

Leaving the Nest
In 1900 all the children, except Lena were still living at home. Lena married about 1897 and by 1900 had moved to Underwood Township, Redwood County, Minnesota.

In 1905 Henry, Minnie, Emil and Walter were the only children still at home. Fred T. and John had moved to Minnesota, William and Louis to Taylor County, Wisconsin. Lizzie moved to the Chicago area; Herman had also moved.


In 1919, Fred and Minnie retired from farming and sold the family farm to their son Emil and his wife Martha. The mortgage was executed on 14 May 1919 to Emil Jonas and wife Martha for a sum of $5000.
It reads in part….

…Fred and Wilhelmina to use and occupy for their place of residence the kitchen and bedroom in the N.W. corner on lower floor of the house in said premises and the N. E. bedroom on the 2nd floor of said house, so long as they or either of them shall live; together with the right of the grass to and across from said room and premise sand the right to use the well and out buildings.

…to pay to Fred & Wilhelmina the sum of five dollars on the 1st of each month. To furnish to said Fred and Minnie all the fuel, flour, meat, eggs, butter, milk, and vegetables, which they may need for their own use, so long as they or either of them shall live.

…also necessary nursing, medical attention and medicine in case of sickness…and to give a proper burial and pay all expenses.

To pay the children of said Frederick and Wilhelmina within 6 months of death the following:
William Jonas: $200
Fred Jonas: $200
Lena Vitt: $200
Lizzy Raper: $200
Herman Jonas: $200
Henry Jonas: $200
Minnie Jonas: $200
Walter Jonas: $200

In 1922, Minnie became ill. In November, after several months of suffering, Fred and Minnie decided to go to Chicago to be treated by the doctors there. They lived with their daughter, Lizzy, as Minnie received treatment. On 05 December 1922 the doctors operated on Minnie and diagnosed her with carcinoma of the liver and anemia. The doctor treated her until 20 February 1923. He last saw her on 23 February. She died two days later at 12:00 p.m. at the age of 68 years 3 months and 2 days. Fred was at her side.

Alfred Jonas, son of Emil, commented “Grandma to me was a very dear person and was loved by everyone that knew her.”

Fred died 15 September 1934, at 8:30 a.m. at the age of 85 years 7 months and 27 days. According to his obituary, his death was attributed to the infirmities of old age. His death certificate states he died of heart failure and was treated for the ailment from September 10-September 15 by Dr. Skwor.

Both Minnie (Sporleder) and Friedrich Theodor Jonas are buried in Pioneer Rest Cemetery, Two Rivers.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.