Bio: Winninger, Franz (1848 – 19??)
Surnames: Winninger, Grassier, Miller, Ring
---Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens, by Louis Marchetti, 1913.
Winninger, Franz (3 December 1848)
FRANZ WINNINGER, who occupies his comfortable residence at No. 715 Forest Street, Wausau, has been a resident of this city since 1895 and now lives retired. He was born in Austria, December 3, 1848, was reared and educated there and before coming to the United States spent eleven years and eleven months in military service. For three years he served as a musician and for nine years was a member of the reserves. There are few names better or more favorably known in this section of the country than that of Winninger, it representing an unusual aggregation of musical talent and continued achievement in this direction.
In his native land Mr. Winninger learned the blacksmith trade but, with such marked musical gifts as his, it was inevitable that he should turn to music as his business in life. He was married in Austria, to Miss Rosalie Grassier, a daughter of Joseph Grassier, a blacksmith by trade. In 1881, with his wife and four children Mr. Winninger came to the United States, in this move seeking wider opportunities for his talented children. It is doubtful if any of the family was prepared for the hard life that faced them in the Wisconsin woods, their chosen home being two and one-half miles beyond Athens, in Marathon County. They made the best of it for six years and then gave up attempted farming and moved to Ashland, Wis. There Mr. Winninger became a teacher of music and was made the leader of the Ashland band and teacher of the Ashland Maennerchor (a German term for a male chorus) and for eight years Ashland remained the family home after which they came to Wausau. This removal was in acknowledgment of the request of many leading people of this city after they had listened to the concerts given here by Mr. Winninger and family as a troupe. For two years after locating here he conducted Columbia Hall as a concert and amusement place. After that, accompanied by his family, he traveled all over the country under the style of the Winninger Bros. & Co. Dramatic Company, Mr. Winninger being the leader of the brass band and orchestra. Although practically retired Mr. Winninger still has students of clarinet and violin and also, on occasion, still teaches band music.
Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Winninger: Frank, who travels with a dramatic company; John, who is also an actor and musician; Theresa, who is the wife of Leon Miller; Joseph, who travels with his eldest brother as his secretary, is also a musician; Adolph, who belongs to the dramatic profession; and Charles, who is the husband of the popular actress, Blanche Ring, is a member of her company now playing in The Wall Street Girl. It certainly is unusual to find an entire family so evenly gifted and all are known all over the United States on both the concert stage and in the leading theatres.
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