Alex & Agnes (Haglund) Behrens

Greenwood, Eaton Twp., Clark Co., Wisconsin



Family Notes


June 24, 1874 must have been the birth date of Alexander, if we are to believe Josie was his mother. That would make her 14 and still living in Milwaukee. That is because in July 1875 she married William Mahar in Neillsville and 30 June 1876 she had a baby boy named Irving Gilbert Mahar. That precludes 1875 and 1876 as the date. Gilbert died young and is buried in Neillsville. It is said he died of a head injury from his father dropping him while trying to balance him standing on his hand. In Feb 1878 she had a son Clarence who also died as a child and he is also buried in Neillsville. Her only surviving descendant was Merton born 25 Mar 1880. He lived in Milwaukee. Josie and her husband had lived in Milwaukee for 30 years where William was an insurance agent. They returned to Neillsville to retire. So the history information given to Greenwood should indicate 1874 as the birthdate of Alexander. I did let some know that there are various dates from census records etc. that give varying years namely, 1874, 1875, and 1876. The 1880 census lists him as 4, meaning 1876. That may have come from a statement I read that Josie had a son the same age as Alex ie Gilbert. The 1900 census gives a month and year of birth Jun 1875. Later census indicate 1874 or 1875. His WWI draft registration lists 24 Jun 1875. His death certificate and tombstone say 24 June 1874. His obituary says 1876. The death certificate lists Sophie Kneser as mother and ----- Behrens as father and birth place as Milwaukee. His confirmation record says 24 June 1874 from church in Christie.

If Josie is the mother, she was 14 in Milwaukee. Perhaps that is when Sophie takes over as "mother". Possibly,
Sophia was pregnant at the time of divorce and FW really was the father and the date should be 1873. Their relationship was volatile for about the last 4 years. Three divorce petitions were filed. They seemed to have gotten back together two times. The last was granted in Sept 1872. The petition is in Sophia's handwriting and details alcohol use, physical abuse of Sophie, and suggests infidelity. Shortly after the divorce FW married Ottelie Hoffman. According to the Milwaukee Sentinel article on the death of son John in summer 1873, FW was a well to do street contractor with a business in excess of $10,000 plus personal property in excess of $3,000. That was significant at that time. The article indicates in 1873 that John was not living with his father and his new wife, because they could not control him. Fred Eilers--Sophie's sisters husband-- states that his mother could not control him either. He was part of some "hoodlums" who did not work or go to school but hung around the neighborhood and got in trouble. He was killed by a shot through the head during a robbery of his uncle Fred's grocery store. The police had a stake out there because they thought someone would break in. He was shot at the cash register. Whether the behavior of John was a result of or a contributing factor to the divorce is anyone's guess. So there was a lot of family drama: 1872 Feb death of William from smallpox and the divorce in Sept, 1873 John's death during a robbery, 1874 possible Josie being mother of Alex. I can see why they left Milwaukee.
Sophia gets the house in the divorce, but it is deeded to John Kneser. It is deeded back to her when she sells the house. According to Otto's obituary and Alex's they go with her to Neillsville. Alex is supposed to have been two. Since Sophie married in 1876 in Neillsville, that makes the birth date for Alex again about 1874.

We do not know exactly when Sophie left for Neillsville. She sold her home in 1875. Josie is already up there and marrying William Mahar in July 1875. There is a story that Sophia went to live with her Uncle William Nevermann in Neillsville and was a tailoress. However, William would have been her cousin since his mother was Sophia's fathers sister--her aunt. Perhaps, Josie went up there first as he would have been more of an "uncle generation" to her. Sophia may have gone back and forth also. I found records that for a time in 1869 Sophia attended a school in Milwaukee to become a tailoress. She is listed in the 1873 , 1874 and 1875 directories as a tailoress. She is listed as a widow also in 1875. That may be because she used that since being divorced or it could be that FW did in fact die that year. FW and Ottelie sold his business and house that year and there are no more records on them that I could find. Another remote possibility is that Fred Jr. was the father and Sophia took the child on the death of the baby's mother. Fred Jr did marry in his 40's but there are no known descendants of his.

Ayres since it is a last name might indicate something of parentage, but it is unknown. Alex's siblings all had given names for the middle name ie. Otto Carl, Georgina Hanna Mayta, Friedrich Johan etc.

In any case, Sophie and Charles Roseman seemed to have a long marriage. Both are buried at the Veterans Home at King, Waupaca county. Perhaps people should check with Otto's descendants in Greenwood to see if they have a picture of Roseman. I have only one picture of Sophie when she is quite old. SUSAN (GAYLE) HOLMAN



Behrens Family Album

(click on the photos to enlarge them)

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Georgena Behrens Belore  

Granpa Alex Behrens older Sister


Georgena Behrens Belore  

Granpa Alex Behrens older Sister



Bill O'Sullivan & Jeanie Belore


1907   Agnus Behrens and 3 year old Adaline and 1 year old Ed Behrens.

Oldest of the 13 Children... Of Alex and Agnus (Haglund) Behrens.











[Photos of Edward Beherns] [More Family Photos]






Paul ForsterNorma Telford & David H Behrens (family member) Judith Behrens Maxwell (family member), Paul Forster, Marsha Hosfeld, Paul ForsterNorma Telford (family member), Janet Schwarze, Marianne Walker, Bill Warner (family member) & The Clark Co. History Buffs



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