(also spelled Bernhard Klaus)

Contact: Michelle Harder

Bernard Klais was born near Cologne which is West Germany today. However it was previously a part of the Prussian Empire. As a young man he studied to become a priest. He gave this up, married and raised a family. They came to America about 1845, arriving in Milwaukee by boat, then settling in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where he was a potter. His home has been restored as a part of "Shake Rag Alley".

The Family Born In Prussia age in 1860 year of birth

Bernard (potter) 59 b. 1801
Celia (wife) 48 b. 1812
Mary (Ableiter) 24 b. 1836
John (potter) 21 b. 1839
Anna (Sherman) 16 b. 1844

The Family Born in America age in 1860 year of birth

Margaret   14 b. 1846
Gertrude   11 b. 1849
Jacob   10 b. 1850
Stephen   8 b. 1852
Michael   5 b. 1855

Mary (Klais) Ableiter

Mary Klais, a daughter of Bernard Klais, was born in 1836 near the present city of Cologne, West Germany. At that time this territory was a part of the Prussian Empire. She and at least two other children were born in Prussia, while the rest of the children were born in America. Her father, Bernhard Klaus (the original spelling) was a potter by trade. When he arrived in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, he built a house near what is known as "Shake Rag Street". His house was built of brick, rather than the stone used by the Cornish miners. The roof was pottery (Tile) which he had made. Bernard's house has now been restored along with other houses in a group called "Shake Rag Alley". Some of his pottery still has been kept by our family.

Unless there were other older children which I don't know of, Mary would be the second oldest in the family. Her older brother Michael helped his father in the pottery trade. Other children of the Klais family with whom we have kept in touch over the years are Anna, Mrs. Nick Sherman of St. Louis, and Jake Klais one of the younger children whose descendants live in the Fennimore area. Jake had been a miner near Galena, Illinois.

Mary was married to John G. Ableiter in 1855. They lived on a farm between Stitzer and Livingston, Wisconsin. Mary Klais Ableiter lived in Fennimore after her husband's death with the wife of a dentist. She died November 10, 1910 and is buried in Stitzer beside her husband.


Melchior Ableiter


Melchior Ableiter was the youngest child of Leonhardt and Maria (Liebing) Ableiter. He was born September 18, 1833. When he was 14 his mother and a sister died. Melchior was also near a point of death at that time, but he recovered. Since his father ran a blacksmith shop and a farm, Melchior's help was needed at home during his youth. However, at the age of 18 he had the opportunity to travel and visited Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland, and other places.

Receiving a letter from his brother John, who had been in America for some time, requesting him to come, too, he departed from his old home to the new world. He arrived in Wisconsin in 1857 with the resolve to be a farmer. But farming in those days was not to his taste, so he associated himself with is John Ruka in the year 1859. When the Civil War broke out, he answered the call of President Lincoln by enlisting in the army of the United States. He served in the army for three years and received and honorable discharge. He said that if he were to write down all the misery, privation, hunger, thirst, etc., endured during this army life it would be too much.

In the year 1866 he lived in Iowa, but is health was very poor there, so he came back to Boscobel, Wisconsin, where he lived the remainder of his life. On June 14,1867 he entered into Holy Matrimony with Fredericka Koss. To this union were born eight children. Most of his sons helped their father in the buggy factory and blacksmith shop which he operated in Boscobel.

Melchior died December 21,1915 after an illness of about two years. His obituary reported six children living at the time: George, Adolph, Emil, Emma, Leo and Louis. One daughter died as a child in 1872. His son, Theodore, died in a train accident on December 26, 1903. His grandchildren numbered seven at the time: four boys and three girls. The funeral was held at the German Lutheran Church of Boscobel of which he had been a lifelong and leading member.

The oldest son, George T. Ableiter carried on his father's business and there was an interesting article on him printed in the Telegraph Herald, the Dubuque Iowa paper in December 1949. At that time George was 81 years old and had been a blacksmith for 68 years. In addition to his being the oldest active businessman in Boscobel, he said that he had stayed in a business he didn't like longer than any other man in quite a large territory. In addition to being a blacksmith, he was also a farm implement dealer. He was also on the Boscobel fire department for many years. As a hobby, he used to make and repair clocks. He also did woodworking with a scroll saw. His wife was born in Fennimore "more than 72 years ago", and still accompanied her husband to the shop each day and helped by waiting on customers. They had two daughters: Mabel, a registered nurse in Madison and Agnes, noted for her beautiful flower gardens at home with her parents. Unlike most fathers, George did not want his sons to engage in his business, and never allowed his boys, Ernest and Art to become interested in blacksmithing.

Melchior's second son, Adolph left the blacksmith shop and moved to Anaheim, California with his family. There he was a janitor in a school. He and his wife had two children; a son Carl, and a daughter.

The third son of Melchior was Theodore who died in a railroad accident. Emil was a dentist in Iowa; Leo and Louis both worked in their father's shop and did not marry. Emma also remained single. So despite a family of eight children, the descendants were very few.



John G. Ableiter b. 3-4-1829 Dettingen, Wuerttemberg, Germany d. 11-20-1903 (son of Leonhardt and Maria Ableiter) m. Mary Klais (b. 1836 d. 11-10-1910) daughter of Bernard Klais

1. George Ableiter b. 7-7-1956 d. 11-21-1938

m.1. Sophie Wilkie m. 2-25-1883 (d. 8-17-1893)

A. W. Victor Ableiter b. 4-6-1884 m. 9-26-1931 Nellie Martin

m.2 Mary Ann Dinsdale m. 6-30-1898 (b.5-27-1867 d.,1-19-1947)

A. J. Kenneth Ableiter b. 12-18-1898 m. Nellie Neal Reed

2. Albert Ableiterter b. 4-12-1858 d. 10-27-1937

m. Lizette Brechler

3. August Ableiter b. 2-25-1861 d. 4-26-1925

m. Electa Jane Barnes

A. John W. Ableiter b.7-1-1884 m. Olive A. Metcalf

(1) Archie Elroy Ableiter b. 1-11-1909 m. Ilene Nora Conway

(2) Richard H. Ableiter b. 9-24-1910 m. Elizabeth Strangfield

B. Elsie Ableiter d. 12-11-1964 m. Ernest Ayers

(1) Lewis Victor Ayers b.11-18-1909 d. 6-29-1986

m. Evelyn Swanson m. 4-7-1934 (b. 12-13-1914)

(2) Marian Ayers b. 3-13-1911 m.1 William Wickland

m.2 Fred Olson

(3) Ernest Stanley Ayers b. 9-25-1915 m. Violet Maracia

(4) Howard Erwin Ayers b. 1-12-1923 m. Beverly Eastman

4. Mary Ableiter b. 11-24-1863 d. 4-14-1961

m. Charles A Barnes

A. Oscar George Barnes b. 10-23-1887 m. Mabel E. Porter

(1) Kenneth Bruce Barnes b. 8-29-1930 m. Janet A. George

B. Pearl Bessie Barnes b. 12-9-1892 d. 6-29-1966

5. Annie Ableiter b. 6-30-1867 m. John McLimans 1883

A. Mabel McLimans m1. George Shimmin m2. John Beaver

(1) Elva Marie Shimmin m. Hal Reed

(2) Raymond Shimmin b.9- -1903

B. Lester McLimans m. Nettie Schneider

(1) John McLimans B.4-23-1913 m. Helen Mueller

(2) Harold McLimans b. 5-18-1914 m. Dorothy Frazier

(3) Bertha McLimans b. 6-21-1915 m. Laverne Weist

(4) Willard McLimans b.10-30-1916 m. Dorothy Foley

(5) Ralph McLimans b. 6-9-1918 m. Betty Foley

(6) Raymond McLimans b. 8-9-1920

C. Roy McLimans b. 4-1-1889 m. Luella Bausman

(1) Wilma Ardale McLimans b. 3-7-1913 m. Leroy Horn

(2) Nina Virginia McLimans b. 10-9-1915 m. Ken Calloway

(3) Luella Grace McLimans b. 5-28-1918 m. John Kettler

(4) June Magdalen McLimans b. 5-24-1920 m. Delbert Lee

(5) Shirley Ann McLimans b.3-18-1924 m. Everett Manuel

(6) Avis Lou McLimans b. 4-16-1927 m. Howard Weigel

(7) Norma Fae McLimans b.6-30-1928 m. Lyle Wisdom

D. Albert McLimans b. 8-4- 1892 m. Mildred Gratz

(1) Hazel Lenice McLimans b. 6-30-1915 m. Wilson Weigel

(2) Louise Lola McLimans b. 4-22-1919 m. W.F. Brown

(3) Gladys Eileen McLimans 10-18-1922 m. Howard Rolland

E. Harry McLimans b. 6-4-1897 m. Myrtle Mcvay

(1) Viola Nellie McLimans b. 6-4-1923

(2) Dorothy Irene McLimans b.7-20-1927 m. Clifford Cordts

F. Laverne McLimans b. 3-16-1898

G. Elva McLimans b. 3-2-1900 m. Chris Bock

(1) Florence Mae Bock b. 2-16-1925 m. Edward Wood

(2) Helen Irene Bock b. 6-19-1926 m. Robert Whitzig

(3) Donald Dean Bock b. 1-23-1931

H. Mae McLimans b. 1-10-1903 m. Frank Hippenbecker

(1) Marlene Mae Hippenbecker

I. Donald McLimans b.1-5-1905 m. Janet Andrew

(1) Donna McLimans b. 11-13-1937

(2) William McLimans b. 12-15-1938

(3) Florence Annie McLimans b. 12-4-1945

J. Arthur McLimans b. m. Agnes Latham

(1) Jerry McLimans b. 8- -1929

(2) Jack McLimans b. 4-2-1933