By Kris Leonhardt
Anna Meidl was born in Germany in 1866 and came to America while just a toddler.
The Meidl family settled in the Manitowoc County area of Wisconsin. There Anna met and married Louis Baumann at the age of 20.
Following their wedding, Louis and Anna Baumann headed to the northern pines of Wisconsin and a newly settled area called Hewitt, where they purchased a farm.
They lived there two years before moving to the young city to its east that was growing quickly and ripe with great business opportunities. The couple took up residence on the corner of North Central Avenue and Depot Street.
Upon moving to Marshfield, Louis Baumann became an instrumental player in building the city, its societies, and its business presence. With a strong work ethic and innovative attitude, he became a stockholder in multiple businesses, which included banks and factories.
In July 1909, the Marshfield Brewing Company reorganized as a stock company, and Louis was elected its vice president. He would help lead the Marshfield brewery through a massive improvement and reorganization campaign, and the company would grow to provide the majority of the beer served locally.
Even while raising nine children, the Baumanns led a very active and social life until Anna fell ill. Just in her early 40s at the time, Louis made all attempts to regain her health. This included a move to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, where the climate might improve Anna’s condition.
Louis packed up the three remaining unmarried children, left his business interests, and headed to South Dakota in September 1910, drawing a claim on the Cheyenne reservation.
At first Anna’s health seemed to improve as they began to weather the winter of 1910, but once again she fell ill. Her last illness was so swift and sudden that only the three children remaining in the Baumann household were able to be with her as she passed.
On a Friday afternoon in late January 1911, word reached the city of Marshfield that the matriarch of one of its most endearing pioneer families had lost her two-year battle with illness.
The city reacted with shock as many had hoped the move to South Dakota would prove to be just what Mrs. Baumann needed to regain her health.
Anna’s remains were returned to Marshfield, where she was laid to rest in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.