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Bittmann, Bernard   (1836-1890)

Bernhard Bittmann was born March 5, 1836 in Michelbach, Baden. He was the fourth of nine children to Benedict Bittmann and Margaretha Dillinger. Four of his siblings - all brothers - survived to marry and raise a family. All but his younger brother Rudolf stayed in Michelbach. Rudolf served in the Franco-Prussian War, and later married in Baden-Baden. After Bernhard was born, there is an eight-year gap in children before Benedict and Margaretha had their next child. They may have left Michelbach for a few years (from 1836 to 1844). Bernhard married Philomena Bastian on January 11, 1864 - four years after his father died, and just five months after his mother died. They had four children in Michelbach from 1864 through 1870. Magdalena, the fourth child, died when she was five months old, on December 5, 1870. Four months later, on April 15, 1871, Bernhard emigrated with his family from Hamburg, Germany, on the ship "Cimbria". They arrived on May 22, 1871 in New York, and settled first in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. There are several family legends about why they left Michelbach - both related to the Franco-Prussian War. The first legend is that a French soldier was lost, wandered near their home, and because they were Germans, shot a "brother". There isn't any evidence of this in Michelbach records - but might involve brother Rudolph, who served during the war. Another story is that Bernhard left Baden to avoid the draft instituted for the war (although he left as the war was ending). Bernhard's mother-in-law Catharina Bastian (maiden name Hertweck) was the trailblazer for their migration. She emigrated in 1865, and arrived in New York (on the ship "Borussia") on October 20, 1865. In 1900 she lived in Elkhart Lake, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Bernhard's occupation is listed as "barkeeper" in 1880. After arriving in Wisconsin, Bernhard and Philomena had three more children from 1873 through 1879. Bernhard died August 16, 1890 (cause of death was listed as a tumor). Bernhard and Philomena are buried in Calvary Cemetery, Milwaukee.

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