Richfield Historical Society

Richfield, WI


An Anniversary Celebration at the Messer/Mayer Mill

When the 74 year old Johann Leonhard Mayer and Anna Borngaesser Mayer, 71 years of age, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in the church at Nierstein in 1748, they could not have imagined, that 153 years henceforth, their great-great-grandson, Johann George Fred Mayer and his wife Juliana Mueller Mayer, would fill a church in a faraway land to its utmost capacity a few months after their 50th wedding anniversary.

On Sunday the 9th of June in 1901, the bridal party was escorted to theirJohann and Juliana Mayer respective places by their oldest grandchildren, followed by their children. Mrs. John Guth of Minneapolis, C. W. Mayer of Richfield, Rev. George Mayer of Minneapolis, John Mayer of Polk and Adam J. Mayer of Seattle. Besides the 5 children and their spouses, 23 grandchildren were present. The Rev. Mr. Blum delivered a splendid sermon. Lydia and Amalia Guth, as the oldest grandchildren, decorated the couple with a golden crown and a bouquet. Later a very impressive ceremony took place at C. W. Mayer’s Mill, where a large table had been prepared under the large evergreens in the park. George and Juliana lived to see their diamond wedding anniversary on the 20th of February in 1911.

Shortly after their wedding at Nierstein in 1851, they bade goodbye to their many friends and relatives and sailed for the new world. On the ship with them were 900 other emigrants, all going to America. The trip across the ocean was made in three weeks, which was considered very fast in those days, as it took some vessels three months to make the voyage.  From New York they went to Milwaukee via the Erie Canal by boat. Milwaukee was only a small village at the time. After a short stay there, they left by means of an ox-team for the town of Richfield, where they stayed for some time with the John Messer family. Mr. Messer was a brother-in-law of Mr. Mayer.

In the summer of 1851, they bought land in section 32 of the town of Polk, where they have resided ever since. At the time there was no wagon road to Hartford, only a trail. Some of the settlers, in order to get some grain ground into flour at Hartford, went there with a sack of wheat on a wheelbarrow and followed the trail, a distance of seven miles. Later on, when the road was opened, the settlers went to Hartford with loads of ashes, which were exchanged there for groceries and tools.

George died on a Sunday afternoon in 1914 at the age of 92 and Juliana on a Sunday morning in 1924 at the age of 96. Both displayed a remarkable clear memory all their life. 

(Contains excerpts from newspaper clippings found at the Hartford History Room)

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