on the night of the assassination. The major seized Booth. His arm was slashed by the assassin, causing him to lose his grip, but throwing Booth off balance, causing a broken ankle in his fall to the stage. Family members feel it was the Major’s failure to protect his president that caused him to become insane and murder his wife. He died in a mental asylum.

Rausch, Jacob and Margaret (Spielman)

(Lorraine Kuennen)

Bio Photo

Jacob Rausch

Among the first settlers in the Fort Atkinson area were Jacob and Margaret (Spielman) Rausch. Both were born in Bavaria; they met and married in Oldenburg, IN. In 1849, when their son John was only a few months old, they joined several other Oldenburg families for the long journey to the Fort Atkinson area. For several years they lived in town, where Jacob practiced his shoemaking skills.

In 1853 they bought 40 acres of land west of town from the U.S. government which was the start of Jacob’s lifetime as a farmer. In addition to John, they became parents of 5 more children. Tragedy struck in 1863 when in one week the mother, Margaret, and three of their children died of diphtheria. The surviving children were John, Joseph and Margaret.

John, born 13 Feb 1849 in Oldenburg, IN, married Elizabeth Werner 3 Aug 1875 at St. Clemens Church near Spillville. They farmed west of Fort Atkinson and became parents of 12 children: Theresia (m. Michael Hauer), Barbara (m. Joseph Balk), Frances (m. Frank Meyer), Ottilia (m. John Kruse), Andrew (m. Petronella Bucheit), Clara (married Henry Hackman), Hugo (m. Barbara Hackman), Johanna (m. Carl Bodensteiner), Rose (m. Ben Bodensteiner), Philip (died at age twenty-five), Clement (died in early childhood), Otto (m. Regina Moudry). Joseph. born 21 Feb 1851 in Fort Atkinson, married Mary Loesch 17 Sep 1877. They also farmed west of Fort Atkinson and raised 7 children: Anna (m. Joseph Nolte), William (m. Katherine Huinker), Frank (m. Kate Haubrich; after her death he married Minnie Lansing), Julius (m. Mary Neuzil), Leon (m. Agnes Haas), Edward (m. Alice Huber), Louise (m. Alfred Huinkerl. Margaret, born 4 Nov 1861 near Fort Atkinson, married Frank Maruska. They farmed near Lourdes and raised 9 children: Frank, Joseph, John, George, William, Edward, Margaret, Anna and Mary. One daughter returned to the Fort Atkinson area: Anna Maruska married John P Smith.

In 1865 Jacob Rausch married Dorothea Voll. They had one child, Anna, who married John Barbarick. They lived on the original Jacob Rausch farm until their deaths. Jacob Rausch died 22 Sep 1880.

Rausch, Melvin and Mary (Hageman)

(Mary Rausch)

 My formal education started when I attended St. Aloysius Catholic School and graduated from Calmar High School in 1956. In 1989 I went back to college as a non-traditional student and received my Associate of Arts from Northeast Iowa Community College. I graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Liberty University and in 1994 graduated with a master of Arts degree in Counseling. Currently I am attending classes at the University of Iowa working toward Teacher Certification. My husband Melvin and I were married 25 Jun 1956 at St. Aloysius Church in Calmar, IA. We farmed near Fort Atkinson in Jackson Twp. until 1983. This is the Century Farm owned by the Rausch family. Currently son Daniel and his wife Mindy are the 5th generation to live there. We are the parents of 6 children and 15 grandchildren: Linda married Noel Frana. Their children are: Brian, Marty and Arron. Lois married Dean Humpal. Their children are: Chanda, Nicole, DeAnn, Joshua, Jordan and Jacob. Lori married Darrel Milbrandt. Their children are: Staci, Jessica, Kristin and Brooks. Dale married Jane Palmer. Their children are: Ben and Michael. Daniel married Mindy Cornelius. Derek is a Junior at Turkey Valley Community High School.

We live at 304 Main Street in Fort Atkinson, IA. I have worked the past 15 years at Northeast Iowa Community College at Calmar. Our family participates in many community activities such as: American Legion Auxiliary, National Catholic Society of Foresters, 4-H, sports and in politics. Melvin drives semi for Mihm Transportation. Melvin’s parents were Otto and Regina (Moudry) Rausch. They farmed and so did his parents, the John Rausch family. John’s father, Jacob Rausch homesteaded in Winneshiek Co. in Jackson Twp. There are many interesting stories told of how the 5 families who vowed to stay together came to Fort Atkinson from Oldenberg, IN. The one story that sticks out in my mind was when they had to cross the Mississippi, they had to get the horses to swim with the mothers and part of the family across the river. In the meantime, the river rose and the baby was on the opposite side. When it was time for nursing a native American helped out by feeding the baby until the river went down. Another part of Rausch history is that Mrs. Spielman (who was a Rausch) donated most of the church bells in this area. One of the funniest facts is that the town of Spillville, named after Mr. Spielman who donated land for the town, was misspelled.

My family history from my mother's side goes back to 1830. Joan Wessel (Wenzeslaus) Kuennen was born in


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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021