The Kerler and Frank families, along with the Dorpats and the Kueners, were written about in a historically significant book of letters compiled by Dr. Louis F. Frank. Originally published in German, it was also translated and published in English and is available from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. The book is, "German-American Pioneers in Wisconsin & Michigan, The Frank-Kerler letters 1849-1864." For information about this book and what library in your area may have a copy, see this link: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/157491
This book is a 600 page compilation of letters and photos from the period of growth in our country when thousands of Germans came here for a variety of political and economic reasons, many of whom settled in three major cities, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis. These letters give a wonderful view of the immigration stories so many German families share, and in the case of my husband's 4th-Great Grandparents, (and descendants), on his mother's side, it's a very personal account of their reasons for coming here and settling in Wisconsin and Michigan.
BELOW, view a 9.2 minute video of Memmingen, Germany today, but shows the wonderful historical buildings that still stand as a view of what life was like in 1848 when the Kerler and Kuener families left due to political and other reasons. Start video, put on Full Screen and sit back to enjoy the language and views of our ancestors. If you want, you can click on the CC symbol to see captions, pause and look up words in a German-English dictionary, or get online translations.
Edward Kerler, 1827-1906
As mentioned on the Dorpat photo page, an email led me to the discovery of a whole group of relatives on my husband's maternal side that we'd assumed were all buried in Northern Wisconsin or in Michigan. The only family history we had, showed that his Grandmother, Marie Dorpat, was born "up north". She'd married Wilhelm Bernhardt and lived most of her life with their family in Wichita Falls, Texas. Very little Dorpat information was available online until recently, so I spent my time researching other family lines.
Now, however, we have found Marie Dorpat's parents, Rev. LG & Bertha Kerler Dorpat, along with Bertha's parents, Edward Kerler & Mathilda Kuener Kerler... and Edward's father... John Kerler, (aka Johannes), were in Milwaukee, where we lived at the time. John was the patriarch of the Kerler family that was identified in the book by Dr. Frank, and because of this book we now have lots of history of their life in Memmingen, Bavaria, Germany and ultimately on their farm in Greenfield, WI. If any relatives would like to own a copy of the book but can not afford to purchase one, please contact me. Their letters, photos and even the organ Veronika Kerler had used, a family heirloom, are now stored in the collections of the Milwaukee Historical Society Museum.
In 2011, we spent time at the historical society going through the files. Some were files full of photographs, most of which were included in the book. They attempted to locate the organ, but it was not located. The collections of the historical society have not been managed too well in the past - so maybe it will show up somewhere, but I'm not counting on it. At least there is a photo of it.
Have you lost track of the relationships? It's harder to follow because these are maternal lines, but here goes...
My husband's maternal line going back is... George Edward Rutherford, son of Edward Alfred Rutherford & Christine Lydia Wilma Bernhardt, grandson of Wilhelm Fredrick Bernhardt & Marie Mathilda Rosette Dorpat, great-grandson of Rev. Lorenz (L.G.) Dorpat & Bertha Kerler, great-great-grandson of Edward Kerler & Mathilda Kuener, (& of Dr. Joseph & Rosette Dorpat), and great-great-great-grandson of John (Johannes) Kerler & Veronika Hermann, (& Kasper & Christina Kuener).
The following people of this line, are buried at St. John's Evangelical Church Cemetery in Greenfield, Milwaukee County, WI:
Rev. Lorenz G. Dorpat Bertha Kerler Dorpat Beata E. Dorpat Mathilde E. Dorpat
Edward Kerler Mathilde Kuener Kerler Kasper E. Kuener Christina (unknown) Kuener -- *(Christina's name, shown top right on the new monument, was mistakenly carved as Christian)
John (Johannes) Kerler Mathilda Kerler Addicks Rosa Kerler Deffner
A new monument was erected by St John's, listing those people buried in the front cemetery, but for whom no markers are available. Some were taken away for safe-keeping, we think to the basement of the church (rumor?), and some have become buried under the grass and can no longer be seen. I worked with the cemetery caretaker, Dick Stuhr, to try and proof-read several drafts of the monument before it was carved in granite, as well as correct name records so the monument would be as complete as possible based on research of the families involved, but somehow the engravers still managed to make mistakes.*
As I do more research, others in St John's Cemetery are now known to be related by marriage or were close neighbors.
There is another pioneer Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery in the Greenfield area, but it doesn't appear that there are any other known relatives buried there.