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Traiser family's roots acknowledged in stone

Charles Traiser and his wife MaryAnn are pictured at their rural Somerset homestead farm.

The Traiser family has another lasting connection with Somerset.

Charles F. Traiser and his wife MaryAnn recently purchased two memorial pavers honoring paternal family.

"I heard they (the Old Town Hall committee) needed money to restore the Town Hall and I figured this would be a good way to honor our ancestors," Traiser said.

"Plus we had been friends with Helen Landry for 55 years," MaryAnn added. The garden at the Old Town Hall is named after Landry.

The pavers were installed earlier this summer. The first reads: "Louie Traiser and Gertrude Cook, married 1859" and the second reads "Charles M. Traiser and Theresa Jahnke, married 1907."

"Those are the homesteaders," Charles said, referring to the families who actually lived on the original dairy farm. "I guess we ought to buy another brick for ourselves next."

The Traiser homestead farm legacy began when Louie Traiser - Charles' grandfather - immigrated from Darmstadt, Germany in 1855. He originally started in Star Prairie with 40 acres, but moved to Somerset in 1856 and put a claim in for 120 acres.

"There was just a log cabin when you come up the hill," Charles said. "This house was built in 1865, with only one add-on over the years. So we've been living in a 135-year-old house ever since."

Louie married Gertrude and they had 11 children together while working the dairy farm. Charles Mathias, Charles' father, was the youngest and stayed on the farm before marrying Theresa and having four children of their own, Charles being the youngest.

"My older brother went to the city when I was about 10 years old and my sister got married and moved out, so I just 'grew into' the farm."

Though he had worked on the dairy farm into adulthood, Charles decided to try his hand at a different occupation for a while.

He worked as a carpenter for 30 years before returning to the dairy farm. Then one of his sons began increasing the dairy production.

"When I was growing up, we just had about 12 cows, now we have 80," he said.

The farm is now tended by his son, allowing Charles and MaryAnn to enjoy their retirement tending their fruit, vegetable and flower gardens. They continue to live in their 135-year-old house, and another daughter lives and works on a separate parcel across the street.

The Traisers will be honored at the Wisconsin State Fair Aug. 10 in West Allis for having a sesquicentennial farm.

Charles said he had always thought his grandfather started the farm in 1860 until he recently found documents indicating it was actually started in 1856, thus the reason for the age discrepancy.

When they were honored for having a centennial farm back in 1960, they said they got a breakfast, a certificate, a lawn sign and their picture taken for the newspaper.

"We went when we got the 100th, but we aren't going this year - it's too far a drive," MaryAnn laughed.