|Birth: ||Sep. 11, 1863|
|Death: ||Aug. 15, 1939|
A lifetime crowded with unusual events came to an end at St. Agnes hospital Tuesday when Mike Berenz, Chilton bartender, window washer, firemen and general handyman, passed away following a short illness.
Born Sept. 11, 1863 in Houghton, Mich., the heart of the copper country where his dad was a mining engineer, Mike came with his parents to St. Joe when two months old. At St. Joe, his parents took over his grandmother’s farm.
Mike learned the cheesemaker trade from the bottom up and became a full fledged cheesemaker at St. Cloud. But as fruitful as the cheesemaker trade was to him it also brought him his worst break in life.
He was accused of murder and was held in the Fond du Lac county jail for 58 days before a jury acquitted him. (difficult to read) It was through his activities as a cheesemaker that he was accused of killing an elderly man in St. Cloud.
“Certain people wanted me out of the cheese factory,” Mike used to say, “because I knew how to test milk and I would know when they put water in the milk they shipped. They tried to blame the murder on me to get rid of me.”
The actual murderer, a gambling device operator, confessed the murder in Milwaukee on his death bed. The story made statewide interest several years ago.
Worked at Fondy
But that was a chapter in Mike’s life that probably changed the course of his activities on this earth. He resigned later from the cheese factory and worked for the Gurney Refrigerator company in Fond du Lac. Later he tried going back to the cheesemaker trade but the smell affected him and he returned to the farm of his parents.
On September 25, 1901 he started a brighter chapter in his life when he enlisted in the United States army and was stationed at Jefferson Barracks, Mo. He served in Arizona and Utah and at one time traveled 1,400 miles on foot to Wyoming and Denver, Col. He was discharged from the army at Pike’s Peak col., Sept 25, 1906.
Mike returned to Chicago where he worked for various wholesale grocery and commission houses on South Water street. He must have also tended bar there for he often boasted that he belonged to the Chicago Bartender’s union.
He started work at Kohler in 1921 and remained there until 1926. From Kohler he migrated to this territory, tending bar for ???? Leon at New Holstein from 1926 until he came to Chilton in 1929. He worked in taverns in Chilton until January 1935, when he was injured in an auto accident and was unable to do heavy work. He successfully applied for old age pension Dec. 1, 1938.
Mike died Tuesday, bad circulation of the blood that caused the swelling of both his legs, coupled with a weak heart, brought about his end. He will be buried Friday with funeral services at St. Mary’s church. The Rev. H. E. Hunck will officiate and burial will be in Hillside cemetery. (sic)
Chilton Times – August 17, 1939
Saint Marys Cemetery
Created by: Janell Shumaker Keuler
Record added: Sep 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 58370642