About PetersPioneersCharles and Rosa Smith Hauser Family - "Tante and Uncle Charlie"

Charley Christenson, Richard Drueke, Marilyn Hamill, Charles Hoffman, Janet Ramsey, Leslie A. Pahl, Bev Shannon, and Ed Stroh contributed to this family history.

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Charles Hauser Born in 1855

Karl Hauser
b. 1790
German Flag
Hubert Hauser
Maria Anna Engelfried
German Flag
Charles Hauser
Michalis Bohr German Flag
Mary Bohr
Anna Schuller German Flag

31-Star US Flag 1851-1858Lyons, 1855-1855. Charles Andrew Hauser, was born February 2, 1855, in Lyons, 10 miles northwest of Westphalia, Michigan. The U.S. flag had 31 stars, the most recent one being for California. The President was Franklin Pierce.

Judah Touro Ship List
1849 Judah Touro ship list: Carl 60, Marie 58, Magdalena 26, Engelbert 22, Hubert 20, Julie 18, Eleanore 16, Marie 14. The ship Judah Touro was built on Badgers Island, Kittery, Maine, in 1845 for the cotton trade out of New Orleans and named after a well-known Jewish merchant and philanthropist, Judah Touro (1775-1854).
Charles was the first child of Hubert and Mary Bohr Hauser, both natives of Germany.

The Hauser family was from Rottweil, Württemberg. Charles' grandparents, Charles and Marie Hauser emigrated from Rottweil with six children in 1849. They sailed on the ship Judah Touro from LeHavre, France, arriving in New York on September 19.

In the 1850 census, the Hauser family was living in Detroit, Michigan. Charles, 60, was shown as a mason. His son Hubert, 20, also was shown as a mason. Sometime between 1850 and 1855, the family moved to Lyons, near Westphalia, Michigan.

The Bohr family was from Langenfeld, Prussia. According to the 1926 biography of Charles Hauser, Mary Bohr's family came to Detroit. Michigan, in 1846 and settled in Grand Rapids in 1855. (There were two young Bohr families living in Westphalia, Michigan in the 1850 census headed by Joseph, 28, and Matthias, 26.)

Hubert Hauser and Mary Bohr were married in Detroit in 1852. At some point, they moved to Lyons, which is where Charles was born.

Hubert's brother Engelbert Hauser was one of the very early shareholders of the brewery started by Bernard Stroh. Hubert's sister Eleanore Hauser married Bernard Stroh in Detroit on July 28, 1853. Bernard, whose family brewed beer in Kirn, Germany, started the Stroh's brewery in his basement at 57 Catherine Street in Detroit in 1851. See "The Stroh Story" in Peter Blum's Brewed in Detroit.

Stroh's Beer serving tray
Serving Tray for Stroh’s Lager Beer from Detroit, Michigan. Text along the bottom states Highest Award and Medal, Worlds Fair.

Grand Rapids, 1855-1882. In August 1855, the Hubert Hauser family moved from Lyons to Grand Rapids, Michigan. They purchased land and built a house on the west side of the Grand River at 135 2nd Street (601 2nd Street NW) after 1912. Fourteen children were born there.

Hauser house, 1955
1955 photo of the Hubert Hauser house at 135 2nd Avenue, (601 2nd Avenue NW) after 1912. The house, built in 1855, has been torn down.

St. Mary's Church, 1857
St. Mary's Church, 1857. A frame church, 75 feet long and 30 feet wide, was built at the corner of First and Broadway Streets. Source: History of St. Mary's Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., 1907.
In 1857, St. Mary's Parish, now at 423 First Street NW in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was carved out of St. Andrew's Parish to meet the spiritual needs of the German population. Charles' father Hubert was one of six men, including John Adam Schickell, who met to plan for the new St. Mary's Church in 1857.

In 1868, Hubert's sister Eleanore Hauser Stroh died and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery. She and her husband Bernard Stroh had been married for 15 years. Bernard, who died in 1882, also is buried next to Eleanore at Elmwood Cemetery.

In 1873, the original St. Mary's Church building was replaced by the current building, a Gothic-style structure. It was built by Father John George Ehrenstrasser, who became pastor in 1870. Charles worked on the construction of the 1873 church. His father Hubert was the masonry contractor.

St. Mary's Church, 1907
1873 St. Mary's Church as it existed in 1907. Source: History of St. Mary's Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., 1907.

The 1926 biography of Charles Hauser says he "attended the old West Side Union school of Grand Rapids, was for a short time a student in the private school of Professor Everett, but the major part of his early education was obtained in the Catholic parochial schools, in which connection he reverts with great satisfaction to his youthful association with the honored pioneer Catholic priest of Grand Rapids, Father Berhorst, with whom he made numerous missionary trips among the Indians then residing in western Michigan. In January, 1868, Mr. Hauser accompanied Father Berhorst on a trip through the wilds to Newaygo and Pentwater, where the sacrament of baptism was administered to twenty-five Indians."

Charles was a member of the Knights Templar band. In 1873, he was one of the organizers of the Germania band. He was for many years an associate member of the local Schubert Club. In 1878 he traveled for a year as a member of the band of the John Robinson Circus.

John Robinson Circus Bandwagon, 1920
John Robinson Circus Bandwagon, 1920.

Rosa Smith Born in 1854

Unknown Schmitt German Flag
John Schmitt
German Flag
Rosa Smith
John Adam Schickell
German Flag
Mary Augusta Schickell
Maria Eva Schumm
German Flag

31-Star US Flag 1851-1858Grand Rapids, 1854-1882. Rosa Wilhelmina Schmitt was born on October 6, 1854, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The U.S. flag had 31 stars, the most recent one being for California. The President was Franklin Pierce.

Rosa Wilhelmina Schmitt, was the third and last child of John and Mary Augusta Schickell Schmitt, both born in Bavaria. Maria Appolonia (Abbie) Smith had been born in 1849 and Cris J. Smith had been born in 1852.

Rosa's mother Mary Augusta Schickell had come over from Bremen to Baltimore with her parents, John Adam and Maria Eva Schumm Schickell, on the sailing ship Johannes in 1834. They were from Kassel, which is 32 miles east northeast of Frankfurt. At that time, Kassel was in the north of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Now, Kassel is in the Kinzig-Main-Kreis region in the south of Hesse. They settled in Tiffin, Ohio. Mary Augusta had a younger brother Peter who came over from Kassel with her. She also had a sister Mary Appolonia and a brother Joseph, who were born in Tiffin.

Rosa's father John Schmitt came from the same area in Germany as the Schickell's and settled in Tiffin, Ohio.

Rosa's older sister, Maria Appolonia Smith, was known as Abbie. She was born in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1849.

Sometime between 1849 and 1852, the Schmitts moved from Tiffin to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Rosa's older brother Cris was born. Rosa's father operated the first grocery on the west side of Grand Rapids. He was listed as a saloonkeeper in the 1860 census.

In 1857, St. Mary's Parish, now at 423 First Street NW in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was carved out of St. Andrew's Parish to meet the spiritual needs of the German population. Rosa's grandfather John Adam Schickell was one of six men, including Hubert Hauser, who met to plan for the new St. Mary's Church in 1857.

On March 17, 1861, Rosa's father John died. He was buried in St. Andrew's Cemetery. He was 40 years old. Rosa was only 7. Her brother Cris was 9. Her sister Abby was 12. Rosa's mother Mary Augusta was 33.

Starting with the 1867 Grand Rapids city directory, Rosa's mother Mary Augusta was listed as living at Gold and Washington. Later, this was specified as 44 Gold Avenue. In 1874, Washington was changed to Sibley and 44 was changed to 105. In 1893, when a new house was built on the lot, the number was changed to 113 Gold. In 1912, the number was changed to the present address of 151 Gold Avenue NW. This was the southwest corner of Gold and Sibley Street. The 1893 house is still there and occupied by Marilyn Hamill, who is preserving and restoring the house.

In 1869, Rosa's sister Abbie (Mary Appolonia Schmitt) died at home at age 20. Funeral services were held at at St. Mary’s Church. She was buried in St. Andrew's Cemetery.

In the 1870 census, Rosa's brother Cris, 18, was listed as a photographer. In the 1872 Grand Rapids directory, at 20, he was listed a musician. In the 1873 and 1874 directories, he was listed as a clerk at the grocery store of his uncle, Peter Schickell on Front Street. His uncle also was a musician. In the 1875 directory, he again was listed as a musician. He continued to work as a musician for the rest of his career.

In 1872, Rosa's mother, Mary Augusta Schickell Schmitt, married Frederick W. Cordes, and he moved into the house at 44 Gold. He was born in 1834, the son of Anton Cordes and Maria Platte. He had been a grocer, but was listed as a laborer in the 1873-75 directories. He was the brother of John and William Cordes, who were with Mary Augusta's husband John at the Mathenias Creek gold mine in El Dorado County in 1850. His wife Adelaide had died in 1869 at age 26. Mary Augusta and Frederick were divorced in 1876. Frederick died in 1891 and was buried with his first wife Adelaide at St. Andrew's Cemetery.

Southwest corner of Gold and Sibley
Schmitt house at the southwest corner of Gold and Sibley, 105 Gold Street (151 Gold Avenue NW after 1912). View is to the south southwest. Street signs on the corner of the house say "Gold" and "Sibley." A pump handle can be seen on the porch. The new 1893 house can be seen at the far left. Large image.
Fire map of southwest corner of Gold and Sibley
1888 Sanborn fire insurance map of Schmitt house at the southwest corner of Gold and Sibley, 105 Gold Street. South is up. The property also includes 50 Sibley Street. To build the 1893 house, the north half of the 119 Gold lot was annexed to the 105 Gold lot.
Schmitt house, back view
View from the back of the Schmitt house, toward the east northeast. The Swedish Baptist Church, visible in the background, is now St. Michael Ukranian Catholic Church. Houses in the background also are still there.

In the 1876 Grand Rapids directory, the Schmitt (Smith) family lived at 105 Gold Avenue (151 Gold Avenue NW after 1912). This was the southwest corner of Gold and Sibley Street, six blocks south and two blocks west of where the Hausers lived.

Rosa's grandmother, Maria Eva Schumm Schickell, 78, died in Grand Rapids on September 24, 1878. Her grandfather John Adam Schickell, 83, died May 10, 1879.

In the 1880 census, Rosa's mother Mary Augusta was listed as divorced. Her last name was Cordes. Rosa was living with her mother Mary Augusta and brother Cris, and two boarders who worked in a furniture factory.

In 1880, Rosa's brother Cris J. Smith, 28, and Christine Koch, 20, were married in Grand Rapids. Christine was the daughter of a funeral director, William Koch. Following their marriage, they lived in Grand Rapids with Christine's parents at 109 California Street, at the corner of Straight Street. This was only a few blocks from where the Schmitts lived.

On May 23, 1882, Rosa's brother Cris and Christine had a daughter, Rose Viola. This is that same day that Rosa Smith married Charles Hauser.

Charles and Rosa Marry in 1882

Marriage License

Charles Hauser, 27, and Rosa Smith, 27, were married in Grand Rapids on Thursday, May 23, 1882, by Father Ehrenstrasser, pastor of St. Mary's Church. Witnesses were James Henry Hagy, future husband of Charles' sister Eleanora, and Mary Dubrige.

Grand Rapids, 1882-1944. Following their marriage, they lived with Rosa's mother, Mary Augusta Schickell Schmitt at 105 Gold Avenue (151 Gold Avenue NW after 1912). Charles worked as a mason with his father during the summer and a turner in the Widdicomb furniture factory during the rest of the year.

On July 11, 1882, Charles' sister Eleanora married James Henry Hagy (Hoegy) at Saint Mary's Church. He was born in Sandusky, Ohio, and was employed as a finisher.

On August 10, 1882, Charles' sister Emily married William Jaeger at Saint Mary's Church. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was employed as a cigar maker.

Also in 1882, Charles' brother Julius married Viola Geary. She was from Canada. The couple lived in Grand Rapids. Julius was a machinist in a furniture factory.

In 1887, Rosa's sister-in-law Christine Koch Smith died at age 27. Her daughter Rose was only five years old. Rose and her father Cris continued to live with Christine's parents, the Kochs.

Boston 1888
Tintype photo of three delegates at the 1888 convention in Boston of the Bricklayers & Masons International Union of America. Ribbon says: B. & M. I. U. of America, Delegate, Boston, Mass., 1888.
B.&M.I.U. ribbon.
Ribbon says: B. & M. I. U. of America, Delegate, Boston, Mass., 1888.
Alderman, 8th Ward
For two terms, from 1890 to 1894, Charles Hauser was Alderman of the 8th Ward in Grand Rapids. The 8th Ward was west of the Grand River and south of Bridge Street.
Aldermanic Trip to Milwaukee
Aldermanic Trip to Milwaukee, August 17, 1891.
People's Party
People's Party Convention Delegate, Jackson, Michigan, August 2, 1892.
People's Party article
New York Times article on the People's Party Convention, August 2, 1892. Weaver and Field won 8.5% of the popular vote on November 8, 1892. Democrats Grover Cleveland and Adlai E. Stevenson won the election. See: 1892 Presidential Election.

On May 25, 1889, Rosa's brother Cris married Charles' sister Mary at Saint Mary's Church. Before the wedding, Cris had moved back in to the Schmitt house at 105 Gold Avenue with his daughter Rose Viola. In 1889, Cris was listed in the Grand Rapids directory as a musician with the Redmond Grand Opera House.

Baxter's 1891 History shows Charles Hauser, as President of the Labor Day parade in Grand Rapids, on September 1, 1889. Baxter's 1891 History, shows Charles Hauser as having several roles within the Ancient Order United Workingmen: President of the Central Labor Union, Secretary of the Bricklayers' and Mason Union (his father Hubert was Treasurer), Secretary and member of the Board of Directors of the Musicians Union.

On August 5, 1890, Cris and Mary had their first child, Crescenz L. Smith.

Seven people now lived in the house at 105 Gold Avenue:

  • Charles Hauser, 35
  • Rosa Smith Hauser, 35, sister of Cris Smith
  • Cris Smith, 38, brother of Rosa Smith Hauser
  • Mary Hauser Smith, 20, sister of Charles Hauser and new wife of Cris Smith
  • Rose Smith, 8, daughter of Cris Smith, who referred to Charles and Rosa as "Tante and Uncle Charlie"
  • Crescenz Smith, newborn son of Cris and Mary Hauser Smith
  • Mary Augusta Schickell Smith, 61, mother of Cris Smith and Rosa Smith Hauser

In 1890, Charles started his own construction business with William Hayden. In 1891, they were joined by Edwin Owen. The company, now known as Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., continues in existence today. In 2011, the firm managed construction of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Kent County Courthouse. In 2009, the firm managed construction of the $178 million second phase of the Van Andel Institute.

Grand Rapids Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids Brewing Co. built by Hauser, Hayden & Owen in 1892. Located at the corner of Michigan Street and Ottawa Avenue. The brewery closed in 1918 due to the Michigan Prohibition Act.
The Waters Building
The Waters Building. Current Address 147-171 Ottawa NW. Date constructed: 1899. Original owner: Dudley E. Waters. Original use furniture exhibition. Source: Grand Rapids Historical Commission.
Manufacturer's Exhibition Building
Manufacturer's Exhibition Building. Current address: 110 Ionia Avenue NW. Contractor Hauser Owen-Ames. Date constructed: 1905. The seven-story building is between Pearl and Fountain Streets. The smaller building at the corner is the Michigan Telephone building. Source: Grand Rapids Historical Commission.
Keeler Building
Keeler Building. Formerly known as the Keeler Furniture Exhibition Building. Current address: 62 N. Division Avenue. Date constructed: 1912. Source: Grand Rapids Historical Commission.

In 1892-93, Charles Hauser built a new house on the site of 105 Gold Avenue and 50 Sibley Street. The new address was 113 Gold Avenue (151 Gold Avenue NW after 1912). The Hausers lived here for 20 years. The house is still there and in 1996 was purchased by Marilyn Hamill, who is in the process of restoring it. As part of that effort, Marilyn has also gathered information on the Hauser and Smith families, which has been very helpful in putting together this family history.

Hauser House
1892 Newspaper article on the Hauser house built by Charles Hauser at 151 Gold Avenue.
Hauser House, 1929
WPA photo of the house built by Charles Hauser at 151 Gold Avenue.

Charles was active in civic affairs. For two terms, from 1890 to 1894, he was Alderman of the 8th Ward in Grand Rapids. From 1894 until his death, he was a member of Lodge 48 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

In 1893, Rosa's brother Cris moved to Chicago to further his career as a musician. He took his wife Mary Hauser Smith, but Rose, age 11, and her half brother Crescenz, age 3, stayed in Grand Rapids with Tante and Uncle Charlie. Charles and Rosa, who had no children of their own, raised Rose and Crescenz. Cris continued to live and work in Chicago.

In 1894, Mary Hauser Smith had a second son LeRoy. In 1896, a third son, Karl, was born in Chicago.

On June 19, 1894, Alexander F. Zugelder, first cousin of Rose's mother, was ordained at age 25 at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Grand Rapids. He said his first Mass at St. Mary's Church. Fr. Zugelder had immigrated from Königheim to Grand Rapids in 1888 at age 19 to study for the priesthood. Grand Rapids was a new diocese and had not yet established its own seminary, so he attended St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and the Grand Seminary at Montreal. He served as a pastor in four Michigan towns: Cadillac for eighteen months, Provemont for four years, Beaver Island for six years, and Beal City. He was transferred to Beal City in 1905.

Father Zugelder and family
Photo of Rose V. Smith, her two surviving Koch and Smith grandparents, her visiting father, her "adopted" parents Tante and Uncle Charlie, and Father Zugelder. Possibly taken in 1894 at the time of her Confirmation or at the time of Fr. Zugelder's ordination or first Mass.
Standing: Charles A. Hauser, Rev. Alexander F. Zugelder, Cris J. Smith.
Sitting: Rosa Schmitt Hauser, William Koch, Mary Augusta Schickell Schmitt.
Kneeling: Rose V. Smith.
Rose and Crescenz Smith
Rose and Crescenz Smith, circa 1895.

In 1887, three Johnson brothers emigrated from Sweden to Grand Rapids: Charles T., John Hjalmer, and Axel. Two of the Johnson brothers married sisters of Charles Hauser.

  • On November 24, 1892, Charles' sister Anna married Charles T. Johnson at Saint Mark's Church. He was born in Sweden and worked as a bricklayer.

  • On October 25, 1894, Charles' sister Julia married John Hjalmer Johnson at Saint Mark's Church. He was born in Sweden and worked as a cabinet maker.
In 1903, the Johnson brothers started Cabinetmakers Co. In 1908, they sold the company and founded the Johnson Furniture Company. Lionel Hubert Johnson (1898-1928), son of John Hjalmer and Julia Hauser Johnson, became president of the company in 1927.

From 1898 to 1903, Charles served as on the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners.

Article on Charles Hauser, with bricklayer cartoon from "Friendly Fellows of Furniture Town, Grand Rapids, Michigan: a Book of Caricatures." 1900. 319 pages.
Bricklayer cartoon of Charles Hauser.

In 1902, Charles' mother Mary Bohr Hauser died and was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery.

In 1903, Rosa's mother and Rose's grandmother, Mary Augusta Schickell Schmitt, 75, died at 113 Gold where she had been living with Charles and Rosa and their niece Rose and nephew Crescenz. She was buried in St. Andrew Cemetery alongside her husband John, who had died 42 years earlier.

In 1905, Rose's grandfather William Koch died in Grand Rapids.

Rose V. Smith and Uncle Charlie
Rose V. Smith at the piano and Uncle Charlie with valve trombone in the parlor at 151 Gold Avenue. Circa 1905.
Rose V. Smith
Rose V. Smith.

Rose was a pianist. From 1903 to 1906, at age 21 to 24, she was listed as a music teacher in the Grand Rapids directory, still living with Tante and Uncle Charlie. Eventually, she would become a member of the St. Cecilia Society and the Grand Rapids Symphony Society.

Rose V. Smith
Rose V. Smith.
Hauser Family
Hauser Family at 151 Gold Avenue. Circa 1905.
Phote of "Tante Hauser" from Barbara Lockrey, daughter of Betty Elizabeth Breece Lockrey, granddaughter of Mary Elizabeth Smith Breece, great granddaughter of Mortise Smith, cousin of Cris Smith.

On June 28, 1906, Rose Viola Smith, 24, married William Francis Drueke, 22, at St. Mary's Church. The wedding invitation said "Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Hauser request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their niece."

Wedding Invitation
Wedding Invitation.
Rose Smith Drueke
Rose Smith Drueke.

In 1907, St. Mary's Church celebrated its 50th anniversary and published a booklet entitled History of St. Mary's Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.. Charles' father Hubert Hauser was one of six men who met to plan for the new church in 1857, and he was the masonry contractor for the new church built in 1873.

In 1907, Charles' sister Mary, who was married to Rosa's brother Cris Smith, died in Chicago. She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

In the 1907 Dictionary of Grand Rapids, Charles was listed as President of the Grand Rapids Curling Club at Lake and Norwood Avenues.

Elks Lodge
Elk's Lodge, Lyon and Ottawa Avenue, constructed by member Charles Hauser, 1909-11. See: Grand Rapids Elks Lodge #48 and 1946 Resolution.
S.S. Oceana
S.S. Oceana, Hamburg American Line, 1908. Charles and Rosa took this ship to Jamaica in 1909.

In February/March 1909, Charles and Rosa, both age 54, took a trip to New York City and the Caribbbean. They took the New York Central railroad to the old Grand Central Terminal on 42nd street in New York City. They stayed at the Grand Union Hotel across from Grand Central Termnal. They visited Rosa's brother Cris, 56, and son Karl, 13, in Brooklyn. Mary Hauser, brother of Charles and husband of Cris, had died in 1907. They went to Hoboken and boarded the S.S. Oceana. Rosa got sea sick, but Charles was fine. One night they left their porthole open and a wave came in and drenched Rosa. They played shuffleboard on the ship. Charles kept notes about the trip in an itinerary. Before the trip, they applied for a passport that was deliverd to them at the Grand Union Hotel. The passport application says Charles is 5 feet 8-1/2 inches tall and has blue eyes. The notary is William A. Shinkman. For more about this trip, see 1909 Hoboken Cruise.

In 1912, Charles' father Hubert died and was buried next to his wife Mary at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Hauser Tombstone
Hauser tombstone at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
Hubert Hauser
Hauser tombstone. Hubertus Hauser, born in Rottweil, Wurttemberg, Nov. 1, 1829, died Dec. 7 1912. Maria M. Bohr, his wife, born in Langenfeld, Prussia, September 2, 1833, died November 11, 1902.
Hubert Hauser
Hubert Hauser. Source: History of St. Mary's Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., 1907.

Hauser house on Union Ave.
Charles Hauser house at 251 Union Avenue. Now apartments. 2003 photo.
In 1913, the Hausers moved across the Grand River from 151 Gold Avenue NW to 251 Union Ave NE, a few blocks northwest of where Rose and Will Drueke lived.

In 1917, Charles retired from the construction business he started in 1890. He had been president for 25 years. Among the buildings erected by the company included: the Grand Rapids water works, Ashton building, Imperial Furniture Co. plant, South High School, the Keeler building, the Michigan Trust building, the Manufacturers building, the Herpolsheimer building and the old Central High School.

Drueke Chess Book
Inside front cover of A Beginner's Book of Chess, 1917: "To my dear Uncle Charlie Hauser with Highest Esteem, Wm. F. Drueke, Sept. 27/17." 32-page booklet is 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches. A complete uninscribed booklet can be seen at: A Beginner's Book of Chess.

In 1924, Crescenz Smith married Ethel Gazan. They had three children: Charles in 1927, Ethel Rose in 1928, and Marilyn in 1931. Ethel was born in Sheerness, England. Sheerness is in the Thames estuary, on the Isle of Sheppey.

The 1926 History of Kent County contains a biography of Charles Hauser.

The 1926 biography says that, "As a lover of nature and of outdoor life, Mr. Hauser was an active member of the Luther Burbank society, and he has a most complete collection of the published works of Luther Burbank, the distinguished wizard of plant life, one of the volumes of Mr. Burbank having been dedicated to Mr. Hauser, who has traveled extensively through American and European countries and incidentally made a close study of their plant life." Luther Burbank (1849-1926) lived most of his life in santa Rosa, California. The Luther Burbank Sociaety was started in 1910.The purpose was to finance publication about Luther Burbank. In 1914, the 12-volume Luther Burbank, His Methods and Discoveries and Their Practical Applications was published by the Luther Burbank Press. Volume XII includes a section on the society and mentions that there were 6,500 members. Members of the society received a copy of the 12-volume set bound in tooled leather and autographed by Luther Burbank. The press and the society went out of business in 1916.

The 1926 biography also says that Charles "gave six years of service as a member of the city council of Grand Rapids, and was for five years a member of the board of police and fire commissioners. He has been for several years president of the Grand Rapids Schwaben society, has membership also in the Arbeiter society and the Grand Rapids Curling club, and he is affiliated with the local lodge of Elks."

Charles Hauser, retiree
Charles Hauser, retiree. Source: 1912 commemorative booklet of Owen Ames Kimball Company.
Charles Hauser
Charles Hauser.
Charles and Rosa Smith Hauser
Charles and Rosa Smith Hauser.

On May 23, 1932, Charles and Rosa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. And, their niece, Rose Smith Drueke, celebrated her 50th birthday.

On November 17, 1932, Rosa's brother Cris J. Smith died at age 80 in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was living with his son Karl. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

During the Great Depression, in 1935, Charles and Rosa's nephew, Crescenz L. Smith, 45, went to Detroit to look for work. He left his wife Ethel and three young children and never returned. A private investigator was hired but never found him. Ethel and the children went to live with Charles and Rosa. Social Security records indicate that he joined Social Security in New York City in 1937. His 1942 WWII draft registration shows his residence as the S.S. Nimba and his employer as ALCOA Steamship Lines, New York City. Social Security records indicate that he died in New York in 1962.

Charles Widowed in 1944 at Age 89

Grand Rapids, 1844-1846. Upon the death of his wife Rosa, Charles Hauser went to live with his sister Julia Johnson at 658 Cambridge Boulevard, SE. He was 89 years old. On May 23, 1944, Charles and Rosa had celebrated their sixty-second wedding anniversary.

Rosa Dies at Age 89

On September 9, 1944, Rosa Wilhelmina Smith died, leaving her husband Charles. They had been married for 62 years. Rosa was buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Tombstone for Rosa W. Hauser
Marker by the Hauser tombstone at Mt. Calvary Cemetery: Rosa W., 1854-1944.
Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, September 9, 1944
Mrs. Rosa W. Hauser Taken by Death at Age 89
     Mrs. Rosa W. Hauser, 89, wife of Charles A. hauser, died Saturday morning at her home, 251 Union-av., S.E., after a long illness.
     Born in Grand Rapids, Oct. 6, 1854, Mrs. Hauser was the daughter of John Schmidt, who operated the first grocery on the west side. She attended St. Mary's school and the Grand Rapids public schools and was a former member of the Delphians and the St. Cecilia society. On May 23 Mrs Hauser and her husband had observed their sixty-second wedding anniversary.
     Besides her husband, Mrs. Hauser is survived by a niece, Mrs. William F. Drueke, and a nephew, Crescenz L. Smith.
     The body is at the Alt mortuary. Funeral services will be held Monday at 9 a. m. in St. Mary's church. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary cemetery.
The Grand Rapids Herald, Sunday, September 10, 1944
HAUSER—Mrs. Rosa W. Hauser, aged 89, wife of Charles A. Hauser, passed away Saturday morning at her home, 251 Union ave., SE, after a lingering illness. Besides her husband she is survived by a niece, Mrs. William F. Drueke; a nephew Crescenz L. Smith. Funeral services will be held Monday morning at 9 o’clock in St. Mary’s church. Interment in Mt. Calvary cemetery. Mrs. Hauser reposes at the Alt mortuary, where friends will recite the Rosary Sunday evening at 8 o’clock.

Charles Dies in 1946 at Age 90

Lodge 48 B.P.O.E Resolution

Charles died on Sunday, January 6, 1946, at his sister Julia's home in Grand Rapids after a brief illness. He was buried in the Hauser plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery beside his wife Rosa who had died 16 months earlier. He was 90 years old.

Tombstone for Charles A. Hauser
Marker by the Hauser tombstone at Mt. Calvary Cemetery: Charles A., 1855-1946.
Grand Rapids Press, Monday, January 7, 1946
Buildings Monument to Hauser
     Charles A. Hauser, 90, dean of the city's builders, who died Sunday night at the home of his sister, Mrs. J. Hjalmer Johnson, 658 Cambridge-blvd., S.E., witnessed the coming of the first railroad to Grand Rapids and saw the city grow from a town of 6,000 population. He was believed to have been the city's oldest resident in point of continuity.
Clinton County Native
     Born in Clinton County, Mr. Hauser came here with his family in 1855 at the age of 6 months. The family settled on the west side. Working with his father, young Hauser got his first experience as a builder. Not far from his home was a small building in which John Widdicomb made furniture and Hauser worked there for three years.
     Mr. Hauser got his first taste of large construction in 1873 when he helped his father build St. Mary's church. Assisting in all phases of the construction he laid the groundwork for his later career from which he veered once when he joined a circus band. In 1876 an agent of the John Robinson circus offered him a job in the Knights Templar band which traveled with the circus. He remained with the band three years, touring all of the southern states and many of the northeaster states.
     With William Hayden, Mr. Hauser formed the partnership in 1881 that developed into the present Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. In 1891 the partnership was joined by a young graduate engineer, the late Edwin Owen, to form the Hauser, Hayden & Owen Co. Hayden's interest later was bought by George M. Ames, another notable name in the city's annals.
     In 1907 Dan W. Kimball joined the firm and by 1918 Mr. Hauser was prepared to retire, but according to the wishes of his associates, continued to serve the firm for a time.
Active in City Life
     Mr. Hauser became active in the city's public life in later years. He served as alderman from the Eighth ward and later as chairmanof the board of police and fir commissioners.
     Mr. Hauser was Grand Rapids' oldest Elk. He was a member of the lodge more than half a century and about 40 years ago served as exalted ruler. In 1882 Mr. Hauser married Rose Smith. They had no children. Mrs. Hauser died in September 1944.
     Among the construction work done by Mr. Hauser and his firm are the Grand Rapids water works, Ashton building, Imperial Furniture Co. plant, South High School, the Keeler building, the Michigan Trust building, the Manufacturers building, the Herpolsheimer building and the old Central High School.
The Grand Rapids Herald, Tuesday, January 8, 1946
C. A. Hauser, GR Builder in Past Years, Is Dead
     Resident of Grand Rapids nearly all his life and one of its foremost builders until his retirement, Charles A. Hauser died Sunday night at the home of his sister, Mrs. J. H. Johnson, 658 Cambridge blvd., SE, after a brief illness. He was 90 years old.
     Mr. Hauser came to this city from Lyons, Mich. in 1855, when he was six months old.
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     IN THE EARLY 1890s he started his career by founding the Hauser-Haydn-Owen construction company, which later became the Hauser-Owen-Ames company and then, with his retirement 30 years ago, the present Owen-Ames-Kimball comany.
     Mr. Hauser was active in construction of many landmarks around the city. His first big project, built in 1893, was the Waters building, Ottawa ave., NW.
     Others include the Manufacturers building, Ionia ave., NW; the Herpolsheimer building, Monroe ave., NW; the Keeler building, Division ave., and several of the old school buildings, including the red brick structure on Ransom ave. and Lyon st., NE, recently vacated by Grand Rapids Junior college.
     The company also built the Elks temple, Ottawa ave., NW, whichwas dedicated in 1909.
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     MR. HAUSER was Grand Rapids' oldest Elk and dean of the past exalted rulers. He had been a member of Grand Rapids lodge No. 48, BPOE, for more than 50 years and served as exalted ruler at the turn of the century.
     He kept up his Elk affiliations, even though retired from business, and until his illness a week ago, had made daily visits to the clubrooms.
     Besides his prominence in construction work, he was active in politics and served as alderman from the eighth ward at a time when the city was divided into 10 wards. For many years he was head of the police and fire commissioners.
     Mr. Hauser lived at 251 Union ave., SE, until his wife Rose died in September 1944. Since then he had been living with his sister.
     Also surviving are two other sisters, Mrs. James H. Hagy of Grand Rapids and Mrs. Charles T. Johnson of California, and several nieces and nephews.
     The body was taken to Alt's mortuary where funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2 p. m. under auspices of the Elks lodge.

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