Saturday, June 30, 2012

John Niehaus: Memorial to my Grandfather

“He made coffee with milk and shared it with me as he was weaving in the basement.”  “Our grandfather was a sweetheart.”  These are just two of the memories of my grandfather collected from my cousins.  
It’s the 30th of the month and my Memorial Day Series is continuing. John Niehaus (he was not given a middle name) is the subject for June.  His birthday was July 4, 1889, soon to be 123 years ago.  He left this world at the age of 67 in 1956.  John first married in 1911 to Louise Albers, who I wrote about in my Ladies in My Line series earlier this month.  John and Louise had three surviving children when she died in 1919 and there were four children born to John and his second wife, Ruth.  It seems that universally memories of him brought/bring smiles for his children and grandchildren. 
John is in the front seat in the photo below with his son, Robert, on his lap.  John Niehaus with his children, Charlotte, Robert and Frank.  Kleinsmith and other Niehaus family members also appear in the 1919 photo. My father, Frank, is the youngster standing behind him and Frank’s sister, Charlotte, is the young girl seated in the back. Two of his sisters, Minnie and Lena, are thought to be the ladies in the back seat, with his brother-in-law, Fred Kleinsmith, driving. John would have been a widower of about age 30 at this time.

John Niehaus
John Niehaus in the 1950s
He worked as a garment cutter at C. B. Cones Overall Manufacturing Company for over 30 years and then for Chevrolet for the last seven years of his employment.  One of John’s favorite pastimes was weaving rugs, a skill he learned from his father, Joseph Niehaus, a German immigrant.  He kept his loom in the basement and enjoyed making rugs whenever he could find some time.  This is a memory that is vivid for John’s siblings, children and the grandchildren who were fortunate to share that experience with him.
Here’s another memory of John that’s a fresh one for me since I just heard it from my cousin, Sharon:   
“I remember when he was bedfast, not long before he died, he called me in to his room and asked me to get him the can of nuts on the shelf above his bed.  I reached up and got it and he asked me to open it for him.  Wellll, when I did, it didn't have nuts in it at had one of those spring loaded snakes in it and of course, I jumped and screamed and, bless his heart, he laughed and laughed.”
We are remembering you with that smile, Grandpa Niehaus.

If you wish to share a memory of John or say something in general about our family history, please let us hear from you in the comments section below.  Or you can email me at nancyhurley1 at gmail dot com.
For more genealogy information on John Niehaus, go to these pages.


  1. John was also a Boy Scout leader and took part in the minstrel shows at St. Roch Catholic Church.

  2. When I was about 10 years old we went to visit Grampa and there was a blond male cocker spaniel that had been at his house for awhile. He had been in the field and was terribly matted and his fur was full of burrs. Grampa asked me if I wanted the dog and I remember how thrilled I was. We took him home and I named him Zippy. I brushed him and cleaned him up and he was beautiful. I always new my Grampa was a special person but the gift of the dog made him even more so. Sharon Spears

  3. Thanks again, Sharon, for yet another nice memory about Grandpa Niehaus. I love having these glimpses into his nature and being able to share them. Nancy


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