After the declaration of war in 1918, individuals who were not native born were required to complete a “Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy” before a registration officer, photographed with signature over photograph, and finger printed. The questions as answered on the forms provide a telling story of the times and much about the individuals in our community, Tonganoxie, KS, who filed such forms.
John Hitzemann signed his papers at the marshal’s office in Kansas City, KS in April of 1918 when he was 77-years-old. He had resided in rural Tonganoxie for 47 years, and was a civil war veteran. He served 3 years 20 days in the Kansas Infantry. He was a good friend of Lemuel Evans and is credited for saving Lemuel’s life after Evans was wounded in the battle of Wilson’s Creek.
He emigrated through the port of New York at the age of 17. He had three grandsons, Clarence Hitzemann, Leslie Peters, and Wallace Peters currently in the service for the US.
Mary Hitzemann, John’s wife, also was born in Germany as Mary Papenhausen. She was 74 when the affidavit was completed. She had also lived in Tonganoxie 47 years. Her papers were type written and although according to the document, she spoke, wrote, and read both English and German, but she signed with an X and was fingerprinted.
She had three grandsons, Clarence Hitzemann, Leslie Peters, and Wallace Peters as well as three nephews, Walter Cohrane, John Papenhausen, Charles Papenhausen, and a niece, Tilda Papenhausen, a nurse currently in the service of the U. S. Army in Europe.
John died in 1921 and Mary in 1959. Both are buried in the Fall Creek Cemetery.
Fred P. White was born in 1852 at Schleswig, Germany and emigrated through the port of New York in 1872 when he was 20 under his German name, Fritz Peter Witt. He had resided in Leavenworth county for 22 years and farmed his own land until 1917 when he took the pastorate of the Friends Church at Tonganoxie. He and his wife Barbara are buried in the McLouth Cemetery.
Rev. Ernst Fischer, a catholic priest, was born in Lengenfeld, Germany and emigrated through New York when he was 25. He did not know if his parents in Germany were still living as he signed this document. He had lived in Tonganoxie 5 months, previously living in Alma, Kansas. He had a brother, Peter Fisher, who currently was fighting against the US.
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