The ancestors of the Kraemers of Plain,
Wisconsin were weavers from at least 1649 to 1866. The chain was broken when Paul Kraemer emigrated from Irlach, Bavaria to
Wisconsin and became a full time farmer. Now weaving has been picked up again by modern Kraemers – Brenda Kraemer Tobey
and her daughter Alexandria of Tobey’s Sand Hill Fiber Farm in Reedsburg.
And just as the
early Kraemers grew their own flax for linen weaving, the Robert Tobey family raise their own sheep, goats and alpaca for
wool weaving and even sell their fiber to other weavers. Brenda Tobey is the daughter of Wendell Kraemer, who grew up on the
Paul Kraemer home farm just outside Plain in the Town of Franklin.
Photos from Brenda Tobey’s Facebook page.
Brenda Tobey, weaver
Table loom for scarves, small things
Brenda has a counterpart in Tiefenbach, Bavaria in Johann
Michael Krämer who is a weaver like his father (Johann), grandfather and many others before him. From the 1600s to the
1840s, Tiefenbach was a center for linen weaving. One-half of all tradesmen were employed in the business, mostly as weavers
but also as tailors, leather makers, dyers and merchants. The industrial revolution changed all that as it destroyed the cottage
weaving industry. Most weavers had to learn other trades, go into farming or leave town.
Today, Johann Michael Krämer is one of only two weavers remaining
in Tiefenbach. Johann’s home is his workshop and he buys his yarn. On weekends, he and his wife Helga travel to city
markets to sell their carpets. Brenda and Alexandra also set up shop periodically at local fairs and markets in Wisconsin.
Johann’s shop in Tiefenbach was discovered by Ken Kraemer in 1983 when Professor Dr. Heinrich Reinermann helped find
the Kraemer ancestors. The photos below show the elder Johann holding one of his rugs and working at his loom.
Krämer and family, 1983
L>R: Johann Krämer, Helga
Krämer, Barbara (Mauerer) Krämer, grandchild and Heinrich Reinermann.
Johann Kramer running his weaving loom.
Heinrich Reinerman and 1880-1980 Tiefenbach.
In 2013, Professor Dr. Reinermann from
Speyer, Georg Ederer and Christa Senft from Waldmünchen, and Ken Kraemer visited the shop to glean Johann’s family
history and genealogy. In the fall of 2015, Tom and Soni Kraemer, Dick and Janis Marino and Ken Kraemer visited Johann’s
shop and bought carpets as family mementos.
Johann Michael Krämer, 2013
Heinrich Reinermann, Christa Senft, Ken Kraemer, Johann M. Kraemer, Georg Ederer, 2013.
The Marinos “splurging”
Dick Marino, Janis Kraemer Marino, Johann M. Krämer, Helga Krämer, 2014.
The story of the Kraemers (Krämers) over ten generations in Bavaria
is told in a recently published book titled Wisconsin Kraemers: I. The old world of Bavaria. It covers Kraemer family
history from 1649 to 1866 and includes copies of inheritance, birth, marriage and death records as well as maps, photos and
charts showing the location and size of land and other holdings.
Wisconsin Kraemers can be ordered from CreateSpace (https://www.createspace.com/4637999), Amazon.com, The Old
Franklin Township Historical Society (915 Wachter Avenue; P.O. Box 218; Plain, WI 53577; include check for $49.95), or contact
the author for a signed copy (Kenneth L. Kraemer; 12 Harvey Court; Irvine, CA 91617 (include check for $49.95); email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wedding day of grandfather Johann Krämer and Barbara Mauerer, 1935
Source: Johann Michael Krämer, Tiefenbach, Bavaria.
author thanks Debbie Blau and Christa Senft for their helpful comments and Johann M. Krämer for permission to use his
photos and Brenda Tobey for permission to use her logo and Facebook photographs.