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Experience Rural Immigrant Life


The Krueger family husking corn in front of a haystack, circa 1903
WHI 1896

Relive the saga of Wisconsin's immigrant farm families through the story of one German family's farm in 'Six Generations Here: A Farm Family Remembers' by Marjorie L. McLellan. This summer, the Wisconsin Historical Society Press published a new reprint of the classic farm family biography to introduce a new generation of readers to the poignant rural immigrant story. An e-book version has also been made available.

Images of the Kruegers' farm, family and landscape reveal the struggles the Kruegers faced after leaving their German home in 1851 to come to promised economic opportunity in Wisconsin. Only with the whole family helping out did they get their Watertown, Wisconsin, farm up and running. The book follows the family through six generations as they compile a rich and varied experience of rural Wisconsin life.

Relive 'Six Generations' at Old World Wisconsin

This newly released printing features a foreword by Dan Freas, director of the Society's Old World Wisconsin outdoor museum, who ties the immigrant farm family experience that the Kruegers lived with the opportunity to relive it.

The original book inspired a new interactive and immersive experience at Old World Wisconsin, Life on the Farm, which gives guests a firsthand encounter of farm life in 1880s Wisconsin. To participate, guests select from six possible personas, each one representing a member of the extended "Six Generations Here" Krueger family. Guests then pick from a list of chores to try that the family member could have performed in 1880.

About the Author

Marjorie L. McLellan is an associate professor in the department of urban affairs and geography in the department of history at Wright State University. She became intrigued with the Krueger family story while an intern at Old World Wisconsin in the 1970s, where she researched rural immigrant history for the reconstruction of the Koepsell family farmhouse, the location of the Old World Wisconsin's new "Life on the Farm" experience. Based upon her research, she eventually wrote about the Kruegers' immigrant experience in "Six Generations Here."

:: Posted July 22, 2013

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