Rose (Schmidt) Miller

Aunt Rosie Miller

Rose E. Schmidt, daughter of Louis and Caroline Schmidt Sr., was born 13 December 1890 in Bavaria. She was the last of their children to be born in the old country. Louis, her father came over to America the year she was born and found a place to settle. He then traveled back to Bavaria and sometime before 1893 he returned to settle in America.

Rosie, attended high school at St. John’s High School in Milwaukee. She married Ernest Joseph (Ernie) Roll we presume in Milwaukee sometime after 1920. Ernie was born 19 March 1897 in Kroman, Moravia, Austria, son of Alfred Roll and Mary (Marie). The family arrived in the United States Feb. 12, 1913 from Budweis, Kuttenberg, Czechoslovakia (then Bohemia-Austria) on board the Kaiser Wilhelm II. According to the ship manifest they were coming over to join Josef Friedbacher, Alfred’s uncle, who lived at 834 69 ave, West Allis, Wisconsin. Ernie was 14 years old. His father was born in Budweis, Austria and his mother in Hein, Austria. At the time of emigration they were 30 and 34 respectively. We wonder if Alfred is Ernie’s true father as he would have been just 14 years old when Ernie was born.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was completed in the spring of 1903 by the Vulkan Shipyards in Stettin, Germany. She was 707 ft long and 72 feet wide. Built for the North German Lloyd. She was the world’s fastest ship from 1906-1907. In the years before WWI she made regular trips between Germany and New York.

The Kaiser Wilhelm II

The Kaiser Wilhelm II

She just made it to New York when World War I broke out. She was seized by the United States Navy on April 6 1917 and was converted to a transport ship and renamed Agamemnon. After the war she was put in storage for 21 years. In 1929 she was renamed Monticello with the intention of refurbishing her as a cruise ship but the start of the Great Depression put an end to those plans and she was finally scrapped in Baltimore in 1940.

In 1918 Ernie was unmarried, living with his parents at 621 62 avenue West Allis, Wisconsin. He was employed as a machinist at Allis Chalmers Mfg. Co. in West Allis. Allis Chalmers had just begun the manufacture of farm machinery in 1914. In 1920 Edward is still unmarried living in West Allis in his parents’ rented home.

Ernie and Rosie had three children. Darley, their first child, died young. Sometime after Darley was born, the family changed their name to Miller. The children were raised with the surname Miller.

There is a family story that Alfred, Ernie’s father was a German Cavalry officer in WWI. The family inherited a ceremonial cavalry sword with the name Miller engraved in it. This story is probably not entirely true, if at all. 1) Alfred was not German. 2) By the start of WWI the family had been in the states for several years. The 1920 census shows that he had filed for his naturalization papers. It would have been unlikely that he joined the army of “the other side” and then returned here and become a citizen. 3) The family did not change their name until after 1920. Perhaps he acquired the sword from a German officer when he was in the war. He probably had it engraved with the name Miller later.

Rosie died 20 March 1962 in West Allis. Ernie died in November 1976. They are buried side by side in Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

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