My great-great-grandmother Mary A. (Kurten) Thielen was born 26 Jul 1869 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Her parents were John H. Kurten and Theresa M. (Becker) Kurten. The Kurten family were early settlers of both Racine, Wisconsin and Appleton, arriving in Racine in 1847, shortly before the city was founded in 1848, and moving to Appleton in the 1860s. Some of the family, including Mary, later returned to Racine, where Mary's nephews Russell Matthew Kurten and Louis John Kurten founded the Kurten Medical Clinic.
Before she was married, Mary worked as a sewing machine operator, and later as a shoe vamper (the front part of a shoe is called a vamp) at J. Miller & Co. while living at 910 Kewaunee Street in Racine. On 21 Oct 1890, Mary married Peter H. Thielen at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Racine. The couple lived for a time at 1502 Milwaukee Avenue (now known as Martin Luther King Drive) before settling down at 814 Jackson Street. Mary and Peter had eleven children: John Hubert Thielen, Henry Thielen, Peter Thielen, Mathias John "Matt" Thielen, Anna (Thielen) Campbell, Marie E. Thielen, Michael William Thielen, Viola Elizabeth (Thielen) Atkinson, Charles Patrick "Chuck" Thielen, Eugene Henry Thielen, and Jerome Joseph "Jerry" Thielen.
|This photo of the Thielen and O'Connor families was taken at Mary's house on Jackson Street. Mary is the woman at the far left in the front row.|
Mary died on 22 Mar 1941 at St. Mary's Hospital in Racine, and her funeral was held at the same church where her wedding took place fifty years earlier. Mary was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery on Kinzie Avenue in the Kurten family plot, alongside her husband, grandson, parents, and siblings.
|The south half of the Kurten family plot, with Mary's headstone second from the right.|