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Turner Belt. Belt of red leather topped with wool needlework in a floral pattern. Back of belt has another leather strap with buckle attached to adjust belt size. Silver plated buckle has scalloped edge and turned edge for hook closure of belt. Incised on center of buckle is a design of two shaking hands surrounding by a laurel-type wreath, outside the wreath are German words, top left: "FRISCH" translated means energy; top right: "FREI" translated means freedom; bottom left: "STARK" translated means strength; bottom right: "TREU" translated means truth; left middle: "GUT" and right middle: "HEIL" these two words go together and translated mean wellness or wholeness; at bottom center owners name: "Oliver Huse." Back of buckle has makers mark: C. KLEINSTEUBER/MILWAUKEE. Other end of belt had brass bar for buckle to hook belt closed. See photograph P1939.4 too see Turners wearing this type of belt. The Turner Organization: Were the principal German organizations, other than the churches, for maintaining cultural and social German traditions with singing and gymnastics societies, known respectively as the "Gesang Vereins" and the "Turn Vereins" (Gesang = Singing; Turn = Gymnastics; Verein = Club or Society) established not long after the arrival of the first significant numbers of Germans in the late 1840's and early 1850's. These groups, which came to be known among the non-Germans in the community simply as the "Turners," and traced their origin to the work of Father Freidrich Ludwig Jahn who established the first Turn Verein in Berlin in 1809 at the time Germany was being suppressed by Napoleon. Father Jahn supposedly formed the group to drill his followers in gymnastics and military tactics with the object of making them better soldiers. In later years, however, music, theatricals and oratory were added to the social function in the German community. The first Turner organization in Wisconsin was in Milwaukee in 1853. The Oshkosh Turners were organized in the fall of 1868. Oshkosh in fact had two Turner Societies, one on the North Side-founded in 1869 and another on the South Side-founded in 1886. Oliver Huse, information taken from his obituary found in The Daily Northwestern, Tuesday Evening, March 20, 1928: Huse was born in German February 12, 1854 and came to America when he was one year old with his parents. Shortly after they arrived they settled in Oshkosh and Huse lived the rest of his life there. He worked at the Morgan Company for 45 years. He was a member of the Mystic Workers and the Turners. He died on March 19, 1928 at the age of 74 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.
Belt -PIONEERS AND IMMIGRANTS -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum

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Last modified on: December 12, 2009