Agnes (Kujawa) and Rudolph W F Wegert

I honor my Grandparent's service.
by Jerry Dean Swanson

Civilians on the Home Front
World War II Honoree

Rudolph Wilhelm Fredrick Wegert
Hometown:  Adams, WI
Activities during the War:
Applied for work at Badger Ordinance Powder Plant near Baraboo, WI, in 1941.  They would not let him work because of heart condition.  He returned to farming and to raising eight children while Mother worked at the powder plant.

Agnes Kujawa Wegert
Hometown:  Adams, WI
Activities during the War:
Mother of eight children and worked at Badger Army Powder Plant near Baraboo, WI, 1943-1945.

Agnes worked at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant in Baraboo, WI making smokeless gun powder.  At the time, it was the largest munitions plant in the world.

Her name was not Rosie, and she may not been handling rivits, but she was helping make smokeless powder, which was used in nearly every weapon from the M1 rifle to the big guns on the USS Wisconsin.

Honored by Rudolph R Wegert, Son:

Rudolph W. F. Wegert
in his National Guard Uniform

From Rudolph R Wegert concerning his Father's National Guard Service:

"On April 11, 1921, Rudolph enlisted in 1st Separate Company, 6th Infantry, Ohio National Guard.  On July 22, 1921, he was transferred to Howitzer Company, 2nd Infantry, Ohio National Guard. The Unit was later re-designated Headquaters, 2nd Batallion, 148th Infantry.

He was discharged (Pvt) on January 17, 1922, from Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry, Ohio National Guard, because of his medical condition and removal from Company Station area."

Badger Army Ammunition Plant

The plant was about 7500 acres and was surrounded by a fence.  It was a secure military industrial complex which had been located in the heart of Wisconsin for many years.  It operated during World War II, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  It manufactured gun powder, nitro glycerin, and rocket propellants.

It was like a small city, with housing for 12,000 construction workers, 4000-8000 production workers, and their families.  There was a school, a small-gauge railroad system, a recreation center, a child-care facility, cafeterias, and a hospital.

This is an Aerial view of the C-line Green Powder Area where Nitrocotton - Nitrocellulose (NC) was formed into the pellets  called Smokeless Propellant. There were four of these lines, each capable of producing any size Smokeless Propellant. 

During WWII, the lines produced 257,968,900 pounds of
Smokeless Propellant. 

During the Korean War, the lines produced 235,832,900 pounds. 
During the Vietnam War the lines produced 315,020,600 pounds.

Grandma worked at the plant during World War II (1941-1943)
and during the Korean War (1950-1956).

Marilyn J (Wegert) Schanel passed this story to Jerry D Swanson:

Mom said how everyone in the family was so curious as to what Grandma did at her job.  Rather than trying to explain the gun powder pellets she made, as she was leaving work one day, she hid a few of the pellets in her corset (or girdle…whatever) and smuggled them home so she could show everyone.  

Mom says that after everyone had a chance to see the gun powder, they took it outside, lit them on fire, and enjoyed watching the smoke and sizzle.

I told Mom that Grandma was lucky she was not arrested as a spy for smuggling gun powder out of the facility.  Smiles.

And another story...

Mom (Marilyn J Schanel) says that one day, in the early forties, someone was going through some drawers and they found three 410 shotgun shells.  This was during the war, so it was nearly impossible to buy shotgun shells.  She said Grandma (Agnes) gave the three shells and a shotgun to Betty and told her to go get a couple squirrels so she could make squirrel gravy, for which Grandma was famous.    

Mom said she went along with Betty into the woods.  Mom said she had never known Betty to shoot before, so she was amazed when Betty shot three times and did get two squirrels in the process.  They took the squirrels back home and Grandma cleaned them and made her gravy.

And a side note from me...

I have had the chance to watch Grandma clean wild game and fish and I blame those times for my inability to enjoy eating wild game or fish caught by anyone I know personally...smiles. 

Aunt Sandra and Grandma, 1944

The House at Brooks, owned by Freeman
L. Pike.  The Wegert family lived here between 1943 and 1948.

The Wegert Family, 1943
Left to Right:  Marilyn, Yvonne, Betty, Sandra, Frances, Rudolph, William, Dolores and Mother, Agnes (Kujawa) Wegert.
Picture taken by Father, Rudolph Wegert.

Rudolph Wilhelm Fredrick Wegert
Rudolph Fredrick Wegert was born in Defiance, Ohio on May 31, 1901, the son of William Wegert and Emma Bernicke.

On Nov. 7, 1928, he was married to Agnes Kujawa of White Creek, WI.

At 53, Rudolph suffered a severe heart attack on March 19, 1955, and was taken to Baraboo Hospital, where he passed away on March 30.

Agnes Kujawa Wegert
Born December 20, 1912 in the Town of Kronewetter, Marathon County, WI, the daughter of Adalbert and Elizabeth Kujawa. 

She married Hollis Edgar Hoskins Nov 30, 1957 in Wis. Dells, and moved to his farm near Grand Marsh and later worked at the Grand Marsh Post Office. Hollis died February 8, 1970. Agnes continued at the Post Office as Post Master for a number of years before she retired. 

Agnes, 90, of Adams, WI, passed away on Sunday, August 31, 2003, after suffering a stroke at the Adams County Memorial Hospital. 

Grandma and Grandpa...Thank you for your Service!

Never Forget!