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Born about 1839, Joseph Hauer immigrated to the U.S. from Holland. During the Civil War he served in the 10th Regiment of the U.S. Infantry and was discharged in 1863. He was granted citizenship in Detroit, Michigan, in 1867, by which time he and his wife Theresa had two children, Sophia and Felix. By 1875, they had four more children: Anthony, Mary, Josephina, and Katharine.
Theresa was the eighth child of Johann Peter Wolfschlaeger, a carpenter, and Maria Elisabeth Wigger. Theresa was born in Helden, Westfalen, Prussia in 1843 and immigrated in 1845 with her parents and siblings to Detroit, where her parents soon had two more children. In 1857, Theresa's father purchased 40 acres of land in Macomb County, west of Mound Road between Twelve and Thirteen Mile Roads. He did some farming there for about ten years, and then the family moved back to Detroit, where Johann Wolfschlaeger returned to carpentry and worked as a chairmaker.
During the early years of their marriage, Joseph and Theresa lived with the Wolfschlaegers at 305 Catherine. Joseph worked as a painter. They later moved to 191 Kentucky Street and then to 341 Brady, where they were living at the time of Joseph's death June 6, 1893, just two weeks before the marriage of his son Felix. Theresa continued to live there, taking in boarders, until her death around 1914.