Kari Steinmetz arrived from Germany under tragic circumstances. Just after 1900 she set out from Hamburg for the United States with her husband and 3 children. Unfortunately cholera hit the vessel, hit it hard, and only she was left to fend for herself. She found her way to central Wisconsin and Port Edwards because of distant relatives nearby, but she lived a solitary life. Living as she did, she made up her mind to live a life of giving. Knowing people from the Blalock Asylum through church contacts, she convinced the head of the asylum to provide her with room and board, and in return she’d make quilts for the citizens and to sell to raise money. People all over the village brought material and sewing thread for her efforts.
And there she lived and worked through all the phases of the Blalock, making it to the mid-30s when the Blalock was an orphanage. No gentler soul could be found anywhere on 7th Street or in Central Wisconsin.