Joseph Bauer was born between 1802 and 1804 in Glashuetten, Ober, Bayern, Germany. About 1827 he married Margareta Ritch, and they had 6 children before emigrating to the United States. Their family is listed as passengers on the Bremen bark "Caroline", landing in New York on 24 Aug 1844. They came to Wisconsin via Canada, as their youngest daughter Elizabeth was born there in 1846. They eventually settled at Mayville, Dodge, Wisconsin, later moving to Woodville, Calumet, Wisconsin.