SCHUBERT FAMILY HISTORY
As told by Marquette C. Schubert on the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Jacob and Elizabeth Schubert, June 23, 1947.
On April 15, 1870 the stork visited a small village called Holzhausen in Hessa, Germany and left a boy at the Schubert home, who was christened Jacob Schubert. This homesite in Germany consisted of two very small gardening tracts and the farming was done principally by the family, while our grandfather Schubert was employed by the Railroad at a nearby village of Gunterhausen.
A few years later on February 27, 1877 while this boy was busy with his first schooling, the Buecking family in Flint, Michigan became the proud parents of a little girl, who they named Elizabeth.
In 1884 after completing his schooling, Jacob left for Grufte where for the next three years he worked as an apprentice at the tailoring trade. Upon completion of this apprenticship in 1887, he followed his trade at Grufte, Kassel and Frankfurt-on-the-Main. In 1889 a very important decision had to be made, which was either to join the German Army and make that a career or go the America and pursue his chosen calling. Fortunately for all of us the latter choice was made. The trip to America was about a three week journey by ship from Belgium to New York City. As we have learned from our father this trip as a steerage passenger among a group of religious people who had some unusual beliefs in self-punishment to demonstrate their faith to their Lord was a very trying affair for a young man just leaving home.
On March 13, 1889 he arrived at New York City and then went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where his brother Conrad lived. Conrad had preceded him to American by a few years. The next four years he followed the tailoring trade most of the time at Philadelphia except for a brief period at New York City. Jacob was a very industrious and enterprising young man and he immediately took up the study of the English language, going to night school and carrying his English-German dictionary wherever he went. In a short time he became a citizen of the United States, receiving his citizenship papers in 1894 at Philadelphia, PA.
Being eager to get ahead, in 1893 he was operating his own business in Shamokin, PA A year later in 1894 he ventured farther west to Grand Blanc, Michigan and then on the Flint, Michigan where at first he worked at his trade and then bought his own tailoring business at what is now 448 Saginaw Street.
In the meantime, while Jacob was learning and following his trade, Elizabeth was securing her education in the schools of Flint, Michigan, attending grammer school at Second Avenue South and Lyons Street and Flint High School, graduating in 1895. She also peddled a little sauerkraut at odd times as her father was the sauerkraut king of Flint. But as we understand she never appreciated beihg called the "little sauerkraut girl".
Evidently about 1895 is when Jacob didn't keep his mind entirely on his tailoring business, as it was then that he became interested in a very attractive high school girl, with whom he soon became acquainted and here is where this courtship with Elizabeth Buecking began. After a couple of years of very exciting and eventful courtship of buggy rides to neighboring towns, church functions (as the young lady was very active in the Methodist Church) and German social gatherings, picnics and fairs, this very attractive couple were married on June3 23, 1897 at the Buecking home, 1207 West Third Avenue, Flint, Michigan. Now this bridegroom believed in the best for his bride and they moved into a very nice home at 722 Henderson Street, which he had built especially for her. It was one of the finest homes in Flint at that time and is a very nice home still at this time, fifty years later as I saw last summer on my visit to Flint. One of the outstanding features of this home is its slate roof. I also had the good fortune last year of meeting Mr Henry Mende who played at their wedding and also met our mother's Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Hart, who still teaches in the same Methodist Church.
Soon after their marriage, the new bridegroom was looking through a Tailoring Journal and he saw an ad about a tailoring establishment for sale in Walla Walla, Washington. About the same time, he must have heard Horace Greely say, "Young man, go west". By September of 1897 he was established in business in Walla Walla. A month later the bride followed and a home was established at 829 South Second Street, where on September 1, 1998 the first son was born, Marquette Conrad Schubert, weighing 6-1/2 pounds-gained a few pounds since.
Now the first tailoring shop was located a 7 South Third Street. The next location was at Second and Main Streets in the basement of the old Baker Boyer Bank Building. The business grew rapidly and larger quarters were needed so the business was moved to 17 West Main Street. This was really a busy place as I, myself, can remember my father having several tailors working on a row of tables and Jacob doing the drafting near the entrance on Main Street. During this period the residence was changed to 122 East Cherry Street, where the first daughter was born, Frances Lillian Schubert, November 17, 1900. The next few years must have been very prosperous as I've been told that my father let me have twenty-dollar gold pieces to play with.
The family home was next at 516 West Poplar Street, which was purchased in 1901. Also this same year our father took up a homestead in Oregon (160 acres) which was about twenty miles southwest of Walla Walla. This was the beginning of the present land holdings of our parents. Arnold and Robert are now farming parts of this original homestead. The next several years proved a very trying period. It required five years to prove upon a homestead, which meant that a homesteader had to make that his home for that period. During this time they were confronted with a contestant claim to their homestead, which, of course, they defeated in due time. This contestant was encouraged by a cattleman named Mike Ryan.
At first their means of travel was by for-hire rigs, particularly Rehorn's Express Wagon. The first homestead cabin was located on the northwest corner of the claim. Now as a living had to be gained somehow, our father remained in Walla Walla to operate his tailoring business, while our mother, Frances, and myself lived on the homestead. Our means of travel then was a horse, Blackie, and a buggy which the folks had purchased. Now this truly was a very trying period for our mother with two little youngsters living out on the homestead. All water had to be hauled several miles which was a big chore in itself and also, neighbors were at a great distance. Bu this time a new homestead house had been built at about the middle of the claim. The site was dug well into the bank to avoid the strong winds which are so common to this country. It was not at all uncommon in those days for a homesteader's shack to be blown over. I can vividly recall one instance of this previously mentioned contestant, Frank Haven, and Mike Ryan riding up in front of our homestead cabin and making threatening remarks to our mother regarding our ever being able to prove up on our homestead. She verbally battled with them and then when they left I can still see her crying and rushing to get Blackie hitched up to the buggy and we children ready to go to Walla Walla to inform our father of what had taken place. Another experience which I recall that my mother encountered, was along about 1904. While on a return trip from Walla Walla with horse and buggy via the Old Beale Place, mother tried to cross Pine Creek during one of the high water periods. It proved more dangerous after getting into the stream than it first appeared. The creek was running about 30 feet wide and on the far side the horse had to go up a steep bank to get out. By the time we reached the far bank the water was so deep it was coming in the bottom of the buggy and Blackie was unable to pull the load up the steep bank in front of her. Mom walked from the buggy on the shaft to the bank which she could just reach, making two trips to get Frances and me on to the bank safely. Then she coaxed Blackie to pull out up the bank by leading her. I remember this becasue I was plenty scared.
The first crop harvested was headed and threshed by Dickinson Brothers in 1903--about 120 acres. This farming was all hired work and also the next crop whch was headed and stacked by Billy Bush and threshed by the Derricks in 1905. Mother did the cooking for the harvesters.
In the fall of 1905 Pop gave up tailoring and went out on the homestead to do his own farming as much as possible. He bought two more horses, Dock and Kid, and with Blackie plowed with a walking plow the spring of 1906, plowing most of the homestead himself. About this time he acquired another 120 acres, the McArthur Place, west and south of the homestead, which he hired plowed by Fred Johnson. This same year Pop also broke up the sod on the Government forty acres located just south and east of the homestead claim which he had bought a year or so previous. About 1905 the Government eighty acres, which we now call the fifty-acre piece, was purchased and also broken up as all the land was in sagebrush and bunchgrass. Now in 1908 the patent for the homestead was secured which was a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment. The water as I mentioned before had to be hauled sometimes in barrels. It was hauled from Vincent (now Umapine), Beale Place, Hardesty's and sometimes from the Bixie Ranch on the hill near Grandview Station (now Wayland Station) and the fifty acres--all being a distance of several miles from the homestead. I can still see the polly-wogs in the barrels, but when you are really thirsty you can drink most anything!
On January 16, 1905 the third child, Arnold Heinrich Schubert, arrived at 510 West Poplar Street.
In 1907 the crop was headed and threshed by the Beale's outfit which incidentally was the first steam engine on the place. The two previous crops were threshed by horsepowered rigs. This crop of about 240 acres was red chaff wheat and yielded about 25 bushels per acre. Did you know that Mom tried horseback-riding along about this tme? Yes, she decided to ride Blackie bareback, so she got along side and gave a good jump for the horse's back but just got well stretched out crossways of the horse when Blackie decided it was time to move. There she was with her head on one side and feet on the other laying across the horse's back on her tummy shouting at the top of her voice, "Jake! Jake! Come, Help me. Help me up or down".
Now in the fall of 1906 our father moved back to Walla Walla as the exchequer was getting low again and he opened up a tailor shop at 112 West Alder Street. After the seeding was done by the hired man, Speilhauer, Mom moved into our home at 516 West Poplar, so that I could go to school. They had boarded me at Patterson's on Rose Street for my first year of school the year previous.
The 1909 crop was grown and harvested by Jim Bryan who had the farm rented which now also included Uncle Dan's and Frank Derrick's homesteads which had been purchased about 1906. Also about this same time the Goodman Place (480 acres) was bought and the following year Pop gave up the shop on Alder Street and did some tailoring in the shop in the rear of 516 W. Poplar Street as well as overseeing the farming operations.
Along about this time it was a very common occurrence for Pop to take me out to the ranch with him for a few days. Mom would prepare us some food and Pop would fill in with his own cooking at the farm. On this particular occasion Mom had baked a nice pie which Pop thought would be fine to save for a treat toward the end of our stay. So finally the last day arrived and he got out this choice custard pie and lo and behold--it had already grown gray whiskers!! Thanks no pie today.
The spring of 1909 the Goodman sod was plowed, about 360 acres with our first two bottom Oliver gang plow and eight horses, which had been recently purchased from Mr Pfaffle. This work was done by hired help.
An evening in May 1909 tragedy struck as our hired man, Mr. Dixon, and our father both suffered gunshot wounds in the legs when they were fired upon by Mike Ryan. Mr. Dixon died that same night in Neuner's wheat field about a hundred yards from where he was shot. The shooting occurred in the Oliver Dickenson bunchgrass. Pop crawled over a mile through wheat fields in the dark to reach the house and help. Mr. Dixon's boy, about ten years old, was with them and witnessed the shooting. He immediately ran back to the ranch home to tell his mother. The next day Mr. Bowman rushed Pop by horse and buggy twenty miles to St. Mary's Hospital where after nearly 16 hours he received the medical attention he needed. This was a very anxious period in our lives--the convalescing, erroneous newspaper stories, trials at Pendleton, Oregon of Mike Ryan and his final conviction for manslaughter and sentencing of seven years and $2,000.00 fine.
In 1910 Pop bought his first heading outfit and the crops of 1910 to 1918 were headed and stacked by his own crew and the threshing was hired done by commercial threshing outfits. The one exception during this period was the crop of 1913, when he hired Wilder's outfit to do the heading and threshing. Unfortunately, this outfit caused a lot of worry and trouble for father owing to the poor mechanical help and financial management of the Wilders. This outfit was so poorly managed that after Pop paid the harvesting bill in full, he had to defend himself against labor claims in court at Pendleton, Oregon by one of Wilder's sub-contractors. Pop defeated this claim. This year was often referred to as the year of Hostetter Bitters because Wilder and his crew left a trail of empty whiskey and bitters bottles after them and for years afterwards we would find these empties while dong field work.
During this period from 1910 to 1919 Mom usually did all the cooking for our own crews which to those of you who have had the experience of cooking for crews of 10 to 20 men realize is a big job in itself particularly under the handicaps found on dry land wheat farms at that time. We have always wondered how Mom could make such swell lemonade in harvest out of two lemons. It tasted better than most of us could make with twice the number of lemons.
On June 30, 1909 the fourth addition to the family arrived. He was named Wilbur Warren Schubert and was born at 515 West Poplar Street.
During the summer of 1911 they again moved back to take over the full operation of the farm as prior to this for a few years most of the work was done by hired help.
Along about this time Pop was going to the field in back of the Derrick House in the hack and took us all along. Now this hill was very steep so he had us all get out and walk up to lighten the load. So up the hill he went giving the horses real vocal encouragement to make it, when all of a sudden the team gave an extra sudden jerk and the seat came loose. Pop and the seat turned and backward somersaulted out of the hack and down the hill. Just at the height of Pop's acrobatics, the seat hit him on his seat and gave him an extra push. Fortunately, no serious hurts were incurred. Mom and we children laughed but Pop didn't think it was so funny.
In 1910 Pop contracted with a well-drilling outfit to drill a well on the homestead. This proved a trying experience financially as this outfit drilled nearly 400 feet without getting any water. Finally the drillers abandoned the job while the folks were away and moved out. By this time father had purchase a 450 gallon water tank and a hand pump with which to haul water for the farm. Prior to this time water was hauled on a wheat rack in six or eight fifty-gallons barrels with gunny sacks over the top held fast by a barrel hoop. The barrels were filled with a bucket. A little later three large cisterns were built for a reservoir, in addition to one small one built earlier on the homestead. Often melting snow water was ditched into them from the hillsides. Of course, this water sometimes looked like chocolate but the stock didn't object.
Pop plowed about 400 acres (yours truly taking over on Saturdays and Sundays) with seven horses and the two-bottom Oliver gang plow in the in the spring of 1912. An additional 150 acres was hired plowed.
1913 saw things easing up a bit and Pop had hired help from then on to do the team work and he busied himself with various other tasks.
Prior to the harvest in 1914 father made us a proposition that if he could receive $100/bushel for his crop he would buy an automobile. That fall wheat did reach that price and he sold. We bought a new 1914 Ford. Pop took a two-thirds interest and I took a one-third interest. This car was a great help on the farm as traveling by horses was slow and tiresome, when you lived twenty miles from the city. This was the first time in his farming experience that wheat ever brought $1.00/bushel as the usual price had been between 55 and 75 cents.
In 1915 father bought a seven foot McCormick binder which was used for several years to make the necessary hay for the stock. The number of work stock was increasing as the farming operations expanded. Each year it required about fifty tons of hay to operate the ranch. The old McCormick header was replaced by a new one in 1916 which was another step forward to better, more satisfactory harvesting.
In 1917 the price of wheat went over $2.00 and it was at this time Pop decided to try out hauling wheat by truck. Two four-wheel drive Duplex trucks were sent out to the ranch as demonstrators and they hauled most of the wheat. However, this work proved too costly in repairs so we finished the hauling with horses. This same year a Hupmobile car was purchased. It really was one of the best cars on the road at that time. The crop in 1916 averaged thirty bushels per acre which was an all-time high yield up to that time and has only been exceeded in the past few years.
On March 22, 1916 another blessed event occurred. This time the youngest daughter, Florence, arrived at 522 W. Poplar. In the summer of 1917 the folks, Frances, Florence, Arnold and Wilbur, enjoyed an outing to Seaside, Oregon. The following year the folks made an extensive trip east to Flint, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Frances and Florence. Frances remained in Philadelphia to study at the Coombs Conservatory of Music.
In August 1919 the present home at 539 Lincoln Street was purchased and the family moved to the city. The ranch was rented to Mark C. Schubert. The years 1914 to 1919 were prosperous ones and the ranch was cleared of debt. About 1918 the Morrison, Summerville and Hoon places were purchase. This indebtedness proved a serious problem for the next several years of poor prices and poor crops. Once more the stork called and the youngest son, Robert Gilmore, was born on November 30, 1920 at St. Mary's Hospital.
In the fall of 1921 the folks again moved back to the ranch and established their ranch home at its present site on the Hoon place where the year before a well of some 307 feet was drilled and a fine supply of water was secured. Ebersole and Moore did the drilling.
The 1921-22-23 crops were headed and threshed with our own outfit. As I mentioned before the next 15 years were extremely difficult, especially the year 1924 when a near crop failure occurred due to spring frosts. Only about 400 sacks of wheat were harvested. 1925 brought the new Case combine harvester, which was used for the balance of our parent's active farming career. The folks moved back to 539 Lincoln Street in the fall of 1930. Their farming operations were handled by the three sons, Arnold, Wilbur and Robert until 1945 at which time the ranch was leased to Arnold and Robert. In 1937 an International diesel tractor was purchased by Pop, Arnold and Wilbur and replaced the horses. The tractor revolutionized our farming. Immediately better crops began to appear as a result of better farming methods. The crops and prices since 1939 have been very good. The farm again cleared of debt and our honored guests have been able to enjoy several years of easy financial freedom.
The folks have always been active in the various fraternal organizations to which they belonged. Mother devoted a great deal of time to the Pythian Sisters and the Herman Sisters while father is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Sons of Herman. He was also a very acitve member of the Walla Walla Maennerchoir through the many years of its existence. He sang second bass with the chorus and this organization almost annually participated in gatherings which they called Sangerfests at various western cities. Mother and Father attended Sungerfests in such places as Spokane, Everett, Bellingham, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those of you who never had the good fortune to have heard and seen this organization it its heyday have truly missed a treat.
Pop as a pastime has always enjoyed card playing. As a youngster I often used to find him in his leisure hours at some favorite card room. We children profited there as his vest pockets were always good for some Hickeys which supplied us with candy. I must confess that I always schemed to meet him there as it meant treats for me.
Although Father long ago quit the tailoring business he never entirely got away from making some clothes. Every now and then you would find him making someone a new garment. The suit he is wearing this evening is a product of his own tailoring. His reputation as a tailor is unsurpassed for he always insisted that any garment have the best workmanship as well as a perfect fit. His ability with the needle has served him in good stead. During these many years of wheat ranching he has patched thousands upon thousands of wheat sacks. I venture that not many wheat sacks have had the distinction of being repaired by a fist class tailor.
In 1944 our mother had a very serious illness, resulting in an operation. As you all know she has made a splendid recovery and is enjoying good health at the present time.
At the end of these fifty years of married bliss the family consists of the already named four sons and two daughters as well as four daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law, five grandsons, five granddaughters, one great-grandson, three great-granddaughters, one grandson-in-law. and on granddaughter-in-law. All are present at this anniversary celebration except little Mary Ann who is too young to be present being just three months old on this anniversary date. Since Lois Gay Schubert just last Thursday became ill with chicken pox, she and her mother, Ruth, also are not present.
In closing I wish to express our heartiest congratulations to Mother and Father upon this happy occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary and will be looking forward to their sixtieth wedding anniversary.
Written and read by Mark C. Schubert at the Marcus Whitman Hotel,
Walla Walla, Washington on June 23, 1947.