Part three of the transcription from the draft of Rev. Herman Emil Studier’s “The Story of My Life.”
- Square brackets [ ] denote handwritten additions made in the draft.
- Draft of “The Story of My Life” by Rev. H.E. Studier is available. (PDF, 2.5MB)
The Story of My Life (Part 3)
by Rev. H.E. Studier
My mother’s maiden name was Auguste Henrietta Freier and she was born Nov. 27, 1819 in Zeden near Wriezen in the Neumark part of Brandenburg. Her father was a taylor and a teacher, clerk of the church, and was the choir master. My mother died on the nineteenth of June 1887 at my sister Emilie’s home in Galena, Ill.
Father was an art and (damask) weaver, the Senior-master weaver of the region. He worked most exclusively for the noblemen of the surrounding country, furnishing the dowers for their daughters. This caused his later failure in business; because they usually wanted new patterns, with names, coat of arms, year or date woven in their various kinds of linen. In order to meet their demands father had to do a great deal of extra work causing added expenses.
All these new patterns had to be drawn on paper in two different ways. Then hundreds or thousands of paste-board cards a little larger than the size of a brick had to be fastened one to the other by strings at the ends. These bundles of cards had to go through a machine, where the patterns were punctured into them. Thus all full of holes this card pattern would be put on top of the loom. While the loom was working these cards would unwind over a square cylinder perforated on all four sides. Then the pattern would appear in the textile fabric. When the order was finished these cards and drawings were of no value.
The linen yarn used in the goods for the noblemen caused still more expense for my father. No first class material could be made of the rough handspun yarn brought for the purpose so my father stored it away and bought machine-spun yarn which was even and smooth. This was an expensive way to conduct his business. The introduction of machines and the Liberty of Trade, (Gewerbefreiheit) a new regime which allowed anyone to start a business of his own without having to learn the trade from the bottom up, combined to cause his failure in the year 1868, five years after we had moved into this new place. The Jews and usurers had a mortgage on the property and took all: the land, the building, the looms, tools and material.
The largest loom was a present to my father from King Frederick William IV of Prussia. My father had made the king an elaborate tablecloth, showing the coat of arms, date, motto and verse with a wreath of laurel and oak leaves as a border and had delivered it in person for the king’s birthday present. In turn the king presented him with a golden medal, the large loom, and later one hundred Prussian dollars for Christmas. I do not know what became of the medal. I have never seen it. I remember the large loom bearing the date 1853 engraved in the wood.
When all of the property was taken the noblemen offered to buy it back for my father if he would stay and work for them. This sad experience, however, was such a great disappointment to him that he sailed to America that same year, intending to have us come as soon as he could secure enough money to pay for our trip.
My father went to Galena, Illinois where a daughter of his sister (Mrs. Schulz) was living. Our cousin’s name was Mrs. Martin Muenchrath. In August 1869 we all, mother, brothers and sisters, came to Galena, Illinois. My father was fifty-seven years old. He had found work in a wool factory as foreman but this concern failed shortly after he had been employed there.
Then he and my older brothers, William and Otto worked in a branch factory. In the spring of 1870 we moved on a forty acre farm seven miles southeast of Galena. Sister Emilie, however, was married to Joseph Klein, a shoemaker, and Auguste and Ottilie worked in town, Wilhelm on a farm while Otto and I stayed at home.