I have recently come across an article entitled “Know Thyself” which gave me some thought. It is important to become familiar with ones self before we can learn how to deal with others, and my trouble is that I do not know myself, or what makes me tick as the saying goes. So I have decided to go away back to my very beginnings and perhaps I shall find the clue as to why I have always been so shy and had had no confidence in myself, being afraid to speak out for fear of being laughed at. There are some people who are always looking for a double meaning in things others are saying, and making jokes about them. If one is not informed about life this can be terribly embarrassing at times. I also do not have a humorous disposition so cannot laugh at things as others do. So this and the promise I made to my granddaughter to tell all I can remember about are ancestors have prompted me to write this.
The first member of the Schiess family we have any knowledge of was Constantine Schiess who was born on February 1824 at Baden Baden, Germany and came to this country as a young man sometime before 1848, since my Father was born in Rochester, Pa. In 1857 and he had a sister and brother who preceeded him. On the boat coming over from Germany a romance took place between he and a young girl from Nassau, Ussing, Germany. Her name was Barbara Mybaugh born Dec. 4, 1826. (Died at Anderson in 1906 at St. John’s Hospital). It seems he offered her a peach thus the friendship began. When they reached New York they were married and instead of going to Kansas City where he had relatives, he settled with his wife in Rochester.
Most of the young men in Germany have to serve some time in the service of the Fatherland, and he was no exception. One day while on duty with his companions, the cook offered them some rotten balonny. He became angry and thru it to the ground. This made his captain also angry and a fight ensued. Grandfather took his sword and passed the tip of it across the captains nose which infuriated him. Later his captain had several witnesses testify that they heard him reading revolutionary papers to his men. This resulted in his being arrested and tried for treason. Grandpa always said that he was innocent of the charge. He had his choice – stayed in jail for life or leave the country. Several months he stayed in jail, then realizing there was no other way out he sailed for America. Up to his last breath he hoped he would be exhonorated. Germans were taught to think a great deal of the FATHERLAND
In coming to this country he became a blacksmith. He made some wrouth iron grill work in the Pennsylvania station at Rochester. I wonder if it is till there. No doubt a new station is there now. My brother Edd would go down to his shop and listen to Grandpa telling him stories of his days in Germany. He told of the Black Forrest and how one of our ancessorts went barefoot on a Pilgrimage to a shrine carring a Cross on his shoulders, to do penance for some sin he had committed. In those days such acts of Pennace ere done. One never hears of things like that today. He told tales of the nobility who went to the Spa at Baden-Baden for relaxation and enjoyment. I think he or Edd got a little mixed up with the tales. Small Edd got the impression that he was of the nobility. His title was Von which means Count, the lowest strata of nobility. In Rochester (Pennsylvania) their home was situated on a hill. Sometimes Grandma would get impatient with her children. In eating she said she could not please them. When one wanted pork chops, the other wanted steak. Each wanted a different thing. There were one daughter and five boys in the family. Josephine married a Curtis, John, Henry, George, Andy and little Willie. One day Grandma got so angry that she went into Rochester and bought herself a cottage, and she and little Willie went there to live. Little Willie died after a time but Grandma would not go back until Grandpa became very ill and then she went back and took care of him until he passed away. And then she came to Anderson to live. She stayed for a while at Johns, but the girls were pretty well grown up and played the piano a great deal. This bothered her as she had cancer of the eye and the noise gave her terrible headaches. Then she came to our house (Henry’s). We were a family of 12 children, all sizes and we also made much noise. She could not go to Andy’s as Aunt Annie had passed away and he had taken his children to Aunt Lena’s to raise. So she had to go to the hospital. She made a bargain with the Sisters at St. John’s in Anderson to give them all her money if they would keep her as long as she lived. This agreement was made and she lived there about seven years. Coming over for visits, she would ask the sisters to call “Joe” a special cab driver, who was a favorite of hers. When she came she always brought stick candy-peppermint or liquorice. She would talk to Pop in German and we kids would sit and giggle as we did not know what they were saying. I barely remember going to the hospital to visit her She usually sat in front of a plain little wash stand on which she kept an alarm clock, which Edd gave her. He felt sorry for her and went to see her often. She remarked on how cheerful the tick-tock of the clock sounded. Whenever we went to see her there she would reach into a little drawer and bring out a nice red apple or round yellow orange for us, and which she had saved from her own meal. One Christmas mother made her a soft brown dress. She like it so well that she was saving it for the coffin, and would not wear it until mother made her another one. She wanted brown which was the color worn by the 3rd order of St. Frances. Many women belonging to that order are buried in the brown habit.
Robert Neely was the father of Mamas Mother. He had a large tract of land in Allegheny County, Pa., which he put out on a 99 year lease. It was never reclaimed as Uncle Bert said lawyers would get half of it and there was so many heirs, as Robert Neely had had two wives. The first had seven children and the other had a large family also. He had been an Irish patriot and fled to this county in fear of his life during a rebellion. I do not know the year.
Henry Schies and Emma Emmert were united in marriage April 28, 1881 by Father F. Steffin Witness Andrew Schies and Annie Abel.
Henry the son of Constantine Schiess and Barbara Mybaugh Schiess, was born Jan. 7, 1857 in Rochester, Pa. Emma was born March 17, 1860. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Neely born 1835 and Andrew Emmert born 1830 and was born at Sewickley, Pa. At first Henry was employed as a glass blower in Rochester, Pa. Later he and about 14 other men became stockholders in a company called The Pennsylvania Glass Company which started at Meadeville, Pa. The stockholders composed of several brothers, six Abel boys, 2 Wagners, 3 Schies boys and Henry Wallace, Michael Kanny and Flery Toms. After three years the plant burned to the ground. As there was a gas boom at Anderson (Indiana) the firm got in touch with Anderson officials and were offered free land for the factory, and free building lots for the stockholders, and all the gas they could use as long as there was natural gas. The factory in Anderson took shape in the fall of 1889 on Walnut street and the Belt line R.S. The factory produced bottles and fruit jars. The company lasted in Anderson until about 1912 when because of lack of natural gas, it folded up. A new start was tried at Dunbar, W.Va but did not last long. The Anderson factory was one time a competitor of Ball Brothers at Muncie. Most of the stock holders were also glass blowers which means they blew the hot glass into molds. When the bottles and jars were cold they were removed by boys hired for that purpose. As four of my brothers grew old enough to work in the factory, they worked with the molds first and later became full fledged glass blowers. We girls used to carry lunch over to them when the whistle blew. One day Stella Warner and I after giving them lunch, were looking around in the shipping room boxes and we found a box of tiny bottle. So we took a few of them home. When Mother found it out she told us to take the bottles back and tell the man that we took them. On the way back we passed the old Blackbird Pond and Stella suggested that we throw them in it. Mother had already forgotten the incident and I did not tell her other wise. We used to go to the old pond when it was frozen over and slide across it. We did not have skates so we called that skating.
In a home where there is a large family there is bound to be friction. Each one wanted to be considered the best and sometimes there were hard feelings. I remember banging my sister Helen against the door when I was angry and she would call Mother to help her out. As I grew older I outgrew the man-handling but the hard feelings remained. It seemed I was always good enough to play with when we were alone, but when someone else came I was not wanted. One day Leona Schmuck came over to play and they were going to the store. I was not to go with them so I took a stone and threw it at Helen. It hit her on the temple and blood began to flow. It scared me so I went to hide. I got behind Mother’s high backed bed, held my hands on top of it, and tried to keep my feet off the floor so they would not see them. I did not realize that my fingers were in plain view at the top of the bed. I do not remember if I was punished or not. For some reason my Father favored me and called me Jane. He would come home and say “Jane get my slipper” and away I would go to please him. One day he said “Jane your Mother says you are afraid of me” and I said “O no”. I was born Sept. 24, 1892, the first child born in the new home at 2215 Fletcher St. Mother said I looked like a skinned rabbit. Grandma Casey, a little old lady (Irish) who lived on Pearl Street always came at the time a little stranger arrived, for several days. She would bathe the little baby, straighten the mother’s bed and tidy up and then go home until the next morning. In those days it was understood the mothers should stay in bed 10 days, as everything went back in place on the ninth day. Mom said she always had the $10.00 tucked under her pillow to pay for this care a long time in advance. On Oct. 5th as Grandma Casey was bathing me I had some kind of a fit and she decided that I would have to be baptized that very day, so she bundled me up placed me in the baby cab and she and her daughter Jen took me to Father Mulcahy’s to be baptized. I do not know if I was baptized in the rectory or at the church baptismal fount, it being on a Wednesday. Anyhow my name entered on the church records is Annie Genevieve. Perhaps I was named after the above mention Jen. Her real name might have been Genevieve. Everyone had nicknames in those days. How I started to be called Genevieve instead of Annie I do not know. At school I was taught to write Genevieve first. Around about this time the grapevine, which is slow but sure, spread the rumor that my Mothers father was seen “walking the streets of Shelbyville”. When my mother first heard this she laughed. It was a great joke. Her father had been dead for years! But the word persisted and then Mother decided to do something. She sent my father (Henry Schies) down to Shelbyville to find out how the rumor started. On coming to Shelbyville Dad was directed to a house in the country. He knocked on the door and a young man “the spitting image of Andy Emmert” came to the door. Dad told him he would like to speak with his father. The boy called “Pop someone to see you.”
My father asked the man to walk down the road a ways and then turned to him and asked him if he had a daughter named Emma and was he from Sewickly? The old man turned pale and pleaded with dad not to say anything because his wife did not know. Dad said it was of no concern of his and left. I know this because Mother told me, at the time I inquired where her father was buried. You see, along around Memorial day, the old soldiers used to go to the schools to ask for flowers to decorate the graves of their comrades who had lost their lives in battle. So at that time we were getting bouquets ready. Even then, after so long a time Mother seemed shocked at the mention of it. She had never remembered her father and all she could think of was the hard time they had for survival. Grandma had to take in washing to support her two girls and 4 boys in her family and as soon as they were old enough they had to leave school to make money to try to keep the family together. Mother’s sister Elizabeth (married a man named Kirk) the oldest died early of consumption leaving two little boys (Ralph and George Kirk) whom Grandma also raised. Her brothers became painters and decorators for the people who lived in Sewickley but worked in Pittsburgh. These people would leave their homes open for them to paint and refurbish while they went on trips to Florida and other places. Uncle Bert said they would spread their canvasses over dressers etc. on which were watches and all kinds of jewelry which the owners had left when they departed on their trips. When they came back everything was freshly painted and all canvasses removed. Mamma herself became a hired girl for the wife of Judge Stoner a well known lawyer in Sewickley. When she married Dad, the Judge said “Well Emmy if Hen don’t treat you right you can always come back to us.” Of course that was unthinkable as mother became the mother of 12 children.
I have always wondered what my Grandmother Emmert was like. I was taken to her house at Sewickly only once when I was 6 years old. Only two things stand out in my memory. I remember a little black dog who came barking at me and I ran away shrieking, so whenever I went there the little dog was banished to the caller. Another thing I remember was a nice lady, a girl friend of Mothers who was a dressmaker, and she brought me a lot of swatches of silk cut out into squares for me to make a pillow or something. As I was too young it did not interest me at that time but I think my sister Mary made use of them. Of Grandma, I do not remember. Did she have a disposition like some of my sisters? I wonder. Life was hard for me. Many times I felt I did not measure up to the others. Sometimes Patience changes our whole lives. Likewise Impatience. There was about 18 or 20 months between our births. In the beginning my parents lived in rooms rented from Mrs. Houth (the mother of Aunt Liz and Mrs. Kenney) in Rochester, Pa. Mother said sometimes they had floods and had to leave the place in boats when the river got too high. They next lived at Meadville as before mentioned. In coming to Anderson they lived on Pearl street, where Helen was born. It is odd that she died on the same street two blocks south of her birthplace. I have gathered all I can remember tho they are little enough. Of course as with everybody else there are things only God and we know. These things we keep to ourselves. Big things to us but insignificant to others. Helen and I received our First Holy Communion in June 1903. We were also Confirmed at the same time. This was all we ever had in common except being born of the same parents. There was no rapport between us. Our likes were as different as night and day. She thought much of clothes, being poplar and was a great stickler for etiquette. Even in setting a table everything had to be just right. While all I thought of was reading books, and more books. Just as soon as I finished reading one I was looking for another. It was a good thing too. As reading was relaxing to me. And when one is poor and had little money to spend, reading can be a great companion. If I had worried about keeping up with the Joneses I would have been very unhappy. It is rather hard not to give your children things others have. But I made the best of it, and maybe they are more self reliant by not having every thing given to them on a silver platter. So when one book was finished I hastened to get another not dwelling on how life would be to the heros and heroines after the marriage ceremony. Sex never entered my mind in the least. In those days some parents did not tell their children about life. We were supposed to find out for ourselves. Mother had been brought up without a father being around and I suppose that had giver her some qualms about instructing us. I know Aunt Liz took her daughter Bertha and my sister Helen and had a talk with them about such things. As she was 18 months older than I she took the lead and had her way in everything. As she left school Mary got her a job in the telephone office, where there were a great many people. My sister Mary was chief operator at the telephone office in Anderson at the time and had the job of hiring girls. When I graduated in 1911 she would not hire me as I had had an infection in my right ear and was sometime hard of hearing. So I had to get out and get myself a job. Mrs. Kenny found out that they wanted a girl at the Cloud Top Company and told Mother. I went to see Mr. Cloud and when he found out that I was Edd’s sister he hired me and I was there until his company moved to Union City. He made tops and upholstery for the Detamble cars which were built in Anderson. I then worked for Charles E. Miller Rubber Company located on the corner of 14th and Merdian Sts. We took Marguerite to S. Bend in 1915 to join the Holy Cross Order, and one of the sisters decided that I had a vocation too. I mulled it over for awhile and in June I decided to go too. I stayed with the order for two years. I was not exactly satisfied but decided to stay until I went on mission thinking I would like it more then. However I was not completely satisfied so decided to return home. Mother sent me a beautiful dark blue suit, and a lovely hat to match with a veil around the brim, which helped cover my shorn locks. Three weeks after I got home Mr. Miller heard that I was home and rode his bicycle out to our house. Mother was home and he told her that if I wanted to work there to come over. When I went back I was made assistand book-keeper. I stayed there until after I married. Mr. Miller was a wonderful boss. He was a poor boy born of Quaker or Dunker parents and attained the business selling bicycles, repairing automobile tires etc. He invented a vulcanizer to repair tires, tubes, etc. We sent out catalogs for selling these machines. Not too many girls worked there at one time. Persia Pittman and I were the only ones there. She was engaged to be married and of course most of her off hours was spent with him. After she left a widow Mrs. Radabaugh was the book-keeper. She had one son about 12 yrs. old and lived with her mother and father. So there was no outside companionship for me. But I had my books. Later on when I went back to work for him again, the office was all changed around. In fact they had a new office, larger and some giddy, much younger girls were now employed, so I felt much older. I worked for a short time after I was married. One day I was given an assistant, an older lady, and was told to have her help. No doubt they were thinking that I would be leaving their employ now that I was married, which I did not long after.
This family history was typewritten on 10 sheets of paper by Genevieve Schies Siddall date unknown but she passed away in 1981 so it had to be before then.
It gives a lot of genealogical information and I was able to confirm the family story about Andrew Emmert. It seems he abandoned his first family about the time of the Civil War and was married again and living in Bartholomew County Indiana. He would have gone undetected and it would have been only a family story had he not applied for his Civil War pension while living in Indiana and referring to his service in Allegheny county Pennsylvania. While researching the “two” Andrew Emmert’s (Pennsylvania & Indiana) their lives never overlapped. When he was gone from Pennsylvania he turned up in Indiana in the census research. He continued using his real name and birth date.
Submitted by: Kathy