There are three histories as part of the Schuettes’ oral history. The interview itself, which is given last here, and two short written histories, one by Paul and one by Elvera. The written histories are shorter and and presented first.
Written history #1:
ELVERA SCHUETTE: What I remember about my parents and my family:
Frank and Dorothea (Youngman) Dickmander were married in 1901, started their married life on a 40-acre farm on Road J in Richfield Top., Henry County, Ohio. Their first house was a log cabin but soon a new house was built which provided living quarters for the following seven children: William, Julius, Augusta, Martha, Rudolph, Laura and Elvera, still living at this writing. Six deceased members of the entire family are buried on Penn Lutheran Cemetery, corner of Roads 5 and G in Bartlow Twp., Deshler, OH. All family members were also members of that church.
My father was instrumental in building a new church in the early 1900’s. He hauled the brick for the foundation with a steel-tired wagon and a team of horses from Honeck’s Tile Mill at Elery, Ohio to the site of the new church at the corner of Roads G and 5 which is located across the road from the old, small church which was located on the site of the cemetery. Since then this church has been moved away from the roads and rebuilt. Peace Lutheran Church 5-031 Rd. G. To promote Christianity was foremost in the minds of this rural family. In those days home was the main place to be, school was next in line, religious and public.
The following is the schedule at that time for early education: first it took place in the home and then: Public School, Sept. through April, 8 months. Rural Religious School, May thru July (ages 10 thru 14 days 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Vacation month: August, both religious and public. Additional requirements for church membership: Saturday classes Sept. thru April, ages 13 & 14 (mornings only)
Also, earliest education in Christianity: on Sunday mornings after church services the pastor conducted a special religious program for the children who sat at the front. This has developed into our modern Sunday School on Sunday mornings. This is the history of Peace Lutheran Church. I was their organist for 12 years 1934 to 1947.
Every family was self-sufficient by raising their own meat, doing their own preparation, raising their own vegetables, canning, home-made clothes by family members. All were kept busy by home work on the farm. Sears and Montgomery Ward Catalogs were widely used and orders sent by mail.
Entertainment was home-made, checkers with buttons for markers. An outdoor game was “zippy” with all home-made materials.
Sickness in the family was prevalent; death was evident. Many home remedies were used. Raleigh and Watkins Products provided such elementary medicines as cold tablets etc. Doctors were available.
Written history #2:
PAUL SCHUETTE: This was rewritten in May 2006 by Elvera Schuette. (See attached interview.)
What I remember about my parents and my family: Herman Schuette and Frieda (Panning) Schuette were married in April 1914 and lived on rented farms until they bought their own in 1925 on the corner of Roads M-1 and 17, Napoleon Twp., Henry Co. OH.
Paul, the oldest of seven children, was depended upon by the rest of the family to make things move ahead. The other children were: Fred, Henry, Edwin, Edna, Lawrence and Laura.
Many milk cows and chickens had to be produced, in addition to the 200 acres of farming land, to feed and clothe the family. Paul, the oldest also had the heaviest load to carry in that way. All were members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Rural Napoleon.
For me (Paul) early childhood was not the best. Cholera was prevalent and I had it, ate no food for six weeks, but with the proper medical advice and help I survived. A brother died. When I was six years old I suffered a broken leg. When I became older more work and responsibility was placed on me. Illness in the family also added to that.
In 1929, Herbert Hoover president, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. That complicated conditions more yet but we survived.
For me grade school became secondary during the learning years, but I was a fast learner because of having been a good listener. I did not attend high school, but took correspondence courses as they were available by mail.
Since farming did not fulfill my desire for an occupation I applied for a position at the Napoleon Post Office. Although I passed the examination at the top 3 level, a job was slow in obtaining. Those who served in World War II were first in line. Since I had produced food for the war effort I was left behind. However, I was hired as a substitute and since I was willing to learn and do all duties that others did not want to do (difficult as they came) I earned the sub pay. Finally the time came for a regular job and I worked up to the level of Assistant Postmaster, then transferred to Rural Route #1 north of Napoleon. During this time I also worked as a janitor in the evenings for ten years at the Bookmobile Branch of the Ohio State Public Library and retired at age 68.
I was married in 1947 and first lived on rented farms. When they became scarce we moved into a three-room apartment on Dodd St., Napoleon with our two-year-old son, Marcus. As time went on we bought a house at 333 Brownell where our second son was born in 1956. We then bought at 511 W. Maumee and lived there for 35 years and retired to Alpine Village, Napoleon.
We were members of St. Paul, Glenwood Ave. since 1954. The two sons attended St. Paul Parochial School, all being active in church and community projects. One son is a Viet Nam Veteran, machinist in Defiance and the other has 25 years of service as a Respiratory Therapist in St. Ann Hospital, Columbus Ohio.
The highlight of my postal career was delivering packages on Christmas Day and giving up all family festivities until all was delivered.
Name: Elvera Augusta Schuette
Maiden Name: Dickmander
Marital Status: married to Paul Schutte on June 8, 1947
Date of Birth: September 1, 1918
Place of Birth: home on Road J
Parents’ names: Frank W. Dickmander and Dorothea (Youngman) Dickmander
Educatioin: Westhope High School, graduated 1936 with a diploma
Work Experience: took care of elderly (cooking and cleaning), took in sewing and did alterations for Schuette Men’s Store.
Honors, awards, or other recognition: received recognition in high school for good work, Sunday school teaching.
Church: St. Paul Lutheran, Napoleon
Organizations: Lutheran Laymen’s League; TB+ Health; Women’s organization in church
Special Interests (hobbies): playing organ, sewing, gardening. Member of Preaching, Teaching, Reaching Club.
E = Elvira, I = interviewer, P = Paul
I: So what do you remember about your parents and your family?
E: Oh if you wanna know about my parents, I have some information on both of my parents. My parents were Frank and Dorothea Youngman Dickmander, and in 1901 Frank and Dorothea just started their marriage life on a 40-acre farm on road J in Ridgeville Township, Henry Co., Ohio. Their first home was a log cabin, but soon a new house was built during the years following.
Seven children were born into the family. In order to feed a growing family, in addition to the farm, Frank began to work the carpentry. Dorothea had enough to do to keep the house and take care of the children, enjoy a huge laundry everyday on the washing board.
The names of the children were William, Julius, Augusta, Martha, Rudolph, Laura and Elvera. That’s the only one living. Six members of the entire family are buried in peace Lutheran Cemetery, Bartlow township, Deshler, Ohio. The whole family were members of Peace Lutheran. Frank was instrumental and helping build a new church in the early 1900s. Frank took his horses, wagon and hauled brick from Elery to the site where the new church was to be built. Total Christianity was most important to this rural family. That’s because of my parents.
Okay. Now, do you want the report of his parents.
E: His parents were Herman and Frieda (Panning) Schuette, married in April 1914, lived on Redden farms until they bought their own farm in 1925. Paul, the oldest of also 7 children, was depended upon by the rest of the family to make things move ahead. Children were Paul, Red, hHnry, Edwin, Edmund, Lawrence, and Laura. Many milked cows and also chickens were raised to feed and clothe the family. And of course Paul, the oldest, had the heaviest load to carry. At that time, for Paul, school became secondary because of his work load at home. He, however, later took correspondence courses at home which were available at that time. All were members of St. Paul Lutheran church, Napoleon Township. Now those are his parents.
I: Okay. Thank you. Anything special about your childhood?
E: Well, that would be… I was born September 1, 1918. The youngest of 7 children, I had plenty of home babysitters who were free of charge to my mother because my mother wondered why 1 had to come along and, well, well I’m still here and I’m still making trouble as when I was a kid.
Home was the main place to be in those days. School was next in line; both public and religious. Our parents were good providers and we always had our needs met, but we also had wants that never came.
I attended 12 years o f public school after which did housework for the elderly. Paul Schutte and Elvera Dickmander were married on June 8, 1947 in Peace Lutheran church, Deshler, Ohio. We lived various places [? until fanning was not readily available ?]. Paul started working as a substitute at the Napoleon Post Office for 38 years and retired having been a rural mail carrier. We live at Alpine Village in comfort and enjoy the so-called “golden years”.
I: What was the best part about going to school?
E: Well to learn.
I: Where did you attend school?
E: At Westhope High School.
I: Did you go for any thing special?
E: No, at that time there was no money available for the family to go for education. So we worked for the elderly. That’s all we knew to do.
I: What made you want to work for the elderly?
E: To get extra money. Well we earned maybe a dollar a day. Mostly we did housekeeping for the elderly. So they hired girls in the neighborhood. For a dollar a day we scrubbed floors and took care of the house.
I: What were the years like for you?
E: We worked most of the time. Not like today where you roam around the neighborhood, because there were too many in the family. We usually made our own games. We liked to play checkers. We made our own boards and we used buttons for the makers.
I: What was your daily routine?
E: We helped around the house and did chores, milk cows, feed the chickens, pull weeds, make dinner. Everything was homemade. Like clothing.
I: What were some events that stand out?
E: Well what we enjoyed was the company of the threshing gang when they came around. Paul could have been helping that when he was on his farm. But for the men, they were the ones to do the work. We just spent a good time looking around and enjoying the good food that was prepared for the people doing the work. Another high-light in my lifetime too was getting in on the Christmas program on Christmas Eve. Our church always had a Christmas program and we were just scared to death because we had to get up in front of so many people.
I: What changes would you like to see today?
E: Well I would like to see children growing up as good citizens of the United States. And to stay out of trouble. There is too much of that going on, for one thing. Too much involvement in drugs. But of course we never heard of that in those years. Another thing would be not enough people attending church. That would be one reason for them getting into trouble is no respect for God. We were brought up as Christians.
I: Is there any thing else that you would like to talk about that we did not cover?
P: well things are so much different today. And those who haven’t heard about the Great Depression. The president of the United States, by the name of Hebert Hoover. He was a very wealthy man. He was 30 years old and had over a million dollars. Things weren’t ordered as they are today. He was a millionaire and he was considered rich. He did expect to run against Roosevelt. And he did absolutely nothing and that brought about the times when he became president. He did nothing. And only he tried to run again. Of course when he ran, oh what was his name? Franklin Roosevelt. Had Roosevelt before. But I think the Roosevelt before was a Republican. This was a Democrat. He was in the wrong time when our country was attacked. That was the World War II. And of course our family, one brother he was sick he was in bed all the time. Two brothers were in the service and my dad was in very poor health. So I was required to farm 200 acres. That was a lot of land for one person to handle in those days. Well, he was not a run-around when he was young. He had business to do at home to keep the family together. So in the meantime we were married. We rented a farm in the neighborhood there. Not that I wanted to farm that bad. We liked to farm but, I see it wouldn’t have too much of a future for me. And I took an exam at the post office. And at the time there were a lot of changeovers. And there were still World War I veterans who had the first chances at the jobs. And the World War II veterans and I didn’t know how many people came in but I tried for the substitute. I was last but how many people came in there one day; see, they had the idea that the post office was a very easy place to work. And they didn’t know. The city had to walk all day long. You got the mail and then you had to learn the towns from A to Z. Well most of them didn’t want to do it. They were there one day and away they went. Then I would be called. And remember I mentioned the highlight would be during the Christmas season when everybody was gathering families together. Our family couldn’t and we had extra mail coming in during Christmas.
E: He delivered that to the people.
P: So anyhow, so people could get out of jobs. They wouldn’t even look at a job in the post office. It took a long time before I even got a chance.
E: He was not a veteran, he never served in the, war. Because he served on the farm.
P: That’s what I was assigned to. 1 was under directions to report every so often. They had to check that I was still doing that. Of course I had no choice. We got by alright. We lived to be 90 years old. That’s pretty good. Well a month from Saturday I’ll be 91 years old.
When I was six years old, I had cholera or I don’t remember the name of it. I didn’t get over a bite of food for over 6 weeks. Most of the children died before. We had a doctor, Rohrs, he’s a distant relative of ours. The only thing we could do was starve. But he went to Michigan. Then we had another doctor, Gochi, from Archhold. And you know that was the only thing that saved me. I would be just barely half asleep when I wanted to be awake. She would try to feed me but it was up to me to chew and swallow. But from that clay on I started to feel better.
Then Halloween was my first day of school. But the teacher there was, I don’t know the name of it, I know the one though. And of course you know they had very little, she was only 19 years old. She never paid any attention that I got a grade card. Although I have been taught reading and all that at home. She died about 4 or 5 years ago so she must have been about 95/96 years old. In those days the teachers only had to have about 6 weeks of special training or college. So they were not educated like today. She never sent me a grade card or any thing.
Next year I had a teacher by the name of Earl Buchhop. His wife is still living. She is at the county home now. And, well, he said he could put me in the second grade. I had a brother 14 months younger than I was. He started school too. My mother said he wasn’t that ambitious to read or anything. She didn’t send, just think I’ll keep them both in the same grade. And he can teach him how to read. Now my teachers were pretty much educated as far as having training. Now mine weren’t nineteen or anything. I had a man teacher. He wasn’t married but he was real young. He was a good teacher absolutely. We had to diagram sentences. As far as math is concerned, we had the weekend for training. That was in grade school. Now that was he married. Well, they lived over in Defiance County, Vandenberg. She is 103 years old now. He never had to go to high school. He just got to the 8th grade. Well I’ve been. I was one of the younger ones. He was the oldest of the family which meant I got to go to high school. The three youngest of my brothers and sisters, well high school. The older ones of the family, see we lived in Napoleon Township school district, we had no high school. And the high school district didn’t reach out as far as we lived. Well some were going to high school. But they couldn’t get any straight answers there. What it was, Napoleon district was fighting with our territory. We didn’t know. The younger ones, they went to Florida. Then there was a fight in Florida district. But, anyhow, they got by, they lost. Later of course, Florida, a good part of that went to Napoleon. It was divided up. That’s the way things were. You could go to high school necessarily, without having to pay for it. I could easily be entertained by books, by learning different subjects, about biology, geometry, not geometry, trigonometry, science. I loved them all. I guess most of my education was reading. Soon as the paper came by, whether we got the Toledo Blade, you know, their answers were as real as they come. You’re going to pick up a lot of things that some people know, don’t get. You know, if mother hadn’t taught me to read, school let me, when I got to school. Clear through the 8th grade I didn’t have much studying to do because I would watch the grades ahead of me and one advantage the old country schools had was that they were all 8th grade. I know later of the school, you could tell that those who came from those schools because they were the same classroom all through that and they got it all, when the bigger schools came those children didn’t get in with those grades. The sad part today is the illiteracy; people that cannot read.