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Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Mother Margaretha Anna Stamm Shafer

Aileen Shafer is the Sister of John Dewey Shafer (my Grandfather) and the daughter of Margaretha Anna Stamm Shafer.

My Mother Margaretha Anna Stamm Shafer
Written by Aileen Kathryn Shafer Kinney

The Stamm family came from Schleitheim and there were Bechtold's in Schaffhausen. The man at the State house didn’t have any information but gave the name of Willie Bachtold who had the records in Schleitheim. Willie Bechtold’s house had records. A man named Eugene Stamm had the records.

Margaretha Anna Stamm lived in Schaffhausen, the house was white stucco and very neat. I remembered her telling me about her home. She said the cows lived underneath. She told me about coming in from the cold and her Mother put them on a shelf next to the fireplace. When we went to Europe we visited a home in Switzerland. It looked like what I expected from what my Mother had told me.

Mom’s family went to North America in April of 1881. They traveled in the hold of the ship. Her Mother got sick. Mom’s Mother and Father both died later and Mom was placed in a home for orphans. She told me that the food was terrible, that the people in charge ate very well though. She and her sister were put on a train with other orphans. They went to Illinois. There people toke them. Mom was taken by a woman. People in the community said she was a lady of ill repute and not a fit place for Mom and she went to live with an elderly lady who smoked a pipe. She was to week to light it and Mom had to light it for her. She said she learned to like tobacco.

After that she went to live with Uncle Jim and Aunt Zada. About that time Dads parents both died and he went to live with Uncle Jim (his oldest brother). They went to school together. They went to the Fifth Reader. That is what it was called then. They fell in love and lived in a small house, but later lived in a nice new one.

Uncle Jesse and Aunt Lilly (Dad’s Sister) came west and bought a place near Pullman. They did well and wrote to Mom and Dad to come ‘out west”. They decided to do that. Margaret was a baby. Mom said she carried her (on the train) on a pillow.

I was born at Colfax as were Jim and Frank before me. Then my dad wanted a larger farm so they bought one at Colfax and bought a larger place at La Crosse (600 acres). They raised wheat. It was a very old house, so when they could they built a big new house, 4 bed rooms, only one bath. It was on the main floor. So was Mom and Dads bedroom. They cooked and ate in the basement. The main floor kitchen was never used. There was an elevator and Jim and Elwyn (sp?) and Gwen and Don Kraus tried to ride in it.

Ruth and her family lived close by and helped farm. She was married to Winfield Kraus at Colfax. I remember Mama saying Ruth wanted a big home wedding and how hard it was with me as a baby. I loved playing with Gwen, Elwyn and Dan.

Then on Sunday Dewey, Bob and Winfield decided to go swimming. They went to Palouse falls. People swam under the falls. Winfield evidently got into a whirlpool and drowned. It was terrible. Ruth then moved to La Crosse and was Telephone Operator. Mom and Dad helped her quite a lot. The children spent a lot of time with us so I sort of grew up with them.

Dad was doing really well, but then some crooked guys sold him some fake Oil Well stock and he lost almost everything. He held a farm sale a bought the place at republic. We moved to Republic, a cattle ranch. On the train up there just before we got to Republic Mom said “Why did you bring me to this God Forsaken Place”?

I went to Karamin to the 5th and 6th grades. Then they closed the Karamin School and we went by School Bus to Republic. I rode horse back after toe cows in the evenings. When I was Senior Pauline and Fred talked Dad into moving to Mackey, Idaho, to raise potatoes. Dad sent the furniture and equipment by train and we drove down. Dewey and Leona and her two kids Gene and Betty all went to Mackey.

Things didn’t work out. The deal on the farm fell through so we didn’t stay. We didn’t go back to Republic. That is when Mom and Dad bought the farm at Greenbluff, My friends from Greenbluff called and wanted me to come up there for Graduation. They said that I would be Valedictorian, but the folks could not afford to send me there. I was promise a job at 5 cent and 10 cent store where a friend from Republic was manager, but it didn’t pay enough to pay for my room and board.

?D.A. Sullivan got a road job that went to Green Bluff. The men camped on the farm. They wanted to have mom feed them. So she said she would. I helped her. I made the desserts, pies and cakes. She cooked the rest of the meal. I usually waited on tables. Ralph Dayley (Dads cousin) was the boss. He liked to tease me. That was when I met Herman Kinney. He was on of the main ones. He drove a tractor. He fell for me. We were married later in Colfax. Mom and Dad sold the house and moved into an acreage on Market street. That is where my dad had a heart attack and passed away. Frank and Loraine lived next door. Mom sold the acreage and moved into a small house near Garland.

We moved to Spokane from Colville and brought a new duplex in Alice?. We wanted Mom to move in the other side, but my brothers objected. I could have taken care of her. They moved her in to Riverview Terrace, a retirement home. She lived there several years, then passed away from Heart Failure. The Doctor called, said her heart was just worn out. She was buried at Colfax next to my Dad and baby Brother Gerald.

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