Monday, June 14, 2010

Chased by a Sheriff

My dad, Daniel Reuben Schauerhamer, was a hard worker.  I guess he got it from  his dad, William Louis Schauerhamer, who learned to work when he was just knee high to a grasshopper.  By the time he was twelve years old, William had already "worked in three different factories, making toy horses, wagons and vehicles."  He also told about running from the law;
"I was only seven when a sheriff chased me out of the front door of a factory.  I went home and by the way of the rear of the homes, I went back to the factory.  No one could hold me from working."

Boys will be boys

     As a boy, William found adventure in the great outdoors, but he also had some close calls with his life.  He related a few stories that had to do with nearly drowning.  When he was about five years old he was walking on a six-inch beam over a mill creek, about 120 feet above the mill.  Halfway across the beam he slipped and fell into the swift waters which swept him toward the 12-foot water wheels.  Next to the water wheels were spill gates dumping water onto the boulders below.  William lost consciousness when he fell into the water and woke up to find himself in the arms of his rescuer, a farmer who was just returning from market with his cattle. 
     Another time William was ice skating on a pond and fell through the ice.  "How I got out of the pond is a marvel to me.  The ice kept giving away, yet in my eightieth year, I am here to tell of it."
     He found out he could swim when he slid off of a fish dike into the water, "...with my back turned to the dam.  This left me in a position where I couldn't even try to swim.  I, with my feet, felt a plug of wood in the deepest part of the dike.  I then realized I had to do my best to swim.  I reached the top of the water and couldn't even open my eyes to know which direction I was going.  I thought if I could hold out till I struck something, I would be all reight.  When my eyes were dried, I found myself in the bullrushes."  He turned around to see the dike well behind him.  "There I was standing in bewilderment, thinking to myself, I know now I can swim."
     Boys will be boys, and even though he nearly drowned a number of times, he was not deterred from exploring and having fun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Goerkwitz Pilgrimage

In 2005 I visited the childhood home of my grandfather, William Louis Schauerhamer in Goerkwitz, Germany. Using these photos taken in the early 1900's, I searched the tiny village for the home that matched the photo. While I was unable to locate the home, those who lived in Goerkwitz knew exactly where it was.  Here are a couple of photos from the early 1900's.

 Here is the home in 2005.  From the street you can only see a small portion of the home.  We were lucky to be able to go inside the courtyard of the home where we could also see the huge barn.  We knocked and knocked but no one answered and were about to leave when we noticed that a woman had opened a second story window and was shaking out a rug.  The couple who had directed us to the home spoke with her, telling her that we were descendents of the original owners and asked if we could come in the courtyard.  She graciously allowed us to do so.  What an adrenaline rush to know that this is where Grandpa had grown up and lived over a century ago.


Here were are in front of the barn (left) and the home (right).  The home has been remodeled but it is still here after over 125 years.  I would like to find out when it was actually built.  An awecome experience!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

William Louis Schauerhamer

My grandfather, William Louis Schauerhamer, was born June 26, 1878, in Goerkwitz, Thuringia, Germany to Gottlieb August Schauerhammer and Johanne Christiane Friedricke Giegling. He was the fifth child and first son. His younger brother, Erwin, died after an accident when he was just two years old, and William's mother died when William was four years old.
Life for a young boy in a tiny German village was filled with adventure as well as a great deal of work. Small children worked in the fields along with the adults, and William was no exception. I will share some of his adventures next time.