The left side is a rework of a page posted months ago and the right is the companion in the spread.
Note the watch on the sign in the spread - it is a mattch for Katie's watch element in the YEsteryear Kit!Journaling for the spread:
It was the family’s first Christmas after the end of the Civil War. The war years had been ones of deprivation and separation. Bruno Schumann worked in the munitions factory in Austin Texas. His job was to stamp percussion caps out of thin strips of tin. The factory produced 14,000 caps per day and the work was grueling. Once the caps were stamped, a thin piece of tin remained with a pattern of crosses descending down the strip.
Bruno visited his family when he could, but there was no guarantee that the family would be able to spend holidays together. Emilie and her two children Otillie and Ellen had remained in Round Top. One can only imagine the loneliness she experienced and how the family had to improvise and make do. By the end of the war Emilie was down to her last needle for the sewing machine and had worn the same drab, brown wool dress for 3 years. Once a year she would dye the dress, but there was only some much that could be done with the homemade dye. Surely at times she must have longed for pretty things.
Despite the hardships, the Ottilie and Bruno managed to save enough money to buy a plot of land in Austin when the war ended. Ironically, it was not far from the munitions company where he had worked. Here Bruno built his house. He gave up farming and returned to the trade for which he had been trained - a jeweler and watchmaker. Christmas of 1866 the family took the thin tin strips, with their rows of stamped out crosses and decorated the Christmas tree. The strips reminded them of the hard years and celebrated the triumph of “family.”
The shop of Bahn and Schumann was on Congress street in Austin. They specialized in jewelry, fine clocks, watches and eye glasses. Note the image of the sign that was captured in 1867. The family lived in the house that Bruno built at 309 E. 11th street in Austin where Emilie maintained the home. The couple were members of a circulating book club called “Die Mappe” which gave them access to books and magazines from their native country. German was the primary language in the home; however, English literature was also readily available in the home as the daughters and grandchildren were fluent in the language of the new country.
The women and girls excelled at needlework. But Bruno also did” handwork.” He made jewelry for his wife and daughters as well as beautiful silver serving pieces and flatware. The spoon in this picture is one that he crafted. As a child I remember it hanging with three other spoons in a hand-made walnut spoon rack in my grandmother’s home. Bruno also made wooden doll houses and furniture, picture frames, cradles for the grandchildren and even fashioned a home-made shower .
It is easy to idealize our ancestors and make them larger than life. When my grandmother was collecting stories and information about Emilie to write her chapter for the book on women in early Texas, she received many glowing stories from relative extolling Emilie’s courage and pioneer spirit. But I had to laugh when I read one letter from my grandmother’s cousin, dated 1974. In it the cousin says of their great grandmother, “All I remember is hearing how she made life difficult for Oma. That right there was enough to make me dislike her, whatever her good qualities might have been. I remember Mama telling us how wonderful and kind Oma’s father was and what a saint he was to put up with his wife’s temper and demands.” So I guess every story has at least two sides.
Bruno died 12 Dec 1893, and Emilie Died 4 Nov 1896. They are buried in the old Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.
| Date: Sun August 26, 2012
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