FRANK J. SCHOETTGEN
Frank Joseph Schoettgen has long been engaged in the butchering and meat market business in Columbia, and has been a resident of California since 1855. As his name indicates, he is of German birth, the place of his nativity being Baden, the date March 11, 1823. His parents were John B. and Johanna (Folmer) Schoettgen, both of whom were natives of Germany and faithful members of the Catholic Church. The father owned and conducted a dyeing establishment in his native land. His was a long, useful and active career, terminated in death when he had reached the age of eighty years. This mother of our subject departed this life in the fortieth year of her age. The father afterward married Johanna Spitzmiller, also a native of Germany. Their family numbered ten children, all born by the first wife, three of whom died in infancy.
The subject of this review, however, is the only survivor of the family. To the public schools of the fatherland he is indebted for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. For some time he occupied the position of bookkeeper in Germany. He could not only speak his native tongue but was also conversant with the French language. He had, however, no knowledge of English until he came to the United States, in the thirtieth year of his age, believing that he might better his financial condition here where opportunities for young men were greater. He landed at New Orleans and made his way to St. Louis, where he embarked in business, spending two years in that city. On the expiration of that period he came to California, by way of the Nicaragua route, arriving in San Francisco in July, 1855, and proceeding thence directly to Calaveras County. Here he engaged in mining until the time of the Fraser River excitement, when he made his way to the new gold fields, but success did not smile upon his ventures there. At different times he mined at San Andreas, Mokelumne Hill and Camp Sago. He then came to Columbia, arriving in July, 1856, and here he engaged in mining and then turned his attention to the butchering business, opening a meat market, which he has since continued, supplying the citizens of the town and surrounding country with a good grade of meat and doing an honorable and successful business. He paid cash for his stock, but sold much on credit and in this way he lost considerable money, yet prosperity has come to him and he is now the possessor of not only a good business but also a comfortable home. He is still conducting his business, but has practically retired from active duty, his store being conducted by his sons and son-in-law, the latter being Mr. Napoleon, who has been connected with the enterprise for many years.
In June, 1854, Mr. Schoettgen was united in marriage to Miss Johanna Boemmer, a native of Germany, whom he had known in the fatherland. They were married in St. Louis and the wife remained there while he made the trip to California and secured a start in business in the far western state. In 1857 she joined him in his new home and here they have become the parents of eleven children, six of whom are living at the time of this writing, namely: Louisa, the wife of George Napoleon; Wilhelmina, who is acting as her father’s housekeeper; August, a resident of Stockton; Katie, the wife of George L. Adams; John B. and Frank, who are in the meat market. One son, William, died in his thirtieth, and the mother of these children was called to her final rest May 20, 1899, when in the sixty-seventh year of her age, leaving not only her family but many friends to mourn her loss. She was a devoted, faithful wife and mother and indeed proved a companion and helpmate to her husband. Her many acts of kindness gained her the respect and esteem of all with whom she came in contact and her memory remains as an unalloyed benediction to all who knew her.
Mr. Schoettgen has been a lifelong Republican, upholding the principles of that party by his ballot; but at local elections, where no national issue is involved, he votes independently. As a businessman and citizen he has made a good record. His devotion to his adopted country is above question and no native son of America is more true to her institutions or more faithful to the duties of citizenship. From Germany he came to the new world and entered upon a successful career, yet his prosperity is not the outcome of propitious circumstances, but the honest reward of labor, good management, ambition and energy, without which no man can win success.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.