Joe Schuler: The Boy Who Made Good

To continue with the story I was telling yesterday, if my great-great-grandfather Schuler, the one who emigrated to the United States from Switzerland, was the goat of the family, then certainly the hero of my family saga must have been my great-grandfather, Joe Schuler. He was the Boy Who Made Good.

That’s him in the picture above (click for a larger image). Based on his age and the style of his clothing, furniture, and so on I’d guess that the picture was taken around 1900. As you can see he was a robust, powerfully built man and something of a dandy.

He worked from the time he was a child and moved, for reasons that I’ve never been told, from Louisville where the family had settled to St. Louis. That must have taken place some time before 1880. Within 20 or 30 years he had become very prosperous through the dairy business and saloon he owned and because he was a prominent member of the St. Louis Republican machine. Yes, in those days before the creation of the Roosevelt coalition St. Louis was controlled by a Republican machine. My grandfather had the contract to feed the prisoners in the City Jail and workers in City Hall, the City Morgue, and the city courts.

How wealthy was he? I don’t really know but he owned the dairy business, the saloon, was a justice of the peace, and owned a number of properties around town, including the house that we lived in when I was a child and another two-flat that was located in what’s now the parking lot for Deaconess Hospital. By the time he died my grandfather had already been dead for several years but the money left in his estate was enough to support my father and grandmother all through the Depression and put my father through college and law school. My dad travelled in Europe on the last of the money that his grandfather had left him.

Joe Schuler was one of the many wonderfully colorful characters in my family and I know a number of anecdotes about him which I’ll share in good time. Many of the anecdotes stress his physical strength and courage. The stuff of legends.

5 comments… add one
  • Bill Harris Link

    I am one of Anton Schuler’s grandsons. My mom and dad are Virginia Schuler and Charles Harris. I know my mom and cousin Freddy were close growing up.
    I want to know more on early Schuler’s in St Louis.

  • Hi, Bill. Of course I remember you from when we were kids. I’m happy to share anything I know with you.

  • Bill Harris Link

    Thanks Dave. I would like to talk to you and email.
    I’m not sure how close we are in age. I will be 58 in July. I’m the genius who broke his neck at 13. Was Schuler Hall named after our great grandpa? what were he and my grandpa like? What was name of saloon ? I heard some parts of stories that you wrote herebut I want to know a lot more.

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