Of Leavenworth, Kansas

By PAUL A. GEMPEL (grandson)

November 16, 1975

My Grandfather, Johann Peter Schott, was born March 11, 1832 at Erdmannsrode Hessen, Germany. Kassel is the nearest large city, next Herschfeld, Kreis Hunfeld.

About the year 1848 or 1850 he migrated to America in order to avoid military service in the Hessian army, then involved in the Revolution of 1848 in Germany. Along with other young Germans he traveled on foot to Breman, from which port the embarked on a sailing vessel across the Atlantic, and after nine weeks landed at New Orleans.

Here he obtained passage on a Mississippi river boat bound for Louisville, Kentucky as a cook's helper. On his arrival, as he stood on the wharf contemplating his next move, a small group of native boys jostled him, knocked his German cap off and jeered, "Dutche! Dutche!" This was his introduction to his new country.

At. Louisville he found employment in a bakery. This provided, along with an apprenticeship, food and lodging as well as a small wage. After four years he was a trained, skilled baker. For some years he worked as an experience baker, meanwhile gaining in business management. Being a frugal person, he planned and saved for the time he would establish his own business. His first adventure in business for himself was in a small Ohio River town. Due to the large influx of Germans into United States at this time, German immigrants were unpopular, unwelcome and unaccepted by the existing populace living in the middle west. Unfriendly relations and even vandalism took place. Such was Grandfather's experience. His shop was ransacked and literally destroyed. He was advised to leave the town, which he did.

At about this time, 1854, Congress passed a bill creating the Territory of Kansas and Nebraska and making this land open for white settlement. The Indians were removed by treaties to an Indian Territory (now Oklahoma.) The town of Leavenworth was organized in the same year.

Grandfather had moved to Independence, though at the time a busy frontier town, would not grow and develop into a large city. He often said when relating his early life that there were two town at this time destined to become large metropolises. One was Leavenworth, the other Chicago. He laughingly would say, "I chose Leavenworth."

He had married Margaret Kasten of Louisville, whose father was a professional musician in Louisville and Memphis, Tenn. Her home at different times was in the above two cities. Their first child, Herman, was born in Independence, Missouri May 16, 1858.

At this time, Grandfather decided on establishing a business and home in Leavenworth, Kansas. His wife and infant son were sent back to Louisville to stay with relatives while Grandfather established a bakery business in the new Kansas Town.

To conserve his finances, he walked to Leavenworth by was of Quindaro, a small hamlet on the Missouri river located in what is now extreme north Kansas City, Kansas. As he proceeded along a deer runway he encountered an Indian. Upon inquiring whether he was on the right trail, the Indiana informed him by sign that some distance beyond the path would divide and that he should take the one leading him away from the sun (to his right.) The Indian, though armed, showed no hostility. Granfather gave him the small flask of whiskey which he was carrying and this pleased the Indian so much that he accompanied him to the division of the trail and personally led him to the proper path.

On arrival in Leavenworth, Grandfather immediately went to the river levee and made purchases for establishing a small bakery. He rented a little frame building at 4th and Miami st and supervised the construction of a small bake oven. At first, his baking products were peddled from house to house. His business was a success from the start, so he sent for his wife and sone. Thier second child, Julia Marie, (my mother) was born October 28, 1850 in Leavenworth.

The town of Leavenworth grew and so did the Schott Bakery. By the time of the onset of the Civil War (1861), the United States did no draft Grandfather, but rather demanded that he continue his business and furnish bread for the troops at Fort Leavenworth. Each day the commissary wagon would deliver flour for which so many loaves of bread had to be delivered. No money was exchanged.

During the period 1861-1865, Grandfather advised his brothers and sisters in Germany to come to America. In some cases he furnished passage to Leavenworth. During the above years, three brothers and two sisters came over and arrived at Grandfather's home. All married, had childrenand established homes except Valentine Schott, who remained single. One sister married Martin Nieman, a farmer of Millwood, Kansas - now Easton. The other sister married a Mr. Bahlau of Leavenworth, but later moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Though Grandfather had only a secondary schooling in Germany, all his children received advanced education after graduating from the local Lutheran church school. Herman W. Schott was sent to St. Louis for an apprenticeship in a well established catering business where he became skilled in confections and fancy baking. He joined his father in the bakery business. Julia Marie (my mother) attened a girls day school (so called finishing school) where she received instruction in music, the arts and domestic science.

William C. Schott received a secondary education locally, then graduated after four years from Walther College (high school level), a Lutheran school in St. Louis. He decided to become a pharmacist and graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. He, together with another pharmacist founded the Mehl and Schott Pharmacy in 1883 at Leavenworth. The firm served Leavenworth for over 75 years.

George P. Schott attended Leavenworth High School, then signed on as an apprentice with a local builder. He was self educated in architecture and building. He early became a prominent builder. He built many residences and business buildings, the Burlinton Depot at Leavenworth and the Pennsylvania Railroad Building at the Chicago World Fair (1903) were some of his accomplishments. He showed great promise and would have gone far in his chosed profession had he not died at age 29.

August Louis Schoot, after graduating from high school, went several years to University of Kansas & entered the banking business. He was associated with the Leavenworth National Bank. He also operated a bicycle business and held the first Oldsmobile auto agency in Leavenworth. He married Henrietta Wulfekuhler in 1907. Ruth was born in 1909.

Grandfather in later years discontinued the wholesale department of the bakery, but continued in the retail portion. He produced only specialties such as Vienna bread, hearth baked round loaves, French loaves, twisted poppy seed loaves and rye bread, for which he was especially famous in the city and Fort Leavenworth. He continued baking his famous Graham bread and zwieback, raisin bread, streussel coffeecake, schneken (cinnamon rolls), sanwich buns and raised doughnuts. Uncle Herman's white wedding cake was almost a "must" at weddings. "Lady Fingers" were very popular at afternoon receptions and teas. Cookies were large, usually 3-1/2 to 4 inches in diameter. Sugar cookies and ginger cookies were standard baking products always at hand for sale.

One special cookie found only at the Schott bakery was "Scotch Cookie". Grandfather was very secretive about the recipe and the production of this cookie. He would mix the ingredients in a large bowl in the family kitchen, not in the bake shop. At a certain point he would take the mixture to the shop and direct the bakers how to proceed further. Many of his apprentices and baker tried to get the ingredients and method or preparation, but none were ever successful.

Grandfather continued in business until 1902 when he became ill. He died in 19903. For a few years Grandmother continued to live at the old homestead, then later made her home with her daughter, Julia Marie Gempel. She (Margaret Kasten Schott) died in 1908.

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My paternal Grandfather, Leonhart Gempel and his brother Johann Friedrick Gempel together migrated to America in 1853 from Bavaria. Their first address was Frankenmuth, Michigan, but later Adrian Michigan became their permanet home. Grandfather Leonhart's trad was that of a shoe and boot goods maker. He had unfortunate family experiences. His first wife who bore him a son, fred Gempel of Toledo, Ohio, died in middle life. Later he married again to Margaret Stegner, also a migrant from Bavaria and this union brought forth my father, William Phillip Gemple who was born September 24th, 1863 at Adrian, Michigan.

After completing his secondary schooling at the Lutheran School at Adrian, my father enrolled, September, 1877 in the Addison Teacher Seminary, a Lutheran institution for preparing teachers in music, religion, the three Rs and teaching methods. An orphanage was located on the campus for practice in teaching.

After graduation he accepted a call from the St. Pauls Lutheran Church at Leavenworth and in 1882 arrived there to begin his profession. Due to ill health he resigned after 23 years from his teaching position and entered the business world. He had gained business experience in the last 7 or 8 years before retiring while teaching business subjects at the YMCA and at the local Leavenworth business college. At various times he was employed by the Leavenworth Water Co., the Leavenworth Savings and Trust Co., the Carr Coal Mining Co., and the Leavenworth Building and Loan Assn.

In 1886 father married Julia Marie Schott. This union resulted in the birth of three children. Walter Herman Gempel, Paul August and Eugene P.H. Gempel. Walter died at age of 10 years from rheumatic fever.

I, Paul, was born November 16, 1889. After graduating from High School, I entered into an apprenticeship at Mehl and Schott's Drug Store. In 1912 I graduated from the St. Louis College of pharmacy. In 1916, wishing to become a physician, I entered Kansas University where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1920. Two years later, June 14, 1922, I received my Doctor of Medicine degree from the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. I interned at the Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia in 1922-1923, completed a residency in surgery at the Blossburg State Hospital, Blossburg, Pa. in 1925 and a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at McDonald House, Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio on January 1, 1926.

I began practising my chosen specialty at Kansas City, Missouri. My activities and interests were as follows:


Staff Appointments to Hospitals:

I retired in 1969 after 47 years in the practice of Medicine and a total of 59 years years in the health field, dating from 1910 when I received my diploma as a registered pharmacist in the state of Kansas.

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Jan. 27, 1896-Jan. 30, 1970

My brother, Eugene, was about six years my Junior. He attended the Lutheran School and the Leavenworth High School. He enrolled at the University of Kansas and after two years in the School of Medicine, left the University and began a tutelage under Professor Bruce for examinations to the Second Provisional Class for commission as a provisional officer in the regular army. After completing the course at Ft. Leavenworth, he was commissioned a provisional second lieutenant in the regular army and ordered to report to the commanding officer of the 12th U.S.A. cavalry stationed at Columbus, New Mexico. He saw no active duty in Europe during World War I. He transferred to the Chemical Warfare Service and was on active duty at Edgewood Arsenal and Washington, D.C. He was stationed at Ft. Omaha as Dept. C.W.S. Officer and later served on General McArthur's staff as CWS officer for the Phillipines at Manila.

Due to a heart condition as a result of a stretocicci infection, he was retired, but recalled within a year on active duty with the onset of World War II. He served on active duty at Edgewood Arsenal until peace was declared in 1945 and again retired in 1946. He spent the remaining years of his life in Washington, D.C., living at the Army and Navy Club. However, there was a peiod of several years after retirement that he lived in Kansas City. During this sojourn he was very active in Western Americana studies and activities. He joined several Historical Societies and did much research on the Santa Fe Trail and Oregon Trail.

His physical condition, due to heart failure, finally made it expedient to enter a convalescent home, which brought him to Kansas City in early 1969. However, his illness worsened and he died Jan. 30, 1970.

He was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for extraordinary service to the U.S.A. during World War II.

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