Edward (named Eduard)



Edward grew up in Minnesota in the wilderness of Sibley County.  When he was only a year old his family fled with him from the Indians, who massacred a number of whites in nearby New Ulm.   His father and mother had moved to Minnesota from Philadelphia five years before. They had been seeking a better place to live for a long time.  Otto, Edward’s father, was born in Ettenheim, Kingdom of Baden, Germany, in 1822.  He was the son of Wilhelm’s second wife.  His forebears had lived in that region for many years.  There is still standing a cross near the Rhine that Bartolemeus Winterer had erected in 1768.  The family was of Alpine stock.  In the war between Baden and Prussia in the 1840’s, Otto had fought on the side of Baden.  After the war he moved to Alsace-Lorraine in 1845, but soon decided to emigrate to America.


Otto was a locksmith, but in Philadelphia he worked for the Baldwin Engineer works.  He sent for his sweetheart, red-haired Franceska Kolefrath, who also lived in Ettenheim.  They were married in Philadelphia in 1853, and in a few years moved to Minnesota.


Edward was their fourth child.  There were finally ten—Bertha, Herman, Emma, Edward, Will, Theresa, Louise, Henry, Otto and Charlie.  The family was Catholic, but drifted away from the religion, probably because they were far away from churches.


Edward was born on July 11, 1861, the year of the beginning of the Civil War.  His first tongue was German, and although he learned to speak English as soon as he went to school, he dreamed in German all his life.  He had a happy childhood with his many brothers and sisters.  There was always a close family attachment and a feeling of responsibility toward each other.


Life held great zest for Edward.  His thirst for knowledge was great all his life, and he took the keenest pleasure in learning.  All of the children seemed to have this same yearning for knowledge.  Bertha and Emma became school teachers.  Herman, then Edward and Louise became lawyers.  Louise practiced in New York City.  Henry became a farmer, and is still in North Dakota.


Edward earned his way through the University of Minnesota.  He walked seven miles from Minneapolis to St. Paul, sometimes in zero weather, to teach night classes.  He made many friends in college and enjoyed the fun.  He was a good punster.  Once when he came into the dining hall his friend McKenny called out, “Give us a pun, give us a pun.”  And right back he answered “I can’t make any.”  (McKenny)  He was graduated when he was 25 in an academic department.  For two years after that he was principal of schools in Valley City, North Dakota.  He looked very dignified in his frock coat and high silk hat.  Years later he put on the hat, and it fell down over his ears.


His brother Herman was a lawyer in Valley City, North Dakota.  The two were always very close.  Edward read law with him in the evening then returned to the University of Minnesota for a year and received a degree in law in 1890.  The brothers were partners until 1905.


When he was thirty he married Emogene, the prettiest, most fascinating girl he had ever known.  He wondered why she was terribly cross when she found out that the night before their wedding he had called on his former sweethearts in Minneapolis, and kissed them good-bye.  He was a handsome man, six feet tall, with a good figure. His hair and moustache were brown, and his eyes were a hazel color.


He and his brother Herman had much to do with the settling and developing of North Dakota.  Edward helped survey and lay out road beds for early railroad in the territory.  They bought land from the government for 25 cents an acre, then advertised in Scandinavian countries and Germany, and arranged immigrant transportation by boat and train for the new settlers.  Many of the inhabitants of North Dakota today are descendents of these immigrants.  Selling this land at $1.00 an acre made a fortune for these brothers. Edward had $100,000 when he moved to California, and in 1905 that was a lot of money.


He was always a leader.  He was States Attorney of Barnes County in North Dakota.  He was qualified to practice in many courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.  He limited his practice almost entirely to civil cases, and avoided criminal and divorce cases.  He had a reputation for complete honesty and integrity, and commanded the greatest respect from his colleagues and the bench.  He presented many papers before the State Bar Association.   He was always interested in the things that concern good citizenship.  He never held a political office, although he ran for State Senator in California in 1920.  He was a Republican.


He was a stirring speaker and was often called upon to give talks.  He was President of the Hollywood Board of Trade for a time, and President of the Federal of State and Provincial Societies.  He was a Mason, Master of the Hollywood Lodge and Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star.  He became a Shriner and a Knights Templar.  (Jerry and Kenneth) loved to dress up in his plumed hat and carry his sword when they were little boys.)


He and Emogene were members of the Current Events Club for thirty years and he was on the executive council of international relations.  They were Friends of the Intellectuals and Educators of Los Angeles. 


He planned to present ridge route from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and carried on a voluminous correspondence with the Highway Department in Sacramento, and published many articles in the Bakersfield and Hollywood papers to arouse interest in the route.  The old road was very winding and dangerous.  It was many years before his plan was used, and by that time some one else got most of the credit.


He liked to travel.  Once he had “brain fever” when he was still a young man, and the doctor advised a trip during his convalescence, so he and Emogene went to Alaska on the boat.  They saw Muir Glacier and the beautiful fiords and great forests, and came home refreshed.


1911 they went to Europe and traveled several months. They visited Greece, Algiers, Italy, France, Germany, England, Holland, Scotland and Ireland.  In Freiburg, Germany, he met a distant cousin, who was the burgomeister of the town, and the principal street was named Wintererstrasse.  In Ireland Edward hung by his heels and kissed the blarney stone, which may have accounted for his flattering tongue.


Years later they went to Hawaii and reveled in its tropic beauty.  One of his best poems is “Kilauea.”  One trip was to Central America and Cuba.  They went to New Zealand when we did in 1938, and then on to Australia.


He became a camera enthusiast, and took beautiful moving pictures of the places he saw, and of the colorful flowers.  He showed them over and over, and sometimes the family got tired seeing them.


He had a sentimental nature, and always thought the best about everybody.  He believed all women were fine and good, and practiced an old-fashioned chivalry toward them.  He was courteous and considerate, and expected others to return his consideration.  He was firm, but friendly with his children, and enjoyed bringing out their points of view in noisy arguments.  These discussions usually took place at the dinner table, and when I first became one of the family, they frightened me terribly, but I finally realized they enjoyed this rough and tumble conversation, and weren’t really mad at each other.


He loved having his family all together, especially on holidays.  In North Dakota Christmas had been a lavish day when Herman’s family of four girls and Edward’s family of four boys were together.  He gave beautiful extravagant presents to all of us, and the little children were showered with toys.  Somehow he had a knack of always choosing the right toys for their age.  From the age of rattles and dolls on up to typewriters and cameras.  He was a generous person, especially with his children.  He always made us feel that whatever was his belonged to the whole family, and he liked to share.