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Alfred Schlatter;
My Grandfather Schlatter's Brother

In the family "stuff" that my mother had when she died were three letters, an obituary, a small handwritten note, and a lock of hair all pertaining to Alfred Schlatter whom she identified as the brother of my grandfather, Adolph Schlatter.

Here are photos and details.


Fred Schlatter's Death

In my mother's possession when she died were three letters -- one from Fred Schlatter (Alfred) and two from a person who appears to be his landlady in Long Island.  I attempted to scan these letters and insert them into this article.  However, the old ink on the letters was faded and the scanned images were not very good quality.  In lieu of images of the letters, I have inserted transcripts of the letters -- I read each letter and transcribed the contents.

First letter

The first letter is dated September 25, 1905.  Letter is written by Fred Schlatter to the Postmaster, Senatobia, Mississippi. In the letter, Fred Schlatter tells the Postmaster that he is looking for his brother who may be known by the name John or Adolf Schlatter who is a baker.

 The postmaster replies with Adolf Schlatter’s address in Senatobia.

 

 Address:-

Fred Schlatter
167 Bay Ave
Patchogue
Long Island, N.Y.

 Patchogue, N. Y.
Sept. 25th, 1905

Postmaster:

P. O. Senatobia, Miss 

Dear Sir:

            Please be so kind and let me know if you know of a man in or about your town by the name of John or Adolf Schlatter, Backer (sic.) by trade.  Enclose stamp for answer, and thank you for it in advance.

 Yours Very Truly,

Fred Schlatter

 

 On the back page of the letter is a note written by Fred Schlatter and a reply by the postmaster.


(Fred's -- handwriting.)
This would be my brother and I would like to know where he is.

 (Postmaster's handwriting.) 

Mr. Adolph Schlatter
is here engaged
in the baking business.

 

Yours truly,
John C. Clifton, PM
Senatobia, Miss.

 

 

Second Letter

This letter is dated October 19, 1905.  Letter is from “Mrs. M. L. G.” to “Mr. Schlatter.” 

“Mrs. M. L. G.” is Mrs. Miller Gordon, Bay Street, Patchogue, Long Island, NY.

“Mr. Schlatter” is Adolph Schlatter, Senatobia, Mississippi. 

Adolf Schlatter’s brother Fred (Alfred Schlatter) was living with Miller Gordon and apparently was in failing health.  See earlier letter from Fred Schlatter to Postmaster, Senatobia, MS, inquiring about an address for his brother Adolf.

 

 Dear Brother:

 Patchogue L. I.
Oct. 19, ‘05

Mr. Schlatter,

 

            Dear Sir,

 Fred received your very kind letter Mon.  he was so delighted to get it also the lovely present you sent in your letter, it will come in very nicely as he has not worked in so long a time, so has very little means. 

He would like very much to have written himself but is too weak to do it, I told him to write dear Bro. so you would be sure things were all right.   

He has not been quite as well for the last two or three days.  The Dr. came this A. M. & said he had quite some fever & when that went down he would feel better.

 I am very sorry to be obliged to say that poor Fred is not able to come to you, he would surely come if he was stronger.  The Dr. says the lower part of his left lung is affected. 

I will try & keep you posted as to his condition.  If any thing serious should happen we would send you a telegram.  You can rest assured that your Bro. is having the best of care, we could not do less as he is a dear good boy & always did what he could for me.

 He boarded with me about four years ago, while working in the lumber yard, so he seems like one of the family.

 Would be pleased to hear from you often, will not write more now.

 

Yours truly, 

Mrs. M. L. G.

 

 

Third Letter

 This is the transcription of a four-page letter, written on the front and back of two sheets of lined paper.

 Letter is dated November 28, 1905, from “Mrs. M. L. Gordon,” of Patchogue, Long Island. 

The letter is written to Adolph Schlatter and advises him of the death of his brother Fred at the Miller’s home.  Accompanying the letter is a newspaper obituary notice of Fred Schlatter’s death.

 

 

Patchogue, L. I.

Nov. 28 – ‘05

 Dear Friend,

 I fully intended to write to you today, and before I did so your letter arrived so I will not wait another minute.

 I expected to write all the particulars right away but in the first place we thought perhaps you might possible be able to come on, then when you did not come we surely thought you would write, and so we have both been waiting for the other, I can’t tell you how very sorry I am to have kept you waiting so long, but I trust you will forgive me.

 Now I will tell you about your dear brother.  We knew he was gradually failing and he did too, but the last week he failed very rapidly.

 He was in bed only seven days.  He grew weaker & weaker each day & finally passed away very easily.  Thurs. night when Mr. Gordon came home I asked Fred if he knew him & he said no then I asked him if he knew who I was & he said “sure” & I said who am I Fred & he said Emily & that I am very sure was the last thing he tried to say.  He could not take any nourishment or medicine through the night, about twelve o’clock a change came & in minutes of xxxx (Fred) he passed away.

 He told the minister he was ready to go & that the Saviour was precious to him, so as far as we know he was ready to go.

 He was a very patient sufferer, never complaining.  I asked him if he was in any pain & he said no only so weak.  He had three or four hemorages (sic.) of the bowels.

 For about a week he could not talk loud & in fact did not talk much anyway.  I think it was because it made him cough.  The Dr. said he did all he could for him & I am sure we did all we could for the dear boy.  I told him I thought the Lord had sent him for me to take care of & I was so glad he did, it was a great pleasure for me to be able to care for him in his last hours although it was a very sad ordeal to go through, to see a man so young wasting away as he did, but it did not seem as though he had much to live for, all alone as he was & going around from place to place.

He was certainly very grateful for all we did for him.

We had plenty of room in our plot so had him laid there we thought it would not look so lonesome as it would to place him alone somewhere. 

He belonged to two Orders so that was a great help to him.  We attended to his business affairs made a will &c & left what he had to us. 

He had not worked for so long that he had used up most all he had, but of course the lodges gave him enough to pay all expenses, so there is nothing for you to do unless you feel like getting him a head stone, of course we expect to get it but I thought the last thing you could do for him you might be glad to do it.

 He did not leave any word or letter to be sent to you, as you thought perhaps he might. 

I wish I had his picture to send to you, but he said he only had it taken once, to give to his Father.  I will send you the letter he wrote to the Postmaster that may be some comfort to you.  Am glad you think of coming to see (The following is written in the top margin of the second sheet.) us, hope nothing will prevent your doing so.  It would almost seem like seeing poor Fred, you don’t know how much I do miss him, he used to be so king to me I never shall forget him.  Mr. Gordon & I expected to go down to New Suffolk to spend Thanksgiving with his brother we were going tonight but it is very stormy & I don’t know as we can go, but will have to wait till tomorrow.  We are going to riverhead to see about Fred’s things also.  Hoping to hear from you again I remain your resp.  Mrs. M. L. Gordon.

 


 

Alfred Schlatter's obituary notice (Name is incorrectly listed as "Frederick.")

There is no date on this obituary.  The letter from Mrs. M. L. Gordon is dated 28 November 1905 and appears to have been written a few days after Fred's death.

Note accompanying the obituary

This note -- which I assume is from Mrs. M. L. Gordon -- states:  " This is a lock of Fred's hair & a flower from a beautiful cross the Odd Fellows gave him.  He had very pretty flowers. "

Fred Schlatter's Hair

In the note from Fred's landlady written to Fred's brother Adolph, after Fred's death, the landlady writes: " This is a lock of Fred's hair & a flower from a beautiful cross the Odd Fellows gave him.  He had very pretty flowers. " 

In my mother's possession at the time of her death was a small, rusted metal box containing a scrap of brown kraft paper torn from an envelope, and, several locks of what appeared to be human hair.  I had no idea where the hair came from until I read this note from Fred's landlady.  This must be the lock of Fred's hair to which the landlady refers in her note.  Apparently she snipped a lock of his hair after his death and sent the hair to his brother Adolph.  I have the hair in my family records file.  the brown object on the left is the scrap of paper in which the hair was wrapped.


 

Fred Schlatter in the 1900 Census

Using Ancestry.com, I searched the US census records.  Note in the letter above dated 19 October 1905, Mrs. M. L. Gordon states:  " He boarded with me about four years ago, while working in the lumber yard, so he seems like one of the family."  If Fred boarded with the Gordon's "about four years ago," this means he boarded with them around 1901.  Allowing for approximate dates, I searched the 1900 federal census records for New York and found " Fred Schlatter, Boarder "

 

This is a page from the 1900 census for Islip Township, Suffolk County, New York.  Fred Schlatter appears at the bottom of the page as a "boarder."  Here is an enlarged view of his entry.

The bottom line reads, in part:  Fred Schlatter, Boarder, W(hite), M(ale), born April 1873, S(ingle), parents born in Switzerland, he was born in Switzerland, he works as a "Poultryman," he can read, write, and speak English.

I believe this is my grandfather's brother Fred.

  •  According to the letter from his landlady, he lived with her "about four years ago" -- which would have been 1901.  This is the 1900 census.

  •  According to the letter from his landlady, when he lived with her he worked "at the lumber yard." The 1900 census says he was a "poultryman."  Of course, he could have changed jobs between 1900 and 1901.

  •  Fred's obituary says he was 30 years old when he died, which puts his birth date approximately 1875.  His death certificate places his birth date in April 1873.  Census says 1873.  I'll go with the death certificate and the census.  Besides, 1873 to 1875 is not a big discrepancy.

  •  This census is of Islip Township, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY.  Fred's letter and his landlady's letters came from "Patchouge, LI" -- a community in Suffolk County, LI, NY.

  •  The landlady in 1905 is Mrs. M. L. Gordon.  On this census form, the head of the household -- who would have been the landlord/landlady, is named MacKenzie, NOT Gordon.  Of course, Fred could have lived with the MacKenzie's in 1900, then, moved to live with the Gordon's in 1901.

Alfred Schlatter's Apprenticeship Contract

Later -- in early March 2010 -- I was reviewing a document that was in my mother's possession when she died in March 2007.   This document is an apprenticeship contract between the father of Alfred Schlatter and a master of some sort in Switzerland.  This document reinforces my conclusion that Adolph Schlatter's brother was named Alfred.  I scanned the contract and placed it on a separate page because of its length.

Alfred (Fred) Schlatter's Death Certificate

In early March 2010, I tracked Fred Schlatter down to Brookhaven, NY.  I telephoned the town clerk's office and they told me how to request a death certificate.  On 19 March, I received a copy of his death certificate.

Notes about this death certificate.

  •  At the top of the certificate are two lines -- Date of Burial and Date of Record.  This information does not pertain to Fred -- apparently when they copied Fred's death certificate they copied the bottom of the preceding certificate.

  •  The Place of Burial is blank.

  •  Undertaker's name is C. W. RULAND.  There is a  Ruland Funeral Home in Patchogue that has been in business since 1856.  I talked with them but their records from 1905 are not complete and they had no record of Fred.

  •  Note that he died of tuberculosis and was ill from 1 September to 27 October 1905; he died on 27 October.

  •  His age in October 1905 is 32 years, 6 month, which puts his date of birth around April 1873.  This is supported by other information and documents.

  •  His name is listed here as Frederick.  However, other evidence confirms that his name was Alfred.  Perhaps he called himself Frederick.

  •   He is listed as a LABORER, he is SINGLE; and, his place of birth is Switzerland.

  •   His death was reported by Miller L. Gordon, which is the same name that appears on the letters from his landlady.

Alfred Schlatter's gravesite

When I talked with the folks at Ruland Funeral Home, they told me to contact the office of the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Patchogue.  I did so and have now learned that Alfred Schlatter is buried there, in the Miller family plot -- which is what Mrs. Miller said in her last letter to my grandfather (letters are in this article, above).  His headstone is inscribed with his name, Alfred Schlatter, and the dates 1873-1905.  In the cemetery records was a copy of the bill for Alfred's funeral:

 

 Oct 30 Millard Gordon
 Funeral of Alfred Schlatter

 Paid
 Nov 20

 For coffin    $30.00
 Embalming    $7.50
 Hearse            $5.00
 2 stages           $6.00
 Open grave     $2.50
 Permit              $0.25
                       $51.25

 Section R-3

 

I understand all the entries in this bill except for the "2 stages" -- which may have been carriages for the family to ride in, or, to carry flowers.

In April 2010 I wrote a letter to the editor of the Long Island Advance newspaper seeking information about Alfred.  On 22 April I received an email from a Mr. Robert Garcia in Patchogue, NY.  He saw my letter, went to the cemetery, and photographed Alfred's headstone.

Frederick or Alfred

Note that the obituary above lists his name as Frederick Schlatter.  I searched Ellis Island immigrant records for Frederick Schlatter who fit the age and origin of my grandfather's brother Fred but found none.  Instead, I found Alfred Schlatter who matched the age and national origin of Fred Schlatter. 

Ellis Island Immigrant Information

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 for year 1890. 

Schlatter, Alfred
Age:  17
Occupation:  Workman
Origin:  Switzerland
Destination:  New York

 Ship manifest shows Alfred Schlatter, age 17, entered the port of New York on 1 April 1890.  He is a Swiss citizen bound for New York and is a “workman.”   ( If he was 17 in 1890, his birth date is 1873. )

 "Frederick Schlatter," Adolph's brother who died in 1905, was listed in the obituary as being 30 years old, which would place his birth date in 1875.  Alfred Schlatter's birth date is 1873 -- the discrepancy between 1873 and 1875 is negligible.  I have no way of knowing the source of information for the newspaper obituary, however, I suspect the information came from the landlady and may not be accurate.

Alfred's Apprenticeship Contract

As described above and on another page, among the family items my mother had was an apprenticeship contract in which Alfred Schlatter was apprenticed to ????? in Switzerland from 1889 to 1891.

I conclude, then, that Adolph's brother was named Alfred, he was born in 1873, and he immigrated to the US in 1890.

Schlatter Family Registers from Switzerland

The question of Alfred's name was settled when I received copies of the Swiss Family Registers for Alfred's parents, my great-grandparents:  Alfred Schlatter was born 8 April 1873

Conclusion

At the end of this process, what do we know about Alfred Schlatter, brother of my grandfather, John Adolph Schlatter? 

He was born in Switzerland, possibly in Oberglatt, 8 April 1873. 

He was apprenticed to a master in an unknown trade or craft in April 1889 for a period of two years.  He left the apprenticeship after one year and emigrated to the US.

The Alfred Schlatter who entered the US on 1 April 1890 no doubt is my grandfather's brother.  His age -- 17 -- places his birth date in 1873.  He is from Switzerland. 

There is a Fred Schlatter, boarder, in a residence in Islip, LI, in the 1900 census who was born 1873 in Switzerland.  While there are discrepancies between his occupation and the landlord's name as described in the census and as described in the letter from the landlady, these are minor and can be explained.

Alfred Schlatter died in Long Island, NY, on 27 October 1905. We know this man is Adolph's brother because of the letters from Fred and his landlady.  According to the obituary, he was 30 years old, which places his birth in 1875.  However, the death certificate gives his age as 32 years, 6 months, in October 1905, which places his birth date in April 1873. 

Here's an interesting thought.  Adolph and Emma had three sons, the youngest of whom was named Frederick Reinhold Schlatter -- born 1921, Shaw MS, died 2010, Knoxville, TN -- he likely was named for Adolph's TWO brothers, Alfred (the subject of this article ) and Reinhold, subject of another article.

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