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Henrietta Schwendener
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AMELIA HENRIETTA SCHWENDENER

Amelia Henrietta Schwendener was born May 15, 1867. My relatives tell me she was born in Gallon, Switzerland, but a check of LDS records show a number of persons with her name being born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, so I suspect that is the real name of the city and her name was common in the area.

My aunt's records indicate that she came to the United States at age 15 with a sister and brother, Robert. Other relatives tell me that there was a third (older) brother named Henry and the sister's name was Emily Marie. After they were established, they sent for their mother and father to come to America. The parents were called, "grossemama" and "grossepapa".

Like Willie Wurth, she settled in Enterprise, Kansas, but if she knew Willie back then, she must have not had her eye on him. She first married Fred Bidwell with whom she had three children. Apparently things did not work out well with Fred and she divorced Fred and married Willie Wurth in 1900.

I remember my great-grandmother, although she died when I was only ten. I remember visiting her home in Leeds several times. It was built by Willie Wurth and was a typical shirtwaist type house that was two or two and one-half stories tall. At that time she shared the house with one or two of her daughters and I recall that they always had a large garden.

My mother says that she never really accepted some of the modern things that came along. For years, she cooked on a big, blue, I believe, wood burning stove. Even though they bought a modern stove, she still preferred cooking on the wood stove I remember her talking about that.

Apparently, she was able to accept the telephone as long as it was not too complicated. When telephones first came along there was no rotary dial, so the phone company had a large number of operators who literally connected your call to the proper line manually. Her daughter from her first husband, Lola, was one of the operators. As long as she could just pick up the phone and ask for someone, she was fine, but when the rotary dial came along, the telephone was beyond her, so my mother says. My mother still reminisces about her grandmother picking up the phone and saying: "Lolie, get me Babe." Babe, of course, was her daughter (my grandmother).

The house that my great-grandfather built no longer stands and the Leeds neighborhood really is no more, certainly not the way it was in the first half of the 20th century. I am not sure why it declined, but It was decimated by the flood of 1950 and several large businesses, particularly, General Motors, came to dominate that area.

My great-grandmother died on September 4, 1952, and she is buried in Brooking Cemetery in Raytown, Missouri.