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The Schoeners At the Turn of the Century (20th)

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Every wonder what the family looked like more than 100 years ago? Well, let me turn back the clock to about 1903.

Front: Sarah, Arthur, Middle: William, Abner (on lap), Jennie, Back: Sadie, John, George

The photo above is only one I have ever seen of the family. I place it around 1903 or 1904 due to the approximate ages of the children, the youngest being Abner, born on 7 December 1902. It was also prior to 12 May 1906, when mother Sadie died of Addison's Disease.

In 1900, the family was residing at 339 W. Spruce Street, Mahanoy City, PA.

Presumably the photo was taken in their home and not in a photographer's studio. It is impossible to tell, though, whether the items might my personal items or props. I do not recognize any of them as they may have passed on to other family members or just into the dustbin.

However, if it was taken in their home, it interesting to note the piano. One of the most coveted household objects was a piano, which symbolized the middle-class values of the Victorian age, not only the virtues attributed to music, but also of home and family life, respectability, and a woman's place and duty. Music making and music appreciation became feminized. For a family to own a piano and to have its daughters play the instrument (whether or not they wanted to or had any musical talent), became an emblem of prosperity. It was a fashionable and convenient way to introduce a young lady to society and, if she was lucky, attract a wealthy husband. A piano cost $400 (about $13,000 in today's money) plus $5 (about $165) for the chair.

William, the family patriarch, worked in the family carpentry business with his father and uncle Charles. William would serve five years in his father’s Company of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, his term expiring in 1884. He was described as 5 feet, 8 ½ inches tall with a light complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. That same year he married Sarah Jane "Sadie" Morris, a school teacher.

They would have 8 children:

1. John Franklin, born 18 April 1887

2. William Moore, Jr., born 4 August 1888

3. George Morris, born 11 March 1890

4. Harold, born 18 Sep 1892

5. Jennie Mae, born 18 Jan 1896

6. Arthur Ebi, born 18 November 1897

7. Sarah Beatrice, born 10 January 1900

8. Abner Morris, born 7 December 1902

William, Jr. would die in July 1889 and Harold in May 1894.

By 1920 the entire family had left Mahanoy City. The family going in different directions. William Moore Schoener would move to Philadelphia and live with his youngest sons, Arthur and Abner. William and Abner would live with Sarah and her husband in 1930 and William would die 5 years later on 13 October 1935.

John Franklin Schoener would relocate to New Jersey and work as an office manager at Hackensack Hospital. He married Nellie Brill in Philadelphia, PA in 1912.

George Morris Schoener would move to Piqua, Ohio and then to Muskegan, Michigan and manage an F.W. Woolworth's store. He married Faith E. Stein on 24 June 1914 in Adrian, MI.

Jennie Mae Schoener married Clarence E. Barnett on 28 August 1918 and moved to North Wales, PA.

Arthur E. Schoener's story can be found in his own post here.

Sarah Beatrice Schoener married Samuel O. Patton in Philadelphia, PA in 1918. They would live in Upper Darby, PA.

Abner Morris Schoener married Dorothy E. Guiles on 6 June 1936 and lived in Lansdowne, PA. He worked for the Philadelphia National Bank.


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