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Marie Steinmetz

See below for the small roots story.

L to R: Marie Alma and Charles.


Catherine, Marie and Fred Steinmetz.

Below is a short story of the Steinmetz family as told by Marie Steinmetz in 1980. She names it Small Roots

Small Roots

Facts remembered by Marie

January 1980

“Small Roots” dedicated to Joseph O’Brien (on request)

Dear Relatives:

On one of Fred’s trips to Europe he spent some time in Heidelburg looking the lineage of the family, some distant cousin was a General Von Steinmetz and he initiated and inaugurated the order of Army Divisions and the way they are organized.  The U.S. uses the same order today.

My father Francis George Steinmetz, came to America as a tourist, when he was 16 years old.  He had five sisters, three in America and Frendsdorf, German,

several miles from Bamberg, Bavaria.  His sisters did not want their brother to be drafted into the Army of the Kaiser.  One sister was a Barbara Goldbach, another Mary Fischer and the third Annie Desch, and they were so fond of their brother.  The Goldbach family were especially cordial, and we had many Sunday night suppers with them.  They had a large four story brick row house in South Baltimore, near S. Broadway, a two story brick stable, with a fancy carriage and horse.  The kitchen and dining room for the family was in the basement, with a large formal dining room on the first floor, and I remember how impressed I was with the dumb waiter.  Leo Goldbach was a very successful builder, and my brother Leo was named after him.  Leo Goldbach Jr. was a prominent Eye, Ear and Nose Specialist associate of Johns Hopkins Hospital.  He married Gertrude Brehm of the Brehms Brewery.  (millionaires)

Papa loved ships and the water so much he induced his sisters to give him $500.00 and he bought a large sailing vessel, he sailed down the Chesapeake to North Carolina to pick up lumber and freight it back to Baltimore.  Some of the blocks make from this lumber surrounded Eutaw and Daratoga Streets and around the Ford Theater they were removing them 15 years ago, at last they were finding some of the remains.  The total crew on this sailing vessel were my father and a black man, on the last trip they made they had to swim miles for their lives and papa owed his life to the back man.  They were caught in a severe storm and the boat capsized, the black man had the strength to save my father.  Later, my father married my mother.  She was 20 and my father was 28.  They bought 419 W. Lexington Street, stocked it with hardware.  They lived above the store.

Besides the hardware store, papa worked at night for the Baltimore Gas & Light Co.  He helped to invent and build gas meters.  My parents Uncle Jake walked a cow from Bonneyville to Baltimore 45 miles and that was the start of a very thriving dairy business for my mother.  She was delivering milk and daily products from that one cow all over Baltimore.  She bought wholesale and sold retail.  The dairy business was as big as the hardware business, they had to choose between the two.  I think my father wanted to get five hardware stores for the five brothers; he bought two more stores 605 S. Broadway for John, 115 for Otto and Joe.  When John was 35 he sold his store for $38,000 and retired.  He put all his money in a B&L took control.  He later lost his life at 49 over this.  None of the boys wanted the stores.  We were a different sort of family we didn’t want to work for anyone and none of us ever did too much of that.  I went to 23 schools, not counting 2 in Fla.  Two in Calif 4 yrs hi school.  I studied Lib Arts and Interior Decorating at Md. Int.  I decorated one house in Hollywood in 1924 for $00.  I took my money and ran, and never dec again, even my own home.  I studied short hand and typing; had one job for a month, my mother said she couldn’t afford to have me working for anybody for $25.00 a week.

Next 419 was one of the most ex. Dept. stores in the city.  Julius Gutman, papa traded with them, mama and I could buy any thing we wanted and did.  Papa got a bill every six months, and he would be shocked, but we got away with it.

My maternal grandmother Catherine Cadori Staub came to this country when she was 19 from Alsace Lorraine which had been fought over many years by the French and Germans.  It was French in my grandmothers time and grandfather too.  When he was 17 he was drafted into the French Legion.  He fought in Africa against the Mohammodians and the stores he told the children were terrible, and he was anxious to get away from that.  When he came back from Africa he married my grandmother, they planned to come to America under the patronage of any uncle Cadori, but she became with child and they had to defer immigrating until the baby was born and when the baby was 6 mo. Old they sailed West.  Before embarking they were required to have so many pounds of dried food, dried apples (schnitzel and meat and beans).  These shy backward children were confronted with big strong barbarians, they couldn’t fight their way to the hearts (in the hold of the ship) to cook their food, and the baby died and was buried at sea.  The captain would lock the people in the hold of the vessel, and tell them to prepare to die, they were so mean and rough.  When they arrived in Gettysburg, they had their home and that is where my mother was born, Jan 12th, 1856.  My grandfather was 6 mo. less than the draft age for the Civil War, he wouldn’t tell a lie, went to war with the grace of God lived to tell the tale.

My mother spoke a little French and Penn. Dutch, for which my father made fun of her, he called it low German, he spoke the Kaisers German.  Papa talked with an accent, when I was a child it embarrassed me.   He couldn’t pronounce his V’s they were W’s with him my dress was welwet.

The Cadori farm was taken over by the Govt at the time of the Civil War.  The soldiers came to the house, and told to pack the wagon and move North to Carlisle for the duration.  Mama was four years old and she remembered when Lincoln gave his address at Gettysburg.  After the war when they came home their home was riddled with bullits, and all the preserves, hams and staples were cleaned out.  The Govt. reimbursed them.  Their uncle was a wealthy landowner, and owned many houses.  The one in which mama was born was taken over by the govt. and it is kept in beautiful shape, we enjoyed being there two years ago.  When mama was 18 she came fro the farm to Baltimore, she kept house for a French Prof. and his teacher wife.  She cooked and ran their house for a year, then met and married my father in Gettysburg.

Papa and mama made many trips to Europe. The ships at that time were small, (first class and steerage) they call steerage swish a deck, and mama would hate it when papa would go below and look at the steerage people  The cabins in first class were small, mama put her coat on and told papa to get up and get dressed while she was waling the deck, she came back shortly and found he was still in bed.  She started to fuss with him but he wouldn’t budge.  It wasn’t until she failed to see her clothes, that she was in the wrong cabin with the wrong man, was she embarrassed.  On another trip they went to Munich, where papa sister’s husband was a tailor at the Court, and papa insisted that mama have a Court dress.  She didn’t want it but she got it anyway.  It cost $100.00 and took several weeks to make.  It was black fitted princess style, soft silk taffeta with a long train, and yards of black jet beading.  I have her picture, taken in 1914 in San Francisco, when she went to the Worlds Fair.  When they came home from Europe they had many willow hampers filled with lines, dirndls, red socks, clothes and hardware.  I hated the red socks and dirndls.  The children in school made fun of my imported clothing.

Their last trip to Europe was around 1907 and I was going to St. Mary’s in Leonardtown, Southern Md.  Cecilia and Anna came in June to bring my home.  Anna was about 17 and Cecelia 22.  They were the two most beautiful girls in the world.  We had 2 or 3 days sailing up the Chesapeake, and I still remember Point Lookout where the Bay joins the sea.  I stood on a chair and looked out the porthole and sang in a sad voice Point Out where mama went.  After this Thos. Callahan Sr. was courting my sister Anna and my brother Joe had a large sailing yacht named “The Anna C”.  It had a 10 ft. keel.  We had to have a dingy in back, and keep it quite some distance, moored in a stake from the club.  One weekend my sisters and Tom and Joe baby sitting with me on the boat, the head was inoperative, and I was presented with a bucket, which wasn’t acceptable.  I carried on until Tom rigged up the dingy and rowed me to the Club, and that was how sweet he was to everyone.

When Papa and Mama were married they bought 419 and lived about the store.  When mama decided to go into the dairy business they bought 212 N. Green St. It was a good neighborhood and the house had three stories and a stable, all brick.  During the war we had a tenant by the name of Lincoln living in one of the apts.  She was a Hitleright.  Must have been 4 or 5 of us that went to get the rent.  I know Fred was there, Anna, Joan and I.  About 1942 the tenant was all for Hitler, I hope we didn’t offer any encouragement, but we did have repercussions, as it was all recorded.  The tenant did have a beautiful monkey and I did want Joan Marie to see that monkey.  When pa and ma moved there it was a high class neighborhood, just several blocks from the Old University of Md. Hospital and School.  All the doctors and dentists in this vicinity.  We had a Dr. Crimm for a neighbor and papa treaded with him, in other words he cared for the family and papa furnished him household goods hardware, etc.

Several years before I was born, my mother complained of a Harbor smell, they hitched up the horses and drove 10 miles north to the country.  They purchased one acre in No Where Land.  Leo Goldbach quite a house 3 stories high and a 2 story stable, 1 bathroom, and artesian well and many fruit and nut trees. In the stable we had a horse and an automobile, one time it was an Olds another time a Stanley Steamer.  One of the cars we got in the rear and had to go up steps.  I was so afraid of this contraption.  I would stand and scream.  This car had to be pushed home too many times.  I was always afraid of things blowing up.  One time on Joe’s boat the stove did catch on fire and Joe picked the whole thing up, carried up the steps to the deck and threw the whole thing overboard and I never got over that.

The house in the country was too far away in the winder and they rented it for 2 years the tenants name was McFee.  I think they abused the house so we moved back permanently.  We had electricity and a telephone and Fred always had his wireless.  The boys occupied the third floor.  One time I was trapped in a closet under the roof up there and that was a horrible experience.  I screamed and yelled a half hour, before I was heard.  Mama had to have a porch build all around one side of the house and I can still remember, as a child, when I was in bed all the members of my family, coming home on cold snowy winter night one by one stomping the snow off their hoes all around the porch.

I went there last summer and they have it “For Sale”.  There are 10 apartments, it is over $100,000.  We lived in front of the Macruders and along side of the Hiss’s, two of the biggest communists in America.

Fred cut the Macruder’s grass they had a younger son dressed like Lord Fauntleroy, and he is the one that turned to be the commy.  I suppose you read the books, maybe you are too young to remember.

Now Joseph the next time you ask some one for the lineage of their family you better give it a little consideration, you might get more than what you bargained for.

Best love