If I were allowed to meet one person from my family who passed on before I was born, it would be a tough call, but I believe I would pick my great-grandmother, Aloisia (Knaus) Schupfer. Aloisia, who died in the 1930's, exemplified the tough pioneer spirit of the women who settled the western United States in the 1800's. As my mom Beverly (another great woman) told me once, the men moved west, but the women settled it. Or again, that the men got the idealistic impulse to "Go West", but it was then up to their practical wives to make it work. Admittedly, these views are from a female standpoint, but I think there is a great deal of truth to them, and they are very wise and perceptive observations.
This webblog is dedicated to preserving the memory of someone I consider to be truly great. Like most great people, however, she was not famous, or rich, or well-connected, so her story was never recorded. So often we forget that nations are built by the working people, not by the powerful who get the credit in the history texts. Aloisia came to America in her early middle age, leaving behind an idyllic existence in the Austrian Alps marred only by the fact that she was an old maid, and came to a wild, new land inhabited at the time primarily by Nez Perce Indians and a few white people. Farming on the banks of the Little Clearwater River with her husband Matthias, she befriended everyone and raised her three children alone after being abandoned by her husband shortly after the turn on the century. Despite the fact that she never learned to speak English well, she did her best, and continued to read her German newspapers and books up to the time of her death. She raised her three children to be proud, hard-working Americans, who though they hadn't even the slightest hint of an accent, could still launch into the archaic dialect of Austrian Steiermark with ease. One of her granddaughters, my mother, remembers her well, and helped a great deal writing this illustrated biography. Sadly, though Aloisia loved Austria, she never had a chance to go back. She is buried in the Juliaetta Cemetery in Juliaetta, Idaho, only a stone's throw from her old homestead, which still stands.
Please feel free to make comments on the stories in this blog. I'd especially like to hear from fellow Idahoans and anyone in Austria.
Ammon, Idaho, USA
To read this blog, you must start at the end and read forwards, as it was posted in that order. Start with intro, then chapter one, etc. This is easy to do by clicking the chapter headings.