Overview / Summary

Brief History of Schumann Scheel Home and Parkland

By Clarence A. Scheel

The Schumann Scheel Home is located at 10565 Old Cimarron Trail in Converse. The land where the home is located was part of a 1476 acre ranch, known as the Converse Ranch, which Major James Converse, Chief Superintendent and Engineer for the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Rail way Company and the founder of the City of Converse, had purchased in 1877. James Converse sold his ranch to Edward Hall in 1882. Anton Otto Schumann, born near New Braunfels on 3 January 1875, purchased 120 acres of that land from Hall on January 11, 1900.

Anton immediately began his quest to settle on the land. He initially built a barn to house his buggy. That building still exists and is now known as the Buggy House. After completing the Buggy House, Anton used his excellent carpenter skills, which he had honed as a young man while building homes in New Braunfels, to construct his own home, now known as the Schumann Scheel Home, on his 120 acre Converse farm. Upon completing the central part of the home, Anton married Ida Augusta Siebold on 22 January 1901 and they began their married life in their new home. Ida was born near Magdeburg, Germany on 22 September 1877 and had immigrated to Texas with her parents when she was 12 years old. Between 1901 and 1912, Anton finished building his home at which time it looked essentially as it does today.

Through hard work and careful saving, Anton and Ida were able to add to their original 120 acre farm by purchasing 70 acres of land, adjacent to their 120 acre tract, in 1908 and an additional adjacent 104 acres in 1909. This resulted in a total of 294 acres, all of which had been part of the 1476 acre James Converse Ranch. Their farm was roughly L-shaped. It extended from the Union Pacific Railroad, north along Old Cimarron Trail to the northern Converse boundary with Universal City, then west to Schumann Road, then south along Schumann Road, encompassing the entire Rolling Creek Subdivision, then east along the northern boundary of Unit 5 Cimarron Valley Subdivision, south again, encompassing the entire present day Cimarron Landing Subdivision, to the Union Pacific Railroad where it crosses Salatrillo Creek, then east along the Union Pacific Railroad to the point of beginning.

Anton and Ida Schumann had 6 children, born between 1902 and 1912 in the Schumann Scheel Home. After marriage, four of their children settled elsewhere on farms which Anton and Ida had acquired, while two remained in Converse. Younger Son Milton and his wife Gertrude and their young family initially lived with Anton and Ida until they built their own home on present day Schumann Road during the early 1940s. Milton's son, Melvin "Red" Schumann, was a long time Fire Chief of the Converse Volunteer Fire Department and has a pavilion in Converse City Park named after him. Milton eventually acquired roughly half of Anton and Ida's 294 acre Converse Farm, which is now the Rolling Creek Subdivision. Youngest Daughter, Mary Hildegard (who was a twin to Edna Carolina), and her husband, Adolph Joseph Scheel, acquired the Schumann Scheel Home and the other half of the land which is now the Cimarron Landing Subdivision, the Scheel Farms Subdivision, and the future park.

Anton Schumann was a very progressive farmer for his time. He was one of the first farmers in the Converse area to terrace his land. Anton purchased his own transit that he used to lay out the terraces and used mules and a scraper (grader) to build the terraces. (The original mule drawn scraper has been saved and will be on display at the Converse History Museum.) Since a large part of his farm was on steep hill sides, the terraces reduced erosion and allowed him to more effectively use the land for cultivation. Even though Anton or his two sons, Herbert and Milton, never attended high school or college, they were very active with the Texas A&M Extension Service and displayed their farm products and farming techniques at the Texas State Fair in Dallas during the 1920’s. During the regular school summer break at Converse Rural School, Herbert and Milton would attend classes at Texas A&M College in College Station.

Anton and his two sons worked hard on the farm, raising cotton, corn, oats, wheat, hay, sugar cane for making molasses, and broom corn, among others. They also raised hogs for butchering , milk cows for milk, cream and butter, and chickens for meat and eggs. Ida always had a large vegetable garden and fruit orchard which provided fresh vegetables and fruit for immediate use and to can for future use. The entire family participated in the fall butchering and the molasses making process. During winter months when farm work

slowed down, Anton hand-made household brooms using the broom corn which he had raised. Brooms and excess produce, molasses, eggs and butter were sold to the general store in Converse—initially at Simon and Borgfeld General Store, which was located on the site where the Converse Fire Station No 1 is now located, and later at Gold and Rhodius General Store.

Just as Anton and Ida had accumulated land early in their married life, they continued to purchase additional land such that they were able to gift 100 acre farms to each of their six children and retain several hundred acres for themselves which their estate sold to family members. Through hard work, Anton and Ida became quite affluent for their time. They were some of the first members of the Converse community to purchase an automobile. In about 1913, they purchased a Pullman automobile which they used as the family's transportation until the 1920’s when they bought a Buick sedan. This served their needs until the early 1940’s when they bought their third and final car, a Nash coupe. During the 1920’s they also bought a Ford stake bed truck. Anton saved the license plates for all of his cars, dating from his first car in 1913 through 1949 when he died. His son-in-law Adolph J. Scheel continued the license collection through 1977 when he displayed the complete collection at the Centennial celebration of the City of Converse. That license plate collection will be on display in Converse History Museum.

Ida Siebold Schumann died in on 3 March 1947 and Anton died on 8 September 1949. Upon his death, their daughter, Mary Hildegard and her husband, Adolph Joseph Scheel, purchased the family home (Schumann Scheel Home) and 44 acres of land from Anton's estate. Mary and Adolph moved their large family of 11 children into the home. Mary and Adolph and their family continued to operate the farm, along with the 104 acre neighboring farm which her parents had gifted to Mary in 1942, until Mary's death in 2000. Adolph continued operating a very successful custom hay baling operation, and raised a large flock of sheep and a large herd of beef cattle which he had already begun prior to relocating to the Schumann Scheel Home. Adolph also started a small, but very successful cattle feed lot, for fattening his own calves for sale, feeding grains he had harvested on his various farms.

Similar to Mary's parents, Anton and Ida Schumann, Mary and Adolph, through hard work and sound business practices, also accumulated approximately 1000 acres of land, after starting with basically nothing but four mules, a farm wagon and a Model A Roadster in 1933 when they married and began life together as share croppers on 104 acres owned by her parents.

In 2000, the Texas Department of Agriculture honored the Anton O. Schumann Farm with a Family Land Heritage Plaque. This Century Farm honor is given to any family whose farm, or parts thereof, has been in continuous ownership by the same family within Texas for at least 100 years. At that time, Anton had owned the farm for 49 years from 1900 until 1949. Anton’s daughter, Mary, and her husband Adolph, owned the farm from 1949 until 2000 when Mary died. Adolph then owned the farm until he died in 2008. Adolph and Mary Schumann Scheel’s 10 children then inherited the farm and owned it until they sold some of the land for the Scheel Farms Subdivision and, at Adolph's request before he died, donated 17.39 acres of parkland and the Schumann Scheel Home for a Converse History Museum to the City of Converse in 2015. The Family Land Heritage Plaque will be on display in the Schumann Scheel Home.

The accomplishments of Anton Otto and Ida Augusta Siebold Schumann and Adolph Joseph and Mary Hildegard Schumann Scheel demonstrate what hard work, ambition and the desire to achieve will produce. They were highly respected within their church parishes of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Selma and St. Monica Catholic Church in Converse, and within the Community of Converse.

Note: This article transcribed from Page 5 of the City of Converse newsletter:


Overview / Summary