Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 268-70.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Fred Schaller

Among the enterprising, foresighted and progressive business men of Storm Lake is Fred Schaller, senior partner of the firm of Schaller & Son, proprietors of the Citizens Bank.  His business has been characterized by that steady progression which follows broad experience and energy intelligently applied.  He was born in Woerth, Germany, in 1848, and attended the schools of his native town while spending his boyhood days in the home of his parents, Christian and Barbara Schaller.  The father was a wagonmaker [sic], under whose direction Fred Schaller learned the trade.


Our subject came to the United States in 1866 and for a brief period worked at wagonmaking in Buffalo, New York, after which he removed to the middle west in 1867, settling in Clayton county, Iowa, where he worked at wagonmaking and carpentering.  Five years were spent in that county, after which he removed to Sac county, where he had previously purchased a tract of land that was entirely uncultivated and unimproved.  In the fall of 1869 he broke the sod with three yoke of oxen, after which he returned to Clayton county.  There he was married in 1873, and with his bride returned to his claim in Sac county.  His cash capital at that time comprised but one hundred dollars, but the young couple possessed resolute hearts and willing hands and courageously took up the task of improving the farm and making a home.  Year after year Mr. Schaller cultivated the fields and as time passed won a goodly financial return for his labors.  At length he put aside general agricultural pursuits and in 1881 removed to Storm Lake, but still owns the Sac county property, upon which he has never placed a mortgage.


For five years after his removal lo the city Mr. Schaller engaged in clerking in a general store and then, when he felt his experience and capital justified the course, he embarked in business on his own account with a small stock of general merchandise, conducting this enterprise until 1888.  He then purchased the two-story brick building adjoining his present bank building on the south and stocked it with a large line of goods.  As the years passed he conducted an extensive, growing and profitable business until 1892, when he sold his stock and retired from commercial circles, enjoying a well earned rest until 1896. Indolence and idleness, however, are utterly foreign to his nature and with a desire to again become a factor in commercial life he once more entered his former store and conducted the business there until 1901.  In that year he and his son purchased the banking business of Thomas & Bradford and have since conducted the institution under the name of the Citizens Bank of Storm Lake.  It is now the property of the firm of Schaller & Son and they conduct a general banking business along safe conservative lines, which has made theirs one of the leading financial institutions of the county.  As the years have passed and Mr. Schaller has prospered in his undertakings he has made judicious investments in real estate from time to time, and is now the owner of about eight hundred and fifty-five acres of land lying in Sac and Buena Vista counties. Much of this is improved and constitutes a valuable property from which he annually derives a substantial income.


In 1873 Mr. Schaller was married to Miss Katherine Miller, of Clayton county, Iowa, who was born in Germany in 1852, and was a daughter of Jacob Miller.  They became the parents of two children, the elder, George J. Schaller, was born in Sac county. Iowa, December 24, 1873, and attended the country schools and the city schools of Storm Lake.  He worked in his father's store for a number of years prior to 1892, when he became connected with the financial interests of the county as an employee in the Commercial State Bank.  There he continued in 1896, after which he spent one year with the J. P. Dickey Company, dealers in lumber and machinery at Storm Lake.  He was then called to public office, serving as deputy clerk of the courts from January 1. 1897, until January 1, 1899.  On the expiration of that period he returned to his father's store and the association continued until they retired from mercantile life.  He is now the junior partner of the banking firm of Schaller & Son, and is recognized as a young man of excellent business ability and undaunted enterprise.  On the 5th of April, 1900, he was married to Miss Eloise Warren, who was born in Blackhawk county, Iowa.  They are parents of three children:  Katherine, born November 3, 1903; Harry W., born January 25, 1905; and Earl, January 12, 1908.  Clara A. Schaller, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schaller, was born July 9, 1877, in Sac county, Iowa, became the wife of W. L. Sedgley, a merchant of Storm Lake, and died June 4, 1904, leaving one child, Clarence.


Mrs. Schaller is a devoted member of the Presbyterian church and a most estimable lady.  Mr. Schaller gives his political allegiance to the republican party and his fellow citizens have called him to a number of local offices.  His son is also an advocate of republican principles and is a member of the Odd Fellows society.  The family is one of prominence here and the name of Schaller has long stood as a synonym for integrity and enterprise in commercial and financial circles.  Coming to America as a young man of seventeen years Mr. Schaller has never had occasion to regret his determination to seek a home in the new world, for here he found the opportunities he sought and in their utilization has long since passed from humble and unimportant environment to a place of prominence and responsibility in the business world.