Born August 28, 1851 | Died October 30, 1915
Businessman | Philanthropist | Capitalist
A lot can be said about Mr. Schifferdecker, one of Joplin’s most prominent citizens of his time. Originally from Baden, Germany, Mr. Schifferdecker worked with Mr. Edward Zelleken at Zelleken’s brewery and later the two opened a bottling business, then established a wholesale beer and ice business in Joplin. Mr. Schifferdecker quickly moved on to the more lucrative banking and mining ventures.
Mr. Schifferdecker was not technically a “veteran,” but he enabled Joplin men to serve our country during the Spanish-American War in 1898. He died during the middle of World War I.
But first a little background and facts about this brief war between the United States and Spain.
- The United States involvement lasted only four months
- One of the many reasons for the war was the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba on February 15, 1898
- The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898
- The Spanish government gave Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. and U.S. gave Spain $20 million dollars.
- Theodore Roosevelt fought in the war before he was President
- William McKinley was President
According to Joel Livingston’s account of Mr. Schifferdecker:
His liberal was cheerfully extended to the Joplin Rifles, the first military company organized in Joplin, in 1881, and its ample equipment was largely due to him.
He was equally helpful in affording influence and means toward the organization of Company G, of the Second Regiment, National Guard of Missouri, for service in the Spanish American War, and his patriotic enthusiasm moved him to many acts of liberality while that command was in the field.
In the Joplin Keepsake Album, the authors chronicled the following about Company G:
Joplin men entered the war as “volunteers” because state guards could not serve as general defense. However, the men of Company G were disappointed when they were never sent to the war zone. Instead they were moved from camp to camp in the United States.
…however, the boys of Company G fared well, distinguishing themselves as the regiment’s color guard and by their skill in the dress parade, which caused other regiments to break ranks and look on.
While Mr. Schifferdecker was no doubt admired for his generosity during the Spanish-American War, the German community in Joplin were not admired during World War I. As explained in Joel Livingston’s account in the history of Jasper County, Missouri:
- In 1876, when the Germania Social and Literary Society of Joplin formed, it had over fifty charter members. Thus, it was a small, but established German community.
- At the height of World War I, there came a hysteria to the Joplin community [and the country] about people of German origin, and the town felt threatened by the
- German community though unfounded fear. One man, Gustav A. Brautigam that owned a local delicatessen literally had to leave town for fear of his life.
The following significant houses were built in the Murphysburg Historic District in 1898 and 1899 – boom due to sale of war supplies:
- William H. Miller House | 111 South Sergeant
- Adam Scott House | 202 South Sergeant
- William Picher House | 421 South Sergeant
- George Lavery House | 608 South Sergeant
- A. B. McConnell/Sol Newman House | 115 S. Moffet
- John Wise House | 504 S. Byers
- Alfred H. Rogers House | 623 West Fourth
- A. L. James House | 619 West Second
- Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, MCMLXXXVI
- Joel T. Livingston. History of Jasper County, Missouri and Its People, Volumes 1 & 2. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912.
- Brad Belk, Andy Ostmeyer, Katy Schrader, and Leslie Simpson. Joplin Keepsake Album. St. Louis, Missouri: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., 2000. Pages 32-33.
- Joel T. Livingston. History of Jasper County, Missouri
- Historic Joplin