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Stallforth Brothers and Sisters 1946-1964

I read a file of family letters yesterday. The title of the folder in looping handwriting is “Stallforth Sisters and Brothers.” The letters (about 50) run from 25 May 1945 to June 1949 with one coda written in August 1964. These are my first impressions after leafing through the letters, which are in English, German, and Spanish.

The letters give a glimpse of the difficulties facing German families in the wake of WWII. They also document the estrangement of my branch of the family from the others.

Federico Stallforth – the oldest brother living in New York City (my great grandfather)
Albert (Alberto) Stallforth and his wife Gertrude – They are in Mexico and worried about their children and grandchildren left in Germany.
Alfred and Ilse Stallforth
Hermann Stallforth
Gustavo “Bawo” Schultze
Emilia “Milly” Stallforth Schultze and her husband (Bawo?) – also in Mexico. She is a sister –
Lore and her two children, who travel from Germany to Mexico with Federico’s help.

The family, with the exception of Federico, is in Mexico and trying to get on their feet again. It is pretty clear that they have recently (when exactly, I don’t know) come to Mexico from Germany to resurrect their business interests and property there.

By the end of the file, Milly’s daughter, Lore, and her two children have managed to get to Mexico City, travelling through Paris to New York City and then Mexico. Alberto’s son died – Alberto’s letters of worry and grief are there.

There are other matters also under discussion – possibilities of Woolworth’s opening branches in Mexico and hiring Stallforth children who were tri-lingual and grew up in retail; renewing mining operations; timber harvesting – all these issues relate to ways of making money. There are also, particularly in 1946, very dramatic cries for short term loans of relatively small amounts from $100 to $1000 from Federico, who is the oldest and who has spent the war in New York City pursuing business in relative peace and security. And hovering between the lines is the question of each person’s nationality – were they born in Mexico and Mexican citizens, etc.

On August 30, 1964, exactly four years after Federico’s death, Albert and Gertrude sent their nieces, Gioja and Anita, a note on picture postcards. The envelope is addressed, “Miss Anita Stallforth/Mrs. Benjamin L. Webster/Woostock (Ulster Co.)/Catskill Mts./New York – U.S.A.” From “Albert and Gertrude Stallforth/8806 Neuenettelsan/Ansbach/ H.v. Bezzelstn. 4/ Germany.”

The ink is smudged by drops of water. I’m pretty sure the writing is Albert’s.

“Dear Anita, dear Gioja – We’re sorry that we never had a word from you again, although you promised to write after you sent the telegram 4 years ago today. Notwithstanding, our thoughts many a time wander back to former years when we all were so close! And to you, Anita and Gioja – we often wonder how things have been faring with you all. We retired to this lovely little town situated about halfway between Nurnberg and Ansbach – the latter of Bach Festival fame. I indicated our apartment. Won’t you let us have a work from you sometime soon?

Onkle Alfred and Tante Ilse now live in Munchen, also Hedi Peltzerin the same building – along the line of a nursing home. The address is: 8000 Munchen 9. Wetterstiners Tr 8. Onkel Hermann and family live in Cuernavaca. Their daughter Lore (Goessler) has 6 children and lives in Tubingen, whre her husband is director of the Humanstiische Gymnasium. All of the Schulze family live in Mexico City. So here’s family news in a nutshell. I thought you’d like to have these old fotos. Maybe you no longer have them! We do hope to hear from you. Much love, Albert and Gertrude.”

For some reason, that I don’t understand, Gioja and Anita (Gumma and Dita) didn’t maintain contact.  Thanks to the internet, I have heard from a cousin, Tomas, who has shared information about my great, great uncles.

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