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Ferguson/Schultz/Schwartz Family: LaVerna's Story

by Eileen Ferguson
10 April 2000
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The tide may erase our footprints, but only for a moment, for having walked here once, we remain always...

This Web site is dedicated to my mother, LaVerna Lisetta Lilly (Schultz) Ferguson, 27 May 1915 - 8 March 2000. She was born in the village of Schleswig, Crawford County, Iowa. Her parents were Martin Johann August Schultz and Emma Louise (Schwartz) Schultz. I will be updating this Web site, and adding photos and text from time to time. Currently there are 8 pages.

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LaVerna and Larene

Larene Henrietta Anna (on the right in the photo) was LaVerna's younger sister, born on 20 July 1917. They were inseparable.

I found a little booklet that Larene made for her mother. It's a recipe book with a few recipes clipped from a magazine and pasted in it. On the first page is a poem entitled "Mother":

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky.
Hundreds of shells on the shore together.
Hundreds of birds that go singing by.
Hundreds of bees in the sunny weather.

Hundreds of dew drops to greet the dawn.
Hundreds of lambs in the purple clover.
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn.
But only one Mother the whole world over.

Larene became ill with scarlet fever and nearly recovered from this when she developed diptheria. Her recovery again seemed assured, but hemorrhages set in and she died on 31 October 1927 at the age of 10 years, three months and 11 days. I've always wondered what she would have been like. My grandmother had a stillborn baby on 13 March 1925 (her birthday). That baby was referred to as "the baby with no name". The fourth child to be born to my grandparents was Joyce Julia, on 20 January 1932, 17 years after LaVerna was born. Joyce passed away in October 2008. She was married to Lee Richardson.


LaVerna was baptized on 18 July 1915 and confirmed in the Lutheran faith on 24 March 1929 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Schleswig.

LaVerna's friend Leota wrote in a letter to me, "We had lots of fun through school and in high school. There were parties and get-togethers. Lots of evenings we would go walking, up town and around and stop at school and play on the swings, etc. We had birthday parties and invited class mates and played games. We sang in glee clubs and went to contests and we did lots..."


LaVerna participated in many school activities, namely, Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Operetta, Declamatory, Junior Class Play ("Hummingtop's Disguise") and Senior Class Play ("The Cat and the Canary", performed Friday, 6 May 1932, at the Schleswig Opera House). LaVerna was one of 10 in her graduating class from Schleswig High School on 20 May 1932. Notice the name of the photographer's studio (Ferguson--no relation). How prophetic!

Esther (nee Schultz, but no relation) Langholdt, a close friend of LaVerna's, reminisces in a letter: "Dear LaVerna: I just wrote a birthday card to Joyce so I thought no time like now to drop you a line, too. I told her she was a 'cute little stinker' back in 1932. You were in your last year in high school. Do you remember Christmas 1931? I was going to school in Sioux City and your mother asked mine if you could spend several days with us. She said you would like to go places, but she didn't feel up to it with Joyce so close in coming. I remember the two of us had a great time; the week went way too fast. I think we spent one evening at the Blume's. They always did Christmas up big--lots and lots of goodies. I know you were used to a warm bedroom but we cuddled in the feather bed and soon were warm as toast. Mornings we'd run down to the heating stove to dress. Mom would have it all warmed up for us..."

Another letter from Esther: "Dear Friend LaVerna: Here it's May 22 1998--67 years ago we were together with you. It's my graduating day and you were also a guest. My, where have all those years gone? We are just four left of our class, Garnet Schroder-Potter, Elvera Lohse-Hollander, Elsabe Hollander-Green and ME. Those days graduating was simple; you went to the exercise program and then home to visit with family and friends. Now it's a wild night with partying going on all night..."

After high school, LaVerna began training as a nurse's aide, but was advised to quit after a year due to her back problems.

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