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SCHNEIDER, ALEXANDER

SCHNEIDER, ALEXANDER (1854–1929). Alexander Schneider, musician, was born in Biel, Switzerland, in 1854. His father, a tanner, taught Alex the trade, which he continued for two years after arriving at Chicago in 1874. Subsequently he played cornet in some of Chicago's largest bands. He returned to Switzerland in 1879 and two years later moved to the Swiss colony at Frankfort, Kentucky, to manage a brewery that his father had established. There he met and married Lena Lang. The couple had four children. Among other accomplishments, Schneider started a small band in Frankfort for mentally retarded children. In 1886 glowing reports from the Thuts, relatives of his wife, prompted the Schneiders to join them in Gray County, Texas. Schneider soon found employment at the Diamond F Ranch, and the family stayed with the Thuts at the site of the future town of Lefors. The Schneiders manufactured wine from wild grapes and grew cabbages for sauerkraut, which they marketed locally. In 1887 Schneider organized and led the first brass band in the Panhandle, consisting partly of soldiers at Fort Elliott. In 1888, when a severe drought curtailed Schneider's farming efforts, George Tyng hired him as foreman on the Diamond F. In 1890 the Schneiders returned to Kentucky to sell the brewery. Desiring to provide their children with the best possible education, they returned to Switzerland and for eleven years managed a hotel and restaurant at Biel. In 1900 they returned to the United States and opened a hotel at Frankfort, Kentucky.

In 1912, succumbing to an inexplicable longing for the Panhandle plains again, the Schneiders returned to Gray County, where they purchased the Holland Hotel (formerly the White Deer Lands office) in Pampa and remodeled it. Their hospitality and fine food soon became well known throughout the Panhandle. By 1914 Schneider had organized a town band that included Montague K. Brown and Cecil V. P. Bucklerqqv among its members. The band gave concerts and accompanied chautauquas to various Panhandle towns. The family's genuine affection for people was reflected throughout the oil boom era and the Great Depression, when the Schneiders organized soup kitchens. A new, four-story Schneider Hotel opened in the summer of 1927 and became noted for its lavish parties and banquets. Among its distinguished guests, who came on behalf of the rodeo association were such western stars as Woodward M. (Tex) Ritterqv, Hank Thompson, and Jimmy Wakely. Guy Lombardo and James R. (Bob) Willsqv were also among the celebrities who stayed at the Schneider Hotel. Alexander Schneider died in Pampa on February 21, 1929.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Laura V. Hamner, Light 'n Hitch (Dallas: American Guild, 1958). Elleta Nolte, For the Reason We Climb Mountains–Gray County, 1902–1982 (Pampa, Texas: Gray County Historical Commission, 1982). Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945). Lester Fields Sheffy, The Francklyn Land & Cattle Company (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

H. Allen Anderson, "SCHNEIDER, ALEXANDER," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc59), accessed November 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.