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Centennial Back-Flash, 04-04-2019
Silvester Schiele, The First Rotary Club President
Silvester Schiele First Rotary Club President
29 June, 1870 - 17 December 1945
 It was Paul and Silvester who met for dinner on Thursday evening, the 23rd of February 1905.
 
Silvester attended school in Terre Haute. Service in the military during the Spanish American war was followed by a move to Chicago. There Silvester involved himself in the coal trade, perhaps using contacts from the mining areas of Indiana.
 
The story has often been told about how in 1896, he found himself unable to recover 20 dollars which he had loaned to a friend. Passing by his coal office frequently was a young lawyer, and one day Silvester asked this young lawyer to help him collect the money.
 
The lawyer was Paul Harris and thus began a friendship between the two men which continued for the next 50 years. Schiele and Harris even shared a hotel room in those early years of the century when both were still bachelors. They often dined together at Madame Galli's where, on February 23, 1905, the 'gang of four' met to discuss the formation of what later became the Rotary movement.
 
In 1909, Silvester married Jessie MacDonald of Michigan who was to assist him throughout their life together. The two couples, Paul and Jean Harris, and Silvester and Jessie Schiele became great friends and neighbors as well as often holidaying together. In death the two men lie close to each other in the Mount Hope Cemetery.
 
It was Silvester who suggested to Paul that each of the members of the new club should give a talk about their business, thereby starting a tradition for new members which continues to this day. Silvester had become a successful and Christian businessman and was President of the Schiele Coal Company from 1902 until he retired in 1939.   Silvester Schiele became the first President of the Chicago Club and remained involved in Rotary throughout his life.
 
He did not take any international office until July 1945, when he was made International Treasurer. He was not to fill the post for long, dying in Chicago at the age of 75 on December 17, 1945.
 
Silvester set a great example for all the thousands of Rotary club presidents who followed him in the first century of Rotary’s growth and service to humanity.
We will honor him along with our own founder and the 99 other presidents who followed him, August 24, 2019, in “Celebrating a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”
The First District Governor - Frank Davis
The Marshall Rotary club wanted the first president of the club, Ike Hochwald, to be the first district governor from the club, in 1921, but Ike felt that he was not able or experienced enough to accept the position and withdrew, and threw his support to another candidate from San Antonio.
 
 
In 1931 the club again nominated a candidate who was a close friend of Ike Hochwald, and who had served as president of the club in 1921-22.  Frank Davis then became the first Rotary District Governor from Marshall Texas, in 1931-32, and served as the governor of District 48, which encompassed nearly half the entire state of Texas.
 
Frank was a charter member of the Marshall Rotary club, and a director for the first two years, of its existence.  He was owner of the Marshall Mill and Elevator Company, one of the founders of the Builder Association of Marshall, a director of the first national bank, and was credited with saving the College of Marshall from closure in 1928.
 
His Rotary accomplishments are almost impossible to comprehend.   Just listing them would not do him justice, because it was not so much what he did but when he did them.  During his year as club president, the club was active in dozens of projects and supported numerous issues vital to the club and good of Marshall.
 
He was a good businessman and avid supporter of youth programs including the YMCA, farm loans for children to raise livestock or crops, the boy Scouts to have a campground, the club to sponsor a troop, the city to have proper street lighting, paved streets, and a first-class education system and facilities, and the courage to speak out against the Klan.
 
For instance, when the club embarked on the Student Loan Fund in 1923, to help deserving students pursue a college education, Frank led the effort to raise enough money to start it, then when additional money was needed to expand it, he contributed additional money to the fund, and challenged others to do the same, so that more students could benefit from the program.
 
Frank set up a fifty-dollar gift to the Student Loan Fund for every time the club had 100% attendance, and continually goaded them to try and earn it, thereby putting thousands of dollars into the fund over the first few years of that project.
 
As district governor he traveled thousands of miles on trains, buses, and by car to visit the clubs in his district, encouraging the weakest clubs, recognizing the successes of good clubs, and praising the accomplishments of the best clubs.  He was an outstanding speaker and motivator.  In 1942 he posted a $500 award for the first Texas flier to bomb Japan, which was given in June, three months after his death, to a flier from Ennis, Texas.
 
He was given a beautiful Globe of the world as a gift of appreciation, which will be on display at the Centennial Banquet, in June, and he will certainly be remembered when we “Celebrate a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”, August 24, 2019, at the Marshall Convention Center.
 We encourage each of you to submit your own memorabilia, photos, anecdotes about these members and  projects to either the "Official" email of the Centennial Celebration committee, or leave a message on the dedicated phone number.
email: marshalltxrotary@gmail.com  ---  phone: (903) 471-8030 
Please contact your friends and family who have been a members of the Marshall Rotary Club and ask them to send us their email address, so that we can add them to this "Centennial Back-Flash" list, and share these stories with them as well
Russell Hampton
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