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Centennial Back-Flash, 04-11-2019
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”
Humor in Form 1040 Time
Six years before the Rotary Club of Marshall was organized, congress had created one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in the history of the United States, the income tax.  In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system.
 
The amount of income collected via income tax has varied dramatically, from 1% in the early days of US income tax to taxation rates of over 90% after WWII.
In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to almost five billion by the time the Rotary club was formed in 1919.  Because of the structure of the tax, Rotarians were hit hardest because they fell in the 10% of Americans who actually paid the tax.
 
Not surprisingly the income tax was a cause for some animosity in Rotary Circles, from the very beginning, especially when the top rate reached 90% after WW II.
With the animosity came the inevitable spoof and this one from the Marshall News Messenger, took place at the Rotary meeting January 4, 1951, in the form of a poem written by F. R. Liddil – “Form 1040 at Gettysburg”, whose lines read before the Marshall Rotary Club, by Quinton Carlisle, accountant, brim with animosity:
 
“One Score and 17 Years ago our fathers brought forth upon this nation a new tax, conceived in desperation and dedicated to the proposition that all men are fair game.
 
Now we are engaged in a great mass of calculations, testing whether that taxpayer or any taxpayer so confused and so impoverished can long endure. We are met on form 1040. We have come to dedicate a large portion of our income to a final resting place with those men who here spend their lives that they may spend our money.
 
It is altogether anguish and torture that we should do this. But in the legal sense we cannot evade, we cannot cheat, we cannot underestimate this tax.  The collectors, clever and sly, who computed here, have gone far beyond our power to add and subtract.
 
Our creditors will little note nor long remember what we pay here, but the bureau of Internal Revenue can never forget what we report here.
 
It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these vanished dollars we take increased devotion to the few remaining, and that we here highly resolve that next year will find us in a higher income tax bracket.”
 
Is it any wonder that political office is not a valid classification for membership in a Rotary club?
 
Nevertheless, we will remember the wit of Liddil, and the hutzpah of Quinton Carlisle, who read this little poem in 1951, and the tenacity of those accountants who followed him, who have striven to save what little remains of our income.
 
Let us all give thanks and remember them when we are “Celebrating 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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