Otto was born in Colorado County, Texas, September 14, 1877. His parents were Julius and Mary Obenhaus. He is listed as the two-year-old son of Julius and Mary in the 1880 Colorado County census record page 364. He first attended school in Weimer. Later, in Fayette County, he attended parochial school. When he was 24, he and his parents went by train to Electra, Texas. In 1902 Otto moved to Wilbarger County. Otto purchased a farm for $1800 in the Five-In-One Community outside of Vernon, Texas.
On December 26, 1905, he married Alvene Schoppa. Alvena was the oldest child of Christian Schoppa and Anna Hentschel Schoppa. She moved with her family as the first Wends to go to Northwest Texas. They moved from Warda, Fayette County, Texas to Wilbarger County, Texas arriving by train on September 26, 1900 and lived near the Zion Lutheran Church.
Otto and Alvena had nine children: Mary Elizabeth, November 11, 1906;Walter Herman, April 1, 1908; Emilie “Millie” Ann, March 31, 1910; Clara Cora Wilhemine, August 12, 1911; Ottilie “Tillie” Rose, May 14, 1913; Otto Julius, April 30, 1916; Rachel Edna Johanna, October 12, 1919; Edward Karl, August 26, 1921. Their ninth child, Sylvestor Ruben only lived one month and was buried in Zion Lutheran Cemetery.
Mary married Paul Graf, Walter married Elsie Lutz, Millie married Clarence Green, Clara married Chance Streit, Tillie married Herber Haseloff, Otto Jr. married Dorothy Crawford, Rachel married Albert Brackreide, and Edward married Audrey Lee. View their stories.
In an October 11, 1956 Vernon, Texas newspaper article, Otto Obenhaus, Sr. described life in Wilbarger County. He said, "Wildcats and coyotes plagued the countryside and chickens had to be guarded even during the day. Transportation was primitive but rural schools were more plentiful and closer to home. One school, Paradise, was located a short distance from home. Later schools established in that section included Kincheloe, Guggisberg, and Five-in-One." Otto believed he bought his first automobile in 1918--a Case. Later he bought a Paige but both cars gave him so much trouble that horses were preferable as a means of transportation.
Otto died July 6, 1966 and Alvena died November 2 of the same year. Both are buried in the Wilbarger Memorial Cemetery in Vernon, Texas.
Sources: 1880 Colorado County census record, 1956 Vernon Daily Record, Michael Schoppa Family Album of 2000 pages 32 and 37, The Otto and Alvene Obenhaus Family History written by their children in April, 1977, and the Wilbarger County History book of 1986 page 446.
Written by Angie Collier March 2002
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