We are Family . . . It is much more than a motto. It is a true story dating back to the first
generation through the fifth. As of the year 2010, the five generations of the Schaetter family have accumulated
323 years as funeral directors and 244 years as embalmers. Our family staff of Funeral
Directors would be honored in assisting you with services such as pre-arrangements, pre-paid services, and
insurance. Our dedication and reward in life is the privilege of serving families during a difficult time in
their lives. We are proud of the trust families have ensured in our staff and us.
One of the oldest funeral homes in the state, established in 1868, Schaetter’s Funeral Home has had a significant role in the history of Fredericksburg, Texas and the surrounding hill country.
They Buried our Dead…
Funeral directors were unknown in frontier Texas. But there were many cabinet makers who had brought their skills from Europe, and they became the logical persons to construct coffins, in addition to their own work.
In the Fredericksburg area, interment was by earth burial in cemeteries designated by the colonists when they laid out their towns, in family plots on their farms or ranches, or too frequently by the wayside as they were on their treks to new settlement sites.
When Fredericksburg itself was laid out by surveyors, an area was set aside in the eastern section of the city as the “Vereins Cemetery.” Known later as “City Cemetery” and now as “Der Stadt Friedhof,” it is still administered by trustees from Bethany, Holy Ghost, and Zion Lutheran churches.
In 1860, community Catholics established their first cemetery about two miles north of town. In 1875, they selected a site for their present cemetery closer to town. Greenwood Cemetery was laid out in 1898 on the north-eastern edge of town by a private corporation.
Linked with the history of interring the dead on the Texas frontier is the history of
Schaetter Funeral Home, one the oldest such establishments in the state, owned and
operated by the fourth and fifth generation descendents of the founder, Heinrich
Schaetter, a native of Prussia, who founded it in 1882. Hienrich Schaetter had been furnishing coffins longer than that.
Schaetter landed in Galveston on December 29, 1867. On April 6, 1868 he purchased land fronting San Antonio Street and on January 15, 1869 bought property at 327 East Main St. in Fredericksburg. The rock portion of this building
once housed Schaetter Furniture Store and is the original structure built by Hienrich
Schaetter with two rooms in the back for family living quarters.
In the front room, Schaetter had his shop. Saddle trees made of wood were among the first items he made. During Fredericksburg’s centennial year of 1946, A.W. Maier and Joe Duderstadt were working on an old saddle and found the imprint of “H. Schaetter” on the wooden saddle tree under the old leather.
Schaetter was also a skilled cabinetmaker, and when the need for it arose, he also constructed coffins. Usually in those days when someone died, the family gave the size and approximate weight of the deceased and the cabinet maker would construct the box in the proportion. In later years some coffins were varnished or painted and still later they were covered with black cloth to add more dignity.
In the early days ox carts, wagons, or hacks were the only means of transporting the deceased to their final resting places. Heinrich realized the need for a hearse and in 1885 bought one in Marienfeld, near San Angelo.
The hearse, a horse-drawn vehicle, had two large wheels in back and two smaller ones in front. The driver was seated up high behind the dashboard. Around the large oval windows on each side and a smaller one in the back were carved decorations. Along the top were six back plumes, or “feather trees,” as the old timers called them. The hearse was painted black.
When he conducted a funeral, Mr. Schaetter donned his black formal coat and black top hat from which a black feather plume floated in back. His tow black horses, Nick and Prince, pulled the hearse for local funerals. When the body had to be transported a greater distance, a four horse team was used.
After the death of Heinrich Schaetter, November 4, 1904, his son, Joe Schaetter, carried on the undertaking business and also added a funeral store. On September 23, 1914, he bought the undertaking firm of F. Beckmann and Son, as reflected in the company ledger. Joe Schaetter also added a motorized hearse in 1918.
He bought an Overland passenger chassis for $740 from Grobe & Eckardt, local auto dealers. The late Edward Stein, Sr., then a young architect associated with his father’s lumber yard and later a local banker, mounted the old body from the horse-drawn hearse onto the car chassis.
In 1920, the firm of “Schaetter and Son” was formed when Joe Schaetter’s son, Arthur, completed his studies at the same mortician’s school his father attended. He was licensed as a funeral director and embalmer October 13, 1921, and remained active in the business until his death September 29, 1969.
Arthur Schaetter shared several customs of early-day “undertaking” with his father as a young man. He would go into the country to the home of the deceased, embalm, dress and place the body in the coffin, and then return to town.
When it was time for the funeral, the Schaetters would return with the hearse for final rites. If the weather was bad and the roads impassable, the Schaetters would often ride out on horseback and perform their services. When the roads became passable, they would bring the coffin with them in the hearse for the funeral.
Seeing the need for improvement in the manner in which funerals were held, Arthur Schaetter and his father built the first funeral home in this community at 312 East San Antonio. Open house was held December 1-2, 1928.
In 1934, a much larger structure was erected on the vacant lot across the street.
In addition to having the funeral home, other firsts in the Schaetter family included the afore-mentioned first ambulance in Fredericksburg in 1926, although this service was discontinued in 1974. Fourth and fifth generation Schaetters often assisted in ambulance services as teenagers.
Mrs. Arthur Schaetter, the former Helena Koch, was also of the few licensed women funeral directors in the state and the only one in Fredericksburg.
At one time they were also the only family in Texas with so many licensed funeral directors and embalmers. This was when Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Schaetter were living, and their three sons, Oliver, Lawrence, and Clarence held licenses. A member of the fifth generation, Bryon Schaetter, is now associated with the firm.
With the deaths of Arthur Schaetter, September 29, 1969, and his wife, Helena, on August 30, 1973 the fourth generation continued to carry on the business. As the three sons of Arthur Schaetters finished their terms of service in the U.S. Armed Forces, they returned to Fredericksburg and became associated with the family business. Schaetter Funeral Home in Comfort was first known as Schaetter and Lindner Funeral Home after Arthur Schaetter and Otto Lindner bought the business from Chris Lindemann in 1927. They built a new funeral home in 1932, and had ambulance service in Comfort area until 1974.
Otto Lindner received his funeral director’s license December 2, 1935, and his wife, the former Clara Allerkamp, was licensed August 22, 1945. Both retired in 1950, and are deceased.
Oliver "Ollie" Schaetter, Fourth generation Schaetter, graduated from St. Mary’s High School and a mortuary college in 1942 where he was voted best embalmer. Ollie was not old enough to receive his Funeral Directors and Embalming license since he was not yet 21, so his license was issued in 1945, while serving with the U.S. Navy in the south Pacific in World War II. Ollie served on the USS Goshen. APA108, his ship transported the Marines who raised the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima from China to the United States.
Oliver also managed Schaetter’s Ambulance Service
until 1974, when it was discontinued. He was
honored at the 1995 State Convention of the Texas
Funeral Directors Association for having been a
licensed funeral director and embalmer for 50
years. In 1999, he was elected “Funeral Director
of the Year” in the South Central Region of the
Texas Funeral Directors Assn and again in 2001 by
the Texas Funeral Directors Association. In 2001, he was
elected “Man of the Year” by the Fredericksburg
Chamber of Commerce.
Oliver was involved in many community organizations supporting academics,
charitable organizations and historic conservation. He has held numerous offices, including
Director of Hill Country Memorial Hospital, President of
the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, Director the board of Admiral
Nimitz Museum and Director of the Gillespie County
Fair Association. In addition to his various titled positions, Oliver
has volunteered and held membership in mulitple
service orgainzations including; Fredericksburg
Junior Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post 244,
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gillespie County Historical Society,
St. Joseph's Society, Knights of Columbus, Fredericksburg Lions
Club and the Billie Booster Club.
Oliver was resposible for the inception of The Chamber of
Commerce New Commers Association, the Hill Country Horse Club,
the Hill Country Funeral Directors Association , St. Mary's
Athletic Club and helped to organize the first Night in Old Fredericksburg. Oliver passed on March 29, 2010.