Saturday, December 17, 2016

Long Standing Dream Comes True As District Woman Visits Germany

On June 26, 1906 Philomena Selker departed Germany with her Uncle Joseph William Selker. Her arrival is recorded at Ellis Island on July 3, 1906.  Philomena lived the rest of her life in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. On September 21, 1909 she married Augustine Benedict Lauer at St. Michael's Church in Fryburg, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. 

In the fall of 1957 Philomena and her husband traveled back to Germany to visit with her family. This was her first and only visit back to her birth country. The local newspaper, The Derrick, wrote an article which was published on Friday, January 24, 1958. The newspaper borders indicate the readership at that time was Oil City, Franklin and Clarion, Pennsylvania.

The original text of the article has been retyped and is shown below:

Long Standing Dream Comes True 
As District Woman Visits Germany
By Jack Baker
Derrick Staff Writer

MB Boutiques: The Selker Collection &emdash; Long Standing Dream Comes True As District Woman Visits Germany
An original copy of the newspaper article.
MB Boutiques: The Selker Collection &emdash; Long Standing Dream Comes True As District Woman Visits Germany
The Family of Mrs. Lauer in Germany
The relationship in italics is the relationship of the individual to Philomena Selker. 
Front row, left to right: Hermann Selker (brother), Mrs. Hermann Selker (sister-in-law), Mrs. Mary Schulde (Mary or Maria Selker, sister), Mrs. Lauer (Philomena Selker), Wilhelm Selker, (brother), Mrs. Wilhem Selker (sister-in-law)
 Back row, left to right: Hermann Schulde (brother in law) and Mr. Lauer (Augustine Benedict Lauer - husband)
 In the inset: Mrs. And Mrs. George Selker (brother and sister-in-law)

Shippenville – A dream of many years standing became a reality for a Knox Township woman in Clarion County during the last three months of 1957, the period spend visiting with her family in her native land of Germany, from where she came to America 52 years ago.

She is Mrs. Augustine “Gust” Lauer, Sr., who lives with her husband on a farm in Knox Township. Making the trip with her was her husband who was born on the farm where they reside, and whose parents migrated from Germany many years before.

Mrs. Lauer’s maiden name was Philomena Selker, and she came to America when she was 19 years old. Her parents were Gearhart and Agnes Raker Selker. In telling of her dream coming true and her visit to her homeland, she said “it was most wonderful and words could never express my enjoyment. It was a beautiful dream that came true for me and my husband.”

The Lauer couple were married in St. Michael Church, Fryburg, by the late Rev. August Hoeing on September 21, 1909, and next September they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Mr. Lauer was born in Knox Township, Clarion County on January 2, 1886, while Mrs. Lauer was born in Furstenani, Germany, on January 27, 1887. The parents of Mr. Lauer were John and Frances Loll Lauer.

Telling of their enjoyable voyage and visit with their folks in Germany, the Lauers pointed out that they left Clarion via bus for New York on October 7, 1957, arriving there the following day. At 11 a.m. October 8, they sailed on the Narddentacha Llyod Bremen MS Berlin liner and 10 days later on October 18 they arrived at Bremerhaven, Germany.

After their arrival they spent their time from October 18 to December 14 with sisters and brothers of Mrs. Lauer, who all reside in the area of Furstenani, in western Germany. On the return trip they chose to make the voyage on the world’s largest ocean liner, the SS United States. They sailed for America on December 14 and arrived back in the USA on December, 20.

Speaking of their return trip on the SS United States, Mrs. Lauer said “oh, my oh my, it was just wonderful. Something I shall never forget. That liner was just like a city. There were 2,000 passengers aboard. We were able to attend mass aboard the liner every morning, either at 7 o’clock or 7:30, whichever we chose to do.”

“We did have two rough days at sea coming back,” said Mr. Lauer, “and lots of people got seasick. But the wonderful trop made up for all that. In the next words of Mr. Lauer, he said “we visited a lot of the country while in Germany, and it is building up over there at a fast pace. Hundreds of new beautiful homes, business places and new industries going up everywhere.”

“One cannot see any aftermath of the war,” the Lauers pointed out. “There does not seem to be any unemployment. Everybody works. We could buy anything there just like we can here at home. And the weather was beautiful all the while we were there. When we left the flowers were blooming everywhere.”

Mrs. Lauer said she attended St. Mary’s church in Furstenani where was baptized when a baby and the church she attended until the time she came to America. She explained “that was a wonderful occasion for me and my husband.”

In conversation with the Lauers, Mr. Lauer explained, “there is one thing I do not want to forget to tell you about the people of Germany that I think the people of our country should know. The Germans have a great love and admiration for President Eisenhower. His name is mentioned many, many times in conversation of the German population. Ike is considered by the Germans as a great statesman and a kind, religious and outstanding man. Our German relatives say, “We Love Ike.”

The sisters and brothers of Mrs. Lauer who they visited are Mr. and Mrs. George Selker, and Mrs. And Mrs. Hermann Selker, of Furstenani both building contractors; Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schulde, Lingen, Germany, and Mrs. And Mrs. Wilhelm Selker, of Lengerich, Germany.

The Lauer children are William Lauer, Parker; Mrs. Lawrence Fasenmyer, Shippenville RD; Mrs. William Dechant, Clarion; Andrew Lauer, Shippenville RD; Augustine Lauer, Jr., Shippenville RD; and Paul Lauer, Shippenville RD. They also have 16 grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Lauer are members of St. Michael Church of Fryburg.
MB Boutiques: The Selker Collection &emdash; Long Standing Dream Comes True As District Woman Visits Germany
The Derrick
Friday, January 14, 1958 - Page 10
A copy of the original article.

The original copy of the this article is in the care of Leopold George Selker. Special thanks to Leopold for bringing this article to my attention. Leopold is my 2nd cousin 1x. He is a descendant of Leopold George Selker, Sr. the oldest son of Joseph William Selker and Frances Philomena Guth. From the Leopold George Selker Collection. The digital copy of this article was published at 

Joseph William Selker is my 2nd great grandfather. Philomena Selker and her siblings are my 1st cousins 3x removed.
  1. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Year: 1906; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0736; Line: 2; Page Number: 87
  2. "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 June 2016), Augustine Lauer and Minnie Selker, 1909
  3. Derrick (Oil City, Pennsylvania) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Friday, January 25, 1958. Page 10. "Long Standing Dream Comes True As District Woman Visits Germany"

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