The Oschmann brothers were born in Germany, and made their mark in Hawley, Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. They were capable musicians and in much demand.

HAWLEY - The Oschmann brothers were born in Germany, and made their mark in Hawley, Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. They were capable musicians and in much demand. Adolph was a barber in town. His younger brother Alfred was an electrician, and played piano at Hawley’s first motion picture theater. Note: Some references list their surname as Oschman with one “n”.

Adolph and Alfred Oschmann’s parents were Berthold and Eva (Foelker) Oschmann, of the King County, Brooklyn, NY. the family emigrated from Germany in the 1890’s. They also had a brother Oscar.

Berthold Oschmann was an accomplished musician.

News briefs were located noting that the elder Mr. Oschmann visited his sons in Hawley. Either he or his son Oscar performed musically for the public while visiting here. Both had the title of “professor” but the news items were not always clear which it was.

“Prof. Oschmann” led a country dance at the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Avenue in November 1910.

In June 1911, Mr. Oschmann of New York, as well as Charles Lange, were assisting Walker’s orchestra at a dance being held at the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Avenue.

Berthold Oschmann died, April 28, 1930 in King County, NY. His wife had passed away in April of 1911.

Adolph Berthold Oschmann

Adolph Berthold Oschmann was born in 1876. he and his wife Adele Louise (who was from Jersey City) raised a large family. The 1910 census shows they lived in Hawley; their children were Adolph, age 10; Werner, 8; Adele, 5; Walter, 3; and twin girls, Viola and Elizabeth, who were born June 2, 1909 in Hawley. The 1920 census adds two more younger children, Eva, age 5 and Eleanor, 3 years.

They made their home on Wangum Avenue, and later Chestnut.

Adolph’s barbershop was first located on Church Street in the Richardson building, near the corner with Main. This same building later housed the Dreamland Theater, and was located where the NAPA auto parts store is found, opposite from Teeters funeral parlor.

In October 1910 he moved the business across the street, to the Schlager building, next door to Schlager’s bakery. This building still stands and is used for Teeters’ furniture business.

A news item from April 25, 1913 in The Citizen, was headlined, “The Hawley Barbers are Planning to Enjoy Themselves.” The Hawley barbers has signed an agreement to be closed from Thursday, noon to Friday morning, except when holidays fall on a Friday. Barbers who signed up were Adolph Oschmann, E.A. Tackle, G.E. Schardt, D.D. Corcoran and E.D. Truex.

These were the days when men had multiple choices of traditional barbershops to have a haircut and shave, right in downtown Hawley.

Oschmann didn’t continue as a barber. While still in Hawley, in 1917 he ran a newspaper ad for his piano tuning business. He was referred to as a piano repairman.

The 1920 census listed Oschmann  as a machinist. He and his family had moved to Dunmore by that time.

Adolph Oschmann died suddenly from a heart issue on March 22, 1940, apparently while visiting Buck Hill Falls in Monroe County. He was 62. He and his wife lived at 2105 Prospect Ave., Scranton.

Son went on strike

Adolph and Adele’s son Adolph, who was age 18, along with several male co-workers at the Welwood Silk Mill went on strike in October 1917. Today the Hawley Silk Mill occupies this building. An article in The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis) said that Constable Edward Richardson of Hawley arrested the eight young men for disorderly conduct, October 15. At the hearing before Squire William B. Ammerman, it was shown that some of the female employees were called “scabs” and the strikers were trying to prevent them from going to work. A “scab” refers to a person who crosses a picket line, choosing to stay on the job instead.

The strikers were found “not guilty” but when the costs were imposed on them, in default of payment they were sent to jail.

Sheriff Spencer reported that this more than taxed the limits of the stone jailhouse in Honesdale, and several cots were placed in the cells.

Attorney Searle asked for their discharge based on the defendants being found “not guilty.” Judge Alonzo Searle agreed. The attorney for the silk mill, M.J. Hanlan, asked that the defendants be allowed to go upon payment of a fine and that they must stop interfering with the with the workers who were not striking. They also had to stop calling them “scabs.”

Alfred Henry Oschmann

Alfred Henry Oschmann was born in March 1880. He and his wife Mary A. (who was from New York), lived on Wayne Street in Hawley (or Barker, as another reference says; the streets connect). They had at least two children, sons Edward and Richard. It appears that his main job was as an electrician. In his day, houses in Hawley and elsewhere were still getting wired for the first time. Hawley’s power plant came on line in the 1890’s. It took a lot longer for electrical service to reach the countryside.

A news item from September 1911 said that Alfred Oschmann was wiring the home of Artemus Simons on Penn Avenue, for electric lights.

He met with an accident while working on the electrical service for the new Hawley Bank in December 1910. Alfred had slipped and fallen against a barn, breaking three ribs. With much difficulty he reached his home on Barker Street. Dr. George Rodman was called, who attended to him.

The article stated that this was very unfortunate for him, with several buildings needing to be wired, and the new theater about to open where he was musical director. Finding supplies for the electric work as fast as required proved difficult. When the accident occurred he was dividing supplies with another electrician who was wiring the bank.

The Hippodrome

Alfred Oschmann was announced as the musical director for the Hippodrome, which was open by December 1910. This was Hawley’s first movie theater, and was located at 217 Main Avenue - owned by Phil Hunt today and formerly his commercial print shop before retiring.

The Hippodrome of course played silent movies. Oschmann played the piano to accompany the films. Among the early releases was Queen Esther and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Oschmann brothers’ father, who was a noted violinist, performed at the Hippodrome during Christmas week while visiting Hawley.

During 1911, the Dreamland Theater, a larger more house, opened on Church Street, which offered the Hippodrome some competition. The Hippodrome was still operating in 1912; when it closed has not been learned.

Wild horse

His wife Mary had a harrowing incident with the horse and wagon. Sunday, June 18, 1911, they traveled down to Blooming Grove to visit their friends, the Armbrusters. Mrs. Oschmann held her child in her arms while her husband had the reigns.

On they way home the horse became unmanageable and started kicking. Mrs. Oschmann jumped while holding her child while the wagon was breaking into splinters. She landed on a wire fence and badly lacerated her arm. Mr. Oschmann was dragged some distance but managed to bring the horse under control. There was no word given about any injuries to their child.

How the war with Germany affected the family is not known, although Alfred Henry Oschmann was listed as having registered for the draft in Port Jervis in 1918.

Alfred and his family were living in Port Jervis, NY apparently by 1918, and later in Brooklyn, NY. The 1930 census listed him as a “tire man” for an electric company. He died at age 54 on May 27, 1935, at Kings, NY.

Musical engagements

Adolph and Alfred were known to entertain at events, referred to simply as the “Oschmann brothers.”

The duet entertained the Armbrusters at Blooming Grove in September 1911, for their silver wedding anniversary.

In January 1913 the Oschmann brothers sang at a banquet held at the Park View Hotel in Hawley. The event was to celebrate the Hawley Bank’s milestone of reaching $200,000 in deposits.

The Oschmann orchestra also entertained at a Methodist lawn social in Hawley in August 1910.

In October 1911, the Oschmann brothers furnished music for the Miller-Finkelstein wedding in Lakeville. That month Adolph played piano for a Knight of Columbus dance at the Odd Fellows Hall.

On another occasion in July 1911, Adolf, along with Louis Geisler (he owned the Hawley Inn/ Hotel Belvedire) and another man from Newark, brought a violin, bass viol and bandonia (bandoneon?) to cheer up F.W. Schalm, who was recovering from an accident.

Oscar Oschmann

Their brother Oscar Oschmann, born in May 1878, was a  musician in New York City and had the title of professor. A news brief from 1906 refers to Prof. Oschmann’s orchestra. A 1914 item noted that he was organist and choir director at St. Jacobi Church at 54th and 4th Avenue.

News items from New York papers refer to Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Oschmann has having a daughter Dorothy (who was wed to Joseph P. Monge in 1940). This may be the same family.

There was an Oscar Oschmann who died in April 1951 and is buried at Brooklyn, NY.

….

Main Sources:
Vintage newspapers at Fultonhistory.com
Census data, etc. at Ancestry.com (Hawley Public Library)