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Old cream can spills story of one La Vernia woman

Old cream can spills story of one La Vernia woman
COURTESY Kip Workman shows Sue Richter of the La Vernia Historical Association the cream can from Louise Haese, found in Henry Zimmerman’s barn, during the Jan. 4 meeting of the historical association.

Cleaning a barn can lead to some very interesting stories, as Kip Workman proved recently. While working around the home of his La Vernia friend, Henry Zimmerman, Workman uncovered an old, rusty creamery can, which has a story to tell. It’s a small milk can, which was used for holding fresh cream and milk. The can has a firmly attached metal label that reads, “Return to Louise Haese, Lavernia, Tex. In case of loss, notify Blue Valley Creamery.”

With Zimmerman’s permission, Workman took the can to the Jan. 4 meeting of the La Vernia Historical Association for “show and tell.” With a little bit of research and a few phone calls, the association was able to learn more about Louise Haese and the Blue Valley Creamery.

Margie Haese Krahn, a niece of the late Louise Haese, shared information about her aunt. Louise was born May 19, 1879, and died Jan. 26, 1965. She is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in La Vernia.

“Aunt Louise never married,” Krahn said. “She was the sister of my paternal grandfather, August Haese. They lived on this same farm where my husband and I now live, just west of La Vernia. Louise helped the family on the farm and had many chores, such as milking and working with the animals.”

Louise’s parents, Carl (also called Charles) and Bertha Brietzke Haese, were born in 1847 and 1856, respectively, in the European region once called Prussia, which is now Germany. Carl immigrated to the United States in 1872. Bertha followed in 1875. Louise was born four years after her parents came to America. Her siblings were August, Amanda, and Adolph.

In 1880, the family lived in the St. Clara settlement in Guadalupe County, but by 1900, they lived in Lavernia, in Wilson County. Carl (also spelled Karl) was one of the organizers of the Immanuel Lutheran Church of La Vernia in 1901, according to “Immanuel Lutheran Church, 100 Years on the Cibolo.”

Carl and Bertha owned their farm on Gonzales Road (C.R. 357), in La Vernia, free and clear of a mortgage, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. They did not become U.S. citizens until after 1920. By that year, Louise had become the head of the household, taking care of her elderly parents.

The Blue Valley Creamery was a large operation, established in Missouri on May 1, 1900. The headquarters were later in Chicago. It was common for farmers to put fresh cream and milk in cans provided by local creameries. Sometimes the milk was sold to those same creameries. In La Vernia, milk and locally grown produce were loaded regularly onto train cars for shipment and sales to various processors and retail markets. Records of a Blue Valley Creamery in this area have not been found.

In 1925, the Federal Trade Commission ordered a major change in the labels used by the Blue Valley Creamery, according to Wikipedia online. Up to that time, the company had been using tags or plates which could not be detached, which read, “When full ship to Blue Valley Creamery Co.”; this made it difficult for farmers to ship cream to competitors. The 1925 rulings ordered the creamery to “cease and desist from attaching to shipping cans or containers not belonging to respondent any plates or tags bearing shipping instructions such as ’When full ship to the Blue Valley Creamery Co.,’ or their equivalent, without the consent of the owner of such cans.”

Perhaps the recently discovered milk can was made after the ruling, because the cleverly worded label seems an attempt to skirt the 1925 order.

Louise was a woman of strong mind and body, according to Esther Haese, wife of the late Alton Haese, Louise’s nephew. Esther said, “Louise was a dedicated member of La Vernia’s Immanuel Lutheran Church.” She recalled Louise saying, “If you work on Sunday and don’t go to church, you spend all week doing it over.”

Louise was a good businesswoman, keeping a close eye on two or three tenants who lived on her large farm.

The farm where she lived is still in the Haese family, who continue to live in the same home built by Louise’s parents, Carl and Bertha. The home has been enlarged and remodeled, but the original rooms are still part of the present home, which has been built by Melvin and Margie Haese Krahn.

Louise had another good trait, learned from her father. “Pay as you go,” she was often heard to say.

That is good advice, as rare as a cream can in 2011.

The La Vernia Historical Association is made up of volunteers and supporters who donate their time and financial help. To volunteer or contribute, visit or visit Sue’s Antiques on U.S. 87 in La Vernia, or the office of The La Vernia News at 112 E. Chihuahua St.

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