Wilbert Earl Lauster

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WILBERT EARL LAUSTER, has followed milling ever since he commenced work, having learned the business with his father, Henry F. Lauster, who was well-known in that connection in his section of Armstrong county. In fact, he is a member of the third generation of the family to follow it in Cowanshannock township.

Ernest Martin Lauster, great-grandfather of Wilbert Earl Lauster, was born in 1800 in Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, where he followed milling until he came to America in 1848, accompanied by his family. They landed at Baltimore, Md., from there proceeded to Pittsburgh, Pa., and shortly afterward secured land at what is now East Liberty. Mr. Lauster followed gardening until 1855, when he moved to Armstrong county and bought a farm of 150 acres from Samuel Beers, in Kittanning township. Mr. Lauster remained on this farm until 1866, when he moved to the farm of a son in another part of the township, living there until 1881, when he removed to his son Henry's farm in Cowanshannock township, where he died in 1888. His wife was also long-lived; born in 1799, she died in 1885. They were buried in St. Paul's cemetery, in Plumcreek township, Armstrong county. They had three sons: George, residing on the old homestead in Kittanning township; Peter, formerly a successful business man of Pittsburgh, member of the firm of Lang & Lauster; and Henry.

Henry Lauster, son of Ernest Martin Lauster, was born Feb. 7, 1837, in Hessen-Darmstradt, Germany. When eleven years of age he accompanied his parents to America, and was about nineteen when his father bought the farm in Armstrong county. Henry learned the milling business and after a time became associated with J. A. Boyer, under the firm name of Boyer & Lauster, the firm later becoming Lauster, Sowers & Co. They erected the North Star Mill, three miles southwest of Yatesboro. The business of the mill became very heavy. In April, 1889, Henry Lauster, together with his brother Peter Lauster, then of Allegheny, bought out the interests of the other parties, conducting the mill under the name of Lauster Brothers. Henry Lauster was in charge of the mill business and under his management it prospered. His brother died Feb. 11, 1893, after which he continued it alone until Sept. 24, 1903, when he retired, what was widely known as Lauster's mill being sold. After a year of rest on his farm in Cowanshannock township, he built a comfortable residence at Rural Valley, and was about ready to move into it when he sustained an injury to his foot, which after much suffering and a surgical operation in the hospital of Kittanning, Pa., caused his death in November, 1906. He was buried in St. Paul's cemetery connected with St. Paul's Reformed Church, near Blanco. He was a member of the order of the Odd Fellows and both in that organization and among his fellow citizens generally, was held in very high regard. It was said of him that he was a kind-hearted, generous man, one of unimpeachable integrity, a good husband and a loving father.

In 1858 Henry Lauster was married to Christena Koch, of Kittanning township, Armstrong county, and four children were born to them, three sons and one daughter. In 1882 the family was stricken with typhoid fever and on Oct. 18th, two of the children succumbed, the only daughter, Catherine C., who was seventeen years old, and one son, John B., aged twenty-two years. Two other sons survived the epidemic, Henry F. and William P. The mother, Mrs. Henry Lauster, was born May 11, 1839, and resides at Rural Valley, taking possession of the new residence while her husband was at the hospital, hopefully preparing the home to which he never returned alive. Her parents were John and Anna (Reichart) Koch, of Kittanning township.

Henry F. Lauster, son of Henry, was born Nov. 13, 1862, and was engaged in the milling business most of his life, first at Lauster's mills, Blanco, and from 1904 in association with his brother, William P. Lauster. They built the Rural Roller Mills in Yatesboro immediately after their father sold his mills as above related in 1903, and operated same under the firm name of Lauster Brothers until the death of Henry F. Lauster, which occurred Feb. 7, 1908. He married Narcissa Wagner, daughter of Jacob Wagner, who was a pioneer farmer of Armstrong county. Mrs. Lauster survives her husband, as do also the three sons born to them, John B., Wilbert E. and Orin Elsworth.

Wilbert E. Lauster was born Feb. 9, 1890, in Cowanshannock township, where he was reared. He began his education in the country school there, later attending public school at Rural Valley. Under the able direction of his father he became familiar with the details of the milling business, at which he has been employed since 1907, and he has shown the aptitude for it which might have been expected of a member of the Lauster family. He is a progressive young man in every respect. In politics Mr. Lauster is a Democrat, and he holds membership in the Reformed Church. On April 18, 1910, Mr. Lauster married Minnie Beestriz, daughter of Martin and Clara (Rish) Beestriz, of Parnassus, Pennsylvania.

Source: Page 792, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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