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Author: Subject: A. E. Falke, A Man and His Store
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[*] posted on 10-9-2015 at 04:27 PM
A. E. Falke, A Man and His Store

This article by Kathleen Weishuhn first appeared in Fayette County: Past & Present.

A E. Falke was born near Weissenberg, in Saxony, Germany, on October 27, 1842. He arrived in America at the age of twelve, at which time he settled in New Ulm with his parents; they later moved to Fayette County and settled on Rabb's Creek. After living on Rabb's Creek for a period of time, A. E. Falke (at the age of nineteen) joined the Confederate Army and enlisted as a private in Captain Patty's Company "F" in 1864. After approximately fourteen months of active service, he was taken prisoner at Millican's Bend in Atlanta, Georgia. From there he was taken north to Young's Point and Memphis, Tennessee. From Memphis, Tennessee, he was moved to Cairo, Illinois, where he was released. After his release he acquired ten dollars in cash and a mustang pony while working on a farm in Cairo, Illinois, on his way home to Texas.

However, when Mr. Falke arrived in Texas he was without money, so he took up farming for "halves." Farming for halves is a land practice in which the land owner lends his land to a farmer who farms it and pays the landowner by giving him half the crop. His life prospered. Using good management and strict economy he managed to save a small amount of money. At the age of twenty-six, in 1868, he married Miss Wilhelmina Peter of Ingram's Prairie. Their marriage was blessed with fourteen children. His farming prospered and in 1868 he purchased a saw mill on Rabb's Creek. Six years later, in 1874, he entered the general merchandising business at Warda. He purchased the land on which he built the Falke Store from Aaron Moore, on February 24, 1874. Aaron Moore had previously purchased this land from J. R. and Elizabeth Ford on October 23, 1868. It is said that Mr. Falke named the community Warda after the small village where he was born in Germany. The Falke Store carried a line of groceries, material for clothing, dishes, furniture, seed for planting, firecrackers, and a line of cold drinks. It also carried boots, shoes, hats, caps, glassware, saddlery, buggies, wagons, and a variety of farming implements.

In addition to being the owner of the Falke Store Mr. Falke also established a post office in the Falke Store and was appointed postmaster in 1875. Along with running the mill and store, he was elected to the Twenty-Fourth Legislature. He ran as a member of the Democratic Party and was elected by a large majority. During his entire lifetime the hardest misfortune he probably had to face was the loss of his wife in 1897. Only two years later he retired from the general merchandising business, giving the management to his sons. After his retirement, his son, C. A. Falke, took over as postmaster, in 1899. The post office was important because people gathered there on weekends to pick up their mail, a highlight in their lives. The Falke Store was also the place where men and younger people gathered together during Christmas and New Year's Eve to watch the display of fireworks set off during those two days and to exchange gossip.

The Falke Store stayed in the family for seventy-two years. After A. E. Falke's retirement the business was handled by his sons, C. A. Falke and E. A. Falke, doing business as C. A. Falke and Brother. In February, 1907, E. A. Falke died. C. A. Falke then took over the business alone and paid off all debts that the firm had incurred. Mr. C. A. Falke continued in the general business until he retired on April 1, 1946. He also served as postmaster for nearly forty-six years, until his resignation on May 1, 1946. The Falke Store was sold to Fred Kasper, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Kasper of Warda, in March, 1946.

The new store is located across the highway from the old store. C. A. Falke sold Fred Kasper a tract of land consisting of 8.46 acres, bordered by the John Schemik lot, the C. A. Falke lot, and U. S. Highway 77.The new store opened on July 1, 1946. Fred Kasper was appointed Postmaster, since Mr. C. A. Falke resigned.

The Falke Store was one of the oldest business firms in Fayette County. It was notable for its age, and also for its trustworthiness, good financial standing, and solidity. It was a successful competitor with major department stores in Fayette County in low prices, promptness and courteous treatment of its customers. It remained in the Falke family for seventy-two years, highly respected and holding the confidence of its customers. The Falke owners were respons­ible for this thriving business.

An early Fayette County historian says of Mr. A. E.: Mr. Falke, though a man of limited education, is eminently practical, possesses sound judgment and an excellent natural business talent. By liberal donations to various churches and schools and other charitable institutions, he has shown himself to be very liberal to worthy enterprise.

William Bloh of the Giddings Times writes of Mr. C. A.: In the days when supplies had to be hauled by ox teams and later during the so-called horse and buggy days, the dominant figure in the life and welfare of the community was the country merchant, and he enjoyed a flourishing business. Not many of the country stores, however, were able to survive the advent of motorized travel, paved highways, and modernized merchandising. As a tribute to Mr. Falke, it can be said that he kept, and in a spirit of loyalty always had at heart the interest of his community. He has served his friends and neighbors for half a century - and served them well. May he enjoy a well­-earned rest in his declining years.
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