W. Edward Osterwald

W.E. Osterwald - Optician in the 1907 Festus Post Office Directory

Tanglefoot Vol. II - Howard Litton
....Dorothy Osterwald (now deceased). She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.E. (Ed) Osterwald who was a local jeweler and optometrist for over 50 years.

Frederick William Osterwald was born November 5, 1837 in Rinteln, Germany, then known as Prussia, at a time when Prince Otto von Bismarck, known as the "Iron Chancellor" was in power. The other towns he lived in Germany were Hanover and Cologne. In order to escape conscription into the military in the Kaiser's army he left Germany and came to the United States, arriving in New Your in October 1862. He came direct to St. Louis where he stayed about a week. From there he went to Springfield, Missouri to be with his brother Charles who operated a store there. Here he had his first taste of the Civil War on January 8, 1863, when the Confederate army under General Marmaduke attacked the town. In 1865 he went to Fayetteville, Arkansas and operated his own store for a short time but then he returned to Springfield, Missouri. He was married at the Calvary Presbyterian Church to Gertrude Agatha Page, who was from Mimosa, Missouri. From there they moved to St. Auburt Missouri on the Missouri River in Calloway county. The family moved to St. Louis in 1879, but only stayed a short time. That same year they moved to Crystal City, Missouri, where he operated the P.P.G. Company's store. From Crystal City the family moved to Hematite, Missouri and then to Silica, Missouri before moving back to Festus. He served as postmaster when, from 1888 to 1892 the post office was in a building where the Citizen's Bank (#101 Main Street) now stands. At the same time he did job printing, fixed watches and sold school supplies.

His son Edward, who was born August 1, 1874,  married Julia Bennett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Bennett. Both of Julia's grandparents emigrated from England. Julia was born in Festus in 1877. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Osterwald were the parents of Dorothy, who remained unmarried, and Marjorie who became the wife of Melvin Landes. Ed received his education in several schools. He finished 9th grade which was as far as the schools went in this area. After finishing the ninth grade, he helped in the Osterwald store when it was no longer a post office. He learned the watch making trade from his father. He worked for a brief period of time in Louisiana, Poplar Bluff and Montrose, Missouri. In about 1896 he worked for a time at the Citizens Bank for W.R. Donnell. When his father was appointed postmaster he took over the operation of the store in a building where Golman's store now stands. About this time he needed glasses and he had his eyes fitted. He bought some books, studied and read all he could. It didn't take much equipment - a frame to hold trial lenses and a chart. His first prescription was written on November 28, 1898 for Stephen C. Frost. At this time one didn't have to be licensed or pass a state test to practice. However, he kept on studying and keeping up with the new ideas. Ed died August 1962. He was 88 years old. He and Julia are buried in the Presbyterian section of the Fairview cemetery on Lee Avenue.