Born 18 January 1868 in Muttenz, Baselland, Switzerland. The family consisted of five children, namely– Louise, born 8 March 1849; Lina born 4 March 1853; Sophia born 12 August 1861; Emil born 8 August 1866; and Edward born 18 January 1868. All were born in Muttenz. Edward’s early childhood was spent in Muttenz and he also attended the schools in that community. His father owned and operated a farm. Some of the ground was planted into a vineyard and the children assisted in the labors there. Fall season and harvest time were cherished memories and often in later years the children and grandchildren would have a joyous time harvesting the grapes.
Edward became infatuated with a young lady who had employment in the home of a wealthy farmer. After a time of courtship, they were married on August the first, 1888, in the Community Protestant Church in Muttenz. In the first year of their marriage they had the opportunity to take over the Merchandise Store, which they did, and thus made their livelihood selling clothing, shoes, and also groceries. In the third year of their marriage, a few of the village fathers urged Edward to try and secure a position on the police force and after thinking this over, the chance looked good and he applied to take the exam required. He passed the test immediately and joined the police force. This work he came to love so long as he continued to serve.
In the meantime, two baby girls had arrived to bless the home—Bertha and Martha. And now came the time when he was called to serve in a larger precinct of the force which necessitated they move the family into the city of Basel—Baselstaat, where he was assigned to serve in the main office.
After five years of service he was made Sergeant and later transferred to the Secret Service Department. During his service he was very helpful to the Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ. Whenever some difficulty arose concerning the visas or the extension of passports, etc., he was there to give willing assistance. At times, he would make it his business to go and observe and listen to the discourses of these Elders. My mother had learned of this church from her dear friend and was invited to attend church meetings, which she did. After investigation, she desired to become a member of the Church. Father was very generous and open-minded in matters of religion and consented to the wishes of his companion to join this Church. The following year the two oldest children also joined the Church. Father welcomed the many missionaries that came now into our home. He was earnestly wanting to learn about the various ways these missionaries made a livelihood and the varied home occupations—some farming, some mining, some school teachers, etc. He believed that they taught a great truth, but he himself could not join up—fearing for his job and the livelihood of his family because these so-called “Mormons” were despised people among the many self-righteous of the law force.
Father had served on the police department for twenty-five years, when failing health forced him to give up his assignments. He had been many times in danger of his life, tracking down some law-breaker criminal and some narrow escapes had come to him. One of his close associates in the line, at his duty in capturing a criminal, had the misfortune to have his nose bitten severely. Father escaped with a sprained ankle received during the scuffle and the children remember some of his daily occurrences with the unruly peoples.
The oldest daughter, Bertha, had returned from the French canton where she attended school to learn the French language. Her desire was to emigrate to America to be united with the members of the Church in Zion. At first, the parents were reluctant, but ever willing to give their children the opportunity for progression; and perhaps with the eye set that some day they may take the big step across the ‘big pond’—as Father made reference to it.
His daughter Bertha left for America in February 1909 and from here on all that can be given has come through correspondence from the family members. This information brought the news that Father had occupied himself with a job as a salesman for a large merchandizing firm and traveled in Switzerland through the States. In the spring of 1925, his health declined and he spent some weeks in the hospital. On the 4th of May 1925 he passed from this life with his remaining family by his side.
He did not officiate himself with the Church through membership during his later life, being ill so much, but he had the Mission President, President Wunderlich, pen a letter to his children here in America telling them that he believed for a long time that we were affiliated with the true Church and that in due time he would like to have the work done for him by proxy. This was happily performed as Mother came to America to see to this ordinance work and be there to stand in her place at the time.
Father was a good man to all who needed help and was held in great esteem and honor by his children and many friends. May he approve of these few lines as remembered by his child who penned the same.
Typed June 2005 by Adele Newman Knudson from a copy written by Bertha Maria Urech Newman