Pictures of Scott County Ancestors:
Garber Gallery Page 5

This photo collection and information was contributed to IAGenWeb Scott County, by James Garber.



The Best Family 1923

Louis P. Best Jr., Robert Karlowa, Genevieve Bayless Best (wife of Rudolph), Lucille Wolters, unidentified girl holding Buddie, Gretchen Best, Louis P. Best, Anna Marie Wolters, Kay Karlowa, Carolyn Karlow, and Rudolph Best.


The Best Family 1923

Robert, wife Louise, and their daughters Emilie in back and Clara at left.


Clara Krause Best and Children

Clara Krause Best with her two children and the Karlowa kids after their parents died. Kay Karlowa in front left, Gretchen Best front right, Clara in the middle, Carolyn and Robert Karlowa in the back. The younger children seem accepting and content, the older children seem a little less able to hide their sadness. This photo I think reflects the intention of raising all of the kids as one family and never drawing the distinction of the Karlowas separate from the Bests. There were photos of just the girls, or just the youngest, or individual pictures, but there was never a picture of Louis, Jr and Gretchen alone and never a picture of groupings of Karlowa kids. She was a wise lady in realizing how important it was for those kids to feel like they were truly a part of the Best family.

As I understood, Clara Krause, who married Best in 1899 had been the treasurer of the company for several years, although I am not sure if she was actually the bookkeeper too. Robert Krause died in 1900 when there were plans to build the new factory at Warren and 4th, now a furniture store. The family went ahead with the plans. It was a 2 story building and the 3rd story was added about 10 years later. When Krause died, his wife Louise became the president,(probably mostly honorary). Paul Karlowa, the husband of Krause's other daughter Millie was involved in the management but I'm not sure what his roll was. After he died in 1907, L. P. Best Sr became vice president and was probably at the helm. In 1920, Louise Krause died and I think L. P. Best was president for a couple years. Robert K.(krause) Karlowa was in the brand new upstart radio business. Had one of the first radio licenses in the nation, WOC, and it was in Rock Island. He and a group of other men started a radio manufacturing business. Then, in 1922, Clara Krause Best died, Louis Best Sr was over 70, and I guess it was time for the kids to step up. Robert sold WOC to Palmer and became president of Robert Krause Co. Louis Best, Jr., who had graduated from Iowa, then graduated with a law degree there too, then went to Harvard school of business and got an MBA, became the vice president. Louis Sr passed away in 1926, the kids sold the house as soon as they could.

Robert built a new house that he designed at 42 Kenwood. His sister Carolyn Karlowa built a spacious house at 49 kenwood and he sister Kay and Gretchen Best lived there, although Kay and Gretchen were both gone to college most of the time. Louis P. Best, Jr. built a small house on Glenwood in McClellan Heights.

Financially, the Karlowa Kids each enherited 25,000 aft their mother passed in 1908. It was held in trust accounts for them. Louis and Gretchen Best each inherited half of their mother's estate which was valued around 220,000 if I remember correctly. When Louis Sr. died, his estate was split 3 ways, between his son Rudolph from his first marriage and Louis Jr. and Gretchen. His estate was around $350,000 as I recall.

It appears that the depression pretty well wiped things out. Perhaps the kids kept the factory running when there was no demand for product, and just kept losing money. I just have no idea. Gretchen, our friend has really no idea either, other than her mother did not talk a lot about the luxury that she lived in in her early life and did not complain at all about her very average circumstances as she was raising her family. She does not know what happened financially.

One thing for sure, when wealth is tied up in business stock, and trust accounts, and other investments, and those became worthless sometimes overnight. people who one day had money the next day had nothing. Those were hard times.

Photo commentary and stories provided by David Cordes.

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