THE SCHAEFER Christmas tree displayed at the Capitol included many sentimental items, along with the usual lights, balls and ribbon.
Polo was represented in the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree Display by the “Schaefer Centennial Farm Tree” decorated by great-grandchildren Don Zeller and Linda (Schaefer) Kindle of Pierre. The two are great-grandchildren of Carl and Anna Schaefer, original 1892 settlers in Polo.
Zeller and Kindle’s grandparents were FX and Mary (Froning) Schaefer, who were married in 1911 at St. Liborius Church in Polo. Don is the son of the late Charles and Theresa (Schaefer) Zeller of Miller and Linda is the daughter of the late Lawrence and Margaret Schaefer of Polo. They are nephew and niece of Dorothy (Schaefer) Zeller, Miller, and Julie (Schaefer) Bowar, Faulkton, and have Bowar and Zeller cousins in the area.
The family mission was accomplished in 2012 for the Schaefer descendents when they received the call they could decorate a tree for the Capitol Tree Display. Zeller had been asking for five years if he could do a centennial farm tree.
Making it special in 2012 was that it is 120 years ago when the Schaefer family came to America, in 1892. Descendents have been living on the farm and farming the land for more than 100 years. In 2003, the family received an executive proclamation from Governor Mike Rounds noting the Centennial Farm, and that information was included on the tree. June 28, 2003, a family reunion was held at the farm, hosted by Ken and Pam Schaefer who have been living on the farm since 1979.
Zeller enlisted help from his wife, Linda, and cousin Linda Kindle. He contacted his cousins in Polo—Bob, Ken and Mike Schaefer—to provide decorations significant to their grandparents’ farm.
Items displayed on the tree display appear to have been used a lot, most likely by their grandmother, Mary Schaefer. Items included a very old pair of baby shoes; an old metal spoon-like device that was used to separate the egg yolk from the egg white; an old metal tractor; some farm animals from a really old farm toy set; and an old metal donut cutter. (Adding a toy horse was most appropriate, since Bob continues to use a horse regularly to check his cattle and pastures.)
FX died in 1965 and Mary in 1968. Their son Carl continued to live on the farm a couple of years. Ken and Pam Schaefer, who were married in 1971, have been living on the FX and Mary Schaefer original home site since they moved back 1979. Ken has been very conscientious about keeping the farm home and buildings in good condition and as they were when originally built. He has, however, added some special antique memorabilia as a tribute to his ancestors.