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Krieg-Stasel-Schiffler Connection

Compiled by Laurence J. Krieg from information provided by Jeannette Krieg Drake



William Burham Woods
William Burnham Woods

In the early part of the 20th century, Laurence Montgomery Krieg, my grandfather, lived and worked in Newark, Ohio. This is a brief account of his connection with the Stasel and Schiffeler families.

Laurence M. Krieg worked at the hardware store in downtown Newark, eventually becoming a partner and finally sole proprietor of Crane-Krieg-Flory Hardware. As such, he was often in contact with homeowners and farmers in the Newark area. One such individual was Mr. Stasel, who became a good friend. Mr. Stasel owned a home in Newark and a farm near Hanover, Ohio; he was the father of two daughters, Sarah and Mary. Their maternal grandfather was William Burnham Woods, of Newark1.

Meanwhile, the Stasel girls grew to adulthood and married. Sarah had considerable musical talent, and went to the conservatory in Cincinnati. There she met and married German opera singer Carl Schiffeler. He returned to Germany with Sarah, where they had two children, Carl and Betty Lou. Betty Lou, the younger, was born about 1927.

1 William Burnham Woods (August 3, 1824 – May 14, 1887) was an American jurist, politician, and soldier. He was elected mayor of Newark in 1856, and to the Ohio General Assembly in 1858, being named Speaker of the House shortly thereafter. In 1862 he left the Ohio state house and joined the Union Army. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which served in the Western Theater. He fought at the battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg, and was promoted to brigadier general. At the end of the war, Woods stayed in the South, settling in Bentonville, Alabama, where he reopened his law practice and began farming cotton. In 1869 he was named by President Ulysses S. Grant as a circuit judge for the Fifth Circuit.

Woods sat on the Fifth Circuit for 11 years, before being named by Rutherford B. Hayes to the Supreme Court in December 1880. He remained on the court until his death in 1887. (Condensed from; Image source:

Raleigh Hotel exterior

The Raleigh Hotel, 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Sarah's sister Mary married Curt Schiffeler, brother of Carl. They may have lived some time in Germany, but their permanent home became the United States, where Curt became successful in the hospitality industry, rising to the position of Manager of the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, D.C. 2

2 This note about Curt Schiffeler is found in the Raleigh Hotel entry of “Greater Greater Washington”: “One of the factors that made the Raleigh such a success was its manager, Curt C. Schiffeler, who managed to create a warm and informal atmosphere that pleased the guests. Schiffeler remained at the Raleigh until he retired in 1954.”
Carl and Sarah had two children, Carl Jr. and Betty Lou, but their marriage did not fare well; Carl left Sarah and the children to marry Marjorie Wintermute.3

3 Carl Shiffeler continued his opera career in the United States with the Chicago Opera Company and the San Francisco Opera Guild. He died on July 22, 1943, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California.

The Raleigh Hotel lobby

Sarah then returned with the children to the U.S., but finding herself a single mother of two children, she determined to become a teacher by earning a Master’s degree in German. In order to do so, she entrusted Melody and Carl to her sister Mary and her husband Curt, who took them in as their own and raised them at the Raleigh in Washington. Sarah earned her degree at Ohio State University in 1938, writing a thesis entitled Schiller's Attitude Toward the French Classic Drama.


Curt and his wife were apparently unable to have children, and they often introduced Carl and Melody as their own; though this didn’t please Sarah, she was grateful to have her children well cared for and educated. Betty Lou liked to refer to Sarah as “Mutti” (which Curt strongly discouraged) and to Mr. Schiffeler as “Uncle Curt”. However, Carl was the star of the show in the Schiffelers family, graduating from the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis to become a Naval officer, while Melody remained in his shadow. Perhaps it was to emerge from the shadows that she traveled to Germany in her Junior year of high school to visit Schiffeler relatives there. While there, she adopted the name “Liesel”.

That was in 1939, when Germany was at war. The United States was neutral when she went over, but as the situation grew more tense and the war at sea intensified, she found it difficult to return. It is from this period that we have part of a letter from her to her mother Sarah.4

On July 23, 1936, L. M. Krieg’s first wife Helen Crane Krieg had succumbed to cancer; in January, 1940, he married Sarah. William and Janie had a new step-mother; Janie was studying at Dennison College (now University, Granville, Ohio) and William came to Newark en route to his post as Vice-Consul at the American Consulate in Milan, Italy. When he arrived in Milan, William was in a position to help his step-sister Betty Lou return safely to the U. S., which he did. 5

4 Krieg-Campbell Family Letters “1940-04-11 M33 MS to SSK

5 The following Krieg-Campbell Family Letters mention the situation with regard to Betty Lou's return from Germany in 1940:

Beginning in the summer of 1940, Betty Lou lived with her mother and step-father at 197 Hudson Avenue, Newark. Janie had just graduated from Dennison, and spent the summer at home. She and Melody often went to Granville’s Spring Valley Pool together, and had the opportunity to get to know each other pretty well. Janie describes Betty Lou as being very artistic and talented, friendly, but somewhat immature and “a bit different”. Her preference at that time was to be called “Melody”.

Melody went on to college at Dennison, where she met a young man, fell in love, and married. They were happily married for several years, and had four or five children. Every summer, they would spend their vacation at the old family farm near Hanover, Ohio, where they renewed their ties with Laurence and Sarah Krieg.

Unfortunately, all did not go well with Melody. She apparently suffered some form of mental illness, which led her to leave her husband and children and live irresponsibly. She appealed to her step-father for money from time to time, and received from him a measured amount of help. In the early 1960s (when Janie had returned from Texas to Ohio with her husband Norman Drake and her children Barbara, Laurence, and Robert) Melody also returned for a brief visit to 197 Hudson Avenue. Janie received a call from her father that “Melody is here” and could she come and help. On arrival at the family home, Janie found Melody in an agitated state, apparently on some form of drugs or medication. Melody’s life ended unhappily in suicide shortly after this. She is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark.

During the 1960s, Sarah developed Alzheimer’s Disease; she lived in a nursing home in Newark until her death in 1966 or 1967. She is buried next to her daughter in Cedar, Hill Cemetery, Newark.