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Farm kept Schnebly busy

March 14, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Except for the last three years at Williamsport Retirement Village, Louise Rowe Schnebly has lived on a farm in Washington County.

And that is a lot of years, since she now is 94.

Born in Charlton, she grew up on the Rowe family farm off Md. 68 near Pinesburg.

As the oldest of eight children, she was expected to help raise her siblings on the family farm - "the favorite expression was 'Louise will do it' whenever there was work to be done," she said.

Life on the farm was so busy, education had to take a back seat.

"After the eighth grade, there was no bus transportation available where we lived then in Beaver Creek," she said. "I would have had to walk to catch the trolley to go either to Boonsboro or into Hagerstown."

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Instead, she stayed home and worked on the farm.

In 1940, she married Roy Schnebly, a veteran of World War I and a widower with children ages 9, 11 and 13.

Although her husband died 20 years ago, the children she raised after their mother died remain close to Louise.

"I have 13 grandchildren," she said, noting that all of her grandsons are connected with farming.

In addition to tending to three children and a husband, Louise kept a garden and worked in the barn.

"I did the milking - not like they do it today. Then, it was all by hand," she said.

During harvest time and threshing season, Louise rose at 4 a.m. each day.

"I would make four pies and put 20 pounds of meat in the oven," she said. "I was not just feeding the family, I was feeding the farm workers, too."

In her spare time, she made quilts and still is actively quilting. For 13 years, she was the organist at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Clear Spring.

The Washington County Farm Bureau recognized her talents and harnessed them in the 1970s.

She said she was a member of the farm bureau women's group in Washington County and then was secretary of the Maryland Farm Bureau women's committee.

She remembers working on various projects to improve farm safety.

Before she moved to Williamsport Retirement Village, Louise was living alone on the Schnebly family farm in Fairview and did everything for herself.

"I gave up driving voluntarily when I was 80," she said.

Her dresser is crowded with pictures of family, including a new great-grandson.

"I have great-great-grandchildren, too," she said.

While she has had some health problems and doesn't see or hear as well as she used to, Louise said she feels pretty good, and is still enjoying life and family.

Emily McFarland, director of communications at Williamsport Retirement Village, said Louise loves to talk about her days on the farm and everyone enjoys the stories.

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