Paul F. Lass

(February 20, 1865 to September 08, 1941)

Paul Lass emigrated from Memel, East Prussia in the early 1880s and settled in Kansas City, Missouri. Paul's heritage is German, and I have a family tree sent to me by a great-nephew of his a few years ago.  The Lasses were evidently a part of a group of Germans sent to settle East Prussia.  

In Memel (currently known as Klaipeda, Lithuania) the Lasses opened several department stores, and became quite prominent citizens.  George and I visited the area in April, 2000, and it was interesting to see that the original 'F.Lass & Co.' building, on a busy corner, was still standing.  The photo I have of the original store from 1904 is clearly traceable to the building standing in that spot today.  It seems that Paul left the running of the store to his elder sister and her husband and their five (5) sons, the Scharffetters.  He supposedly found work on a ship and left as a young man.  As Memel is/was the only seaport on the Baltic Sea that doesn't freeze in winter, it was (and still is) a thriving seaport, where he probably had no problem finding work.  I have yet to verify how and exactly when he left or arrived in the US.  As his daughter Katharyn states that he used someone else's passport to leave the country, it's doubtful I'll ever locate his original entry into the US.  He did, however, return to Memel in 1904 to see his mother before she died.  I have located his return passage through Ellis Island for that trip.  The passenger list shows his destination (home) as Lela, Texas.  This helped Kay to date some of the Lass moves within the panhandle of Texas, in conjunction with 'Lest We Forget', which gives no dates.

While he worked in photography in some capacity in Kansas City, and still sold framed portraits when he settled in Texas, most of his life in Texas was spent either farming or as a nurseryman.  At one time he had a huge field of roses, as well as a refrigerated room to keep them fresh, and sold roses wholesale to florists in San Antonio.  Later, he moved to Edinburgh, in southernmost Texas, and farmed. 

Paul was a good businessman and left some holdings to his wife and daughter when he passed away in 1940.  He seemed to have 'wanderlust', however, and moved regularly.  He had a very interesting life, owning and operating a small newspaper in Shamrock, Texas (The Wheeler County Texan-- about 1910), the rose nursery in San Antonio (about 1921), and finally a farm and service station in Edinburgh (in the 1920s), before moving back to San Antonio in the 1930s.  Kay has been able to trace some of the dates of the Lasses' moves via tax records in the Panhandle and city directories in San Antonio.

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