S2c Ernest Schiller

Unknown Sailor

S2c Ernest Schiller

Times were particularly difficult for the family of Ernest Schiller during the Great Depression.

His father, Otto, was a German immigrant from Berlin whose highest level of schooling was the 6th grade. He was a farm laborer near Austin, Texas. Otto’s wife, Bessie, died in 1929 of a heart condition, leaving him with five children.

By 1940 Otto had remarried and had two more children. He and Ernest, who was working for the Civilian Conservation Corps — a federal jobs program — earned a total of $330 the previous year. They were supporting a household of six in Hutto, Texas north of Austin.

Ernest, born Oct. 22, 1921, also finished the 6th grade, and enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 21, 1941. He was a seaman second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Sources: The Austin (Texas) Statesman; Census; Navy muster roll; Texas death certificate; World War I draft card.

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