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Peter Taschetta. One of the early permanent settlers of Leavenworth was Peter Taschetta, a native of Switzerland, born in Canton, January 6, 1822. He was of Italian ancestry, but long before his birth his people, living on the border between Italy and Switzerland, had property in the former country and his parents became Swiss subjects by purchase. The father was interested in stained glass manufacturing and, as a contractor, traveled extensively, particularly in France, overseeing the placing of stained glass in cathedrals and other structures, some of these being rare examples of artistic coloring. He employed a large number of men to do the work and, as his son Peter grew to years of responsibility, he became timekeeper and also financial agent for his father. In such capacity he visited different countries, necessarily learning their language and before he came to America not only spoke four languages fluently, but also wrote them.
Peter Taschetta continued this life of constant travel in Europe until he was twenty-seven years old, it possibly having its influence in leading him to consider visiting America, a far-distant land in those days of slow-sailing vessels. In 1849 he landed at New Orleans, Louisiana, and from there journeyed up the Mississippi to St. Louis. In that city he engaged in mercantile pursuits for a time, but had not yet had the spirit of wanderlust been extinguished, for he eagerly gave ear to the stories of the wonderful country that lay west of the Missouri and finally determined to visit it and see for himself.
In the spring of 1854 Peter Taschetta came to Leavenworth, which was then one of the outposts of civilization where wagon trains were fitted out for trips across the plains. He had seen many lands and was capable of judging business possibilities, and exhibited his confidence in the probable development of the frontier town by purchasing property. He returned then to St. Louis and disposed of his interests there and in the spring of 1855 settled permanently at Leavenworth. Here he embarked in the restaurant business, and this together with operating a grocery store, occupied much of his attention, although he further showed foresight and good judgment by investing in realty here much of which he still possessed at the time of his death. For some time he also conducted a real estate business. Mr. Taschetta was industrious as well as enterprising and was honest to the penny, the latter virtue, in his case sometimes leading to a betrayal of confidence, because he expected the same honesty in those with whom he had business relations.
At St. Louis, Missouri, Peter Taschetta was married to Miss Elizabeth Adam, who was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, and eight children were born to them, five of whom grew to maturity: Elisa, Charles A., Peter V., Frank A. and Anna K., wife of Thomas Brown, a former sheriff of Leavenworth County. All the children of Mr. Taschetta live in this city, highly respected and esteemed.
After locating in America Mr. Taschetta soon acquired proficiency in the English language. Although he became a factor, to some extent in politics as a democrat, he was too busy in his regular avocations to accept political preferment even had he so desired. He was a Roman Catholic in his religious faith. He died November 5, 1897, at the age of seventy-five years. He was universally esteemed for his kindness of heart and for his many neighborly qualities.
Charles A. Taschetta, who is one of Leavenworth’s foremost citizens and the present postmaster, was born at Leavenworth, the eldest son of the late Peter Taschetta, September 13, 1859. During boyhood and youth he attended the public and the parochial schools, taking special studies in a night school and acquiring commercial knowledge in a business school. He succeeded his father in the grocery business and conducted the same until duties of a public official nature commanded his entire time. During the administration of President Cleveland, Mr. Taschetta was appointed registry and stamp clerk in the Leavenworth postoffice, which position he resigned at a later date. In 1897 he was appointed auditor of Leavenworth County and served three consecutive terms. In 1915 Mr. Taschetta was appointed postmaster at Leavenworth and in this official position had won high regard, not only on account of efficiency but also because of his uniform courtesy. It is the rule of his office that attention shall be given by every subordinate to every caller on official business, no matter how obscure he may be, and, if possible, Mr. Taschetta himself answers their queries and explains official rulings they may not understand. This somewhat unusual attitude in public institutions, had contributed in no small degree to Postmaster Taschetta’s popularity.
Mr. Taschetta was married July 23, 1883, to Miss Martha Dobson, who was born at Newcastle-on-the-Tyne, England, and died at Leavenworth, August 30, 1897, the mother of five children: Angelena M., who is Mrs. Arnold B. Frana; Elizabeth, who is Mrs. Benjamin J. Donovan; Isabel, who is Mrs. Lieut. X. F. Blauvelt; Martha, who died when fifteen years old; and Charles, who died before reaching his sixth birthday. Mr. Taschetta had always been a devoted father and a wise and judicious one. Recognizing the decided but differing talents of his daughters, he gave them advantages along the lines best adapted to develop them, and his “babies,” as he fondly and proudly terms them, are gifted far beyond the average of young women. Mrs. Frana is a very talented musician and for years was organist at the Catholic Cathedral. Mrs. Donovan is an accomplished vocalist, while Mrs. Blauvelt had received flattering attention as a public reader. Mr. Taschetta and daughters are all devout members of the Roman Catholic Church. Politically he had always given support to the democratic party.