My maternal grandmother was 14 when she saw her house float away during the 1937 Shawneetown, Illinois flood. This was in the midst of the great depression and in January during the cold winter time. She was the youngest of 9 children and the only girl. Her family lived in a tent for a while and then lived with various relatives until they found a new living arrangement. Yet, through this she had an eye for a good watch. She always admired the Swiss watches.
This never meant much to me until I discovered she was a descendant of one of the oldest watch/clock making families of all time from Geneva, Switzerland.
Jean (John: Americanized when he immigrated to the US) Louis Badollet was my maternal grandmother's ggg grandfather.
J. L. Badollet was born in 1757 in Geneva, Switzerland. He came from the Badollet clock/watch making line that began in the mid 1500's. Not a watch maker himself, J. L. attended college in Geneva where he became close friends with one of his classmates, Albert Gallatin.
Both, Badollet and Gallatin sought to leave their home land for the hopes of America. Gallatin, with the assistance of a loan from Badollet, who could not leave at the time, left against his prominent families wishes. Badollet soon joined Gallatin and they both pursued their goal of starting a self sufficient Swiss community in a rural area of Pennsylvania. This is where these two life long friends parted ways.
Gallatin became immediately involved in state, and soon later U.S. politics while Badollet remained in the small PA community handling the businesses they had begun. Gallatin rose to prominence and became Secretary of State to Thomas Jefferson. I will later deal with the extraordinary accomplishments of this man, who has, to this day, been horribly forgotten and over shadowed.
To be continued.....