|Horn & Schwalm's Home/Brewery|
He was fifteen now and also well on his way to assuming his father’s role as the Horn and Schwalm brewmaster. At this point he’d been living at the brewery for at least 8 years and though he had attended primary school, his real education undoubtedly took place in the brewhouse. That also may have been where he learned to drink. Alcohol would compromise much of his short life, but despite his incipient problem Theodore became a full partner in the brewery by the time he was 21 years old.
On the face of it, things were looking up for Theodore. In April of 1881 he married and his his wife Sophia joined the Schwalm’s in their family home. Theodore’s alcoholism continued to escalate, though, and by January of 1883 he had become so debilitated that he was placed under guardianship. An abstract of the guardianship papers is unequivocal in its description of Theodore. The stark report identifies him as a “Drunkard”.
Two years later, in 1885, Theodore and Sophie Schwalm had their first and only child, Arthur. But Theodore’s decline continued. By 1887, at the age of 29, he was suffering from liver failure and in the fall of that year his conditioned worsened considerably after being thrown from a buggy.
On January 17, 1888, The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern reported that Theodore was gravely ill. He had been confined to his bed for the past two weeks and was not expected to live through the day. The following morning the paper reported that his condition had not changed. That evening he died. His death ascribed to “an affection of the liver”. The following Sunday, Theodore was buried in Riverside cemetery. He left behind a wife, a two-year-old son and a promising future to be claimed by others.