The El Paso Title Company has a long, proud and storied past. El Paso Title is and always has been a family owned business. So for the history of the El Paso Title Company, some family history must be included. Like all families, the Schwarzbach family has its history of high and low moments, scandals, scoundrels and more.
1890 - Judge A. G. Foster organizes the Pioneer Abstract Company.
July 8, 1904 - Bernard Edward Schwarzbach is born to Theodore and Helen Schwarzbach, the ninth of ten children. He was born with snow white hair and by the time he was a couple of years old everyone is calling him “Cotton” due to his hair color. This nickname stuck with him for his entire life--many people never even know him by any other name.
1911 - Judge Foster is killed in a train accident and Pioneer Abstract is sold to the First National Bank. Judge Foster's son, A. Gwyn Foster, continues in the business as an employee.
1920 - Medical reasons necessitate that Cotton move from Galveston to a drier climate, so at the age of 16 he moves to El Paso, Texas.
1923 - Cotton goes to work for Pioneer Abstract Company as a typist and learns the abstract business under the supervision of Mr. Foster.
1929 - The great depression hits The United States.
June 25, 1930 - Cotton marries Kathryn Dugan.
December 30, 1930 - Cotton and A. Gwyn Foster, along with Mr. Foster's wife, Myrtle, in the midst of the great depression, start Foster Abstract and Title.
1931, 1932, 1933 - Cotton and Kathryn have a son a year - Bernard Jr., William and Robert. (Bernie, Billy and Bobby). Cotton purchases small portions of the company from Mr. Foster at every opportunity and works many, many hours to keep the company growing.
1945 - The Foster's take a leave of absence and Cotton becomes the acting manager.
In the late 1940's - With her sons in high school, Kathryn decrees that all three of them will be attorneys. Kathryn is a rather strong willed lady and there is no discussion; nor are Bernie, Bill or Bob's career choices considered--they will be attorneys according to their mother.
1948 - Cotton purchases the final ownership shares of Mrs. Foster and changes the name of the company to El Paso Title Company, which he now owns in its entirety.
1949 - Bernie graduates from Austin High School in El Paso and goes to UT Austin to major in Law. He completes law school in 1955 and returns to El Paso to begin his career. He meets Guinnell Isaacks and they marry in 1957. In July 1960 they had a son, James Edward (Jim). Note that this is 9 months (almost to the day) after Suzi was born. Family stories abound regarding that coincidence. Bernie and Guinnell also had a daughter, Rebecca born in April 1964.
1950 - Bill graduates from Austin High School, attends college at Texas Western College (now UTEP) briefly, but being somewhat strong willed, does not want to go on to law school so instead joins the US Marine Corp (much to his mother's unhappiness).
1951 - Bob graduates from Austin High School and goes to UT Austin to major in Law. After graduating from law school Bob returned to El Paso. He marries Geraldine Lynch in 1958 and they have three children, Sharon in January, 1960, Robert Travis Jr. in November, 1961 and Brian in April, 1964.
1952 - After completing his military career, Bill returns to El Paso, meets and marries Betty Cleland, works at various jobs outside the family business (having nothing to do with law) and has his first child, Bobbianne (Bobbi) in July 1957.
1958 - To escape the pressure his mother is applying to join the family business, Bill moves his family to San Diego, California, and goes to work for a title company there.
1959 - In September Kathryn wins the battle of wills and Bill returns to El Paso to join his father in the family business. In October Bill and Betty give birth to their second daughter, Suzanne (Suzi); followed by Joanne (Joni) in October, 1962 and Dianne in January, 1965.
1978 - Cotton passes away on December 30. In one of those life quirks, he dies at the hospital where his oldest granddaughter is in labor--Cotton passed away about six hours before his first great-grandchild is born.
1979 - Bill takes over complete ownership and management of the El Paso Title Company.
1985 - Suzi came to work at the title company just to help out for a “little while” until a permanent employee was found. Twenty five years later she is still here and is very happy to have her cousin Jim join her to continue the family business and help it grow again.