Our Proud History

The El Paso Title Company has a long, proud, and storied past.  El Paso Title is and always has been a family owned business.

In order to recap the history of the El Paso Title Company a fair amount of 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 in Galveston 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.  Although they (probably) don’t know it yet, Cotton and Kathryn are pregnant with their first child.

1931, 1932, 1933 – Cotton and Kathryn have a son a year – Bernard Jr., William, then 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 was 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, Inc., which Cotton 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.

1950 – Bill graduates from Austin High School, attends college at Texas Western College (now UTEP) briefly, but being somewhat strong willed, refuses to go to law school and instead joins the US Marines (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.

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).

1958 – To escape the pressure his mother is applying to join the family business, Bill moves his family to California and goes to work for a title company in San Diego.

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).

1960 – In July Bernie and Guinnell have a son, James Edward (Jim). This was right at 9 months after Suzi was born and family stories abound regarding that coincidence.

1964 ? – El Paso Title moves into the Bassett Towers building downtown.

1975 ? – El Paso Title moves into the newly built El Paso National Bank building.  (Currently the Chase Bank building.)

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 – After an employee resignation, Suzi came to help her dad and work at the title company for “a little while” until a permanent employee can be found.

1990 – During her fifth year with El Paso Title, it’s becoming obvious that Suzi might be around longer than just a little while.

1991 – El Paso Title moves into a building at 610 N Mesa.

2009 – Bill Schwarzbach passes away and Suzi becomes the sole owner and President of El Paso Title.

2009 – Jim joins El Paso Title.

2010 – El Paso Title moves into some upstairs offices in the historic Zach White mansion at 1201 North Mesa.

2011 – El Paso Title moves into the Parlor suites on the first floor of the Zach White mansion.  Without a doubt, the most impressive offices and closing rooms in El Paso—complete with the 100 year old fireplace in the large closing room.


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