Unkel Braesig Vereen
This social club was formed on July 15th, 1875 at the Old Mechanics Hall on Fayette Street opposite Ford's Theater. The founders were Otto Duker, Frederick Wehr, Heinrich Tieck, Anton Weiskittel, Karl Mittendorf, Herman H. Hobelmann, F.W. Bissing, John Behrens, Ulrich Sturken, Theophilus Munder, Fritz Ramien, H. Steffens, August Hellwig, A.H. Schulz, Fritz Meyer, Louis Luebkert and William Koors. The first president was Otto Duker; F. Wehr, VP; Henry Tieck, Secretary. There were 70 in number on formation.
The newly formed group left soon after their formation date to join the Guenther’s band for New York. There they marched in the Plattdeutscher Volksfest Verein. This was the first general gathering of low German people ever held in the US. [Sunpaper, September 4, .1874, page 4]
The name of the Society was from Unkel Braesign, the most humerous character in Fritz Reuter’s famous novel, ‘Ut mine Stromtied’.
In 1888, the Society was composed of approximately 175 men from North Germany that spoke the Low-German (Die Plattdeutschen) dialect.
Their purposes were social and beneficial—it not only provided entertainment for the living but paid funeral benefits upon the death of a member.
Every year they sponsored Fasching celebrations. Their celebrations were centered around ‘everyday life’. Their costumes were not the normal high life, celebrity outfits, but those wore in their everyday lives in their homeland. They also presented a play each year that was centered on everyday living in their homeland.
Besides their annual ‘Mask Balls’, they held an annual ‘Roast and Oyster Eating contest’. It was the Unkel Braesig Vereen that annually provided Christmas festivals supporting and hosting the orphans. In August, 1936, they hosted over 100 orphans at Arion Park. There were Athletic exhibitions, beauty contests and singing contests. This was also an annual event.
[Sunpaper article Feb. 10, 1888, ‘German Peasant Life’. Mask Ball at Concordia]. Committee: F. Wehrenberg, W. Rosskamp, H.G. Von Heine, Johann H. Gohlinghorst, J. Kruse, C. Bothmann, F. Brumshagen, G. Liedlich, F. Horstmann, W. Vollers and H. Benseler.
[Sunpaper article Feb. 13, 1889] ‘Mask Ball’ held at Maennerchor Hall.
[Sunpaper 2.13.1892] Mask Ball: February 12, 1891 at Maennerchor Hall on Lombard Street.
[Sunpaper, Jul 17, 1899, page 10] The Association celebrated their twenty fourth anniversary at Rose Bank, Back River on July 16, 1899. The president at that time was F. W. Wehrenberger. The committee at the time was F. Wilms, August Fenker, F.W. Wehrenberer, August Eidman, W. Rosskamp, F.W. Holtgreve and H. Koester.
[Sunpaper, March 1, 1905, Page 6]. Annual Masquerade a Tremendous Success. Held at th Germania Maennerchor Hall and had over 200 guests attend.
Officers in 1909:
President F.W. Wehrenberg
Vice-President: Louis F. Depkin
Treasurer: George D. Arling
Secretary: Henry G. Von Heine
Financial Secretay: F. William Rust
An ad in the Sunpaper on March 11, 1923 announced the Mask Ball at Lehmann’s Hall on March 15, 1923. The cost for the event was $1.00.
On October 25th, 1925, the society celebrated its Golden Jubilee by holding a banquet in the hall of the Turnverein Vorwaerts.
Their sixtieth anniversary celebration was a week long event held the week of August 26, 1935. The president at this time was Arnold A. Schiemann. [Sunpaper August 26, 1935, page 5]