Manufacturing & Retail
Charles Adler (12-8-1839 to 5-19-1915)
Charles Adler was born in Hofgeismar, Viedensten, a little town near Cassel, Germany. He was the son of Suessmann Adler and Merle (Heineman Stern). He attended public schools until the age of fifteen when he felt the need to come to the U.S. He arrived in September 1854 and settled in Montgomery County and established a general store.
He was instrumental in founding the town where he lived, which was called Germantown.
In 1865, he came to Baltimore and entered the wholesale shoe business of H. Frank & Company. The firm name eventually was changed to Frank & Adler. His son Simon joined the firm in 1900. The business was initially located on West Baltimore Street and moved a few years later to German St. (now Redwood).
He was a director in the Drovers’ and Mechanics’ Bank, the Baltimore Trust Company, the Consolidated Gas and Electric Company, the Monumental Brewing Company and the Monticello Distilling Company. He was vice president of the Jewish Free Burial Society, the Federated Jewish Charities and the Hebrew Orphan Society, where he held office for twenty-eight years.
He married Caroline (Frank 1842-1899). They were the parents to Simon, Abraham, Harry, Helen, Blanche and Saidie. They lived in Bolton Hill. The family is buried at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
William Julian Albert (8-4-1816 to 3-29-1879)
Mr. Albert’s ancestors came to the U.S. in 1752 from Würzburg, Germany. William’s grandson Jacob, moved to Baltimore in 1805 and founded the hardware firm that ranked amongst the top houses south of the Mason Dixon line. He was succeeded in the business by his sons, William J. and Augustus.
William devoted his time to the welfare of Baltimore and Maryland. He was prominent in the reorganization of the Baltimore and Cuba Smelting and Mining Company, which employed hundreds. He helped found, in 1863, the First National Bank of Baltimore. He assisted in establishing the ‘Soldiers’ Home’ and an Asylum for orphans and took a leading part in the foundation of the society for the moral and educational improvement of the blacks after the abolition of slavery. He also helped establish a school for ‘black’ teachers in Baltimore. He was a strong Union supporter. After the Civil War, the finances of the Union were dire. Mr. Albert volunteered, in case of emergency, to advance what would be necessary to defray the demands upon the Government of the city.
US Congressman. He was elected to represent Maryland's 5th District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1873 to 1875. He is buried at Green Mount Cemetery.
Philip Albrecht (1843 to 4-10-1909)
Mr. Albrecht was born in Warnfried an der Werra, Kurhessen, and he died in Baltimore. With his parents, he came to America in 1847. He was educated at Knapp's Institute. For many years he was engaged in the tobacco export business. He had an extensive library, was a philatelist and collector of coins. In 1897 he published a dissertation entitled "Astronomical Doctrines presented in New Aspects."
He married Eleanora (Logemann). They had two children, Emma and John. The family is buried at Baltimore Cemetery.
Obituary Baltimore Sun-April 12, 1909
Phillip August Albrecht born 1843 in Prussia. He worked as a bookeeper from 1868-1882 and a cashier from 1888-1898.
John Frederick Amelung ( to 11-21-1796)-Glass
In 1784 John Frederick Amelung came from Bremen with a colony of 300-400 persons, among whom were bakers, blacksmiths, doctors, shoemakers, tailors, etc., and settled on Bennett’s Creek near the Monocacy, in what is now the Urbana district of Frederick County. Here they erected a factory for the making of glass and it is said to have been the first works established in America for the manufacture of hollow glassware.
Amelung manufactured and presented in person to George Washington two capacious goblets made of flint glass exhibiting the General’s Coat of Arms.
American glass produced from 1784 to about 1795 by Amelung, who founded the New Bremen Glass Manufactory near Frederick, Md., U.S., and attempted to establish a self-sufficient community, importing glassworkers and other craftsmen from Germany. The enterprise was encouraged by such men as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, and in 1789 a duty on window and other glass, the first protective tariff passed under the new U.S. Constitution, was proposed. (Source: Brittanica
Unfortunately one could not live on etched glass alone and when Amelung could not borrow money to rebuild after a fire, he retired to his
daughter's home in Baltimore.
A joint archeological excavation of the site by the Corning Museum of Glass and the Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology uncovered “a spectacularly large and well-equipped factory structure,” but insufficient investigations since have left many unanswered questions. Most of the surviving glass made at his factory can be found today in leading museums and historical societies.
Christian Ax (11-12-1823 to 3-20-1887)
Christian Ax was born the son of a Rheinish mining Factory owner in Daaden. He came as a young saleman to Baltimore where he was called to work for G.W. Gail and his tobacco factory. He was soon named a partner in the business and married the sister of Gail. He was one of the best known and most respected Germans of the city of Baltimore. He was one of the founders of the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland.
Charles E. Baker (2-5-1845 to 10-15-1915)-Glass
Mr. Baker was born in Baltimore to Charles J. Baker and Elizabeth (Basserman). His father and mother were both of German descent, their ancestors coming to this country in the early days of the settlement of the US. His father was a glass manufacture and banker and was identified with multiple business enterprises. Charles is one of nine children.
Mr. Baker was education in the privates schools of Baltimore, but quit at the age of thirteen. He went to work at that time for the firm of Baker Bros. glass manufactures working for one dollar a week. The firm was founded in 1857 by his father and uncle. After working with the firm as a clerk, salesman and other odd jobs, he became a partner in the firm in 1865. He was head of the house of Baker Bros. and had chief management of their large warehouses located at 36 and 38 S. Charles Street.
Mr. Baker married twice. He married sisters, the daughters of Benjamin Whitely and Elizabeth Stone, whose great-grandfather was a distinguished signer of the Declaration of Independence. His first wife was Mary E. Whitely (1847-1880), and his second Harriet 'Hattie' Stone Whitely (1860-1928), and he was first married February 5, 1867, and upon the death of Mary, married again. He had nine children, William, Charles, Mary (1872), Benjamin, Hattie, Florence, Edith (1884), Emma (1889) and Virginia (1894). The family were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a Democrat. He also was president of the Chemical Company, of Canton, treasurer of the Baltimore Guano Company, treasurer and member of the Board of Managers of the Baltimore General Dispensary, one of the oldest charities of the State of Maryland. The family home was at 1405 Eutaw Place. He is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Francis Beehler, Manufacture UmbrellasThe first umbrellas manufactured in Baltimore were made by Francis Beehler, a woodcarver from Heidelberg, Germany, who established a factory in 1828 on East Baltimore Street. He was from a long line of scientists in Germany. Beehler Umbrella House later moved to 204 W. Lexington St., in 1886, which burned in a spectacular 1922 fire that was fueled by thousands and thousands of yards of silk and took the life of a firefighter. The firm was carried on by William Beehler, the grandson of Francis.
Karl Blumhardt (5-25-1840 to 11-28-1889)-Sausage
Karl Blumhardt was born in Schweigheim, in Wurtemberg. He came to the U.S. in 1865 and worked for one year in New York as a butcher boy. He then came to Baltimore in 1866 and began one of the most successful sausage factories in the city. He died suddenly.
Albert Brager (8-1859 to 3-27-1936)
Albert Brager was born in Alexandria, Virginia to Joseph Brager, who according to the 1920 census was born in Germany. He came to Baltimore when he was 15 and entered the employ of a dry goods firm, working for $15 per month. Ten years later he and Ferdinand Bernheimer founded their own business with a capital of $4000. He became one of the leading merchants of Baltimore. He founded the department store which was located at Eutaw and Saratoga Streets that bore the name ‘Brager of Baltimore’. The store began very small, actually twenty-two by sixty-six fee, and became one of the largest, practically filling half the block bounded by Saratoga, Clay and Eutaw. The same is true of his home on Eutaw Place and Laurens Street, which became one of the show residences of that section.
When he began his business he had six employees. In 1927 when he sold to the American Department Stores Corporation, Mr. Brager was employing more than 700 employees.
He was also an official of the Associated Jewish Charities and past president of the Phoenix Club. He was one of the founders of the Suburban Club. He was an active member of the Madison Avenue Temple and an adviser of Mayors of Baltimore.
Mr. Brager was married twice, the first to Blenn Friedenwald, daughter of Joseph Friedenwald, who passed away in 1920 and then to Blanche Krause, a widow, who he married in 1930. According to the census he had two sons, Stanley and Joseph and two daughters, Merle and Bessie.
Mr. Brager died at Sinai hospital on March 27, 1936. He was 76 years old and up until his admittance to the hospital in good health. He is buried at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery
Jacob Brandt (1-22-1812 to 1-12-1882)-Steamships
Mr. Brandt came from a long and distinguished line and was a descendant of the old Baronial House of Brand or Brandt of Hamburg, Germany. The Brandt’s arrived in the U.S. in 1674. Randolph Brandt was a member of the House of Assembly of Maryland from 1671 to 1675.
Jacob Brandt is associated with the steamboat interests of Baltimore and was president of the Richmond & York River Line ; the Savannah Steamship Company and the Powhatten Steamboat Company.
Mr. Brant incorporated and financed the Safe Deposit & Trust Company at 13 South Street in Baltimore. He lived at 14 East Mt. Vernon Place.
Jacob Brandt’s son, Jacob was born in Baltimore, educated in private schools. He worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and worked for a period with the post office. He entered the real estate business and began his firm of M. & J. Brandt.
Mr. Brandt is buried in Green Mount Cemetery.
Gustav Brunn () Old Bay
Gustav Brunn immigrated to Baltimore in 1939 with his wife and two children. It is said he immigrated after being released from a concentration camp in Germany. He was a native of Frankfurt, Germany. He was hired by McCormick Spice Company, but released three days later due to his inability to speak the English language. He was unable to find a position so went into business for himself. He opened a small shop across from the Baltimore Wholesale Fish Market. When he left Germany, he brought his hand cranked spice grinder. Initially he began blending spices for pickels and cured meats. Due to the abundance of crabs and the fact that many households in Baltimore had their own concoctions they used to spice their crabs, Brunn developed a pre mixed crab spice. He tested blends until he came up with what most thought was the perfect blend in 1940. 'Old Bay' was born.
His family run business, the Baltimore Spice company, operated until 1985, when it was sold to Smith Corona Machines. The recipe for 'Old Bay' was eventually acquired by McCormick & Company, which still holds the 'secret recipe' for the spice.
George A. Buchheister (9-15-1872 to 2-3-1934)-Tobacco
Mr. Buchheister was born in Bremen, Germany, son of Gustav Adolph Buchheister, a tobacco broker in Bremen. After leaving school in Bremen, young George Buchheister entered the tobacco import firm of Papendieck & Co. in Bremen, where he served his apprenticeship for three years. He became thoroughly familiar with various kinds and grades of tobacco. When his apprenticeship was completed, he left for Hanover and there served his military year with the 74th Regiment of Infantry. He was promoted to the rank of petty officer before the end of the military term.
He left at the age of twenty for the U.S., where he had an uncle working for the Standard Oil Company in New York. He landed in Hoboken, NJ., found a job as a bookkeeper and made it his home.
Since his training was really in the tobacco field, that is what he wanted to do. He heard from his father that a tobacco merchant, Mr. Henry Lauts, in Baltimore was looking for someone to work as a buyer and assist in purchases for American and European firms. He applied and was accepted for the position. He remained with the firm for over forty one years. The family lived in Baltimore for a number of years, but during the World War bought a tobacco farm in Prince George's County, Maryland, where he lived until his death.
Outside of business, Mr. Buchheister was active in the various German-American Societies of the city. For many years he was a director of the Germania Club, and in his earlier years he was active as the secretary of this organization. He was a Director of the German Orphan Asylum and the General German Aged People’s Home of Baltimore and took great interest in these and other beneficial societies.
Andrew J. Dietrich (10-15-1864 to 1943)-Steel
Andrew was German on his father’s side. His father immigrated to the U.S. in 1847 and made their home in Baltimore. Andrew was born in Baltimore and attended the public schools there. He went to work with his father (ironmaker) in the Gunpowder Tunnel and worked there for five years. He began Saddler’s Business College in 1881 and took a position with Payne & Brothers where he stayed for ten years, learning and gaining experience. In 1893 he began working with Armstrong & Company, an iron and steel firm located on North Street. He stayed there for three years.
In 1896, with his brother Hammond Dietrich, the company of Dietrich Brothers was formed. They began with a few but became strong and employed at one time more than one hundred and fifty persons. They grew and build a new plant (on North Street) that occupies an entire block. They are the largest plant of that type south of New York. The supplied the steel for the United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company, the Crown Cork and Steel Building in Highlandtown; the Notre Dame School; the Country School for Boys and Mercy Hospital.
From 1905 to 1909 he was president of the Baltimore Foundry Company. He was a director of the Montebello Building and Loan Association and the Sagax Wood Company. He is buried in St. John's Episcopal Cemetery.
Adam Clarence Dietrich (12-14-1869 to 3-13-1933)
Adam, the son of Adam (above) was born in Baltimore on Harford Avenue and received his education in the public schools there. He attended Knapp’s Institute and entered City College, where he graduated in 1884. He then began working for General R. Snowden Andrews and the firm of Andres, Peters & Company, which were stock brokers. He worked there for six years. He began working for E. Scott Payne & Brothers, o0ne of the largest hardware establishments in Baltimore. He served as bookkeeper, traveling salesman and eventually, while Mr. Payne was ill, he managed the business. Upon Mr. Payne’s death, Adam and his six brothers took over the business and formed a corporation named E. Scott Payne Company. The firm became a leader in the commercial world. Mr. Dietrich is interred in St. John's Episcopal Cemetery.
Dr. Alfred Robert Louis Dohme (2-15-1867 to 6-10-1952)
Dr. Dohme was the oldest child of Charles and Ida and was born in Baltimore. He was educated at Friends School and then at the Johns Hopkins University where he graduated with a B.A. in 1886 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1889. He took post graduate courses in chemistry, geology and mineralogy; studied chemistry, pharmacy and botany. He studied abroad (1889-1891) at the University of Berlin and the University of Strassburg.
In addition to being the second vice president of Sharp & Dohme, he was chairman of the scientific section of the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1898; a member of the American Chemical Society; the German Chemical Society at Berlin; the Society of Chemical Industry at London; the American Pharmaceutical Association and the German Pharmaceutical Association. He is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Charles Dohme (1807 to 1852)
Charles was born in Obernkirchen, Germany and died in Baltimore. He came to the U.S. in 1852 and settled in Baltimore. He was successful in supplying brownstone for buildings in the area.
Louis Dohme (7-6-1837 to 12-10-1911 )
Louis was born in Oberkirchen, Germany. He was an apprentice in the drug business of Alpheus Sharp, located at Howard & Pratt Sts. He became the head clerk and the firm name was changed, in 1856 to Sharp & Dohme. Prior to this they were involved in the retail drug business, but this year they extended their operations to the manufacturing of different preparations. Charles, the brother of Louis, was sent to Washington DC., to gain knowledge and ideas regarding manufacturing operations. Mr. Dohme died as president of Sharp & Dohme, Manufacturing Chemists. He had achieved for the company a world wide reputation.
He served as President of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy from 1891 to 1896. He was a graduate of that school. When he stepped down as President of the Department of Pharmacy, his brother Charles Dohme took charge of the department from 1896 to 1906.
Charles Emil Dohme (3-12-1843 to )
Charles was born in Germany. In the U.S. he worked for two years for Andrews & Thompson (one of the leading druggists of that time in Baltimore). Charles then went to work with his brother Louis at Sharp & Dohme. The firm developed quickly from the small retail shop to one of the leading pioneers in this field. As manufacturing chemists, they employed a great deal of skilled labor. When Mr. Sharp retired in 1886, Louis and Charles purchased his interest and incorporated as Sharp & Dohme. They had branches all over the U.S.
Eisenbrandt, Heinrich Christian (4-13-1790 to 1861) Henry R. Eisenbrandt (1834-)Heinrich was born in Goettingen, Germany and moved to Philadelphia in 1811 and finally to Baltimore in 1819. A large number of the American fifers during the War of 1812, were equipped with Eisenbrandt Fifes. He returned to Germany in 1816 and worked in the family business, winning an appointment as the ‘court instrument maker in Hannover. He returned to Baltimore in 1819 where he opened a factory and was very successful. He also married Mary C. (Spilker) on May 1, 1845 in Baltimore. His factory produced clarinets, fifes, drums, basset-horns, bassoons, oboes, flutes, flagolets (member of the flute family) and brass instruments. He was praised for technical innovations in the valves of the saxhorn, and owned two patents used for brass instruments. He also invented a method of drilling fife bores in one step, whereas his competitors used multiple steps. This allowed him to underbid his competition (American Fife makers around the time of the War of 1812). It is also reported that he was the first woodwind maker to use rosewood instead of the standard boxwood at least 10-15 years before other instrument makers began using the hardwood. His factory was located at 78 W. Baltimore Street and 39 S. Broadway.
His son, H.W.R. Eisenbrandt, born in Baltimore in 1834, continued the family business, which lasted until 1949. H.R. Eisenbrant became H.R. Eisenbrandt and Sons, Inc., and were located at 306-308 N. Howard Street. H.R. Eisenbrandt lived in the Springlake area of Baltimore. He married Jeannetta, from Prussia and together they had W. Albert, C. Henry (1860), Frederick (1862), Charles, Edward, Jeannette, Rosalina and Herman. Several of the sons also made musical instruments. Henry and Albert were twins.
Sources: Colonial Williamsburg Mobile; History of the Ancients, Worldpress; 1880 U.S. Federal Census records, Maryland Archives [Maryland Marriages].
Johann Conrad Engelbrecht (5-25-1758 to 1819)
Johann was born in the village of Aichig, Bayreuth, Bavaria. He was the son of Johann and Catherine Mayer Engelbrecht. He was eighteen years old when the US declared their independence and he was sent to help the British. He fought in the battles of Philadelphia, Newport and Yorktown, where he was captured. Captured soldiers were imprisoned in what is now called the ‘Hessian Barracks’.
At the conclusion of the war, the soldiers were given the option to go home or stay and Johann decided to stay. He married Margaret Houx (daughter of a Lutheran schoolmaster) and together they had ten children, all baptized at the Frederick Lutheran Church. He was known as ‘Conrad’ in his adopted land and was well respected and prospered at his profession as a tailor.
Jacob Engelbrecht (12-11-1797 to 2-22-1878)
Jacob Engelbrecht was a tailor and a shopkeeper. What makes his story so special is that he was the son of Conrad Engelbrecht, a Hessian soldier brought to the United States to fight the British. Conrad was captured and a prisoner at Yorktown. He married a local girl.
Jacob’s biggest contribution was his diary. He kept a daily diary which has become an ‘excellent photograph’ of the times in Frederick during that era. He maintained the diary from 1818 to 1878. He kept it open in his shops and encouraged the everyday folks of Frederick to write in the diary. The diary contains priceless information such as births, deaths, marriage records, etc., at a time before the maintenance of those types of records were required by the government.
Jacob was the mayor of Frederick at the end of the Civil War (1865-1868). He spoke both English and German. He also was involved in the German Lutheran Church in the area. He played the French horn in the church band, which was called the Harmonies.
The diary consists of 21 volumes, several of which are on display at the Historical Society of Frederick County. Mr. Engelbrecht is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Anton Fetting (5-5-1853 to )Mr. Fetting was born in Baltimore to John and Sophie (Meyers). He was educated at Knapp’s Institute. He established a manufacturing business (Jewelry) in 1873. The shop was located for many years at 14 and 18 St. Paul Street, near Liberty Street. He was a director of the German Bank; German Fire Insurance Company; Past Deputy Grand Master of Masons and Past Master of Concordia Lodge.
Frederick William Moritz Florenz (10-8-1875 to 12-22-1955)
Mr. Florenz was born in Cologne, Germany. He was educated in the schools of his area, primarily the Königliches Gymnasium an Marzellen zu Köln. He apprenticed for two years as a clerk with the firm of Ludwig Lüthgen in the iron, steel and coke industry. He served one year with the German army before coming to the U.S. in 1896. He arrived in Baltimore and taught at LoyolaCollege and the German Correspondent. After a few years he entered the firm of Ed. C. Geyer & Co., dealers in leaf tobacco and salt fish. In 1911, he became the sole owner of the business. The firm founded as Geyer & Wilkins celebrated 100 years in 1955. It was known to be the oldest salt fish business in the country. The firm dissolved at the death of Mr. Florenz in 1955.
Philip Rudolph Joachim Friese (10-20-1775 to 9-20-1857)
Mr. Friese was born, the second of eleven children on an estate called Fresenhede, in the small duchy of Hoya, Hanover, Germany. He received a mercantile education as a clerk in a small firm named Brauer, in Bremen. His father was a wool merchant and had a warehouse on his estate. He collected the wool of the surrounding areas and shipped it to Holland by wagon.
Mr. Friese came to the U.S. at the close of the 18th century as cargo bound for Baltimore, where his brother John resided. His ship wrecked near Smith Island, so he didn’t make it directly to Baltimore. To save the cargo and his commission he took measures to salvage any cargo from the shipwreck.
His firm operated under the name of his brother, John H. Friese. The original capital was obtained by a secured mortgage of Fresenhede. It was prosperous and after a few years dissolved, with each partner receiving their share, which was approximately $50,000 each, a considerable sum in those days. John returned to Germany and Philip remained in Baltimore. He carried on the old business in his name. He became a naturalized citizen and loved his adopted country. He pursued other businesses over the years, including the fur trade. He later established a white lead factory and after a time, established a factory to manufacture window glass. This was not the first attempt that someone made to manufacturer window glass. The first was a failure. After making a thorough study of the subject, having the necessary capital himself, he hired the necessary skilled workman (some bought directly from Germany, binding each for a period of six years). The business was a success from the beginning. Due to sickness, he relinquished the operations to his younger brother, John, whom carried the business successfully until 1830.
During his career he supported the credit of the U.S. in the war of 1812 by providing a loan to the U.S. He was active with the United States Bank, the Frederick and Reisterstown Turnpike Roads, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and others.
William Fuld (7-24-1870 to 2-24-1927)-the Quija Board
William Fuld was the son of Jacob and Mary Fuld. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Jacob was a Jewish German immigrant that left Büdingen, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany and arrived in the U.S. on September 7, 1854. Jacob, joined the Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. William was one of ten children. He and his siblings often invented games to occupy their time. He attended public schools in Baltimore and later attended the School of Art and Design. His first job, at the age of seventeen, was that of a paint varnisher in1887. He then began his work with Kennard Novelty Company, which opened in 1890. It was here he began his work on the Ouija Board. A patent was granted to William on July 19, 1892 to make improvements to the board. The patent made improvements to the ‘talking board’. On April 12, 1898, the Ouija Novelty Company assigned its assets and interests, including Ouija patents to Washington Bowie and Harry Rusk. In November 1897, William and his brother Isaac founded Isaac Fuld & Brother. On July 18, 1898 the Ouija Novelty Company signed an agreement with William and Isaac to manufacture and sell Ouija Boards for three years. In 1899 the agreement was expanded. The operations took place at 20 North High Street. Royalties were paid to Bowie and Rusk. When the agreement was renewed, it was renewed in William’s name only. This caused a family feud, which lasted throughout the brothers lives.
A trademark was granted in February 1902 for the ‘talking board’. William held many other novelty and toy patents.
William was a member of the Masons, Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers, Merchants and Manufacturers Association, the Democratic Club and the Toy Manufacturers Association of America.
William manufactured various boards and in 1918 built a new three story factory at Harford Avenue, Lamont Avenue and Federal Street. On April 24, 1919, he became the sole owner of the Ouija board. He saw the board through several company names including: The Kennard Novelty Company, The Ouija Novelty Company, Isaac Fuld & Brother, William Fuld, and William Fuld & Sons.
It is said that William was very intelligent and could speak seven languages. He was a Custom’s Inspector for the Port of Baltimore from 1896-1924. In 1924 he ran and won a seat as a Democrat in the Maryland House of Delegates for the Third District. He supported several charitable organizations.
He married Annie Schmidt at St. Luke’s Church in Baltimore in 1891. They had seven children. William died in a tragic accident at the factory when he fell from the roof. The children took over the business, but in 1996 sold the business and the Ouija Board to Parker Brothers.
Frank A. Furst (12-30-1845 to ) Dredging & Contracting
Mr. Furst was born in Baden, Germany and was three when his family moved to this county. His father fled Germany because of his connection with the 48ers. They settled in Baltimore and Frank attended St. Michael’s on the corner of Lombard and Wolfe Sts. The family moved to Fells Point and actually lived in the mansion which was the first house built here and was occupied by Thomas Fell. Mr. Furst served in the Civil War, enlisting in the Union Army and serving throughout the conflict in the topographical engineering department. He was an active participant in the Battle of Bull Run.
He became manager of the Northern Central Railway elevators, a position he held for thirty years.
He then became interested in dredging and organized and served as president of the Maryland Dredging & Contracting Company. They were involved in dredging the channels leading to Baltimore and those appr4oaching the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia. He assisted in the dredging of Smith Island. In addition to his office as president, he holds the presidency of the Furst-Clark Construction Company.
He assisted in the planning of the restoration of Baltimore after the fire of 1904. He was at the head of the Dock and Sewerage Loan Commission. He is also involved with the National Dredge Owners’ Association (president for many years); president of the Assurance Savings Association; president of the Wilmington Dredging Company; director in the Canton National Bank, Fidelity Deposit Company, Metropolitan Savings Bank,
Columbia and United States Dredging and Mining Company and the Western Maryland Railroad. He is interred in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery. Important Note: The Furst Memorial Chapel—a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Furst stands in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery. Mr. & Mrs. Frank Furst are entombed there, together with 61 Redemptorist confreres whose remains were transferred in 1978 from the Redemptorist cemetery at Ilchester, Maryland, where the order’s novitiate had been for decades.
The Chapel was dedicated May 30, 1917, by the Most Rev. Owen B. Corrigan, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, who consecrated the interior altar the following day. A vast parade of the city’s cadet corps escorted the prelate and the combined audience of clergy and onlookers for the subsequent field Mass numbered 15,000 people. At the time, the Chapel ranked as one of the largest mausoleums built by a private citizen in the United States and was erected in honor of the Redemptorists who had assisted Mr. Furst from an impoverished boyhood and into prosperity. A devout Baltimore Catholic, Francis E. Tormey, was the architect; Monmonier and Sorrel were the builders. Statuary was supplied by Mullan Harrison, Co., and the windows were executed by the Gettier Studios, both of Baltimore. See more at http://redemcem.com/cemeteries_md_most_holy_redeemer_furst.php.
Francis X. Ganter (12-25-1849 to)
Francis X. Ganter was born in Freiburg, Briesgau, Baden Germany to Peter Ganter and Albertine (Georgii) both of Freiburg until emigrating to the US in 1872. Francis manufactured show cases, bar fixtures, billiard supplies, as well as store and office furniture. He operated a large manufacturing firm in downtown Baltimore, located at 9-13 W. Pratt Street, with a second location at 617 Columbia Avenue (now Washington Boulevard). In Frieburg his father was a cabinet maker and glacier, having a large establishment and doing an extensive business. Mr. Ganter came to this country in 1870, two years before his parents. He located in Baltimore and in 1876 began business for himself on Hanover Street, at that time manufacturing showcases only. He became known as one of the premier case builders in the US. His main factory was on Pratt Street, however, he expanded an additional 86,000 square feet when he purchased adjoining factory to the Wilkins Tobacco Factory. This factory was under the supervision of Ganter himself and was said to be the best equipped manufacturing his line in the US.
He was the sole inventor and patentee of twenty-four inventions, some of which were exclusively used by his factory. Mr. Ganter, besides his business here, had, at one time, branches at 351 Canal street. New York: 40 N. Fourth street, Philadelphia, and 446 Pennsylvania avenue, N. W., Washington, D. C, furnishing the greatest number of cases used in the North, East and South. He also exported throughout the entire world from his New York facility.
Mr. Ganter was married to Christine Ganter and together they had four children, Charles F. W. and Arthur Ganter, both joining their father’s business, Josephine and Victoria. The family was Protestent and Mr. Ganter a member of the Masons. The family resided at 632 N. Gilmor Street in Baltimore.
Georg Wilhelm Gail (7-8-1828 to 10-5-1905)-Tobacco
Georg Wilhelm Gail, son of Georg Philip and Susanna was born in Giessen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany and received his elementary education there. He left for the U.S. in the spring of 1847. He landed in Baltimore in May of that year. He started a tobacco factory here, after hearing that the tobacco manufactured here wasn’t very good. He returned to Germany in 1849 and remained until the spring of 1850 when he returned to Baltimore where he rented a house on the south side of Pratt, between Charles and Hanover and began his small tobacco factory. He wanted to confine himself to German smoking tobacco. Things went well and he realized he needed a sales agent. He wrote to his father and his father selected Christian Ax. Mr. Ax (See profile) arrived in Baltimore in 1851. Mr. Gail then began to import German cigars, which was a real boost to his profits. They were made in the home factory. Because of new taxes imposed in 1865, this portion of the business became unprofitable, but he was also making chewing tobacco, snuff and domestic cigars. Consumption of these products increased during the war and under the firm name G.W. Gail & Ax, the business boomed. In 1891 they sold their interests to the American Tobacco Company. A large factory was built at Barre Street in 1853 and an addition added in 1858. In 1886 a large warehouse on the corner of Charles Street was added and another building on Lee Street.
Mr. Gail married Mary E. Feigner (2-8-1837 to 3-9-1891) both parents coming from Germany. From this marriage there was one son and four daughters. Mr. Gail remarried after the death of his first wife and they had one son.
Mr. Gail’s son-in-law joined the firm and after the death of Mr. Ax, his son, Christian Ax, Jr. joined the firm. The firm became a branch of the American Tobacco Company.
Mr. Gail was a member of the Germania Club of Baltimore, the German Society of Maryland and the German Historical Society.
His residence on Eutaw Place became a notable landmark in Baltimore. (According to the 1990 census, the family lived at 2301 Eutaw Street..Ward 16, District 210, pg. 2).
Mr. Gail died at sea on a return trip from Germany. The family is interred at Green Mount Cemetery. The plot is graced by a wonderful Hans Schuler memorial.
A copy of an article that appears in “A Descriptive Review of the Manufacturing and Mercantile Industries of the City of Baltimore – Historical Publishing Company, Publishers, 1882”, reads as follows:
“The well-known house of Messrs Gail & Ax has a national and worldwide reputation as manufacturers of smoking tobacco, fine cut chewing tobacco and snuff of various grades.
The firm consists of Mr. George W. Gail and Mr. Christian Ax. The father of Mr. Gail, the founder of the house, began business at Glesen, in Germany, in 1807. The son began business in 1850 on Pratt Street near Charles Street, on a small scale. In 1853 the first wing of the present large factory was built on Barre near Charles Street, and in 1855 Mr. Ax joined the firm. In 1850 the present large factory was completed, and to accommodate a largely increased business, two additional wings were built making a structure five stories in height, 144×183 feet, giving employment to about 350 hands, including many skilled workmen. This establishment is supplied with the most perfect machinery in use for manufacturing purposes, for the making of smoking tobacco; fine cut chewing tobacco and snuff. One of the most famous brands of smoking tobacco turned out by this house is the “Little Joker”, which is popular all over the United States on account of its excellence. The bulk of the trade of the firm is in the long cut smoking tobacco. The house uses Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland and some imported tobacco in the manufacture of their goods. The annual consumption of this firm reaches between two and a half and three million pounds.
The trade of the house extends all over the United States and abroad. This is the pioneer firm in smoking tobacco in Baltimore, and has done much to build up permanently and substantially the tobacco trade of the city.”
Georg William Gail, Jr. (10-14-1864 to 7-19-1909)-Tobacco
Georg Jr., was born to Georg and Mary in Baltimore (see above). He attended both public and private schools in Baltimore. Due to health issues, he also had tutors at his home. After obtaining his education his father set him up with the wholesale tobacco house of Bendheim Brothers & Co., where he served as a clerk. He entered his father’s business, Gail and Ax, in February 1885. He became a member/partner in that firm in January 1888.
He had other interests and primary among them was the fire department. As a child, his home on Barre Street near Hanover, was near to the fire house (No. 2 Company). He went to the scene of the great fire of 1887 and helped direct the firefighters and helpers. His firm erected the spiral tube fire escapes and they were the first of their kind erected in Baltimore. He was made, by Mayor McLane, the president of the Fire Board.
Mr. Gail was director of the Third National Bank and the Mount Washington Electric Light and Power Company. He was a
member of the Germania Club, the Maryland Bicycle Club and the Merchant’s Club.
Mr. Gail married Helen Christina (Bauch) on December 5, 1888. She was born in Richmond, Va., the daughter of Charles Bauch and Olga Von Bucholtz, both born in Germany. After Mr. Bauch's death, the family moved to Baltimore with the Gail Family. They have four children, Helen Maria, George, William, Nanny Louisa and Olga Elise. They are members of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church. He in independent in politics. The family resided on Pimlico Road.
Upon his death, he was mourned by his comrades of the fire department. The American newspaper in his obituary stated: ‘As President of the Fire Board his only thought was the good of the service, and his act in turning over his salary to the men was but indicative of his interest in their welfare.’
Mr. Gail, Jr. is interred at Druid Ridge Cemetery.
John Fred Gettemuller (4-18-1860 to 7-29-1920) Paints
Mr. Gettemuller was born in Baltimore in 1860 and lived in Baltimore his entire life. He was the youngest of two children. His brother, H.J. Gettemuller and Fred were both prominent businessmen in Baltimore. The parents, Herman H. and Annie M. (Kalmey) Gettemuller, were both natives of Hanover, Germany, and were married in that city. By trade, the father was a miller, but after coming to this country in 1851, he engaged in the import business in Baltimore, where he died at the age of seventy-six. The mother passed away in Baltimore at 59 years old.
He studied in public schools in Baltimore and began to assist his father in his business. During his early years, he also learned the paint business and in June 1891 established his own store, which was located at 1045 Gay Street. It was a wholesale and retail shop for paints, painting supplies, glass, varnishes, etc. He was fair and honest and it proved well for him because he garnered a large patronage.
He married Mary Ann (Pfau 1862-1904), a native of the Baltimore. They had two daughters Mabel E. and Eleanora B.
As a thirty-second degree Mason, Mr. Gettemuller was prominent and influential in Masonic Circles. He belonged to King David Lodge No. 68, A. F. & A. M.; Adoniram Chapter No. 21, R. A. M. ; Monumental Command No. 3, K. T.; and Boumi Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He was Lutheran.
The family is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
William Gisriel (3-29-1853 to 1935) BrassWilliam was the son of Frederick Gisriel (1826-1868) from Alsace-Lorraine and immigrated to the U.S. in 1840. His mother was also German and immigrated around the same time. Mr. Gisriel's father was a baker and soon after coming to Baltimore established a bakery on Greenmount Avenue and Eager Street, where he built up quite a business and accumulated considerable property; he died in 1868, and his wife in 1894, leaving four children: Sophia, Jennie, John, and William. William was educated in the public school systems in Baltimore until the early teens, when he began work as an apprentice in Henry McShane’s brass foundry. He served his time out with McShane and, when twenty-one, went to Philadelphia and worked at his trade, but did not remain there long and returned to Baltimore to work at Davis & Watts' foundry on Holliday street, near Saratoga, this foundry was noted as being where the telephone was first manufactured in the world (Bell). The firm closed their foundry in 1873, but Mr. Gisriel took the plant and went into business for himself. Times were tough, but he persevered and built a profitable business He was one of the oldest individual brass founders in the business in Baltimore. It was located at 312-316 N. Holliday Street. Some of his notable services included the improvement of the Jones Falls, the making of a civic center and the introduction of natural gas into the city of Baltimore. In 1873 he became president of the Maryland Brass Metal Works, at 1527 and 1529 Guilford Avenue and in 1908 president of the Winks Railroad Safety Appliance Company.
He was president of the Brass Founders’ Association of Baltimore and a trustee for Ashbury College. He was a member of the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association and the Old Town Merchants’ and Manufactures’ Association. He was a member of a member of Phoenix Lodge, A. F. and A. M., and a member of Maryland Command, No. 1, Knights Templar. He was instrumental in starting at least a dozen small industries by building small manufacturing plants, making the rent low enough to enable the young men beginning their careers to get a ‘fair start’.
In 1872 he married in Baltimore to Martha Washington Cornelius Together they had ten children: Lilly, William, Emma, Walter, Cora, Edward, Stewart, Joshua, Mary (died in 1873) and Beulah (died in 1893). His son William was a brass founder and engaged in business with his father. The family were Methodists, attending Madison Square Church. He was not connected to a political party. They family lived on Johnson Square. William and Martha are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Jacob Gminder (3-1-1835 to 9-10-1898) Medals and Uniforms
Jacob Gminder was born in Reutlingen, Wuertemberg. He came to America in 1849 and entered the business of his uncle, who was a manufacturer of medals and uniforms for lodges and military organizations. At the latter's death Mr. Jacob Gminder took charge of the business and continued it successfully to the time of his death. He also took an earnest interest in all popular civic demonstrations.
Jacob Gminder advertised in the 1887 Brewery Souvenir book on page 56 that the company, located at 12 S. Calvert Street manufactured and imported swords, belts, sashes and regalia for Knights Templer, Odd Fellows, etc. They advertised a complete stock for military organizations. The ad stated Silber-Platterer.
Levi Grief, Clothing
Arrived in the United States in 1852 and launched, what was for a time, the second largest men’s clothing company in the U.S. He arrived when he was 14 and when he located to Baltimore, he opened a little furnishings shop in Fells Point. By 1858, he had graduated from making overalls for sale in his own shop to creating tailored suites to sell wholesale to other vendors. Greif & Brothers was one of the early clothiers in Baltimore to be approached by the Unions. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers attempted in 1916 to unionize Grief, but were unsuccessful. Greif & Brothers was one of the buildings totally destroyed by fire during the Great Baltimore Fire.
Jacob Gross (7-26-1819 to 10-16-1887)
Jacob Gross was born in the small town of Untergröningen in Württemberg. His father, Johann Georg Gross (1778-1850) inherited the family owned brewery and inn Zum Adler, which his grandfather built in 1800. His mother was Creszencia (Maier)(1777-1839) the daughter of a farmer. Jacob was the youngest of twelve and the youngest of the two sons of Johann and Creszencia. Anton, his older brother entered the ministry. Jacob’s father made his daughter Marian and her husband heirs to the brewery and inn. Jacob had a very basic elementary education. He did learn to read and write and basic mathematics, however, never learned a second language or any extensive history or science matters. He and his parents wanted him to learn a trade. In 1833 a distant relative, Wilhelm, who lived in Gmünd, a neighboring village, came to Jacob’s village to reapir the organ in the chapel of the Untergröningen Castle. He offered Jacob an apprenticeship if he were to learn a little about music. Jacob’s parents seized the opportunity and Jacob began piano lessons. He learned the rudiments of piano technique and as such left home at the age of fourteen, traveling on foot to begin his apprenticeship, which he did on October 24, 1833. The apprenticeship was to last for three years
The apprenticeship with Wilhelm did not go as planned. Mr. Wilhelm wasn’t as knowledgeable as he led to believe and the meals were meager and the pay even smaller. He traveled and worked for several masters including carpenters and piano and organ builders, none with lasting potential until he began work with a man named Walker in Ludwigsburg. He began his work here on May 30, 1837, two months before his eighteenth birthday. He worked in several of Mr. Walker’s departments building organs. Unfortunately he was let go on December 5, 1837. From here he traveled to several other towns. He obtained his passbook so he could work in Prussia or Bavaria and did work for several other builders in Tübingen, Freiburg and even Switzerland, Spain and France. He arrived in Murg and began work for a man named Haas. From here, knowing he had fine-tuned his skills he emigrated to the US between 1848 and 1850. In the early 50s he was living in Troy, New York building pianos with an associate named Hulskamp. By 1857 he had moved to Baltimore.
His move to Baltimore was at the request of Charles M. Stieff. He was asked to Baltimore to supervise the newly established piano factory of Stieff (see biography this page). Gross brought to Baltimore one of the pianos made by he and Hulskamp. (This piano after passing its prime was disassembled and many parts used in pieces of furniture including the name piece with Gross and Hulskamp, which is said to have been used on a marble-topped washstand and used in the home of his grandson George Jacob.
Jacob married Katherine (Katie) Stieff (1833-1906), daughter of Charles and Katherine. He and Katherine had five children, Charles Jacob, Kate, Nellie (Pfeiffer), Carrie (Boyd) and Clara. (1880 Census)
On July 26, 1883 on his sixty-fourth birthday and the twenty fifth anniversary of his work with Stieff, he was presented an armchair. The event was covered in all of the major papers. He was well respected and liked among his peers. He and his family lived at 143 Camden Street.
Mr. Gross passed away at the age of 69. Jacob and Katherine are buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
 Apprenticeship: young people wishing to learn a trade would often learn under the guidance of a master craftsman. In return for a fee (usually ½ paid at the beginning and ½ at the conclusion of the training), the craftsman would provide instruction, shelter, food and sometimes clothing and medical care in the event of illness. The apprentice would ‘bind’ himself to the master for a specified period of service. The agreement was in writing. At the end of the apprenticeship the apprentice would present himself to a guild member for a practical examination, which would be followed by a written examination. If successful, the apprentice would receive a certificate and could then further his experience as a traveling journeyman and work for wages.
Joel Gutman (9-3-1829 to 2-23-1892)Joel Gutman was born in Merchingen, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany. His parents, Moses and Ella (Kaufman) Gutman, were natives of Germany also. Mr. Gutman received an elementary education, and when fourteen years of age entered a mercantile house in Buchen by Odenwald, where, according to the custom in Germany, he served an apprenticeship of several years. Once he learned the business he went to Wurzburg at the age of 18 and began working for a firm engaged in wholesale dry goods.
In 1849 he emigrated to the United States, landing in New York July, 1849. He moved to Baltimore, where one of his brothers resided. He also lived in Virginia for a short time where he began selling merchandise. He was very successful and returned to Baltimore and entered into a partnership with his brother in 1852 and opened a business on Hanover Street. The partnership dissolved, amicably, in 1853 and he then began his own business located at 29 N. Eutaw Street. Outgrowing this spot, he, in 1866 bought a property on the opposite side of the street at 34-36 Eutaw Street. He enlarged this location in 1886, actually razing and rebuilding the frame structure with stone and brick. This store located 112-122 N. Eutaw Street became one of the largest stores in Baltimore, employing at one time more than 500 persons. There were over 30 departments offering the finest goods from American and imported directly from Europe. It was called ‘The Store with an Ideal’.
Upon Joel Gutman’s death, his son Louis K, took the helm at the department store.
Mr. Gutman was Jewish, a member of the First Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, of which he was also a trustee and for a number of years president. He was president of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, one of the many noble charitable institutions of the city.
In August, 1852, he married to Bertha Kayton of Baltimore (immigrating to the US in 1833). They were one of the first German Jewish families in Baltimore, and were charter members of the First Hebrew Congregation, which worshiped in the old Lloyd Street Synagogue. The family is buried at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Louis K. Gutman (5-11-1860 to 4-26-1927)
Louis K. Gutman was the son of Joel and Bertha Gutman. He was born in Baltimore and was education in the public and private schools of Baltimore. He began his business career at the age of sixteen as an employee of Joel Gutman & Co., of which firm he became an active member at twenty one. He was also vice president of the Gosman Ginger-Ale Co., and director of the Maryland Casualty Company. In 1908 he was vice president of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and also a director of the Maryland Prisoners’ Aid Society. He was president of the Phoenix Club, a member of the Suburban Club and an Elk. He attended the Madison Avenue Temple. His motto was ‘Truth and Honesty’. He married Ida Neuberger on November 18, 1886. Together they had three children, Elizabeth, Adele and Joel (according to the 1910 census). The family lived on Eutaw Place. Louis is buried at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Samuel Hecht, Jr. (11-1-1830 to 2-9-1907)-Retail
The Hecht Company was founded in 1857 by Samuel Hecht, Jr. The Hecht family was Jewish and came from the little village of Langenschwarz (now part of Burghaun), Kreis Hünfeld, Hesse, Germany where Samuel was born on December 10, 1830. His father Meyer (aka Meier or Maier) Hecht was a cattle dealer or driver who was drowned in Langenschwarz on June 12, 1835. Some accounts say that it was an accidental drowning and others say it was murder. Meyer and Hannah (Bachrach) had eight sons and one daughter. Meyer's parents were Anschel (aka Anshil or Asher) Hecht who was a fur dealer and Güta (aka Giet) née Goldschmidt who was born in Bellersheim, Kreis Hungen, Hesse, Germany.
Samuel's brothers Asher and Simeon arrived in 1844 listed. They initially stayed with their uncle Ruben who lived on Aisquity Street. Simeon is also believed to have funded Samuel Hecht’s first store. Simeon settled at 252 Canton Avenue (now Fleet Street). Meyer's widow Hannah was probably born in Nentershausen, Kreis Hünfeld, Hesse, Germany in 1789 or 1790. She left Germany with Samuel and his brother Reuben and immigrated to the United States; they arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on December 15, 1847 on the ship Schiller. It was Reuben and Asher that opened the first family store in Baltimore in 1847 named Hecht-Asher & Goldenberg. They were dry goods dealers. In 1855 Simeon moved his store to the northeast corner of Canton and Regester Streets.
Samuel's brothers Jacob, Moses and Raphael (aka Vogel) and sister Adelheid (aka Ettel or Edel) arrived in Baltimore on the ship Albert on July 31, 1845 which departed from Bremen, Germany. There may have been another brother Ansel (aka Asher Ralph) who immigrated to Baltimore but he has not been found on any passenger lists. Asher Ralph appears in Baltimore city directories between 1844-1858; Ansel appears in New York City directories from 1858.
Samuel Hecht became an itinerant peddler selling his goods in and around Baltimore and on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. After a decade of itinerant peddling, he settled down and started what would become the Hecht stores. On Jan 5, 1854 Samuel married Babette Wolfsheimer (1830-1900) in Baltimore. They had five children: Meyer (1855-1920), Emanuel (1856-1925), Albert (1864-1915), Alexander (1867-1949) and Moses Samuel (1873-1954).
In 1857 Samuel Hecht opened a used furniture store on Aliceanna Street (near South Broadway) in Baltimore, Maryland. By 1860, East Baltimore had more than 10 Hecht family businesses.
By 1870 this venture had moved to 412 South Broadway. Clothing was added to the lineup in 1879 under the name of Hecht's Reliable. Shortly thereafter a carpet and matting establishment was opened in Baltimore at 310 West Lexington Street.
Over the front of the new store on Lexington Street was a sign reading 'Samuel Hecht, Jr. & Sons,' reflecting the development of the firm as a family enterprise. Four of Samuel's sons eventually joined him in business. They were, in order of age: Emanuel (Manny), Albert S., Alexander (Alex), and Moses S. Hecht.
Emanuel Hecht joined his father in business in 1880. In 1886 he and Albert were listed as partners with their father. Alex and Moses came into the firm later and contributed to its success. Samuel Hecht died on February 7, 1907 in Baltimore. His sons, and later his grandsons, carried on the business.
Emanuel Hecht (10-24-1856 to 1925) Mr. Hecht was educated in the public schools of Baltimore and was a graduate of the Bryant and Stratton Business College. He began clerking for his father at 13. He married Mamie Sycle of Richmond in 1885. She was also of German descent. Together they had six children Enda, Martin, Sadie, Howard, Hortense and Julian. Mr. Hecht was a Republican. The family resided at 1617 Eutaw Place.
The growth of the firm continued in Baltimore with the opening of the Hecht Brothers store on Baltimore and Pine streets in 1885, the Hub store in Baltimore in 1897, and Hecht Brothers at Howard and Franklin streets in 1926. Hecht stores were also established in New York City and Easton, Maryland. There was also a branch in Annapolis, Maryland.
There are two Hecht Family plots at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery in Baltimore.
William Heinekamp (8-28-1826 to 2-25-1903)
William was born in Westphalen, Prussia, the son of John and Katherina (Kloth). He began his education at home under his father, John, who was a teacher, as was his father before him and many of the male family members. He then attended the schools in his town in Germany until the age of fourteen. He then went to learn the trade of cabinet making. He later learned to make pianos and continued this practice in Germany until the age of twenty. At the age of twenty-three, he left for America aboard the vessel ‘Albert’ and after nine weeks landed in Baltimore. With only a few dollars to his name, he immediately began to search for employment and on the fifth day after his arrival he secured a position in a factory manufacturing pianos, located on Hanover Street. He remained with this firm until 1861 when he began his own business in a small building on Fayette Street. His business prospered and in 1863 moved to larger quarters. He, in 1867 built a piano factory five stories high on the corner of St. Peter and Barre Streets. He later was located on Eutaw Street and then moved to East Baltimore Street.
He was a Democrat and member of St. Martin’s Catholic Church. He married twice, the first time in 1852 to Mary Marischen (also a native of Westphalia). Mary passed away in 1881. Together they had Elizabeth, William, Annie, Charles, Katie. He remarried in 1882 to Alissa Marischen (neice of his wife). Together they had three children, Mary, Francis and Rudolph.
Mr. Heinekamp’s brother Conrad, who was also born in Westphalia, was also a member of the firm.
Christian A. Helwig (1861 to)
Christian was a sound businessman, operating a wholesale grocery and spice business at his location at 1209 East North Avenue. His family was German, his father, Godfried, was born in Germany and immigrated to the US at the age of twenty five. His father operated a shoe store in Baltimore and later operated the grocery business. Godfried married Theresa Tames, also German born and together they had six children.
Christian was born in Baltimore in 1861 and was educated at the Knapp private school in Baltimore. He began working as a traveling salesman at the age of twenty and worked for that particular firm for eight years until he felt experienced enough to open his own business with Louis. Christian, with his brother, Louis, opened their spice business in 1890. They shipped their products countrywide.
Christian married Maggie Hall and together they had two children, Albert and Vernon.
Ludwig Hilgartner (1832-1902) Stone Mason
Born November 22, 1832, Ludwig Hilgartner emigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in stone cutting from 1851 until 1863. During this period he developed a business relationship with a stone mason be the name of Gottfried Schimpf, and in 1863 they formed the stone company of Schimpf and Hilgartner. Schimpf and Hilgartner became a successful business and by 1870 had an office at 127 Lexington Street in Baltimore with the main workshop at the southwest corner of Pine and Mulberry Streets in Baltimore. In 1873 Ludwig bought out his partner and continued to prosper.
By 1879 Hilgartner, using both imported Italian and fine domestic marbles, and machinery powered by a thirty horse engine, was one of the most prominent and well-known finishers of marble in the United States. He had moved the operation, which employed 22 experienced workers, into a two story building at 526 and 528 W. Baltimore Street.
By the early 1880's Ludwig's two sons, Andrew and Charles L., were working within the company. In the German tradition, Ludwig started his sons as apprentices in the finishing shop. By 1885 both Andrew and Charles had earned their place in the family business, and the company was renamed L. Hilgartner and Sons.
The company name changed in 1971 to Hilgartner Natural Stone Company, Inc. In 1972 a new engraving process for marble finishing called DIMENSION IV was patented by Hilgartner. In 1975 moved to 101 West Cross Street. In 1976 Hilgartner revitalized the door brick; and in 1981 copyrighted the MARMOR coating, a process for acid proofing marble. There is a Hilgartner Family Plot at Druid Ridge Cemetery.
Charles Hilgenberg (1-2-1829 to 1-23-1899)
Charles Hilgenberg was born in Melsungen, Germany. In 1850 he arrived in Baltimore, which he made his home for the remainder of his life. He was engaged in a number of successful mercantile enterprises, taking at the same time an earnest interest in a number of social and benevolent societies.
In January 2010 a reception was held at the Maryland Historical Society to ‘kick off’ the The German Heritage Open House/Hilgenberg Archive. Mr. John Hilgenberg (Project Founder) and descendent was a speaker. Mr. Charles E. Hilgenberg’s 100th birthday was celebrated at the event! This project is currently digitizing the The German Correspondent, Baltimore, Maryland. The goal of the project is to to provide a digital archive that is completely searchable so that people will be able to find a family name or business name, article, etc. that is as specific or general as you would like it to be. There is a Hilgenberg Family plot at Druid Ridge Cemetery.
Max Hochschild (6-14-1855 to )
Max Hochschild, son of Samuel and Gretchen and was born at Gross Rohrheim, Germany. He was educated in the public schools of Germany and came to Baltimore in March 15, 1869, at the age of 14. From 1870 to 1876, he was a clerk and from 1876 to 1897 alone and from 1897 to retirement a member of the firm of Hochschild, Kohn & Co. After pooling resources with Benno and Louis Kohn, they moved to Howard Street as Hochschild Kohn’s in 1897.
The company was successful and in 1912, they purchased the building. They incorporated in 1922 as Hochschild-Kohn and at that time were the largest department store in Baltimore. They eventually purchased the entire block. Max retired in 1923 and Benno Kohn died in 1929. The store was hit very hard by the ‘Great Depression’ and with management conflicts the store went through many changes. Eventually, Martin Kohn became president and under his management he expanded to the suburbs of Baltimore including a store at Edmonson Village (1947), Belvedere Avenue (1948), Reisterstown Plaza, Easton, Perring Parkway, Harford Mall, Bowie, Security Square Mall, Columbia and Harundale Mall.
They were leaders in customer service being the first stores to offer switchboard service, revolving doors, generous credit and cheap deliveries. Best known for their Christmas windows, the last done in 1865. They opened several locations in surrounding suburbs. Jingle: When you buy-better buy Hochschild Kohn; That’s the store Baltimore calls its own. The downtown store closed in 1977. The Hochschild-Kohn Company went out of business in 1983. The building burned in February of that year and was replaced by the Strium building.
The Belvedere store was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2003.
Mr. Hochschild was a member of har Sinai Temple and a director of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. He married Lina Hamburger and together they had two children.
Source: Maryland Historical Society MS.2721; Wiki; The Jews of Baltimore, 1910;
Henry William Hofferbert (9-17-1866 to 11-13-1936)
Mr. Hofferbert was born in Lindenberg im Odenwald, Thuringia, Germany. He came to the U.S. at the age of sixteen and learned the trade of custom tailoring, eventually working for his own business. He later began manufacturing ice cream and extended his business, The Horn Ice Cream Company, to the point where in 1925, it was sold to a national company.
At the time of his death he was president of the Pearl Street Perpetual Savings and Building Association and active in many German organizations and charities.
Richard Curzon Hoffman (7-13-1839 to ) Railroad
Richard Hoffman (grandson of Jan Peter Hoffman who immigrated from Germany in 1745), was born in Baltimore on West Franklin Street. He was a student at Chestnut Hill and McNally schools (two prominent schools of that time). At sixteen he left school and began working for the Gilmor Hoffman stock brokerage.
After the war, he returned to Baltimore and began a partnership with D. Bowley Thompson, under the name of Hoffman, Thompson & Company. They were iron merchants. At the death of his partner, he continued the business under the name of R.C. Hoffman & Company.
He became VP of the Seaboard Air Line Railway and the Baltimore Steam Packet Company in 1883.
He served as director of the National Farmers’ and Planters Bank, the Baltimore Trust and Guarantee Company, the Mercantile Trust and Deposit Company and the Old Dominion Steamship Company.
(See also Military)
Peter Hoffman (1742-1809)
Peter Hoffman was born in Frankfurt am Main. He emigrated to the U.S. when very young, settling near Frederick on his own farm, which he sold in 1776 for a good deal of money. He moved to Baltimore where he established a dry goods house that eventually became the firm of Peter Hoffman & Son. Before Baltimore had even become an official incorporated town, Mr. Hoffman worked diligently to improve and beautify the town. All of his children became prosperous merchants in the city and the one son, David became a lawyer. Jacob, his oldest son established a sugar refinery in Alexandria, VA. Peter, Jr., who operated the dry goods store with the father once lived in the beautiful mansion (formerly the Maryland Club) at the corner of Franklin and Cathedral Sts. Peter was one of the incorporators of the Baltimore Orphan Asylum and the builder of the “Law Buildings” at St. Paul and Lexington Sts.
Mr. Hoffman, Sr. is buried in the Otterbein Cemetery.
William H. Hoffman & Sons, State’s first Paper Mill
William H. Hoffman (son) (1810 to 9-30-1886)
William and Susanna Hoffman, came to America from Germany, near Frankfort, about the year 1765, and landed in Philadelphia. He had learned the trade of paper-making in Germany, and after his arrival in this country worked for a Mr. Sheets at paper-making for two years, to pay the expenses incurred in coming here. After a few years, he rented a small paper-mill, near what was then called Dunkertown, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Having saved a small amount of money, about the year 1776 he went to Maryland, and selected the locality about two miles and a half from Mason and Dixon's line. Here the original William Hoffman built the first paper-mill. The process of manufacturing paper was then slow, predominantly done by hand He made a good deal of paper under the circumstances. Nearly all, if not all, the paper on which the Continental money was printed was made by Mr. Hoffman in that mill. Mr. Hoffman acquired a good deal of land there. He died at the age of seventy-one years, and he, with his five sons, who lived and died there are all buried in that area. His son, Peter Hoffman, inherited the mill and much of the property around it. He occupied his time between paper-making and a little farming. William H. Hoffman was Peter’s only son, and to him the property was left by will. He has associated with him his three sons, G. W. S., W. E., and J. W., who continued to operate the original mill, having rebuilt it. They were updated with modern machinery so that making book and news paper, and manilla for paper bags, etc. could be accomplished. Mr. Hoffman was a member of the Legislature in 1863, and voted for calling a convention to form a new Constitution. He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1864, and advocated the insertion of the clause that slavery should no longer exist in Maryland.
The 1878 Baltimore County Directory shows: Is 7 miles from Freeland. The Baltimore & Hanover R R., in course of construction, will run within 2 1/2 miles of the place. The Gunpowder Falls which flows through this village, furnishes excellent water power and numerous good mill sites. The paper mills of Messrs. Wm. H. Hoffman & Sons are located here; they manufacture four tons of paper per day, and employment to over 100 people. Land, easily tilled, ranges in price from $20 to $50 per acre; yields 15 to 20 bus. wheat, 30 to 40 corn, 40 oats, 150 potatoes, and 2 tons hay. M. E., United Brethren and Evangelical Lutheran churches, one public school. Population 200. .Wm. B. Hoffman, Postmaster.
Jacob William Hook (12-7-1849 to )
Mr. Hook was born in Baltimore, the son of Jacob and Catherine. His parents came from Germany in 1847. He attended private schools in the suburbs of Baltimore until he was fourteen years old, when he entered the employ of a wholesale grocery, commission and brokerage house. When he left here he began his business as a wholesale hide and tallow business which he ran successfully during his lifetime.
He was president of Old Town National Bank, president of the Provident and Western Maryland Building and Loan Associations, president of the Old Town Merchants’ & Manufacturers’ Association and a director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Moses Hutzler (11-28-1800 to 1-13-1889)
Moses was the son of Gabriel and Beuleh [Baer] Hutzler. He attended school in Hagenbach. He immigrated to the United States in 1838. He settled at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Exeter Street, and opened a tailor shop for women’s fashion in the city. The business wasn’t successful. He relocated to Frederick Maryland and opened a dry goods business. He returned to Baltimore City in 1840 and in 1858, he and his son Abram (1836-1927) opened the company M. Hutzler & Son. Abram opened a little shop at Howard and Clay Streets using his father's name because he was underage. He later opened a wholesale business on Baltimore Street. By the end of the Civil War the retail outlet became a large profit center and Abram concentrated his energies there with his brothers, Charles (1840-1907) and David (1843-1915), so the store became known as Hutzler Bros. It developed and grew into a major department store in Baltimore. Abram died at the age of 91was known for his many philanthropic endeavors, Charles known for introducing ready to wear to Hutzler's and David was active in civil affairs and stressed 'quality' as a major goal of the shop. David was big on customer service and was known to greet customers at the front door acknowledging many of them by their first name.
He was the founder of the first Jewish Reform community, founding in Hutzlers, the House of Har Sinai Verein. The meetings were first held in his house until 1855.
William Keyser (11-23-1835 to 6-3-1904)-Steel
Mr. Keyser was of German and English ancestry. He was born in Baltimore and education in the private schools of Baltimore, including St. Timothy’s (then a prominent boy’s school). He entered his father’s firm of Samuel S. Keyser & Company, iron and steel merchants on the southeast corner of Pratt & South Sts. The business imported iron and steel in ships from Europe. The senior Mr. Keyser retired in 1858 and the firm name was changed to Keyser, Troxell & Company and the business moved to Calvert and German (now Redwood) Sts.
Mr. Keyser, in 1857 at the age of twenty two, was appointed receiver of the Laurel Cotton Mill. The mill regained its former financial standing. It was also about this time that he associated with Horace Abbott in the shipbuilding business and was contracted to build a war sloop. The vessel, ‘The Dakota’ was completed and became a part of the U.S. Navy.
In 1865 he was one of the incorporators in the Abbott Iron Company and served as chairman for many years. He was a director in the Susquehanna & Tidewater Canal Company and later a city director in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
In 1870, the firm name changed to Keyser Brothers & Company and a new warehouse at German just east of Calvert was erected (one of the first buildings in Baltimore to have an elevator). A large three story warehouse was built at the site and stood until destroyed by the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.
Mr. Keyser became involved in the copper business in 1883 organizing the Baltimore Copper Smelting & Rolling Company. He became the first president of this firm. The Canton plant smelted copper ores from all over the world. In 1892, he organized the Baltimore Electric Refining Company, which was later combined with the Baltimore Copper Smelting & Rolling Company. He was the first president of the South Baltimore Car Works, their plant being at Curtis Bay.
Some of his other connections were with the Maryland Institute, the Enoch Pratt Library, the Hannah Moore Academy at Reisterstown and was key in the development of the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins Univeristy. He was a member of the Franklin Literary Society; the Mercantile Library and the McDonough Fund. A donation of 60 acres, matched by his cousin’s 60 acres was the beginning of the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University and neighboring Wyman Park.
He was appointed the chairman of the Emergency Committee following the great fire of Baltimore in 1904.
He built the stone church near Reisterstown and presented it to the All Saints’ Church parish in memory of his mother.
He retired to his beautiful estate ‘Brentwood’ in Reisterstown, near Glyndon. He is interred at Green Mount Cemetery.
Henry Klees (4-13-1812 to 12-23-1879)
Henry Klees was born in Holbach, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germay. His father was an officer of the court and member of the bar and he had the same hopes for his son. His son had different ideas. He emigrated to England in 1832 and worked at one of the largest fur dressing establishments in London. He was promoted to foreman, but later declined the offer to own part of the business. He left for America in 1837 and arrived in Baltimore. He discovered that furs were not made in America and found employment in the firm of James Carrigan, manufacturer of sheepskins. He worked there for ten years. At the end of the ten years he bought an interest in the firm of Henry Bitzler and when Mr. Bitzler died one year later, he continued the business in his own name. He continued the manufacturer of sheepskins and later added a tanning department and a currier. The business expanded rapidly and he brought his sons into the business. He purchased the Linganore tannery in Frederick County and put that in the charge of his oldest son, John. Henry remained with his father in Baltimore.
Mr. Klees died due to injuries received from a fall from his horse.
He was Lutheran when he left Germany, but soon after his arrival in the U.S. joined the United Brethren. He subsequently helped found the East Baltimore German Methodist Episcopal Church (located at the corner of Lombard and Bond Streets). This church spawned at least three other German Methodist Churches. He was a director of the German Central Bank, a member of the Mountain Lodge, the Independent Order of Red Men and of the Shoe and Leather Board of Trade. Mr. Keyser is buried at Green Mount Cemetery.
Charles Frederick Klein (8-28-1878 to)Charles was the owner of the Union Barber Supply Company. He was born in Baltimore to Charles and Mary Klein. He was education in the Baltimore City public schools and at Polytechnic Institute, where he graduated in 1896. He manufactured barbers furniture and supplies. His shop was located at 332 N. Gay Street. His father died prior to 1900 and the family is found on the 1910 census on Fulton Avenue. It was Charles, his wife Marie and their daughter Violette. Both of Charles parents were born in Germany.
Jacob Klein (7-23-1843 to)
Mr. Klein was born in Marburg, Hesse Cassel, Prussia and came to the US when he was nine years old. His parents arrived in Baltimore in August 1855. He obtained his education through the Baltimore City public schools and in his native public schools. He began working at the age of thirteen as an apprentice to learn metal working with Collins, Hayward & Heath. He did well and became a journeyman metal worker until 1866 when he opened his own shop on Pratt near Hanover. He then partnered with Christian G. Nickel in brick manufacturing business. When Mr. Nickel died, the business became Klein Brothers. They manufactured up to seven million bricks each year.
When the Civil War broke out Mr. Klein took sides with the South, enlisting in the First Virginia Cavalry under Colonel Wood. He served in the vicinity of Richmond, VA.
He was fully involved with the Germania Männerchor, serving as their presiding officer for many years.
He married, in 1867, Marie (Nickel). Mr. Klein was on the Board of Managers of the German Society of Maryland. According to the 1900 US Federal census, Mr. and Mrs. Klein resided at 110 E. 25th Street with their children, Elsie (1879), Albert (1873), Adele (1880), and Rena (1883). Albert also worked in the brick manufacturing business.
William Knabe (6-3-1803 to 5-21-1864) Piano Maker
Wilhelm Knabe was born in Creuzburg, Saxe-Weimar, on June 3, 1803. He emigrated to America in 1831 and landed by chance in Baltimore, where he stayed until his death. Knabe worked for the well-known pianomaker Henry Hartge, and eventually abandoned his plans to become a farmer. Four years later he began selling and repairing used pianos from his house, located at the corner of Liberty and Lexington Streets.
Knabe & Gaehle
In 1839 Knabe formed a partnership with Henry Gaehle for the purpose of manufacturing pianos and by 1841 they moved to larger workshops at 13 South Liberty street. In 1843 they opened warerooms at the corner of Eutaw street and Cowpen alley, and four years later removed their warerooms to 9 Eutaw street, opposite the Eutaw house, selling pianos priced between $180 and $400. By 1852 they had expanded to 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11 Eutaw streets. Knabe & Gaehle won first premiums for square pianos from the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of Mechanic Arts in 1848, 1849 and 1850, as well as for grand pianos in 1849. In 1852 the company reorganized as Knabe, Gaehle & Co. with the admission of Edward Betts as partner, and by 1853 advertised their establishment was the largest in the south, employing over 100 workmen. They manufactured six to seven octave pianos with "a double action, like Chickering's" selling for between $200 and $500. Proceedings started early 1855 in order to dissolve the partnership. Henry Gaehle died, and Knabe advertised he had purchased all the remaining stock and materials and would continue in business as Wm. Knabe & Co. at the old stand at 1, 3, 5, and 7 North Eutaw street, opposite the Eutaw house. Knabe purchased a former paper mill at the corner of West and China streets for a new factory, and by 1859 had established warerooms at 207 Baltimore street. He won gold medals for square pianos from the Maryland Institute in 1855, 1856, 1857 and 1858 silver medals from the Metropolitan Institute in Washington, D. C. in 1857, a medal from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1856, and first premiums from the
Mechanics' Institute, Richmond, Virginia in 1855 and 1856. By 1866 they employed about 230 workmen and manufactured about a thousand pianos a year, including uprights as well as squares and grands, producing as m
any as thirty pianos a week.
Mr. Knabe’s son, William was born on July 9, 1842 in Baltimore and died on February 5, 1889. He worked in the business with his father. Mr. Knabe’s second son Ernest J. born in Baltimore and died in 1894, also worked with his father. He and William took control of the business upon their father’s death. Ernest’s sons William and Ernest succeeded him upon his death in 1894.
In 1882 they delivered a rosewood concert grand to the White House for President Chester A. Arthur.
In the early 1900s the company formed a combine of American piano makers of which Knabe was the head. It was under the name of the American Piano Company and included Chickering Sons of Boston; Haines & Co., Marshall & Wendell; the Armstrong Piano Company; the Foster Piano Company; the Brewster Piano Company; the J.B. Cook Piano Company and the East Rochester Iron Works. It was the largest piano company in the world. The principal offices were in New York, but the president's office was in Baltimore where Mr. Knabe oversaw the entire operations.
William Sr. and Ernest are buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
George W. Knapp (7-18-1847 to)
George W., son of John and Harriet was born in Baltimore County, and went to the public schools in that area. He also received instruction from private tutors and took a series of courses in the study in the technical and scientific schools. He spent his entire life in manufacturing. He filed over 200 different patents (it was said in his day, this was second only to Thomas Edison).
Early in his career he became associated with Matthai, Ingram & Company (see profile), manufacturers of tinware. The firm employed between eight and nine hundred persons. They marketed and sold their product throughout the U.S. Mr. Knapp was in charge of the manufacturing department. The business was taken over in 1899 by the National Enameling and Stamping Company.
Mr. Knapp was the director of the Baltimore Trust Company.
G. Fred Kranz (4-14-1860 to 1916)
G. Fred Kranz was born in Baltimore, son of George and Wilhelmina, both of Germany. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1837. G. Fred Kranz received his education in the city public schools and at City College. Upon completion he was employed by Knabe & Company (see profile), piano manufacturers. He was in charge of their Baltimore operations for more than fifteen years.
In 1897, Mr. Kranz went into business for himself at the corner of Charles & Fayette Sts. He made all types of musical instruments.
He was president of the Workingmen’s Building and Loan Association, the Kranz-Smith Piano Company, the G. Fred Kranz Music Company. He was president of the Musical Art Club, a member of the Germania Männerchor and the Harmonie Singing Society.
Mr. Kranz was married to Regina. Mr. Kranz is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
The Krug Family-Ironwork
Gustav Krug (1830-1908) and his wife Fredericka Engel Krug came from Germany to Baltimore in 1848. He was a member of the blacksmith firm of Merker & Krug, makers of ornamental iron, which was founded in 1810. By 1871 he was the sole owner. His son Theodore Frederick Krug joined the firm and later became a partner. The name was changed to G. Krug & Sons. Theodore was born in Baltimore on December 24, 1854. When his father died he took over the business. Theodore Krug was also a director of the Maryland Institute.
The name is still carried by his 5th generation descendants. Peter & Stephen Krug learned the trade from their father and continue making ornamental ironwork as it was done generations ago. Some famous Baltimore sites contain their ironwork including Otterbein Church, Baltimore’s Washington Monument, John Hopkins Hospital, the Basilica of the Assumption, Zion Church, the Maryland Zoo and recently the University of Maryland Hospital. A cut-out of the blacksmith’s anvil still hangs above their door in Baltimore on Saratoga Street. It is on the register of historic landmarks. G. Krug & Son is one of the few companies left in Baltimore that can claim their ancestors helped in building Baltimore.
Theodore Frederick Krug (12-24-1854 to 1-1-1938)
Vice President of the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland. His parents were Gustav and Frederick Engel Krug. His father worked for Merker & Krug, ornamental iron. He became a partner in the business early in his life and took over the business when his father died. Mr. Krug was a director of the Maryland Institute and belonged to the Masons and other fraternal orders.
The Krug Family Plot is in Loudon Park Cemetery. The plot is graced by a Schuler memorial.
Charles Gottlieb Lang (2-6-1890 to 8-27-1956)
C. C. Lang & Son, a Baltimore-based pickle manufacturing company, was started in 1881. Located in one of the chief canning cities of the United States, the pickle and kraut company supplied their own cucumbers through the Lang Farm, located in Glen Arm, Maryland. There are some sources that indicate that C Lang's wife, Caroline, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Augsburg Lutheran Home.
Started by German Immigrant C.C. Lang, the business was passed down to Charles Gottlieb Lang, (1890-1956) who expanded the small business into an enterprise employing 700 persons in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, and Michigan.
Charles Lang married Jennie (Koenig 1891-1983). Together they had four children, Elizabeth (1915), Charles (1917-2011), Charlotte (1922) and Robert (1929).
The family is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Charles Gottlieb Lang’s obituary, Sunpaper 8-28-195 and News American Article on the Lang Farm 10-12-1969; 1930 Federal Census
Christopher Lipps (10-29-1819 to 4-13-1891)
Mr. Lipps was born in Mainhernheim, Bavaria. He came to this country in 1815 and by his indomitable energy rose to one of the largest and best known manufacturers of Baltimore City.
The Christopher Lipps Company, a manufacturer of soaps and related products had a factory at the corner of Calverton Road and Hollins. It was established in 1850. The business operated under the name Lipps & Vogel. The partnership dissolved in 1867 and Mr. Lipps continued the business until his death in 1891. He took an earnest interest in a great many of the social as well as Benevolent Societies of the city. The company was a large employer in the city. They had their own printing press where they printed their labels and advertising. They employed nearly 100 workers in the factory, and the products of the company were world famous. The finished commodities of Christopher Lipps were exported to all parts of the world. their wares were charcterized by exceptional purity, a nice appearance and outstanding packaging.
A patent was filed for the first 'cake or bar soap'. Design #27,556, Dated August 24, 1897. Application was filed May 12, 1897, Serial number 636, 241. Term of Patent 14 years.
It was the goal and the outcome that the soap factory of Christopher Lipps became one of the best and most successful in the United States. After the death of Christopher Lipps another company took over the business and continued in the same manner. It covered an area of 200 to 600 feet and was equipped with all the modern facilities and machinery. The company is one of the few companies whose top management supported the city and the welfare of the citizens of Baltimore. It encouraged and supported involvement. The names of the officials are: Rudolph W Scheidt, President, CH Blanch, Secretary, and Treasurer, and F.W. Lipps and Edward Lipps, managing directors. They were known for their premium soaps including ‘Bleacher’ ‘Seisenpulver’ and ‘SilSan’.
There is an alley near Hollins Street named Lipps Lane. It is said to refer to the old soap and glycerin factory. The Christopher Lipps family is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
William A. Marburg (3-30-1814 to 7-16-1873)
William A. Marburg (7-19-1873 to 1931)
Charles L. Marburg (10-27-1842 to 2-2-1907)
Their grandfather, Charles L. Marburg was a successful merchant in Germany.
William and Charles' father, son of Charles, was born in Wiesbaden. Germany in 1814 and arrived in the U.S. when he was approximately sixteen. Their mother was Christina Munder, a native of Baltimore and of German parentage.William, the father was a cigar importer on a large scale. In 1864 his sons, Charles and Louis formed the company of Marburg Brothers. They manufactured smoking tobacco and built the company to one of the largest of its kind in the South. The business was located at 147 S. Charles Street. In May 1891 the company was sold to the American Tobacco Company and William was elected vice-president. Their warehouse was next to the McCormick Spice plant on South Light Street until it was demolished in 1989.
Charles received his education in Baltimore with two years attendance at a business college in Wiesbaden, Germany. He began working with his father at the age of fourteen. When the Civil War broke out, he
enlisted in Alexander's Battery, Baltimore Light Artillery, serving until the close of the war. He was captured at the second battle of Winchester (General Milroy, commander), and kept a prisoner for 22 days. During this period (in 1864) he was called home by his father and was granted a few days' furlough. He returned to Baltimore and was informed that he was to be one of the new firm of Marburg Bros., tobacco manufacturers. The business was established on S. Charles Street. He returned to his command, remaining until the end of the war, being mustered out of the service June 16, 1865, and on the following day took up the management of the business of Marburg Bros.
William the other son joined the firm. William Marburg was born in Baltimore. He was a student at Knapp’s Institute and also had private tutors.
He was a director in the National Union Bank of Maryland, the Bartlett Hayward Company, the American Marine Steamship Company, and president of the National Water Company of Wisconsin. He also served as vice-president and trustee of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. William Marburg traveled a great deal, but always lived in Baltimore.
Following the death of the senior William in 1873, two other sons, Albert and Theodore became partners in the business.
The firm grew and new facilities were built at the corner of Charles and Barre Streets. The business merged with the American Tobacco Company in January 1891. Charles was retained as manager and William made second vice-president at New York. Albert was manager of the fine smoking department and Theodore retired to write.
The Marburg's are interred at Green Mount Cemetery. Two additional Marburg's (William A.) are buried here, in addition to a Charles, Edward, Frederick and Louis.
John Christopher Matthai (2-24-1824 to 7-4-1899)-Tinware
John Matthai was born in Saxe-Meiningen, Germany and died at Linden Hill, Baltimore County. He was educated in Germany and left for the U.S. after serving a three year apprenticeship to learn blacksmithing and edge tool making. He made his home in Baltimore, where in 1846 he established a general wagon building shop on Pennsylvania Avenue and worked there for 20 years. Post retirement he organized the firm of Matthai & Ingram in 1870 with his son-in-law James E. Ingram and began the manufacture of tinware. The factory was established on Lexington, but soon moved to larger facilities on Howard Street. George Knapp became a member of the company and the manufacture of japanned ware was added to the products produced by the company of Matthai, Ingram & Company. The warehouse on Lexington Street was destroyed by fire in 1886. In 1888 they purchased property and enlarged buildings to build one of the largest plants of its kind south of New York City. The company held a number of patents and at one time employed 900 persons. The firm at one time had branches in New York and Chicago, but they were closed when the business was sold in 1899 to the National Enameling & Stamping Company, when Mr. Matthai retired.
William Henry Matthai (7-26-1856 to )-Tinware
Son of John, he joined his father’s firm in 1880. In January 1899 the interests were sold to the National Enameling & Stamping Company, Mr. Matthai was elected secretary, a member of the executive committee and also the manager for Baltimore. He was one of the incorporators of the United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company, the President of the Bancroft Park Real Estate Company; director of the National Exchange Bank and the Savings Bank of Baltimore and the Vice-President of the Merchants’ and Manufactures’ Association. He was also a director in the Young Men’s Christian Association.
He was a member of the Maryland Merchants’, Baltimore County, the Baltimore Athletic and Maryland Country Clubs, the Maryland Historical Society and the Municipal Art Society.
Christian Mayer (1763-1842)
Born to Charles Frederick Mayer, an eminent Maryland Lawyer whose family emigrated from Ulm in Württemberg in 1784. Christian Mayer was a man of prominence in the growing commercial town and held such offices as President of the German Society of Maryland, president of a local insurance company and consul-general of Württemberg. He entered the mercantile business of Valk, Burger & Schonten of Baltimore and upon a change in ownership, he was admitted as a partner in Valk & Co. In 1802 he entered a partnership with Lewis Brantz and they transacted the tobacco trade in Maryland. He also assumed the duties of president of the Patapsco Marine Insurance Company and later the Neptune Marine Insurance Company. He was the father of Brantz Mayer, another prominent Maryland attorney and one of the founders of the Maryland Historical Society.
Carl F. Meislahn (8-27-1847 to 9-5-1935)
Mr. Meislahn was born at Achim near Bremen, August 27, 1847 and died in Baltimore, September 5, 1935. As a youth he served his apprenticeship in the workshop of his father, who was a maker of fine furniture. As a journeyman he wandered through the German lands and spent several years in France; in 1865 he went to London, and in 1870 came to Baltimore. This apprenticeship gave him a competence and thorough knowledge of his craft which enabled him to begin business in Baltimore in 1886, as a master in the designing and making of high-class furniture. For many years he was a member of the Harmonie Singing Society, and took keen interest in all local German and civic activities.
Ferdinand A. J. Meyer (4-14-1848 to 1933)
Mr. Meyer was born in the village of Zwischenahn in Oldenburg. The son of B.H. Meyer and Friederike, he immigrated to the U.S. when he was twenty years old. He became a successful business man. He found employment with Goldsborough, Pitts & Co., a wholesale wine and liquor firm. Eventually, he became head of the firm, which was renamed Meyer, Pitts & Co. He worked until his death. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Mr. Meyer’s estate was worth nearly three million at his death. To the German Orphan Home he gave $100,000; to Zion Church and to the German Aged Home he gave each $50,000; to the German Society of Maryland $20,000, and to our Historical Society $10,000.
Mr. Meyer took an active interest in the work of the German Orphan Home at Catonsville, giving a cottage. He was a Director of the German Society of Maryland and other charitable organizations. Mr. R. Walter Graham, Comptroller of the City of Baltimore, the friend and business associate of Ferdinand Meyer for fifty years, gave a memorial window to Zion Church, where Mr. Meyer was a member over forty years.
Source: Goldsborough, Pitts & Co. (1875-1919)
Goldsborough, Pitts & Co. (1875-1878), Goldsborough, Meyer & Pitts (1879-1891), Meyer, Pitts & Co. (1892-1919)
25 Cheapside (1876-1886), 117 Commerce (1887-1904), 415 W Camden (1905), Exchange pl & Commerce (1906-1915), 308-310 Exchange pl. (1907-1919) Ferdinand A. J. Meyer..profile-Wholesale Wine & Liquor
Daniel Miller (7-7-1812 to 7-24-1870)-Dry Goods
He was born in Loudoun County, VA. His grandfather was a German immigrant and settled here prior to the Revolution. He assisted his father with the home farm. At the age of 14, he left home and became a leading merchant in Virginia. He came to Baltimore in 1846 and embarked in the dry goods trade. He and a partner, John Dallam, opened a small store at 304 Baltimore Street, where he remained until 1855. After the death of his partner, Mr. Dallam, he moved to 324 Baltimore Street where the firm of Daniel Miller & Company. He moved again to 329 Baltimore Street. It became a very large company in the pre-war years. The Civil War left a financial scar since most of Mr. Miller’s customers were with the Confederate States and collections became a problem. He was in debt and could not collect. He promised to pay all of his debtors, which he did in five years. It is said he owed and paid $496,000. He also forgave the almost half million dollars of indebtedness on his books, as well as gave new credit, giving many a fresh start in a difficult time. He also gave his sons interest in the business at this time.
Mr. Miller was one of the most efficient promoters of the plan originated in Baltimore to make advances of money to farmers to restock and seed farms. He assisted in organizing and was the first President of the National Exchange Bank, a Director in the Eutaw Savings Bank, and a member of the Board of Trade.
For many years he served as elder in the Presbyterian church, was a teacher and superintendent in the Sabbath school and was the chief contributor to the building fund of the First Constitutional Presbyterian Church.
A Sunpaper ad in 1920 shows the Company at 26-34 Hopkins Place and 25-33 South Liberty Street. He was married to Mary Ann (Klein) of Loudon County, VA. (1836). Together they had six children, John, Margaret (married James Easter), Henry, William Theodore and Daniel.
While living in Lovettsville, VA, he was a candidate for the Legislature representing the Whig party and won.
The business was continued by his son, Theodore Klein Miller (9-8-1844 to 5-24-1910). The Daniel Miller Company was one of the largest wholesale dry goods houses in the South.
Source: Baltimore Sunpaper Obituary; The History of Baltimore 1729-1898, Elliott
Daniel Miller, Jr. (6-1-1849 to 12-13-1898)
Son of Daniel Miller, Mr. Miller was born in Baltimore and education in the Baltimore City school system. He attended City College and graduated in 1867. He entered the firm of Daniel Miller & Company in 1871, which was at the time being headed by Henry Clay. When Henry Clay died and the firm was reorganized, Mr. Miller became of member of the new organization. It was located on Baltimore street, near Howard. It moved to Hopkins Place with a large warehouse and store.
Mr. Miller was elected president of the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Assocaition in 1893. He was a director of the National Exchange Bank, vice president of the Guardian Security and Trust Company and a member of the Board of Trade. He was a member of the Reform League and the Civil Service Reform Association. In 1891 Mr. Miller was the Independent Democratic Candidate for the office of State Senator of the Second Legislative District, but was not elected. He was a member of the reform school board and served as its vice president. He was married to Mary Warner (Kirkbride). The family lived at 605 Park Avenue, where he died. He is buried at Greenmount Cemetery.
John George Mohlhenrich (3-25-1865 to 7-30-1941)
Mr. Mohlhenrich was born in Baltimore, the youngest child of John George Mohlhenrich and Margaret (Schaberg). His parents emigrated to Baltimore from Gellershausen, Waldeck, Germany. His father died when he was very young. He attended the public schools and a business training school. When about eighteen he began working at the Reliable Furniture Company and in ten years advanced from apprentice to the point where he bought the firm out and renamed the establishment as Mohlhenrich Furniture Company. His factory was located at the corner of President and Fawn Streets.
He was a member of Martini Lutheran Church and later associated with Zion Church. He was a member and director of the German Society of Maryland and held the office of Vice President at the time of his death. He was also Vice President of the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland. He was the father of the ‘Julius Hofmann Memorial Fund and served as a trustee until his death.
There is an older John Mohlhenrich (7-19-1830 to 8-5-1900) buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Benjamin Franklin Newcomer (4-28-1827 to 3-30-1901)-Flour
Benjamin was of German-Swiss ancestry. He was born at Beaver Creek, Washington County, Maryland to John & Catherine Newcomer. (see Law & Politics). The family moved between Beaver Creek and Hagerstown, the later where Franklin attended the academy in 1840 intending to become a civil engineer. He chose to move back to Beaver Creek with the family and work on the farm. He moved to Baltimore to look after his father’s interests in the newly established Newcomer & Stonebraker and built a large business in Baltimore (transacting about one tenth of all the flour business in the city). He purchased his father’s interest in the business. In 1862, Stonebraker withdrew and the business continued under Benjamin’s direction under the name of Newcomer & Company. In 1853, Mr. Newcomer organized the first Corn and Flour Exchange in Baltimore.
Mr. Newcomer was County Commissioner in 1846, State Senator in 1840-46, delegate to the convention which framed the new State Constitution in 1850 and County Commissioner again in 1859.
He was one of the incorporators of the Maryland Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, was the first secretary and was made treasurer in 1881. His services covered a period of forty-four years, twenty years as the president. There is a story that a young pupil had a remarkable talent for music and Mr. Newcomer sent him to the Peabody Conservatory at his own expense.
He founded the Washington Free Library in Hagerstown and was instrumental in the development of the Baltimore Hospital for Consumptives and the Washington County Home for Orphans and Friendless Children. He was a member of the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Newcomer, in 1854 he became a director of Union Bank, then the National Union Bank of Maryland. He was an incorporator of the Safe Deposit & Trust Company of Baltimore and served as it’s president for thirty three years. He was also a director of the Savings Bank of Baltimore. In 1861 he was elected a director of the Northern Central Railway Company and was made chairman of it’s finance committee, a position he held until his death. He also served as president of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company.
Mr. Newcomer is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Eberhard Niemann (11-18-1833 to 9-9-1906)-Tobacco
Mr. Niemann was born in Quakenbruck, which was then in the Kingdom of Hanover. He was educated there and after completion of his education he went to Bremen and entered his mercantile career. He came to Baltimore in 1854 and went to work with Mr. Gustav Gieske. They established the ‘Leaf Tobacco Commission House of Gieske & Niemann’. Mr. Niemann was the accountant and filled several important positions before opening his own business. He retired from business completely in 1898 and moved to Wiesbaden, where he died in 1906.
He was an active member of the Germania Club, the German Society of Maryland and the Maryland Historical Society. He willed a large portion of his wealth to the General German Aged People’s Home, The General German Orphans’ Association and the German Society of Maryland. He was treasurer of the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland from it’s founding until 1890.
Mr. Niemann is interred at Loudon Park Cemetery.
William Numsen (12-3-1803 to 12-16-1891 )
Source: The National Magazine (a monthly journal of American history, Volume 11); November 1889-April 1890, William Williams, James Harrison Kennedy, pages 485; The Federal Census; Find A Grave;
William Numsen was born on December 3, 1803 in Delmhorst, Oldenberg, Germany. He was the son of Peter and Sophia (Mendsen 1776-1850) Numsen. He was the second of three children. His father was not a good businessman and lost most of the family money. The mother came to the United States where her brother was a Lutheran Minister in Philadelphia. The father followed the family a year later. The children including William were left in the care of the maternal grandparents. At the death of the grandfather, the children were maintained by strangers and not always in the best of care. They were often hungry, abused and in the need of clothing. The grandmother unable to take care of them persuaded a Moravian, sea captain to take them to the United States. They did not make it due to a storm and were returned to Bremen. William made the trip at the age of seventeen as a ‘redemptioner’. He arrived in Baltimore and was apprenticed to a baker named Muth. He worked off his debt and eventually rented a bakery shop for himself. Eventually he brought his mother, brother and American born sisters to live with him.
He eventually began pickling and hermetically sealing foods, especially cove oysters, peaches, pears and other fruits. This was a novelty at the time, but grew in success.
Mr. Numsen married Mary (Schneider 1804-1872). Together they had a son, George (1837-1888).
He began in 1847 in Baltimore and moved to larger facilities with a warehouse on Light Street in 1850. He took his son in law into the business under the firm name of Numsen & Thomas. They ran an oyster canning business. The firm changed over the years as Numsen took in his sons, John W. and Nathaniel G. In 1862 Thomas left and S. John Carroll joined and the name became Numsen, Carroll & Co.; and when Mr. Carroll withdrew in 1868 it became William Numsen & Sons. The packing house was on Jackson Street and has waterfront docks. They were able to can 65,000 cans a day here. They also had a three story packing house on German Street that was used for pickles and vinegar manufacturing and an establishment at Easton in Talbot County for preserving peaches. They had a factory in York PA., for condensing milk and packing fruits, and a large packing house in Chicago, Ill., which they sold in 1876. Mr. Numsen also owned a 540 acre farm in Baltimore County. According to the 1880 census the family lived at 302 W. Lexington Street and in 1900 had moved to 2022 McCulloh Street. Mr. Numsen also was proprietor for the Baltimore Condensed Milk Company, of which he was the sole agent for Borden. He also owned many pieces of real estate in and around Baltimore and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and properties in Chicago, IL.
Mr. Numsen was a member of the German Reformed Evangelical Church until 1841 when he left to assist in the organization of the German Evangelical Association on Green Street. He was married in 1823 to Mary Schneider. Together they had fourteen children, of which four survived, John W., Nathaniel G., Peter and William.
He is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery (H, 086 5/2 #4).
John Fletcher Parlett (3-1-1853 to 10-14-1908)
Mr. Parlett was born in Baltimore. He was active and prominent in political affairs of the city. He was the son of Benjamin and Mary Parlett, natives of Maryland, the father French and the mother German. Benjamin established a wholesale tobacco business in Baltimore in 1853 and in 1894 he added a tobacco manufacturing plant in Virginia with his sons. He retired in 1884 and the sons continued the business under the name of the B.F. Parlett & Company. John sold the business to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, where he acted as resident director and manager of the eastern territory.
In 1896, Mr. Parlett was nominated by Mayor Hooper to the position of city collector; the appointment was confirmed and he began his work on December 3, 1896. He served under two additional mayers in that office. He died at his home at 1617 Park Avenue.
Abram Pollack (1804 to 5-15-1878)
Abram Pollack, game to the US from Prussia in 1846 and that year founded the Pollack Furniture Company. Mr. Pollack served in the Prussian Army and was offered an officer’s position if he would change his faith. He refused to turn away from his Jewish faith and resigned from the army. He learned the trade of upholstering and mattress making. He married Metta, also German born. Mr. Abram Pollack was naturalized on October 19, 1851.
His first establishment in Baltimore was on Howard Street between Mulberry and Franklin streets. His son Uriah, also born in Prussia in 1839, assumed charge of the business, growing up in the trade. They also took on his son in law, Isaac Davidson. Mr. Uriah Pollack died in 1897. From the first store they moved to 315 Howard Street, where the store remained for sixty two years until March 1, 1909, when he moved to a larger building at Howard and Saratoga Streets.
Upon Mr. Uriah Pollack’s death, Mr. Davidson took charge and took William Fallon on as a partner. Mr. Fallon had worked for the firm for 12 years. Besides the large showrooms and warehouse, there were several extensive workshops in the area for upholstering and mattress making, cabinet makers and finishers. The firm was very successful, working with the Naval Academy, the Customs House and several other major accounts.
William Albert Potthast (10-25-1862 to 8-2-1935)
Mr. Potthast was born in Borgholz, Westphalia, Germany. His father Franz was a cabinetmaker and descended from a long line of furniture craftsman. William apprenticed with his father and then went to Berlin, where he was employed as a journeyman cabinetmaker with a prominent firm. He gained experience from his daily work, but continued to study furniture design in the evenings.
After his military service he came to the U.S., settling in Baltimore in 1892. He founded the firm of Potthast Brothers. The business maintained a steady growth and soon enjoyed a deserved reputation. His brother Vincent had been associated with him from the outset; a few years later Theodore and John Potthast joined the firm.
Mr. Potthast served as a director of St. Joseph's Hospital, as a director of St. Anthony's Orphan Asylum, and as treasurer of the Schley Unit of the Steuben Society. He was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, of the German Society, and of the German Aged People's Home.
John A. Potthast (1871 to 7-16-1962)
John was born in Borgholz, Germany where he received his training as a cabinet maker in his father’s workshop. He landed in Baltimore in 1892 where he joined his brothers, William, Vinzenz and Theodore. He was a member of many German American organizations, such as the German Society. He is buried at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery.
Carl W. Prior (9-7-1879 to 7-2-1943)
Mr. Prior was born in Baltimore. He was the son of Edward A. Prior, of the firm of Prior and Hilgenberg, leading importers of toys and china.
He was educated at Deichmann’s private school in Baltimore and later when his family moved to Hannover, Germany, at Clausthal in the Harz. He apprenticed with the firm of Fisher and Co., in Bremen, where he familiarized himself with the buying of tobacco. In 1900 he returned to the U.S. and was employed by Wm. Lotmeyer, haberdasher and later by Gottschalk and Co., wholesale whiskey dealers. In 1923 the tobacco firm of Henry Lauts and Co. was looking for a buyer. Mr. Prior applied and was hired and entered into this line of business. He was eventually admitted as a junior partner and upon the deaths of Mr. Robert Lehr and George Buchheister, he was the sole surviving member and owner in 1934.
He was president of the Maryland Leaf Tobacco Association. He was a member of the Society for the History of Germans in Maryland, the German Society of Maryland, the General German Orphan Association, the Germania Club and a director of the Finance Committee of the General German Aged People’s Home. He belonged to Zion Church.
Samuel Rinehart (6-9-1813 to)-Merchant/Retail
Samuel was born in Greene County, PA, the son of Barnet Rinehart and Sarah (Hook). He was of German ancestry on his father’s side and Scotch on his mother’s. His grandfather, Bennett, emigrated from Germany. Bennett was killed in Green County by Indians. His father Barnet was a colonel in the war of 1812. Samuel left home when he was fifteen and journeyed on foot to Point of Rocks, MD, where he found his first employment hauling rocks out of the Potomac. It wasn’t long after that that he was given a job as a clerk at a local shop. After a short time, he was made a superintendent for a lumbering firm in Harper’s Ferry. He stayed there for two years and was then appointed assistant superintendent of the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, which then had headquarters in Sharpsburg. He dabbled in many businesses including the Iron works at Antietam. He returned to the canal business and moved from Hancock to Cumberland. He ended up settling in Hancock and opened a store. He suffered financially when the canal company suspended operations. He eventually did become prosperous and again moved, this time to St. Joseph Missouri, where he engaged in banking. This lasted only a few years and he again returned to Hancock and resumed his business as a merchant.
From 1856 to 1858 he was also a partner in a tannery in Fulton County, PA. and in 1872 built a sumac and bark mill at Hancock. In 1881 he added a sawmill.
His bid for county commissioner in 1881 was unsuccessful.
He was married to Eliza Bevans in 1838 and together they had seven children.
Rosenbaum, Simon (10-29-1846 to 4-6-1922)
Simon Rosenbaum was born in Meinbrassen, Germany. Rosenbaum’s Department Store on Baltimore Street in Cumberland is one of the best examples of an early 20th century department store. It was built in 1897-1898 at the height of Cumberland’s economic prosperity. It is said to also be one of the finest examples of commercial architecture. The architect, J.S. Seibert, used a number of Renaissance details including arcades, bay windows and especially the molded brick medallions within the arches. The cornice is highlighted by a lion’s head sculpture above each bracket. There are also human heads carved in stone within the arcades. The store offered a range of goods and services under one roof. The store at one time employed 200+ employees. It opened in 1899. This type of construction grew tremendously from the end of the 1890’s to pre WWI. The store is located at 118 Baltimore Street. It is now a bank.
Simon Rosenbaum is shown in the 1920 census living with his wife, Fredericke (Ricke 63), son Morris (39), Ester (daughter in law 23) and son Ira (36), as well as two servants. It shows Simon as a merchant in dry goods.
Stuart N. Rosenbaum, co-owner of Rosenbaums, son of Morris and Ester, was a WWII veteran, born September 25, 1924 and date of death May 17, 2012. Morris and his wife Ester (nee Bamberger) were the parents of Simon and Louise.
Simon and the Rosenbaum family are buried at Eastview Cemetery in Cumberland.
Schloss Family-The sons of Moses (dod 1913) and Yetta Schloss (dod 1902).
Schloss, Nathan (2-22-1856 to 10-9-1931)Nathan was the son of Moses and Yetta Schloss. He was born in Adelsdorf, Bavaria. He received his education in both private and public schools and began working at the age of fourteen. He was involved in the wholesale clothing manufacturing business. He was a trustee of Oheb Shalom congregation, and a director of the Hebrew Orphan Home. He also served on the Hebrew Free Burial Society. He was married to Carrie ‘Lochheimer’ (dod 1952) in 1887 and they had two sons. The family lived on Eutaw Place.
Nathan Schloss is buried at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Schloss, William (1858 to 5-15-1931)
William was the son of Moses and Yetta Schloss. He was born in Germany and educated in the public schools there. He also received priva
te religious instruction. He studied tailoring and cutting and began his business at the age of thirteen with the firm of Blum, Hechinger & Co., clothing manufacturers. He later became associated with and subsequently a partner in the business Schloss Bros. & Co. He attended Oheb Shalom Congregation. He married Ida ‘Stein’ (1862-1937).Mr. William Schloss is buried at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Schloss, Michael (1-24-1860 to 10-1-1933)
Michael was the son of Moses and Yetta Schloss. He was born in Adelsdorf, Bavaria, Germany. He received his education in both the public and religious schools. He also attended and graduated from a business college. He began working as an errand boy for Stein and Co., wholesalers at the age of thirteen. He with his brothers formed the business of Schloss Bros. & Co., of which he became a partner. He worked with many other institutions and served as president of the Baltimore Refrigerator and Heating Company, Vice President of the Calvert Mortgage and Deposit Company, vice president of the National City Bank and a director in the Third National Bank. He also was appointed by the Governor as a labor commissioner. He attended Oheb Shalom Temple and fraternally is a member of the Masonic and the Bnai Brith orders. He was also a member of both the Suburban and the Phoenix clubs.
Michael Schloss is buried at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Schloss, Jonas (1866 to 8-30-1908)Jonus was the son of Moses and Yetta Schloss. He was born in Germany and education in both public and religious schools. He also received private instruction. He started in business at the age of seventeen with Schloss Bros. & Co. and later became a partner. He died in 1908 and was very well thought of and respected. He was a very hard worker and was extremely smart. He was married to Rene ‘Heinemann’ (1875-1964) and they had two sons, Monroe (1898-1972) and Julius. Jonas was a member of the Suburban Club.
Mr. Jonas Schloss is buried at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
Schloss, Julius (1867 to )
Julius was the son of Moses and Yetta and was born in Germany. He received a public education and a business college education. At the age of sixteen he began his employment with Schenthal & Greenbaum, later becoming a partner at Schloss Bros. & Co. He was a member of the Suburban club and the Phoenix club. He attended Shearith Israel Congregation. He was married to Florence ‘Whitehill’ and they had one daughter, Helene.
Schloss, Meyer (4-15-1871 to 2-14-1933)
Meyer was the son of Moses and Yetta Schloss. He was born in Baltimore and received both a public and religious education. At the age of seventeen he began working as a stock clerk at Schloss Bros. & Co., and later became a partner. He attended Shearith Israel Temple. He married Bertie (1881-1941) ‘Frank’ and had two children, Irving and Hilda.
Mr. Meyer Schloss is buried at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
The Business: Schloss Bros. & Co., was established in 1885 by Nathan, Michael, William, Julius and Jonas Schloss. All held positions at other firms prior to the establishment of their business. Once established brother Meyer and Louis were also admitted as partners. It appears, based on census records, that the family emigrated to the US around 1867. The original location of the business was at Baltimore near Hanover Street. The business was very successful and grew to the extent that two large factories were built, one at the corner of Baltimore and Paca Streets and one on Low Street that ran from High to Exeter Streets. The newer factory was said to have all of the newest equipment and be one of the best outfitted tailoring workrooms in the world. At one time, they employed over 4000 persons and covered every State and Territory in the country. Their goal was to perpetuate the high standards of the firm for honorable and fair dealings and to maintain the high quality of clothes produced.
Charles William Schneidereith (10-13-1886 to 9-3-1976)
Born into a family of printers, Bill was born in Baltimore and educated at Knapp’s Academy and the Baltimore City public schools. He graduated from Baltimore City College in the class of 1905. He learned to set type at an early age. He entered the printing business when it was evolving from hand set type to mechanical type setting; and from carved wood cuts for illustrations to electrotypes. He was a strong supporter of the new techniques. In 1921, C.W. Schneidereith and Sons purchased a new building next to the print shop. Bill and his father designed the new and modern plant. It was completed in 1922 and at the age of 36, Bill became the executive officer. He was a leader in both the state and national Printing Industries of America. He developed training programs and educational programs for the industry. He also took a leading role in developing curriculum for the Baltimore City public schools.
He succeeded his father as a member of the Board of Directors of the German Children’s Home in 1920 and continued to serve on this board throughout his life. He was actively involved in a building fund drive for the German Children’s Home at the time of his death. He was active and served as president of the Rotary Club of Baltimore. He was one of the seven founders of the Baltimore Bibliophiles in 1954. He and his son planned a totally new printing plant, which opened in Southwest Baltimore in 1971.
The family is interred in Druid Ridge Cemetery.
Louis C. Schneidereith (1852 to 7-8-1922)
Mr. Schneidereith was of German parentage. He was educated in Knapp's Institute, an private in that time period, where, in addition to a sound general education, he acquired that mastery of English and German. Upon his graduation, he entered the printing office of his father, Charles W. Schneidereith, where he quickly learned the technicalities of printing-house management, and became his father's primary assistant. For over fifty years he largely directed the affairs of this firm. Second, perhaps, to his pride in turning out a fine piece of printing, was the fact that his was the oldest commercial printing establishment in Baltimore, having been founded in 1849 by his father, and continuously operated without a break by three generations of the family. He left this business, increased and prosperous, to the care of his only son, C. William Schneidereith, who represented the third generation of the printing house of Schneidereith and Sons.
He was he active in the Turnverein Vorwaerts, a pioneer organization in the work of systematic development of mind and body. He served as its secretary, then its president, and finally its honorary president. It was during his incumbency that the association, after years of effort, succeeded in having physical training introduced into the public schools of Baltimore. He dedicated twenty-five years of service as secretary and director of the German Orphan Asylum; and served as director and on the executive committee of the German Society of Maryland. He was an active participant in every movement for clean and progressive government, and took an active part in the work of such civic bodies as the Independent Citizens' Union, Reform League, Municipal League, and the Just Representation League. He was likewise a member of other organizations of an educational, technical, and social nature. Mr. Schneidereith is buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery.
Schwarzenbach, George A (12-1847 to )
The Schwarzenbach building, located at 128-132 Baltimore Street in Cumberland, was constructed by Wright Butler. The business moved into the building in 1912. The building belonged to George Schwarzenbach who founded the business in 1869. George was a German immigrant (born in Prussia according to the 1880 federal census), . The name was later changed to Schwarzenbach & Son. The son John joined the firm in 1888. The 1880 census says George was born in 1848. He was born in Prussia and at the time of that census he lived with sons John (7), George (4) and William (1). The 1920 census says George was 72, his wife 65. The children living at home at that time were George (43), William (39), Henrietta (37), and Emil (35).The Schwarzenbach building at 128-130 Baltimore Street is unique to Cumberland’s business district. Designed by Cumberland architect Wright Butler and was constructed in 1912.
Schwarzenbach’s men’s clothing store closed in the late 1970s but the building was subsequently renovated to serve as offices for the Maryland state government and has been used for multiple other purposes including home of the Cumberland Theater.
James A. Smyser (2-4-1849 to)-Iron
James Smyser, son of Edward and Jane, was from a German family. His ggggrandfather James Smyser was a farmer in Rugelbach, Lustenau, near Dinkelsbühl, Germany. His gggrandfather Martin immigrated sometime in the mid 1700’s and he died in York, PA. James A. Smyser was born in York, Pennsylvania and education in the public schools there. He attended the York County Academy until he was sixteen. He became an apprentice in his father’s shop in 1867, the E. G. Smyser & Sons. He worked his way up to the office where he excelled and eventually led the Baltimore branch. This office opened at the corner of Charles & Fayette Sts., April 10, 1877 and remained there until it was moved to 4 Light Street until it was destroyed during the Great Fire of 1904. It then was rebuilt at 214 Clay Street.
According to the 1900 Federal Census, he and his wife Mary lived at 1931 St. Paul Street.
Mr. Smyser was president of the Builder’s Exchange, the Columbia Paper Bag Company, vice-president of the Lauer & Harper Company and a director in the First National Bank of Baltimore.
He is a member of the Concordia Lodge, No. 13. He was a Free Mason, Maryland Commandery, Knights Templar and the Baltimore Yacht Club. He was a Lutheran.
He was married on February 20, 1890 to Mary E. Townsend.
Henry Sonneborn- (2-1827 to )Clothing
Henry Sonneborn was born in Breidenbach in Hesse Nassau, his family living there since 1650. He was one of the oldest in a very large family. At the age of fifteen, Henry and his brother were engaged in the fur business. They would purchase all types of skins from hunters and farmers and then sell the furs in neighboring towns. He also bought and sold cattle.
At the age of twenty three in 1849, Henry and his brother Jonus left home and headed to America. They arrived in the U.S. in 1849 in Philadelphia, penniless and Baltimore was the destination. He began as a peddler selling novelties to the German settlements in Adams and York Counties, PA. He worked and saved until he had enough to send some money home for the family and to open a small men’s furnishing shop in Fairmount, West Virginia. Within two years he had branches in Clarksburg, W. VA., Janesville, WI., and Cleveland, OH. His younger brothers soon became branch managers. He bought the rest of his family over from Germany. He also bought Berthe Harsh, his girlfriend to the U.S. as well and they were married. He and Berthe were married and blessed with many children.
In 1853 he moved his entire family to Baltimore and made that his headquarters. He began the manufacturing of clothing and this was the beginning of Henry Sonneborn & Co. He sold his branch stores to his brothers in 1855 and involved himself only with the wholesale business in Baltimore. He had customers across the U.S.
His first wife, Berthe died and he remarried another lady from Germany, Miss Auguste Sonneborn and together they had one son, Henry Sonneborn, Jr. (4-1890). The 1880 census shows him married to Berthe and the 1900 to Auguste (immigrated in 1884) and living at 1608 Eutaw Place.
The Sonneborn building at the corner of Pratt and Paca streets (1906) was once the largest menswear factory in the world. When it first opened it employed 4,000 workers, making 3,000 suits per day. The company survived the trials with the unions in the 1920s, which was followed by the Great Depression. Many of the clothiers did not survive the depression, Sonneborn being one. They dissolved the business in 1931.
Adolph Staib (2-20-1846 to 8-28-1898)-Watchmaker
Adolph Staib was born in Bieberach, Kingdom of Wuertemberg, Germany. After having finished his school education, he learned the trade of watchmaking, thereby following in the steps of his father and forefathers. In the year 1866 he emigrated to this country, making Baltimore his home from the first. After seven years connection with the farm of Geo. W. Webb & Co., Mr. Staib established a business of his own, first on Fayette Street, between Charles and St. Paul Streets, and then at No. 668 W. Lexington Street. Mr. Staib was an expert in his trade and soon came into prominence among the watchmakers of Baltimore City. At the watchmakers' meeting in Naumberg in 1887 he was awarded a diploma for excellence of his watchwork. He was also a fine portrait painter.
The Kirk Stieff Company:
The Piano Stieff
Karl Maximilian Stieff /Charles M. Stieff (7-19-1805 to 1-1-1862)
Karl Maximilian Stieff (Charles M.)was the first of the family to arrive from Germany. He emigrated in the early 1830s. He earned his living in the beginning, by giving piano lessons. He also imported pianos from Germany for his pupils. In 1850, his son John Louis Stieff went to the gold fields and with the gold he found he was able to help his father begin manufacturing pianos and launced a business which became known throughout the U.S. He was known as Charles M. Stieff. He received a formal classical education in Stuttgart, taught music there for a time and also in the Wuerttemberg School of Music. He married Katherine Regina (Rosch) (1809 to 1890) in 1831. They emigrated in 1831 living first in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania before moving to Baltimore.
In 1837 he was offered a position at the Haspert School in Baltimore to teach music and languages. He often gave private lessons after school and on weekends. It was around 1842 when he began to import pianos for his students and other clients. He rented a facility at 7 Eutaw Street in 1843 and outgrew that space and moved to 7 Liberty Street (1849 Directory). He knew by mid century that he wanted to build his own pianos and in 1856 he opened a factory on Sharp Street. It was here that he invited Jacob Gross, a German piano builder, to join his firm (see biographical on Mr. Gross on this page). The Sharp Street factory was destroyed by fire on December 19, 1857 and a new location at Baltimore Street and Greene Street was purchased. This location also was eventually too small and the factory moved to Nos. 84 and 86 Camden Street near Howard Street. Charles died shortly after this move and the factory was taken over by his wife (until 1867, her dod 1890) and three of their sons. One son left (John Louis in 1876-see Stieff Silver) and the youngest son, George joined the firm.
The years before and immediately after WWI were the greatest years of prosperity. They made grand, square, small square and uprights. They introduced the 'Baby Grand' in 1870s, which became a huge seller. In their advertising they described their pianos as built with only the finest, thoroughly seasoned grain woods and note that every instrument was strung with the best 'Pohlmann German steel wires on iron frames'. Their pianos won many awards including the coveted 'Medaille d'Argent and the Diplome d'Honneur at the Paris Exposition in 1878. Many other awards were taken in many state fairs including California, Washington DC., Massachusetts and North Carolina.
There are two articles in the Music Trade Review in the years 1900 and 1901 that speak of the Stieff's Picnic (the 58th and 59th) respectively. It talks about an employee picinic at Darley Park where the day is celebrated with luncheons and speakers and the evenings the people are entertained by many of the singing societies of Baltimore. The end of the articles indicate that it was an employee tradition to visit the gravesites of Charles M. and Catherine at Baltimore Cemetery and the grave of Jacob Gross (bio this page) at Loudon Park. During this time, the articles indicate that Fred P. Stieff is President.
The Silver Stieff
The founder of the firm now known as the Kirk Stieff Company was John Louis Stieff’s youngest son, Charles Clinton (1861 to 5-26-1923), who left the piano company and became a wholesale silver distributor. It was first located in a small shop on Cider Alley near Redwood Street. This shop supplied sterling flatware to a retail store located on Liberty Street. This shop had grown to five retail locations. The first name of the firm was The Sterling Silver Manufacturing Company. In December 1892, it was incorporated. It became a national company represented in every major U.S. city. By 1925 with the additional of the other retail locations, the Stieff Company moved operations to the large Wyman Park manufacturing facility.
The company was the first to introduce the Repousse style of ornamentation on silver in America. This pattern, the original flower and foliage marketed as Kirk Repousse, is commonly known as ‘Baltimore Silver’.
In 1939 they began to make reproductions of artifacts of Colonial Williamsburg, giving the company a new course in museum and restoration work. The firm gained national recognization for their work in this area. They were involved in restorations of Monticello, Old Sturbridge, the Newport Preservation Society, Mystic Seaport, Historic Charleston, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Smithsonian Institution.
Rodney Stieff joined the company in 1946 after serving military service. In 1948, Charles C. Stieff, II joined and in 1954 Gideon N. Stieff, Jr.
In 1974, James W. Stieff, fourth generation, entered the firm. Four years later the firm merged with the Samuel Kirk Silver Company, America’s oldest silversmiths. In 1990, the finalization of a merger with Lenox, Inc., was completed. According to the terms of the agreement, Stieff was guaranteed a five year lease of the Hampden plant so that the 200 employees would not be diplaced.
For an exceptional history of The Stieff Company, click here. This site is maintained by Scott Perkins. The site includes a history of the company prepared by Gideon Stieff.
Eduard Thau (4-14-1910 to 12-8-1976)Eduard Lorenz Thau, son of Eduard and Margarete Thau, was born in Nuernberg, Germany. He was the brother of Karl, August, Henry, Käte Thau Wuermsee and Hildegard Thau Wilkens. The family immigrated to the US in 1925, aboard the ‘Columbus’. They came to Baltimore because Eddie’s uncle, Mathias, lived here and owned a florist business. Eddie was naturalized on April 8, 1940.
Eddie served his apprenticeship as Tool and Die maker at Black & Decker. He married Erna Buchholz (1913 to 12-6-1971) at Zion Lutheran Church on September 1, 1934.
He worked as an auto mechanic at Parkville Sales & Service until 1936, when he joined the family business, ‘Thau Mfg. Co., “ on Belair Road. He retired in 1972.
He was an active soccer player with the ‘Erster Deutscher Sportclub’ until the club was liquidated. In 1953 he along with Otto Stiefel and George Maex decided to reactivate the former German soccer team, using the old black and white uniforms. This became the ‘Baltimore Kickers’. He served as the Kickers President for 13 years. He was the Kickers representative to the Maryland Oktoberfest until his death. He was also a member of the German Lodge, Deutsche Geselligkeit, Parkville Pleasure Club, Moose Lodge and Red Man Lodge. He and Erna had two sons, Richard and Robert.
He is buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery.
Henry Thau (1903 to 6-17-1976)
Mr. Thau was born in Nürnberg and came to Baltimore after WWI. He worked several years for Black & Decker Manufacturing Company until 1932 when he and his father and brothers established the Thau Manufacturing Company, a tool and die and production machine shop.
John Benjamin Thomas (12-23-1819 to 7-25-1875)-Retail Drugs
John B. Thomas was born in Frederick. His grandmother was of German descent (see Father’s bio in Government/Law/Politics). He was educated at Mercersburg College in PA. and desired to enter the drug business. He matriculated at the Maryland College of Pharmacy and graduated in 1872. He immediately began his business, serving as president of Thomas & Thomas company, the largest retail drug business in the city of Baltimore at that time.
He was a member of the Council of the American Pharmaceutical Assocaition from 1909 to 1912; president of the General Alumni Association of the University of Maryland from 1909-1910; president of the Maryland Pharmaceutical Association from 1909-1910.
Charles H. Torsch (11-12-1846 to 8-15-1915 )
Charles was the son of Henry (Henry was born in Germany and came to the U.S. when he was eighteen). Charles was born in Baltimore and received his education from the public school system in Baltimore. He was a student at City College (then Central High School) and graduated in 1861. He was the winner of a ‘Peabody Scholarship’. He accepted a position as bookkeeper (John S. Barry & Company-dry goods and Vickery & Carroll) after graduation and then in 1879 began employment at his brother’s crockery and glassware business in the city. The firm name was Charles H. Torsch & Brother and was located on Hanover street, later moving to Hopkins Place, where the production of tinware was added. The business was sold in 1899. They both were interested in the packing business and were large stockholders in C.H. Pierson Packing Company and in 1897 purchased the controlling interest in the company. In 1903 it was incorporated under the name Torsch Packing Company. In 1901 the company established in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi an oyster and shrimp packing plant and in 1905, in Milford Delaware, a plant for canning tomatoes, peas, small fruits and vegetables. They employed between 300-400 persons in the Baltimore plant alone. It was on of the leading industries in the city.
Mr. Torsch was appointed a member of the Board of Park Commissioners and in 1898 was named president of the board. During his term, the first playground in a public park was opened at Carroll Park. He was associated with the YMCA, and the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Herman von Kapf (4-29-1818 to 4-30-1892)
Mr. von Kapf was one of the best known German-American merchants in the city.
He was born in Lorngo, Duchy of Lippe-Detmold and came to this country at the age of 21 years. He also was an active member of many of the German Societies of the city and for a number of years was the honored president of the "German Society of Maryland."
Frederick Walpert (9-8-1833 to 9-29-1898)
Frederick Walpert was born in Treysa, near Cassel. At the age of 15 years he came to America. For thirty-five years he was at the head of the well-known firm: F. Walpert & Co., Manufacturers of Mattresses, etc. At the time of his death he was also president of "The Economy Savings Bank" and one of the directors of "The American National Bank," occupying besides many other positions of trust and responsibility.
August Carl Weber (10-5-1862 to 7-30-1915)
Mr. Weber was born in Baltimore, the son of Carl and Christina Weber. He and his family emigrated to the US in 1865. His father was a prominent business man. In 1867 August was taken back to Germany and attended school there until he was twelve. He was sent back to the US and finished his education here at the city public schools. He graduated from Baltimore City College in 1883.
He began his business career as a clerk with Kahn & Schloss, merchant tailors and after several years moved to the Torsch Packing Company. He then began his long career with the George Gunther Brewing Company, where he served as their bookkeeper until 1900. When the company was reorganized, he became a stockholder and the secretary of the George Gunther, Jr., Brewing Co. He remained at this position until his death. He also served as secretary of the Germania Building & Loan Association and the Lloyd Permanent Building and Savings Association, where he was a charter member.
He was a Mason and an active member of Zion Church.
August Wehr (1844 to )-Bricks/Property Investor
August Wehr was born in Prussia. The family emigrated to the U.S. in 1858. He became naturalized in 1866. The 1870 census shows him in Baltimore County, living with parents Frederick and Johanna. This indicates he was a painter. He was first listed in the Baltimore City Directory as a ‘brick man’ with a house and business located on Philadelphia Road and Monument Street. The company also had an office at the corner of Fairmount Avenue and Chester Street.
August made some wise investments, purchasing properties from Francis Yewell, located on Eutaw Street. Wehr bought four houses along the 2400 block in 1896. He eventually retired to one of the houses at 2436 Eutaw Place. (1920 Census).
Anton Weiskittel (1825 to 4-18-1884)
Mr. Weiskittel was born in western Germany and he and his brother immigrated to the U.S. He was the owner of a large iron foundry and stove manufacturing plant in Highlandtown Baltimore. It was one of the largest of its kind in the country, manufacturing porcelain baths, sinks, 'Fire King' gas stoves and plumbing supplies, coal ranges and brass good. It was located at Lombard and 13th St. in Highlandtown, occupying over twenty acres. During the Civil War, the factory supplied the government with stoves and heaters. The Foundry was located east of downtown Baltimore in Fells Point. The Weiskittel family is registered as of the lesser nobility in Germany. They treasure their ‘coat of arms’.
The Weiskittel mausoleum in Loudon Park Cemetery is constructed of cast iron and painted silver to look like masonry. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. (Property Name: Weiskittel-Roehle Burial Vault; Date Listed: 5/19/1976; Inventory No.: B-3734)
Source: Centennial History of Missouri 1820-1921, Vol. 4, Walter Barlow Stevens.
Ms. Anton Weiskittel is shown on a Memorial of the Zion Church of the City of Baltimore as a member of their Frauenverein and as passing in 1912.
Henry L. Wienefeld (1-27-1871 to 8-30-1955)
Mr. Wienefeld was born in Rothenburg an der Fulda. He owned a cigar factory. He was president of the Zion church council. He also was president of the Canstatter Volksfest Verein and organized the annual festivals. He was at the head of the Sängerfest Association for their tri-ennial Sängerfest of the North-Eastern National group. The event was held in May of 1938 and was a huge success. It was held at the Fifth Regiment Armory. He was a director of the Greisenheim, president of the Arion Singing Society and an active member of Sincerity Lodge. He founded the Männerverein of Zion Church.
In 1907 he was elected to the Baltimore City Council and served several terms. He visited the White House and met with President Truman to make a plea that the German clubs engaged in cultural and humanitarian endeavors maintain their tax exempt status.
William Wilkins (10-13-1817 to 1879)
Mr. Wilkins born in Osterlinde, Germany. His father Christian Wilkins was a farmer and eventual dry-goods manufacturer. The family moved to Hildesheim, where William received his education. After he completed school he began his business career in a dry goods stored. He felt that America would offer opportunities and decided to come to the U.S. He left his home on June 23, 1836 and walked to Bremen (over 100 miles). He arrived in New York on September 17, 1836. He left immediately for Philadelphia where he worked at the factory of William Horstmann for about one year. He journeyed to New Orleans and entered the furniture business. That adventure did not last and he made his way back to Philadelphia in 1841. He stayed there about 18 months and married his first wife. He made a trip to Germany to visit his father. During his first stay in Philadelphia, he boarded with H. Gerker who manufactured curled hair. When returning to the U.S. from Germany, he came to Baltimore and began a ‘hair factory’. There was no other in the area. So in 1843 he commenced the curled hair and glue business in Baltimore. The business was extremely successful and at the height of his business he was employing large capital and several hundred employees and manufacturing about 40,000 pounds of product per week.
He was so successful he had to seek larger accommodations several times. He built a factory on Frederick Road. The grounds at one time covered over fifteen acres. He also purchased an additional one hundred and fifty acres in the area, which were occupied by the dwellings of his employees. The factory had a side track that was used to transport the product to all parts of the country. It was also the first telephone introduced in Baltimore. This telephone connected his factory on Frederick Road to his factory on Pratt and Howard Streets. He had branches in New York, Chicago and St. Louis.
Mr. Wilkins was a member of the Odd-Fellow and Masonic fraternities. He was confirmed Lutheran at his family church in Germany. In 1853 he took on an associate, Herman H. Graue, who conducted the business, with the sons of Mr. Wilkins upon Mr. Wilkins retirement.
H.L. Mencken once commented that they didn't have to worry about the harbor smells because they had a rival perfume, that of the Wilkins hair factory on Frederick Rd. When a breeze from the southwest, bouncing its way over the Wilkins factory reached Hollins Street, the effect was almost that of poison gas.
Mr. Wilkins was married three times (Sophia Heyer,, Heleln Schluter and Catherine Lorbacher). He fathered seven children. Mr. Wilkins is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery. His monument is made of a particular type of granite that is no longer available.