Ordinary People from Everyday Life

Gewöhnliche Menschen des täglichen Lebens

Alfred Baumann (1928 to 9-2002)

Alfred was born in Augsburg, Germany. He and his wife, Irmhild (nee Mecolaczak), immigrated to the United States in 1954. He was employed at the National Brewing Company in Baltimore for 10 years before taking a position at the Bundesdeutsche Marine Verbindungsstab in Alexandria, VA. He retired from there in 1993, after 27 years with the company. His wife predeceased him; they had no children.

Mr. Baumann was a long time Kicker member and served as their President from 1975-1979 and again in 1987-1988. He also served as 2nd vice president of the V.D.A.K in Philadelphia-a national German/American organization dedicated to the preservation of German language and culture.

Cook, Anthony (1818 to)-Gardiner & Florist

Mr. Cook was born in Germany, the son of Matthews Cook, who was a noted German florist. During the French Revolution he lost all his property as a result of the war. He came to this country in 1840, bringing his family with him. His thorough knowledge of his business established him here and soon he had a successful booming business. His son Anthony was his partner and his successor.

When Baltimore was an infant city Anthony's place was at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Republican Street (Carrollton Avenue). He remained on Carrollton Avenue for forty years. Mr. Cook was a conservative Republican. He was Roman Catholic.

He married Elizabeth and they had eight children: Anthony, Cornelia, Charles, George, William, Henry, Elizabeth and Caroline. Charles and George, joined him in business. They are all men of integrity.

Dolch, John Carl (8-7-1909 to 2-1-1976) – Trucker

John was the oldest son of Johann Carl Dolch (12.10.1887 to 7.3.1939) and Bessie Elizabeth (nee Schwartz 5.5.1891 to 12.5.1949). The other children were Wilmer, Harry, Herbert, Ralston, Ursula and Wilhelmina. He was born on Cleveland Street in Southwest Baltimore, affectionately known as ‘Pigtown’. His parentage was German with his father’s side originating in Cruezburg in Thuringia and his mother’s side from Borgholz in North Rhine-Westphalia.

He received an elementary education at Public School #22, George Washington Elementary. He left school early to help with the family. He began driving trucks at the age of 14.

He married Lillian (10.4.1911 to 1.5.1989, nee Wilkins) on November 4, 1930. Together they raised four children, Dolores Marie (5.14.1932 to 8.2.2019), Jacqueline Elizabeth (9.28.1934 to 4.17.1998), John Carl III (7.26.1937 to) and Michele ‘Shelley’ Marie (3.18.1952 to ).

During his younger days, he was an accomplished musician, playing both clarinet and saxophone. He was self-taught. He played with the Maple Leaf Orchestra. His professional career was as a truck driver, working almost his entire adult life with the W.T. Cowan Company, primarily delivering to the Hochschild Kohn Store in downtown Baltimore. He received many citations of merit for his safe driving and safe driving record.

John was an active member of the Messiah Lutheran Church at Cross and Cleveland Streets and later (upon Messiah’s closing) Martini Lutheran Church at Sharp and Henrietta Streets. He was a member of the United Teamsters Union.

John and Lillian are buried at Meadowridge Memorial Cemetery in Howard County, Maryland.

John & Bessie Dolch
John 'Jack' and Lill Dolch
The children of John & Bessie Dolchl. to r. Harry, Wilmer, Ursula 'Sis', Ralston 'Hut', Herbert 'Dook' and John 'Jack'. Missing Wilhemina 'Minnie'.

Dolle, George (1859 – 1930)

Source: W. L. Weller, May 2015

George Dolle (Dölle) was my wife's great-grandfather, her father's maternal grandfather. The few recollections she has have come through her father from his mother, Christina Eva Dolle. She was the second of the ten children of George Dolle and Ida Gertrude Büttner (Bittner, Biettner), and the eldest of their five daughters.

George Dolle was born in June, or perhaps April, of 1859 in Maryland. He named “Liddensville” as his birthplace, but it seems no one has ever heard of it, so maybe it was somewhere else. Catonsville has also been mentioned, but without any evidence as far as I can find. Still, it is quite certain that he was born in Maryland. He was named George after his father, who spelled his name “Dolle” at least some of the time, but

it might have been something different; other spellings were Dill and Deller. George himself went by Dolle, Doelle, Doeller, Della, and Deller, at different times, as did his two brothers (his sister married as Delle). Whenever George was required to give his father's birthplace, he always responded “Germany”, but where in particular is still a mystery, as is when he arrived in Baltimore.

George's mother was Elizabeth Kappel and always reported that she had been born in Germany. Unlike her husband's unknown background, the passenger list that includes her family's names has survived. Her parents were Jacob and Christiana Kappel. They arrived in Baltimore in Oct. 1853 with five children - Elizabeth (“Betta”, 15), Carl (9), Philip (6), Ludwig (4), and Michael (2); son John was born not long after they arrived. Jacob gave the birthplace of all of them as Konigstetten, which is in Austria, about 25 or 30 km west of Vienna and declared himself to be a farmer. In the 1850s there was no “Germany”, but there was a German Confederation, which included two powerful “states”, Prussia and Austria, and a large number of smaller and weaker principalities, like Hesse. So “Germany”, until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, actually included Austria.

George was the eldest of his parents' eight children, but only four of them survived until 1880 (and they all survived to 1900 or later). In 1870 he had four siblings: Carl, Philip, John and Margaret.

Carl died sometime in the 1870s. At the tender age of one, George was living with his parents in Ellicott's Mills. His Kappel grandparents lived virtually next door along with the rest of their children, his aunts and uncles. By that time, Ellicott's Mills was a prosperous community, both in farming and manufacturing.

Things changed drastically for the local people (Dolles and Kappels included) with the start of the Civil War. In the fall of 1862 Ellicott Mills became a defended community. The town was greatly stirred again two years later when defeated Union troops, retreating from their loss at the Battle of Monocacy, passed right through Ellicott Mills on their way to Baltimore.

George's father joined the 1st Maryland Cavalry in the fall of 1862. Either then, or later, after he had been discharged and rejoined the newly formed Veterans Reserve Corp, the whole Kappel-Dolle clan, moved into Baltimore, to the Canton district. As a boy of four or five (in 1863 and 1864),

George lived with his parents, his grandparents and his Kappel aunts and uncles, all together at the same address on Burke Street (now called Montford Street). His father was a soldier and his grandfather a laborer.

This living arrangement didn't last. The houses on Burke Street were small and the extended family was large (six Kappels and six Dolles), and growing. Anyway, in 1865 the Kappels were living elsewhere in Canton and the Dolles seem to have left Baltimore City, probably for a more rural location in Baltimore County. In 1870 this location was along the O'Donnell Street extension, just outside the city, where four cemeteries were located (Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. Matthew's Church Cemetery, and First United Evangelical Church Cemetery). George's father was employed as a cemetery attendent at one of them.

Their surrounding neighbors in 1870 were mostly farmers and gardeners, so it was a more open place than Burke Street in Canton. Their closest neighbors belonged to the growing family of Cyrus Copper. He seems to have been a jack of many trades – farmer, gardener, smith's helper, streetcar driver, sexton. Moreover, he was a stockholder in the Mount Carmel Cemetery Company from its founding in 1854 and for many years was a superintendent at that cemetery (almost to his death in1910). George grew up with John Copper, Cyrus' firstborn, who was just six months younger. They were sure to have shared many adventures and scrapes.

In 1876 these two friends enlisted in the Apprentice program of the US Navy – they signed on as Apprentice Boys to train and serve until they turned 21 (in 1880). Sometime about then, between 1870 and 1880, George's father died. This began an important period in George's life, but apparently one that wasn't mentioned to later generations.

At that time the training of Apprentice Boys took place at the Brooklyn Naval Yard in New York. It took about six months for boys to be trained to the point where they were capable and safe aboard a cruising sailing ship. At that point they would be assigned to a regular cruising ship of the Navy. For George (and John) that assignment took place in early 1877 and the ship was the USS Trenton. In March, 1877 the Trenton set sail from New York for the Mediterranean where she was to spend the next few years as the flagship of the European US Naval Squadron. George spent the next two and a half years on the Trenton as an ordinary seaman as the ship visited various Mediterranean ports and made two cruises out of the Mediterranean to Northern European waters.

In late 1879 the Trenton's crew (George and John included) returned to New York as the crew of the USS Constellation. Before George's enlistment expired, however, he completed another cruise. The Constellation sailed in late March, 1880 to carry supplies to Ireland to help relieve the condition of the Irish who were suffering again from famine. This turned out to be a stormy and dangerous crossing, but successful and with little serious damage to the ship. She returned to New York in June 1880 and George became an adult and a civilian at the same time. Today, the restored USS Constellation is docked at Baltimore's Inner Harbor and, as a National Historic Site, can be visited by the public.

Within two years of his return to Baltimore, George began working as a laborer in various foundries in the Canton district. He also married Ida Buttner, who had migrated with her parents from Germany (Bavaria) in 1862. Their first two children, George John and Christina Eva, were born while they were living in Canton. By the time their third child, Andrew, came along, George had taken a job with the Baltimore Car Wheel and Foundry Company. Although it had begun its industrial life in Canton, the company had re-located to the northwest corner of the city, at Fulton Station, where the freight depot for the Western Maryland Railroad was sited. George moved their expanding family to a new home closer to his new job. This was followed by moves to a succession of other homes along Liberty Road near the developing neighborhood of Easterwood. They finally settled into the block of Presstman Street between Payson and Pulaski. They lived there with and among most of their children and grandchildren until the early 1920s when George retired from the foundry. Then they moved to the Baltimore Highlands, south of the city. This area was very rural in character in comparison with Easterwood.

George found some work nearby as a machinist. He worked at that right up to his death in December, 1930. Some of his children had also moved to Baltimore Highlands, while some remained in Easterwood. One of his grandchildren who lived nearby in remembers him less than fondly. When he was summoned to his grandparents' house around the corner to cut the grass, they always spoke in German, to each other seemingly and not to him, and showed him no affection. He was never given any explanation by his mother, but he certainly never felt welcomed by them. This is a very strange and sad legacy. Ida Dolle survived her husband by eleven years, continuing to house a few of their adult children until her death in 1941. It seems she could not, or chose not to speak English, a very sad postscript to this story.

Eckels, Louis (12-1845 to 12-20-1908)-Coal & Ice

Mr. Eckels a coal and ice wholesaler operated in Baltimore under the name of Eckels & Son. He built an office at 804 East Eager Street with adjoining storage facilities for the coal and ice. Louis is a native of Prussia and the only son of Powell and Anna Gray Eckels. His father was a stone mason. His mother immigrated to the US after the death of Powell. She brought the two children, Louis and Margaret with her.

Louis received his early education in Germany, but when fourteen and settled in Baltimore, he began to work at an iron factory in Locust Point. He also learned the trade of weaving. He worked on a farm until the Civil War, where he became a Union soldier and for a period a night watchman for Captain Allen. He returned to Baltimore in 1865, he began to work for William H. Oder. He started his coal and ice business in 1872.

He married Caroline Lanzer, also born in Germany and a daughter of a German soldier. Together they had five sons (Henry, Frederick, August, George, Philip and William) and one daughter(Mamie). The sons went into business with their father.

The family attended Trinity Lutheran Church, where Mr. Eckels was a trustee and the treasurer for a time. He was a member of the Order of Heptasophs.

Mr Louis Eckels, 63 years old senior member of the firm of Louis Eckels & Sons Ice Manufaturers, died at his home, 802 East Eager Street, Sunday night of pneumonia.

A native of Germany, he had lived in this city 55 years. Besides a widow, six children survive. They are Measrs, Henry, Frederick, August, Phillip, William Eckels and Mrs. Charles J. F. Steiner. He was treasurer of Germania Conclave of Heptahophs.

The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon, Rev. John C. Summerlatte, pastor of Zion Reformed Church, will officiate. Burial will be in Trinity Cemetery.

Obituary: Baltimore Sun, date December 22, 1908.

Foertschbeck, John Jr. (1862 – 1931)

Submitted by John H. Foertschbeck, Sr., June 2015

My great-grandparents, John (13 Oct. 1862 – 3 Oct. 1931) and Anna (Deuerling) Foertschbeck (25 Sept. 1863 – 30 Jan. 1941) landed in Baltimore 13 September 1886. They sailed on the S.S. Rhein from Bremen. John was 24 years old and Anna 23. For some unknown reason he was listed as Julius and his occupation as weaver. Weaver was a popular trade in Franconia at the time. Anna occupation was listed as wife. They were church married at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highlandtown (Herz Jesu) 4 Oct. 1886 just a few weeks after arriving. Older brother John and wife Anna (Bätz) Foertschbeck were their sponsors.John was the youngest of eight children born to Johann Ernst and Margarethe (Müller) Förtschbeck in Neufang, Oberfranken (Upper Franconia), Bayern (Bavaria). In the U.S.A. he used “Jr.“ to distinguish himself from his older brother John. In fact, he had two older brothers named Johann and three sisters named Margarethe! His father, Johann Ernst Förtschbeck, was listed as a Bauer (farmer) in the German baptismal records.

John Jr. and Anna had two children, Mary and my grandfather, John Henry Foertschbeck. Shortly after John Henry was born Anna suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized the rest of her life. Friends and neighbors, Henry and Anna Marie (Pfaff) Kupfrian helped raise my great-aunt Mary and grandfather John Henry Foertschbeck.

John Jr.’s occupation listed in Census records: 1910 – Teamster – 6 Way Teams; 1920 – Partner of General Store, 43 German Hill Rd.; 1930 – Janitor Garage. He died playing cards with a neighbor and another distantly related John Foertschbeck on 3 Oct. 1931. He was an active member of a church associated fraternal associated, St. Franz Ritter (Knights of St. Francis). The Knights were disbanded during WW-I.

There were many families from the little village of Neufang who settled in Baltimore in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s including: several distant branches of Foertschbecks, Baetz, Fiedler, Foehrkolb, Kotschenreuther, Mattes, and Wiedel, among others. Almost all settled in Canton and Highlandtown and attended Roman Catholic churches at St. Michael’s and Sacred Heart of Jesus – Highlandtown.

Note: In our family there are four generations of John Henry Foertschbeck. We use Sr. and Jr. relative to living generations. When my grandfather died in 1940, my father started using Sr. and referred to me as Jr. I did the same when my father died and now go by Sr.

Photo ca. 1902

Webmaster's Note: NEW BOOK RELEASE: John Foertschbeck, Sr.'s new release 'German Catholic Parishes of Maryland and Pennsylvania' has just been released. The book is a great reference and includes a wealth of information about the subject. For information or to purchase a copy, visit John's website. Click here!

Fritchie, Barbara (Hauer) (12-3-1766 to 12-18-1862)

Barbara Fritchie House

Barbara was born Hauer to Joh. Nicklaus Hauer (8-6-1733 to 12-11-1799). Nicklaus was born in Diedendorf bei Finstingen, Germany. He emigrated (according to Bible records) and arrived in the US on May 18, 1754. Barbara married John Casper Fritchie, a glove maker in 1806. She later moved and lived in Frederick County, Maryland. Here her house is now part of the walking tour. According to the legend, she, at the age of 95, waved the Union flag in the middle of the street to block Stonewall Jackson’s troops as they passed through Frederick. The outcome is that Jackson was impressed by her spirit and spared the town. A poem was written of the event by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1864. It has since been reported that another neighbor by the name of Quantrell was the actual flag waver, but Barbara deserves a spot in my biographies…this is what legend is made of. This one name has probably done more for Frederick than most. Ms. Fritchie died at the age of 96 and is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. Francis Scott Key is also buried there and it is said they were very good friends.

Barbara Fritchie is shown on the 1850 census at the age of 79 living in Fredericktown. Living with her was a 40 year old woman Harriet Louer?. No occupation was listed for either.

Photo of house: "Barbara Fritchie House" by Hal Jespersen at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barbara_Fritchie_House.jpg#/media/File:Barbara_Fritchie_House.jpg

Garmer, John Henry, Sr. (1-9-1809 to 1-27-1882)-Shoemaker

Johann Heinrich Germer, Sr., was born in Sickte, Duchy of Braunschweig. He earned a Master Shoemakers Diploma from the Shoemaker's Guild of the Duchy of Braunschweig in 1838. Prior to his imigration he lived in Neidersickte, Duchy of Braunschweig. Johann immigrated to Baltimore in 1845 with his wife Dorothea Henriella Wilhelmine Germer and four children, Frederick Christoph, Johnn Heinrich, Jr., Sophia Elizabeth and Amelia. His sons, grandsons and he owned a successful shoe making business at 1808 Eastern Avenu for many years to the turn of the 20th century. He is interred with his wife at the First German Evangelical Church Cemetery (Schwartz Cemetery). The family lived at 504 South Ann Street in Fells Point, which is now the restaurant, Peter's Inn.

Information provided by George Garmer; Baltimore Sunpaper death notices, January 28, 1882

Garmer, W. H. (1905-1970)-Firefighter

William H. Garmer was born in Baltimore in 1905, one of five children to John & Katherine Garmer, both first generation Germans. He grew up in Patterson Park and he and his wife, Gladys raised five sons. He joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 1922 and served Engine Company Number 20 in Walbrook. He began his career in the Fire Department when horses were used to pull the trucks and in his 32 years of service, he missed only three days of work. William Garmer is buried at Loudon Park.

Information courtesy, George Garmer

Garner, John- Policeman (11-28-1869 to 12-21-1927)

John W. Garner was born in Baltimore. He was a member of the Baltimore City Police Department from 1899, when he graduated from the academy to his retirement in 1924. He was a foot patrolman in the ‘inner harbor’ neighborhood, which was nothing like it is today.

Information courtesy, George Garmer

Gessert, Friedrich ‘Fritz’ (12-17-1923 to 3-30-2015)

Gessert, Waltraut Johanna (6-19-1929 to 10-30-2014)

Mr. Gessert was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Friedrich and trained there in sheet metal fabrication. In 1941 he enlisted in the navy rather than being drafted and given no choice. He spent most of his military career on patrol along the west coast of Germany and France. He took advantage of schools in boilers/engine room, machining and fire control. These skills allowed him, following the war, to get a job on a tugboat out of Hamburg, Germany. This was a prized position and he could live on board saving both room and meal expenses. His next position was on a ship that sailed on the Oder River making roundtrips from Hamburg to then Czechoslovakia. Here he rose to the position of Top Fireman.

Waltraut was born in Stettin in Pommern (now a part of Poland), daughter of Albert Grunsdorf. She was not yet 14 years old when she began working as a mothers’ helper/nanny in 1943 as part of the war effort. Then in 1944 and ’45 she was put to work in a war factory making gaskets for machinery until the town was overrun by the Russians. On March 9, 1945, Waltraut, her mother and sister with her infant child were on the last train from Stettin to Greifswald (a town to the west in Pommern but still occupied by Russians). They left with what they could carry. They had already heard that her sisters’ husband was dead; they had no idea of the fate of whereabouts of her father and brother – both serving in the military.

Three months of terrible conditions in Greifswald left them desperate enough to try to return to their home in Stettin. They were able to stay only 10 days; the Russians had given the land to the Poles and the Polish Army drove them out. On June 19, Waltrauts’ 16th birthday, the 3 generations endured a 17 hour forced march that ended in a farm village – also under Russian control. Fifteen families shared a farmhouse; Typhus ran rampant. There was no food: they boiled grasses and scavenged roots for something to eat. In a 5 month period, nearly half of the people died, including her sister’s infant. Waltraut was terribly ill and in and out of consciousness for 4 months and not given much chance for survival. In late November they heard that her father was in Hamburg! They went to the railroad tracks (there was no station) and climbed on a train as it slowed down in the village; the train was packed with people desperate to get out of the area. It took them back to Greifswald.

This time the Red Cross was there; it was now midwinter 1945/46. The Red Cross found them an unheated room with 1 bed while they were processed for relocation. They worked their way west, from camp to camp through scenes of incredible destruction, finally arriving in Hamburg in late spring. She found her father on a tugboat owned by the Portland Cement Co. Waltrauts’ sister went to live with her in-laws and Waltraut and her mother were able to share a small room on the tugboat with her father. They had family, a roof over their heads, heat and food; they were much more fortunate than most!

This of course, is where she met Fritz..they both moored in the same harbor. They were married in April 1947 and spent the first several months of their life together on a houseboat barge as Fritz worked the rivers. There were several other couples on board. Later that year, they were able to buy a one room summerhouse set in terraces on the outskirts of Hamburg. When their daughter Hannelore was born, they enlarged it and finally seemed to be returning to normalcy.

It was then the borders closed and shipping took a huge blow. It was then the family left from Bremerhaven in the middle of winter. They sailed on the SS United States and arrived on January 22, 1953. The stories of “gold in the streets” actually happened – Fritz found a dollar on the street in New York right after disembarking!!

After spending a couple months with Fritzs’ uncle, the couple settled in an apartment on Hilton Street and began English language lessons. The German community was welcoming and soon they met others. It was one of their little German community that recommended Fritz apply at TipTop Bakery on Edmondson Avenue. Fritz worked there for 16 years, until the business was sold. He was responsible for the operation of all the machinery and later became a licensed engineer. He then worked Western Electric from 1969 to 1986. This business closed when Fritz was only two years from retirement.

The Gesserts lived in Linthicum in the home they purchased in 1957. They have two daughters, Hannelore and Karen and one son, Winfred (deceased).

The Gessert’s are Honorary Life members of the Baltimore Kickers. Fritz served as 2nd Vice-President. They were members of St. Johns Lutheran Church

Grabenstein, Justus (5-16-1832 to 4-4-1909) Farmer

Justus Grabenstein was a native of Windenhausen, Germany, but he had lived in Cumberland Maryland nearly all his life. He immigrated in 1854. He was one of the oldest farmers in the county.

He suffered from a tumor, but uremic poisoning was the immediate cause of death. He was a successful farmer and raised a very large and successful family. He married Margaret (Montag)(1834-1915) and together they had thirteen children. Most of his children remained in the area.

His sons are Julius (1858-1930), William H. (1863-1930)(a miller with the Cumberland Milling Company), Frank, John, Joseph (1866-1936)(a contractor in Cumberland), Edward Frederick (1867-1953), Sebastian Adam (1869-1944) (a Cumberland grocer), Frederick J.(butcher in Cumberland with J.T. Mattingly), and George Grabenstein, and his daughters, Anna (Laing), Mary (1861-1945) (Gellner), Francis (Naughton), and Katie Grabenstein.

Mr. Grabenstein was 76 years old and is buried at SS Peter and Paul Church Cemetery in Cumberland.

The Gruber Family

Source: Written by Lynn Thomas Gruber

Gruber, Johannes (1718 to)

Hans Jacob Gruber (1757 to 1847)

Martin Gruber (1789 to 1871)

The Gruber family of Maisprach, Baselland, Switzerland immigrated to the then new United States in what we believe to be two waves. There could have been others, both earlier and later, but we have yet to find any records of them. In fact, the Kummler family of Maisprach, Baselland, Switzerland is documented to have immigrated to Pennsylvania in the ship Crown, arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in August of 1749 and being registered in Philadelphia on August 30, 1749. In the ship’s list, only the father, Hans Kummler, is named, with his name written in old script as “Hans Cumler.” We do not currently know of any connection between the two families but clearly they would have known each other coming from such a small village.

Both Gruber family groups arrived in Philadelphia after traveling up the Rhine River (which is very close to Maisprach) to Amsterdam and taking ship first to a port in England and then to the United States. After arriving in Philadelphia they soon found their way to the Baltimore and Hagerstown, MD. areas.

The family originated in the Gemeinde of Masiprach, Sissach District in the Basel-Landshaft Canton of Switzerland which is in the North Central part of Switzerland very near the city of Basel and the German and French borders. The family appears to have lived in this area at least from the early 16th century (1520s) and probably well before that. Grubers continue to live in Maisprach today. The village of Maisprach is tiny, with only about 950 inhabitants currently and in the late 18th century, when the Grubers immigrated, was probably no more that 300. The town was first mentioned in 1180CE, but the place was already populated in the Neolithic era and there was a Roman villa in the 2nd century CE. The village was a property of Farnsburg in Medieval times, until it was sold to Basel in 1461. A fire destroyed almost the complete village in 1546, and it suffered a lot in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).

Viniculture has always played an important role in Maisprach. It had the first vineyards in Roman times and winegrowing is documented without interruption since 1328. Due to an excellent climate and geological conditions, Maisprach wine has a high quality and a good reputation in Switzerland, but is hardly known abroad.. Apart from winegrowing, the population was engaged in other forms of agriculture and some textile manufacturing in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The first known to arrive in the United States was Johannes Gruber (Sr.) (b 1718. – d?. ) the son of Hans Jacob Gruber (b. 1689 – d?) and Anna Oberly Gruber (b. 1690 - d?) along with his son also called Johannes (b. 1746 - d.? ). While Johannes Sr., a locksmith by trade, was released from paying a manumission tax, his son Johannes Jr., had to pay a manumission fee along with a letter due and 10% tax that in total amounted to about 15% of his net worth in order to leave Switzerland. The tax was to allow him leave and to take his remaining assets out of the country. His occupation is shown as a "turner" which was most likely a woodworker. This “manumission” indicates that the Grubers were held in a serf –like state with obligation of service to the community and/or church hierarchy. Johannes Jr. also brought along his wife Anna Keller Gruber and five children, Anna (baptized 11/3/1783), Anna Maria (baptized 2/6/1785), Hans Georg (baptized 2/20/1787), Ursula (baptized 1/17/1790), and Johannes III (baptized 1/1/1781).They arrived in Philadelphia (or possibly the Carolinas) in 1790. (Per “List of Swiss Emigrants in the 18th Century to the American Colonies” Volume II) At some point before the turn of the 19th century they moved to the Baltimore area.

The second wave arrived on September 10, 1803 on the ship Commerce captained by Nathanial Ray and originating from Amsterdam. While they came into the port of Philadelphia, they soon followed their family to Maryland settling in Baltimore. According to the book “Passenger Arrivals - Port of Philadelphia” by Tepper, on the Commerce were Hans Jacob Gruber (b. 1757 – d. 1847) the son of Johannes Sr. (shown as Jacob). and brother to Johannes Jr. both of whom came in 1790. In addition were his wife Maria Mangold Gruber (b. ca 1760 – d.?), and children Elisabeth Gruber (1796.? – d.?), Anna Gruber (b1798 – d?), Anna Barbara Gruber (b. 1801 – d.?), Anna Maria Gruber (b. 1787 – d?), Eva Gruber (b.1799 – d?) and Martin Gruber (b. 1789- d. 1871) Martin Gruber is the Great, Great Grandfather of the author of this document, Lynn Thomas Gruber.

Also on the ship Commerce in 1803 were Hendrick Mangold, Anna Mangold (wife of Hendrick), and their children Anna Maria Mangold and Hendrick Mangold Jr. It is not known if this is the father or brother of Maria Mangold Gruber and his family or if there is any relationship with Maria Mangold Gruber and these Mangolds. It is highly likely however that there is and that both families came to the US together. Maria Mangold was a native of the town of Buus, not Maisprach, so it is possible that this family was also from Buus.

An interesting reference to a Gruber in Baltimore is noted in the book “America Experienced – 18th and 19th Century Swiss Immigrants” on page 210. In one of the letters documented in the book, a Swiss immigrant, Arnold Howard, a naturalist who was traveling from Baltimore, MD. to Athens, OH., notes in a letter written on January 30th, 1825 after arriving in Baltimore…”When we first came to town, it seemed to us that everything was all English. But after finding one German, we soon found Germans and Swiss aplenty. The sailors had guided us to a German woman innkeeper from Bremen who has been there already for some 20 years. Although her fare was plentiful, good, and cheaper than at the ins in Havre, we soon found a Swiss by the name of Gruber from the Basel region, a locksmith who lives on Uhlers Ally [Alley} where the printing press from the Mariland (sp) German newspaper of Hanzsche was located at the corner of the intersection with Charles Street.” This could not be Johannes Gruber, Sr. as he would have been well over 100 by 1825 if alive. In the 1814-1815 edition of the Baltimore Directory, a “Gruber, Jacob, locksmith” is listed residing in Uhlers Alley. Thus it was most likely Hans Jacob Gruber (b. 1757 – d. 1847) who arrived on the ship Commerce in 1803 that is mentioned in Howard’s letter. Swiss records show him as a locksmith like his father Johannes (b. 1718).

Uhlers Alley no longer exists but would have run on a Northwest/Southeast line from just beyond the Baltimore Basin about halfway between S. Charles St. and Light St. starting on East Pratt St and ending somewhere near the current Baltimore St. & Light Railway Station on S. Howard St. near The Baltimore Arena. The corner where it intersected with Charles St. would be very close to today’s Bank of America Center in downtown Baltimore. Unfortunately the family did not hold on to land in what is now the heart of downtown Baltimore, today worth millions of dollars!

While many Grubers continue to live in Maryland, others moved far and wide within the United States. The line of Martin Gruber (b. 1789-d 1871), my great, great grandfather, is no exception. Martin married two times, his first wife Elisabeth (Stud?) dying in an August, 1832 “plague” (probably a cholera epidemic) in Baltimore. A family letter indicates that “she was healthy in the morning and dead by the evening…”. The children of that marriage, with the exception of the youngest, Sarah Ann (b.1832 –d. 1922), quickly moved away from Baltimore upon their mothers death and Martin’s remarriage in 1836 to Elizabeth Schroder (or Shroder). With 9 children from the first marriage and 7 more to come in the second, there was probably little room at home and who knows what the relationshop was with their stepmother. My great grandfather, Lewis Henry Gruber (b. 1823- d. 1911) left home at age 13 in 1836, and traveled by foot to Cincinnati, OH., Lousiville, Kentucky, and then Shelbyville, Kentucky in 1840 where he finally settled and prospered, setting the roots for this branch of the family for many years. The author’s grandfather, also named Lynn Thomas Gruber (b. 1859- b. 1912) and father, Herbert Calvin Gruber (b. 1901- d. 1979), were both born in Shelbyville. Martin (b. 1789), along with his daughter Sarah Ann from his first marriage and all of the children then born from the second marriage packed up and moved to Plum, PA. (outside of Pittsburgh near the current town of Oakmont, PA.) in the early 1840’s (probably 1843 or 1844) where he and his second wife lived out their lives leaving many Gruber relatives in that general area.

Hafer, George J. (5-25-1875 to)

Mr. Hafer was born in Baltimore, son of George and Caroline (Byrle) both born in

Germany. They came to the US in 1864. George’s father was a stone mason and bricklayer by trade, but in 1881 entered the coal business. He continued in that line until his death on January 19, 1897.

Although Mr. Hafer was not educated he was well respected as an honest and ethical businessman. He was one of the founders of and officers in St. John’s Lutheran Church. He was married and had two sons, George J. and Henry. George was the successor to the business being named a partner in 1888. George J. is a graduate of Bryant & Stratton’s Business College in 1894.

Henning, Brigitte (2-17-1929 to )

Ms. Henning was born in Breslau Germany (then Schlesien (Silesia). From 1951 to 1953, she trained as a pediatric nurse in Kinderklinik, in Hannover, Germany. Her training led her to the profession of a child caretaker or ‘nanny’. She began that career caring for a young infant in Instanbul, Turkey, where she remained until 1956. She then came to the United States and to Glyndon, Maryland, where she cared for two children until 1958. She returned to Germany in June of 1959 and worked as a nurse in a children’s hospital for 10 months. An offer she couldn’t refuse lured her back to the US and to Glyndon. Here she took a position as a Governess, with nursing and housekeeping duties. Her charges were four boys. The boys had been left without a mother. Upon the father’s remarriage, she left that employ and worked for another family for 2 ½ years. She then attempted to try Europe again, but realized she had not only become a US citizen, she became Americanized. She returned in 1968 and began working for a family with 3 children. She stayed there for 45 years.

Brigitte now lives happily in a Retirement Home. She is still active in the Zion Church community.

Brigitte wrote the story below and has given us permission to reprint it here.

A Day I Will Remember Forever

By Brigitte Henning

January 23, 1945, the day my life was uprooted and changed forever.

My hometown Breslau, capital city of Silesia, the far eastern province of Germany, lay in the path of the advancing Russian army. Its citizens were encouraged, better, ordered, to leave the city. The order came by radio loudspeakers in the streets at six o’clock in the evening. The temperature was below 0 degrees F. Some people left into the frigid night.

My family consisted, besides my mother who had just turned 40, my brothers 6 and 13, and myself, almost 16, of my maternal grandmother and her 80-year-old brother-in-law, my great-uncle, who had been married to Grandmother’s sister, who recently had died in Frankfurt/Oder. My great-uncle, not having any other family, had moved to Breslau to live with Grandmother.

It was my mother to whom the burden fell to be responsible and in charge of the six of us. My heart still aches for her. However human beings are resilient, so, not knowing what lay ahead, we started to think what to take. Mother refused to go into the night, exploring other possibilities during the next day. The city grew more quiet, almost eerie, when we were told about meeting places from where people would be transported out of the city.

We had been packing our rucksacks, being told only to take as much as we could carry. After six years of war and hunger, we all were feeble and weak. Grandmother, frail Uncle Max, my little brother, who had only known hunger and deprivation, what could they carry? I can’t remember much of what everyone ended up taking, but I took three books, German classic ballads, Goethe’s Faust, and a small New Testament. We wore several layers of clothes, but had no good shoes or boots. There were no snow jackets, nothing of the warm outer clothing one has now. Then we were told about a place to go to the next morning.

Not having a sister, I loved my childhood friend, Renate, dearly. Since 1938 we had been inseparable, even though going to different schools after 1939, but being at home in each other’s families. Now, we had to part, her family having different plans. We hugged and cried, fearing we were all going to die, never seeing each other again. However, I gave her an address of my aunt in Berlin, the only family member to have stayed in the same place, we hoped.

The next morning we took our bundles and rucksacks to leave everything behind that so far was our life. The things we loved, the warmth of the apartment that had sheltered us, the life that we had believed would go on and on.

We closed the front door, trudged into the snow, carrying our few possessions and holding onto each other.

Coming to that gathering place, big open trucks waited for us. We climbed onto one; when it was full with standing people it took off. We drove for hours along country roads clogged with people fleeing in all directions, many on foot, pushing baby carriages piled high with their possessions that were later discarded by the side of the road out of exhaustion, just like horses that died after not being able to pull their loads anymore. By the evening our group was deposited in a country inn. No one knew what was to become of us.

We would be on the road for seven months. My father, his younger brother, and cousin would be killed not long before the war ended in Berlin. The Russians occupied half of Germany, and we learned that we would never be able to get back to Breslau. At the Yalta Conference the Allies ceded ¼ of Germany to Poland; with that 12 million Germans losing their homeland, becoming refugees for years to come. I was one of the 12 million.

Hofstetter, Lawrence (1823 to )

Lawrence was born in Germany, the oldest son of Joseph and Mary Hofstetter. Joseph and Mary were farmers in Baltimore County, specifically on Furley Avenue in Gardenville. Joseph was married three times and Lawrence was a product of the first marriage, along with seven other sons.

Lawrence was educated in the public schools. He purchased his home in 1847. He transformed the home into a beautiful garden with large shade trees and ornamental hedges. He married Catherine Lutz in October of 1846. Catherine was the daughter of Valentine and Mary Lutz. They had four sons and three daughters.

He was a member of the Gardenville Lodge No. 114, I.O.O.F.

Imwold, John A. (10-29-1847 to )

John was the son of John B (6-15-181 to 1873) and Catherine Weltner (to 1894), natives of Germany. John B. was a farmer by trade. John B. immigrated to the US at the age of eighteen and began to work as an agriculturist. He purchased a farm in Baltimore County

John A. was educated at a German Lutheran school in Baltimore. He was a member of the shield of Honor and the Junior Order of American Mechanics.

They spent their entire life farming and were well respected in their Baltimore county community.

Juergensen, Werner (1928-2011)

Werner Juergensen was born on April 16, 1928 in Westerland on the Island of Sylt. Werner played in the amateur league with Schleswig-Holstein. He came to the United States in 1952. He met a Ukranian who introduced him to the soccer team with whom he played his first season. During that year, he met many different Germans, among them Eddie Thau. After a discussion about soccer with Eddie in 1953, the Baltimore Kickers Club was created. In the beginning, he served as financial secretary until becoming president from 1964 to 1965.

The highlights of his term in office were instituting the Alcazar Dances, taking part in bringing back the Max Blob team, and securing a clubroom for the Kickers at the Deutsches Haus. Still active in the club, he also held the title of First Vice-President.

Along with wife Irene, who passed away February 8, 2010, they assisted with our popular Schlachtfest, held twice a year. Long-time participants in the Oktoberfest, he and Irene, for many years, chaired a bratwurst stand at our annual German Festival.

Werner and Irene had one daughter. Werner passed away in November 27, 2011.

Kirschenhofer, George (8-23-1842 to)

Mr. Kirschenhofer was a self made man. He was one of the leading wagon and carriage manufacturers in the city. He was born in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany. His father and grandfather were both carpenters and builders. His mother, Barbara (Bauer) was born in Sessenbach, Bavaria. She died in 1891. They had eight children.

George received his early training at Straubing, where at the age of twelve, he was apprenticed to the wagon and carriage trade under his uncle Casper Bauer. He remained with his uncle for three years and then worked as a journeyman in Austria and Germany for six years. He returned to Bavaria and entered the army as a member of the Third Mounted Artillery Regiment and served for five years in the Bavarian Battery and in the Austro-Prussian war. He participated in the battles of Rosbrunn and Kissingen.

He wanted to earn his fortune in the new world and left his native land in 1868. He arrived in the U.S. aboard the steamer Berlin after a twenty day voyage. He landed in Baltimore on October 20, 1868. He worked his trade in Baltimore until May 1869 and left to go west, spending a year in Cincinnati, St. Louis and Chicago before returning to Baltimore where he worked for two more years.

He joined Rhein & Duncan in 1874 and became a member of the firm of Nicholas Foustich & Co. He stayed with them for eight years when the partnership dissolved.

He moved then to Eager and Bond Streets where he operated a blacksmith shop on the first floor a wheelright and trimming shop on the second and a paint shop on the third floors. Here he made all types of high grade wagons and carriages but his specialty was the large wagons he made for the Germania Brewing Company. He patented a number of useful inventions for improving wagons and carriages including an ‘anti-roller’ shaft coupling.

He married Mary Rheinhart who was born in New York. Together they had six children, Anton, George, Charles, Catherine (Kate), Mary and Fredericka. In 1900, the family lived at 1427 Preston Street. The 1906 Baltimore Directory has his business listed as George Kirschenhofer & Sons (and lists George, Jr. and Charles).

Mr. Kirschenhofer was a Democrat and served as a judge of elections. He belonged to the King David Lodge, A. F. & A. M., with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Vorwaerts Turnverein, the Kriegerbund and for the six years has been president of Arion Singing Society. He was well loved and well respected in the community.

Leinemann, Manfred ‘Fred’ (5-23-1938 to 8-30-2014)

Fred was born in Klein Ilsede, Germany and immigrated to the US in 1966. He began his own business in 1969, the Lanham Construction Company, which is still in operation. He was a member of the German Arminius Lodge #25, the DC Rotary Club in Bladensburg, the Washington Sängerbund, the Concord Club and the Baltimore Kickers. He enjoyed travelling, gardening and spending time with his family especially his grandchildren.

He married Elisabeth, born also in Germany, and together they have three sons, Andrew, Oliver and Mark.

Fred passed away after a freak accident during a family ‘Labor Day’ celebration.

Lüdtke, Paul August (8-29-1905 to 12-10-1992)

Mr. Lüdtke immigrated to the United States from Bremehaven Germany, the city of his birth, on November 27, 1923 (according to the 1930 Census). Upon his arrival he worked on a farm on the Eastern Shore in Maryland before moving to Baltimore. He married Bertha Geiger (5-25-1902 to 1988), who was born in Feberbach, Germany. They met while crossing the Atlantic aboard the 'Derflinger' and were married. They were married for 59 years at the time of Bertha's death. He was naturalized on February 26, 1929. He worked for thirty eight years for the Baltimore Transit Company and the Maryland Mass Transit Administration and was well known as a colorful operator of the city’s then famous streetcars. It is said that he entertained his passengers in song, in both English and German. He retired in 1967.

Mr. Lüdtke was the founder of the Edelweiss Club, which still exists and he presided over the Edelweiss Hour radio show for twenty two years.

Bremerhaven is a port town as is Baltimore and Mr. Lüdtke often extended his hospitality and opened his doors to visiting German sailors.

He was a member of the German Society of Maryland for more than 50 years and served on their board. He was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church and also served on their board. He was instrumental in many of the city’s German celebrations including the festivals at Gwynn Oak Park and Carlins Parks and those in the Inner Harbor. He was a founding member of the German Oktoberfest and for many years was known as 'Mr. Oktoberfest'. He was also a member of the Germania Lodge, Schlaraffia, and the Baltimore Kickers.

He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

[Mr. Lüdtke’s birthdate and immigration date were obtained from his naturalization papers, the 1930 census and his Sunpaper obituary]

Article 'Paul Ludtke will als Edelweiss Club-Washington Journal Oktober 1, 1976

Sunpaper Obituary

Meid, Conrad (8-15-1840 to 2-17-1890)

Mr. Meid was born at Hesse Darmstadt. He attended government schools until he was fourteen years old. He assisted his father in the tailor business while in Germany. He left Germany with his father and they arrived in Baltimore on October 10, 1857. They continued their tailor business and in 1864, Conrad began his own merchant tailor business.

One of his key interests was music and he spent time fostering musical talents in those around him. He was very active in the Harmonic Singing Association serving two years as their treasurer and three years as their president. It was one of Baltimore’s premiere singing society.

Conrad Meid was also a pretty good marksman and named the Singing Societies Schützenkönig in 1874. In 1876, he presided over a large gathering and banquet, which was held at Schützen Park for the Clothing Cutters and Trimmers’ Assembly. More than 6000 attended the day-long event. Mr. Meid was the master workman of the assembly and presided and opened the ceremony with a welcoming speech.

Education being another of his primary interest, he served as President of the St. John’s German Reformed Congregation. He was instrumental in the founding and organizing, in 1874, of Zion German Reformed Congregation, where he served as President. That same year, he also helped organize the German Central Bank of Baltimore, where he was also elected President of that business.

He married Elizabeth Schmick (9-14-1844 to 11-10-1892), daughter of Louis Schmick and Catherine Schmidt, on May 12, 1864. Together they had ten children: Anna (1865 to 1934-unmarried), Eva (1867 to 1946-married Alex Gerlach (Gerlach’s Drug Store)), Emma V. (1868-1871), Caroline Henrietta Louisa (1870 to 1957-married Charles Glaser ), Dorathea (1872 to 1922-married Alex Buselmeier ), Elizabeth (1874 to 1954-married Charles WHA Becker), Anna Catherine ‘Catie’ (1877 to 1880), William A. (1881 to 1886) Emma E. (1883 to 1963-married Walter Kuntze). In 1880 the family lived on Exeter Street in Baltimore.

Conrad Meid and his wife Elizabeth are buried at Loudon Park.

Conrad Meid


Elizabeth Schmick Meid

Modro, Rosa (1935)

I was born in 1935, in the city of Nuremberg, Germany. I was the youngest in a family of three girls. My father left soon after I was born and we were raised strictly by our mother. For the first 5 years of my young life I had a fairly happy childhood.

1942 started a new chapter for me, it was my first year of school. Suddenly I became aware that there was a war going on. Everyone was talking about air raids. Because of the imminent attacks we were trained in school about safety rules , behavior and how to proceed to the nearest shelter in case of an air raid. My first experience with such an attack came in the spring of 1943. I was horrified but little did I know what was yet to come. Next to Dresden, Nuremberg was the city with the greatest destruction in Germany. The biggest air raid on the city came on January 2, 1945.Within hours 90% of the old and most beautiful part of the city was destroyed. I lost schoolmates, friends and neighbors and my oldest sister was very badly hurt and never fully recovered from it.

We were very happy when the war finally came to an end, in April of 1945.Nobody thought Germany was ever coming back from all that devastation. Everything was destroyed and lay in ruins and ashes. Food was scares and so was everything else, including my education.

Finally in 1947, I could go back to school and things started looking up for me. Also, food wise! As we lived in the US occupied zone, the US Forces supplied school children daily with a warm meal .Lunchtime didn’t come around fast enough for me.

I graduated in 1952. As it is customary in Germany, I was trying to continue my education with a mandatory 3 year apprenticeship. I was trying very hard to find a place in the commercial sector or where ever else possible. But to no avail! There were to many young people and not enough jobs. So I went to enroll for 1 year of Home Economic School. Following that year, I finally started my apprenticeship. Along with learning your trade, you also attend 3 years of trade school. The pay was very low, approximately $40.00 a month and my income was not exactly great after I finished and past my examination requirements.

In 1956 , I decided to try my luck in Australia. Through friends which had migrated to this continent in 1953 I heard that the Australian Government was looking for workers and would pay for the fare as long as you agreed to stay for at least 2 years. It was a long trip of 6 weeks. Our ship had to sail around the Cape of Horn, since the Suez canal was blocked due to the war between Egypt & Israel, I arrived in Sidney in January of 1957.

I quickly found work with Lever Brothers, a subsidiary of Uniliver and I worked there for my entire stay. I grew very fond of this lovely country with it’s beautiful Beaches, natural Harbor and of course the Australian people. But it was so far from home and I missed my family. So after a stay of 4 years I decided to return home. It was April of 1961.

Once more I was looking for work! But now I was in the command of the English language and I tried to use it to my advantage. I was lucky! The 7th US Army was hiring German people with knowledge of the English language. I applied and was hired. I worked in the office of the 7th US Army QM 106. This time I decided not leave my family again. During my absence things had changed for the better in Germany. The economy had taken off, (Wirtschaftswunder) and there was now plenty of work and a lot of rebuilding going on.

But in 1964 I changed my mind and came to the United States to get married. We lived in Cape Canaveral, Florida for 9 month because my husband’s step-father worked for NASA there. Work was not easy to find, so when he was transferred to Sacramento, California we moved with them. Not much better there, so we came east and settled in Baltimore. We both were working now but he grew more and more restless and decided to reenlist in the army. After training in Ford Brag he was promptly deployed to Vietnam and then Korea. We drifted apart and the marriage ended. For me it was once more decision time

I had a good job, made friends of my own and grown close to a family I rented from . I had joined a church I was very active in and generally was happy with my life. Germany was not too far away I could go and visit my family when I wanted too. So I decided to stay. Two years after my divorce I met my current husband. We have been married now for 36 1/2 years and still going strong.

After my decision to stay in the USA, I became a naturalized citizen and I am proud of it. When I remarried in 1974 I became a member of the Zion Church of the city of Baltimore. The church, build in 1755 by German emigrants, is the only church left in Maryland today, that still holds a German service on Sunday morning. At one time there were 43 in Maryland. Zion Church still cherishes a lot of German customs and its’ members faithfully keep up some of the traditions. For instance, Sour Beef and Dumpling Dinners in October and the annual Christmas Market the end of November.

I still make trips to Europe to visit my family but I also like to travel in the United States. After all those years living here, I am still mesmerized by the vastness of this country. I would like to see more of it before it is too late to travel.

Written by Rosa Modro 2012

Nicodemus, John (11-14-1800 to 8-29-1879)

John Nicodemus was born in Boonsboro, Washington County. He was the son of Valentine and Anna Margaret (Speilman) (9-1-1767 to 2-28-1826). His grandparents emigrated to the US from South Germany. They settled in Lancaster County, PA.

John married Anna Maria Motter, daughter of Henry and Catharine (Smith). Ms. Motter’s family was from France and belonged to the Reformed Church there, they were then known as the Huguenots. The couple was married in Frederick. Together they had seven children. Their education was limited and was afforded by public schools and private tutors at home.

Mr. Nicodemus’ choice of business was farming and milling. He was successful and passed this occupation to his son, John Luther. He then moved to Boonsboro and managed his large estate there until his death.

He was a benevolent person, not political in any sense. He gifted the Reformed Church in Boonsboro and other religious entity support. About one year prior to his death he gave a farm (then valued at $12,500 in 1878) near Hagerstown in fee simple for the maintenance of a home for the poor and homeless or an alms house. This was named Bellevue. The name "Bellevue" was chosen by the clerk of the County Commissioners, John Bikle. Built at a cost of $26,000 the asylum was located on Northern Avenue and there it stood until the mid 1900s. Sometime after 1920 (the exact date is unknown) Bellevue was leveled and a hospital built on the land.

Michael Anthony Noppinger (8-27-1873 to 3-6-1948)

Michael was born in Alitzheim, Bavaria to John George and Katherine (nee Hine). He married Barbara Foertsch, born in Reichenbach, Bavaria (8-19-1873 to 11-15-1940) to George Fortsch, Sr. and Catherine (nee Neubauer). Together they had 7 children. The family lived on Baylis Street in Highlandtown. Michael immigrated in 1887 and was naturalized in 1895. His occupation was that of law enforcement, serving in Baltimore County until 1918 when he was chosen as one of twenty patrolmen to work in the newly carved portion of the county annexed to Baltimore City.

John George (12-7-1896 to 6-8-1965). John married Evelyn. John was a baker and served during WWII in the US Navy.

George Mathias (2-24-1898 to 7-11-1923). George married Thelma Adele Eisman. George worked as a iron worker at the Maryland Drydock Company until his retirement in 1962. They had four children, Herman, Norbert, Charles and Lolita (Belzer).

Michael Anthony, Jr. (7-18-1900 to 6-13-1971). Michael married Irmengard Marie Baumann. Michael retired in 1969 after serving 52 years working for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, retiring as Deputy Commissioner, as position he took in 1959. Michael served on several national committees. In 1968 he was appointed a member of a special state legislative committee to rewrite the Maryland Motor Vehicle Code. He was a member of the Metropolitan Area Traffic Council’s committee on driver licensing and vehicle inspection. He was Vice President of the Retirees’ Chapter of the Maryland Classified Employees Association, an organization he helped found in 1936. He also compiled a history of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

He and his wife together had three children, Maryon (Burton), Eileene (Manzo) and Robert.

Nicholas Bernard (9-27-1902 to 6-13-1974). Nicholas married Julia Verna Szcepaniak. Together they had three children, Rita (Grynkiewice), Raymond, and Nicholas. According to the 1930 census, he worked in the broom factory.

Agnes (2-18-1905 to 10-10-1955). A nun in the School Sisters of Notre Dame order, Sister Mary Herman Joseph. Twin to Joseph. She graduated from IND in 1921 and entered the order in 1922.

Joseph Gerard Noppinger (2-18-1905 to 2-13-1990). Rev. Noppinger was ordained September 17 1932 in Frendale CT. and celebrated his first mass at his home parish, Sacred Heart in Highlandtown.

Reverend, Holy Ghost Order, first went to Tanzania in 1933 and served as a missionary Priest there for 50 years, building eight churches while in Africa.

Anthony (5-7-1907 to 5-10-1997). Anthony married Maria Anna Steigerwald.

Elsbeth Emma Perlitz (2-28-1912 to 1-13-2009)

As provided by her granddaughter, Ilka Knüppel

Elsbeth Emma Perlitz was born in Alvensleben, Germany, on February 28, 1912. Elsbeth was raised mostly by her grandparents, Christian and Luise Kastner Perlitz, who had five other children. Her childhood seemed full of happy memories although there must have been deprivation during the Great War. Elsbeth told me that during the war there was nothing to eat but potatoes.

After the war, in February 1920, her mother, Emma, married Paul Mühlmann. While they married in Alvensleben, they lived in Magdeburg on Nachtweide Strasse 31A where Paul’s print shop was located. It appears Elsbeth continued to reside with her grandparents in Alvensleben. Elsbeth soon got a sister and two brothers in 1920, 1921, and 1928.

At the age of 18, Elsbeth boarded the ship, Stuttgart, for the United States and landed in NYC on August 10, 1930. Her sponsor was an uncle, William Perlitz, who lived in Annapolis. My grandmother worked as a house cleaner to earn money.

In 1935, Elsbeth went home to visit family. Her Reich Pass shows that she came to the Hansa Haus in Baltimore where the German Consulate was located to obtain her necessary paperwork. The pictures show a happy visit to see her siblings, mother, stepfather, and grandmother. This would be the last time she ever saw her family. Her brother, Heinz, would die at Stalingrad at the age of 21 in January 1943 his last letters home were captured when the Russians overtook the Germany Army airfields and exist at the Volvograd Museum in Volvograd, Russia. Her sister, Ruth, who had contracted Scarlet Fever at the age of two leaving her intellectually disabled, would die in the gas chamber at Bernburg Euthanasia Center on March 31, 1941 under Hitler’s secret euthanasia program.

Elsbeth would meet my grandfather, another German immigrant, Henry August Julius Knuppel, at a dance at the Indian Springs Country Club sponsored by the German Singing Society. They would marry on October 17, 1936, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland. While they lived in Washington DC, they came to Baltimore to get married because St. Paul’s at that time was a German speaking Lutheran church. St. Paul’s was located at Saratoga and Fremont Streets in 1936 but the building no longer exists.

Elsbeth and Henry would have two children and raise them in a house, first on Belmont Street in Washington DC, and then on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. Elsbeth continued to clean houses for people and save her money. My grandparents bought 25 acres in the early 1960’s and retired to Berkeley Springs, WV, where they raised steers, chickens, and geese. Their seven grandchildren loved to come to the farm for visits and would often stay weeks in the summer. They kept a garden and lived there until the 1990’s when my grandfather’s declining health caused them to move in with my father at his place in Woodbine, Maryland. My grandfather passed in 1995 but Oma would almost reach her 98th birthday in 2009. In her last years, she would ask me to buy money orders to send to her only surviving sibling who lived in East Germany.

I never truly realized and appreciated my grandmother’s strength until I became an adult. She was an example of quiet strength, good humor, caring for others and the famous German tenacity that got her through two world wars, near starvation, immigrating to a foreign country, and raising a family.

Reich, Conrad (9-14-1863 to 7-14-1950)-Farmer

Mr. Reich was born in Hessen, Germany in 1863 to John and Magdalena (Voltz) Reich, both of Germany. His father was a farmer, but moved the family to the United States in 1885 settling in the twelfth district of Baltimore County (Rosedale). His father continued farming until his death in 1891.

In his early days in Germany, Conrad acquired a good education in the public schools. He left with his parents and upon arrival in the United States lived and worked for his uncle. He then began farming for his own profit in Baltimore County. In 1888 he purchased a forty-two acre farm bounded by Siemens Run Pass and supplied with several nice springs. It was covered with heavy timber, but Mr. Reich cleared that land and cultivated and planted. He also built his house the same year and had also build outbuildings including barns and storage buildings. He raised corn, grain and vegetables.

He married Maggie Frederick of Baltimore and the oldest daughter of George Frederick. His family was Lutheran. In politics, he was a Republican. According to the 1920 Federal Census, the family lived on a farm off of Old Philadelphia Road. The children at home at that time were Lena, George, Barbara and Catherine. He is buried at Zion United Church of Christ Cemetery on Golden Ring Road.

Hans Michael Reisner (aka: Risner) (3-11-1706 to UNK)

Farmer & Carpenter

Source: Robert W. Whittaker, Descendant & Family Researcher

A Memorial Marker for Hans Michael Reisner was placed in Maryland on October 25, 2007. In 1738 Hans Michael Reisner patented 200 acres about 3 miles south of present Thurmont Maryland and called it Green Spring. It is today a cattle farm and still called Green Spring.

All the Risners of Eastern Kentucky are descended from this German immigrant. A small group joined together, combined funds and our time to research the life of Hans Michael in Germany and America. It has taken several years and continues yet today. This involved visits to Maryland and paid USA and German research. This work will be documented and donated to the Magoffin County Historical Society.

Hans Michael Reisner was born 11 March 1706 in the village of Gemmingen Germany. This is in southwest Germany, a few miles west of Heilbronn, in the present state of Wurttemberg-Baden Germany. He is the son of Johann Michael Reissner b. 1675 d. 1759 and Marie “Barbara” Besch b. 1676 d. 1720. He is the grandson of Michael Arnold Reussner b. 1648 d. 1713 and Unk Metzger [pending research]. We have found these siblings of Hans Michael:

  1. Anna Catharina b. 1700
  2. Maria Margaretha b. 1701 died young
  3. Maria Magdalena b. 1704 died young
  4. Maria Elisabetha b. 1708
  5. Maria Sabina b. 1711
  6. Johnann Frederick b. 1713
  7. George David b. 1714 died young
  8. Johann Tobias b. 1705 immigrated to Maryland
  9. Joachim b. 1718 died young
  10. Gotlieb b. 1720 mother died and the child lived

Hans Michael Reisner married 3 January 1729 to Margaretha Catharina Hammel b. 1702 d. 1754-58 in MD, the daughter of Johann “Hanns” Hammel b. 1695 d. 1721 and Margaretha Hoffer b. 1699 d. 1744/45. Their children born in Germany are:

  1. Johann Frederick b. 1730
  2. Anna Catharina b. 1731

The southwestern part of Germany is called Palatine. In feudal times it was Roman Catholic. With the advent of Protestant Reformation, war rage between these groups from 1618 to 1648 [The 30 Years War] and conflict continued for many years. This result was half the population killed, villages burned and major relocation of populations. The largest immigration to the Colonies was of German extraction. The immigration route was down the Rhine River to Rotterdam Holland and via ship to the Colonies.

Hans Michael Reisner sold property in Gemmingen Germany for 20 Florins in 1732. He paid “every third penny on houses/barns and every tenth penny on land for tax” for permission to export to Philadelphia. The ship Dragon under Master Charles Hargrave sailed from Rotterdam stopped in Plymouth England and arrived in Philadelphia 30 Sept 1732. There were 55 Palatines, who with their families numbered 170. Hans Michael Reisner swore the Oath of Allegiance at the Philadelphia Court House.

The Quaker William Penn obtained a charter for Pennsylvania in 1681. Penn established the Colony in 1682 with the “First Frame of Government”. It provided for secure private property, free enterprise, a free press, trial by jury, religious freedom and low taxes/tariffs. There was a flood of immigrants and when Hans Michael Reisner arrived in 1732, good land was scarce and expensive. Lancaster Pennsylvania is due west of Philadelphia about 40 miles and Hans Michael went there. South of Pennsylvania is Maryland. There is an area of 40-50 miles wide and stretching westward dividing the two Colonies and was in “dispute” between Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River flows across southern Pennsylvania and empties into the head of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. West of the Susquehanna River and in this “disputed” area there was little settlement by Indian or Whites in the 1730s.

Thomas Cresap settled in this “disputed” area and claimed it for Maryland. In 1734 Hans Michael Reisner was working on the farm of Thomas Cresap, when he and others were arrested by Pennsylvania authorities and taken to the Lancaster Pennsylvania jail. This was the beginning of a 2-3 year bloody conflict. Hans Michael Reisner was in the middle of these fights. This border was settled 50-60 years later and marked by two men named Mason and Dixon.

In 1738, in this “disputed” land, Hans Michael Reisner surveyed and deeded 200 acres in north central Maryland. He called it Cat Tail Marsh. Today it is rural farm land and horse farms. It is in Carroll County, north of Winchester Maryland. George Bare was a passenger with Hans Michael on the ship Dragon. Bare had bought the rights to 200 acres in Maryland, when the ship Dragon stopped in Plymouth England. 8 Feb 1738 Bare signed the grant to Hans Michael with no comment. 9 Aug 1738 Hans Michael surveyed and deeded these 200 acres. He called it Green Spring and this became his home.

Green Spring is in north western Maryland, about 3 miles south of Thurmont in Frederick County Maryland. This area became the “Monocacy” and was almost all Germans. Hans Michael was a carpenter and farmer. His father had farmed vineyards. Sometime in the 1738 to 1743 period the old log Monocacy Church was built “one short mile north of Reisner’s Plantation”. Hans Michael was an active member of the church. Reisner bought 50 acres in 1743 about a mile north of Green Spring and called it Smiths Lot. It was probably here that the log church was built. The Monocacy Church, with its 8- 10 graves, has never been found.

Monocacy was a German settlement in an English Colony. Few Germans could read or write English, understand the English laws and customs and they had a different religion. Hans Michael Reisner was a respected leader and spokesman for his German community. His conflicts with the English authorities were many and recorded in the Colonial Court records. As one said “he was no shrinking violet”. Hans Michael Reisner/Risner was in debtor’s prison from 1758 to 1761. I believe he lost many wagons and supplies, as a contractor, when the English General Braddock was defeated by the French in 1755. His son Michael Risner Sr. probably served later in the French and Indian War.

After Braddock’s defeat, the French encouraged Indian attacks on the frontier. The Monocacy was in the center of these of these Indian raids. Most of the frontier population moved east as England and the Colonial government provided no protection. The devastation in cruelty, lost of life and property was great. There is a rock structure built on a hill on Green Spring. In the late 1800s, it still had a heavy log structure on top with slits in the logs for firing guns. I believe this was built for defense against these Indian attacks. But, Hans Michael was in debtor’s prison from 1758 to 1761 during these attacks. We know from a record that Hans Michael’s wife was dead by 1758. It is possible Catharina Reisner stayed at Green Spring and was killed in these raids.

In 1762 Hans Michael Reisner sold Green Spring and disappeared from proven records. There was a 50 acre grant by Virginia in 1763 to a Michael Risoner. There are some records of a Michael Risner after 1763 in old Augusta County VA. I believe this was probably a grant to Hans Michael for his service at Braddock’s defeat in 1755. These 50 acres are under the manmade Claytor Lake in central Virginia. Hans Michael probably lived out his elder years and is buried there. His son Michael Risner Sr. married Catarina “Catharina/Caty” Seches/Six and died in then Knox County Kentucky. He is buried on Brownies Creek in present Bell County Kentucky. His grandson Michael Risner Jr. married Sarah Howard and moved to Floyd/ Magoffin County Kentucky. His grave is lost to time and a Memorial Marker is in the Risner/Gose Cemetery in Magoffin County Kentucky in his honor.

With the help of Ray and Louise Ediger, the owners of Green Spring, Betty and I placed this marker to honor an old ancestor and record a little history in granite. I found it moving and rewarding to trace his life, walk on his land and mark his memory in granite. May my two Magoffin County Risner grandmothers know our ancestor has not been forgotten.

To read more:

Hans Michael Reisner-Speculation

News Article: ‘1728 Outline Still Visable Today’ THE POST, Frederick, Maryland

Ahnentafel of Sir Arnoldt Reusner

Rhinhardt, Henry J. (10-8-1850 to)

Mr. Rhinhardt was born in Baltimore to Charles C. and Margaret (Erney), both of German descent. His mother died when he was two. He was the youngest of six children (William, Charles, Edward, Lewis Augustus and another sister who died as an infant). His father Charles, was born in Germany and his mother in York, PA. His father emigrated to Baltimore in the early 1830s and began work as an instrument maker. He died in 1864. Henry was educated in the Baltimore City public schools and at fifteen entered the employment of Richard Walz as a clerk. He stayed there for five years.

He married Lidy L. Rienck. and began working with his father-in-law on his farm in Baltimore county. He bought ½ interest in the truck farm or 105 acres. This was a successful enterprise for he and his family for fourteen years. He returned to the city and became part of the firm of Farmers’ Fertilizing Company and at that same time bought an interest in the firm of Gardner & Co., Plumbers. He left the Fertilizing firm in 1887 and purchased the remaining portion of Gardner & Co. He was very successful in the building operations. He is a Master Mason.

He and his wife had three children, Thomas, Ada and Bessie. He and his family were members of the Episcopal Church and he was a life-long Democrat.

Riedel, Frederick L. (6-23-1928 to 10-4-2010)-Firefighter Officer

Frederick Riedel ‘Fred’ was born in Baltimore and raised in South Baltimore. He was the grandson of German immigrants. He and his wife, Louise (married in 1961) visited relatives in Germany many times. Fred’s father was a fireman, but died when Fred was 5. Since he was old enough to dream, he dreamed of being a fireman like his father. Fred worked for the Baltimore City Fire Department for 44 years, retiring as a Captain in 1997. He implemented many Fire Prevention programs during his tenure with the County.

He was a Marine reservist and in 1952 was drafted into the Army and served from 1952 to 1954 in the Korean War.

Fred and Louise were parents to Frederick Riedel, III, who also serves in Fire Service.

After he retired, Fred became a Park Ranger at Fort McHenry and worked there for 10 years. He was a member of many German clubs including Club Fidelitas (where he served as their President); the German Society of Maryland (where he served as a Board member); the Deutschamerikanischer Buergerverein von MD; Club Geselligkeit; and Germania Lodge. He a also a member of the Boumi Temple Shrine, the Tall Cedars, the Scottish Rite, the Society for the War of 1812, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Korean War Veterans Association. He was a member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. He is interred at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Roth, John Christian (5-29-1860 to 7-1-1932 )

John Christian Roth was born in Baltimore to George Michael and Katherine (Gesswein) Roth, both German natives. They settled in Baltimore a few years prior to the Civil War. George worked in the retail business. He died in (1821-1880) and Katherine his wife in (1820-1873). John C. Roth attended the public and parochial schools of Baltimore, learned the trade of cigar making and was employed up to 1887, when he entered the service of J. Requardt & Co., with whom he continued to be associated until 1898. It was at this time that John Roth became the proprietor of the Fayette Cafe and Billiard Hall. Mr. Roth was a Mason and Past Master of the Joppa Lodge. He was a member of the B. P. O. E., Baltimore Lodge, No. 7, and of the Order of the Golden Chain. He was for five years a member of the Fifth Regiment, being mustered out as sergeant and later a member of the Fifth Regiment Veteran Corps. He was married November 26, 1884, to Anna Elnora (1861-1921), daughter of the late Joseph Hackett, a passenger train engineer for thirty years for the B. & O. R. R. Mr. and Mrs. Roth had one child, Margaretta. The family resided at 1926 W. Baltimore street and attended the Lutheran Church.

Mr. Roth died in 1932. The family is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Sack, George (5-6-1834 to 5-23-1913)

Mr. Sack was born in Germany, the son of Adam and Johanna (Kukel) Sack. His father, Adam was born in Germany in March 1808 and emigrated to the US in 1854. He was a cabinet maker by trade, in the city of Baltimore. He had four sons, George was the oldest.George received his education in the German schools and came to the US at the age of eighteen. He first worked as a cabinet maker and started his own business in Baltimore. His business grew very rapidly and he became quite a success story. He also ran a lumber yard and worked as a contractor.

He was associated with the Algemeiner Arbeiter Kranken Untersetzung Verein ( I would think this acted as a union for workers when sick….such as workers compensation, etc.) and attended Lutheran church in Baltimore. He married, in 1862, Beate Rau, daughter of Adam and Christiana Rau and also a native of Germany. They, together, had seven children. He and his family were well respected and he was known as an energetic and astute business man.

Mr. Sack is buried at Jerusalem Cemetery in Baltimore.

Sander, August (8-1-1906 to 5-12-1993)

Mr. Sander was born in Bad Hersfeld, Germany to a restaurateur. His family had been serving in the restaurant/inn-keeping business for more than 200 years. He emigrated to Baltimore in 1928.

Prior to arriving in the US, he served an apprenticeship at the Wein Restaurant in the City Hall of Kassel, Germany. He also worked as assistance chef in restaurants in Weisbaden, Leipzig and Hanover. While at the Hotel Kasten, in Hanover, Germany, he served then Kaiser Wilhelm, II. At that time, the Kaiser was in exile in Holland but made secret visits to Germany.

He was an expert in French, Italian, German and American cuisines and worked at the Southern Hotel at Light and Redwood prior to moving to the Emerson, which was then at Calvert and Baltimore Streets. He remained there for 18 years.

He was a master chef and had served presidents and movie stars. While working at the old Emerson Hotel in Baltimore, he served Jean Harlow on her 21st birthday. He also service two US presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford.

During WWII, he worked as a welder of ships at Bethlehem Steel.

In 1947, he worked at Slater Food Service (later ARA Services) where he remained for 21 years in industrial cafeterias such as Koppers, Bendix and Crown Cork & Seal. He retired in 1968 as regional supervisor for the mid-Atlantic area.

He met his wife, Maria Bertha Prag (1908-2009) at the Emerson Hotel. They were introduced by her brother and also a Chef Herman Prag. He and Bertha married in 1932. Together they had one son, Colonel Thomas F. Sander of the US embassy in the Netherlands.

Mr. Sander was active at Zion Lutheran Church at City Hall Plaza, the Arion Singing Society, Germania Lodge No. 160 and the International Food Service Executives Association. He was also active in the German Geselligkeit and the Edelweiss Club and participated in many German Day celebrations.

Schwartz, Heinrich August (12-6-1844 to 12-13-1903)

Heinrich who went by the name August was born in Borgholz, Nord Rhine-Westphalia to Clemens Franciscus Schwartz (1813-1887) and Wilhelmina ‘Mina’, nee Lockemann (1816-). He was one of four children (Maria Anna, Georg and Johann). Heinrich emigrated to the US and settled in Baltimore where his uncle, Wilhelm, son of Clemans, also settled and arrived before him. Wilhelm was a master shoemaker as was Clemans.

Henry’s profession was also that of shoemaker.

August married Augusta Wachsmuth (7-27-1848 to 3-3-1915) in 1867. Prior to her marriage Augusta was Lutheran and was baptized at Zion German Lutheran Church in Baltimore by the Reverend Henry Scheib. Together they had 16 children, Catherine (6-6-1868 ), Henry C. (11-8-1869 to 8-4-1902), Marian Wilhelmina (8-13-1872), Maria Anna (12-12-1874 twin), Mary M. (12-12-1874 to 7-27-1876), Ella Nora (Webb-Geisendaffer)( 2-9-1878 to 1-30-1962), George Heinrich (12-19-1879 to 5-9-1915), Henrietta ‘Nettie’ (12-18-1883), John Clement (5-7-1884), Lawrence Leo (7-29-1886 to 12-1954), Charles William (4-3-1888 to 8-27-1943), Bessie Elizabeth (Dolch) 5-5-1891 to 12-5-1949).

Many of the children sang, some professionally. Charles, John and Leo were part of a barbershop quartet that travelled. They were called the ‘Silver City Four’. The fourth member was Al Muse. Charles also sang solo and followed the Orpheum Circuit was a chain of vaudeville and movie theaters. It was founded in 1886 and operated through 1927 when it was merged into the Keith-Albee-Orpheum corporation, ultimately becoming part of the Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) corporation. Ella Nora also sang as did several of her children. They were active in the Sweet Adelines.

The family stayed in the South/Southwest Baltimore area, living for the majority of their lives on Cleveland Street. They are buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Sheppard, Benjamin F. “Bob”, Jr. (June 7, 1930 to June 17, 2017)

Benjamin Sheppard, affectionately known as Bob, was the son of Benjamin, Sr. (Butcher) and C. Pauline Sheppard. He was born in Baltimore. ‘Bob’ Sheppard was a major supporter and contributor in and to Maryland’s German community for over 42 years. He worked tirelessly to promote the German culture within Maryland. Bob was instrumental in keeping communications between the German Embassy in DC and the Maryland German community flowing. In 1984, Bob Sheppard, was honored with the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1.Klasse des Verdienstordens (German Medal of Honor) in recognition of his exceptional services to the German community.

Bob Sheppard was involved in numerous Baltimore German clubs and served as an officer in several. He served as president for many years to the Deutschamerikanischer Bürgerverein von Maryland which is the umbrella organization of the German clubs in Maryland. Upon his retirement from that position, he was named President Emeritus. Bob also served as president to The Maryland Oktoberfest, Inc. a group that group that sponsored the Maryland Oktoberfest at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.

During Bob’s tenure as president of the Bürgerverein, military ships sailed into the Baltimore Harbor to participate in Operation Sail. With his guidance, the Maryland German community served as host families to sailors and officers alike. Bob also heeded the call of then Mayor William Donald Schaffer to hold Ethnic Festivals in Baltimore. Our German Festival was held each year at the Inner Harbor, then Carroll Park, before moving to the current location in Timonium. Bob paved the way and many saw Bob as their mentor.

Even though Bob had been unable to participate in the community events over the past years because of health issues, he was normally available by phone to assist in whatever way he could. When Bob moved from his home, he contributed his collection of memorabilia to the Bürgerverein, a collection that will be shared with festival attendees for years to come.

Schneeberger, Louis (1848 to)

Mr. Schneedberger was born in Bavaria. He received his early education in his native Nuremberg and came to the U.S. in 1869. He worked briefly in retail in New York City before coming to Baltimore. He worked as a bookkeeper for sixteen years for H. Cone & Sons, a wholesale grocer. He retired from there in 1890 and was appointed cashier at the Baltimore post office.

Mr. Schneeberger was a founder and on the board of governors of the Young Men's Republican Club of Baltimore, and was its treasurer for seven years. He was one of the board of governors and secretary of the Phoenix Club, and was for two years first vice-president of Independent Order B'nai B'rith. He was also a member of the Masonic fraternity. In 1874 he entered the Fifth Regiment, Maryland National Guard, as private and was successively promoted until he was made captain, serving in that capacity for five years prior to his resignation in 1886. He was a member and was one of the charter members of the Fifth Regiment Veteran Corps.

He was married to Winnie May 22, 1870, and had five children: David, Morris, Milton, Fannie and Birdie.

The family resided at 2042 Fairmount Avenue. They were members of Eutaw Place Temple.

Seabrease, Harry (1867 to 12-31-1953) Iceman

Harry was born in Baltimore, son of William Seabrease, born in Salzburg (1818 to 7-10-1894) and Mary (Miller) also of Salzburg. William came to the United States at twenty and worked in the building and contracting trade. During the Civil War he enlisted and fought for the Union. He was a democrat and a strong supporter of the democracy. He and Mary had seven children (Henry, Frank, William, Edward, Alphonse, Laura and Jack).

Harry received his education in the public schools and at adulthood went to DC where he was employed with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He then worked for the Traction Company of Baltimore about two years, and was with the City Passenger Company one year and four months. In 1896 he went into the ice business, furnishing supplies to residences and stores, and became very successful. Politically he was a Democrat, and fraternally belonged to the Heptasophs. In 1894 he married Emma Rogers (1875-1929), who was born in Baltimore. Together they had eight children (Howard (1892-1946), George (1898-1979), Clarence (1900-1984), Edward (1902-1960), Edna (1904-2005), Grace, Lawrence (1908-1984), Joseph (1911-1986), Ellen (Amend (1920-1998)), Richard (1916-1919). Information regarding the children obtained through US Census 1900-1940.

Harry and Emma are interred at Parkwood Cemetery.

Ernst Adolph Julius Stallknecht (7-16-1817 to 7-1942)

Mr. Ernst Adolph Stallknecht was born in Muhlhausen, Thuringen, Germany, to Ernst and Maria. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1856. He spent many of his early years in the US in New York, but finally moved to Baltimore in 1863. He was engaged in the coffee business. He moved to the German Aged People’s Home in 1899.

He was married on September 15, 1849 to Maria Auguste Emilie Dorothea Schröder. Together they had four sons and three daughters (August, Julius, Edward, William, Elizabeth (Brune), Mary and Augusta).

In 1880, the family was living at 127 High Street. The father’s name was written as Adolph (born in Prussia) and his position was working in a brokers office.

He died July 1942. He is buried at Loudon Park Cemetery.

Ted and Ann Stegmueller

Stegmüller, Theodore Heinrich Fritz (6-25-1931 to )

Theodore or Ted, as he is known to me, is the first son of Henry Stegmüller and Anna Clausen. Henry (born Johann Heinrich), Ted’s father was born May 22, 1909. He was one of ten children born to Johann Heinrich and Christina (Müller) Stegmüller, all born in the town of Erbach. Erbach im Odenwald is known as ‘Elfenbeinstadt’ or ‘Ivory Town’, because ivory carving was introduced here in 1783 by Franz of Erbach, who ruled from 1775 to 1823, and many artists and carvers made their home here. Henry, like his father before him and his brothers, Wilhelm, Fritz and Theo, were master ivory carvers by trade. Heinrich, Ted’s grandfather, also delivered for the North Holland line, which at that time operated the German Cruise line sailing from Bremerhaven to New York. Even Ted followed in their footsteps and went to the Stadtliche Fachschule for Elfenbein und Holzschnitzereien (ivory and wood carving).

Henry had a little ‘wanderlust’ in his heart and decided he wanted to live in the United States of America. An Aunt was willing to sponsor Henry, but made it clear he had to have a profession to be eligible for immigration. Henry, knowing he could not support himself in the US on ivory carving, needed a profession sellable in the US. He asked a local Erbach baker to teach him the trade. He worked as an unpaid apprentice for the baker for six months and then at the ripe old age of 19 immigrated to the USA. He arrived in New York and soon after landed a job with Dugans, a large, established (1878) bakery and delivery outfit serving the Long Island (Queens Village) area of New York.

Note: This is an extensive 'life' story. To continue reading, click here!

Swartz, John Duval (8-26-1831 to 12-22-1907)

Mr. Swartz was born in Germany in Hesse-Darmstadt to John and Margaret Schwartz. He was only one year old when his parents emigrated to the United States and settled at Smithsburg in Washington County. Mr. Swartz was one of the incorporators of the Washington County Savings Bank. His father was a tailor by trade and he remained at Smithsburg for three years before moving to Hagerstown, where he continued his tailoring business.

John obtained his early training under Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Beyers two of Hagerstown’s best known tutors. At the age of twenty he entered the employment of J.D. Reamer, a leading tailor in Hagerstown. He left Mr. Reamer’s service when he was twenty six years old and went into business with his brother, William Swartz (1835-1896), the firm named J.D. Swartz & Brother. The firm was dissolved in 1862 and John went into business for himself, which lasted most of his lifetime.

He married Mary Spangler (1834-1898), daughter of Charles, a native of Pennsylvania, but long time resident of Hagerstown. The couple had twelve children. His only son went into the business with his father.

In 1867 Mr. Swartz was appointed a trustee for the almshouse and served in that capacity for four years. In 1869 he was elected a member of the City Council and served for seven terms, serving as the treasurer for two years. In 1879 he was elected mayor of Hagerstown.

Mr. Swartz died on December 22, 1907 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Zeller, Alfred (5-21-1924 to 2-11-2012)

Alfred Zeller was born on May 21, 1924 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Life was good-the worst of the post-war hard times were over, soccer was King and he was its’ Prince! Alfred had hoped to make his mark in the world on the soccer field. Unfortunately, the world had other plans. He was drafted into the army at 17, even though he had only 1 more year to finish his mechanical apprenticeship. In 1942, with only 4 weeks basic training, he was sent to the Russian Front; the entire regiment was young and green. It was an absolute rout. The few survivors were hospitalized; Alfred with neck and shoulder wounds. Back to the war….this time in southern Hungary; his unit was overrun and in the retreat and crossfire of unexpected SS replacements he was severely wounded-in the legs and the muscle in his left arm was nearly severed. He was captured and imprisoned. Because the prison was somehow connected to an American, it was spared bombing. While recuperating, he came upon the same Doctor who had patched him up the first time. He took an interest in him and worked to restore his arm, which by this time, had been nearly useless for almost 2 years. He was released from prison in 1946; he was 1 of only 3 from his town that made it home from the war. Stuttgart had been nearly destroyed; there was no work for him-very hard times.

More recuperation and eventually he was given his old type job back, but because of his injuries, he did mostly supervision and quality control. Gradual reconditioning and the ability to play a little music again certainly improved his lifestyle and outlook. (Alfred’s father had given him a small accordion when he was a teenager-he taught himself to play by ear…he did not read music). He started playing a bit of soccer and attempted to build a normal life.

Alfred’s mother’s best friend, Anna, had immigrated to the US prior to the war; she had joined her brother who was a gardener at Notchcliff in Glenarm, MD. The friends had kept in touch over the years, even after they married and started their families. After the war, THE MOTHERS got a pen-pal thing going so that Anna’s daughter Marlene (Haupt) could ‘improve her German’, and Alfred would have ‘something to do’ while he was recuperating. She was 14 and a ‘kid’. He was 22 and had been to war. So, he corrected her letters and went about his life.

In 1951, five years and many corrected letters later, the family came to Germany for a visit. Somehow, Alfred had offered to ‘show the kid around a little’ when she came over; he was ‘detailed’ to meet the train. The ‘kid’ was now 19 and now a grown woman. A whirlwind courtship ensured; they were married-he was a war groom!! This was no easy feat. Alfred fondly remembers all of his friends and relatives bending over backwards to provide a beautiful wedding for them and the generosity of German Organizations, which gave money towards his passage. Then to American by ship-14 days-from Genoa, through Gibraltar, Halifax and into New York Harbor.

They immigrated to the United States in 1951. He played soccer professionally with the Baltimore Rockets and later with the Baltimore Kickers from 1954 to 1965. He became the Kicker’s president in 1966. He initiated many new ideas for the betterment of the Club. His wife and son were both very active for many years.

Alfred enjoyed playing the accordion on Baltimore Kickers various bus trips and could be found with instrument in hand and ready for tunes after soccer practices. He started a band in 1962 called the 'Happy Wanderers'.

He and the Happy Wanderers were very much in demand and always played to a full house until they disbanded in December 1979. He continued to play at the Schlachtfests, delighting those gathered. In 1998, Alfred was honored with his induction into the Maryland Soccer Association Hall of Fame. The Baltimore Kickers also honored Alfred with a proclamation declaring the clubhouse Game Room as the “Zeller Keller.” Alfred’s wife, Marlene, passed away on July 1, 2002. Alfred was presented with the German American Heritage Award from the German Society of Maryland in 2010. Alfred passed away on February 11, 2012.

Alfred Zeller and the 'Happy Wanderers'

Zeller, George (7-23-1858 to 9-3-1912) and Zeller, Leopoldina (nee Winterling) (3-14-1859 to 12-13-1945)

George was born in Baltimore to Joseph (1821) and Barbara (1837) Zeller. Joseph was born in Bavaria and worked as a shoemaker.

Leopoldina was born in Melperts, Germany (a district of Fulda in the State of Hesse), daughter of Sebastian and Veronica Goldbach (Immigrated 7.1.1880). Leopoldina immigrated to the US in 1874 aboard the ship ‘Ohio’, which sailed out of Bremen to Baltimore. She was joining her sister, Mary. Matilda Winterling who married Albinus Schuck, was her benefactor. They lived on Foster Avenue.

George married Leopolidana ‘Lena’ (spelled several different ways) Winterling in 1881 in St. Michael the Arch Angel Catholic Church on Wolfe Street. They lived in Baltimore and in the 1900 Federal Census he is listed as a Grocer. They had ten children: Mary (2-19-1883 to 4-7-1959-Married James Francis Bocklage); John George (7-12-1884 to 10-24-1934-Married Frances A. Reuter); Barbara Christine (3-6-1886 to 5-10-1977-Married Killian Buettner); Matilda C. (3-23-1889 to 4-23-1970 ); William Christian George (5-4-1891 to 11-11-1978-Married Magdalena Blank); Christina (10-28-1895 to 5-7-1979-married Martin Schumann, Jr. and Clarence E. Morris); Caroline ‘Carrie ‘ Elizabeth (10-15-1897 to4-26- 1988 –married Hugh Madsen); and Francesca (8-11-1899 to 7-26-1946-married Adam Murawski). Two children died in early childhood, George Christian (4-1888 to 7-7-1888) and Catherine (4-30-1893 to 2-24-1894). Both have the cause of death on their death certificate as ‘Dentition (Teething)’.

For years they operated a Dry Goods Store on Foster Avenue and Highland Avenue in the Highlandtown neighborhood. The store was established in 1893. The store continued after George’s death in 1912. The son William operated a confectionery from the store, which was forced to close during the Great Depression in the 30s.

The majority of the family is buried at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Highlandtown. The exceptions the child George is buried at Most Holy Redeemer and Christine is buried at Druid Ridge.

PhotosUpper leftLeopoldinaMaryCarolineMatildaChristina
Below: The Zeller Dry Goods Store on Foster Avenue