Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 136 - 140


Biographies for Otto Wick, Theodor Wilhelm Mayer, Henry Vesper, Alexander G. Hoesler, and George H. Hofheins

Otto Wick

German text for first paragraph of this biography is on Page 135 and can be found at Webpage 11

Mr. Otto Wick, who in a short time has made a name for himself in Buffalo as an accomplished composer of the first order, as a skillful conductor, and as a capable singing and music teacher, comes from the joyful Rhineland where songs are more cheerful, beautiful, and distinctive than in any other part of the world. Despite the fact that the air of youth still emanates from his curls about his brow, he has been extended the laurel wreath of triumph. Otto Wick was born on July 8, 1883 in Krefeld in the Rhine Province. He was the son of Joseph Wick and his wife Mathilde, nee Hamacher. His father, an artist of nature and a poet of acknowledged talent, came from the old royal city of Aachen, within whose walls art resides in the blood of its people.


Young Otto was a student at the academic high schools and the business high school in Krefeld but at an early age his soul was already embracing music. After studying violin, piano, and cornet for many years he began his study of theory with the foremost teacher, August Dechant in Kiel, and later with conductor of the Royal Conservatory in Moscow, Vassili Safonoff, who was the celebrated conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 3 years.
By age 16 the young man was violinist and conductor of the City Orchestra in Kiel and by 1903 he was Choir Master of the theater there. In 1905 he travelled to America and landed in New York on April 4th. In Brooklyn and Jersey City he became conductor of many singing societies. At the request of the Harugari Frohsinn he came to our city on February 5, 1911.

The reputation for being a true artist preceded him and many German groups opened their hearts to him. He approached his work with the singing groups earnestly and with a goal in mind. The first large concert, held in the Concert Hall on May 1, 1911, was a resounding success. "It was as if the month of May were paying its tribute to the eternally youthful singing spirit," wrote the German newspaper about the performance. Mr. Wick has composed over 50 songs, many duets and chorals, a symphonic poem and a four movement suite for large orchestra as well as 3 melodramas, 2 large operas and other orchestral works. He's also written several instrumental pieces. His success as a composer and a conductor are so numerous that we cannot possibly name them all here, much to the chagrin of music critics. Mr. Wick strives to be a true artist. We are certain his path will lead on to greater things. To him we extend our applause, the highest honor which can be bestowed upon his work.

Theodor Wilhelm Mayer

Theodor Wilhelm Mayer was born on August 7, 1866 in the city of Tiflis in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia. He was the son of master shoemaker Gottlieb Mayer and his wife Marie, nee Heckler. His grandparents emigrated from Württemberg to Russia in the 19th Century. Two of his brothers and one sister live in St. Petersburg. One brother and many other relatives live in Tiflis. He attended the Evangelical Lutheran parish school and became an instrument and lens maker.

In 1892 at the age of 26 Mr. Mayer emigrated to the United States and came to Buffalo. He was competent in his profession and soon found gainful employment. In 1893 he went to Rochester and worked for a time at the optics factory of Bausch & Lomb. He then went to St. Louis and worked in one of the most important optical businesses there.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Otto Wick


After a short stopover in Cleveland he returned to Buffalo and settled here.

In 1910 Mr. Mayer established his own business on Jefferson Avenue. In May 1911 he moved to a house at 946 Main Street near Allen where most of the eye doctors live. Mr. Mayer takes his profession very seriously and is of the conviction that it would be better for the majority of people to have their eyes examined by a competent doctor and then get their prescriptions for glasses filled by an optician, who will make it his business to fill the prescription properly and adjust the glasses correctly. Mr. Mayer has much experience in this area. He's attended 3 schools in Rochester, Boston, and Philadelphia where opticians are instructed by physicians, eyes are examined, and glasses are made. Mr. Mayer concludes that people who have an astigmatism or who are nearsighted or who have serious refraction problems should see an eye doctor. He contends that often the first signs of eye disease may not be recognized by an optician. No time should be wasted. The help of an eye doctor should be sought out as soon as possible. In our country many could be cured daily.

In 1904 Mr. Mayer wed Miss Ruth Ch. Hess, a teacher and daughter of the late Mr. B. Hess, a well known figure in singing groups and music circles. Two children have come from the marriage: Emilie Ch., 6 and Theodor Wilhelm Mayer, 2. Mr. Mayer is a member of the Protestant Church and a member of the Order of the Royal Arcanum. Earlier he was active in the German Y.M.C.A. and a branch of the Central division of the Y.M.C.A., where he attended night school for several winters. This instruction enabled him to receive 20 points in Regents examination credit. Furthermore he is a member of the Orpheus and the Concordia Lodge of the Free Masons. Currently he is Secretary of the German Literary Society and he takes an active role in all German intellectual endeavors.

Henry Vesper

Mr. Henry Vesper was born on May 30, 1869 in Jägersdorf in the Austrian Province of Schlessen. He was the son of respected physician Dr. Alois Vesper and his wife Julia Vesper. He attended the local school and the academic high school. He came to America when he was 15 years old in 1884. He studied the hotel trade in New York and in other large cities, thus he was able at a relatively early age to find employment in large hotels. He came to Buffalo in 1904 and took over the exceptionally important position of manager of the Iroquois Hotel.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Theodor Wilhelm Mayer


He carried out his duties with enormous success. On May 1, 1911 he left this job to become manager of the Lafayette Hotel. He worked hard to maintain and then to raise the high reputation of this excellent hotel.

Though having come to our country at an early age, he has remained a friend in the German sense of the word. He belongs to the larger German associations such as the Orpheus. Furthermore he is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Free Masons, being a 32rd degree member. He is also a member of the Shriners.

Since 1901 he has been happily married to Miss Lillian Ruch.

Mr. Vesper is an excellent man in his trade. Under his knowledgable leadership the Hotel Lafayette has experienced tremendous growth.

Alexander G. Hoesler

Hoesler's Ice Cream has an excellent reputation in Buffalo and the surrounding area. The reputation is well deserved! The Hoesler Ice Cream Co. produces a product which has earned the distinction of being first rate. The owner of the company is Mr. Alexander G. Hoesler, one of the most respected and successful businessmen of our city.

Alexander G. Hoesler was born on June 9, 1869 in Syracuse, N.Y. He was the son of confectioner John S. Hoesler and his wife Catharine. His parents were Lutherans and both came from Germany. His father was born in Fuerth, Bavaria and learned the confectioner's trade in Bavaria. Later he came with his wife to America, settled in Syracuse. N.Y., and established a confectioner's shop, with which he had great success. When he retired from the business many years before his death, he was a wealthy man. He was mourned for many years after his death. During his lifetime he was an honorable man who enjoyed a fine reputation. He was esteemed by a wide circle of acquaintences for his excellence of character and sense of charity. The man's wife and Alexander G. Hoesler's mother came from Homburg, Prussia. She is still living in Buffalo and is in the best of health despite her 80 years.

Alexander G. Hoesler received his education in the public schools in Syracuse, N.Y., from which he graduated. Wishing to better himself and make his own living, he worked for his father in the confectioner's shop, established in 1858. On April 17, 1894 he came to Buffalo and found a position as manager in the firm of Hood, Mayer & Hoesler, in which his brother was a partner. In the Fall of 1896 he entered the firm of Hood and Gould and stayed there for a year.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Henry Vesper


Then he purchased the firm of Hood, Mayer & Hoesler and changed the name to the Hoesler Ice Cream Co. on January 1, 1898. On October 1, 1901 the Hoesler Ice Cream Co. merged with Hood & Gould to become the Hood, Gould & Hoesler Co. On January 1, 1907 he bought out Hood and Gould's portions in the business and again changed the firm name to the Hoesler Ice Cream Co. Mr. Hoesler is considered one of the most successful ice cream manufacturers in America.

Mr. Hoesler is a member of the Unitarian Church and is a member of the Order of Free Masons. Furthermore he is a member of the Buffalo Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Buffalo Motor Boat Club, the Buffalo Launch Club, the Buffalo Automobile Club, the Orpheus, the Culinary and Alimentary Society, and several other clubs and associations.
On August 30, 1897 he married Miss Francis [sic] E. Tallman of Rochester, N.Y. Four children have come from the union: Maria Elisabeth, 13; Frances Ella, 11; Antonette Louise, 6; Alexander Gottfried, Jr., 7 months. His private residence is at 72 West Avenue. His business address is 294-296 Connecticut Street.

George H. Hofheins

Mr. George Henry Hofheins is the son of a prominent German pioneer family from Buffalo. He was born May 22, 1854. His father was the coal and wood dealer Alexander Hofheins, who first saw the light of the world on July 17, 1828 in Speck, near Karlsruhe, Baden. He came as a young man to America and died here in Buffalo on May 26, 1902. His mother was born on March 6, 1821 in Bavaria. Her name was Eva Katherina Jung. She died in Buffalo on March 14, 1898.

Young George Henry attended the public schools. He had an ambitious spirit and took evening classes at Bryant and Stratton Business College. He went into his father's hardware business. He stayed there until May 1, 1873. Then he took a position as clerk at the Buffalo German Insurance Company. At the beginning of the next year he became a cashier. He stayed in this position until 1886 when he was appointed to the position of first assistant and chief clerk to the secretary and managers of the business. When the Buffalo Commercial Insurance Co. was organized in April 1896, he took on the post of secretary and manager. He remains in that capacity today. The company is prosperous due in part to Mr. Hofhein's prudence and ability.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Alexander G. Hoesler


Mr. Hofheins is a member of the Concordia Lodge of the Free Masons, the Omega Lodge of the Odd Fellows, the Buffalo Lodge of the Elks, the Buffalo Lodge of the United Workmen, the Exempt Firemen, as well as a member of the Buffalo Sängerbund, the Teutonia Liederkranz, the German Young Men's Association, the Old German Association, the Buffalo German Fishing Club, and the Buffalo Skeet Club.

On May 30, 1877 Mr. Hofheins wed Miss Harriet G. Miller. The happy marriage was blessed by 3 children: Mrs. Lillian E. Seeber, aged 27, George R. Hofheins, 24, and Harriet L. Hofheins, 15. Mr. Hofheins is a loving and caring husband and family man, a fine businessman, and enjoys overall respect and a wide circle of friends.

Caption under picture reads George H. Hofheins

Translation for biography of Edward Ehler, beginning on page 140, can be found on Webpage 13


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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised July 30, 2005