Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 171 - 176
Biographies for Pastor Wilhelm Bollmann, Dr. Ferdinand G. Möhlau, Pastor Georg Duval, Henry E. W. Simon, Karl H. Burkhardt, and Henry W. Kumpf


Pastor Wilhelm Bollmann

Rev. Wilhelm Bollman, pastor of the Zoar Evangelical Reform Church at the corner of Genesee and Rohr Streets, is truly a German man. Having grown among true German people, this exceptional shepherd of souls for the Zoar congregation has a deep understanding of the joys and sorrows of the ordinary man, therefore he has been able to fulfill his vocation in the most exemplary of manners. It's easy to see that the congregation holds him in great esteem for he has served them justly, simply, and with dedication.

Pastor Bollman comes from the old fatherland. He was born on May 25, 1866 in Franzburg in the Prussian province of Pommerania. He attended the local school there. His parents were day laborers. At the age of 15 he came to America in 1882 with his mother, Mrs. Marie Bollman. He settled in Buffalo. In 1886 he went to the theological seminary in Franklin, Wisconsin. After completing his studies he was ordained a minister in 1889. He followed the holy calling to the newly established Jerusalem Reform parish on Miller Avenue in Buffalo. Since 1895 he has been pastor of the newly established Zoar Reform Church, which has grown under his leadership. The church has an influential role in the city.

In 1889 Pastor Bollmann married Miss Emilie Dieckmann, daughter of J.F.H. Dieckmann, D.D., the late pastor of the Zion Reform Church in Buffalo. The happy union has produced 4 children: Frieda, 18 years old; Wilhelm, 16; Clara, 15; Marie, 9.

Dr. Ferdinand G. Möhlau

The well known Buffalo physician, Dr. Ferdinand Gust. Möhlau was born on April 14, 1866 in Kelbra in the province of Saxony. He was the son of merchant Ferdinand Möhlau and his wife, nee Steimann. He attended the academic high school in Nordhausen and Eisleben. After passing his qualifying exams in 1888 he came to America. In 1889 he opened a private school in Buffalo for the German and French language. At about the same time he began his study of medicine.


In 1892 he received his diploma and he established himself as a practicing physician. He worked in this capacity until 1899, at which time he went West to Wyoming and New Mexico. In 1901 he was in Pueblo, Colorado where he became a police doctor. He remained there until 1907. Then he went to Texas and took up the post of division physician to the Southern Pacific Railroad, later moving to Mexico. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1911 when American lives were threatened, he returned in March to his loving and true Buffalo where he reestablished his practice as a capable, experienced, and knowledgeable physician.

Dr. Möhlau is a member Bethany Evangelical Church. Further he belongs to the Order of Free Masons, the Woodmen, and several other social organizations. His first wife was taken by death. In 1902 he remarried. One daughter, Charlotte Caroline, was born on February 19, 1903. His home and office are located at 237 E. Utica Street. Dr. Möhlau enjoys an excellent reputation as a physician and as a human being.

Pastor Georg Duval

Since October 1, 1903 Pastor Georg Duval has tended the cares and devotions of the growing congregation of St. Jacob's Evangelical parish in Buffalo through the grace of God working in wonderous ways. Although he was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on December 1, 1866 he owes his adherence to the German way of life to the education he received from his father, Daniel Duval who was a mould caster, and his mother, Anna Maria, nee Emmett.

After graduating from the academic high school in Portsmouth, to earn his living he entered the teachers seminary of the Evangelical Synod in Elmshurst, Illinois. In 1890 he went to the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in order to study theology and become a pastor.

At first he was employed as a tutor in schools and for private families in Chicago, Illinois, Port Washington, Wisconsin, and St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained in Portsmouth, Ohio on August 9, 1903. On October 1, 1903 he became pastor of St. Jacob's parish in Buffalo.

On January 30, 1892 Mr. Duval became happily married to Emma Louise Wolf of St. Louis.

On January 30, 1908 his father died. On August 7, 1910 he suffered the loss of his mother, for whom he had the deepest and truest love.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Dr. Ferdinand G. Möhlau


The best interpretation of his professionalism is to assess the fine impression he makes upon a growing number of people with spiritual inclinations.

Henry E.W. Simon

The administration of the German Deaconess House at 218-230 Kingsley Street is in the capable hands of an accomplished practitioner. Mr. Henry E.W. Simon is Superintendent of the large charitable institution which started humbly but has grown into an important hospital. He had the rich experience of being the administrator for the Christian Association for Young Men. The post, which he now holds, he conducts with circumspection, energy, and amicability. The office of the superintendent is responsible for the management of the large hospital with its staff of doctors and nurses and its large number of patients as well as the old folks home and the nurses' education program. Anyone who inspects the facility is convinced that Mr. Simon uses his talents to their fullest extent in administering this model institution. We can also attest to it here that although Mr. Simon was born in America he possesses complete mastery of the German language and is always ready to support German-American endeavors.

Henry E.W. Simon was born on March 7, 1877 in Lu Verne, Rock County, Minnesota. He was the son of Pastor J. B. Simon and his wife Maria L., nee Linse, of Wisconsin. His father came from the Prussian Rhineland and emigrated to America in 1867. Henry Simon attended the public schools and the academic high school in his home state. For 5 years he was secretary of the Railroad Association of the Y.M.C.A. in Reading, Pa. In 1902 he came to Buffalo, where he became secretary for the German Association of Christian Young Men for 5 years. The important organizational skills which he possessed gained the attention of the Society for Deaconess Work. Thus he took on the important post of superintendent of the German Deaconess Hospital and the Old Folks Home.

Mr. Simon is a member of the Krettner Street Evangelical Church. He's on the committees for publications, missions, and church construction. Further he is a member of the German Christian Young Men's Assocation, the Chamber of Commerce, and other associations and clubs. He took up arms to serve his fatherland as a sergeant of the 12th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Spanish-American War.

Caption under picture at lower right reads Pastor George Duval


In 1900 Mr. Simon married Miss Rose S. Firkey of Blue Earth, Minnesota. Four children have come from the happy union: Ruth (10), Mildred (9), Marjorie (5), Harold (3 years old).

Karl H. Burkhardt

Mr. Karl Hermann Burkhardt, first administrator of gymnastics instruction in the Buffalo Public Schools, was born on November 28, 1875 in Tischart, part of the Nürtingen district of Württemberg. His father was Michael Burkhardt, a school teacher in Sontheim, in the upper district of Münsingen. Karl Hermann attended the local school and the evening high school to become a merchant. In the hope of greater advancement in the New World, he emigrated to America at the age of 17. He landed in New York on May 29, 1892 and he came to Buffalo on July 15th of the same year.

Here he found a position as a salesman for the Market Tea Store but he soon recognized that his prospects were limited. He gave up merchandising and became a decorative painter. He was employed for 5 years at Wagner's Car Shop (now Pullman's).

Mr. Burkhardt was an avid gymnast. He joined the German branch of the Y.M.C.A. on Genesee Street. Here he had the opportunity to give health instruction such as that inititated by Father Jahn. Recognizing the growing interest in German gymnastics instruction, he took the summer course offered by Yale University in Chautauqua in order to become a gym teacher. He also took courses in the Harvard Summer School in Boston, Mass. and the Gymnastics Teachers Seminary in Milwaukee, from which he graduated in 1905. He was employed as a gymnastics instructor in the following Y.M.C.A. gymnasiums: in New York for 1 1/2 years; Wilmerding, Pittsburgh, Pa. for 9 years; then he returned to Buffalo. His zealous advocacy had a lot to do with the introduction of gymnastics instruction in the Buffalo Public Schools 2 years ago. Mr. Burkhardt was appointed Director of German School Gymnastics with Mr. Kumpf as first assistant. The value and practicality of gymnastics will soon be recognized by the School Board and the student's parents. The augmentation of more German gymnastics programs in Buffalo's schools should follow.

Mr. Burkhardt is a member of St. Mark's United Evangelical Church, the German Literary Society, and the Genesee Street Young Men's Christian Association. Since June 24, 1908 he has been married to Miss Leila A. Powelson of Wilmerding, Pa. He live with her and their 2-year-old daughter, Ruth A., in a cosy little home at 296 East Utica Street.

Caption under picture at lower left reads H.E.W. Simon


Henry W. Kumpf

Mr. Henry W. Kumpf, a true young disciple of Father Jahn's, was born on April 14, 1883 in Beerfelden in the upper district of Hessen-Darmstadt. He was the son of railroad agent Heinrich Kumpf, who won many prizes as a gymnast and instructor, and his wife. He attended the local school in his father city and was counted among the regular staff which provided gymnastics instruction. At an early age he developed a love for gymnastics. That love became a vocation. At the age of 13 he came with his mother to America. They settled in Buffalo. Here he attended the public school. During the winter he went to night school at the Central Y.M.C.A. He apprenticed as a typesetter and after successfully passing his examinations he was admitted to the Printer's Union.

In 1900 Mr. Kumpf enrolled in the Columbia Gymnastics Association and after a short time there he became second squad leader. Then he became first squad leader. Later he was appointed gymnastics instructor. As a squad leader he was a good assistant to his gymnastics instructor. Soon he had the opportunity to lead several classes. From his association teacher he took private instruction in gymnastics. After this he was appointed a class instructor for the Columbia Gymnastics Association. He took further training in his profession and graduated from the program offered by Yale University. This program had great significance for him since the courses were taught by the leading authorities in gymnastics from Germany, Sweden, and America. With pride in his credentials, he returned to Buffalo.

Mr. Kumpf managed many gymnastics expositions, which brought great honor to his association. He attended many gymnastics festivals with the active members, the ladies' contingent, and seniors' classes in several cities. His classes never came home with less than second place standings. He was the leader of the great district gymnastics festival which was held in Buffalo on June 28th through July 1st of 1907. For 2 years he was district squad leader. The Gymnastics Federation was founded in Rochester in May 1909. Mr. Krumpf was appointed head of the Western New York Division for the Federation's gymnastics festival held in Cincinnati.
On May 14, 1908 Mr. Kumpf headed the gymnastics exposition at the request of School Superintendent Henry P. Emerson. The purpose of the exposition was the demonstration of the German system of gymnastics. The exposition made such a favorable impression upon the Superintendent and other members of the School Board that it was decided to introduce German gymnastics in the public schools. This came to fruition in 1910. Mr. Kumpf was hired to be one of the gymnastics instructors in the public schools.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Karl H. Burkhardt


On May 19, 1911 the first demonstration of German gymnastics in the Buffalo Public Schools was held in the 65th Regimental Hall. Two thousand students from the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades took part. Mr. Kumpf was one of the two planners of the event. The gymnastics demonstration drew over 6000 spectators. It laid the groundwork for gymnastics in our schools.

The female teachers of the schools, in which gymnastics are taught, took 2 gymnastics classes weekly from Mr. Kumpf. He was also employed last summer in 3 vacation schools, giving instruction in sports and swimming and arranging for class excursions.

On July 18, 1911 Mr. Kumpf took the city exams and received his diploma as a gym teacher.

Mr. Kumpf, who enjoys the respect of a large circle of friends, is head of the Calvary Pleasure Circle. He is a member of the German Literary Society, the Columbia Gymnastics Association, the Schoolmasters Association, the Public School Athletic League, the Y.M.C.A., and other organizations. He regularly takes part in German activities. On October 5, 1904 he married Miss Loretta M. Gravius. He lives at 87 East Parade Avenue with her and their 3 growing sons Henry, Carl, and Harold.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Henry W. Kumpf

Translation for biography of Robert Eichel can be found on Webpage 20


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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised August 7, 2005