Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 191 - 195

Biographies for John Miller, Louis J. Fritz, Georg H. Gebauer, Friedrich Merkle, Christopher P. Schilling, and Bernhard W. Schmidt


John Miller

German text for beginning of biography of John Miller is on page 190 and can be found on Webpage 22

Mr. John Miller came from his home district of Homberg in Württemberg as a youth of 17. He first saw the light of the world on December 21, 1870. He came to the United States in 1887 and settled in Buffalo. Today he is one of the most prominent hat and cap manufacturers in this city. He established his own hat and cap factory in 1897.


Then his establishment could produced 2 to 3 dozen hats or caps a day. Today his factory at 505 - 515 Washington Street can produce over 100 dozen per day. All products are of the highest quality, workmanship, and material thus earning his factory a well deserved fine reputation.

Mr. Miller is a member of the Modestia Lodge of the Free Masons and the Lake Erie Commandery of the Shriners. He is also a member of the Teutonia Liederkranz. He regularly takes part in German activities. He has an ideal family life. In 1884 he married Miss Katherine Henkel of Cleveland. The happy union has been blessed with 4 children: Roland, 15; Ruth, 13; Mildred, 10; Leona, 8. Mr. Miller is a welcome member of society and a popular individual who enjoys a wide circle of friends.

Louis J. Fritz

Mr. Louis J. Fritz is among the most popular and best known Buffalo-born Germans on the East Side. He first saw the light of the world on October 7, 1863. He was the son of Louis Fritz and his wife Margarethe, nee Romeis. His parents provided him with a basic German education. After he finished school he went into his father's business and educated himself to become a house painter and decorator. In 1877 he took over the business at 637 Broadway. He successfully conducted business there until 1893. In 1893 he was appointed Deputy Toll Collector by the government. He holds that office to this day and he executes it with ability and dedication to duty.

Mr. Fritz belongs to St. Stephan's Evangelical Church. He is a prominent member of the Teutonia Liederkranz.

Caption under picture at lower left reads John Miller

Picture at upper right is that of Louis J. Fritz


He was its president for 3 years. He also plays a prominent role in the East Buffalo Business Men's Association. He is a member of the German Young Men's Association. Furthermore he is a member of the Modestia Lodge of the Order of the Free Masons, the Saturn Lodge of the Order of Odd Fellows, and the Humboldt Benevolent Association.

Since November 10, 1886 Mr. Fritz has been happily married to Miss Anna M. Eitelmann. The following children have come from the happy union: Edward C., 24; Fred E., 22; Clara L, 20; Clarence L., 17; Margaret A., 12 years old.

Georg H. Gebauer

George H. Gebauer first saw the light of the world in romantic Thuringia on July 27, 1865. He was the son of Mayor Georg Gebauer and his wife Martha Elisabeth. As a lad he chose merchandising for his career. At the age of 18 he came to Buffalo and worked for 22 years for Fuchs Bros. In 1906 he established his own delicatessen at 537 Main Street. Shortly thereafter he relocated to 15 Genesee Street.

Mr. Georg H. Gebauer belongs to the Salem Reform Church. He is former grand bard of the German Order of the Harugari. He is a member of the Odd Fellows, the Harmonia Free Masons Lodge, and the Orpheus Singing Society.

In 1886 Mr. Georg H. Gebauer married Louise M. Walther. Eight children have come from the happy union: Bertha L., August P., Carolina, Walther F., Fridericka, Carl J., Otto, and Edward. Mr. Gebauer's place of business is at 15 Genesee Street. He lives with his family in a nice home at 158 Johnson Street, which is often the lively meeting place of his many friends.

Friedrich Merkle

The late master butcher Friedrich Merkle died on November 19, 1911. His passing was deeply mourned by his wife, his kin, and his large circle of friends. His large funeral at the Buffalo Cemetery at Pine Hill attests to his overall popularity, which will be celebrated forever. Pastor Theodor H. Becker conducted the eulogy. The brothers of the Modestia Lodge came en masse under the leadership of Master Weyand. Rich masses of funeral flowers bespoke the deep sense of grief this felled man elicited.

Friedrich Merkle was born on December 16, 1846 in Aichelberg in the upper district of Kirchheim under the Teck, Württemberg.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Georg H. Gebauer


He was the son of Friedrich Merkle and his wife Dorothea. He attended the schools in his father city and became a butcher. In 1872 he emigrated to America and he settled in Buffalo, which became his second home for the rest of his life. For 5 years he worked for various master butchers. In 1877 he started his own business, which he conducted successfully until 1903. In that year he left the business to his brothers and he retired. Mr. Merkle was distinguished by his diligence, the strong knowledge of his trade, and his dedication to his clientele. Thus he managed to secure a good living, high social standing within the community, and the ability to retire comfortably.

In 1871 while still in the old fatherland, Friedrich Merkle married Miss Carolina Haab of Freudenstadt, Württemberg. She was a true life partner to him until his death. Mrs. Merkle lives at the beautiful home provided by her husband at 248 Landon Street. Although he became an American citizen Friedrich Merkle remained a good German, supporting all German endeavors within the community. He was a treasured member of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. He belonged to the Modestia Lodge, F.& A.M., the Buffalo Germania Support League, and the East Buffalo Odd Fellows. His memory will live within his circle of friends and acquaintences. He was a man of high principle, a charitable man who believed in never letting the left hand know what the right hand was doing. He was always a friend to those in need.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Mrs. Friedrich Merkle

Caption under picture at upper right reads Friedrich Merkle


Christopher P. Schilling

Alderman Christopher P. Schilling, the capable and dedicated representative of the 13th Ward in the City Council, first saw the light of the world on March 31, 1867 in Buffalo. He was the son of tool maker and temperer Theodor Schilling and his wife Anna Katharina, nee Zimmer. He attended the parish school of St. Mary's Church. He apprenticed in his father's trade. Then he found employment at the firm of L. & D.F. White. He is employed there to this day. He's been a foreman for years, conducting this post capably and with dedication to duty.

Mr. Schilling regularly takes part in the political activities of his father city and he is a staunch Democrat. At the urging of his many friends in 1909 he accepted the nomination for the post of alderman of the 13th Ward. He was elected by a large majority. He won the confidence of his constituency during his first 2-year term. Despite the great many Republican victories of 1911 and the strength of his opponent he was relected in November 1911 by a respectable majority.

Mr. Schilling has never forgotten his German heritage. He is a man who uses the German language and follows German customs. He is an active member of the Teutonia Liederkranz and the Kreutzer Quartet Club. Furthermore he is a member of the C.M.B.A., the Johnson Bowling Club, Schneider's Sprudels, the Jolly Sixteen, and other clubs. On May 21, 1890 he married Miss Anna Raffel. The happy union was blessed with 2 children. One of those, Olive, died. Cornelia, aged 13 years, is the healthy pride and joy of her parents.

Bernhard W. Schmidt

Mr. Bernhard W. Schmidt, the well known building contractor and respected citizen of our city, was born on March 25, 1859 in Seelbach in the Rhine Province. He was the son of an officer. After attending the local school in his father city he went to the seminary in Bonn. After 4 years in the seminary and completing his 2 years of military service in Bonn as a volunteer, he decided to seek his fortune in the New World. He landed in New York in 1880. For a year he travelled through the midwest states, working in the coal mining trade and working for the railroad. Then he came to Buffalo. Here he decided to settle down and start a new career. He apprenticed as a mason and he made great progress due to his hard work and ability. In 1899 he became a city building inspector.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Christopher P. Schilling


He held this position for 5 years with great ability and model dedication to duty. Then he became superintendent for the Niederpruem Construction Company. In 1908 he established the contracting firm of Schmidt & Davis. Since then the firm has constructed a large number of buildings each year. The firm enjoys a good reputation because of its sound business practices and reliability.

Mr. Schmidt is an active member of the Teutonia Liederkranz. He was president of the club some years ago. The club's growth and prosperity over the years are due in great part to his careful and goal-oriented leadership. He is also a prominent member of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association.
In 1884 he married Miss Eugenia Petit. The happy marriage has been blessed with 5 children: Bernhard, Frank, Edward, Lauretta, and Genevieve. Unfortunately his life partner was taken from him in 1907. He lives with his children in a stately home at 448 Dodge Street.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Bernhard W. Schmidt

Biography for Heinrich Elbers can be found on Webpage 24


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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised August 14, 2005