Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 226 - 230


Biographies for Frederick W. Fisher, Dr. Wilhelm F.Jacobs, Wm. E. Merker, and Adolph Glawatz


Frederick W. Fisher

One may think it is a coincidence that there are so many people of German blood in leadership positions within the field of American education. Germans truly are born educators of the young. The most significant pedagogical advances in the world are of German origin, and many proven innovations in childhood education, such as Kindergarten and gymnastics instruction, are of German roots. Thus it is no wonder that German-Americans tend towards educational careers. The predeliction is in their blood. And this ability is one of the proud markers of their birthright, which they inherited from their forefathers.

Principal Frederick W. Fisher has worked for 17 years at one of the largest public schools in our city, School No. 17. His parents came from Germany to America. His father came from the Rhine Palatinate. His name was Friedrich Fischer, a farmer by trade, who emigrated alone to the United States as a young man. His parents came over later. Mr. Frederick W. Fisher's mother, now 81 and living in Clarence, N.Y., was born Katharine Speith and came from Württemberg. As a young girl she came from the old homeland to Buffalo just as our city was starting to evolve. She knows and tells many interesting things about Buffalo of that early time. When she married Mr. Friedrich Fischer, she followed him to the Clarence area.

Frederick W. Fisher was born on May 10, 1865 in South Newstead, N.Y. He spent his childhood on a farm and attended the public school as well as the Parker Union School in Clarence, N.Y. until 1883. Then he taught at the district school in Mill Grove and Clarence Center. In 1890 he graduated from the Geneseo Normal School. In September 1890 he went to be a teacher in Rushville, N.Y.. In acknowledgment of his excellent leadership he was appointed principal of School No. 28 in Buffalo on December 14, 1892. In September 1895 he took over the administration of School No. 43, where he is employed to this day.

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Mr. Fisher belongs to the Calvary Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue and he is a member of the Church Council. He is the treasurer and a church elder. Furthermore he is a member of the Odd Fellows, the Buffalo Schoolmasters Assocation, and the Buffalo Principals Association. On July 3, 1895 Mr. Fisher married Miss Ella C. Snedaker of Buffalo. Two children have come from the happy union: Harold S. and Evelyn S. The family home is located at 20 Days Park.

Located in a desirous area, Public School No. 43 is at the corner of Lovejoy and Gold Streets. It was opened on September 1, 1881 and it has experienced an astonishing rate of growth. The first schoolhouse, in which one female teacher taught 23 students, is now the residence of the school caretaker. On February 14, 1885 the old brick buiilding with 10 rooms was opened. In 1895 a 6-room addition was built. In 1898 the 2-room annex on Ideal Street was built and in 1899 the 2 room annex on Gold Street was added. The new brick building, 3 stories high with 17 classrooms, was opened April 8, 1901. The number of students has grown tremendously and the teaching staff has grown in proportion. When Mr. Fisher took over the administration of the school in 1895 there were 17 teachers and 636 students. In early 1901, when the new building was opened, there were 24 teachers and 1004 students. By 1912 there were 32 teachers with a growing enrollment of 1300 students. Today School 43 is one of the largest and most strongly attended schools in our city. The administration of such a facility is, of course, no easy task. It is well known that Mr. Fisher has a thorough understanding of his field and that he is a natural born school director. Thus among Buffalo's childhood educators he has a fine reputation. Public School No.43 is known for its excellent discipline and its fine school curriculum. The German-Americans of our city may take pride in the achievements of the principal of this school, Mr. Frederick W. Fisher.

Dr. Wilhelm F. Jacobs

Among the younger members of the intellectual world of our city Dr. Wilhelm F. Jacobs has good standing. He is a lecturer on the medical faculty of the University of Buffalo. He has established his reputation in the field of pathology. He is quite popular with the students who have been placed in his charge. Dr. Jacobs, born in Buffalo as the son of German parents, is proud of his German heritage and he has a lively interest in all German-American activities.

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He's demonstrated that he comes from the people of poets and thinkers. Full of curiosity and potential he made his own way through life to become associated with the highest educational institution in our city. Blessed with a pleasing voice, Dr. Jacobs earlier sung with the church choir and with clubs and quartets. Now he is a chief voice among the first basses in the Orpheus.

Wilhelm Friedrich Jacobs was born on February 14, 1874 in Buffalo as the son of gardener Karl Jacobs and his wife Auguste, nee Krüger. His parents both came from the old fatherland. His father came to America from Mecklenburg-Schwerin approximately 46 years ago. He settled in Buffalo. His mother is a daughter of Schleswig Holstein by the sea surrounded. Wilhelm Friedrich attended Public School 31 and the parish school of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Already at the age of 13 he had chosen the practical field of lithography. He also wanted to further his education and at the age of 18 he attended night school at Central High School for many years. Along the way he amassed the necessary requirements so he could enter the university. At the age of 23 he succeeded in fulfilling his wish and he began his study of medicine. After passing his qualifying exams and becoming a doctor he worked for 15 months as a resident physician at the General Hospital. He filled in for 2 full months for Chief Physican Dr. Ross, who was on vacation, and thus became for this period the superintendent of the large facility. In 1909 he located his private practice in a house at 89 Riley Street. At this time he also became assistant to Dr. Williams, Professor of the Department of Pathology at the Medical College at the University of Buffalo. He trains young medical students in the observation of the course of diseases in patients and the determination of causes of death through post-mortem examination. Furthermore Dr. Jacobs is an assistant in the medical museum at the university and assistant pathologist at the General Hospital and the Erie County Hospital. He is a physician for the Kensington District of the Charity Organization Society, obstetrician in the service of maternity cases for the Salvation Army, and resident physican for the Bethesda Mission.

Dr.Jacobs takes an active role in social life. He is a member and active singer in the Buffalo Orpheus. Furthermore he belongs to the Church of Christ on Richmond Avenue. He is a member of the Buffalo Academy of Medicine, the Erie County Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the Practitioners Club of Buffalo, and the Erie Lodge F. & A.M.. In 1901 he married Miss Ellen M. Dean, daughter of physician Dr. D.A. Dean, in Buffalo. Dr. Jacobs is one of the army of erudite men of German blood, who stands before the American people and exemplifies the positive effects that German immigration has had on this country.

Wm. E. Merker

Mr. Wm. E. Merker, the accomplished organist and choir master of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on Hickory Street, has brought about the liberation of Protestant Church music in America from its methodical influences. His successes to this point anticipate a total victory of innovations. One of his works, published in 1909 by Pilgrim Publishers of Reading Pa., contains 160 beautiful pearls of Evangelical church music. In the course of 2 years the work has gone through 3 reprintings. This work is a sign that Mr. Merker's perception is beginning to break away from the established norms.


William Ernest Merker was born on February 12, 1858 in Schwiebus, a small industrial city in the Brandenburg Province. He was the son of master coppersmith August Merker and his wife Marie. The lad attended the city school in his home district and went to the Friedrichs-Gymnasium (academic high school) in Frankfurt on the Oder, which qualified him for one year of military duty. Then he went to the teaching seminary in Neuzelle, where he prepared for a teaching career.
Early in life he exhibited a strong musical talent and he was a choir boy in the mixed chorus of the Evangelical City Church in his father city. Later he studied the organ under the well known organ composers Merk and Blumenthall, thus preparing him for a career as an organist. After being a teacher and organist in Boossen near Frankfurt on the Oder, he felt his opportunities were too limited in the old fatherland. He believed his abilities would be better rewarded abroad so he emigrated to America in 1882. In New York, where he had his first residence, he experienced the bitter disappointment which confronts many a newcomer. He found that in this country it isn't as easy as one might think to become a success. Mr. Merker became a student in the harsh school of life. He worked as a waiter, a farm hand, a gardener's assistant, and other jobs beneath his station. Then in 1883 he had the good fortune to find a position as second teacher and organist at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Parish in Brooklyn. He stayed there until 1893, at which time he followed the call to St. John's Lutheran Parish in Philadelphia, Pa., where Dr. A. Spaeth worked as pastor. Mr. Merker was employed there as teacher, organist, and choir master until 1906. Through Dr. Spaeth, one of the leading authorities in the field of liturgy and church choir music who placed great emphasis on a well-school church choir, Mr. Merker became acquainted with the treasury of Pre-Reformation church music and the Gregorian style, elements which evolved in his own later works. When he was called to St.John's Evangelical Lutheran Parish in Buffalo in 1906, he attempted to cultivate solid church choral music. At first he met with much controversy from those who had abandoned the ways of their fathers and bathed themselves in the tinsel of American, methodically tainted music rather than the proven songs of the past centuries. Finally he prevailed and the old masters once again assumed their rightful placed in the church. Through the book we mentioned earlier he has undertaken to win a larger circle of advocates over to his kind of church music.

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In 1883 Mr. Merker married Miss Martha Ziebarth of Brooklyn. Two sons have come from the happy union: Martin A., 27 years of age, and Ewald, 21 years old. The family home is at 2497 Niagara Street. Mr. Merker has remained a true German man, treading his unerring and goal-minded path. In the history of Evangelical Church music in the United States his name will hold a time-honored place.

Adolph Glawatz

Mr. Adolph Glawatz first saw the light of the world on October 30, 1859 in Bremervörde on the Oste River. He was the son of merchant Adolph Glawatz and his wife Amalie, nee Bolling. In 1863 the parents moved to Neuhaus on the Oste River where young Adolph attended the rectory school until his 13th year. Then he accompanied his parents to Hannover and became an apprentice in one of the oldest manufacturing businesses. He stayed there until his enlistment in the army as a clerk. On October 1, 1878 he enlisted as a 3 year volunteer in the 2nd Company of the Hannover Fuselier Regiment No. 73. In 1881 he was honorably discharged from service as a non-commissioned officer. Unusual circumstances forced Mr. Glawatz to take over his father's coal business after his release from military service. Following the great coal strikes of the early 1890s he lost everything. He decided to emigrate with his family to America. He landed in New York in 1892 and came directly to Buffalo. He found employment as an assistant bookkeeper and later as a shipping clerk in the Niagara Shoe Factory, which went out of business as a result of the Panic of 1894. Mr. Glawatz had the opportunity to buy a small variety store at the corner of West Ferry and Rhode Island Streets. He took over this business on October 1, 1894. In February of the following year he purchased the house in which the store was located.

His hard work, absolute honesty, and open demeanor have made it possible for this business to flourish. Today his business is considered one of the best on the West Side.

Mr. Glawatz became a Notary Public in 1897 and had a branch Post Office in his establishment. He has a wide circle of friends and enjoys the respect of all who know him. He is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows, the Buffalo Orpheus, the Buffalo Skat Club, Taks Ninepin Club, and other German associations.

During his stay in Hannover he belonged to the Fencing Club and he had a first class reputation as a fencer. At the German Fencing Championships Open of 1887 he won the first place Saber Trophy and the Trophy of Honor. To this day he remains an old-time master of the Hannover Fencing Club.

On April 24, 1885 Mr. Glawatz married Miss Meta Addicks, who gave him 3 children - Hertha, Kurt, and Hilda. She died in 1900. He later remarried Miss Anna Eckmann, a cousin of his first wife. This marriage has been blessed with one child, Kathie. Mr. Glawatz has remained true to his German roots. He has visited the old homeland twice. He can be proud of his accomplishments, which he forged for himself.

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised August 21, 2005