Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 276 - 280

Biographies for John J. Keller, Franz Anton Bauer, John G. Frank, Rudolf Frey, Ernst G. Schmidt, George F. Tränkle, Joseph Burkard, and Louis A. Zimmermann

John J. Keller

German text for this biography begins on Webpage 39

Mr. John J. Keller first saw the light of the world in Marthalen in the Canton of Zurich in beautiful Switzerland. He was the son of townspeople Jacob Keller and his wife Magdalena, nee Harder. He attended the local school and apprenticed in the shoemaking trade. When he became a journeyman he travelled to the larger cities of his homeland and southern Germany. He fulfilled his military duty in Brugg with the 6th Engineering Batallion.

In 1891 he emigrated to America, landing in New York on April 15th. First he went to Boston where he found work in his field in Cambridge. After about 2 years in October 1893 he came to Buffalo, which he found to be so excellent that he decided to settle here. Until 1900 he was employed as a master shoemaker but when economic trends made shoe manufacturing unprofitable he gave up the trade and went into the insurance business. He had success and advanced to the position of assistant superintendent of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He held that position for several years. Then he became an agent for the Hancock Insurance Co. He is employed in that capacity to this day.

Mr. Keller is a member of the Buffalo Sängerbund, the Harugari Frohsinn, and the Order of the Knights of Pythias. Naturally he belongs to the Helvetia Men's Choir, the most prominent and one of the oldest Swiss singing societies in this part of the country. He is a well known member of this society. He's been its president 5 times. Currently he holds that office. Under his administration a singing trip was made to the Swiss United Song Festival in Detroit.


The Helvetia took first prize. The Helvetia Men's Choir also celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding on May 11, 1912 during his tenure as president.

Mr. Keller can boast of a medal for saving someone's life but his modesty prevents him from even thinking about it. In 1898 under great danger of losing his own life he saved his friend Charles Erwin from certain death by drowning in Ransom Creek near Clarence. In 1905 he made a repeat journey to Cuba and stayed for a while on the Isle of Pines.

On March 4, 1889 Mr. Keller married Miss Marie Juan in Genf, Switzerland. Eight children have come from the happy union: John O., Margarethe, Augusta, Wilhelmine, Emilie, Elisabeth, Konrad, and Martha.

Franz Anton Bauer

Mr. Franz Anton Bauer was born on February 15, 1867 in Steinbach, Württemberg. He was the son of Carl Joseph and Katharina Bauer (nee Fischer). After leaving school he apprenticed in the steel refiner's trade. Later he fulfilled his military obligation with the 1st Württemberg Field Artillery Regiment in Ulm. In 1891 he came to America and settled in Buffalo. The first year he was here he was employed in the import of gloves. In 1897 he established a shoe and yardgoods dealership, which over the course of time has become successful because of his reliable nature and courteous treatment of customers. His place of business is located at the corner of Box Avenue and Kehr Street. The business has developed into a general wares emporium which enjoys the patronage of his friends and the entire neighborhood.

Caption under picture at upper left reads John J. Keller

Caption under picture at lower right reads Franz Anton Bauer


In 1896 Mr. Bauer married Elisabeth Schäfer of Buffalo, who departed the mortal coil on June 25, 1905. In order to reestablish a regular family life he married Elisabeth Ascher in 1908. She was born in Biberach, Württemberg. From this marriage there is a son, Franz Anton. Mr. Franz A. Bauer is a member of St. Ann's Church and a valued member of the Orpheus Singing Society.

John G. Frank

Mr. Johannes Gottlieb Frank is at the top of the ranks of German music and instrument dealers in the city. His business is at 55 Genesee Street. He's an excellent singer and musician and he enjoys great popularity among the members of the German singing societies. He also has a prospering clientele, which comes not only from Buffalo but from the outlying areas.

Mr. Frank was born on October 17, 1869 in Schmalkalden, Thuringia. He was the son of Mr. Michael Frank and his wife Wilhelmine, nee Weisheit. He attended the local school, where he learned music. In 1892 he came to the United States and on to Buffalo. Here he found his first position in the music shop of Mr. Willert on Broadway. Later he became owner of this business, but he sold it back to Mr. Willert and established another business at 311 Genesee Street. In May 1909 he relocated his large business to its current location at 55 Genesee Street. He has prospered at that location.

Mr. Frank is an active member of the Buffalo Orpheus. He is an honorary member of the Harugari Frohsinn and general secretary of the statewide lodge of the German Order of the Harugari. In 1892 he married a compatriot, Miss Karoline Frabel of Schmalkalden. Five children have come from the happy union: Wilhelm, 18 years of age; Walter, 15; Edwin, 8; Helene, 7; Margarethe, 3 years of age.

Rudolf Frey

Rudolf Frey was born on Septmber 6, 1861 in Reilingen in the Schwetzingen District of the Grand Duchy of Baden. He was the son of Philipp and Eva Katharina Frey. His parents were farmers. Young Rudolf attended the local school of his birth district. After leaving school he became an apprentice to a master butcher and learned the butcher's trade. He has stayed true to that calling ever since. When he reached the appropriate age he fulfilled his military obligation with the 2nd Baden Field Artillery Regiment No. 30. In 1891 Mr. Rudolf Frey came to America and immediately settled in Buffalo.

Caption under picture at upper right reads John G. Frank


Until 1896 he worked for various businesses and then he established his own. Over time his hard work and energy have built one of the most significant meat businesses in the city. His excellent sausages are a favorite here in the city because of their fine quality.

Mr. Rudolf Frey is a member of Christ Church. He lives with his wife in a beautiful home at 576 - 578 William. His place of business is located at 576 - 578 William.

Ernst G. Schmidt

In 1911 a man, who enjoyed the highest respect and love of the widest of German circles, died in this city. His departure from this life in the prime of manhood will be deeply mourned. He was Mr. Ernst G. Schmidt.

He was born on March 9, 1863 in Narsadal, Silesia as the son of teacher Mr. Gustav Schmidt and his wife Augusta. He became a merchant and in 1891 he came to America. On February 8th of the same year he found employment at the U St. Rubber Reclaiming Works in Jersey City, N.J. He stayed with this firm until the time of his death. In 1902 the U. St. Rubber Reclaiming Works relocated to Buffalo and Mr. Schmidt held the responsible post of superintendent until the time of his death.

Mr. Ernst G. Schmidt was prominently active in German activities. Since 1910 he was Master of the Chair for the Modestia Lodge F. & A.M. He was a valued member of the Sängerbund and he belonged to Bethania Church.

He had a generally happy marriage with Bertha Seidel, who was born in Breslau.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Rudolf Frey

Caption under picture at lower right reads Ernst G. Schmidt


He married her in 1888. One son, Gustav Adolph, a loving wife, and a large circle of friends will long hold the memory of his all too early departure from this life.

George F. Tränkle

Georg F. Traenkle is a child of Buffalo. He first saw the light of the world in this city on September 22, 1857. He was the son of German pioneer Friedrich Tränkle. His father took part in the Revolutionary War and achieved the rank of captain. Georg F. Tränkle acquired his education from the Buffalo Public Schools and after graduation he went into hotel management. He is currently the owner of Columbia Park, the largest recreation park on the outskirts of Buffalo. The park encompasses 40 acres. It has a running track, baseball facilities, a dancehall, and other recreational facilities. The park is available for church-run celebrations and other organizational activities. It is located on Seneca Street at the City Line. To get there all one needs is a bus ticket. There is also an excellent restaurant in the park.

Mr. Tränkle is a member of the Harmonie Lodge as well as the Harugari Frohsinn. He enjoys great popularity.

Joseph Burkard

Buffalo's well known innkeeper Joseph Burkard was born on May 22, 1875 in Swormsville, Erie County. He was the son of Valentin Burkard and Elisabeth, nee Leising. His father was a farmer, thus he went into his father's profession. He worked until 1896 in agriculture but then came to Buffalo, where he was employed for 3 years as a waiter and a longer time as a bartender.

Caption under picture at lower left reads George F. Tränkle

Caption under picture at upper right reads Joseph Burkard


In 1901 he opened his own inn at 43 East Chippewa Street. His courteous manner and good business sense have made the establishment a favorite assembly point for friends and acquaintances as well as the public in general.

Mr. Burkard is a stalwart member of St. Louis' Catholic Church. Furthermore he is a member of the B.P.O. Elks No. 23, the Eagles No. 16, the Orpheus, the Sängerbund, the Harugari Frohsinn, the Catholic Association F.C., the St. Patrick's Club, the Automobile Club, and the Innkeepers Association. Since June 6, 1900 he has been married to Miss Anna Düthorn of Swormsville and he is the father of 2 children, Raymond George and Ruth Elisabeth.

Mr. Burkard enjoys immense popularity especially in the German community.

Louis A. Zimmermann

Mr. Louis Zimmermann is one of the youngest musicians of German heritage here in Buffalo. He has a promising future. He was born on March 17, 1881 as the son of organist Anton Zimmermann and his wife Maria. He attended St. Mary's School and at an early age he showed exceptional musical talent. His talent has been developed and nurtured under the direction of his father, who is organist for St. Mary's Church.
Since he was 14 he has been an advertising clerk and printer for the American Agricultural Chemical Company while at the same time applying himself to the study of noble music with great success. He is director of St. Ann's Glee Club. Its first concert, which he arranged in May 1911, was a resounding success. Furthermore he is the founder and director of the Kreutzer Quartet Club as well as vice-director of the Teutonia Liederkranz. Mr. Zimmermann has composed many songs for men's choir and pieces for piano. He regularly takes part in German intellectual activies. He has a wide circle of friends and is loved for his modest and warm personality.

In 1905 he married Miss Anna Fredericka Schwindler. The happy union has been blessed with 4 children: Eugen, Franz, Robert, and Louis. He lives with his family in a cozy home at 17 Spruce Street.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Louis A. Zimmermann

Biography for Eduard Heinrich Möller can be found on Webpage 41


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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised August 31, 2005