Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 331 - 336

Biographies for William Simon Jr., Edmund T. Wünst, Charles Becker, Albert Werner, Dr. Fridolin Thomas, Heinrich Straub, John Gosar, Henry Wm. Doll, and Theophil Philipps

William Simon, Jr.

German text for translation of this biography starts on page 330 and can be found on Webpage 50

Mr. William Simon, Jr. is a child of Buffalo. He was born on October 21, 1880 in this city as the son of the well respected brewery owner, Mr. William Simon. His mother came from Brandstett. He received his education at the renown Canisius College, graduated in 1895, and also attended courses at the Bryant & Stratton Business College. At the age of 19 he went into his father's brewery and apprenticed for 4 years, learning the brewery trade from the ground up. Then he went to Milwaukee, the Athens of Beer Production, in order to expand his knowledge. Here he worked at the famous Blatz Brewery. In order to ground his knowledge with a scientific understanding he attended the Hautkes Brewing School in 1902 and then returned to Buffalo, where he has been with the Simon Brewery Co. ever since.


In 1909 the Simon Brewery Co. was incorporated and it fell to him to become vice-president. To this day he executes this office with tact and circumspection.

In September 1911 Mr. Simon married Miss Florence Kissinger, the daughter of the respected German pioneer family of Jacob Kissinger.

He regularly takes part in societal life. He is a member of the Buffalo Orpheus, the Sängerbund, the Park Club, the Ellicott Club, the Elks, the Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations.

Edmund T. Wünst

On Fillmore Avenue between Dewey and Lemon Streets there's a stately building which bears the number 2149. In this building you'll find a large and elegant shoe store and you'll find its owner, Mr. Edmund T. Wünst. In the backyard you'll find a much more modest planked structure in which there is a shoe and bicycle repair workshop. It was here that Mr. Wünst established himself as a master shoemaker in 1906. The large building out front is a monument to the hard work, the spirit of enterprise, and the knowledge of the trade by which Mr. Wünst can indeed be known as a self made man.

Edmund Tobias Wünst first saw the light of the world on May 31, 1865. He was the son of shipbuilder Franz Wünst and his wife Regina. He attended the local school and apprenticed in the shoemakers trade. He fulfilled his military obligation with the 11th Company of the 8th Württemberg Infantry Regiment No. 126. In 1889 he came to America with empty pockets but a drive to succeed. He wished to establish a worry-free life for himself. He settled in Buffalo and worked for a year at Stroothman's Shoe Factory. Then he was employed for a year at Scharoth & Wallace, after which he was employed at the bicycle business of the Spalding Machine & Screw Co. on Kensington.

In 1906 he became self employed. Due to his hard work, his patience, his frugality, and his spirit of enterprise he was able to open a shop. Because he served his customers honestly, delivered to them the best wares at modest prices, and stocked the latest fashions he was successful. The workshop uses electrically powered equipment. Since he's built a modern shoeshop his "Eddy" brand of shoes has become popular and widely sought out throughout the neighborhood. He doesn't hesitate to advertise his business. He has an elegant wagon with a large shoe in it, which has created quite a hubbub throughout the city.

Caption under picture at upper right reads William Simon, Jr.


He also has a flourishing bicycle and repair shop and it is his intention to expand this business and to unite his store with an automobile business.

Mr. Wünst participates in German activities when time allows. He is a member of the Baden Support League No. 2 and he is a delegate of this organization at the German-American Assembly. He is a member of the Order of Freedom and other German organizations. He is president of the Kensington District Taxpayers Association. He is also an instructor at the Truant School and at the "Welcome Hall". He has a friendly manner and he is esteemed for his honorable character. He has a large circle of friends.

On December 16, 1892 Mr. Wünst married Miss Rosina Danne. The happy union has been blessed with one son, Edmund Mathias Wünst, in whom Mr. Wünst has found a capable assistant. The son is manager of the bicycle business.

Charles Becker

Mr. Charles Becker, the well known master baker at 492 Adams Street, is considered among that group of German-American citizens of Buffalo who are distinguished as being called self-made men. He was born on April 7, 1862 in Sülzfled, Baden as the son of tinsmith Joseph Becker. He attended the local school. The rigid limitations of his home village did not suit the enterprising young man. He wished to see the broader world. At the age of 16 he bundled up his belongings and emigrated the the land of unlimited possibilities. In 1878 he came directly to Buffalo and found work at Schwabl's Bakery at 492 Adams Street. His desire to learn and his hard work prevailed and after a few years he was the chief assistant at this business. After the death of Mr. Schwabl in 1881 he naturally took over the business and helped it to flourish. His specialty is rye bread. Becker's Rye Bread has for years been known as first-rate throughout the city.

Mr. Becker belongs to St, John's Evangelical Church and he is a member of the Modestia Lodge of the Order of Free Masons and the Concordia Lodge of the Odd Fellows. Furthermore he is a member of the Master Bakers Union, the Old German Association, and many other groups. Mr. Becker is a mighty hunter likened to Nimrod before the Lord. All year long he goes on hunting expeditions to the northern regions and has been in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and New Foundland. He's collected much prey and acquired many hunting trophies, which are displayed in his cozy home. He shares that home with his wife, born Margaretha Stephanski.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Edmund T. Wünst


Albert Werner

Albert Werner was born on March 13, 1867 in Kilberg, Pommerania as the son of Friedrich and Maria Werner. He received his education in the local school of his home city and apprenticed in the book printing trade. He fulfilled his military obligation with the Grenadier Cavalry Regiment of Baron Dersling, 3rd Neumark Unit garrisoned in Greifenberg. In 1893 Mr. Werner emigrated to America where he stayed for 4 years in New York and was employed in his trade. In 1897 he moved farther west and settled in Buffalo. Since he couldn't find employment as a book printer he sought another profession and established a grocery store, which he operated with much success until 1909. In this year he took over the West Seneca Hotel on Seneca Street and Clark Avenue, located only 5 minutes from the city limits. In 1911 Mr. Werner opened a new picnic place, which could scarcely be more beautiful and suited to the purpose. Across from the West Seneca Hotel on the shady banks of Cazenovia Creek you'll find this new grove. Mr. Werner has spared neither effort nor expense to make it an attractive piece of the earth. A giant canvas roof covers the liquor bar. There's a roomy dance floor for those who wish to dance to their heart's content and access to a stream for those who like to wade and bathe. This wonderful recreational facility has all the modern conveniences and will undoubtedly be strongly frequented by organizations holding various celebrations. At the hotel visitors receive courteous service and an a la carte menu is offered daily.

Mr. Werner regularly takes part in German activities. He is a member of the Frohsinn, the Odd Fellows, the Redmen, the Harugari, the German Knights, the Teutonia, and the Helvetia. He is also a member of the Seneca Hose Co. No. 1. In 1896 he married Miss Lina Hensche, who was born in Waldhambach in the Rhine Palatinate.

Dr. Fridolin Thomas

Dr. Fridolin Thoma [sic] is considered among the best known physicians on the outskirts of the East Side. He enjoys the respect of his fellow citizens as a human being and as a physician.

Fridolin Thoma was born in the beautiful land of Baden as the son of tinsmith Fridolin Thoma and his wife Maria, nee Stehle. In 1868 he emigrated with his parents to America thus he received more of an American education than a German one once he was 5 years of age.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Charles Becker


But by his nature he has remained a true German who has maintained his use of the German language and retained his German sense of the good life.

He attended St. Mary's School and then went to the university in order to study medicine, for which he had a particular inclination and talent. After passing his exams with distinction in 1887 he established himself as a physician in the house in which he still lives today at the corner of Lovejoy and Longnecker Streets.

Dr. Thoma over the past 25 years has established a flourishing practice and he has the full confidence of his patients. When time allows he also takes part in German activities. He is a member of the Friedrich Lodge of the German Order of the Harugari and the Buffalo Orpheus. Furthermore he is a member of the Erie County Medical Association and the Buffalo Academy of Medicine. He has made extended trips throughout the United States and knows his adopted fatherland from one end to the other.

On November 16, 1887 Dr. Fridolin Thoma married Miss Louise Hoehn. The happy union has been blessed with 2 sons: Boswell F. Thoma and Earl Wm. Thoma.

Heinrich Straub

Mr. Heinrich Straub, owner of the book bindery at 220 Virginia Street, is one of the oldest German pioneers in Buffalo, who had the opportunity to see Buffalo develop into a great American city.

Mr. Straub was born on June 9, 1843 in Griesheim in the Grand Duchy of Hessen. He was the son of tavern owner Mr. Georg Straub and his wife Katharina, nee Landau. In 1851 the parents emigrated to America and settled in Buffalo. For years the father operated a nursery and farm.

The young Straub received his education in the public schools of this city and St. Peter's German Evangelical Parish School. Then he apprenticed to the book bindery of Mr. Chas. Young. After completing his apprenticeship he worked until 1860 as an assistant to his master. He was employed in this capacity for a total of 14 years. In 1860 Mr. Straub acquired a position in the Government Book Bindery in Washington, D.C., where he stayed until 1870.

He returned to Buffalo, established his own business in the building at 159 Main Street, but later merged his interests with those of the Express. After ten years he dissolved this partnership and moved to 220 Virginia Street, where he still operates a book bindery to this day.

On February 2, 1871 Mr. Heinrich Straub married Miss Emilie Ernst of Buffalo. Five children, 3 sons and 2 daughters, have blessed the happy union. The names of the children are: George H, Heinrich P., Emma, Walter, and Charlotte.

For 40 years Mr. Straub has been an esteemed and respected member of St. Paul's German Evangelical Church and for 10 years he has been a church elder. Furthermore he belongs to the Queen City Lodge No. 353, F. & A.M.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Dr. Fridolin Thoma


He finds his greatest joy in the bosom of his family, where he is spending the autumn of his life in the most beautiful harmony.

John Gosar

Mr. John Gosar, who has made a name for himself in the widest of circles as a decorative painter, was born on May 23, 1866 in Laibach, Krain in Austria. He was the son of art painter Johann Gosar and his wife. He attended the modern secondary school in this father city and then went to the art academy in Venice. After completing his studies he became chiefly a painter of churches. There are many murals in countless churches in Germany and Austria which bear proof of his extraordinary talent.

In 1903 Mr. Gosar decided to emigrate with his family to America. At first he settled in New York, where he was employed in his craft for 6 years. He painted many murals and altar pieces in churches in New York, Newark, and Paterson, New Jersey. In 1901 he received a commission for a large art project at the Sacred Heart Academy in Buffalo. He liked it here and his excellent work as an artist brought in several more commissions so he decided to settle in Buffalo. Since that time he has created several wonderful murals for St. Mary Magdalene Church and other churches in Buffalo. He's also received commissions in Forest City, Pa., Pendleton, N.Y., Boston, N.Y., Calicoon, N.Y., and many other cities and villages in the adjoining states and Canada. Mr. Gosar enjoys great popularity in all the circles he travels due to his friendly and lovable manner. He is a member of the Albrecht Dürer Association of Vienna, the Austrian National Assembly of Buffalo, and other organizations. On September 6, 1889 he married Miss Antonia Medic. The happy union has been blessed with 2 children, Cyrill and Vida. The first child has answered the spiritual calling and is a novitiate in the Franciscan monastery in Paterson, N.J. Mr. Gosar has a cozy little home at 640 East Utica Street.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Henrich [sic] Straub


Henry Wm. Doll

Mr. Henry William Doll, who operates a tavern at 439 Walden Avenue, is one of the youngest innkeepers on the East Side. It's easy to understand why. His friendly, courteous manner and his honest and gallant dedication to serving his customers have netted him a large clientele. Everyone on the outskirts at the corner of Walden and Koons Avenue knows who they're talking about when they say "we're going to Henry's place."

Henry William Doll was born on August 1, 1877 in Buffalo as the son of the respected German pioneer and master butcher Mr. Karl Doll, who came from Rohbach in the district of Sinsheim in Baden. Mr. Karl Doll came to the United States in 1862 with his wife Theresia, nee Kaiser. Mr. Henry W. Doll received a good German education. He regularly takes part in German activities and he is a member of various German clubs and organizations.

On January 27, 1901 Mr. Doll married Miss Jennie Theim. In her he has not only found a loving wife but a true comrade and steadfast assistant in his prospering business.

Theophil Philipps

Mr. Theophil Philipps, owner of the popular tavern at 300 Cherry Street in Buffalo, was born on March 24, 1876 in Lauterburg in Lower Alsatia. He was the son of master blacksmith Bernhard Philipps and his wife Katharina. After attending the local school he apprenticed in the butcher's trade. After his years as an apprentice he decided to ply his trade in America, where true ability in a skilled trade received financial reward. He came immediately to Buffalo and found employment in the well known butchering establishment of Jacob Marner. He stayed there until June 15, 1908, on this last day opening his tavern. Under his pleasant and capable management the establishment has prospered and today his is one of the most popular names in this city. As a great friend of German manners and German hospitality Mr. Theophil Phillips has garnered the patronage of a large number of German business and social organizations. He is a respected member of the Harugari Frohsinn, the Order of the Harugari, the Orioles, the Foresters, and the Liquor Dealer's Society of Garfield.

Since October 1, 1902 he has been married to Miss Francisca Seeman, who gave him a daughter on January 15, 1909 by the name of Ethel.

Although Mr. Theophil Phillips is a German through and through, he embraces the American spirit of enterprise. He may not possess all the symptoms but sufficient momentum has been established to assure him many blessings and great success.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Henry Wm. Doll


This ends the set of biographies of prominent German citizens of Buffalo. The next section deals with Buffalo industrialists and businesses. It can be found at Part III

Go to Index


Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised September 11, 2005