The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 56 - 60

Biographies for Christian Kusterer, August F.D. Jansen, M.D., Louis F. Jansen, William Hengerer, John Lund, Johannes Riexinger, Adam Riexinger, Dr. Edward Storck, Phillip Jacob and Anna Maria Seilheimer.


Christian Kusterer,

who was born on September 4, 1838 in Meisenbach, in the Upper County of Neuenbuerg in the Kingdom of Württemberg. After graduating from the congregational school in his home district he learned barrelmaking and the meat slaughter trade. In 1857 he emigrated to America and after arriving in Buffalo he settled in Black Rock. He plied his trade here with great success. He is married to Friedericke Westerfelder. Of the children born to the couple the following are still living: Louis, Christ, John, Regina, Marie, Catharine and Cora. He lives at 231 Amherst Street.

August F.D. Jansen, M.D.

was born on October 18, 1818 in Antwerp, Belgium. He received an excellent education in his district and emigrated in 1846 to America. After living for several years in Mexico, he came to the United States and settled in Buffalo in 1852. In 1855 he went to the city's Medical College and completed his exams to become a physician. His wealth of knowledge and his wisdom to the ways of the world, acquired through his years of travel, were put to good use in his practice. He was counted among the most popular and successful physicians in the city. In early 1874 Dr. Jansen decided to make the first pilgrimage to Rome and revisit his homeland of Belgium.


Since he could speak Latin, French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Flemish fluently, he acted as chief interpreter for the large group of travellers. Dr. Jansen belonged to the Medical Association of Erie County and was one of its most prominent members. He was skilled and highly knowledgeable in his profession. He was a loyal friend and a sage giver of advice. He had a quick mind and a happy disposition. He knew how to liven up a group with his hearty laughter. Overall he was well received by others. He could talk on any subject as only a man of the most varied education and widest range of experience can. He never sought public office although he was for a while a County Doctor. He was married to Caroline Young. Three children came of that marriage. Dr. Jansen, who lived at 550 Swan Street, died in February of 1880.

Louis F. Jansen,

son of the man described above, was born in June 2, 1863 in Buffalo. He attended the public schools and completed his education at Canisius College. Here he learned lithography and photography. In photography he has perfected the art and is counted among the premier photographers of the city. His studio, located at 854 Main Street, is elegantly and beautifully built. He is married to Anna Dank and has 3 children, 2 daughters and 1 son. His private residence is at 33 Holland Place.

William Hengerer

Mr. William Hengerer is a man who knows how to make the most of his innate talent. He's the head of the most important department store in this part of the city. He was born on March 2, 1839 in the Württemberg region. He was the son of a Lutheran minister. He came with his parents in 1849 to the Land of the Free and the family settled in Pittsburgh.


At the age of 21 Mr.Hengerer came to Buffalo and became employed in the dry goods business. The firm was called Sherman, Barnes & Co. Mr. Hengerer made $6 a week as a clerk. He was scarcely in Buffalo for a month when the war broke out. Inspired by the noble cause of the northern states, he left immediately and enlisted as a member of the 21st Regiment of the New York Volunteer Contingents, which met up with the Army of the Potomac and took part in various battles. His was the first regiment to go to the front. In 1863 Mr. Hengerer returned to Buffalo and rejoined Sherman, Barnes & Company. From this unremarkable beginning he worked his way up through untiring effort, persistence and strong business sense to the high business, social and political position he has today. In 1874 the man, who had given Mr. Hengerer his start when he recognized his worth and ability, took Mr. Hengerer into partnership in the firm under the name of Barnes, Bancroft & Co. Eleven years later the firm became known by the name Barnes, Hengerer & Co. The death of the senior partner and the great growth of the business, having over the course of the years developed into a major department store, required that the business be reorganized. In 1895 the corporation was established under the name "The William Hengerer Co."

One may assume that Mr. Hengerer measured the course of his life by the increase in his riches. One might think Mr. Hengerer would ignore his duty as a citizen and a member of society. One would be making a serious error. Mr. Hengerer has always placed his time, his influence, and his money where it could be most beneficial. His help and advice have been sought in political matters by his Party. Fearing that his business would take up too much of his time, he has not sought political office. However he has spent his time working for the well-being of the community. He was Parks Commissioner from 1884 to 1898 and since 1885 he has been a trustee of the State Normal School.

As a member of the Lutheran church his name is synonymous with philanthropic works. Mr. Hengerer is a Free Mason of high degree and was the D.D.G.M. (District Deputy Grand Master) of the district. Furthermore he is a lifelong member of the Library Association and the Historical Society as well as a member of the Liedertafel, the Orpheus and the Buffalo Club.

He has been married to Louisa Duerr of Buffalo since September 24, 1863.

John Lund,

the well-known conductor of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, was born on October 29, 1859 in Hamburg [Germany]. His father, a merchant, wanted his son to study law but the young Lund, who inherited his mother's love of music, finally decided to study music. Already at age 6 or 7 he had learned under his mother's excellent instruction how to play the piano. At 10 he took instruction from Dinckler, with whom he continued to study until 1876 when he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory of Music. Under important teachers such as Reinecke, Wenzel, Oskar Paul, Judassohn and C.F. Richer he made great progress. He studied piano, violin, oboe, organ, harmonics, counterpoint and composition. He left the conservatory in 1880 with the best credentials. He was engaged as Choir Conductor of the Bremer Opera and 2 years later we see him as Assistant Conductor there. In 1883 he became Conductor of the Stettiner Opera.

Dr. Leopold Damrosch, conductor of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, went to Berlin in 1884 in order to find a new assistant. He wanted to find a young man who was thoroughly versed in Wagnerian musical drama. John Lund was recommended to him. Dr. Damrosch hired him immediately for the German opera in New York. After Dr. Damrosch's death Lund became conductor of the Amberg Opera House. After a year he went back to Germany, where he stayed for a brief period and then returned to accept a position as conductor of the Rochester Glee Club. He didn't stay long in the Flower City. The Orpheus was looking for a competant conductor and Mr. Lund was recommended by William Steinway. In early 1887 Mr. Lund was engaged by the Orpheus. In fall of the same year, the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra was organized and Mr. Lund took over the role of conductor.


The orchestra was composed of 33 men, a number of whom were not professional musicians. It took many years before the conductor could turn things around with his orchestra so they could play an entire symphony but now, after strenuous, thoughtful work, his orchestra may compete with any similar-sized orchestra in the United States. The Orpheus has also evolved under Mr. Lund's director to become one of the most significant men's choirs in the state and has won various prizes at song festivals.

Although educated in the strictly classical principles of the Leipzig school, which at the time recognized only Mendelssohn as the outer limit of modern music, Mr. Lund is very liberal in his musical interpretation. His favorite composers are Wagner, Beethoven, Tchaikowsky and Svendsen but at the same time he doesn't ignore other composers in his concerts. He has achieved importance as a composer himself - we list here the "Wanderlied" for men's choir and orchestra; "The Blumen Rache", a cantata for full choir, solos and orchestra; the "Germanenzug" for men's choir, solos and orchestra; and concert pieces like "Scene amoureuse", "Im Garten", etc.

In 1888 Mr. Lund married Miss Ida Louisa Zeller, a daughter of the ex-Fire Commissioner G.F. Zeller. Unfortunately after a few years of marital bliss she died in 1897, leaving behind one child.

Johannes Riexinger

was born on April 15, 1834 in Igelsloch in the upper region of Neuenbürg in the Kingdom of Württemberg. In this beautiful Swabian land he attended the congregational school of his district and then learned the cooper's trade. In 1856 he emigrated to the United States, landing on April 18th and arriving in Buffalo on September 7th of the same year and subsequently settling here. Mr. Riexinger was employed for years in the grocery business. He was respected as a practical, diligent and solid businessman. He married Louise C. Kusterer and from the marriage there are 6 children still living. For the last years of his life Mr. Riexinger lived at 235 Amherst Street. The home is still owned by the family. He died on February 11, 1882. All who knew him mourned his passing.

Adam Riexinger

first saw the light of the world on September 3, 1849 in Igelsloch, upper Neuenbürg in the Kingdom of Württemberg. After attending the congregational school he became a blacksmith's apprentice and learned the trade from the ground up. In 1869 he packed up his tools and came to America, settling immediately in Buffalo. His brother had settled here 16 [sic] years before. He worked continuously for 16 years in the factory of Pratt & Letchworth and in 1885 he followed his brother's example and went into the grocery business. Through untiring diligence he managed to make the business one of the best grocery and provisions businesses in that part of the city. Mr. Adam Riexinger, known as a consumate businessman, is a member of the Concordia Lodge, F.& A.M., the Black Rock Lodge No. 35, D.O.H., the Swabia Club, and the St. John's Church Association. He is married to Miss Agnes Poss. Eleven children have come from the marriage, all of whom are still living. Mr. Riexinger lives at 12 Military Road at the corner of Kail Street.

Dr. Edward Storck

When we're talking about Mr. Storck, it's certainly not too much to say that he may be considered one of the most intellectually significant and active members of the German American community not only of the city or of the entire state, but rather of the entire country.

Born on April 9, 1831 in Baden, he attended the secondary school in his home city. As the year of Storm and Stress, 1848, made its way through Germany it did not stop at the outskirts of the university. With courage young students joined the ranks of the activists. The consequence of Storck's participation was his emigration to America. After his arrival in New York he came directly to Buffalo where he found employment as a bookkeeper in the brewery of J. F. Schanzlin. He also assembled a group of students whom he taught German and French. These activities bespeak the ambitious and energetic character of the young man. Soon after we find him at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he studied medicine with great success. In 1853 he graduated with distinction, returned to Buffalo and established a good and steady practice, to which he tended most conscientiously and successfully.


He was a permanent member of the Erie County Medical Society, of which he was President in 1878.

Dr. Storck spared neither pain nor effort when it came to the support and prosperity of the German community of this city. No sacrifice was too great when it came to organization and implementation for the good cause. He took an active interest in German societal life and in various organizations he was either an active or an honorary member. It was the German Young Men's Association in which he had the keenest interest. He served as the association's President until his death on July 15, 1897. In political and public affairs Dr. Storck had high standing. Originally a Democrat he later joined the Republican Party and was sent as a delegate from Erie County to the National Convention, which nominated President Lincoln. He applied all his influence for the support of the Union through eloquent oratory and untiring activity in order to organize troops. He served for a long time as an examining physician for the army. After the end of the war he was elected to the City Council, by whom he was considered a most diligent and circumspect member. During his second term he was its President. He considered the work he did towards the improvement of the Parks System to be his pride and greatest accomplishment.

In 1854 Dr. Storck married Miss Lucy Grove of Williamsburg, who gave him a son, Dr. Eugene Storck. Mrs. Frank T. Williams is an adopted daughter of the late Dr. Storck.

Phillip Jacob and Anna Maria Seilheimer

Mr. Phillip Jacob Seilheimer was the father of Mrs. Titus Erb, about whom we wrote in another portion of this work. He was born on April 20, 1807 in the village of Mettenheim in the environs of Worms, Hessen-Darmstadt. He attended the congregational school in his district and learned agriculture and milling. In 1830 he married Anna Maria Neumann, born in 1810 in Alsheim, Hessen-Darmstadt. Mr. Seilheimer emigrated to the United States with his family in 1848 and settled on November 1st of the same year in Buffalo. He lived here for the rest of his life. In 1880 the happy couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. The marriage was blessed with 15 children, of which 7 are still living. Three live in Buffalo and 4 in Chicago. Mr. Seilheimer died on December 1, 1893 and his wife died on September 19, 1881.

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Revised August 20, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks