The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 61 - 65

Biographies for Emil Behnke, Mrs. Wilhelmine Behnke-Dankert, Albert Ziegele, Sr., Christian Trapp, Celestin Bächer, Dr. Friedrich A. Haupt, and Julius Hoffmann.


Emil Behnke, Wilhelmine Behnke.

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Emil Behnke

was born on December 25, 1846 in Waren, part of theMecklenburg-Schwerin region. After graduating from the public school he learned the pastry trade. He had just completed his tour of military service when the German and French War broke out. He answered the call to follow the flag. He distinguished himself on the field but when it was over, he decided he could not return home. Instead he emigrated to the United States. On November 16, 1872 he came to Buffalo and worked at Rode's Bakery and later in McArthur's Pastry Shop. It's well known that the building collapsed on May 11, 1874. In that location you'll now find the southern portion of J.N. Adam's store. Mr. Behnke, who was there at the time of the collapse, escaped unharmed. On May 28, 1876 he married Mrs. Dankert. One daughter, Pauline, came from the marriage. The daughter is still living. Mr. Behnke took over the bakery, which his wife had managed. It's located at 163-165 Goodell St. It's still under his management today. From 1878-1885 he operated a branch store at the corner of Huron and Main Streets, on the Otto Block.
Mr. Behnke, a highly respected businessman in the city, is an active member of the Harmonia Lodge, F. & A.M., and the Concordia Lodge, I.O.O.F.

Mrs. Wilhelmine Behnke-Dankert,

nee Hornburg, was born on September 20, 1845 in Stargard, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She is the wife of well known pastry chef and baker Emil Behnke. She attended the public school in her district but at a relatively early age came to the United States. After 15 years of wedded bliss to her second husband, she died on September 7, 1891.

Albert Ziegele, Sr.,

one of the most prominent citizens of our city, came from Stuttgart in Württemberg. He was born on April 9, 1818. After leaving school he learned the cooper's trade and after the end of his apprenticeship he turned his attention to beer brewing. A productive trip through France and his homeland gave him a basic and practical knowledge of the industry. In 1849 Mr. Ziegele emigrated to the United States and immediately settled in Buffalo. In the next few years he rented a small brewery on Genesee Street, from which he introduced Buffalo to the first brewed lager beers. This beer must have been an excellent quaff. Sales were so hefty that in 1852 Mr. Ziegele could afford to purchase a piece of land between Washington and Main Streets and build a brewery. Through the course of the years the brewery grew and production was improved with the latest in machinery. In the first year the brewery produced 2000 barrels. Later the capacity for production was increased to 50,000 per year with the purchase of property on Washington, Virginia and Burton Streets. On October 1, 1879 Mr. Ziegele withdrew from the operation of the brewery and placed it into the hands of his sons, Albert Jr. and Wilhelm. They studied at the technical high school in Stuttgart, as did his son-in-law, Hermann Grau. The establishment remained in the family until 1897 when it was sold to a corporation. Mr. Ziegele has taken frequent trips to Europe. He's been impressed by its architectural beauty and has brought back many items for his own villa.
When it came to the welfare of the city and the interests of the German community, Mr. Ziegele has always been generous. He is an old member of the German Young Men's Association. The Association owes much thanks to Mr. Ziegele for its beautiful home. Mr. Ziegele has been a member of the Turnverein since its founding. He's one of its oldest members. His generousity has earned him an honorary membership in the Turner's Society *.
Furthermore Mr. Ziegele is on the Director's Council of the German Bank and the German Fire Insurance Company. As a confirmed Republican and an influential man, Mr. Ziegele has done much for his Party but he has never been persuaded to hold public office or seek nomination. Mr. Ziegele has 4 children, the aforementioned sons Albert Jr. and Wilhelm; and 2 daughters, Pauline married to Karl Reis of Karlsruhe, Baden; and Bertha, the wife of Mr. Herman Grau of Buffalo.

* Turners were members of the Turnverein, the gymnastics club. Return to text


Christian Trapp

Mr. Christian Trapp may be listed among the most successful young German citizens in the city. He was born on September 13, 1866 in Giessen, Hessen-Darmstadt. He attended the business school in his district. In 1879 when he came to Buffalo and lived with a friend of his Uncle Louis, he further attended the public schools for many years. He went into the fire insurance business and later established a similar business of his own. He gave up this occupation in 1895, in order to accept a position as Assistant Secretary of the Brewers League on February 23 of the same year. He discharged his duties so well that he became indispensible so when the Secretary retired, Mr. Trapp was named his successor on February 5, 1898. He carried out the duties of his post to everyone's satisfaction.
Mr. Trapp regularly takes part in the social life of the city. He is one of the oldest and most active members of the Zither Club, he belongs to the Sängerbund and various other German associations, and enjoys immense popularity within these circles. On October 27, 1889 he married Amelia Stettenbenz, who gave him a son and a daughter. The family lives at 721 Ellicott St.

Celestin Bächer

Born on February 22, 1840 in Tirschütz Bavaria, Mr. Celestin Bächer came to the United States at the age of 19. He stayed for a year in New York and then came with his parents to Buffalo, where he attended St. Boniface and the public schools. After finishing school he learned piano fabrication, went to San Francisco, California and took a job as foreman in the piano factory of C. Kurtzmann. Later he opened his own business on Main Street but has since retired. He is a founding member of the Buffalo Orpheus. His house was the singing society's first home. After the Music Hall burned down, the Orpheus again met there. Mr. Bächer married Miss Louisa Gerber in 1865. The marriage produced 4 children. One daughter still lives.

Dr. Friedrich Haupt

Few men in the early days of the city have been as esteemed and respected in scientific and social circles as Dr. Friedrich Haupt. The German community owes him much thanks for his contribution to their spiritual development. Mr. Haupt was born on March 14, 1804 in Homburg von der Höhe. After attending the school in his father city, he went to Heidelberg to study jurisprudence. He took the State Exams, received his doctorate, returned to his home city, and pursued a career in the upper eschelon of the Police Department. He became head of the Police Department and held that position for 25 years. He emigrated to the United States in 1857 and made his way to Erie, PA. After 3 years he came to Buffalo. He earned his living primarily through private tutoring. During this time and to the end of his life he was also involved in literary pursuits. His last work was the translation of a Bible commentary into English. This was a task which provided him with great satisfaction. He completed the work the day before his death. It's self evident that Mr. Haupt lent a helping hand to all German endeavor. Seldom does one find such clear and wholesome perception coupled with personal kindness, true masculinity and exceptional amicability. Under these circumstances it was no wonder that Mr. Haupt enjoyed greater than usual popularity and possessed a large circle of friends.


He was a member of the German Young Men's Association. He was its librarian for 13 years. He was also its President for a time. He was counted among the oldest members of the Liedertafel. When he took a trip to Germany in 1881 he became an honorary member of the club. In 1834 he married Auguste, Baroness of Busack, who preceded him in death in 1865. Mr. Haupt died on January 10, 1888. He was mourned by his large number of friends and acquaintances.

Julius Hoffmann,

whom Buffalo can no longer count among its residents, was without a doubt one of the most popular Germans in the city. He was born on April 5, 1829 in Schwerin, Mecklenberg. He attended the public school and the secondary school and then went into the book trade. He emigrated to the United States in 1853. Buffalo was his final destination and he became editor of the Telegraph, forerunner of the Free Press. Later he was in the iron business of Edward Folger & Co. and for a time he was the warehouse manager for a whiskey distillery. In Buffalo Mr. Hoffmann was also known as a most reliable and talented books auditor and enjoyed great popularity among not only the German community but also the general public. On April 1, 1865 he was appointed Assistant Postmaster but he only held this post til May 1st (from All Fools Day to All Moving Day). Congressional member Bennett asked for his resignation for political reasons. At the end of the year 1869 Mr. Hoffman went to New York. Currently he is business manager of the German Association. Mr. Hoffmann, who took an active role in German association life, still belongs to the German Young Men's Association. On October 3, 1871 he was made an honorary member. He is one of the few living early members of the Buffalo Liedertafel. In New York Mr. Hoffman is a member of the Liederkranz. He's been its President 4 times. He is married to Anna Holierith of Buffalo but has no children. He lives at 60 Lenox Avenue in New York.

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Revised August 21, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks