The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 2 - 5

Biographies for Dr. Francis Charles Brunck, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Charles Fischer, Theodor Kleinschmit, Franz Anton Kuhn, Maria Katharina Kuhn, Joseph Anton Kuhn, Frank Kuhn, Karl Kuhn, Heinrich Kuhn, Wilhelm Kuhn, Josephine Kuhn, and Carl Andreas Peters


In casual fashion, dictated by the design constraints of the book and by the desire to produce the greatest aesthetic appeal, we present this series of sketches and open with one about
Dr. Francis Chas. Brunck

Few of the old settlers of Erie County managed to leave as forceful, prolonged and lasting an influence on the German inhabitants as Dr. Francis Chas. Brunck. We are justified in starting these biographies with one of the most solid, diligent and forward thinking immigrants of Western New York.
He as born on January 11, 1810 in the Rhineland near Winterturn. In the Spring of 1834 Dr. Brunck came to America after he received his medical degree, following education at the Universities of Würzburg, Munich and Heidelberg. Dr. Brunck settled in Lyons, New York.
After a brief time he travelled to Lafayette, Indiana and then settled in the environs of Logansport, Indiana. In 1839 he came to Buffalo, where he began his medical practice. During this time he lived on Mohawk Street near Ellicott and later on West Chippewa near Main.
In 1841 he procured a private residence at 319 Niagara Street, which remained the family home for 50 years. Dr. Brunck died on March 10, 1887.
He was significantly involved in politics and was considered a fine orator. His political party, the Democrats, made good use of his talent. Brunck was at one time Treasurer of the County. He held an especially important place in the German community as owner and chief editor of the weekly paper, the Weltbürger (The World Citizen), and then a year later as owner and editor of the daily and weekly editions of the Täglicher Buffalo Demokrat und Weltbürger (The Daily Buffalo Democrat and World Citizen), a paper of the Democratic Party. Thus Dr. Brunck secured his future until recent times.
Through his multifaceted and persistent activity Dr. Brunck also became one of the Trustees of the Buffalo Savings Bank. He helped establish the German Fire Insurance Company and was a charter member of the German Bank. On February 18, 1835 Dr. Brunck married Miss Catherine Hecox of Lyons, New York. Six children came from the union, of which three survive. The present family residence is at 38 Hodge St.


Caption under pictures read "Mrs. Francis Charles Fischer" and "Francis Charles Fischer"

.Francis Charles Fischer saw the light of the world for the first time on January 29, 1827. He was born in the village of Aschbach, which is found in the canton of Seitz in Alsace. When he came of school age he attended the region's public school. After his schooling he studied agriculture and later carpentry.
In 1845 he came to the Land of the Free, landing in New York on June 7th and coming directly to Buffalo. He remained here until 1849, taking a sea voyage around stormy Cape Horn in order to go to San Francisco, where he became a clerk until 1851. The voyage took 9 months. When Fischer returned to Buffalo in 1851 he became a partner in the firm called Fischer Brothers on Genesee near Chippewa. This was a shop for various items and there was a lumber yard. He left the firm in 1866 and established a lumber company under the name Fischer and Company, located at the foot of Genesee Street. His partner was John Walkam. In 1877 the company acquired a lumber yard on Clinton Street. At the same time he was also a partner in a saw mill in Eldred, PA which operated under the name of Fischer & Wolcott. Finally Fischer was associated with the Firm Fischer & Dohn, which had a lumber yard on Niagara Street. He retained possession of all these companies until his death on October 2, 1883.

Mr.Fischer, a highly esteemed businessman, also took part in politics and represented the old 4th Ward from 1862 to 1863 in the Erie County Legislature. On October 9, 1856 he married Miss Josephine Walkam. The union produced 7 children, 4 of which are still living. The family lives at 224 Connecticut Street.

Josephine Fischer, nee Walkam

was born on September 27, 1837 in Germersheim in the Rhineland Palatinate. She came in September 1846 with her parents, John and Barbara Walkam, to Buffalo. She attended Public School 15 and after her schooling diligently assisted her mother with housekeeping until her marriage to Francis Charles Fischer on October 6, 1859. From this happy marriage there came seven children, of which 4 still live. Mrs. Fischer lives at 224 Connecticut Street.

Theodor Kleinschmit

was born on July 27, 1828 in Sachsenhausen in the Principality of Waldeck. He attended the area school and later went to a private church school. After his school years he studied economics and the brewing business. In 1857 he immigrated to America and settled in one of the several German residences in Hamilton, Ontario where he opened a grocery store and brewery. He gave up this business in 1860 and came to Buffalo in Fall of the same year.
For the next eleven years he was employed at various breweries and malt houses. Mr. Kleinschmit lived first in a building on Main Street at Paul Place, in which he founded Buffalo's first brewery. That brewery is described in the other part of this book in words and pictures.
Through diligence and thrift he succeeded in building, in partnership with William Klepe in 1871, a malt house. This firm lasted 4 years and Kleinschmit took over sole operation when his partner left. Thanks to his tireless energy, his prudence and his business sense as well as his practical ability, he succeeded in bringing his firm to a flourishing state and he found further markets for the products of his malthouse.
By the time he retired in 1892 he had brought his business so far that he could be counted among the most distinguished of Germans in the city.
One year after his arrival in America Mr. Kleinschmit married Miss Sarah Schall of Hamilton, Ontario. She was born in Württemberg and died in Buffalo on May of 1876. The next year Mr. Kleinschmit married the Widow Barbara Happ, nee Rosa. She was born in Karlstadt in Baden. Both marriages remained childless. Mr. Kleinschmit, who belongs to many German societies, lives at 183 Pratt Street.

. Franz Anton Kuhn

is one of many Germans, who either by themselves or through their progeny, have managed to affect the development of the German community and have imprinted themselves upon the character of Buffalo.
He was born on September 2, 1823 in Schneeberg, Unterfranken in the Kingdom of Bavaria. He attended the regional school and then learned the tailoring trade. As was usual back then, after this training he travelled the world as a journeyman. He worked for a while in Munich and Bamberg. In 1847 he came to New York and subsequently took the steamer to Albany and the train to Buffalo. This was a two day journey from New York. He arrived, alive and well, at his final destination on June 26th.

On July 4th of the same year he married Maria Catharina Gramm. The newlyweds built their nest on Goodell Street, near Michigan. In the course of the years they had 9 children, of which 6 still live. After a short time Mr. Kuhn retired his needle and pursued a career in restaurant management. He struck pay dirt with the establishment of the first "Summer Garden" that Buffalo had ever seen. In his capacity as restaurant owner and manager he provided his guests with the best in food and drink. The place couldn't help but be a success. Kuhn plied his trade from 1849 to 1868. In the last year he relocated to a prime spot at the corner of Huron and Ellicott Streets and constructed a large and beautiful building, which he called the Apollo Hall. The Hall was much loved and frequented almost as soon as it opened. Kuhn, along with his childen, came upon the idea of presenting Sunday concerts. His children had received musical training. The concerts were extremely popular. Let is be mentioned here that the sons of Mr. Kuhn were the first musicians to come out of Buffalo and they performed their own concerts.

The old gentleman himself was reported to have considered about half of Buffalo to be among his friends and acquaintances. He's been retired for a long time and lives in the bosom of his family in the house he built at 353-355 Ellicott Street at the corner of Huron.

Maria Katharina Kuhn

was born on December 25, 1824 in Amorback in the Unterfranken region of Bavaria. She came to America when she was 23 years old. Her maiden name was Maria Katharina Gramm. Immediately after she arrived in New York she continued on to Buffalo. In the same year she arrived in Buffalo, she married Mr. Franz A. Kuhn. That was July 4, 1847. The marriage produced 9 children, 6 of whom still live. They are Joseph, Frank, Karl, Heinrich, Wilhelm Kuhn and Mrs. Josephine Schultes.

After a long, productive and useful life Mrs. Kuhn died on July 31, 1895 at the age of 70 after a relatively short stay in the hospital for kidney disease.
We believe there is no better way to portray the pleasant, happy character of this fine woman and no better way to memorialize her existence than to refer to the heartfelt words of the late editor of the Buffalo Sunday Post, Mr. Hermann Hoffman. He was a treasured friend of Mrs. Kuhn and he wrote a lengthy necrolog at the time of her death - "Yes, indeed. The deceased was a good woman. Whoever knew her, respected her. Her friendly, open, and warm disposition was so approachable and winning that one had to love and honor her. She always had a kind word for everyone and she always displayed a genuine interest for all and true, undaunting friendship!"

The twin sister of Mrs. Kuhn, Mrs. Babetta Rudolph, survives her. She lives in this city.

Joseph Anton Kuhn,

the oldest living son of Mr. Franz A. Kuhn, first saw the light of the world on September 1, 1850. He received his schooling at the St. Louis Church School and later at Public School 15. The pursuit and love of Lady Music compelled him to spend his life in her service. He studied violin under Carl Gräfe, took theoretical instruction with Fr. Federlein and C.F. Baum. He became a competent clarinettist under the direction of A. Schwiedop. With only a short break due to the fire, from 1870 to 1895 he was the orchestra conductor of the Academy of Music on Main Street. In the 70s he was director of a 40 musician symphony orchestra. During the concert season they played at the St. James Hall. Since the opening of the Iroquois Hotel in 1890 he has conducted an orchestra, which plays at the hotel's dinners, banquets, etc. Mr. Kuhn has further enriched the musical life of the city of Buffalo by organizing the first string quartet. It's called the Beethoven Quartet and it has a very good reputation. In the 80s Mr. Kuhn was director of the band of the 74th Regiment for 6 years.

Mr Kuhn enjoys an excellent reputation among musicans and feels a sense of satisfaction with his profession and with his regular, income producing activities. His private residence is at 71 Prospect Avenue.

Frank Kuhn

is the brother of Joseph Kuhn. He was born June 18, 1862 in Buffalo. He attended St Louis Church School for a time and then Public School 15. His early-blooming musical talent preconditioned him for a profession in music. He never missed an opportunity to study the fundamentals. To this end he studied violin with Carl Gräfe, flute with A. Schwiedop, theory with C.F. Baum, and piano with Theodor Moelling.


Photographs from left to right and top to bottom: Wilhelm; Joseph, Mrs. Franz Anton Kuhn, Karl; Frank, Franz Anton Kuhn, Heinrich; Josephine


When Mr. A. Poppenberg took a long trip back to Germany, he took the young man with his company. The young man comported himself with prudence and insight.

In 1881 Mr. Kuhn married Miss Matilde A. Fuchs, a daughter of Mr. August Fuchs. As of now the couple have 4 children, 3 boys and one girl. The diligent and beloved musician is the director of the locally well-known Kuhn's Orchestra, which plays at balls, concerts, receptions, weddings, etc. Mr. Kuhn is a highly-esteemed teacher of violin, piano and flute. Besides his own work, since 1892 he has been an active member of the Symphony Orchestra and has been its business manager. He lives with his family at 582 Ellicott Street.

Karl Kuhn

is a son of Mr. Franz A. and Mrs. Katharine Kuhn. He was born October 25, 1854 in Buffalo, New York. He attended Public School 15 after a short time at St. Louis Church School. The young man's love of music moved him to seek out the excellent Carl Gräfe as a teacher and to study violin. He was no slouch when it came to the study of harmony and counterpoint. For that he went to Mr. C.F. Baum.

During the 60s Mr. Kuhn further studied music at Canisius College and was an esteemed member of the Beethoven String Quartet, with which he enjoyed a happy career.

Mr. Kuhn is at this time a member of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. He is their librarian He is also the director of musical performances at the Star Theater in this city. Mr. Kuhn's principle instruments are the violoncello and the contrabass.

On July 26, 1877 he married Miss Caroline Riegelmann, who bore him 6 children, of which 2 still live. After the death of his wife on December 31, 1895 he remarried on November 24, 1897 Mrs. Louis Haller, nee Knell, of Berlin, Ontario.

Heinrich Kuhn

was born in Buffalo on August 29, 1856 and is a member of the famous musical family of the same name. Like his brothers, he attended St. Louis School and after graduation studied cigar manufacture. At the same time he received musical training in violin under Carl Gräfe and clarinette under A. Schweidop. At the time he was so busy with his musical engagements that he had to give up cigar manufacturing. He's still employed in music. He is unmarried and lives at 355 Ellicott Street.

Wilhelm Kuhn

is another member of the beloved and famous musical family of the same name. He was born in Buffalo on July 14, 1860. He attended St. Michael's Parochial School. After he achieved a basic education he studied music, in which he has attained a high level of proficiency. He is currently a member of the Star Theater and an accomplished musician. He married Emma, nee Huber, on June 14,1889. He lives at 353 Ellicott Street.

Josephine Kuhn

is the daughter of Franz A. and Katharine Kuhn. She was born on July 24, 1864 in Buffalo and she attended St. Michael's School, where she excelled. Since July 8, 1889 she has been married to Louis Schultes. Their marriage has been blessed by 3 children. She lives with her family at 355 Ellicott Street.

Carl Andreas Peters

was born on February 5, 1828 in Rostock, part of Mecklenburg, Germany. He attended the local school and received a fine education. After leaving school he learned the saddler's trade. He worked in various cities in the fatherland and came to America in 1853. He arrived in the month of May and proceeded immediately to Buffalo. Since he couldn't find any work in his profession he became involved in the upholstery and tapestry trade. In 1855 he became a soldier in the 10th Regular Infantry, with which he travelled to Utah. At the outbreak of the war he resigned due to illness and returned to Buffalo. Since that time he has been in the saddlery trade, which has served him well. His honest and simple manner has made him a highly esteemed and beloved individual by all who know him. Since 1851 he has been married to Sophie Peters. They were blessed with 11 children - 8 boys and 3 girls. Four of the boys and one girl have died. It's noteworthy to mention that in 1848 Peters served with the Tann Free Corps in Schleswig-Holstein and in 1849-50 he served on the warship "Lübeck". Mr. Peters lives at 678 Washington Street. While conducting business he can be found at 393 Ellicott Street.

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Revised July 17, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks