The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 109 - 112

Biographies for Gustav E. Fuhrmann, George Urban, Sr., George Urban, Jr., William Charles Urban, August and Louise Raeker,


Gustav E. Fuhrmann,

who was born in Görlitz, Silesia, attended the elementary and high schools of his fatherland and after passing the college entrance exams matriculated at the Royal Trade Academy of Berlin. He came to America in 1857 and studied at the Central High School in Buffalo. For a time he was a teacher at a large plantation in Louisiana. He returned to Germany in 1862 and was employed in a position of trust at the world famous factory of Cornelius Heyt. He returned to Buffalo in 1882 and became teacher and organist at the St. Mark's Evangelical parish. He has been a member of the faculty of Masten Park High School since its opening. He's a professor of German Language and Literature.

George Urban, Sr.

Mr. George Urban Sr. was one of the first German settlers in Buffalo. He was born on August 19, 1820 in Morsbrunn, Alsatia. He lived his childhood there and came to the United States in the early part of 1835 with his parents. After growing to manhood he accepted a position as a buyer for Mr. H. Colton, who at the time had a large merchandiser's institute at the corner of Main and Genesee Streets. He stayed here until 1846. In order to become self-supporting in 1846 he established his own business, specializing in flour, at the corner of Oak and Genesee Streets. He had such exceptional success that he decided to build a mill on the opposite corner from his store. This endeavor was also highly successful and the products of the mill were in demand.

Mr. Urban, Sr. was a man of high standing not only in the German community of the city but also among the widest circles in America. He was the Vice President of the Western Savings Bank, the Parks Commissioner, etc. Mr. Urban, Sr. was married to Miss Marie Kern, a woman from Alsatia. She preceeded him in death on January 30, 1879. She gave him 3 children: George, Caroline, and William C. Urban.

Mr. Urban died on October 13, 1887 at the age of 67 years, 1 month and 26 days.


George Urban, Jr.

Mr. George Urban, Jr. is one of the best known, most respected, and most interesting personalities in the political and commercial sectors of the city of Buffalo. He is the son of one of Buffalo's oldest pioneers. He was born on July 12,1850 in the house at the corner of Oak and Genesee, across the street from one of the Urban Mills. He received his education at the public schools and at the age of 18 he went into his father's milling business. Two years later he became a business partner. The Urban family has been in the milling business for over half a century. The products from the mill have a fine reputation throughout the land.

Besides his business interests, Mr. George Urban, Jr. is involved in several other undertakings. He has a particular interest in the introduction of electric power for lighting and conveyance equipment. He's taking part in electrical endeavors of every variety.

As we've already mentioned, Mr. Urban plays a significant role in the political arena. He never let his business relationships get in the way of his accepting a public office. The urgings from his friends must have been great because he eventully decided to accept the post of chairman of the Republican Committee of Erie County. This was a position for which his excellent talent for organization was well suited. When his private business demanded more and more of his attention on a daily basis, it was to the great sorrow of his party that he retired from the chairmanship.

In October 1875 he married Miss Ada E. Winspear.

William Charles Urban,

the youngest child of Mr. George Urban, Sr., was born on July 28, 1861 in Buffalo. He received his education at the Buffalo schools and attended high school. After graduation he became a bookkeeper at his father's business, a large flour mill at the corner of Oak and Genesee Streets. Later he became a member of the firm, to which his brother, George Urban, Jr. and E.G.S. Miller also belonged. On April 1, 1897 the Urban Milling Company was incorporated with George Urban, Jr. as President, E.G.S. Miller as Vice President, William C. Urban as Treasurer, and William L. Seligmann as Secretary. After a time Mr. William Urban left the business. At this time he's enjoying the pleasure of private life at his beautiful home in Cheektowaga at least until another business venture calls to him. In June 1886 he married Miss Louise Burgard of Buffalo.


August and Louise Raeker,

about whom the following lines refer, may rightfully be considered among the oldest and most respected German inhabitants of the city. Mr. Raeker was born on July 9, 1819 in Lippe within the principality of Detmold. He attended the public schools of his fatherland and learned furniture carpentry. In 1848, during the Storm and Stress period, he emigrated to the Land of Freedom and immediately settled in Buffalo. He opened a furniture carpentry shop in the house at 98 Batavia Street, now Broadway. He was an extremely capable man in his field so he couldn't help but be a success. Mr. Raeker operated the furniture factory until 1880 when he withdrew into well deserved retirement. In 1850 he married Miss Louise Mahncke, in whom he found a loyal life partner. She gave him 8 children, 7 of whom are still living. The family resides currently at 338 Lafayette Avenue.


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Revised August 28, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks