The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 14 - 17

Biographies for Joseph Haberstro, Joseph Lambert Haberstro, Dr. John Hauenstein, Henry J. Kreinheder, Friedrich Federlein, and Julius Fiscus


Joseph Haberstro(left), Joseph Lambert Haberstro(right)

.Joseph Haberstro

was born almost a hundred years ago in 1799 in Altkirch, part of the upper Alsace region. In 1828 he emigrated to America after having learned the gunsmithing trade in the old fatherland. He settled in Buffalo, taking a house near Washington and Carroll Street. His first employment in his trade he found with Mr. Daggert, who had a gunsmithing business at the time, which was located on the west side of Main Street south of Seneca. After working there for a few months and demonstrating that he was thoroughly versed in the various German methods of the trade, Mr. Daggert took Mr. Haberstro into partnership. In 1830 Mr. Haberstro saw better opportunities open up for him so he left the firm. He took out a 15 year lease on a piece of land owned by Mr. Le Couteulx, which was located at 193 Main Street.

He built a 2 story wooden structure in which the first floor served as his gunsmith shop and the second story served as his private residence. After his lease ran out he built a solid, 3 story brick building on Main Street, which had the number 401 at the time but which today would be 523 Main Street between Mohawk and Genesee. Mr. Haberstro said goodbye to his trade in order to make greater profits in textiles ("Ellenwaaren"). For this purpose he constructed a new building, which also included his private residence. He opened the business on May 1, 1845 and successfully conducted business there until his death on March 26, 1862. Mr. Haberstro married Miss Catharine Mesmer here in 1830. The marriage produced 11 children, of whom 4 still live.

Let it further be mentioned that Mr. Haberstro fully committed himself to the cause when he became a firearms maker for the Federal Army from 1830 to 1845. This was a satisfying and useful undertaking. What's even more interesting about this energetic and goal-oriented man is the fact that Mr. Haberstro was a trustee and member of St. Louis Church. During the well-known strife that took place between the Catholic clergy and the congregation concerning the title of ownership of the church, Mr. Haberstro was fully on the side of the congregation until the situation was favorably resolved. In Mr. Haberstro the once young but now significant and substantial congregation of St. Louis' had found a strong and energetic supporter.

Joseph Lambert Haberstro
When Buffalo was just a village Joseph Lambert Haberstro was born on July 27, 1831 at the corner of Carroll and Washington Streets. He attended the public school in his district and the Schreck Private Institute. Afterwards it was only natural that he should follow in the footsteps of his father and learn the gunsmithing trade. He was later in textiles and dry goods with the business at 153 Main Street. In 1859 he changed over to the brewing trade and was a diligent staff member of the German-American Brewing Company at the corner of High and Main Streets. In 1885 he withdrew from this business in order to work as an insurance agent and notary public. Mr. Joseph L. Haberstro also played a significant role in city and county politics. From 1864 to 1867 he served as an alderman and in 1866 he became Council President. From 1868 to 1871 he was City Treasurer and from 1877 to 1879 he was Sheriff of Erie County. On September 1, 1853 he married Miss Barbara Scheu, with whom he had 11 children, of whom 6 still live. Mr. Joseph Haberstro documented his German ancestry and his German attitudes in many ways. He was a member of various German associations such as the Liedertafel (Glee Club), the Orpheus, the Harugari Men's Choir, and the Sängerbund.

This didn't happen just for the sake of enjoyment. It was his way of immersing himself in the German element of the city and perfecting his command of the German Language. He lacked the basics of German culture and language because his parents were Alsatian - his mother from Upper Alsace, his father from Lower Alsace.

Besides all this Mr. Haberstro was a member of the volunteer fire brigade, he is an "exempt fireman", and last but not least an esteemed member of the Harugari and the Free Masons. He entered his first organization in 1852, but he decided to join the Masons in 1853. This was the Concordia Lodge No. 143, F. & A.M. The great service that he did for this lodge is testified to in the following piece. It speaks for itself:
Buffalo, N.Y., February 15, 1878.
To the H.M.(Honorable Membership?) of the Concordia Lodge No. 143, F. & A.M.: Honored Brothers - In a meeting held by the members of the aforemention Lodge on February 10th of this year, the following was unanimously accepted:
Put forth, that on March 22 of this year, 23 years have passed since our honored member Joseph L. Haberstro first saw the mason's light and proposed that he be considered for all time a true Mason; and proposed that we have him to thank for the establishment of the Concordia Lodge and for the flourishing circumstance in which it now finds itself.
Thus let it be passed, that the Concordia Lodge No. 143 on the evening of March 21 of this year will hold a fete with a dance to honor the honorable member, Joseph L. Haberstro, and a committee of 5 will be appointed to make all arrangements.
Committee: Frank Sipp as Chairman and the brother-masons Brost, Schmidt, Kaiser and Stover.
The above-mentioned committee met on February 14th and decided to commission the Secretary to bring the united decision concerning the honorable member Joseph L. Haberstro open to general knowledge.
Awaiting your answer,
respectfully signed, George Brost, Secretary

After the newspaper report of this time the projected fete took place in the Sports Hall. It was a glorious affair. All participants who are still living remember it as an amicable and lively testimonial.

The present family residence of Mr. Haberstro is at 958 Washington Street.


Dr. John Hauenstein

was born on June 28, 1821 in Degerfeld in the Canton of Argau, Switzerland. He went to the public school there and received the first part of his elementary education. He was scarcely 10 years old when his parents decided to emigrate to America. Buffalo was their destination. On September 7, 1831 they arrived in this city and took up residence on Eagle Street near Union Street. The lad was entrusted to the private school of Pastor Gumbel and was later sent to the private school of Mr. Bean in order to receive better instruction in the English Language. First that school was at the corner of Pearl Place and Mohawk Street and later located on Bean Alley. After he had acquired the necessary skills he attended the Fay School, which at that time was in the same building as the Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, which is still on Main Street across the street from St. Louis Church. From here he attended the Medical College at Geneseo to study medicine. After much diligence and robust effort the young student received his medical diploma in 1844 and returned to Buffalo the same year to practice medicine. His practice grew from year to year since the young physician tended to his patients with untiring fervor and ceaseless devotion. He put his own life at risk during the great cholera epidemic by caring for others, thus earning the gratitude of many suffering people. With this same sense of self sacrifice he continued his practice until 1895 when he retired. As a member of the Erie County Medical Association, of which he was president in 1881, he earned the respect of the profession. He took an active role in the development and founding of the Buffalo General Hospital. He is still a member of the staff. Dr. Hauenstein, who to this day cherishes his German roots, has played a major part in the development of the Buffalo's German community. Among other things he is a member of the German Young Men's Association, the German Fire Insurance Company, and the German Bank of Buffalo. On December 2, 1845 he married Miss Magdalena Sigwald, with whom he has 5 children, 4 of whom still live.

Henry J. Kreinheder

was born on July 26, 1845 in Neuenkirche, Germany. When he was 6 weeks old his parents emigrated to America, where they settled in the Buffalo neighboring district of Williamsville. After they lived there for 2 years, they came to Buffalo and secured a home at 64 Gray Street. That was 1848. When he reached school age he attended the congregational school of Trinity Church and studied under Mr. C. Kurtzmann to learn piano construction. At the age of 23 he prepared himself for the dry goods trade. He longed to be self-employed so he established a dry goods business under the firm name of H.J. Kreinheder & Co., which was considered among the most profitable businesses of the Buffalo area. It was a business he maintained as senior partner until his death on August 1, 1893. At the time of his departure from this world he was a member of the upper house of the city council - for a year he was the only Republican. Back in 1876 he was alderman for the 7th Ward. He was an active member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, from which he received an honorable discharge.

In 1875 he entered the bonds of matrimony with Miss Ida E. Poedding, with whom he had 6 children. Four of those children still live.

His family home is at 199 Sherman Street, where he breathed his last breath.


Friedrich Federlein

was born on March 28, 1831 in Schwabach, Bavaria. His father, a musician himself, taught the child how to play the flute when he turned 6. The child had a pronounced talent for music and the father devised a course of schooling, which did not neglect a musical education. Besides the piano and string instruments, the lad thoroughly learned how to play wind instruments, at which he exceled. At the age of 14 he untook seminary instruction in harmony and contrapoint, which secured for him a significant position on the all-student orchestra. He also availed himself of the opportunity to study and master his talent for conducting. When he graduated from the seminary in 1851 he took a position as a teaching assistant in the neighboring vicinity. He remained at that posting, actively broadening his musical education, until the work field seemed too limited. He decided to seek his fortune elsewhere. In 1854 he relocated to New York, in order to negotiate for himself a better perch from which to return to Buffalo. As a musician he wasn't able to find immediately a suitable niche for his talents and energy. First he took on conducting a small singing society and gave private lessons. With the growth of the German community grew his activity. In 1857 he was appointed conductor of the Sängerbund, a position which he held until 1886. With the great singing festival of 1883, held in Buffalo, he was one of 3 festival conductors. The Harugari Men's Choir stood under his direction for a year. In 1861 he established a music and singing school, for which he composed and produced a number of children's operettas, based mostly on fairy tales. He was organist for St. Paul's Church on Ellicott Street for more than 35 years. There he also had the opportunity to assemble a fine choir. He maintained this position until his death.

He departed this world on August 31, 1896, leaving a wife and 5 children - 3 daughters, Anna, Minna, and Julie; and 2 sons, Adam and Carl, both of whom are well known and accomplished musicians.

Mr. Friedrich Federlein may rightly be considered a epoch-making pioneer of the highest order for his contribution to the musical life and momentum of Buffalo. It was he who created the high status of the German community's singing choirs. He ambitiously strove to obtain fine orchestra music for their accompaniment. The City of Buffalo in retrospect has him to thank and will fondly remember him with gratitude.

Julius Fiscus

first saw the light of the world on April 11, 1841 in Lettweiler, part of the Bavarian Rheinpfalz. He came from a family of teachers. His father, his grandfather and his great grandfather were teachers. He himself was an accomplished and diligent teacher and organist. At the request of his uncle, Peter Fiscus, who was organist and teacher of St. Paul's Congregation, he came to the United States and arrived in Buffalo on April 14, 1865, only to find to his horror that his uncle had already died on March 25th and that the position was already filled. On August 19th of the same year he secured a position as teacher and organist with the reform Zion Congregation. He maintained that posting until August 30, 1872. He was employed in the same capacity from September 1, 1872 until March 10, 1884 at St. Peter's, from March 4, 1885 to March 30, 1888 at St. Mark's, and from April 1, 1888 to November 1, 1891 by the St. Jacob's Congregation. For the most part he enjoyed the greatest of success as an educator. Currently you'll find him at his dry goods business at 14 Lemon Street. On April 18, 1867 he married Amelia Rochevot. The union has produced 2 sons and 3 daughters, all of whom still live.

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Revised July 25, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks