The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 22 - 26

Biographies for Francis J. Kraft, Frank A. Kraft, Adam Cornelius, Augustus Fuchs, Philip Dorsheimer, William Dorsheimer, John Philipp Einsfeld, Bernhard Dufner, and George Bleistein.


Francis J. Kraft

was born on November 18, 1820 in Wangen in the Alsace region. He attended the congregational school in his district and then learned furniture joinery. In 1840 he came to the United States and settled in Buffalo, where he opened a furniture business on Main near Mohawk Street. He worked there until 1844 and then became an undertaker at 31 East Huron Street. His carried on the profession until his death on March 16, 1898. In the last years he was in partnership with his son under the firm name of F.J. Kraft and Son. Mr. Kraft was one of the first members of the St. Louis Congregation and one of its most zealous workers when it came to building a foundation for the small church, which stood where the magnificent house of God stands today. He was married there to Miss Anna Rebstock of Stuttgart on February 19, 1846. He celebrated his golden wedding anniversay with her in 1896 in the old homeland. In 1870 he was elected Commissioner of the Poor on the Republican ticket. He tended his office with such conscientiousness that he was elected 2 more times. He was a true champion of the poor and anyone who knew him was convinced of his good heartedness. Besides his loving wife he is survived by the son mentioned above and 3 daughters, 2 of whom are married.

Frank A. Kraft,

son of the late undertaker F.J. Kraft, was born on December 18, 1853 in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from the elementary school he attended the Canandaiga Academy, where he received an excellent education. For 15 years he worked in the Interior Tax Service of the United States and later became a partner in his father's business, F.J. Kraft and Son. He's still at 31 East Huron, the place where "Papa" Kraft established the business. Mr. Kraft is one of the premier businessmen in the City of Buffalo and enjoys the high regard of his fellow citizens, as did his father before him. He is completely involved with making sure that the business' reputation remains unblemished. Despite modern trends, the business continues to grow. He is married to Elizabeth Cornelius and lives at 53 Lexington Avenue.


Adam Cornelius,

the subject of our next sketch, was born on July 23,1837 in Gensingen at Bingen on the Rhein in the Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt. He came to America as a youngster of 2 and a half years with his parents, who settled on a farm near White's Corner in the Town of Hamburg. He attended the district school and after graduation he spent the winter at a so-called "Select School". Until age 19 he worked on his parent's farm. On April 4, 1857 he entered the flour business of Philip Houck and in 1862 we find him as a partner of this business, which operated under the name Phil. Houck & Co. Currently Mr. Cornelius is a senior partner in the firm. His sense of fair play and business accumen couldn't help but win him the respect of all with whom he had dealings. It's no wonder others have sought his assistance with the establishment of their own businesses. The German Fire Insurance Company, the Union Bank, the Commercial Insurance Company, of which Mr. Cornelius is a Director, are indebted to him for their positive stature. To the Order of the Free Masons, in which he has made it to the 32nd level, he is a highly esteemed individual. The Buffalo Orpheus, to which he has belonged for many years, treasured him. He served as Captain of a Cavalry Troop in the New York Militia under General Howard. On June 9, 1861 he married Miss Caroline Huber, born in the Town of Hamburg. The happy union, which unfortunately ended on February 8, 1895 with the death of Mr. Cornelius' beloved life partner, produced 3 daughters all of whom are alive and married. On November 12, 1896 Mr. Cornelius, whose home is at 42 Linwood Avenue, married the Widow Caroline Scheu.

Augustus Fuchs

was born in Meisenheim of the Hessen-Homburg region on June 18, 1822. After he finished school he learned the saddlery trade in Kreuznach and later travelled to Strassberg. From 1841 to 1845 he worked in his shop in Paris. Then he went to America and first settled in Newark, New Jersey. In 1849 he followed his brother Julius to Buffalo and procured a position as a clerk in a speciality shop. The brothers soon after established a business under the firm name of A. & J. Fuchs, which dealt with specialty items, wines and liquors. In 1855 their brother Eduard became a partner in the business and the name was changed to Fuchs Brothers.


Mr. Augustus Fuchs was a Democrat, took an active part in politics and served the city for several years as Parks Commissioner. Since the heart of his interest was the beverage trade, he held influential positions within the industry. He was elected President of the Wine, Liquor and Beer Dealer's Association, and he was chosen for the General Executive Board (the 3 federations). Furthermore he was Treasurer of the New York State Liquor Dealer's Association. He regularly took part in the affairs of the German community. He was a member of the Concordia Lodge No.143 Order of the Free Masons, the Germania Capital No. 256, R.A.M., the Buffalo Liedertafel (Glee Club)and many long years sas President of the Buffalo Sängerbund. On May 20, 1852 he married Miss Helene Mayer of Eden, New York, who died March 16, 1886. He survived her by only 2 years and departed this world on December 7, 1888. From the union there are 5 children still living: 2 daughters - Mrs. J. A. Kuhn and Mrs. Frank Kuhn, and 3 sons - Edwin G., William L. and Charles F. Fuchs.

Philip Dorsheimer

first saw the light of the world on April 15, 1797 in Weistein, in the Baden region. After successfully completing his schooling the 17-year-old young man decided to emigrate to America. In 1815 he arrived at the hospitable shores of this land and made his way to Pennsylvania, settling in Harrisburg. He became familiar with the language, the customs and the manners of the land and through hard word and persistence established a snug abode. On August 23, 1821 he brought his bride, Miss Sarah Gorgas, to her new family home.

Due to certain circumstances he left Pennsylvania and came to Western New York. He lived in Lyons from 1826 to 1836. In April of 1836 he made Buffalo his home. Two years after settling here he was appointed to the office of Post Master by Martin Van Buren on the 8th of June. On April 1, 1845 he was reappointed for a second time by James K. Polk. In 1856 he was a candidate for delegate on the Fremont Presidential Ticket. In 1859 he was elected Treasurer of the State of New York and stayed in this office until December 1861. In the following year he was appointed Inland Tax Collector on August 22 and remained at that post until 2 years before his death on April 11, 1868. He was a volunteer in the German War for Independence.

William Dorsheimer

was born on February 5, 1832 in Lyons, New York. When he was 5 his parents moved to Buffalo. When he reached school age he attended the public schools and graduated. He wanted to study jurisprudence so he attended Harvard University. After he finished his studies he was admitted to the Bar. During the Civil War he served on the staff of General J.C. Fremont, whom he assisted diligently.

In 1869 he was appointed Federal Prosecutor of the Northern Districts of New York by Andrew Johnson. He stayed at this post until 1871. In 1874 he was elected with Samuel J. Tilden to the office of Lieutenant Governor. He was Lieutenant Governor a second time, this time running on the ticket with Lucius Robinson in 1879.

After his second term he settled in New York and established a law partnership with David Dudley Field. In 1884 he took over the editorship of the New York Star and guided it in a positive manner.

Mr. Dorsheimer was one of the principle founders of the Parks System and put much time and effort into its improvement and elaboration during his stays in Buffalo. He died on March 26, 1888 in Savannah, Georgia.

.John Philipp Einsfeld

The above mentioned individual is counted among the oldest and best known settlers in Erie County. In 1832 he was born in Partenheim, part of the Hessen-Darmstadt region. He emigrated to America in 1846 when he was 14 years old in the company of his parents. He arrived in Buffalo on June 15, 1846. He had attended the local congregational school in the old homeland. Attending school in America precluded his need to learn a trade. Soon after his arrival he learned the art of printing. He remained true to the profession for 10 years. Fortunate circumstances got him selected to be a doorman * in the House of Representatives. He held this position from 1859 to 1864. He then became secretary to the Honorable E.G. Spaulding during his term as a Congressional Representative.

In 1868 he went into partnership with Geo. Zeiler and established a household goods business under the name of Zeiler & Einsfeld. He remained there until 1876. Later he established the firm Einfelds & Emig, a shoe and boot factory, which stands in full bloom. The old 7th Ward was represented by him from 1872 to 1875. He volunteered for service in the Civil War in 1862 and remained in service until the end of the war, earning the rank of second Lieutenant. On August 2, 1852 he married Miss Barbara Weaver of Chippewa, Ontario. She gave him a daughter, now Mrs. Adolph Frankenstein. She still lives in Buffalo. Mr. Einsfeld died on April 16, 1891. He was truly loved by all who knew him, business associates and social acquaintences alike.

Bernhard Dufner,

who died January 16, 1898 was, like his grandfather and father in Germany, famous in America for his artistic musical instruments. Mr. Dufner's grandfather, Anton Dufner, who was born in Furtwangen in the Black Forest in 1730, occupied himself with making mechanical musical instruments and might well be considered the father of the orchestrion, an invention usually attributed to F.T. Kaufmann. The later first offered his mechanical music player to the public in 1851, while Dufner was working as a clockmaker.

* The term used is Thürsteher, which could mean bouncer. Return to text


Dufner had first come upon the idea at the end of the previous century to create a self-playing organ when he received musical instruction from a monk. His first instrument had 21 pipes and all who saw it were impressed that it was a wonderful invention. It held a place of honor within the church. Dufner, with some of his relatives, established a factory to produce orchestrions, which were perfected to the point that they could play the most difficult of musical pieces. Anton Dufner died in 1834. His son, Bernhard's father, took over the business. He produced an especially large instrument and toured the land with it. He came to Stuttgart, the capital city of Würtemberg. The instrument stirred up a lot of attention. The King extended to him the rights of citizenship, full exemption from taxes, and a pension of 10,000 Guilders in exchange for his moving to Stuttgart and setting up an orchestrion factory. Dufner declined the offer and stayed in his home town. His son, Bernhard, was born on July 1, 1836. After the father's death he took over the business but decided in 1857 to emigrate to America. He was convinced that he could find a better location for his mechanical instrument factory. He stayed a year in New York then settled in Buffalo. The first instrument, which he produced, was acquired by the late W.G. Fargo. His orchestrions found buyers throughout the land. The finest of the instruments he produced can be found at the Powers Gallery in Rochester. It cost $12,000. Mr. Dufner, who was married to Anna Freiner, lived at 108 Goodell Street. He was an extremely decent man. Most Buffalonians knew him as did residents of other cities since his name was famous because of his musical instruments. He was an active member of Branch No. 15 of the C.M.B.A. and the Niagara Council No. 169, C.B.L.

George Bleistein

The life of Mr. Bleistein may serve as an example of what hard work, energy and ability can do to secure for poor people a comfortable and respectable life. As the son of poor parents he was born in Buffalo on December 6, 1861. He attended the German St. John's School for 2 years then he attended Public School 15. In order to support himself he was forced to leave school at the age of 14. He found employment at the Courier Company. Through his diligence and persistence he was able within 5 years to raise himself from office boy to management. He later became President of the company, a position which he still holds today. Under his guidance the Courier developed into one of the most respected and influential Democratic newspapers in the State, which advocated honest and corruption-free city government and never used its influence for self-gain. When the Home-Rule Movement took on greater dimensions, Mr. Bleistein worked zealousy for this principle. He was the President of Home Rule Democracy for Erie County. Although he was an avid Democrat and an influential leader of his Party, he resisted the cajoling of his friends to run for public office. The only public post which he held was that of Trustee for the City and County Hall. Mr. Bleistein held that post for 7 years, 4 of those years as Chairman of the Trustees. On April 28, 1886 he married Elizabeth W. McCune, who gave him 3 children - 2 sons and 1 daughter. Mr. Bleistein's private residence is at 438 Delaware Avenue. The parents of this ambitious businessman were born in Germany and settled in Buffalo in 1836. Since the Courier changed hands a few years ago, Mr. Bleistein spends more of his time managing the large printing office of the Courier Company.

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A note on pages 23 and 25 - After trying half a dozen times to image these pages, I gave up and focused on half a page at a time. The paper used to print this book is very shiny and some print is not as deep-set. The pages are much lighter than they appear in this website.

Revised July 30, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks