The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County - Part II, pages 27 - 31

Biographies for August Feine, Barbara Feine, Johann Georg Soergel, Mrs. Johann Georg Soergel, Jacob Gustav Soergel, August Theo. Soergel, Titus Erb, Maria Rosina Erb, Jacob Reichert, Herman A.O. Hoffmann, Nicholas Weber, and Rebecca Weber.


August Feine,

about whom this next section deals, is known well beyond the city limits because of his artistry in the creation of ironwork. He was born on June 9, 1851 in Coelieda, Thuringia and attended the city school. He learned the locksmithing trade, which he perfected to an artistic form. In 1881 he emigrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo on April 22nd of the same year. He worked for many years in various machine shops and finally opened his own ornamental metal works shop on July 15, 1891 at Genesee and Oak Streets, which he later relocated to 20 Lock Street. You'll find it there today. Mr. Feine, a true artist in his craft, is responsible for the wonderful and pleasing portico on the Main Street side of the Iroquois Hotel, as well as the magnificent and graceful picture frames he presented to the Buffalo Sängerbund in 1898 to celebrate the anniversary of its founding. These provide proof of the number of skilled craftmen in his shop and what he can do with modern machinery to produce the most intricate examples in the field. From his workshop comes ironwork for all kinds of construction - fire escapes, stairs, landings, etc. but above all else his specialty is ornamental latticework, which evokes the awe of professionals and laymen alike for its fine and artistic execution. Since 1882 Mr. Feine has been a member of the Order of the Harugari and the Harugari Men's Choir. Since 1891 he has belonged to the Buffalo Sängerbund as an active member. Currently he is its Vice-President. Furthermore he is a member of the Concordia Lodge Order of the Free Masons. Mr. Feine, who calls the exceedingly comfortable house at 365 Johnson Street his home, has been married to Barbara Weber since August 28, 1876. Six children, all still living together, have sprung from the generally happy union.

Barbara Feine,

nee Weber, was born on May 2, 1832 in Rockenhausen, part of the Rhein Palatinate. She attended the Protestant Congregation school in her home district. On August 28, 1876 she married Mr. August Feine in Frankfurt on Main. They came to the United States in 1881 and settled in Buffalo on April 22nd of the same year. Mrs. Feine, the mother of 6 children still living together, enjoys the greatest respect of all who are fortunate enough to know her because of her excellent character as a proper German housewife.

Johann Georg Soergel

was born on October 9, 1842 in Eschenfeld, Bavaria. He emigrated to America at the age of 4 with his parents. After enduring an arduous journey they arrived on July 4, 1846. They immediately settled in Buffalo, living on Sycamore Street between Spruce and Walnut. After attending Public School 12 and St. John's School on Hickory Street, where he first studied the rudiments of English and later German, he learned the butcher trade. He worked for several fine establishments including 9 years for Bullymore. In 1875 he launched his own business at 1560 Main Street. In 1877 he relocated to 1550 Main Street, conducting business there until 1894. Mr. Soergel was a successful businessman who combined untiring diligence with strong, dignified business sense. These traits helped him acquire a comfortable existence. He enjoys overall respect and uncompromised esteem. His circle of friends is very large. He has been happily married to Selma Schwenkenbecher since November 13, 1864.


They had 4 children , of whom 2 sons still live. Mr. Soergel lives at 13 Oxford Avenue in his very comfortable and pleasant home.

Mrs. Johann Georg Soergel

was born on July 21, 1843 in Grossloma, part of Saxony-Weimar. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Schwenkenbecher and has the baptismal name Selma. She attended Public School 12 and the German Protestant School of St. Peter's at the corner of Genesee and Hickory Streets. At both schools she acquired a good knowledge of English and German. In 1847 she emigrated to America with her parents and arrived in Buffalo in the summer of the same year. Her parents settled at the corner of Goodell and Mulberry Streets. On November 13, 1864 she married Johann Georg Soergel, whom she diligently and untiringly helped with his business without neglecting her household duties. The apparently happy marriage has produced 4 children, of whom 2 sons, Johann and Georg, still live. Mrs. Soergel lives with her husband at 13 Oxford Avenue.


Jacob Gustav Soergel,

a son of Mr. Johann Georg Soergel, first saw the light of the world on December 25, 1869. Like his brother, he attended Public School 17 and Bryant and Stratton Business School. He also learned the butcher trade and took over his father's business in 1894. He's still conducting business at the old place at 1550 Main Street. It was his intention to modify and enlarge the old business and he has managed to do this quite well. Mr. Sörgel [sic] is happily married to Olive Dunstone of Palmyra, Jefferson County, Wisconsin.

August Theo. Soergel,

the elder son of Mr. J.G. Sörgel, was born in Cincinnati on September 14, 1875. He came to Buffalo when his father opened up his own business. He attended Public School 17. He later attended Bryant and Stratton Business School. He then learned the butcher trade and entered the hotel business in 1888, the business in which he has been employed ever since with great success. He is married to Wilhelmina Louisa Raquet, who was born on June 29, 1879 in East-Amherst.


Titus Erb

was born on January 1, 1829 in Fulda in Hessen-Nassau. He received his education at the parish school in his district and learned cigar making. In 1851 the young, ambitious man emigrated to America and settled in Buffalo, where in May of the same year he began drawing up plans for a cigar factory. His reliability for delivering excellent products yielded him a good name in the world of business and he saw his business prosper. In 1853 Mr. Erb joined the Volunteer Fire Brigade and at the end of his service he joined the Exempt Firemen's Association. He regularly participated in affairs of the German community and he belonged to several lodges including the Harugaris, the Odd Fellows, etc. He was also involved with various charities including the German Hospital. On May 17, 1854 he married Maria R. Seilheimer. The marriage was childless. Titus Erb died suddenly on September 9, 1897 as the result of an accident. He is truly missed by all who knew him.

Maria Rosina Erb,

nee Seilheimer, was born January 19, 1832 in Mettenheim in the environs of Worms in the Grand Duchy of Hessen. She attended the parish school in her home district and came in 1848 with her parents to the United States. They immediately settled in Buffalo. She married cigar factory owner Titus Erb on May 17, 1854, with whom she had a very happy, though childless marriage until his sudden death on September 9, 1897. Mrs. Erb lives at 269 Spring Street.

Jacob Reichert

was born in 1817 in Herzheim-Weier in the Rhein Palatinate. He attended the Catholic school in the village. Afterwards he learned the bookbinder trade and emigrated to the Promised Land in 1840, where he settled in Buffalo. As a bookbinder he entered the business of Mr. H.G. Steele, for whom he was employed for 18 years. In his spare time he took instruction in the English Language. Spurred on by his love of working outdoors, he hung his bookbinding trade apron on the doornail and established a fruit and vegetable garden on Genesee Street by the Scajaquada Creek. There he cultivated grafted fruit orchards and planted shade trees. He was also the first working flower grower in Buffalo, having been instructed by Mr. Steele, who lived at Clinton Street near Michigan. In its day his park-like residence was visited by many strollers and it became a scenic attraction of the city. Mr. Reichert was a businessman of whom we Germans may be proud. His strictly honest business dealings made him many friends. His knowledge of his field and the energy with which he pursued his occupation had much to do with the success he enjoyed. In 1861 he represented the 12th Ward in the Supervisory Council and when he left the County Legislature, all were convinced that he had served the interests of his constituents and the entire county selflessly. He was nominated to run for the post of Treasurer of the City but he was defeated, despite his early majority at the polls, by the Democratic candidate. He was a lifelong member of the German Young Men's Association and he belonged to the Sports Club, the Sängerbund and the Free-Thinkers Club, which next to his relatives received a large bequest in his will.

.The German Young Men's Association received $3000, the Sports Club, the Sängerbund and the Free-Thinkers received $1000 each. Mr. Reichert was married to Barbara Kernner. The marriage was childless. He died in 1878, mourned by the entire community of Buffalo, who knew well how to treasure an individual of excellent character.

Hermann A.O. Hoffmann

was born on March 19, 1858 as the son of Lutheran cleric in Harburg, Hannover. He received excellent private instruction under the supervision of his father at the parental home for many years. Then he attended the scientific high school in Lüneberg. It was his parent's wish that he pursue an academic career but the young Hoffmann felt the urge to join the theater. He came to the United States in 1882 even though his father never would have granted him permission to do so. He made the journey in order to gain fame on the stage. After his landing in America he spent many years out West, successfully employed at various theaters. He eventually established a farmer's newspaper in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1886 he was engaged at the German Theater here in Buffalo under the direction of Gühlen. He spent many years plying his excellent, well-received craft and talent at our German temple to the Muses. Afterwards he also became a member of the editorial staff of the Volksfreund (The Buffalo People's Friend) and in 1891 he established the Sunday Post with Mr. Keller, while still performing with great success on the stage. Hermann Hoffman was a spirited, untiring performer with a well-trained baritone voice, which pleased the audience immensely. He belonged to a number of German clubs, primarily the Turnverein [Gymnastics Club], whose singing section has him to thank for their establishment. He belonged to the Orpheus, the Sängerbund, the Harugari Frohsinn, the Harugari Men's Choir, the Zither Club, the Orpheus of Niagara Falls and the Press Club. Hopefully we've listed them all. Mr. Hoffman distinguished himself not only as an actor and singer but also as an excellent poet. His light pieces in the Sunday Post, in which he dealt with the question of the day, earned him the accolades of a very wide circle. He was a genius at incidental poetry. On November 27, 1889 he married Ernestine Reinhardt. No children came from the union. "The Master of the Sunday Post", as he was widely known, died in the prime of life at the age of 39 on November 27, 1896. His death created a large rift in the circles in which he moved. The degree of his popularity was apparent on the day that his mortal remains went to the flames. Representatives of every class from the German community paid their last respects.

Nicholas Weber

is one of the oldest, still-living settlers of Buffalo. Mr. Weber was born on January 26 1811 in Sand in the parish of Kübelberg, Lothringia. He attended the community school and learned the tailoring and cape making trade. In 1833 he emigrated to America and immediated steered his steps towards Buffalo, where he spent the rest of his life. On February 18, 1845 he married Rebecca Ziegler, who gave him 10 children. Eight of those children are still living. Mr. Weber rejoiced in the proliferation of 9 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. On February 18, 1895 the old but still lively couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Rebecca Weber,

the wife of the aforementioned gentleman, was born on November 16, 1823 and emigrated to America accompanied by her parents in 1832. First they went to Hamburg, New York, where the 9-year-old Rebecca attended the district school. In 1845 she came to Buffalo and married Mr. Nicholas Weber on February 18, 1845. Her maiden name was Ziegler.

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Revised July 31, 2004
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks