The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 182 - 186

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Maennerchor", and last the "Buffalo Orpheus", which in spite of its youth (it had been in existence only two years) turned out in goodly numbers. Upon a gorgeous wagon, decorated with green boughs, was an immense rock, upon which was throned the Greek singer "Orpheus", from whom the society takes its name, symbolizing with lyre in hand the power of song which is able to conquer the world. About the rock were grouped female figures, representing Europe, America, Asia and Africa. The officials of the "German Young Men's Association" brought up the rear of the second division. The lodges of the Harugari's and the Odd Fellows formed the third, the Beneficiary Societies the fourth, and Church Societies the fifth division. The bakers, brewers, maltsters and coopers marched and rode in the sixth division. The seventh and last division was composed of the German business branches, the different trades or their products being exhibited on large wagons.

The most expensive wagon in the procession was the triumphal chariot of Germania. Bold and lofty the proud figure stood, at its feet the Rhine with its vineyards. On its four sided towering above the green garlands, were the famous castles of the Rhine, Ehrenbreitenstein, Stolzenfels, Sonneck, and Rheinstein. Art, Commerce, Industries and Agriculture were all symbolically represented; German and American flags fluttered from the wagon, the whole having for its fundamental idea "Die Wacht am Rhein" [The Watch on the Rhine].

On a wagon decorated with green boughs and flags, the different German States were represented by women and children, arrayed in the costumes peculiar to each. The mottos used were significant and appropriate to the tendency of the jubilee celebration. Four abreast, with firm steps and with proud erect bearing the multitudes marched by. Resolution and love of liberty shone from every eye; it was no wonder that the spectators of other nationalities looked with astonishment, and the German spectators,with pride and enthusiasm upon those marching by, and upon the splendid decorations.

Not far from the platform erected for the festival guests a triumphal arch having three passages spanned Main Street; American and German flags waved from the top, and the coat of arms of all the

Caption under picture at center reads The Original Eagle Street Theatre - 1835

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German States and free cities, including those of the newly acquired provinces Alsace and Lorraine, adorned its sides.

The passing of the parade by the reviewing platform occupied one hour and five minutes. The line of march was as follows: Niagara, Main, Exchange, Michigan, Eagle, Main, Virginia, North Pearl, Allen, Main, Genesee, Hickory and Batavia Streets to the Arsenal. All along the line of march the parade was greeted with great applause by the densely packed crowd. At the Arsenal, in front of which at that time was a large grass plot, a raised platform in the form of a crescent had been built in front of the building, between the two towers, upon which the festival guests, the speakers, singers and representatives of the press took their places. After the festival president had welcomed those present in the name of the general committee with an enthusiastic speech, the orchestra under the leadership of the festival director, Frederick Federlein, intonated the strains of a "Peace Jubilee March" composed by Mr. Federlein.

Dr. Brunck, the first festival speaker, referred with great enthusiasm to the magnificence of the German Empire, the rejuvenation of which it had been his privilege to witness in his old age. The selection "Die Wacht am Rhein" by the singers was followed by the second festival address, delivered by George Baltz. After the choral "Nun danket alle Gott" [Now Let All Thank God] pastor Dr. Otto Burger made the third festival speech. The exercises at the Arsenal closed with the singing of the national hymn, "The Star Spangled Banner". But, herewith, the celebration was in no wise concluded, for in the afternoon picnics were held in all the picnic grounds and summer gardens, the most noteworthy of which was the one held in Washington or Koester's Park, on Main Street, near High Street.

The general committee of the jubilee celebration, and to whose indefatigable efforts the success of the festival was mainly due, was composed of the following members: Dr. Edward Storck, Julius Rieffenstahl, Solomon Scheu, Frederick Behn, William Lautz, Frederick Held, Dr. A. Haupt, Albert Ziegele. George Vom Berge.

The Anglo-American press was unanimous in its praise of the festival. The "Buffalo Courier" wrote concerning it as follows:
"The peace celebration by our German fellow-citizens, yesterday, was full of significance. The spectacle which was presented by the vast procession was such as could be presented in no other country. Nowhere else can there be found so numerous a body of expatriated Germans as in the United States; from no other country go out to the Fatherland so many impulses of sympathy and love; and in no other country would such as open demonstration of foreign nationality have passed off so peacefully, if indeed it had been permitted at all.

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"It is a peculiarity of our institutions and people, that we not only welcome all nations, but that in most cases, notably with the Germans, we readily fraternize with them. Aside from the immediate object of the demonstration yesterday - the celebration of the return to peace - the intelligent spectator could not fail to be impressed with two central ideas. One was the general thrift and prosperity of those who made up the great procession and the other was the strong assertion of nationality which was made.

"Although the great majority of those who participated were artizans [sic] and laborers, we failed to discover a single individual who wore the badge of poverty. All gave token of the daily participation in the comforts of life, and carried themselves as is sustained by a consciousness, not only that the occasion was their own, but that while rejoicing as Germans, they had still greater cause for doing so in the fact that they were American citizens. The whole demonstration seemed to us to afford a justification of the American policy of welcoming all nations. It showed most conclusively that the instinct of nationality is not in conflict with true citizenship.

"The history of the world does not afford an instance wherein any people have had greater cause for pride and congratulation than the German of to-day. A desperate and bloody war has been fought through continuous signal victories, with a nation which until now has had an unbroken prestige of warlike renown, and all within less than ten months. The campaign has been marked with splendid generalship, and a steady persistent bravery, which have shed new lustre upon the German name. Such speedy and effectual conquest is with out a parallel in any war of equal proportions, and we cannot wonder that every man who has German blood in his veins, wherever he may live or whatever be his allegiance, should be proud of his lineage, and of the Fatherland."

Caption under picture at center reads Red Jacket, Born 1753, Died 1832

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Erie County in the Civil War

It was on April 15th, 1861, when in Erie County and especially in Buffalo the enthusiasm was great. We do not want to give a history of the civil war, that does not lay within the scope of this book, but we only wish to tell how Erie County stood in those great times. All the newspapers of Buffalo had on that day a full account of the bombardment and of the fall of Fort Sumter, with headlines of the largest type, and the excitement grew from hour to hour. All stores and business places were closed, only the newspapers were extraordinarily busy and published extras between short intervals, which were bought and read by the excited people as never before. On the same evening came the call for a meeting to form an organization of "minute men", who were to enlist at once. The large hall in the Court House was well filled long before the appointed hour of the meeting. Elihu Cook was elected chairman, but the meeting had not made much progress when the crush of people became so great that a recess had to be taken, after which the meeting was opened again in "Kremlin Hall", but it was not long after when another recess had to be taken and the meeting finally came to order on the street in front of the American Hotel. But while the enthusiasm was great it had not reached its height, on the contrary, it grew from day to day. On April 18th General Scroggs called a meeting of all those who had volunteered for service. A part of these organized themselves as the first volunteer company of Erie County and elected Wm. H. Drew Captain, R.F. Gardner 1st Lieutenant and E.R.T. Shurley 2nd Lieutenant.

The different militia regiments which were in existence at that time were also very enthusiastic and when the Governor issued a call Col. Chauncey Abbott called his men together and could report in a very short time that 250 men from the 67th Regiment, among them a great many Germans, were ready for service. The 74th and 65th Regiments also established recruiting bureaus.

On May 3rd the first four companies representing the county left for Elmira, followed on May 11th by six more companies, recruited mostly from the 74th militia regiment. These 10 companies formed the first Erie County Regiment and were known as the 21st New York Volunteers, under Colonel William F. Rogers. During the summer the people followed the fortunes of war with great interest and in July of the same year Major Daniel B. Bidwell of Buffalo was authorized to form a new regiment. This regiment was recruited mainly in Erie and Chautauqua Counties and the Germans of both counties sent a strong contingent for it. The regiment received the name of the 49th New York Infantry.

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Caption under full-page picture reads Old Armory, 74th Regiment, N.G.N.Y., cor, Elmwood Ave. and Virginia St.


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Revised April 16, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks