Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 126 - 130

Biographies for Prof. Carl F. Siekmann, Hugo Kirchner, Dr. Gustav A. Hitzel, and Frederick A. Vogt

Prof. Carl F. Siekmann

Prof. Carl F. Siekmann may be counted among the intellectual leaders of Buffalo's German community. He is a flag bearer for German culture, German language, and German customs. With an exceptional willingness to sacrifice himself he is an outstanding scholar whose importance is acknowledged well outside the bounds of the city. He is ever willing to take up a new task for the sake of furthering German ideals and endeavors. There is proof for this statement through examination of the many posts he has assumed in unions, associations, and clubs and the important things he has accomplished. The German community of our city owes a big thanks to Mr. Siekmann.

Carl Friedrich Hermann Siekmann was born on Sunday, March 26, 1865 in Vossheide in the Principality of Lippe. He was the 6th son of chief instructor, parish clerk, and organist Ludwig Siekmann and his wife Elise, nee Plöger. Both of Prof. Siekmann's parents came from teaching families. His grandfathers, Anton Siekmann of Hörstman and Plöger of Oberwüsten, were educators. He attended the schools in his father city and the excellent academic high school "Gymnasium Leopoldinum zu Lemgo". Even during his prep school days, in which he especially enjoyed private instruction in foreign languages, he was ordered to work as an assistant to his father during a period where there was a shortage of teachers.
After placing well in the entrance exams in 1882 he attended the Royal Teachers Seminary in Detmold and graduated at Easter time of 1882. He acquired a position as teacher and sexton in Haustenbeck near Paderborn. In September 1889 he emigrated to America. Later his only sister, Hermine, followed. Landing in New York at the beginning of October, he found employment a few days later with the man who was to become his father-in-law, Johann Münstermann, a compatriot and distant relative who was at one time also a teacher in Lippe. Mr. Siekmann stayed in the grocery business of John F. Münstermann & Sons for about a year. The business was located at the corner of 24th Street and 9th Avenue in New York. When the prospect of advancement and increased financial reward beckoned, he left this business and a few months later he left New York. First he came to Buffalo and then he went to St. Louis, Mo. in order to accept a position as secretary for the German Christian Association for Young Men.
In September 1892 he married Miss Anna Münstermann, a German-American businesswoman who was born in Illinois but was educated in Germany. She operated a laundry in New York. Siekmann tried his hand at the Franklin Laundry but he was not happy with it. The business was sold for a profit.
The young couple was impressed by the Buffalo area while on their honeymoon in Niagara Falls. They settled here amid much encouragement from their friends in February 1893. Siekmann established a book and music business. The business floundered due to the general economic malaise of the area. "God never abandons a German" remained Siekmann's motto. Undaunted by misfortune and supported by his loyal wife, he attempted to increase the business and at the same time create additional income by giving music instruction and private tutoring. He succeeded at this and then aqcuired the position of organist at St. Mark's Church and later a position as instructor at St. Peter's Church. He's held the organist position for nearly 19 years now.

Siekmann has been a US citizen since 1894 and has a lively interest in public issues. Politically he is a loosely affiliated Republican. He has never sought political office.

The love of his former profession returned to him so he took the qualifying exams to teach German in the high schools. After passing he acquired a position as night school teacher at School 39 on High Street. He taught classes to immigrants there for 10 years except for one winter when he taught at Central High School. He was also employed in the day schools as an assistant in Schools 41, 31, and 13. On New Years Day 1902 he got a position as German instructor at the West High School and with the opening of Lafayette High School in the Spring of 1903 he became head instructor of German at this school. Six years later at the same school he became director of all modern language instruction. Over the course of the years Prof. Siekmann has conducted the Lafayette High School Orchestra, which he established. Concerts were often performed with singing groups and other performers. Occasionally the orchestra played at school events.

Prof. Siekmann has an active social life. Besides the Christian Young Men's Association he belongs to the Orpheus and the Concordia Lodge of the Free Masons. For many years he has been the vice-president of the German-American City Association. He was one of the speakers at this group's 1911 German Days Festival. Prof. Siekmann is a member of St. Mark's German Evangelical Church. Besides demonstrating exceptional musical ability from an early age he exhibited a great love of literature. During his work for the Christian Young Men's Association in New York, St. Louis, and Buffalo he used this talent. About 3 years ago he established the German Literary Society of Buffalo. Prof. Siekmann is president of the Schiller Memorial Society of Buffalo. Futhermore he is a co-editor of the periodical Aus Nah und Fern (From Near and Far).

Among those in the teaching field Prof. Siekmann holds a position of respect. The Association of Modern Language Instructors in Buffalo and the Surrounding Area has Prof. Siekmann to thank for its existence as does the State Association. He has been the president of both associations since their inception. Several improvements in the field of modern language instruction have occured thanks to Prof. Siekmann. In October 1911 Prof. Siekmann was appointed a member of the examining committee for the German language on the College Entrance Examination Board. This distinction is to be highly valued since he is one of the 3 member committee which represents the State of New York. Other associations and committees, to which Prof. Siekmann belongs, include the German Deaconess Society, the German Orators Club, the German North-American Teachers Association, the Swiss Association of New York, the Sauerland Alpine Club, and the Gelsenkircheners, of which he is an honorary member.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Prof. Carl F. Siekmann

Furthermore he is a co-founder and secretary of the High School Teachers Association of Buffalo (Men's division) and chairman of the committee for the use of the German language in the State of New York.

Prof. Siekmann lives at 94 Parkdale Avenue with his family which includes his wife Anna, their 2 daughters Louise and Alma, and their 2 sons Carl and Theodor. Prof. Siekmann lives next door to his father-in-law's cozy little home. They share family life together. Besides his sister there are still 4 brothers living - Ludwig, Rector in Gelsenkirchen; Heinrich, a clockmaker in Bielefeld; Wilhelm, a baker in Lemgo; and Hermann, a teacher in Lemgo. Unfortunately two older brothers and his parents have died since his settling in America.

Hugo Kirchner

In the old fabled imperial city of Worms a son was born on September 30, 1861 to the merchant Christian Kirchner and his wife, nee Kramer. He was baptized with the name Hugo. In 1865 Christian Kirchner died and the family moved to Konstanz, where Hugo received his schooling. Mr. Kirchner spent his apprenticeship in beautiful old Heidelberg. When that ended he was employed in several cities including Wiesbaden, Hamburg, and Frankfurt on the Mainz. In this last city he completed his military obligation with the 81st Infantry Regiment as a private. After 3 years of military service he travelled to America. He landed in 1884. Within a short time he secured an excellent position for himself. He had the opportunity as chief steward to accompany the most prominent and richest families on their pleasure excursions. He used the opportunity to study the land and the people. He expanded his knowledge of the business.

In 1886 Mr. Hugo Kirchner settled in Buffalo and was employed at several first class hotels. Then for 12 years he was head of the culinary department of the country club. Six years ago he took over the management of the German-American Cafe at the corner of Main and High Streets. Under his management the cafe has turned into one of the best and most popular restaurants in the city. The restaurant is frequented by Germans and Americans alike, who value a good meal, a drink or two, and friendly, courteous service.

On July 9, 1887 Mr. Kirchner married Miss Katharina Bauer. Four sons have come from the happy union: August,23; Henry P, 21; Hugo, 19, and Paul, 13. Of course Mr. Kirchner regularly takes part in all German endeavors. He is an active member of the Buffalo Gymnastics Club. As a member of the Siegfried and Brunnhilde Club he has not only been a good playwright but a fine actor as well.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Hugo Kirchner

For the club he wrote an interesting play and then he performed the main role successfully. Furthermore he is a member of the Orpheus, the Sängerbund, the Automobile Club, the Launch Club, and several other groups. He is a lovable and obliging individual and an excellent association member. All those who spent time with him come to value him because of his wonderful personality.

Dr. Gustav A. Hitzel

Dr. Gustav A. Hitzel has developed a distinguished reputation as a physician. Although he is a native of America, he stands as a top member of Buffalo's branch of the great German-American National Assembly. He first saw the light of the world on July 5, 1870 in Buffalo. He is the son of Johann Jacob Hitzel, a Hessian, and his wife Bertha, nee Drobisch, of Dresden in Saxony.

After attending the public schools in Buffalo he went to the University of Buffalo to study medicine. He graduated after passing his exams with distinction to become a practicing physician. He was chosen as resident physician at the Buffalo General Hospital for a year. He soon established such an excellent reputation for himself that a number of charitable societies chose him to be their association doctor. At the same time he was a member of the Doctor's College at the Eye and Ear Infirmary, the German Hospital, and the German Deaconess Hospital.

He was elected Master Bard of the Harugari Lodge No. 598 of Young Siegfried. In 1908 he was elected president of the lodges statewide. Under his leadership they enjoyed exceptional prosperity and he was reelected in 1909, 1910, and 1911. In May of 1910 he became staff physician of the German Soldiers Association of the United States and he was given the opportunity to travel in Europe. This gave him the opportunity to see for himself what German life was like. In him the German way of life found a zealous advocate and enthusiastic orator.

In his 23rd year he entered the bonds of matrimony with Roberta Cook of Orillia, Canada. Two children came from the marriage, a son, Romell, and a daughter, Beulah.

His office is located at 49 East Parade Avenue, which also serves as his home.

The name Gustav Hitzel connotes for a broad circle of German Americans a specific regimen: intensive and joyfully self-sacrificing work in the North American Union, which has at its basis German seriousness of purpose and the German capacity for enthusiasm.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Dr. Gustav A. Hitzel

Frederick A. Vogt

Mr. Frederick A. Vogt, one of the most well-known and prominent teachers in the city, was born in 1860 in Buffalo. For many years he has been principal of Central High School. He attended Public Schools 24, 12, and 10 as well as the Central High School, from which he graduated summa cum laude. In September of the same year he became principal of City Schools 37 and 9. In October 1883 he took over the administration of School 26. He was there until 1902 when he became a teacher of Geology and History at Central High School. Scarcely a year later he became principal of Central High School.

Mr. Vogt has held this post for nearly 20 years with great ability and dedication to duty. Under his administration Central High School has become a model educational institution, in which a goodly portion of our citizens has gained the fundamentals for successfully planning a career.

Mr. Vogt is a proponent of foreign travel and he has enriched his own life and circle of acquaintences through it. He's not only been across the entire United State and Alaska but also he's been in Europe eleven times. He's travelled to Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, and Asia Minor. Mr. Vogt has never forgotten his German heritage and his good German education. He speaks German perfectly and he is a loyal observer of German customs and habits.

Caption under picture at center reads Frederick A. Vogt

German text for the last paragraph is on page 131 and can be found at Webpage 11

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised July 29, 2005