Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 141 - 145

Biographies for Edward Ehler, Charles J. Fix, Harry J. Knepper, Edward J. Eisele, Albert Hutter, and Theodor C. Fedders

German text for biography of Edward Ehler starts on page 140, which can be found on Webpage 12

Edward Ehler

Among those German citizens of our city who can reflect upon their success in the New World we may place Edward Ehler at the top of the list. He was born in 1854 in Heitersheim, Baden. After attending school he studied mechanics in Freiburg and attended the nearby trade school. He successfully completed his qualifying exams, bundled up his worldly belongings, and set off on his journeymanship. He worked in various places in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, et.al. His intention was to increase his knowledge of the field. He did so to the extent that he was counted among the best in his field and he was able to well provide for himself in his native city. He heard and read much about America. The drive to explore and learn brought him across the ocean. In 1881 he landed on the shores of the New World.

He came directly to Buffalo at the suggestion of his friend, Mr. Joseph Spaeth, who started a successful bakery here. He found his first position in the workshop of the Niagara Stamping Tool Co. He soon became foreman and later worked his way up to work supervisor.

In 1896 he established the Crosby Company in partnership with Mr. W.H. Crosby. It was a small beginning but under Mr. Ehler's practical and theoretical guidance as supervisor it grew to become one of the largest works of its kind in America and Europe.

Mr. Ehler has been especially helpful to the bicycle and automobile industry with his understanding of the construction and production of metal punch machines and stamping presses. He's also had the honor of being among the first to produce pressed brass and steel parts for these industries in order to make automobiles and bicycles lighter, quicker to produce, and more cost effective.

As a member of the Mechanical and Automobile Engineers Association of America he has made a name for himself. He is an active member of the Buffalo Natural Science Society and takes an interest in its endeavors. He has travelled to Europe and America, especially the West and California, where he has studied natural science and mechanics. Mr. Ehlers still finds time to take part in German activities. For years he has been a member of the Buffalo Sängerbund and the Teutonia Liederkranz, the Buffalo Automobile Club, and many other lodges and clubs. He is a man of honorable nature who is popular within society and respected as an individual and a businessman.

Mr. Ehler has been married to Miss Louise Malsch of Baden since 1882. The happy union has produced 2 children, who are still living. They are Mrs. Clara Wagner and Miss Cathryn Ehler, who have received a good education and upbringing.

Charles J. Fix

Mr. Charles J. Fix is one of the best known and most prominent citizens and businessmen in Buffalo. He is a former Treasurer of Erie County and Alderman of the 15th Ward. His parents came from the beautiful little piece of land known as Baden. His father, Nikolaus Fix, was born in the Wolfach District in 1812. During his youth he was a courier in service to the government. In 1850 he married Miss Viktoria Meyer of Schnelling. The enterprising couple decided to emigrate to the New World and find themselves a new home. Back then crossing the ocean was not as easy as it is today. The couple sailed from LeHavre to New York. They landed after enduring the 65-day-long, stormy, and dangerous journey. The couple came to Buffalo from New York on the Erie Canal. They settled here. Nikolaus Fix was one of the best known German pioneers. He died in 1882. His widow is still living. She's had the good fortune of seeing her son, Charles J. Fix, become one of the wealthiest and most respected men in the city.

Mr. Charles J. Fix attended St. Louis' Catholic Parish School. Since his parents had not been blessed with an abundance of worldly goods he had to go to work early in life. At the age of 12 he became an apprentice typesetter at the old Buffalo Courier. Then he became a typesetter at the Evening Post. Having received a good German education he was able to assume the management for the production of the German Sunday Tribune and the daily paper The Worker's News at the age of 21.

Later he went into the advertising business and published the Adelphi Theater Program.

In 1881 Mr. Fix retired from newspaper and advertisement printing. He took over the position of chief clerk at the large ironwares business of Mr. Garano at 563 Main Street. He was employed at this business for 10 years. He developed an excellent background in the business and acquired many friends during that time. Consequently in 1892 he established his own business which was successful from its beginning. It was an ironwares business under the name Charles J. Fix & Sons Co., located at 808 Main Street. It's among the largest and most prominent in the city.

In the political arena Mr. Fix has played an important role. He is a staunch Republican and a zealous supporter of the principles and goals of his Party. In 1903 he became alderman of the 15th Ward. At the end of his term he was reelected by a vast majority of votes despite the fact that the mayor's candidate, J.N. Adam, had a plurality of 300 possible votes in the ward. When the office of Erie County Treasurer went vacant on March 6, 1906 following the resignation of Fred O. Murray, Governor Higgins appointed Mr. Fix to the post. The term lasted until January 1, 1907, at which time he was elected by a significant majority.

Mr. Fix is a loyal member of St. Louis' Catholic Church. He's also one of its trustees. Furthermore he is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Catholic Benevolent Legion, the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association, the Buffalo Orpheus, the Sängerbund, and the Gymnastics Club. He was president of the Amicus Club, the oldest social club in Buffalo. Since 1894 he has been on the director's committee of the German Roman-Catholic Orphanage. He is also director and treasurer of the Freehold Savings and Loan Association, vice president of the American Savings Banks, and member of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. At the beginning of March this year Mr. Fix was honored by his election as president of the State Association of Ironwares Dealers.

Since November 27* he has lived in wedded bliss to Miss Adaline F. Georger. The union has been blessed with 3 children: William C., Arthur F., and Mrs. Alfred Lang.

*No year is given

Harry J. Knepper

Mr. Harry Knepper is the son of one of the best known and most highly respected pioneers in our city, Mr. John H. Knepper. Harry Knepper is one of the most popular and best known German Americans in our city.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Charles J. Fix

He first saw the light of the world here in Buffalo in 1866. He has grown with the city.

The firm John H. Knepper & Son, Sanitary Plumbing Installations is located at 501 Washington Street. It's one of the best known businesses of its kind in Buffalo. Harry J. Knepper is secretary and treasurer of the firm which carries and installs all kinds of modern steam and water delivery systems.

Mr. Harry J. Knepper is a member in good standing of the Order of Elks. At Lodge No.23 he has held high office up to "Exalted Ruler", the office he held from 1907 to 1909. He was chairman of the most important committees for the great Elks Reunion, chairman of the Site and Building Committee for the Elks' Temple, and chairman of the committee for the Commission of Old Home Week City Celebration. It was his idea to commission a replica of Old Buffalo for the benefit of the German Hospital. This was a great success. He is secretary of the German Hospital, a member of the Buffalo Orpheus, as well as former president and member of many other clubs and associations. Mr. Knepper is a man of lovable and welcome demeanor who is very popular among all circles of society.

Eduard J. Eisele

Mr. Eduard J. Eisele is one of the most successful businessmen in our city. He is president of the well known jewelry firm of King and Eisele. He built his business up from humble beginnings to become one of the most significant businesses of its kind here in Buffalo. Mr. Eisele, now at the blessed age of 80 years, has displayed an lively interest in all German-American activities and has always dealt generously with charitable causes and useful endeavors. He is one of the main supporters of the German Deaconess House. He has a voting interest on the administrative council.

Eduard Johann Eisele was born on February 13, 1831 in Degenfeld in the district of Gmünd, Württemberg. He was the son of the miller Johann Eisele and his wife. He attended the local school in Weissenstein and he apprenticed in the goldsmith trade in Vienna. On August 17, 1854 he came to America and settled first in Brooklyn, N.Y. On March 15, 1857 he came to Buffalo where he worked for the firm of Oelrich & Juengling. When the partnership dissolved he was employed in Oelrich's business until April 1870, when he became self-supporting by partnering with W.F. King and establishing the firm of Eisele & King. Since King's death in 1895 Mr. Eisele has managed the firm with his son, Edward A. Eisele. Mr. Eisele is a first-rate practitioner in his field. His excellent knowledge base in the field of goldsmithing and his artistic flare have led to the firm's growth since he took over the business.

The business and workshops are located in a house at 14-20 North Division Street. The firm's showroom is run by Mr. Edward A. Eisele.

On October 7, 1857 in Buffalo Mr. Eisele married Miss Margarethe Hilfinger of Schenningen, Würtemberg. Five children have come from the happy union: Edward Albert, Christine, Anna, Margarethe, and Emma. The family residence is at 114 North Pearl Street. Mr. Eisele is a member of the First German Methodist Episcopal Church at 179 Mortimer Street.

Albert Hutter

One of the oldest sign companies in Buffalo is the Scott Sign Company, located at 340 Washington Street. The manager of this esteemed firm is Mr. Albert Hutter, a true German and an active member of the Buffalo Orpheus. He was born here in Buffalo on April 24, 1864 and attended the public schools. He apprenticed in the sign and decorative painting trade. As an artist in his field success has not been lacking. In 1885 he bought out the business of the Scott Sign Co., established in 1818. It was owned by Mr. Theodor P. Schwarz. In 1907 after the death of Mr. Schwarz the business was incorporated. Since that time Mr. Hutter has been at the helm. He has helped the business to flourish.

Mr. Hutter, who received a fine German education, is a longtime member of the German Young Men's Association and the Buffalo Orpheus. In this last prominent club he has been active for many years. He planned the decorations for the large masked ball of this club. It was the hallmark event of the social season.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Eduard J. Eisele

Caption under picture at lower right reads Albert Hutter

Currently he is chairman of the House Committee of the Orpheus. Furthermore he is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Add Club, the Buffalo Launch Club, the Auto Club, the Natural Science Society, the Buffalo Society of Artists, the Historical Society, the Y.M.C.A., and the Order of Red Men. In all of these associations Mr. Hutter enjoys much well earned respect. Whenever there have been large social events Mr. Hutter has brought his extraordinary talent into play without making a big deal about it. Many of the wonderful decorations at the large events held at the Arsenal and the Convention Hall were designed by him. These designs awed thousands.

Mr. Hutter has been happily married for 21 years to Miss Julia Zesch. The harmonious marriage has produced 3 children: Harold G., Ethel E., and Marguerite M. Hutter. He lives with his family in a cozy little home at 25 Ketchum Place.

Theodor C. Fedders

Mr. Theodor C. Fedders is one of our most prominent German industrialists, who through modest means, untiring exertion, and solid knowledge of his field has singularly become owner of one of the large factories in Buffalo. He was born on January 15, 1853 in Tönning. After graduating from the local school in his district he learned from his stepfather, H.F. Claussen, the plumbing business. In his stepfather Mr. Fedders found a capable and strict teacher. He perfected his knowledge of the trade and in 1880 he came to America. He settled in the windy city of Chicago and plied his trade. A year later in March 1881 he came to Buffalo. Here he worked for about 17 years for the George N. Pierce Co., E.B. Jewett, and Sidney Shepard & Co. In 1897 Mr. Fedders established his own business on Genesee Street under very modest circumstances. His entire sum for business capital was $1500. Three years after his business was established he was granted a patent on automobile radiators. Due to this triumph he was twice able to enlarge his old factory, which was a wooden structure. With the continued expansion of his business in 1907 he was forced to relocate to a large modern facility at 57 Tonawanda Street. Three years after that in 1910 he needed more room. He acquired more land and built a large addition onto his factory. He currently employs 350 men.

Mr. Fedders married Mathilde Peterson in Sonderburg. He lives with his wife in a comfortable home at 16 Willow Lawn Avenue.

Caption under picture at uppr right reads Theodor C. Fedders

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised July 31, 2005