Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 86 - 90

Biographies for Louis P. Fuhrmann, Ottomar Reinecke,and Karl August Göhle

Mayor Louis P. Fuhrmann - Text from p.85 from Webpage 1

"He's a Buffalo boy" is what the citizens of this city say with pride about their mayor. Mr. Louis Fuhrmann is the first mayor born in Buffalo, educated in Buffalo, and raised under the auspices of a free people. The German-Americans can proudly say, "He's one of us!" It was in 1868 that the son of Mr. Philip Fuhrmann and his wife Elisabeth was born. The couple had emigrated from beautiful Bavaria. Louis attended the public schools. After his graduation he entered the employ of the Jacob Dold Packing Co., where he soon proved that he was cut from the same wood from which successful businessmen are whittled. He advanced quickly due to his intellect, his hard work, and his energy.

He was sent by his firm to Kansas City to represent them. This was a responsible and demanding position, which offered him the best opportunities. He soon became a rich man. However he didn't wish to stay in Kansas City. He became homesick for his beautiful home city. He returned to Buffalo and started to establish his own large slaughterhouse. Not surprisingly he was successful in this endeavor and could soon be counted among the most prominent young businessmen.
He was also involved in politics, being a staunch Democrat. In 1906 he was elected alderman and in 1908 he was reelected by a large majority.

His ability and popularity gained him the party's nomination for mayor in 1909 and although he faced a strong Republican candidate he was triumphant at the polls. He began his tenure in office in 1910. He soon demonstrated that he was the right man for the job. He steered the ship of city government with a steady hand through dangerous waters. He won the admiration of his friends and his opponents could not deny their respect for him.

Determined to forge the way for progress, he let neither friend nor foe stand in his way. He always tried to do what was in the best interest for the city and what was the most beneficial to the citizenry.

Mr. Fuhrman has been happily married for 12 years and his wife, born Carolina Meahl, has given him 3 children: Fred, Dorothea, and David. He lives with his family in their simple yet cozy home at 438 Oak Street. The Louis P. Fuhrmann Packing House is at 1010 Clinton Street.

Caption under picture at center reads Mayor Louis P. Fuhrmann

Ottomar Reinecke

A veteran of Buffalo's German Press, Ottomar Reinecke has been an untiring crusader of German-American endeavor. He is a German in word and being. Ottomar Reinecke was the editor of the daily newspaper The Buffalo Free Press. He is held in the highest esteem by his fellow citizens. He came to America at the tender age of 12 but he never forgot his old homeland where his cradle stood. He served his new fatherland loyally with the full force of his energy and personality as a politician, as a newspaperman, and as a government official. Mr. Reinecke possesses an incredible variety of interests. In the scientific field he has made a name for himself through his study of the ornithology of Erie County. As a nature enthusiast from the days of his youth, he joined the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences soon after its establishment. He's been an active member ever since, always willing to sacrifice to the cause. His nature science collection is impressive and is considered among the most valuable private collections in the country. In the annals of the history of our city Ottomar Reinecke's name will hold a place of honor.

Ottomar Reinecke first saw the light of the world in the beautiful land of Thuringia. He was born on November 26, 1840 in Sondershausen in the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.

Caption under picture at center reads Ottomar Reinecke

In 1852 he emigrated with his parents to America. The family settled in Buffalo. Ottomar's father, Friedrich Reinecke, was a typesetter who established his own press. The press grew rapidly. By 1860 he was in a position to convert his weekly paper, Die Buffalo Allgemeine Zeitung (The Buffalo Universal Newspaper), into a daily newspaper under the name Buffalo Freie Presse (The Buffalo Free Press). With Friedrich Reinecke's relatively early death at the age of 49 in 1866, young Ottomar found himself in difficult circumstances carrying on his father's business. The daily newspaper became a weekly one once again but it retained its newer name. The young newspaperman, schooled in the old tradition of the fatherland and himself a competent practitioner, gathered fresh courage to continue the work. In 1872 the Free Press again became a daily paper and in 1893 the newpaper got its own grand home at 352 Ellicott Street. Mr. Reinecke found an excellent and loyal co-worker in Franz H. Zesch, who today is his partner. Mr. Reinecke can look back on his rich life as a successful businessman, not only because he took his newspaper to the top but also because in other business undertakings. This is due to his ability, his tenacity, his wisdom, and a little luck. For many years he was a director of the Erie Fire Insurance Co. and the Citizen's Gas Co. Politically Mr. Reinecke was a staunch Republican and he let this voice be heard in his newspaper. In 1896 he was appointed Parks Commissioner by Mayor Jewett. He maintained this office with informed awareness and zeal.

In German circles Mr. Reinecke is well known and loved. He belongs to several associations and clubs including the Buffalo Sängerbund (Buffalo Singing Society), of which he was president, the Buffalo Gymnastics Club, the Young Men's Association, etc. He is also a member of the Buffalo Typothetae and one of the directors of the German Hospital. Furthermore he belongs to the governing committee of the Schiller Memorial Society.

On September 25, 1866 he married Miss Eva Engel, who was born on October 12, 1845 in Oberhofen in Alsatia. She came with her parents to America in 1853. Seven children, 5 of whom are still living, came from the happy union. In 1891 the couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Mrs. Reinecke is very active in association life and dedicates her efforts particularly to the German Hospital.

Karl August Göhle

Mr. Karl August Göhle, celebrated as the Nestor among German teachers and musicians of the city, is a man of eternally lively and youthful enthusiasm for his beautiful profession. He was born on September 22, 1836 in Elsterberg, a small city on the Elster in the Saxony district of Vogtland. He was the son of a linen weaver. The serious boy exhibited a remarkable talent for music at an early age. He was scarcely 10 years old when he received instruction in piano and voice from private teacher Joseph Römhild. His beautiful soprano voice gained him admission into the church choir under the direction of Kantor Bernhard Cabisius. Within a short time he advanced to soloist and choirboy until he left the public school in his fatherland at the age of 13. In April 1849 he went to the seminary in Plauen to prepare to become a teacher. In order to enter the seminary one had to be 15 years old and pass the entrance exam. Although Göhle was not the required age, he was allowed to take the entrance exam. Having done well on the exams, he attended the school as a day student but had to live with townspeople until he reached age 15.

Among other things at the seminary he studied general bass, song, violin, piano and organ. Under the capable instruction of music teacher Gotthold Schulze the eager seminarian made such quick progress in the piano forte and the organ that he was soon ahead of his classmates and could perform on the second largest organ. The political movements of 1848 and 1849 did no go unnoticed in Plauen by his instructors. Göhle's instructor, Rudolph Kell, who taught the lad Latin, World History, Geometry, Mathematics and Writing, was a free-speaking man who found himself under investigation after the revolutionary movement in May 1849.

In May 1853 Göhle left the seminary and entered the nearby lyceum at Greiz, which at the time was known far and wide for its excellent curriculum. Here he continued his studies. Thanks to his diligent studying at Plauen he was far advanced in comparison to his classmates in piano and organ. In 1856 Göhle left Greis, having academically distinguished himself, and travelled to Bavaria to the Mission House in Neuendettelsau near Nuremberg. He wished to become a missionary. There he was a student of the famous Pastors Wilhelm Löhe and Fr. Bauer, the writers of a New High German grammar. In subsequent years he was sent to America with 3 fellow travellers, Moritz Bräuninger, Peter Brand, and Andreas Sussner of the Missionary Society of Middle Franken, to work as missionaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa among the Indians. They landed in New York on May 3, 1857 and came directly to Buffalo to have a visit with Pastor Grabau, whom the elders of the Iowa Synod had visited shortly before. There the travellers found that Göhle had received permission from the Iowa Synod at the request of Pastor Grabau to stay in Buffalo in order to assist as a teacher at the parish school. His companions continued on their journey. This would be the last time Göhle would see two of them. Bräuninger was shot by a Sioux in 1859 and Sussner died after several years as a pastor in Wisconsin. Göhle remained in Buffalo and began his teaching duties as a parish school teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church at the corner of Goodell and Maple Streets. He worked here continually for 9 years, taking on organist and sexton duties and teaching students at the Martin Luther College. He taught violin, organ, and harmonics. In 1866 he was appointed a German language teacher in the public schools of our city and worked as such until 1873.

Caption under picture un upper right reads Karl August Göhle.

A short time later he was an assistant to calligraphy instructor C.V. Knowlton. He held this position for 23 years with enthusiasm and great success. In 1867 Göhle became organist at the First Unitarian Church, resigned in 1873 and took over the organist's job at the Central Presbyterian Church at the corner of Pearl and Genesee Streets. He stayed there for 17 years but illness forced him to give it up. In 1896 he took over the post of organist at the Evangelical St. Peter's Church, a post which he successfully carried on for 12 years. He earned the respect of his superiors and his charges. It was to the regret of the congregation when he left this post in order to commence his well-deserved retirement. Mr. Göhle possessed such a love of work and power of talent that he was not happy with retirement. He soon sought out a new position. He quickly found one as organist at the Evangelical Bethlehem Church. He maintains that position to this day with zeal and affection.

Mr. Göhle has been employed since 1867 as singing society director. With only a brief period of inactivity during his 34 years he conducted the Swiss singing group "Helvetia", of which he is an honorary member. During his lifetime he has also been director of the following: the East Buffalo Men's Choir, the Harmonia Glee Club, the Gymnastics Society's Glee Club, the Harugari Frohsinn, Germania, Gutmütlichkeit (Cozy Existence), the Arion, the Niagara Glee Club, the Suspension Bridge Singing Society, the Constantia Singers, the Baden Glee Club, the Odd Fellow Glee Club, and the Central Singing Society. For a short time he was director of the German-American Men's Choir, to which he is an honorary conductor and member. Mr. Göhle has done much to serve German singing life in general and Buffalo singing life in particular. In 1883 he was the chairman of the music committee when Buffalo held the great singing festival of the North American Singing Society. Always a proponent of German folk songs, he urged the assembled committee of the 24th Singing Festival, held in Milwaukee, to return to the simpler things and to make more room for folk songs. Those in attendance responded unanimously with thunderous applause. Mr. Göhle is one of those individuals of selfless, humble, and noble nature who never seeks fame for himself and never uses others' fond regard to further his reputation.

Mr. Göhle entered the bonds of matrimony with Miss Auguste Dette on September 22, 1861. On September 22, 1911 the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in a most lively fashion. The celebration coincided with Mr. Göhle's 75th birthday. The happy couple were blessed with 11 children, all of whom are still living and holding respectable positions in society.

Biography for Dr. William Gärtner will begin on the next set of biographies

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised July 3, 2005