Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 216 - 221

Biographies for Leodegar Hering, Rev. Heinrich A. Krämer, Erwin Büttner, Fred Erfling, Henry Lieder, and Gustav Rommel

Leodegar Hering

German text for beginning of biography of Leodegar Hering is on page 215 found at Webpage 27

Mr. Leodogar Hering was born on April 7, 1868 in Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern. He was the son of hat manufacturer and supplier to the royal household Leopold Hering and his wife Anna, nee Kraus. He attended the city schools and then went to Ulm in order to apprentice in the hotel trade at the Hotel Baumstark. Wanderlust and the opportunity to advance in his field led him through Switzerland then Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, where he was employed for a longer time at the prominent Hotel de Flandre. Here he broadened his knowledge of languages. In order to further advance he went to London and Liverpool, where he found positions at the larger hotels and he advanced quickly.

Then he went back to Chur, Switzerland where he held a management position for a long time at the well known and famous Hotel Steinbock. Here he received a diploma and a bronze medallion from the International Hotel Association, awarded for year long, true achievement in service. From there his wanderlust brought him to America but he wasn't favorably impressed so he returned to Europe. He found a lucretive position at one of the large hotels in Mentone. After a trip to Gardon on Lake Garda and Switzerland he returned to America and settled here in Buffalo in 1897. Here he was head waiter in the largest hotel in the city. He was steward for 2 summers at the Oakfield Club.
Two years ago he took over the position of representative for the elegant Buffalo Club. Due to his ability, his knowledge, and his reliability he has won the trust of the administrative council.
Since April 14, 1898 Mr. Hering has been happily married to Miss Emma Kirchner. He is the father of a charming daughter, Irma, who is 12 years of age.

Rev. Heinrich A. Krämer

If you're going to list the names of Evangelical pastors who have become known for their ability to take a small congregation and help it grow and flourish, you'll mention the Rev. Heinrich A. Krämer of the United Evangelical Church of the Trinity on Gold Street.

Born in St. Louis in 1857 as the son of Johann and Bernhardine Kraemer, he attended the church and public schools. He then dedicated himself to the study of theology. After having a position in a small parish, he was called up by the missions to assume the pastorship of the congregation on Gold Street. Under his guidance the Trinity Church has grown from its original 17 families. In 1887 a larger chuch had to be built. The congregation has experienced a slow but steady development.

Today Pastor Kraemer's parish has over 200 families in the congregation with assets of $25,000.

Since 1883 Rev. Kramer has been happily married to Margaretha, nee Wannewetsch. The couple have 3 children: Dr. Edward, Charlotte, and Ida Kraemer. Rev. Kraemer lives in a cozy home at 64 N. Ogden Street with his family, in which he feels the greatest fulfillment beside his calling as pastor.

Erwin Büttner

The acclaimed and well known performing artist, conductor, and composer Erwin Büttner has brought the musical life of our city to a noteworthy status.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Leodegar Hering

He leads as choir director for more than 6 of the most respected singing societies in Buffalo. In the performing arts he has selected the concert organ as his chief instrument. He's also accomplished with the violin, the viola, and the piano. He exhibits the full range of the high spirited artist. Mr. Buettner has been employed as a choir director since he was 16 years of age. In 1898 he led his first public concert as choir director of the Amicitia Singing Society in Esslingen. He's also well acquainted with harmony and composition. In the cause of German Song America has found him to be a zealous advocate and proponent. It's noteworthy to give an example. It was Erwin Buettner who first proposed the establishment of a German-American children's choir which was to be supported by German singing societies in the United States. He had great success setting this idea into motion with the introduction of a children's choir during a concert performed by the Harugari Frohsinn. The undertaking was generally applauded and the praise was forthcoming from the German-American press however he lacked sufficient funding. The genial young artist still advocates this idea whenever German singing festivals are held in America.

Erwin Buettner was born on February 22, 1883 in Lower Eisesheim in the Heilbronn district of Württemberg. He was the son of teacher Heinrich Buettner and his wife Regine, nee Frank. He attended the school in his district, the teaching seminary in Esslingen, and the royal conservatory in Stuttgart. He fulfilled his one-year military duty in the Grenadier Regiment No. 123 (5th Würt) in Ulm. From the time of his youth he displayed a musical talent and even during his school years he actively studied music in all its forms. It was apparent that he had a career as a music and song instructor ahead of him. He studied in Esslingen under Prof. Christian Fink, Germany's most prominent organist. He also studied with Wilhelm Nagel in Esslingen, Prof. Lang at the conservatory in Stuttfart, and Prof. Hegele in Nagold.

Buettner came to America in 1904 and settled in New York. He worked as a singer in the Schlüchtern Quartet Club. Then he became conductor of the following societies: the Arion Quartet Club in Jersey City, the Gemütlicher Choir in Hoboken, N.J., and the Nameless Quartet in West Hoboken.

At the calling of Dr. Schorcht he became the musical director of the Harugari Frohsinn in Buffalo on July 31, 1907.

Caption under picture at lower right reads Erwin Büttner

He led this group for 2 years. Currently he is conductor of 6 singing socities: The Alpine Roses Club since January 22, 1908; the Hergwegh Men's Choir since February 1, 1908; the Baker's Singing Society since Fall of 1911; the Forward Men's Choir since Fall 1911; the Swabian Singing Society since January 1912; the Bavaria Men's Choir since January 1912. Occasionally he also conducts the Swiss Helvetia Men's Choir, the Sons of Herman Men's Choir, and the Teutonia Liederkranz.

Mr. Buettner lives at 422 Genesee Street. He is a member of the Columbia Gymnastics Club and the German Support Association.

Some of his most famous compositions are:

  • A Capella Chorale for Men's Choir, Op. 21, No. 1 Winzerrose
  • No. 2, Schnaderhüpfle
  • Op. 22 Im trauten Waldes Paradies
  • Op. 23, Sei gegrüsst, Du mein schönes Sorrent
  • Op. 24, No. 1 Du brauner Hirtenknab
  • No. 2 Das alte Lied
  • Op. 25, No. 1 Rosenzeit
  • No. 2, Ein Stündlein wohl vor Tag
  • Op. 27, Heimkehr
  • Op. 29 Künstiger Sonnenschein
  • Op. 30, Deandl, hast a Liab zu mir?
  • Op. 31, No. 1, Weinlied
  • No. 2, Trinklied
  • With Orchestra and Choir: Deer Bruderbund
  • For Violin, Cello and Piano: Wehmut
  • Song Cycle: Herzenswunder for alto or baritone with violin, cello and piano.
  • Various choral pieces and songs for singing lesson in manuscript form

Fred. Erfling

As a man who has had a long list of careers including seaman, warrior, merchant and musician, currently a performing artist, Mr. Fred Erfling is a personality of great interest.

Born of a prominent family on February 23, 1845, he was the son of German officer Fritz Erfling and his wife Anna. He attended the academic high school in Nordhausen and Glogau. He came to America in 1859. The true son of a soldier, he took on the beautiful yet dangerous life of the seaman. Later he became a US Marine. He fought in the Civil War for the Union cause. His courage and valor won him the reputation of being an excellent soldier.

In 1869 he left the Marines and went West for 2 years, earning his living at various jobs. In 1871 he came to Buffalo and found gainful employment at the leather business of Adolf Rose, where he stayed for 9 years.

He was born with a musical talent, which evidenced itself while he was in Souix City, Iowa in 1870, where he established a men's choir. In Buffalo he became conductor of many singing societies including the Buffalo Liedertafel from 1878 to 1879. He was organist of St. Mark's Church and Assistant Conductor of the Orpheus.

Besides the Orpheus he belongs to the G.A.R. and he is a treasured 32nd degree member of the Free Mason Lodge.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Fred Erfling

In 1873 he married Miss Maria Magdalena Filsinger of Buffalo. The happy union has produced the following children: Anna, Fritz, Emma, and Gertrud. Two children have died - son Wilhelm at the age of 4 and daughter Ruth at the age of 5. Mrs. Erfling died in Fall 1890. She was a popular singer in German circles. The oldest daughter, who was educated in Leipzig as a singer, is married to Court Choir Master Rich. Sahla. She is a singer in the royal chamber choir in Bückeburg. The son, Fritz, is a gymnastics instructor at the Y.M.C.A.

Henry Lieder

Mr. Henry Lieder meets us with the straightness of a general. And though he might not have served as a soldier, he is indeed a Major-General of the Knights of St. John. One could assume from his military posture and discipline that one has met a member of the soldier class.

Heinrich Lieder was born on October 31, 1855 in Liebau, Silesia. He was the son of master baker Franz Lieder and his wife, Caroline Baer. He attended the Catholic parish school, apprenticed in the milling trade, and served his time as a journeyman. After visiting several districts and cities in Germany he crossed the ocean and landed in New York in October, 1879. From there he traveled further and worked at his trade in Muskegon, Michigan then Chicago. In 1881 he came to Buffalo and settled.

For 5 years he was employed in a factory belonging to John T. Roy, which produced milling implements. Then he took over a tavern at the corner of Spruce and Sycamore Streets. Later he took over a tavern on Broadway. Six years ago he opened his current establishment, Lieder's Hotel on Pine Hill. Under his management the place has become a most beloved and popular establishment.

Mr. Henry Lieder is a member of St. Gerhard's Catholic Church. Previously he was an active member of St. Ann's Church. He is one of the oldest and most respected members of the aforementioned Knights of St. John, holding the rank of Major General. Furthermore he is a member of the C.M.B.A. Branch 24, and the C.B.L. Branch No. 179. He's also a member of the German-American Men's Choir, the Harugari Frohsinn, and other clubs in which he regularly takes part in German activities. After the death of his first wife, Miss Marie Wegerer whom he married in 1895, he married Miss Margaret Fisch in 1897. Five children have come from the 2 marriages: Henry, 28; John, 26; Therese, 24; Bertha, 22; Mathilde, 13 years of age.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Henry Lieder

Gustav Rommel

"Whatever else he may be, if a man cannot understand the words of the poet, he is a barbarian." Anyone who hears these words issue from the mouth of Gustav Rommel, Buffalo's ancient poet with the youthful heart, sees the sacred enthusiasm brighten across his face. What is great and beautiful in art, what is noble and harmonious in poetry, finds in Gustav Rommel a warm and loving friend. And there is more: Gustav Rommel is not only a friend of the muse, he is her child, bringing to her the tribute of perfected form and ideal beauty.

Gustav Rommel was born on July 14, 1848 in Königseggwald, part of the upper district of Saulgau, in the beautiful land of Swabia, home of so many poets. He was the son of Anton Rommel, who served the Count of Königsegg-Aulendorf as reserve forester, and his wife Therese, nee Reis. Anton Rommel came from Granheim in the upper district of Ehingen. His wife was born in Zogenweiler in the upper region of Ravensberg.

It's worth mentioning what Mr. Rommel has to say about his late parents. "My father was very gifted and curious about nature. Although he only attended the usual village school, he broadened his horizons through incentive and hard work. He only had one book on the subject at his disposal but he managed to pass the forester's exam, much to the astonishment of the professors and the other candidates. As an autodidact in the strictest sense of the word, he won much respect as a forester. He was a model husband and father, and all his energy went into providing his 5 sons with an excellent education. His chief characteristics were weariness mixed with seriousness and a dose of good humor. His great talent was his feeling a deep religiousity for all things great and beautiful. - My mother was uncomplicated and unpretentious by nature. Where our education was concerned, she always lovingly went along with my father. Although deeply serious and somewhat melancholy by nature, she was a truly loving wife and mother. She possessed much sense of poetry and she was a model of piety. - Our parents had no piece of land in Swabia, so they urged their sons to seek their fortunes elsewhere. We all became citizens of foreign lands. My brothers Philipp and Leo are citizens of Switzerland. Anton and Gebhard are in France, while I became an American citizen in 1888."

Mr. Gustav Rommel studied first at the Latin school in Ostrach. He worked as a locksmith and mechanic from 1863 to 1866. Then he graduated from the Lyceum in Ravensberg and matriculated at the University of Tübingen. Here he studied theology, philosophy, and public finance and administration from 1870 to 1877. He also researched literary works and treatises.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Gustav Rommel

In December 1877 Mr. Rommel came to America. Here he was first employed in a German-American school in New York. Then he took up various trades while remaining productive in the field of literature. From 1897 to 1906 he worked as a clerk, a bookkeeper, a cashier, and an inspector for the industrial branch of the Germania Life Insurance Co. in New York. In July of 1906 he came to Buffalo, where he retired from all previous businesses and led the life of a self-declared and dedicated poet.

Mr. Rommel,a Catholic of St. Mary's Church and a member of various Catholic associations and brotherhoods, is a member of the General German Assembly and the Swabian Schiller Society of Marbach-Stuttgart. In 1909 he became an honorary member of the German Poet's Society in Washington and the German-American Assembly of Buffalo.

Mr. Rommel has not yet decided whether to collect and publish his poetry in book form. His poetry has appeared in the most respected periodicals in the United States. Hopefully he will soon decide and enrich the wealth of German-American literature with a worthy tome. From bits and pieces we've been lucky enough to gather up some examples of the wonderful talent of this gray-haired poet of Buffalo and offer them here:

The Hammer, or Ambos. A Sonnet

Some duck like cowards and crawl on the ground
Rather than follow their nobler feelings
When called to action and honest dealings
They're covered with scorn rather than laurel-crowned.

Belief in yourself leads to the triumphant deed
Faith determines if you win the race
Doubt is the false friend who brings disgrace
It steals from you the will to succeed.

When your back's to the wall, don't hide. Prevail
Try to be the best you can be
We're here on this earth to win, not fail.

The goal-minded man achieves his place
He strives for the seat of honor
Respect yourself or lose face.

The Stillness of a Moonlit Night

The moon reflects off the forest pond
There is no sound in the hill
Only the babble of the mountain brook
Breaks the calm, majestic still.

In the quiet, moonlit night I dream
My soul finds no peace
I lift my voice unto the sky
And pray for my soul's release.

Oh kingdom of heaven, oh spirit land
With the star's twinkling light
When will I find my sense of peace?
Will no angel harken to my plight?

The Sound of the Lyre

The threefold harmony of the lyre
First you hear the rush of the living
Then you drink in the call of the dead
And last you hear the spirit of eternal life.

The rush of the living:
Full of deeds and desires
Spring and Wine and Songs of Love

But amid this you hear the call to the dead
Mournful with questioning remorse
Sailing off with Charon to the land of shadows

Then you hear the triumph of the spirit
As it passes from the grave to eternal life
Rife with spiritual harmony:

As th lyre sounds, so beats the heart
Be joyful as the strings resound
Mourn when the death knell echos
They issue from God, so look to heaven.

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised August 21, 2005