The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y.- Part I, pages 192 - 196


At its formation it consisted of 134 men and the following officers: Captain Michael Wiedrich, 1st Lieutenant Christopher Schmidt, and 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Schenkelberger. Only Germans formed this battery, which proved more than once that the stories of German bravery and courage were no idle talk. The battery left Buffalo on October 16th for the front. When it arrived in Virginia, it was attached to Blenker's Division, but remained in camp during the winter of 1861-62. Wiedrich's contingent was known as extraordinarily brave and suffered many a loss during the campaign of 1862. On June 8th the men of this battery fought under Fremont at Cross Keys, and had six men wounded, among them two fatally. On August 22nd they took a prominent part in the battle of Freeman's Ford, where they lost lost one killed and five wounded.
During the second battle of Bull Run the brave Germans were always to be found in the thickest of the fight; nearly 100 men of the battery taking part in this battle, having 14 men wounded, among them Lieutenant Schenkelberger. Five or six cannons of the battery were made useless by shots and two others had to be left on the battlefield at first, but were later secured by the battery through a very sleek and desperate maneuver. During the balance of the year the battery had a rest, taking part only in a few small and unimportant engagements. The first important fight of the battery in 1863 was the battle of Chancellorsville. When Hooker retreated in this battle, Captain Wiedrich was forced to leave two guns on the field. The men in charge of one gun had all been shot except one and the other had lost four horses. Altogether the battery had four killed and fourteen wounded.
After a good many long and tedious marches the battery was soon again in the thickest of the fight at Gettysburg, and it seemed as if no battle could be fought without them. In this battle, the glorious triumph of the arms of our union, the battery left three men and Lieutenants Talen and Stock on the battle field, and had 17 wounded. In September it was sent to Nashville and from there to Chattanooga. In November it took part in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Mission ridge, but escaped in both as well as during the rest of the year without losses of any consequence.
In the beginning of February the brave Capt. Wiedrich was promoted to the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the 15th New York Artillery. Lieut. Salm was promoted to be Captain, but died soon after, and Capt. Winegar succeeded to the command. Sixty men, more than half or the original strength, re-enlisted. The battery then went with Sherman to Atlanta and from there to the sea, and took part in nearly all of the battles that were fought on the way, but not suffering as much loss as in the battles which had been fought in the east. Still, wherever there was a fight, the battery had some losses, having on the 4th of June at


Lookout Mountain two men wounded, at Ackworth Station one man killed and one wounded. At Peach Tree Creek on July 29th one man was killed and five men wounded, and at the siege of Atlanta Lieut. Aenchen was killed and two men fatally wounded. The battery accompanied Sherman to the coast and from there on his triumphal march to the north, but without taking part in any fight of consequence. In 1865 this brave German battery was mustered out with the rest of the victorious army.

The 17th Light Battery

This battery was also formed in Erie County. It was attached to the Army of the Potomac and fought at the battle of the Wilderness, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. It was mustered out on June 22d, 1865.

The 3rd Light Battery

was organized in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua Counties, and was mustered in on August 21st. It was mostly used at the defense of Washington and later in Virginia.

The Young Men's Christian Association

The question which was raised at a meeting of the German Evangelical Society in the winter of 1888, "What can we do for our young Germans?" was the cause of the formation of the above society. It was resolved to answer the question by following the example of the existing English society and of the German societies of other cities by starting a society here to co-operate with the English one. A committee to take the necessary steps was appointed, consisting of the

Caption at center right reads Buffalo at the Park Zoo.


Rev's. Berner, Bueren and Wagner, and the congregation presidents Philip Houck, Th. Speyser, Fritz Mueller and Jacob Jung. Mr. Claus Olandt, Jr. the German secretary of the international committee, took part in the meeting which resolved to invite all young men of the Protestant churches of the city to a meeting to be held in the Evangelical St. Paul's Church (Rev. Schild)[1]. The execution of this resolution was entrusted to Mr. Olandt. In that way his connection with the society began. About 60 men attended the meeting, which took place on May 22nd, 1888, and a resolution was passed to found a German Young Men's Association. The following formed the first Board of Trustees of the new society: Theo. Speyser,president; W.J. Zirbes, vice-president; Jacob Jung, recording secretary; Philip Houck, treasurer, and Edw. J. Eisele, Geo. Degen, E.W. Peseler, J.G. Seeger, J.F. Berner, Chas. Boller, Ph. Bommer, B. Klingelhoefer, W.H. Loew. The next step was the renting of clubrooms. All of the large halls on the third floor of the Scheu Block, corner Genesee and Spring Streets, were rented and furnished. The society now had a reading-, game-, and class-room, a meeting hall, a parlor and three bathrooms. Mr. Carl E. Wittwer from Toledo, O., who had just graduated from the society school at Springfield, Mass., was appointed General Secretary, and now the Society had found the right man to lead them on the right road. The opening ceremonies took place September 12th, 1888. On September 1st the "Vereinsstimmen vom Niagara" [Society Voices from Niagara], a newspaper in the interests of the society was published

Caption under picture at right center reads Delaware Park Lake, from the East

[1]The German text states that St. Paul's Church was located on Ellicott Street. Return to text


for the first time.The Ladies Auxiliary Committee of the society was organized in August 1888 with the following officers: Mrs. Louise Bueren, president; Mrs. Theresa Walter, secretary, and Mrs. Margaret Peseler, treasurer. At that time already, the officers of the society were thinking of a home for the society, and their ideal was soon realized. In November, 1890, a building fund committee was appointed, consisting of P. Klingelhoefer, chairman; Philip Houck, treasurer, and Ph. Bommer, Wm. Gisel, Theo. Speyser and C.E. Wittwer, ex-officio[1]. The fund grew steadily and very soon they were able to buy a lot on the corner of Genesee and Davis Streets. But the delays were many, and it was not until March 14th, 1893, that the trustees could ask permission of the board of directors to build, which was granted on March 22nd. The cornerstone was laid at last on July 16th, 1893, on which occasion Charles F. Bishop, who was then mayor, made a fine speech. From that time on the work progressed rapidly and came, not counting a few short interruptions, shortly to a happy end. From September 29th to October 6th the building was opened with appropriate ceremonies. The society is prosperous and has done much good. Although the fact that the German immigration had not been heavy in the last few years was not without influence on the society, it managed to keep above water, and we only hope that when the society celebrates its golden jubilee it may have reached the pinnacle of prosperity.

History of the Israelites of Buffalo

Without a doubt the Israelites have had quite an influence in the community as well as social life, as the representatives of this peaceful but energetic and working race do wherever they are fit.

Caption under picture at center reads The Young Men's Christian Association

[1]The German text lists Louis Kempff as a member of the Building Fund Committee as well. Return to text


As soon as Buffalo had become a city the children of Israel found their way here. The first Jew who took up his residence in Buffalo was a man by the name of Flersheim from Frankfurt on the Main. He was a private techer who taught the German language principally, and must have come to Buffalo in 1835. The second Israelite, who found his way to the Queen City of the Lakes, was Barnard [Barnach] Lichtenstein, but he removed later on to Wisconsin. The third was Solomon Philgass from Hamburg. He was never married and died in Buffalo in 1867. The fourth was Elias Bernheimer, and then in 1843 came Joseph E. Strass, a Bavarian. Among the oldest Jewish settlers in Buffalo we find the names of Mark Moritz, Samuel Altman and Michael Wile Noah.

Of course there was a desire on their part to start a congregation of religious services as soon as possible. According to the Jewish law it takes ten males over thirteen years old to form a congregation. The first public service of the Israelites in Buffalo was held in celebration of the festival of Passover in the fall of 1847 in the old Concert Hall, also known later as Townsend Hall, corner Main and Swan Streets[1]. In the same year they started a sick and benevolent society, in the formation of which the following were active: Louis Dahlmann, Hirsch, Moritz Weil, Emanuel Strauss, Joseph Mayer, Sam. Held. Jacob Loewenthal, Louis Rindskopf, Samuel Desbecker, Abraham Strass and Joseph E. Strass. The first president of this society was Louis Dahlmann. The main objects of it were the nursing of the sick, granting of weekly benefits, and the burial of the dead according to

Caption under picture at right center reads Delaware Park Lake

[1]The German text states that the Passover celebration occurred in the Spring of 1847. Return to text

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Go on to Pages 197 - 201

Revised April 24, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks