From Days Long Ago by Wilhelm Schmidt

Taken from the Syracuse Union, Thursday, January 26, 1922 p.8

It was the month of May in 1892 when the former owner and editor of the Syracuse Union, Alexander von Landberg, entered his office one day and said to his "Factotum," "John L. Röhner has brought us something new again today. — Each immigrant German who has been in this country for thirty-five or more years, may be considered a pioneer." — The "factortum" calculated that he had only been here for twenty-five years so he couldn't be called a pioneer. He didn't respond to his "chief" about this but then he inquired about what occasioned this statement. He found out that after the funeral of furniture dealer Matthias Rauch on May 16, 1892 his friends, gathered together by Röhner, assembled in the guest lounge of the Amos Hotel. During the course of the conversation the topic of the old German "settlers" arose and Röhner came up with the idea of establishing a German Pioneer Society. Thirteen postcards were sent to well-known Germans, inviting them to the Amos Hotel on June 3rd to start a Pioneer Society. Six of the thirteen came, Charles Simon, Johann Bierhardt, Anton Wasmer, Nicolas Latterner, Georg P. Hier and John L. Röhner. Under the chairmanship of Georg P. Hier, John L. Röhner was appointed secretary. It was decided to place a "call" in the Syracuse Union for a second meeting on June 10th at the Amos Hotel. To the astonishment of the first six members 31 Germans came and enthusiastically supported the idea of establishing and organization for immigrant Germans, however each member must have lived in this country for at least thirty-five years.

At the first planning session the question arose, "In what language should sessions be conducted?" Since so many of those present had come as children with their parents and had never had German school instruction and since only English was spoken in the workplace and at the market, it was decided to speak English. Next came a proposal from Nate Sawmiller that a committee of nine be formed to stage a festival. Another proposal came from Georg C. Young "that each person present act as a 'committee of one' to enlist a friend to become a new member of the society. And then there should be a concerted effort to rent either the Turnhalle [sports hall] or the Alhambra." These comments received a storm of applause. The chairman appointed a festival committee consisting of Messers Charles Simon, L.H. Danziger, Georg Schättle, Christian Cook, Georg C. Young, S. Bronner, Nicolas Peters, John L. Röhner, and the chairman [Georg P. Hier.] This group decided on a coach tour through the city, which took place on the beautifully sunny day of July 20, 1892 under the direction of Michael Auer. It was a resounding success. Each participant paid two dollars but donations were gratefully accepted. The Treasurer reported a total income of $739.50. After the coach parade there was a feast in the sports hall. Speeches were given by Georg Schättle, August Falker, Jacob Knapp, Joseph A. Hofmann and John L. Röhner. Göttel's full music band provided the music entertainment and contributed much to the gaiety and the German brand of hospitality. All honor was paid to the god Gambrinus as the local breweries provided beer free of charge. The daily press of our Salt City was full of praise the next day for our "German Day." At the next general meeting it was announced that after all bills were paid there was still $49 in the society coffers.

The next festival of the German Pioneers took place in July 1893 at Maple Bay. In September of the same year an extra session was called to place a "floral piece" on the coffin of John L. Röhner and to publish an obituary in the Syracuse Union. With the death of Secretary John L. Röhner the soul of the Pioneer Society seemed to die. The society minutes showed that member participation in the sessions dwindled. At the end of 1892 the society had 292 members. By the end of 1894 half of the membership had left. In 1895 Anton Aman made a complete compilation of the minutes in the German language, which served as the final life record of the German Pioneer Society of Onondaga County. The initial enthusiasm by the German community instead turned out to be just a straw fire.

The writer of these lines took this matter to heart and he went to this and that former member of the society to find the reason for its extinction. Various answers were given — "Because the Germans spoke English;" "Because the Germans have never been united." The true answer didn't appear until a full twelve years later — when the collector for the Syracuse Union collected payment for the yearly subscription from Charles Simon of Danforth St. When leaving the collector said he was on his way to the next subscriber and Charles Simon said to him, "Schmidt, I'd love to see the German Pioneer Society revived. But we must have a man who will do the work and the man should be paid for it. You are the man who can do it. Would you accept?" A light went off in the newspaper-man's head. That was the reason why the Pioneer Society no longer existed. And so the two men decided to put an announcement in the next issue of the Syracuse Union inviting all still-living previous members of the German Pioneer Society along with any other Germans of good character who had lived in this country for thirty-five or more years to a meeting next Sunday at the sports hall. The closing lines on the invitation may be of interest to today's reader just as it was for the readers of that time. It read:


                  So that harmony and peace
                  May be granted unto each,
                  So that German life may prosper
                  And neighborly love may conquer,
                  The bitter mistrust of strangers
                  And the world's many dangers,
                  Let this prayer be our creed
                  Let our quest for peace succeed!

This invitation for a revival of the German Pioneer Society brought 56 German citizens to the sports hall. Approximately half were members of the earlier society. Once again, the first question was, "Which language do we want to use at assemblies?" Valentin Schilly stood up and said, "We'll speak German!" No word was spoken against this and it has remained the same to this day — The magnificent German mother tongue is held in high esteem! — Officers were appointed next: Charles Simon, president; Justin Seubert, Treasurer; and Wilhelm Schmidt, secretary. Those appointed to a committee to work out the bylaws were Valentin Schilly, Nikolas Latterner, Anton Aman, Ernst Held and the secretary. The bylaws were read out at the next meeting and accepted. The Pioneeer Jacob Stolz used kind words which touched everyone's hearts whereby it was affirmed that all effort should be made to support the German Press. These words so pleasantly surprised the German newspaperman who was present that he still feels gratitude towards the resident of 211 Cedar St.

The first festival of the revived Pioneer Society was a picnic in Long Branch, which was joyously well attended. The Pioneers came with their entire families. As usual, the weather gods were good Germans who blessed the day with absolutely beautiful sunshine. At the end of 1907 the finance committee of Charles Finkbeiner, Michael Kast and Georg Mänikheim calculated the income, expenditures and cash on hand — a three-leaf clover of calculations — The threesome then started a conversation among themselves: "Maybe our minds have stopped working." There were eight dollars and seventy-two cents more in the coffers than there were supposed to be! So things went in the year of healing 1907 in the famous salt city of Syracuse. 1908 also started off good. Postcards announcing the January meeting had been printed and addressed, ready to be mailed out and sitting on the secreary's desk. They were supposed to go out around January 24th. Then the news came that Pioneer Wilhelm Hurst had died. New postcards had to be purchased, printed and addressed, all within a few hours. However there was someone available to do the work even if it took all night. There was an impressive entourage of gymnasts and Pioneers on Sunday, the 26th of January 1908 who departed from the sports hall and went to the house in mourning at the corner of Plum St. and Park Avenue in order to give the first Pioneer member an honorable sendoff. The death gave rise to the occasion to work out a gift for offering condolences. It was a true work of artistry, a framed, glass-covered scroll which would be given to the families of Pioneers at the time of their death. Besides this the Pioneer Society laid a red, white and blue wreath on the coffins of deceased members to show that the Society strived to make the lives if the living as pleasant as possible while extending a token of honor to the deceased.

The entire German community celebrated its first "Deutschen Tag" [German Day] in 1908. The morning of August 3rd started with a parade in the morning and a picnic in Long Branch in the afternoon. Every German society fully attended. The Pioneer Society rented thirty coaches which followed a float representing a salt block with a chimney that puffed out smoke. Valentin Schilly had provided it. Glorious sunshine favored the day. Benjamin Mauer kept his promise, donating 500 dollars to the "German Bund" for a Goethe-Schiller monument to commemorate the first German Day at Long Branch. To this day we extend our hand in gratitude to Friend Benjamin since the donation was an enormous financial help. We wish him happiness and good health next year for his sixtieth birthday as well as his seventieth and eightieth birthdays.

On October 10, 1908 our Max Shott died after a brief illness. He was one of our most intelligent representatives of German culture, a gifted brother in song and founder of the Arion Singing Society. The many people who accompanied him to his final resting place provides the best proof of the high regard all had for the deceased.

At the October 1908 meeting the resolution was passed to give a bouquet of flowers to any German who turns 90 and name him an honorary member of the Pioneer Society. Here is what Pioneer J.B. Brilbeck said to the secretary at the funeral for Jacob Nann: "The Pioneer Society pays for postcards, pays the printer, pays for bouquets of ninety-year-olds. It pays for wreaths for deceased members, it pays for condolence tributes, and I hear there's a "little blowout" after each meeting. And all this for one dollar a year. How do you make all this happen?" The secretary chuckled to himself. He could pat himself and the society officers on the back for this, but sometimes silence is the best answer.

At the October 1910 meeting Valentin Schilly fulfilled his life-long wish. The wives of Pioneer Society members organized a Ladies Society and took an active role in the continued flourishing of the Pioneer Society. Shortly thereafter on October 15, 1911 the Goethe-Schiller monument was unveiled in Schiller Park with participation of our entire German community. German-American Mayor Eduard Schöneck presided. After the unveiling the members of the Pioneer Society posed for a photograph in front of the monument. A copy of the potograph decorates many German homes. It must be added that another German Pioneer departed from this life — the gifted F.X. Geiger, who designed and executed the inscription on the pedestal. It is a fine tribute to his memory. Similarly our long-serving president, Valentin Schilly departed this life on May 2, 1913. It was his wish that the Pioneer Society grow to 300 members. All signs indicate that this wish will be fulfilled this year.

In closing this article "From Days Long Ago" nothing would be better than to extend our thanks to the facility which gives us shelter — thanks to the Gymnastics Society [Turn Verein] Sports Hall of Syracuse in which we assemble four times a year. We always feel at home here and cannot express our gratitude better than with the words of our secretary given at the delivery of the new Stars and Stripes flag for the flagpole at the sports hall:

Let us hope and wish, that "Old Glory" may always wave from this building as the property of the Syracuse Turn Verein; let us hope and wish that this place may be instrumental in training a healthy generation, one that is willing, if necessary, to defend their country, but never, never again cross the Atlantic ocean in interest of those, whose sympathy was with the solid South in 1861 — and last, but not least: let us hope and wish that the spirit of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln may come to every nation to benefit the whole world.


Membership List

of the

German Pioneer Society of Onondaga County

immigrated or born here

alphabetically arranged.

     landed
  1. 1839 - Zapf, Thomas
  2. 1850 - Listmann, Karl
  3. 1852 - Brilbeck, J.B.
  4. 1852 - Dauer, Heinrich
  5. 1852 - Dotterer, Heinrich
  6. 1852 - Pellenz, Wm. F.
  7. 1852 - Trautmann, Karl
  8. 1853 - Latterner, Daniel
  9. 1853 - Young, Ernst
 10. 1854 - Krause, Eduard
 11. 1854 - Latterner, Nikolas
 12. 1854 - Metzger, Adam
 13. 1854 - Rehm, Johann
 14. 1854 - Schweitzer, Heinrich
 15. 1854 - Smingler, August
 16. 1854 - Yaeckel, Philipp
 17. 1855 - Leiter, Louis
 18. 1856 - Alt, Jacob
 19. 1857 - Ballweg, Karl J.
 20. 1857 - Engelhardt, Dr. E.F.
 21. 1857 - Klink, Wm. T.
 22. 1857 - Kühner, Johann
 23. 1857 - Loos, Conrad
 24. 1857 - Maurer, Benujamin
 25. 1857 - Schilly, Georg
 26. 1858 - Manz, Adolph G.
 27. 1858 - Seybold, Jacob
 28. 1858 - Stolz, Jacob
 29. 1859 - Merle, Heinrich
 30. 1861 - Hofmann, Franz M.
 31. 1861 - Klink, Georg
 32. 1861 - Schilly, Jacob
 33. 1861 - Oberländer, Alex E.
 34. 1862 - Eckstein, Johann
 35. 1862 - Häberle, J.C.
 36. 1863 - Ballweg, Johnn J.
 37. 1863 - Finkbeiner, J.G.
 38. 1863 - Johner, M.M.
 39. 1863 - Kaufmann, Dr. F.J.
 40. 1864 - Häberle, J.L.
 41. 1864 - Hinerwadel, J.
 42. 1864 - Mänikheim, Georg
 43. 1865 - Lucas, Johann
 44. 1865 - Market, Kasper
 45. 1865 - Seibert, Rudolph
 46. 1865 - Van Velde, Julius
 47. 1866 - Becker, Johann
 48. 1866 - Braun, Konrad
 49. 1866 - Eichenlaub, Sebastian
 50. 1866 - Geis, Jacob
 51. 1866 - Rapp, Gustav
 52. 1866 - Schenk, Konrad Sr.
 53. 1866 - Soehl, Heinrich
 54. 1866 - Tetzner, Jacob
 55. 1866 - Theobald, Adam
 56. 1867 - Braak, Nicolas
 57. 1867 - Burgmeier, Nicolas
 58. 1867 - Grassmann. Christian
 59. 1867 - Hess, Louis
 60. 1867 - Kast, Michael
 61. 1867 - Keller, Johann
 62. 1867 - Löhr, Longuin
 63. 1867 - Schmidt, Wilhelm
 64. 1867 - Weiter, Wm F.
 65. 1868 - Altmann, A.V.
 66. 1868 - Keiss, Philipp
 67. 1868 - Koradill, Georg
 68. 1868 - Lehrscholl, Karl
 69. 1868 - Sander, Adam
 70. 1869 - Büttner, Peter
 71. 1869 - Dötsch, Herrman
 72. 1869 - Finkbeiner, Karl F.
 73. 1869 - Grassmann, Peter
 74. 1869 - Haas, Joseph
 75. 1869 - Klein, Heinrich
 76. 1869 - Nussbaumer, Georg
 77. 1869 - Sauter, Gebhardt
 78. 1869 - Walters, Johann N.
 79. 1869 - Wirth, Bernhard
 80. 1870 - Deierlein, Konrad
 81. 1870 - Disque, Jacob
 82. 1870 - Gildner, Johann
 83. 1870 - Snyder, Mattias
 84. 1871 - Bausch, Georg
 85. 1871 - Busse, Karl
 86. 1871 - Heid, Michael Sr.
 87. 1871 - Heid, Michael Jr.
 88. 1871 - Helmstetter, Wm.
 89. 1871 - Lohrmann, Nicolas

     landed
 90. 1871 - Röhner, Johann L.
 91. 1871 - Schramm, Karl
 92. 1871 - Volles, Adam
 93. 1871 - Young, Philipp
 94. 1872 - Bartholme, Gustav
 95. 1872 - Hurat, Johann
 96. 1872 - Matteis, Jacob
 97. 1872 - Mündlein, Konrad
 98. 1872 - Moery, Rudolph
 99. 1872 - Naumann, Heinrich
100. 1872 - Sauter, Benedickt
101. 1872 - Schmidt, Lorenz
102. 1873 - Braun, Peter
103. 1873 - Derschang, Peter
104. 1873 - Hefty, Johann
105. 1873 - Krüger, Karl
106. 1873 - Nachant, Valentin
107. 1873 - Naumann, Georg
108. 1873 - Röschlaub, J.B.
109. 1873 - Schautt, Jacob
110. 1873 - Wolthausen, Karl
111. 1874 - Yenney, Jacob
112. 1875 - Hettler, Georg
113. 1875 - Roth, Adolph
114. 1875 - Schamu, Dr. K.G.
115. 1875 - Zischang, A.O.
116. 1876 - Stumphaus, Georg
117. 1876 - Oberländer, W.B.
118. 1878 - Krotsch, Franz
119. 1878 - Walser, J.F.
120. 1879 - Brückner, H.
121. 1879 - Hahn, Wilhelm
122. 1879 - Keiber, Philipp
123. 1879 - Uffenheimer, Emil
124. 1879 - Weinheimer, Joseph
125. 1880 - Ballweg, J.S.
126. 1880 - Franklin, Karl
127. 1880 - Graff, Johann
128. 1880 - Haberman, A.
129. 1880 - Hiss, Eduard
130. 1880 - Horstig, Arthur
131. 1880 - Koegel, Karl
132. 1880 - Schlachter, August
133. 1880 - Schwab, Ludwig
134. 1880 - Urschell, Niel
135. 1880 - Walter, Alvin
136. 1881 - Borne, Jacob
137. 1881 - Ecker, Adam
138. 1881 - Goettel, Andreas
139. 1881 - Hartman, Wm.
140. 1881 - Jäger, Heinrich
141. 1881 - Klasi, Jacob
142. 1881 - Knapp, Xaver
143. 1881 - Knodel, Ernst
144. 1881 - Köhler, Friedrich
145. 1881 - Krensch, Emil
146. 1881 - Luther, J.M.
147. 1881 - Merz, Johann
148. 1881 - Perkowski, Jacob
149. 1881 - Rausch J.F.
150. 1881 - Schneid, Johann
151. 1881 - Seib, Peter
152. 1881 - Werner, Jacob
153. 1881 - Williams, Johann
154. 1881 - Wittwer, Gottfried
155. 1881 - Ziegler, Bernhard
156. 1882 - Bausinger, Eugen
157. 1882 - Braun, Karl
158. 1882 - Büttel, Johann
159. 1882 - Daz, Mattias
160. 1882 - Gabler, Herrman
161. 1882 - Haas, Michael
162. 1882 - Guthier, Jacob
163. 1882 - Hoppe, Johann
164. 1882 - Kalinowski, Karl
165. 1882 - Meyer, Athanasius
166. 1882 - Nachant, Jacob
167. 1882 - Schnurr, Steffen
168. 1882 - Schweinsberger, A.B.
169. 1882 - Viola. Garl
170. 1882 - Zahn, Heinrich A.
171. 1883 - Armbruster, Jacob
172. 1883 - Büttel, Adam
173. 1883 - Büttel, Jacob
174. 1883 - Franklin, Joseph
175. 1883 - Hansen, Bertram
176. 1883 - Hansen, Peter
177. 1883 - Laug, Michael
178. 1883 - Lind, Heinrich

     landed
179. 1883 - Mayer, Anton J.
180. 1883 - Mertens, Otto M.
181. 1883 - Müller, Georg
182. 1883 - Raupach, Karl
183. 1883 - Schneider, F.H.
184. 1883 - Stanger, Johann
185. 1883 - Uhrig, Eduard
186. 1883 - Walser, Richard
187. 1883 - Werner, Herrman
188. 1883 - Wolf, Herrman
189. 1884 - Berne, Friedrich
190. 1884 - Christoffel, Johann
191. 1884 - Clasen, August
192. 1884 - Eddinghaus, Louis
193. 1884 - Gilcher, Jacob
194. 1884 - Mauer, Jacob
195. 1884 - Nellis, Johann
196. 1884 - Noldan, H.A.
197. 1884 - Novak, Albert
198. 1884 - Novak, Franz
199. 1884 - Peil, Christian
200. 1884 - Rolle, August
201. 1884 - Schlecht, Fr. L.
202. 1884 - Seidenfuss, A.F.D.
203. 1884 - Simson, Ernst
204. 1884 - Steinhauser, Karl
205. 1884 - Voss, Otto
206. 1885 - Bailer, Basil
207. 1885 - Fuchs, Urban
208. 1885 - Goldschmidt, Otto
209. 1885 - Rothenburg, Otto
210. 1885 - Seibel, Jacob
211. 1886 - Bultmann, W.F.
212. 1886 - Gerst, Leo
213. 1886 - Reiss, Jacob
214. 1886 - Richberg, Heinrich
215. 1886 - Sagehorn, Richard
216. 1886 - Sedlak, Frans
217. 1886 - Stachlin, Emil
218. 1886 - Stelter, August J.
219. 1887 - Geiger, Dr, Karl J.
220. 1887 - Günthner, Franz
221. 1887 - Hett, Adam
222. 1887 - Merz, Ludwig
223. 1887 - Neidhofer, Caspar
224. 1887 - Obergfell, Michael
225. 1887 - Röser, Thomas
226. 1887 - Schmidt, Karl
227. 1887 - Weiler, Michael
228. 1888 - Bauer, Wolfgang
229. 1888 - Fritzen, Johann
230. 1888 - Lietz, Peter Paul
231. 1885 - Nitzke, Andreas [sic]
232. 1888 - Risch, Karl
233. 1888 - Ruoff, Christian
234. 1888 - Weber, Adam
235. 1889 - Aschbach, Adolph
236. 1889 - Geckeler, Heinrich
237. 1889 - Mirbach, Wilhelm
238. 1889 - Reissig, Herrman
239. 1889 - Siegel, Karl
240. 1889 - Stier, Ambrosius
241. 1890 - Kneller, Herrman
242. 1890 - Nitzke, August
243. 1890 - Streib, Rudolph
244. 1890 - Tafel, Christian
245. 1890 - Unkauf, Christian
246. 1891 - Gass, Egidius
247. 1891 - Müller, Georg
248. 1892 - Altmann, Karl
249. 1892 - Arnold, Gottlieb
250. 1892 - Geiss, Caspar
251. 1892 - Kessler, Ludwig
252. 1892 - Möhlich, Jacob
253. 1892 - Nicke, Fritz
254. 1893 - Heldmann, Johann
255. 1893 - Schlemm, August
256. 1893 - Schweikert, Otto
257. 1893 - Wendler, Wilhelm
258. 1894 - Gessler, August
259. 1894 - Heldmann, Philipp
260. 1894 - Obergfell. Christian
261. 1894 - Wedeman, Louis
262. 1894 - Yunge, Otto
263. 1894 - Ziegler, Louis
264. 1896 - Kiesewetter, Wm.
265. 1896 - Tebe, Anton
266. 1897 - Schock, Franz
267. 1897 - Stiploseck, Martin


Our Dead

Since the last annual report the following
members have departed this life:

1919

David Deuschle - February 15
Johann Helmeck - February 21
Andreas Klasi - February 28
Adam Smith - March 2
Hermann Rees - April 25
Johann Soeder - June 18
Charles Umbrecht - August 22
Leopold Schuler - September 15

Wilhelm Münch - September 25
Daniel Rübel - October 5
Eduard Reiher - October 6
Friedrich Schneider - October 20
Jacob Reimold - October 24
J.M. Ungerathen - November 4
Michael Auer - November 27
Jacob Alt - December 17

1920

Charles Ebner - February 2
Friedrich Funk - March 29
August Pfenninger - April 14
Conrad Fichter - May 16
Johann Bierhardt - May 16
Johnn Michel - May 20
Valentin Lorenz - June 22
Martin Strohmeyer - August 3

Peter Becker - August 26
Jacob Kopp - September 16
Franz Seiter - October 14
Jacob Prehn - October 15
Benjamin Hottinger - October 20
Matthäus Schindler - December 18
Jacob Gabel - December 31

1921

268. Wm. W. Scharrun - January 29
269. Fritz Braun - February 12
270. Philipp Buttman - March 7
271. Adolph Götz - March 20
272. Jacob Braun - March 22
273. Gustav Hackbarth - April 6
274. H.F. Dierkes - May 3

275. Joseph Schmid - July 19
276. Johann Klippert - August 30
277. Johann P. Haas - September 3
278. Jacob Goldschmidt - September 16
279. August C. Hofman - October 16
280. Diebold Maurer - November 27



Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks, August 6, 2021