Saturday, September 11, 2010

cousins and other family

I wrote the other day about Solomon Windmuller, an uncle of my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller. Solomon arrived in New York in 1819, the first member of the family to leave Germany for a new home in New York. Over the next quarter century he was followed by other relatives. The first was a son of his father's sister, Elise. She had married a man named Solomon Lefman and among their children was a son, Henry, who came to the city in 1831.[1] A city directory of 1839 lists Henry Lefman as a commission merchant doing business at 25 Old-slip and residing at 60 Grove.[2] This cousin, Henry Lefman, would later become Louis Windmuller's mentor, business partner, and, eventually, father-in-law.

The next to arrive was a man whose relationship to my great-grandfather is uncertain. He had attended the same prestigious high school — the Gymnasium Carolinum — but graduated years before my great-grandfather began study there. They both would achieve recognition for their achievements during the second half of the nineteenth century, but their concerns were different and their names infrequently appeared together in news articles. The one, Bernard Roelker, was a highly-eduated intellectual who would earn an excellent reputation as legal counselor.[3] The other, Louis Windmuller, was forced to abandon his schooling before graduating from the gymnasium; he made his way in life as a merchant and his contributions to society were charitible, political, and cultural rather than professional. All the same, there were close connection between the families of Bernard Roelker and of my great-grandfather. In 1865 a member of the Roelker family, Alfred, would become Louis Windmuller's business partner and the two of them would make a great success as commissioning merchants over the next half century.[4] Biographic directories call Alfred Roelker an "old friend" rather than a family relation, but my father said he had been told they were related. In any event, a few years later the two families would become more closely aligned when my Louis Windmuller's sister-in-law Minnie married Alfred's brother Hugo.[5]

The next family members to immigrate to New York were Abraham and Jacob Windmuller. About Abraham I know almost nothing and am not even sure of his given name.[6] He shows up in city directories as "A. Windmuller," as in "Windmuller A. & Brothers, importers" which appears in Doggett's New York City directory of 1842. Jacob was a son of my great-grandfather's paternal uncle Isaac Windmuller.[7] Next to its entry for Windmuller A. & Brothers, Doggett's of 1842 lists "Windmuller Jacob, mer." (meaning merchant). His business address, 85 Pearl, is the same as that of A. Windmuller & Brothers.

I don't know why more than two brothers are indicated in the name of the Windmuller firm. There may have been another of whom I have no knowledge or the firm name may use the word "brother" loosely so as to include Henry Lefman, who was Abraham and Jacob's cousin. Henry Lefman's name also shows up in the 1842 Doggett's as doing business at 85 Pearl: "Lefman Henry, com. mer., 85 Pearl."[8] The directory lists Jacob and Henry as having the same home address: 60 Grove, a residence that Henry had occupied since at least 1839.

Here are scans of the entries from the 1842 Doggett's.

{The New York City directory, John Doggett (J. Doggett, Jr., 1842) }

By 1845, when the next Doggett's appeared, both Henry Lefman and Jacob Windmuller had moved away. That edition shows Jacob Windmuller's address as 67 Bank. This is presumably both business and home address. His occupation is shown as "teacher." Subsequent directories through 1860 list him as "professor of music" and "measurer" at the same address.[9] The 1845 Doggett's shows Henry Lefman's business address as 232 Washington and his home as 579 Broome.[10]

Over the next few decades the directories would continue to list the addresses of Henry Lefman and Jacob Windmuller. However, the last city directory to list A. Windmuller & Brothers is Doggett's of 1848, and I suspect that by then Abraham Windmuller had died or moved out of the city.

That same year three more relatives moved to town. Their name was Frankenheimer — Samuel, Philip, and Moses — and they were cousins of Louis Windmuller's mother, Rachel Sutro Windmuller.[11] In the early 1840s Samuel Frankenheimer had established a business in Alabama. In 1848 he moved to New York City and began manufacturing clothing. It's apparent that his brothers Philip and Moses joined him there.[12]

This image shows the card prepared at time of naturalization for Samuel Frankenheimer. His cousin Philip Pfeiffer attested to the accuracy of the information it gives.[13]

This image shows a passport application that Philip Frankenheimer submitted in 1859.

And this one shows a passport application that Moses Frankenheimer submitted at the same time.


This shows Coenties Slip just around the corner from 85 Pearl Street.

{Coenties Slip Near Pearl; source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

This postcard shows a portion of Grove Street after Jacob Windmuller and Henry Lefman had moved away.

{Stokes' Grove Street Studio, etched by Bernhardt Wall (Ferenz-Martini); source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

Although this photo was taken in 1940, it appears to show buildings that were present a full century earlier.

{Manhattan: Bedford Street - Grove Street by Alexander Alland, 1940; source: NYPL Digital Gallery}


This detail from a fire insurance map shows the location of 85 Pearl Street. The color and single dot indicate that it was a "first class" brick or stone building used as a business having no dwelling units.[14]

Here is the full sheet in which this detail appears.

This detail shows 25 Old-Slip, the same sort of building as 85 Pearl.

This is the full sheet.

This detail shows 60 Grove Street. It was a smallish wood frame structure used as a dwelling with no storefront at street leve.

This is the full sheet.


I've marked this bird's eye view map to show 25 Old-Slip, 85 Pearl, 60 Grove, and 67 Bank. The map sheet is quite large. You can download the full-size image here.

{Bird's-eye view of New York City with Battery Park in the foreground, painted by Heine, engraved by Himely (Paris, Printed by Goupil & Co., 1851)}


Here are links to genealogical records for individuals named in this post:---------------

Some sources:

Things as They Are: Or, Notes of a Traveller Through Some of the Middle and Northern States, 1834

History of New York City (1855–1897) on wikipedia

New York in the Late 1820s and Early 1830s from NYPL

A short history of the port of New York,1815-1860 from Fordham University

The memorial history of the City of New-York from its first settlement to the year 1892, Volume 3, by James Grant Wilson (New-York History Co., 1893)

New York City History from the HistoryBox

The old merchants of New York City by Joseph Alfred Scoville (T. R. Knox, 1885)

South Street Seaport Historic District, Lower Manhattan

New York City Docks And Ships, (an article originally published in the early 1900s )

DAYS OF THE OLD PACKET; CONTRAST BETWEEN PRESENT AND PAST ATLANTIC LINERS. REMINISCENCES OF THE OLD PASSENGER SHIPS -- MOST OF THEM WERE FLYERS -- HARDSHIPS FROM WHICH PRESENT PASSENGERS ARE EXEMPT. New York Times, Dec. 13, 1891. (First paragraph: "What a contrast there is between the present facilities for transportation between Europe and America and those of years ago. Now there are daily departures from either side of the Atlantic of large, well-appointed steamships. The ocean greyhounds now land passengers at Queenstown, Southampton, or New-York within a week from the day of sailing, and the longest transatlantic voyage can be made in a fortnight.")



[1] A list of Westphalia families, in German, gives the following: "Erlaubte Auswanderung ... a) Heinr. Lefmann aus Warendorf, Kaufmann b) 6. 7. 1804 Telgte c) Witwe Elise Lefmann geb. Windmüller o) 1831 p) Nordamerika / New York s) Der Onkel Samuel Windmüller lebt seit längerem in New York."

This roughly translates as: "Permitted Emigration ... Name: Heinrich Lefmann, Residence: Warendorf, Occupation: merchant, Birthdate: 7 June 1804, Birthplace: Telgte [Telgte is a township in the Warendorf District], Parents: Widow Elise Lefmann, maiden name Windmuller, Year of Emigration: 1831, Country and Place of Emigration: North America / New York, Remarks: His uncle Samuel Windmuller has lived for many years in New York."

-- Source: Beitrage zur Westfalischen Familienforschung (Verlag Ascendorff, Munster, 1966).

[2] Longworth's American almanac, New-York register and city directory (New York, T. Longworth, 1839). A commission merchant was one who would import goods for customers in return for a commission fee.

[3] This was Bernard Roelker
Here is an excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times:

A PROMINENT LAWYER DEAD; THE ACTIVE LIFE IN LITERATURE AND LAW OF BERNARD ROELKER; New York Times, March 7, 1888. "Bernard Roelker, who died at his residence, 17 East Twelfth-street, Monday afternoon, of pneumonia, was born April 24, 1816, at Osnabruck, Hanover. He received his education at the University of Bonn-on-the Rhine, where he devoted himself largely to the studies of law and philology. ... "
He was one of the few relatives who became sufficiently well-known for his portrait to be preserved:

[4] The firm was Louis Windmuller & Lefman --

[5] Family tradition says that Minnie was the "Belle of Hoboken." (Some may remember that this sobriquet figures in a 1929 Broadway musical, Sweet Adeline.) Her husband made a fine reputation as a civil engineer. I've previously written about him. Minnie comes up in a few of my previous posts, including this one. Although I write that Alfred and Hugo were brothers, I have not documentary evidence of that; it's simply part of the family oral history. It's clear they were closely related but may have been cousins, not brothers.

[6] The Windmuller family has been carefully researched, but there is no listing for an Abraham Windmuller or any Windmuller having a given name starting with the letter A with anything close to the appropriate birth and death dates.

[7] Isaac was thus a brother of Solomon.

[8] Com. mer. stands for commission merchant.

[9] Measurers were officials in the U.S. Customs House at the port of New York. They assessed imports so that tariffs could be leveyed on them.

[10] Doggett's New-York City directory, John Doggett (J. Doggett, Jr., 1845)

[11] Their mother was Yereth Sutro, aunt of my great-grandfather's mother, Rachel Sutro. Here are links to genalogical records for them: Philip Frankenheimer, Moses Frankenheimer, Abraham Frankenheimer.

[12] This information comes from a biography of another brother, Bernhard Frankenheimer. Here's an extract:

BERNHARD FRANKENHEIMER, a retired merchant of Stockton, was born in Bruck, near Erlangen, Bavaria, May, 1826, a son of Loeb and Yereth (Sutro) Frankenheimer. The father, a merchant of Erlangen, died at the age of seventy-five, and the mother somewhat younger. Her brother Emanuel was the father of the celebrated mining engineer, Adolph Sutro, of Sutro Tunnel fame, now of Sutro Heights, San Francisco. Samuel, an elder brother of our subject, came to America in 1842, and went into business first at Gainesville, Alabama, with a cousin as partner, under the style of Pfeiffer & Frankenheimer, in general merchandise. In 1848 they moved to New York city, where they carried on the manufacture of clothing until 1887, when they retired from active life. The subject of this sketch, on his arrival from Europe in 1844, went by sea from New York to Mobile, where his brother Philip was doing business as an importer of fancy goods, by whom he was soon afterward put in charge of a branch store in Macon, Mississippi. There he remained until 1848, and from 1848 to 1850 was similarly employed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
[13] These images come from a database maintained by

[14] This and the following fire insurance map images all come from Maps of the City of New York by William Perris, cartographer (Perris & Browne, 1852); source: NYPL Digital Gallery

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