Late in life he was a frequent contributor to periodicals and newspapers and in a few of these writings he alluded to his experience as a German immigrant. In the following extract he is not writing directly of his own experience (he came from Westphalia, not Mecklenburg) but he did serve as a grocery clerk at one point during the first couple of years after he immigrated and very likely did sometimes sleep under the counter. It's also a fact that it didn't take him long before he, like the Mecklenbergers he describes, was able to establish himself on his own account. He wrote: "Of immigrants who came in the early part of the nineteenth century, the sturdy North Germans, from Mecklenburg, became our best citizens. Their language ... readily assimilated American English. These boys hardly realized that any difference existed between their mother tongue and our own. They adapted themselves to many other American ways. A great many became grocers; of some 5000 who followed this vocation in Manhattan in 1852-3, more than half were Bismarck's countrymen. Beginning as clerks sleeping under the counter, they devoted themselves assiduously to the details of the business, so that many were soon able to establish themselves on their own account."
Later in this article he describes the social life of German-Americans in the 1850s and '60s and it seems likely he includes himself among the "educated Germans" of whom he writes. Here's an extract: "Germans congregated on the East Side [of Manhattan] as far north as Second Street, which was known as 'Klein Deutschland.' The writer has watched long processions of them, go down through the Bowery, Chatham Square, and Nassau Street to their respective workshops, and has seen them return home evenings by the same route. Automobiles were unknown, but pedestrians encountered reckless butcher boys who delivered, in two-wheel gigs, breakfast in the early morning, and at all hours firemen who raced down Chatham Hill, as they preferred sidewalks to the prevailing cobblestones. Educated Germans comprised the best element of our population. Conscientious in the performance of their duties during the day, they knew how to enjoy their nights. They sang in the 'Liederkranz,' danced in assembly rooms, and drank in 'gemuthliche Kneipen,' where good beer was available. Besides teaching us harmless pleasures, they spread their taste for art and literature. Amongst their foremost citizens were Carl Schurz, Oswald Ottendorfer, and Charles Hauselt."
In 1892 Windmuller wrote a letter to the New York Times countering efforts to curtail immigration. He points out that America has always been a nation of immigrants and that some of America's best citizens are foreign born. He says it's understandable why some Americans would want to keep their homeland to themselves, but, he says, "we will have to repress" this natural instinct or the country will fail to prosper for want of men and women to work in its fields and factories. And he refutes the claim that "foreign influence degrades the American character." Immigrants, he writes, "generally represent the best elements of the nations from which they separated to cast their lot among us." Although he's writing as if he's native born ("cast their lot among us"), I think he's thinking of his own experience in the middle of the nineteenth century when he says "the Germans were the young men who wanted to escape from military duty; the Irish were tired of the tyrannical exactions of the lords of their realm. All came to better their fortunes by their own exertions, without the fetters of tyrannical laws or feudal prejudices. The energy of these ambitious men has developed our own. We have inherited their thrift, and we owe as much to them as they owe to us." Here is an extract from the letter to the editor:
A history of the New York Swamp by Frank Wayland Norcross (New York, Chiswick Press, 1901)
WHY IMMIGRATION OUGHT NOT TO BE RESTRICTED. - Letter - NYTimes.com
The History of the Legal Aid Society
"The Commercial Progress of Gotham," by Louis Windmuller, in The Progress of the Empire State: New York State and City by Charles Arthur Conant (The Progress of the Empire State Company, 1913)
Immigration: Era of Restriction Timeline
American Protective Association
Industrialization, Urbanization, Immigration, Jim Crow
 The quote comes from The book of New York; forty years' recollections of the American metropolis by Julius Chambers (New York City, The Book of New York company, 1912)
 I didn't learn of Louis Windmuller's Jewish heritage until distant relatives and the biographer of Windmuller's cousin, Adolph Sutro, contacted me by email. They had located my Windmuller family history web page with accompanying genealogy and gave me information which vastly expanded my knowledge of his ancestry in Germany and relations in New York. No one in my family ever talked about his Jewish heritage and, surprisingly, some thorough research done by my aunt turned up no information on it.
 So, for example, Windmuller took a leading role in the German-American Reform Union, was a founder of the German-American Fire Insurance Co. and German Alliance Insurance Co., headed a fund-raising campaign for the German Hospital, and agitated for public monuments to be erected to Goethe and Heine in New York City. All the same, most of businesses, reform movements, and charitable organizations with which he was associated did not have any particular German emphasis. It's notable that the German Legal Aid Society, which he helped to bring into existence, evolved into the Legal Aid Society in which for many years he served as treasurer. Julius Chambers, cited above, continued his short account of Windmuller's achievements by saying: "An Independent in politics, he has voted according to his convictions, heading strong German movements in the metropolis first for Cleveland and then for McKinley. He has been a constant writer for magazines and newspapers, producing copy with equal facility in German and English. On occasions of financial crisis, especially when American credit was assailed in Europe, Mr. Windmuller has been prompt to send letters to the principal newspapers of Germany, explaining our financial situation." -- "The Commercial Progress of Gotham," by Louis Windmuller, in The Progress of the Empire State: New York State and City by Charles Arthur Conant (The Progress of the Empire State Company, 1913).
 In 1906 Windmuller was interviewed for an article which strains to be humorous about his childhood and early experiences in New York. Part of it concerns the theft of a tomato:
"I was only a boy," he faltered.
"Go ahead now, make a clean breast of everything," said the inquisitor, still not unkindly.
"I was only a boy. I had just come to this country. I was a clerk in a grocery store on Vesey street. It was a bright, sunny day. I was trying to be good and forget what had happened in Munster. But at the fatal moment a cart full of tomatoes stopped in front of the door. The old appetite came back and overpowered me. [This refers to theft of cherries in Munster.] It was then that I stole the tomato. Must I say more?
-- Herr Windmuller Confesses, New York Sun, June 30, 1906.
 Here's the paragraph in full:
Of immigrants who came in the early part of the nineteenth century, the sturdy North Germans, from Mecklenburg, became our best citizens. Their language, an idiom Fritz Reuter has perpetuated by his Olle Camellen, readily assimilated American English. These boys hardly realized that any difference existed between their mother tongue and our own. They adapted themselves to many other American ways. A great many became grocers; of some 5000 who followed this vocation in Manhattan in 1852-3, more than half were Bismarck's countrymen. Beginning as clerks sleeping under the counter, they devoted themselves assiduously to the details of the business, so that many were soon able to establish themselves on their own account. Their advantage over American grocers — like Acker & Merrall on Chambers Street, Abram Binninger & Co., 26 Liberty Street, William S. Corwin, 639 Broadway, John Duncan, 407 Broadway, and the "Albros" on the Bowery — consisted of the privilege of selling liquor at retail, free of license, an advantage disdained by Americans, who catered more to the family trade. But our ladies could not always find it convenient to go to them and left their daily orders at the neighboring corner grocery. They were careful not to approach the partition which divided the store from the rear bar, so as to escape odors of rum and tobacco which emanated thence. In former years the writer had business relations with some of these grocers, and he remembers an occasion when he was obliged personally to present a draft. Following the established custom, he first invited the drawee to a social drink. While he was absorbed in a mint julep, the proprietor slipped out of the side door, leaving the bartender to explain his unceremonious disappearance. On a subsequent occasion we were careful to explain the object of our visit before the drinks were mixed. -- same source. This paragraph comes from the same source. In it Liederkranz were singing clubs. The word is literally a "wreath of song" and figuratively song circles. Gemuthliche Kneipen were a sort of beer hall; "cozy pubs" might be a reasonable translation. Carl Schurz remains a highly-regarded German-American of the time. Oswald Ottendorfer, as wikipedia tells us, participated in the 1848 revolutions in Germany, and, like Schurz, came to New York to escape persecution after they failed. He subsequently became a prominent New Yorker as publisher of the Staats-Zeitung newspaper. Charles Hauselt is more obscure. He was a "merchant prince in the New York leather trade" and long-time president of the German Society, which provided aid to immigrant Germans.
 The nativist movement of the early 1890s was specifically aimed at Roman Catholics. Centered on an organization called the American Protective Association, it was a reaction to the shift in immigration source countries from the northern European Germans, Irish, Scots, and English to Italians and other southern Europeans. It made no real headway at the time, but was followed by the more successful Immigration Restriction League and that in turn led to restrictions on immigration imposed in the 1920s. My belief that Windmuller included himself among the Germans who emigrated to escape mandatory military service and who wanted to leave tyrannical feudalism behind them is based on an exit permit he had to obtain before leaving the country and also on his reports of his joining the revolutionaries of 1848 in attacking the old order in Germany. I've written somewhat more on this subject here.