John Schlitz Family Genealogy and History
by Mike Reilly copyright October, 1999, revised 10/22/99
John Schlitz, nephew of Joseph E. Schlitz, was born September 19, 1844 (or Sept 15, 1845) in the old city of Mainz (Hesse-Darmstadt) on the Rhine River in Germany. His parents were Charles and Dorothea (nee Deutz) Schlitz.
John came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1868 becoming a wine/liquor dealer until 1882. On August 13, 1874 he was married to Miss Katie* Mayer, daughter of Stephen and Mary (nee Kastler) Mayer in West Bend, Wisconsin. Presently, only one child is known, a daughter Emma. *Note: The West Bend marriage certificate, #2218, lists the bride as Mathilde Mayer.
*January 3, 1876 - Schlitz & Bergenthal (Milwaukee Distillers) - agent Louis Stiern charged with embezzlement.*Note: This entry and all subsequent dated entries are from the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper from those dates.
April 7, 1876 - John Schlitz and August Bergenthal stay in prison rather than pay the additional fine of $1,000 each.
May 1, 1876 - Above to be released after 4 months in prison, were reported unable to pay fines.
On June 20, 1879, Mr. Schlitz opened Schlitz's Grove and Summer Resort business in West Bend. The Grove was conveniently located near the train depot of the Chicago & North-Western Railway, and covered an area of sixty-five acres of fine forest timber, with smooth surface. The buildings were commodious, being 200 x 100 feet in extent, with the main building two stories high. The hall was 75x58 feet, with a twenty-five foot stage. There were three changes of stage scenery (for theatrical representations), the necessary dressing rooms, etc., and a dance floor that could accommodate 100 couples (if they were friendly!). The establishment contained three first-class bowling alleys, 125 feet deep, along with a tasty bar and billiard-room. With the dining-room, it was all else required by guests of a first-class establishment. It was considered "elegant". The grounds were well supplied with seats, refreshment stands, band-stands, and gymnastic equipment for the accommodation of Turners. The buildings and fixtures cost $20,000 exclusive of the property grounds.
Mr. Schlitz also offered land within the boundaries of the Park at moderate rates to sojourners who desired to erect summer cottages.
When excursions came in from Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, and other large places along the line of the railway - up to ten carloads - it took three "busses" to keep transporting people from Shooting Park (author doesn't know what this was) to Schlitz Grove. When the special trains pulled into the depot, civic band greeted them and drove them through town (West Bend), every hitching post therein having been decorated with green saplings to welcome the guests. The park made a great deal of money in those days, for they were renowned for their bounteous meals.
March 18, 1883 - John Schlitz puts Schlitz Grove in West Bend up for sale or lease. He will leave soon for Cleveland to manage the Schlitz Sales agency there.
April 15, 1883 - John Schlitz goes to Cleveland, Ohio to assure charge of the general agency. Theodore Tidelges will take charge of the Grove and hall.
September 9, 1883 - Albert Mayer (brother of Katie) has gone to Cleveland, Ohio to engage in the sale of Schlitz beer with his brother-in-law.
November 4, 1883 - Schlitz's Hall is to be turned into a roller skating rink under the management of a Chicago gentleman.
Note: Sometime after the Grove was sold, the property was turned into an industrial area. It was known as Schlitz Park even after 1911 when the Enger-Kress leather company moved there. Shortly after, the plant was destroyed by fire. It isn't known if the company used buildings originally erected by John Schlitz or other ones were built on the property.
The following Cleveland City Directories information was graciously supplied by brewery historian, Carl Miller.
1884/85: Schlitz works at 20 Merwin St. Albert Mayer is shipping clerk. Both live at 27 York (now W. 28th) St.
1885/86: Bottling works still at 20 Merwin St. Both now live at 187 Bridge St.
1886/87: No mention of Schlitz bottling plant. John Schlitz is listed as a partner in Molitor, Schlitz & Co., owners of a saloon and restaurant at 120 Superior Avenue.
1887/88: Schlitz is listed as sole proprietor of saloon, restaurant and billiard parlor at 120 Superior. Also bottler of Wm. J. Lemp's Western Brewery, St. Louis, Lager beer (no location for Schlitz bottling works).
1888/89: Same listing for Schlitz, accept no mention of Lemp bottling. Albert Mayer is cashier at the saloon.
1889/90 thru 92: Same listings as above.
1892/93: In addition to saloon at 120 Superior, John Schlitz is listed as a partner in Schlitz, Schanbacher & Co., owners of the Old National Hall (saloon and restaurant) at 72 Public Square. Albert Mayer and Herman Schanbacher are also partners. Both Schlitz and Mayer still live at 187 Bride St.
1893/94: Same listing as above.
Carl Miller suggests that John Schlitz may have continued the Schlitz bottling operation for some time while involved in the saloon business, BUT, there are no listings for the bottling works. Sometime in the 1890's, he suspects that one J.W. Marshall took over as agent at the Cleveland Schlitz Brewing Co. An early map shows the building complete with ice house, bottling & mash room, office and shipping/storage shed located at 882 Wilson Ave. (now E. 55th St.). A railway spur from the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad lead into the shed
1904/05: Schlitz Brewing Co., 882 Wilson Ave.
1907/08: Schlitz Brewing Co., 1952/4 E. 55th St. N.E., Cuyahoga Tel. Central 6938H.
1915/16: Schlitz Distributing Co., 1954 E. 55th St. N.E.
Note: Change over from bottling operation to only(?) distributorship.
Why would John Schlitz give up a very successful resort operation in West Bend to manage a Schlitz bottling operation in Cleveland? In July, 1879, one month after he opened his resort, the Schlitz Brewing Co. purchases Quentin Park in Milwaukee and turns it into a highly successful beer garden, resort, etc park. Was there initially too much competition - taking visitors away from Milwaukee?
Was John Schlitz "asked" to leave town (Milwaukee)?
Why was his involvement with the bottling works so short-lived? Really doesn't appear that his real interests were it, but the saloon and restaurant operations were.
Schlitz Family Tree (Known)
Unknown Relationship Records -
West Bend birth certificate #2943 for a Katie Schlitz, born 9/20/1888, to father Peter Schlitz, mother Katie Henkes.
Other Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper entries for various Schlitz names
June 9, 1869 1/4 - A. Schlitz (Grafton, Wis.) attends Chamber of Commerce meeting in train through Nash Co.
June 6, 1872 4/1 - Andrew Schlitz (laborer) injuries leg working at new county jail.
November 2, 1878 8/3 - Adolph Schlitz fined for assault & battery.
=============From: "Ingrid Abram" <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 09:47:00 -0400
Per Cuyahoga County Probate records and Cleveland Public Library
Necrology file (both online):
Emma Schlitz married John H. Baehr
She died October 1966 Services held at St. Ann Church
Mother of late Esther Ward and John G. of Clearwater, Florida
Historic Victor Schlitz mansion draws plenty of buyer
(Note: We are not affiliated with the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. or endorsed by them. Any Schlitz trademarks displayed, or brands mentioned are the sole ownership of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co.)