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John Schlitz Family Genealogy and History

by Mike Reilly copyright October, 1999, revised 10/22/99

    wpe13.jpg (4458 bytes)

John Schlitz

    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.

    Unanswered Questions?

    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)

Charles Schlitz

Mainz, Germany

Charles Schlitz, part owner of a tract of 213 3/4 acres of land near
Wartburg, Tennessee  in 1847, sold this land to J. A. and G. W. Aurin in 1851(11).
He later removed to  Milwaukee, Wisconsin where, in 1867, he established
the firm of Charles Schlitz and Company, Importers and Dealers in Wines
and Liquors.  This firm enjoyed a rapid development and wide reputation
for its goods(12).  the firm was later operated under the management of
Victor Schlitz who now resides in Milwaukee(13).

Wartburg, TN.
(11)Deed Books (Originals), Morgan County, Tenn. G. P. 86  J. p.352.

(12)History fo Milwaukee (1881) p. 1467. (Andreas Pub. Co.) Wis. Hist.

(13)Victor Schlitz seems to have owned property at Frankfort, Morgan Co.
in 1897. During that yea
r, paid taxes on 16 lots at that place. (Tax

Dorothea Deutz

John Schlitz

September 19,1844

Katie Meyer

Germantown, WI.

Emma Schlitz
Victor Schlitz, son, ?
Joseph E. Schlitz

Anna Marie Krug (nee Hartig)

No Children

James Schlitz (brother?)

Listed as officer in Second Ward Savings Bank in March 13, 1866 1/5



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 interest
Kelly Quigley
The historic Victor Schlitz mansion at 2004 W. Highland Ave., Milwaukee,
has been home to many well-known families and organizations since it was
erected more than a century ago. Now empty after serving almost 25 years
as Highland Community School, the 16-room mansion is ready for a new

Heather Novotny, real estate broker with NAI MLG Commercial Inc.,
Brookfield, said dozens of people have shown interest in the historic
property, but no offers have been made yet.

"People are thinking about using it for all sorts of things -- offices,
residential, even retail," Novotny said. "Every person who sees it has a
unique idea."

The mansion was built in 1888 for Victor Schlitz, a successful Milwaukee
wine merchant. The architect, Germany native Charles Gombert, also
designed residences along Prospect Avenue and is most famous for the
North Point Water Tower.

After Schlitz's death in 1928, his children sold the house to the St.
Vincent de Paul Society. Later it was owned by the Archdiocese of
Milwaukee and the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross before it was sold
to Highland Community School in 1975. The building was designated a
Milwaukee landmark in 1977.

Properties with such historic value don't appear often on the real
estate market, Novotny said, but when they do, they cause quite a stir.

"This is definitely the most active listing I've had," she said.
"Historic buildings always produce a lot of curiosity."

The list price on the property is $175,000. With 6,725 square feet and 6
1/2 baths, it will be well-suited for company offices, said Robert
Greenstreet, dean and professor of architecture and urban planning at
the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"A big, old house is typically a little easier used for professional
offices," he said. "Because of their size, they really don't sustain a
family anymore."

One of the big challenges facing owners of historic mansions is
preserving the architecture and legacy of the property while using it
efficiently in the modern world, Greenstreet said.

A nursery school that occupied the building briefly in 1970 built a
sleeping area on the second floor, made classroom space, and constructed
a kitchen and dining area on the first floor.

The school did little renovation when it occupied the mansion five years
later, said Rob Doucette, director of the Highland Community School.

"We inherited a great building with a lot of great details and
woodwork," Doucette said. "In fact, the building still has more of a
residential feel."

Highland Community School, which provides Montessori education, was the
first charter school of the Milwaukee Public Schools system. It recently
moved into one of the original Pabst mansions, another historic
landmark, at 3030 W. Highland Ave. The Pabst mansion has about 20,000
square feet and will allow the school to expand its student body to 138
students from 75.

The next owners of the Schlitz mansion are still unknown, but with so
much interest in the property, Novotny said she thinks an offer will be
made soon.

Whether it's a legal office or another school, Greenstreet said he hopes
someone moves in to the historical mansion soon so it will remain
"alive" and well-kept.

"Historical preservation is not about preserving, it's about finding the
appropriate use for a building that will keep it alive and functioning,"
he said. "We can only hope the next owners have a respectable and
appropriate use for the building."

  Copyright 1999 American City Business Journals Inc.
Click for permission to reprint (PRC# 1.1637.254404)

(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.)


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