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Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles
   

 

Local History Index - Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles

From Miltenberg to Milwaukee

Beer magnates from the Lower Main area, in the United States of the 19th Century [1]

by Wilhelm Otto Keller, Historian, copyright October, 2012

Originally published as "Von Miltenberg nach Milwaukee, Biermagnaten vom Untermain in den USA des 19. Jahrhunderts" in the German magazine Spessart, issue October 2012, see http://www.main-netz.de/themen/spessart/

translated in part from the original German to English by Michael R. Reilly, January, 2013, copyright

Last updated 09/06/2016

View of Miltenberg looking to the east; the river is the Main. The two twin spires are part of the 14th century Church of St. James.

    Since Miltenberg is celebrating its 775 year old history this year [2], it may be appropriate because of the tradition of the Michaelismesse [3], to call to mind a professional branch of the Lower Main Area, which, in the 19th Century, celebrated great successes overseas. We are talking about the brewers, who emigrated in the 19th Century, or even had to emigrate. The main subjects of this article are three brewers from Miltenberg, who were incredibly successful in their new homeland. But there are also ramifications to Amorbach, Laudenbach, Trennfurt, and Wertheim.
    In the first four centuries of the history of Miltenberg, beer, and its production, played only a minor role, since viticulture and wine consumption were dominant. This is confirmed by the fact that there are many rules and prohibitions concerning the sale of wine, but nothing about the sale of beer. Only after the Thirty Years War, beer appeared more frequently in the documents. The importance of viticulture had declined. Moreover, they had now discovered ways to make beer more durable. Now a growing number of citizens asked the city council for a license to produce beer. Some of them wanted to give up their acquired profession, and hoped for a better future by producing beer. The city council was very cautious in giving such permissions, since more boiler plants, and kilns for drying malt increased the fire hazard in the narrow alleys and streets of the city considerably. In the 19th Century fires were not unusual in breweries.
 
  Immigrants from the Pays de Liége

  Usually the brewing rights were associated with a restaurant. The “Giant"[4], the “Ostrich”, and other guesthouses were in possession of brewing rights in the 16th century. In 1654 Kilian Francois Mathieu Servantaine, an “immigrant” from the Pays de Liége (today Belgium), turned up in a document as host of “The White Lion” and brewer. Since he paid his duty on beverages then, we learn for the first time of the existence of a brewery of this name, which wasn’t situated then in the “Black Quarter” as nowadays, but opposite to the “Giant” (Mainstreet 94). Ten years later, the council allowed to transfer the sign of “The White Lion” to another place in the narrow “Black Quarter” right beneath the mountain, where it has been till today. (picture 1)

Breweries in Miltenberg
    In his “Chronicle of Miltenberg" [5], Michael Joseph Wirth, (1775-1864), mentioned seven breweries, which produced beer in Miltenberg in the early decades of the 19th Century. Most of them were owners of Felsenkeller (i.e. cellars driven into the mountain slopes out of sandstone), which were very important for the storage of beer, because beer is turning bad when getting too warm. Such cellars were mentioned as a peculiarity of Miltenberg by the Benedictine Prior and humanist writer, Johannes Butzbach, who was born in Miltenberg 1477. About 1505 he wrote: “There are hidden storage rooms beneath the mountain, which have been excavated in wonderful expertise and with great difficulties out of the rocks…”

  

Restaurant and Brewery "The White Lion". Today Brauhaus Faust

Bergkeller the St. Kilianskellerei

 
    Above all, in the oldest part of the town, below the castle Mildenburg, where they had begun digging off the lower part of the mountain to gain more space for building houses, they drove tunnels into the rocks of sandstone. Breweries, which were not situated so favorably close to the slope, bought or rented such storage cellars. In the 19th Century the owner of the large cellar which belongs to the St. Kilian’s –Kellerei in the “Black Quarter”, nowadays [Mainstreet 241]. was the Frieß Brewery (Mainstreet 42, in the eastern Quarter). This cellar reaches about 100 metres into the mountain and has an optimal middle temperature of 10° Celsius a year. From the river Main, close by, they could get ice in winter, and store it away to use it as a refrigerant for beer in summer.
    The Mann Brewery at the Engelplatz [today Keller Brewery, Mainstreet 66] [6], owned a cellar in the mountain close to the Mainzer Tor (western gate) and “an ice meadow” (Eiswiese) near the Mud river. In winter they flooded the meadow thus producing ice, which they cut into large pieces, which were stored away in the nearby cellar, to use it as a refrigerant for the beer in warmer days.
 

Rise in the 19th Century

    Wirth informed about a rise of the breweries since 1818 in his chronicle. It may be that this was due to the transition of Miltenberg to the Kingdom of Bavaria. [7] But before the military marches [8]of the year 1814 began, the mayor (Schultheiß) Wirth [9] still had his doubts about the quality of the Miltenberg beer. Therefore he dispatched a magistrate to control the breweries. He should admonish the brewers to produce good beer before the arrival of 30.000 Russian soldiers which were notorious for their brutality. Those breweries, which would produce undrinkable beer, would be closed down.

Bergkeller the Brauhaus Faust Picture

    On the other hand the brewers were still in competition with more than 350 winegrowers in Miltenberg, although the reputation of Miltenberger wine no longer was the best. Therefore it could no longer be sold to foreign wine merchants, but only in the numerous“ Häckerwirtschaften” of the town. [10]

    Since there were breweries in many neighboring villages as well, the main customers of Miltenberg beer were its 3500 citizens naturally. So brewers had to make an effort. The magistrate as well took care of the production of beer and exhorted the brewers, again and again, to produce good beer, or the plant would be closed. The improvement in quality Wirth mentioned was related to the competence of the brewers, as well in the brewhouse, as in the cellars. With their beer they managed to replace wine, as well as cider as the main drink of the citizens. "The prevailing drink is beer”, Amtsphysicus Dr. Joseph Zöllner [11] stated in his report to the administration in Würzburg in 1861.

 

    It is amazing that these small plants, whose output did not reach 500 hectolitres a year, created personalities in the 19th Century, who were called “beer magnates” in the US, because there they reached peak positions within one generation with the breweries they had founded themselves. One can therefore assume, that those small plants of Miltenberg were run by clever and enterprising merchants, and excellent brewers, who shared their knowledge with others. Obviously, their spirit of innovation, and the flavor of their beer went down well with inhabitants of the United States.

As far as Mauritius

    In winter 2005/2006, the House of Bavarian History, and the city of Aschaffenburg presented an exhibition, "Good Bye Bavaria -Good Day America.", in Castle Aschaffenburg. In parallel, the city and Aschaffenburg communal archives, advertised to visit the exhibition, "Between the Worlds", in the Schönborner courtyard, which was about the emigration from the Lower Main area. Even before the 19th Century, people migrated from this area to Russia, Poland, the Balkans or even overseas. A former Miltenberg citizen [named Konig = king] even settled on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. There his family became very influential.  It was not always the economic hardship that drove people into the distance. Family problems, or simply the desire to try their luck in another country, to try a different continent, from which they had heard promising news, should not be underestimated as motivations. For the first half of the 19th Century, the oppressive domestic policies of the leading Habsburg Austrian politician Clemens Wenzel von Metternich must be considered, which covered almost all German states, like mildew, driving many people out of the country.

    In the first decades of the 19th Century, the stream of emigration swelled into a mass movement. The wars initiated by the  French Revolution, and then Napoleon, lasted almost 25 years, causing very bad economic conditions for years after the war. Since hundreds of thousands of soldiers had been marching through the Spessart Forest, and along the roads in the valley of the river Main during the campaigns. In addition the population was growing rapidly after the wars had ended.

United States: "The Promised Land"

    There were migrations at all times. For example, the Lower Main area itself, after the loss of life and devastation of the Thirty Years War, had become the target of immigrants from various parts of Europe, which had a population surplus. In Miltenberg, builders from Tyrol, as well as retailers from Savoy, chimney sweeps from Graubünden, merchants and craftsmen from northern Italy, as the brewer, Servantaine, from Wallonia [today Belgium]. They were accepted as citizens, and integrated quickly into the local population. Many of their names, difficult for local tongues, were immediately "Germanized". From the host of "The White Lion", Kilian Francois Mathieu Servantaine, soon changed to become Kilian Franzmathes. [They created a new family name by contracting the second and third Christian names to the family name Franzmathes, leaving off the former family name Servantaine.] Donneux was changed into Doni, and the former Toussaints, are nowadays Dossing, or Dassing.

    One and a half a centuries later, most emigrants were drawn from the Lower Main area into the United States of North America, which have been independent since 1776. Bavarian statistics, for the months of October 1835 to September 1836, are showing 5374 emigrants to the US from Lower Franconia [12], from Swabia there were only 105 and from the old Bavarian districts only 88 emigrants. From the present urban area of Miltenberg, there emigrated as many as eleven members of the Bleifus family of Schippach [13] into “the promised land” USA between 1846 and 1900. From Franz Karl Bleifus (1830-1923), who wrote a diary from 1850 until only a short time before his death, we have our information, that such partings evidently belonged to the unalterable, everyday realities; because in no case, he gave any reasons for the emigration of a family member. [14]

Stormy Development

    Cooper and brewer, Anton (1813 - 1885) was the first Bleifus, who left his village,  Schippach, in June 1846, aged 33. He went to St. Louis, Missouri on the west bank of the Mississippi. Why he turned his back on his home, we can only guess?  The numbers of inhabitants in Schippach, within a quarter century, had almost doubled, while the number of jobs has stagnated.

Listing for emigrants in the "Messenger from the Lower Main"

    Maybe Anton Bleifus had heard that in 1844, Franz Joseph Uhrig (1808-1874) from Laudenbach, opened a brewery in St. Louis, and hoped to find a job there.

    The United States was in a rapid development. The exploitation of the vast continent made great progress. Within a few decades, cities grew out of small, but conveniently located spots. This was also true of St. Louis on the Mississippi, which, in 1763, was founded as a French trading post. As “Gateway to the West”, the city was the starting point, for people and wagon trains, which set out for the Pacific. This stimulated the local economy. In the 19th Century many German immigrants were attracted by this thriving city. In 1860 they amounted to more than a third of the 170.000 inhabitants. The ethnic German customers were very interested in good beer – the best conditions for brewers.

    Alfons Breitenbach has done a lot of research on the emigration from his native Laudenbach. He assembled a list of 50 people from Laudenbach, who settled in St. Louis. 13 of them belonged to the family Uhrig. Before Franz Joseph Uhrig, his older brother, Johann Andreas (1804-1863), had been the first of the village, who emigrated to the United States in 1829. This family of ship owners was from Klingenberg originally. [16] The territorial changes in the first two decades of the 19th Century had greatly affected the traffic on the river Main. The Kingdom of Bavaria, at first, seemed to have no interest to do much about it. The Grand Duchy of Baden managed, to diminish the chances of the Lower Main ship owners by charging rather high customs duties in Freudenberg and Wertheim. [17] This way, Baden tried to protect the interests of their own ship owners on the river Neckar.

Uhrig's "Cave" in St. Louis

    Johann Andreas Uhrig did not want to wait till the situation changed. He sought his fortune in the New World, that is, at the greatest river, the Mississippi. He settled down in Calhoun County, Missouri. After several years of hard work he already had his own steamer, with which he transported cargoes on the great river. His four year younger brother, Franz Joseph, joined him in 1836. Johann Andreas Uhrig was doing so well that he could cede his ship to his brother, and earn his money as a merchant. Among others he traded beer.

    As a freight shipper Franz Joseph Uhrig must have been very efficient as well. In a few years he earned so much that he could go ashore and turn to other activities. Together with Anton Kraut, he founded a brewery in St. Louis in 1844. His younger brother, Ignatz (1820-1844), who had arrived in 1841 along with their father, Johann Joseph Ignatz Uhrig (1779-1844), also entered into the brewery. Anton Kraut, the business partner, was a victim to the Cholera epidemic in 1849. Now Uhrig sold his steamer and invested the money in his brewery. He expanded the storage capacity by having large cellars dug out of the limestone, which resulted in the name “Uhrig’s Cave” for the estate.

 Covered beer garden of the Lion Brewery in 1900

    The Uhrigs were highly innovative. They were the first brewery in St. Louis to produce Bockbier. For their Lager, they received first prize on the St. Louis Fair of 1857. So the quality of their product was right. They also hosted a beer garden above the storage cellar. Their guests were sitting in the shade of large trees, as was common in Germany. In conjunction with the storage vaults, Franz Joseph Uhrig had a huge dance hall built. This was to become one of the major entertainment centers of St. Louis, by organizing concerts and other exciting events there. Brewer Jacob Mörschell, who left Miltenberg around 1860 to emigrate to St. Louis, probably asked for work at the Uhrig brewery. The brewers had become wealthy in St. Louis.

    Franz Joseph Uhrig, and his brother, had a large house built for the summer months in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. Because of the more favorable climate, Franz Joseph lived there every summer until he died on July 2nd 1874. His brother Ignatz had died in 1861 in St. Louis already. The Uhrig Brewery survived the death of its founder only for a few years. With Anheusser-Busch a dynamic competitor had emerged in the city on the Mississippi.

Chicago

    Chicago, Illinois, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, also offered a“favorable patch” for efficient immigrants. As late as 1837, the place with 4200 inhabitants, had been given the status of a city. But in 1860, the number of 100.000 citizens was already achieved. Optimal traffic conditions like the Erie canal, which was finished in 1825, or the connection of Lake Michigan with the catchment area of the Mississippi finished in 1848, provided the city with a central role in freight and passenger transport throughout the United States. 1848 - the railway reached the emerging city. Here too, a strong German colony was living and working. In 1855 they prevailed in the so called “Lager Beer Riot” against the ban on selling beer on Sundays, demanded by the Puritans. After all, they wanted to have their meetings in the pub, after the obligatory visit to the Sunday service, as they were used to from home, or their sundowner in the evening. These were good conditions for brewers from everywhere.

Milwaukee

    Brewers from Miltenberg were mainly attracted by Milwaukee, north of Chicago, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Dynamic development turned a spot of only 1750 inhabitants in 1840 into a city of more than 200.000 inhabitants within 50 years. Around 1895, about half of the inhabitants had a German background. [18]

A panoramic view of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin originally lithographed by D. W. Moody in 1854

    The German revolution of 1848/49 in particular increased the influx of immigrants into the city. In 1851, already six German newspapers and magazines appeared. German beer gardens were opened; German singing and gymnastic clubs were founded. This was a fertile soil for business with beer, which came near the taste customers were used to from home. In addition, Mike R. Reilly has pointed out that beer drinking gained significantly by the tax legislation of 1850 against whiskey. While a barrel of beer held about 117.5 litres, that is approximately 31 times more than a gallon of whiskey to 3.80 litres, it was taxed under the new law with the same amount of 1 Dollar. This advanced the beer sales at the expense of whiskey consumption. Since January 1868, there was a specialized monthly magazine, published in German “The American brewers”, a clear indication of the role of the Germans among the Milwaukee brewers. The evidence indicates that August Krug [19] was the first brewer from Miltenberg to settle in Milwaukee.

The Krugs from the “Black Quarter" [20] Die Krugs aus dem Schwarzviertel

    Georg Anton Krug had married Anna Maria, daughter of the landlord and brewer “to The White Lion” Franz Anton Ludwig, in 1814. His father, Jakob, had been a brewer, too. His mother, nee Janssen, came from the “Giant” inn. In 1823 Georg Anton was able to take over the brewery himself, since his brother-in-law, Johann Adam Uhrig (1786-1850), a baker coming from Laudenbach and host of the “Sword” in Miltenberg, had left the firm, and concentrated solely on his inn at Miltenberg Marketplace. Georg Anton modernized the plant, and had a steam engine set up in 1830, which was the first in the Miltenberg area. It was so robust, that it was still working nicely a hundred years later in a saw mill.

     His son Georg August, born 28th April, 1815, also learned brewing, and went into the family business. He married Anna Maria Wiesmann in 1840, the daughter of a ship owner.

wpe2.jpg (5908 bytes)

    In the same year he was first mentioned as host of the “White Lion”. He continued to modernize the brewery with his father. In May 1842 he applied for the permission of a water pipe which crossed the “Mainweg” in a tunnel and pumped water directly to the brewery. He received the approval of the Municipal Council and the authorities.

Label "Auswanderbier" in memory of Georg Anton and August Krug.

 

 Democrats in 1848

    Father and son were very interested in politics. Miltenberg had lost its central position, which it had occupied in the south of the territory of the Archbishops of Mentz (Mainz), in the political changes following the Napoleonic Wars, between 1803 and 1816. The clumsy politics of the changing rulers, above all in Bavaria since 1816, fanned the annoyance of the citizens, primarily the merchants, ship owners, and carriers from the economic elite. They started to take interest in “liberty, equality, and fraternity” the ideals of the French Revolution. For these ideals a “Democratic Club” was working in secret since 1828. As a cover it first used the social club “Casino”, later the “Rifle Club”, which was founded in 1839. Krug senior was a founding member of the “Rifle Club”. The loyalist Miltenberg mayor characterized the membership of this association, which kept the authorities on the jump till it was banned in 1852: “In this society, there are many democrats, but also some decent citizens". [21]

    The Krugs, father and son, were among the first of 335 signatories of the petition of a town meeting, which gathered on Ash Wednesday, 8thMarch, two weeks after the revolution broke out in Paris in February. This petition put down the demands of the citizens of Miltenberg to the Royal Bavarian government in Munich, and Prince Charles of Leiningen. [22] Together with ten other citizens, August Krug presented this petition to the City Council the same evening. Already next morning mainly young people from Miltenberg and the surrounding villages met at “The White Lion”, located only a stone’s throw from the building, which housed the administration of the Leiningens. Those young people drank free beer at the expense of prominent Democrats. As one of the donors, beer brewer August Krug was later named to the authorities. Most of this “Free Beer Society” formed a protest march in the evening of 9th March, which claimed “freedom and equality” on its way through the city. This riot was called “tumultuous excesses” by the authorities. The crowd marched to the pier of the steamship company close to the Ziegelgasse and put it on fire. From there they marched to the house of Dr. Philipp Madler, who worked as a forester in the large woods of the Prince of Leiningen, and put this house on fire as well. The decrepit Judge Johann Baptist Kurz [23] called on the military for help. For a couple of years, Miltenberg would be considered as a “democratic trouble spot”.

August Krug in Milwaukee

    After the authorities had brought the city back under their control, with the help of the military, father Georg, and son Georg August Krug were in a difficult situation, because they were exposed as democrats. Since August had apparently been more active, he thought it better to try his luck by emigrating. As many other emigrants, he obviously fled without the necessary permit from the authorities. His wife Anna Maria either went with him, or only a short time later. As soon as 1849, his father Georg Krug sold his brewery to Peter Müller, from Königshofen, at the River Tauber for a considerable sum of 11.000 florins and followed his son.

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    August Krug did not turn up in Milwaukee as a poor refugee, for he was able to open a family-managed guesthouse in the city center. Always on the lookout for opportunities to save costs, and dissatisfied with the local beer, he had brewing facilities set up in the basement of his inn in 1849. The district of Milwaukee, in which August Krug had settled down, developed into “little Germany”, because of the strong influx of German immigrants. His guests thought his “lager” was sensational, though he could only produce beer during the colder months. In the 19th Century “lager” was a bottom-fermented beer, whose manufacture required low temperatures. In cold months, Krug produced around 1.8 hectolitres a day. His entire output in the first year was approximately 150 barrels, which corresponded to approximately 180 hectoliters. But he was not content with this. He increased production, and sold his beer outside his restaurant as well.

    In 1850, father Georg Anton Krug arrived in the United States with his grandson of eight years, August Uihlein (1842-1911). His wife stayed in Miltenberg; however, she had asked that the second son of the Uihleins, Heinrich would move to his grandmother in Miltenberg. With him she made the trip to the US in 1855. The infertility of the couple, August and Anna Maria Krug, may have been the reason that the host of the Wertheim “Crown” and his wife let their sons immigrate to Milwaukee. In addition there lay better chances ahead of them in the future than in Wertheim.

    During the crossing in 1850, Georg Anton Krug, and his grandson August Uihlein only narrowly escaped disaster when their ship caught fire. They were able to cling to a box, and were rescued by an American ship. Krug had even been able to rescue his money, worth 800 gold dollars, in this disaster. This he invested into the company of his son, who was thus able to employ three workers and a young accountant from Mentz [24] (Mainz), Joseph Schlitz (1831-1875). Furthermore the Krugs had a cellar dug out close by, to have storage facilities with constant temperatures. They might have missed the Miltenberg Bergkeller very much.

Joseph Schlitz from Mainz

    Unexpectedly, and without children, August Krug died on 30th December 1856, at the age of 41 years. Joseph Schlitz became head of the company. In 1858 he married the widow of his former employer, Anna Maria Krug. She was 6 years his senior. After the death of August Krug, the output of beer ran up to 2400 hectoliters. Within ten years Schlitz increased production to nearly 9000 hectoliters, and thus became Milwaukee’s fourth largest producer, after the native Miltenberg owner of the Blatz Brewery, Valentin Blatz, and two other competitors.

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    In 1871 a tremendous fire disaster destroyed countless homes, businesses, most of the breweries in Chicago. The water supply was paralyzed for weeks. Joseph Schlitz seized his chance, and supplied the big town immediately with beer on favorable terms. The clientele was grateful to him, and his company, and remained faithful to the brewery for a long time following the catastrophe , which was now called “Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company”. This was the origin of the slogan with which the company advertized for decades: “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous”.

    Schlitz could not enjoy his success for a long time. He died unexpectedly on the voyage to his native country, when his liner, the “Schiller, ”smashed into a rock near Cornwall. At that time Schlitz was already one of the wealthiest men of his city and his brewery produced about 112.000 hectoliters a year.

August Uihlein from Wertheim

    Catharina Josepha Krug, born in 1820, August Krug’s younger sister, had married Benedict Uihlein of Trennfurt [25], the host of the Wertheim inn “The Crown”. They had two daughters and seven sons. One after another, four Uihlein sons entered the brewery in Milwaukee. Schlitz’ sudden death did not throw the company out of its path. Joseph Schlitz had drawn the right conclusions from the equally unexpected death of the company’s founder August Krug. For one he had determined that the name “Joseph Schlitz” should remain part of the company name, even after his death. He also had set up the 33 year old August Uihlein – nephew and godson of the founder – in time for his successor, who continued the business, together with his aunt.

    August attended the German-English-School which was only founded in 1851. Besides school, his uncle made him do even minor work at the brewery, so that he would be introduced into the brewing business step by step. At the request of his grandfather he attended the College of the Jesuits in St. Louis 1855/56. One can assume that the contact with the school was established by the Uhrigs. They had created a large estate in Milwaukee for the summer months in 1854. Their father, Johann Ignatz Uhrig, had a younger brother Johann Adam Josef. He was a baker, and married Eva Barbara Ludwig, daughter of the host and brewer of the “White Lion” in Miltenberg in 1811. The older Uhrig brother acted as best man. In 1818 Johann Adam Joseph Uhrig took over the inn, “The Sword” on the marketplace. Eva Barbara was the younger sister of Anna Maria Krug, wife of Georg Anton and mother of August Krug. Therefore the families Uhrig and Krug were related. This explains their relationship and cooperation in the United States.

    In St. Louis, August Krug had also completed a two-months accounting course. At the age of 16 years, he persuaded Joseph Schlitz, on his return, to employ him as an accountant, and he began modernizing the whole accounting department. But he could do this only in the evening hours, since August worked as a volunteer at the Second Ward Savings Bank during the day. President of this bank was Valentin Blatz, who was born in Miltenberg, and owner of a brewery in Milwaukee. In spite of the double burden, August Uihlein did his job so well that he was honored at his leaving, after one year, with a golden pen by the Bank President Blatz.

    In October 1860, August Uihlein went back to St. Louis, working with the Uhrigs as an accountant and treasurer. He must have been a really efficient young man, otherwise, he would not have been promoted to General Manager, even before his 20th birthday. In 1867 he returned to Milwaukee. After the death of Joseph Schlitz, he managed the company with the help of his brothers Heinrich, and Edward. Brother Edward was showing the same huge motivation as his older brother August. This motivation can be seen clearly in his early years already.

Edward Uihlein (1845 - 1921)

    The career of Edward, the third Uihlein son, is of particular interest for Miltenberg. He wrote “Memories of his Youth” at the age of 71. There he wrote about his years as an apprentice, which he began as a 15 year old with the Miltenberg merchant, Joseph Knapp, in Mainstreet (now number 50) near the Engelplatz  His mother, however, would have preferred to see him as a priest, because he had a very beautiful voice. But Edward showed no inclination to this. He felt moved to become a merchant. With great objectivity and without lamentation, he described his working-days, from early morning 5.00 o’clock, to 20.00 o’clock in the late evening. Every second Sunday was a working-day as well. For the apprenticeship of his son, Edward’s father had to pay 100 florin a year to his master Joseph Knapp – quite a substantial sum.

General store of the merchant Joseph Knapp, Miltenberg [26]

    But Edward has learned a lot from Knapp. By American standards, the business was not large, but his master was a very versatile merchant – “he had his hands in many pies”. Many shopkeepers of Miltenberg, and the area around, were supplied by him. The business radius ranged from Frankfort/Mentz (Mainz), to Augsburg and beyond. Despite his wide-ranging duties, Edward did not feel abused by his master, on the contrary, he had the impression that he, himself, was treated well. This could not be said from all the other apprentices of his time in Miltenberg. That he liked thinking back to his time as an apprentice in Miltenberg, he showed by supporting the Progymnasium (Grammar school) of Miltenberg, after the First World War. Therefore his name is on the honor roll in the ground floor of the former Progymnasium [27] along with sponsors like, Philipp Joseph Bishoff [28], Kaspar Winterhelt [29], and Wilhelm Klingenstein [30]. From his talents, Edward was obviously destined to become a merchant, and he had been lucky enough to have found the right master in the versatile Joseph Knapp.

    At the end of his apprenticeship in 1864, Edward decided to follow his brothers to the United States. When the Uhrig family, of St. Louis, was visiting Germany Edward Uihlein’s father asked them to take his third son back to the States, and have an eye on him during the voyage. When Edward wrote down his memoirs, at the age of 71, he could no longer recall the family relations between the Uhrigs and the Uihleins exactly. He thought his parents, and the Uhrigs had become friends on a trip of the Uhrigs to Germany. [31]

    Brother August organized a job for Edward in St. Louis. Edward was soon successful dealing with spare parts of railway wagons, and soon started his own business in Chicago. There he was a witness to the fire catastrophe, in which his business was spared. After the Great Fire, August had rushed to Chicago to open up a beer depot. He also established a brewery he called, Schlitz Brewing Co., and he was able to win his brother Edward as a manager. From Chicago, Edward organized the distribution of Schlitz beer, since 1872, so successfully, that it could be had almost all over the country. As a shrewd logistician, he promoted rail transport above all, and for this he used specially developed refrigerator wagons.

    After the death of their aunt, Anna Maria Schlitz, the former widowed Krug, in 1887, the Uihlein brothers were sole owners of the brewery. By their successful management, they guided the brewery from the tenth to the third rank of the beer producers in the United States. Around the middle of the 20th Century the company even claimed to be the largest beer producer in the world. Older people of our area do still remember that American soldiers after World War II often drank their beer out of Schlitz cans.

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  When Joseph E. Uihlein (1875-1968) visited Miltenberg in 1958, at the age of 82, he met Carl Faust, senior owner of the Lion Brewery in the “Giant”. He “ confessed”, with disarming candor, after the obligatory tasting of the Lion beer,  ”It tastes better to me than our beer”. Several years later, the name of “The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous” faded. The management had pursued a failed business policy for too long, and misjudged the taste of their customer base. In 1982 the brewery was sold to a competitor. Today it is only one of many labels in a gigantic brewers group. With the return to the previous flavor of the Schlitz beer in 2008, they are trying to win back their former customers.

Hop Garden in the Miltenberger Ankergasse

 Valentin Blatz (1825 - 1894) from the Ankergasse

    Valentin Blatz was born in 1825, the second son of brewer Joseph Caspar Blatz, in the “Hopfengarten” (hop garden) in the Ankergasse (anchor lane), and was baptized 2nd October in the parish church of St. James. When he was ten years old his father died. At 14 he left school and became a brewer apprentice with his stepfather Carl Weckbacher. Then he collected four years of professional experience in larger breweries in Würzburg, Munich, and Augsburg. To save Valentin military service, his stepfather paid a deputy for him – which was common practice then with citizens, who could afford the money.

    In 1848 the 23-year old Blatz immigrated into the United States. It seems to be obvious that political motives drove him out of the country, but there is still no accurate proof. His older brother, Albert, however, was one of the signatories to the petition on 8th March 1848. Later he followed his brother across the Atlantic. Valentin Blatz reached Milwaukee in 1851 via Buffalo in upstate New York, where he had been employed as a master brewer for one year. In Milwaukee he worked as a master brewer in the small brewery Johann Braun had founded in 1846.

    With $500 cash he opened his own company in the neighborhood. After the sudden death of Braun, who fell from a beer wagon – which was quite a frequent accident with brewers - , he married his widow, and united both breweries under the name “Blatz Brewing Company”, with an initial output of about 800 hectoliters. The young entrepreneur employed four workers, and laid special emphasis on the yeast. It was claimed that Blatz’ “brewing secret” lies in a yeast strain, which he had brought from Miltenberg. 1860 Blatz already produced 34.000 hectoliters, that he would increase to 104.000 by 1875. Thus he has increased the output of his brewery to 130-fold in less than 25 years. He also made large-scale transactions outside of Milwaukee.

The first bottled beer in the USA produced by Val Blatz

    Val Blatz, as he was called now, was the first to sell beer in bottles in the United States in 1875. The competitors soon followed. Soon the Blatz brewery filled around 2000 bottles a day. Already in 1876 he won first prize for his “bottled beer” at an international exhibition in Philadelphia. In professional circles, Blatz was considered even more efficient as a business man than Joseph Schlitz, for example – certainly a very big compliment. He constantly invested in the infrastructure of ice cellars and cooling carriages. In 1889 his business had reached a volume of around 320.000 hectoliters. The“Hopfengarten Brewery” of Miltenberg, where Blatz came from, closed down in 1917, and sold beer from the Lion brewery afterwards in the restaurant. [32] The storage cellar of the “Hopfengarten” had a capacity of only 500 hectoliters then.

    Blatz’ rise had not been without setbacks. But nothing seemed to dampen his entrepreneurial spirit. He also engaged in banking, and in 1866, he was president of the local “Merchants National Bank”. and from 1868, to his death, he acted as president of the “Second Ward Savings Bank”, where August Uihlein worked as a volunteer. Here one can see again the close links of the emigrants. They supported each other.

 Blatz brewery in Milwaukee

    Around 1890, he transformed his company into a stock company and sold it later for a horrendous amount to a group of English and domestic investors. Blatz had reserved broad participation for himself. At the time of his sudden death in a hotel in Minnesota, on 27 May 1894, he was one of the wealthiest men in Milwaukee. In his obituary, the local newspaper “Milwaukee Sentinel” estimated his fortune from 6 to 8 million dollars. Especially in his later years, he had been successfully involved in the property market.

    Despite his huge commercial success, Blatz did not like spectacular appearances. He preferred to be for himself, that is, he devoted himself to his business, or the honorary positions he had acquired. His family had him buried in a magnificent mausoleum in the Forest Home Cemetery, where many celebrities have their graves. There is the grave of August Krug as well as a monument reminding of Joseph Schlitz.

    From the great “Meyer’s encyclopediaVolume 12 of 1896, we learn that at that time Milwaukee had a total of 18 breweries, including the giant establishments of Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz with 2548 workers.

Franz Lorenz Falch aka Falk (1823-1882) from the “Black Quarter”

Birthplace (yellow) of Franz Falk in the Miltenberger "Black Quarter" .

    Franz Falch was born 1823 as son of a cooper in the “black quarter”. He became an apprentice with his father, but later he moved to Georg Anton Krug’s brewery, “The White Lion”, nearby as a brewer. He, too, left the town in 1848.

    Since he was working with the Krugs, he may have been on the democratic political line as well. But we have no proof! Via Cincinnati he came to Milwaukee, where he worked for his former employer Krug as a foreman. A few months later he went to the competition as a master brewer. In 1856 he founded his own brewery together with a partner. The brewery existed till 1892 as “The Falk Brewing Company”. Since American throats have difficulties pronouncing a “ch”, the brewer soon changed his name to “Falk”. This means “Falcon”, and this bird is placed purposefully as a trademark in advertising. About 1866, Falk’s brewery had an annual output of 8750 hectoliters of beer. Falk was also engaged in the trade with malt. In 1867, a new brewery was built in a more advantageous place. There the output could be doubled rather quickly. In addition they had their own malting-house, which was an exception in the U.S. then.

    In 1872, the “Falk Brewing Company” belonged to the four biggest breweries of the city, together with Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz, of which three were founded by brewers from Miltenberg. Two years later than Val Blatz, Falk began sales of bottled beer. On each label the swooping down Falcon pointed to the brewer’s name. Around 1880 the brewery consisted of five large buildings, in addition there were large courtyards, and a railway siding. For local transport they kept 12 horse carriages. In addition Falk had his own cooperage. In total 100 people were working for him.

    1881 - His sons, Louis and Francis, worked in the company already. The following year, Franz Falk suddenly died from a stroke, aged 59. Later, the two younger brothers were included into the company’s management as well.

    Falk, too, had already been sending his beer, into many parts of the country, for a long time already, and he won national and international awards with his beer. For the cooling of his stocks, and the cooling wagons, Falk needed about 25.000 tons of ice annually. In 1888 the brewery had a production capacity of 320.000 hectoliters. Of which 192.000 were bottled beer.

    In summer of 1889, a fire, which had broken out in the malthouse devastated the plant almost completely. No sooner was a new, modern brewery built, when a fire destroyed it again. The Falk family had had enough, and sold the company to the competitor Pabst Brewery. While three of the Falk brothers remained with the management under the new owners, the fourth brother, Heinrich (Henry), who was technically highly talented, switched to mechanical engineering and founded the “Falk Corporation”, which would become one of the leading American companies. It still exists – but not as an independent company.

More brewers from Lower Main area

    In the 19th century, there emigrated at least ten brewers from the Lower Main area to the United States. Apparently, word had spread in Germany, that this industry was very profitable overseas. The numerous German immigrants were strongly interested in good beer, though they were not the only customers. Georg Reichert, a gardener from Miltenberg, had settled down with his wife in the vicinity of New York. He stayed in contact with his school friend in Miltenberg, Kaspar Winterhelt, who would become the founder of a big sandstone company. Some of his letters, in which he raves about the new world beyond the Atlantic, have been preserved, and presented in the exhibition 2005/06 at the Schönborner Hof in Ascheffenburg. In 1867, Reichert described the breweries in the United States, as true “gold mines”, to his friend. With such news some local brewers might have started thinking of emigrating.

The Hartig family and other relatives of the Krugs

    From the vicinity of the Krug family, another brewer, Philipp Hartig, appeared in the Milwaukee Directory 1857/58. He may have worked both in the restaurant, and in the brewery. More Hartigs followed. How and whether they are related to each other and with the Krugs is one of the outstanding issues.

    Wilhelm, or William Hartig, as he was now called, is said to have turned up alone in Milwaukee in 1863, aged 12, and visited the English-German-School like August Krug before him. The Milwaukee Directory of 1869/70 referred to him as a brewer at the Schlitz brewery. The fact that he worked for Schlitz, and was living with Schlitz, under the same roof in 420 Chestnut Street, makes a family connection look very likely. The following year a Joseph Hartig was working as a malt worker at the Schlitz brewery.

    William Hartig did not stay with Schlitz, but was hired by other brewers, even by Val Blatz. Finally he bought a brewery for $5000 in nearby Schleisingerville, (now Slinger) together with his partner Karl Storch, a trained blacksmith. They invested $7000 in upgrades, and employed Carl Panko as a cooper, who manufactured beer barrels for them.

    In 1884 Hartig sold his shares in the brewery, and moved further out to the city of Watertown, west of Milwaukee. With his new partner, Carl Manz, he bought a bankrupt brewery in 1883. The new company was now called Hartig & Manz Brewery and Malting. Manz had previously leased a malt house in Milwaukee from the Schlitz brewery. This however had burnt down.

    Benedict Carl Manz, born April 27th 1850, came from Amorbach. His father, Joseph Amor Manz, was an innkeeper and businessman. His mother, Anna Maria Clara, born in 1818, was a sister to August Krug of the “White Lion Brewery” in Miltenberg. In 1896 William Hartig took over the shares of Carl Manz, and changed the name to “Hartig City Brewery”. Hartig modernized and expanded operations, including the introduction of electricity. William died in 1923 of pneumonia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wm. Hartig Brewery and Malt House (Rock River in the foreground)

Further studies are needed

    There are still many unanswered questions about the life of the brewers, who emigrated from the Lower Main to the Milwaukee area. There is a very active History Society operating, the “Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.”. Michael R. Reilly, who is webmaster of the association, has provided more extensive work about the families Krug, Schlitz, and Hartig and published in the net and he is extremely helpful, and prepared to share his knowledge. It should be tried on both sides of the Atlantic to settle outstanding issues.

    Not all brewers, who emigrated from Miltenberg, were successful. But it shows the energy those emigrants could develop in a foreign country, and the goals they could achieve, in an environment, that the rising United States could offer. To achieve the joint annual output of Schlitz, Blatz, Falk, and Hartig, which amounted to more than 1.000.000 hektoliters, at the end of the 19thcentury, the Brauhaus Faust, the last existing Miltenberg brewery would be operating for many years. The obvious success of these emigrants in Milwaukee, shows the loss, the emigration meant for the Lower Main area, which lost numerous enterprising characters.

<Etikett der Hartigbrauerei Watertown fur Bockbier

    “Das schmeckt mir besser als unser Bier” – "I like this better than our beer", was the judgment of Joseph E. Uihlein, aged 82, when he tasted the local Faust Beer, while visiting Miltenberg in 1958. Rudolf Vierengel, the local editor, reported this proudly in his paper. It shows that breweries in the “homeland”, of the beer magnates still here, were “in the lead”, in advancing the art of brewing, and the taste of their beer. Above all, they did not become part of an anonymous large corporation, but remained independent.

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Sources and literature:
City Archives Miltenberg, Nachlass Rudolf Vierengel.
Thank you to Alois Reiß for his research in the Laudenbach church records.
Breitenbach, Alfons: Laudenbach am Main. Story on population growth. Laudenbach 2004th
Faust, Gottfried: Hops and malt never get old. [33] The former and existing breweries in our region. Miltenberg 2004th
Frankenberger, Roland: The Missing taverns of Miltenberg. Miltenberg 1993rd
Hamm, Margot / Henker, Michael / Brockhoff, Evamaria (eds) Good Bye Bavaria - Good day America. Emigration from Bavaria to America since 1683. Augsburg 2004th
Schmahl, Helmut Joseph Schlitz: Rhine Hessian Brewers in Milwaukee. In: Regionalgeschichte.net the Institute of Historical Landeskunde at the University of Mainz. www.auswanderung-rip.de/lese-und-hoerbuch/kurzbiografien/joseph-schlitz.html
Wirth, Michael Joseph: Chronicle of the town of Miltenberg. Miltenberg 1890 (completed 1851).
In the Milwaukee area / Wisconsin, there is a number of very active historical societies that deal with the genealogy and economic history of the area. The fascinating history of breweries plays a big role. Not every page in the network can be listed here.
I thank especially Michael R. Reilly, the site editor & webmaster of the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. for his spontaneous support. He has provided important contributions to the brewery himself and family history Krug/ Uihlein / Schlitz / Hartig / Manz and posted online.
Reilly, Michael R.: Uihlein Family History (The Milwaukee Brewing Family) 2000. Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. www.slahs.org/uihlein/family_history.htm
Reilly, Michael R.: Uehlein / Uihlein Family History chart. 1995 Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. www.slahs.org/Uihlein/Chart.htm
Reilly, Michael R. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. A Chronological History from 1848 to 1873. 1995/2011. Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. www.slahs.org/schlitz/history.htm
Reilly, Michael R.: William Hartig Family Genealogy & History Brewery. 2011th Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. www.slahs.org/brewery/Hartig/brewery.htm
Uihlein, Edward Gustav (1845-1921): "Memories of my Youth", published by John K. Notz. Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. 2000. www.slahs.org/Uihlein/Chicago/edward_g_memoirs.htm
Beisser, Fred: www.findagrave.com  Valentin Blatz (1998), Joseph Schlitz (1998), August Uihlein (2006) and August Krug (2008).
The papers consist of a biography and pictures of grave markers and monuments.
Blatz - The Man behind the beer. Valentin Blatz Biography (1826-1894)
Grimm, Lisa: St. Louis Beer History: Underground Beginnings. 2012
www.WisconsinBreweriana.com  : History of The Falk Brewing Company (1856 -1892)
 
Wilhelm Otto Keller

Short biography: Born September 1942 in Aschaffenburg.
    My father Wilhelm Keller was host of the Hotel "Brauerei Keller" i.a. Keller brewery in Miltenberg. This brewery was founded by my grandfather Wilhelm in 1881. It was closed down in 1915 because of the first World War. Afterwards it was run as a restaurant and hotel.
    Studies of history and European Ethnology at universities in Tübingen, Kiel and Würzburg finishing with M.A..
    1978-2007 Head of Department for Cultural Affairs, Adult Education and Tourism at the town administration of Miltenberg.
    In my free time I was working on Miltenberg history publishing articles in local papers and books. In my retirement this has become my main occupation. I am married, and father of three children.

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[1] This article was written in German and first published by the magazine “Spessart” monthly for the Cultural Landscape Spessart. This is a large wooded area east of Frankfort/Main.
[2] Miltenberg was mentioned first in 1237, Juli 2nd
[3] Michaelismesse is a big fair in Miltenberg going back to 1367 with a big beer tent for 2500 people.
[4] The „Giant“ is supposed to be the oldest German inn.
[5] Michael Joseph Wirth: Chronik der Stadt Miltenberg, Miltenberg 1890.
[6] This is the place I come from.
[7] Till 1803 Miltenberg was part of the Archbishopric of Mentz, from 1803 to 1806 it was the capital of the small principality of Leiningen, from 1806 to 1810 part of the Grand-Duchy of Baden, from 1810 to 1816 part of the Grand-Duchy of Hessia-Darmstadt. Since 1816 Miltenberg is part of Bavaria.
[8] Miltenberg was lying at an important and very busy road, which was frequented by the armies during the Napoleonic Wars.
[9] He wrote the chronicle later.
[10] „Häckerwirtschaft“: Each winegrower was allowed to sell his own wine in his house for four weeks a year. The word for winegrower in Miltenberg is “Häcker”. The verb is “hacken” = to hoe; hack; chop. Their tool is the hoe (Hacke) and the mattock (Karst) .
[11] District physician Dr. Joseph Zöllner. In this case Zöllner is a name not a profession.
[12] The Lower Main area is the western part of Lower Franconia. Swabia is around Augusburg.
[13] Schippach is a small village in the woods above Miltenberg six kilometers from the town with only a few hundred inhabitants. Since 1972 the village has been part of Miltenberg.
[14] Four of Franz Karl Bleifus‘ children were living in San Francisco during the earthquake in 1904. No one was injured.
[15] Laudenbach at the river Main is about 6 kilometres downstream from Miltenberg.
[16] On the right bank of the river Main about 4 kilometres down the river from Laudenbach.
[17] About 6 and 30 kilometres upstream from Miltenberg.
[18] „Migrationshintergrund“ is a term often used in the discussions about immigrants and their integration into the German population.
[19] Krug is a family name here. It is quite common.
[20] The origin of the name „Black Quarter“ is not absolutely certain. This oldest part of the town is directly in the shade of the mountain and gets hardly any sunshine. It is cold there and clammy.
[21] The democrats were looked at like communists today. The loyal and conservative parish priest even made the influence of the democrats responsible for the rising number of illegitimate children between 1846 to 1852.
[22] He was the stepbrother of Queen Victoria and cousin of her husband Prince Albert. The Prince of Leiningen was driven from his country on the left bank of the river Rhine in 1793 by the troops of the French Revolution. In 1803 the political landscape of Germany was reorganized by Napoleon. Thus Leiningen got a new principality on the right bank of the Rhine. They resided in a former Benedictine monastery 10 kilometers south of Miltenberg. In 1806 the Leiningen lost their sovereignty to the Grand Duke of Badenia. But as so called “Standesherren” they still had their say in communal administration in the name of the Grand duke. People had to pay taxes to them as well, which annoyed them very much. So the Prince of Leiningen was a “red flag” to citizens and farmers as well.
[23] Kurz is also a family name. He was the chief administrator for the Leiningens.
[24] Mentz - in German „Mainz“ – is the capital of Rheinland-Pfalz one of the 16 German Bundesländer.
[25] On the river Main two miles downstream from Laudenbach.
[26] Place in central Miltenberg named after the „Engel Hotel“ („Angel“), now town hall.
[27] Now a so called „Mittelschule“ in Luitpoldstreet.
[28] Bischoff was a tanner, who earned most of his huge fortune as a private banker. He and his unmarried sister left almost all their money to the city of Miltenberg for a social fond.
[29] Kaspar Winterhelt was one oft he Sandstone-magnates around 1900, who left almost a Million Goldmarks tot he City of Miltenberg.
[30] Wilhelm Klingenstein was a Jewish boy coming from a very poor family. The Bischoffs-fond supported his father so that the boy could be sent to school. When Wilhelm, now William, made a fortune as a tobacco merchant in London he supported the Jewish community as well as the City of Miltenberg with money.
[31] I can hardly believe that Edward should have forgotten the relations between both families.
[32] The “Hopfengarten Brewery“, and the “Frieß Brewery“ stopped their production because of World War I, because the brewers had been drafted to the military. The “Keller Brewery” stopped production in 1917. My grandfather had died in 1913 and his son had to become a soldier. The restaurants continued and sold beer from the Lion brewery.
[33] Hopfen & Malz, Gott erhalt’s!“ is a saying of the German brewers, which means God may preserve hop and malt.

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