By Steve Cichon
Conrad Loewer is my third-great grandfather, born in the Holy Roman Empire state of Hesse Cassel/Kurhessen (in today’s Germany) sometime around 1855. He died in Buffalo in 1893.
With his father (my fourth-great grandfather) John (born 1821), sister Katherine, and brother Henry, he came to the United States aboard the Bark Therese. The 52-day voyage from Bremen, Germany landed at the Castle Garden immigration station in New York—the forerunner to Ellis Island– on August 13, 1868.
John was a tailor in Germany and continued that trade in Buffalo—passing it onto his son Conrad as he came of age in Buffalo. In 1885, Conrad sold his property on Hickory Street near Batavia (Broadway) and eventually made his way to Carbondale, PA, where he opened a men’s tailor shop on Seventh Street there.
In 1887, newspapers in Carbondale and Scranton reported on Conrad’s childhood association with one of the anarchists who lobbed bombs at police officers in Chicago’s Haymarket square. In Hesse, Loewer attended school with August Spies, who was eventually executed for his role in “The Haymarket Affair.”
“It’s a pleasure to know that this early association with the bomb thrower did not contaminate him, for Mr. Loewer is ‘mild-mannered’ and an industrious citizen,” reported the Scranton Republican.
In 1888, Loewer returned to Buffalo with his wife and children, moving around Jefferson Avenue and William Street. Living at 899 Smith Street, he died in 1893 from pneumonia.
My great-great grandmother, Jeanette “Nettie” Loewer-Greiner, and her twin brother John were seven years old when their father died. Sisters Agnes and Dora were even younger.
Especially after the death of my third-great grandmother Katherine Weigand-Loewer in 1900, Conrad’s brother Henry became a father figure in the lives of the Conrad’s destitute and orphaned six children, doing what he could to support them. Henry also supported his elderly father John until his death in 1897.
Henry A. Loewer was a cloth cutter at the Erie County Penitentiary before he was elected Buffalo’s Morning Justice in 1901. For four years, he was the judge who’d travel from precinct to precinct deciding on the cases of men arrested overnight for drinking, fighting, etc. During his time on the bench, he also solemnized 169 marriages.
When Henry died in 1907, the Buffalo Enquirer called him “one of the East Side’s best-known Republicans,” and said, “he was a man of bulky size and a familiar figure to the people of the East Side.”
Tracing the history of the Loewer family in Buffalo is challenging since there is another Loewer family with children named Conrad, Henry, and John. They were also from Hesse Cassel and also tailors. It’s very likely that they were related “in the old country,” but there’s no evidence of them working together, sharing business, etc in Buffalo—despite living only blocks away from one another in the Fruit Belt and the streets just south of the Fruit Belt with tree names in the Ellicott Neighborhood.
Conrad Loewer’s daughter Jeanette married Frederick W. Greiner, the son of Joseph Prentiss Greiner and Mary Atkinson-Greiner. Their daughter, Jeannette Greiner-Wargo married Stephen Wargo. They were my grandmother’s parents.