A German family becomes American


The Bumer Family came from Germany to America in waves, and settled into several communities in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pa. Frank Bumer chronicles the establishment of  families and homesteads.  

Man’s Age

Sunday, February 12, 1888 I married Mary Auer, who was born May 1, 1864 in…Wuerttenberg, Germany. We were married in the Evang. Lutheran St. Paul’s Church, a quiet wedding celebration at our first home in Allegheny [County, Pa.]….

Our first child was born, December 5, 1888…and named Wilhelmine Franziska….

May 31, 1889 was the great flood of Johnstown [Pa.], where 10,000 people were drowned and a damage of 10 Million Dollars caused….

The winter of 1889/90 was very mild. Mostly rain and warm weather. On Christmas picnics were held and baseball played. Shrubs in the park were blooming. In January 1890 we had most warm weather with thunderstorms….and our second daughter was born: Clara Fredericka.

In September 1891 we bought our first home from Robert Minton, on Lamont St. in lower part of Allegheny for $2,350.00…
In November 1892 Minnie and Clara had scarlet fever. Three weeks before Christmas a severe a cold weather started which lasted until the end of January 1893, with a deep snow and temperature from 3-6 degrees below zero.

In October 1893 I went to Chicago and stayed there one week until the World’s Exposition  closed. The last day of the exposition, Mayor Harrison of Chicago was shot and killed at the Exposition grounds.

In that year our third daughter (Elsie Marie) was born in our home on Lamont Street. The other two children were also born there – Frank Ludwig (1895) and Marie Dorthea (1898).

[Frank Bumer’s work history was checkered for a father of five children under 8, to put it kindly: watchmaking, jewelry, restaurateur, real estate.]

In 1899 I heard of a new town starting on the Monongahela river, across from Charleroi called Monessen [for the German city of Essen on the Mon River.] A new Tinplate Mill was erected. I went there and started in the Real Estate and Insurance business, and moved my family to Monessen in Summer of 1899.

After a few years hard work, I established a nice business and had an office in the Barker Building….

I thought of organizing a Lutheran Congregation. For a start, I and my friend, Wm. Bertlemann, arranged for a Christmas Celebration in the little “Iowa Country Schoolhouse” at the lower end of town. We invited Rev. Liefeld, a very old gentleman to come to Monessen, to lead the Christmas celebration – the whole town took part in it….

[In Spring 1901 Rev. Christian J. Waltner came to help establish the new congregation, built a modest little frame church and remained for 14 years.]

In 1919 I left Monessen and moved with my family back to Pittsburgh. During my 20 years in Monessen, I served as School Director and as a member of the Borough Council.

[In his stand for re-election, Bumer was defeated by “a scant margin of one vote, little less than a calamity,” according to the Daily Independent, which went on to list his meticulous record-keeping and attention to detail that saved the city thousands in his first and only four-year term.]

When we were leaving Monessen, our daughter Minnie, who had been my bookkeeper for awhile, had married Frederick Bleuel.

The second daughter, Clara, was a nurse in Allegheny General Hospital.

Our son, Frank L., who had been a draftsman for sometime for the Pittsburgh Steel Company, had entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Elsie, who was teaching school in Monessen, married George J. Klein. So we only had  Marie to take along….

Marie married Len Morgan of Monessen, where they started housekeeping. Mother and I joined the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at Brookline in 1919.

I was at that time Secretary of the Tex-La Oil Company, having an office in the People’s Bank Building and Marie was my stenographer. Sorry to say this Oil Co. later failed….

In 1929 the depression started and we had hard sledding, but with God’s help, as mother always said, we got through.

Beginning in 1936 mother started ailing and Sept.1, 1936 she had to go to bed where she stayed until the Lord took her away. She died, affected of a tumor, February 2nd, 1937…

She was buried in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery….  She always talked about liking to be buried on the top of the hill, where the sun will shine on her grave and so her will was fully satisfied. She also said that she did not want a tombstone…, as she could not think of having a heavy stone on her head while in the grave.

May God give her rest and peace in heaven.

[After Mary’s death, Bumer’s health deteriorated, possibly with seizures. After three such attacks, he “remained at home, retired.”]

On Sunday, March 23, 1941 I was 80 years old and Elsie thought we should have a little celebration. She invited the relatives and friends on Sunday afternoon, while in the evening the friends of St. Mark’s Church filled the house, being about 40 present. On Monday, the next day, the neighbors called on me. So I had a nice Birthday Celebration, received many birthday cards and gifts.

Frank Bumer died the day after Christmas, 1943, and was laid to rest in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery next to his wife, Mary.

[Their daughter Elsie married George Klein. Their son, Frank Klein, was born in 1921. Now a retired Lutheran pastor, he lives in Peachtree City with the family of his son, Richard. Richard Klein retired from his post as a federal judge several years ago. He is the father of three sons.]