Richard Mather Bayles.

History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time online

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of a wide circle of business acquaintances ; while his fellow-
citizens and neighbors of Staten Island, amongst whom his
whole life had been spent, honored him for those qualities of
mind and heart which stamped the possessor as a true Christian
gentleman.

The present board of trustees of Barrett, Nephews & Com-
pany consists of the following gentlemen : Clarence T. Barrett,
president ; Charles W. Kennedy, vice-president and treasurer ;
Charles E. Heal, secretary ; Augustus W. Sexton, Jr., Edwin
B. Heal, trustees.

The New York Dyeing and Printing Establishment, also
known as the Old Staten Island Dyeing Establishment, is lo-
cated on Broadway, West New Brighton, and was organ-
ized in the year 1819, under the firm name of Barrett, Tiles-
ton & Company, and continued in successful operation for
a period of about six years ; a charter of incorporation was
then obtained, under the present title. The late Samuel Marsh
was elected president, which position he held with great credit
to himself and profit to the stockholders until his death, which
occurred after he had been elected president for the forty- ninth
successive year.



726 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

There is no more prominent and well known locality on the
island than where this large and extensive dyeing and cleaning
establishment is situated, occupying, as it does, over twenty
acres of ground, which they have occupied continuously for a
period of three score years and ten, and though they have ar-
rived at the age allotted to man, they are to-day larger, more
vigorous, energetic and aggressive than at any previous period
of their existence. Anything they undertake they aim to do in
a manner not to be surpassed.

A visit to their works is necessary to give one an idea of its
vastness. Five hundred hands are employed, ten steam engines
and other machinery in proportion are necessary to wield the
vast fabric.

That portion of their business that our readers will take the
most interest in is that devoted to the cleaning and dyeing of
ladies' and gentlemen's clothing, and to do this work hundreds
of busy hands are constantly employed, besides they are largely
engaged in the dyeing of cotton goods and the manufacture of
bookbinders' cloth.

It is a singular fact, and one that attests as much as anything
can, the unvarying success of their business, that the descend-
ants of the original proprietors still retain their interest in the
company.

They have fourteen offices and nearly one thousand agencies,
covering the territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, so
that no one need have any excuse for wearing soiled or faded
clothing.

Their principal New York offices are : 98 Duane street, 286
Fifth avenue, 870 Broadway, 610 Sixth avenue, and Broadway,
West New Brighton.

The Breweries are among the most prominent industries of
Staten Island,. On account of the number and copious fullness
of the springs and the excellent quality of the water, the island
has been selected as a favorite place for the establishment of
this business. The establishments located here together pay
an enormous revenue to the government.

Bechtel's brewery, perhaps the largest of these, is located at
Stapleton, where it was founded by John Bechtel, in 1853. In
1865 he sold the concern to his son, George Bechtel, the present
proprietor. The capital invested here amounts to well nigh
half a million dollars. In 1865 the revenue tax of this brewery



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 121

was $10,000, and ten years later it had increased to $60,000. It
employs about fifty hands.

GEORGE BECHTEL, was born in Germany in 1840. He came
with his parents to America at the age of six months, and in
1851 entered the grammar school of Columbia College. After
finishing his course at that institution he began an apprentice-
ship in the brewery which his father had established at Staple-
ton in 1853. From 1860 to 1865 he occupied the position of sup-
erintendent of the establishment, and while engaged in that
capacity he established the first ice-house in the East. In 1865
he rented the property from his father, and in 1870 purchased
his entire interest, becoming the sole proprietor.

The original building proving too small for his rapidly in-
creasing business, Mr. Bechtel concluded to tear it down and in
its place he built the present elegant structure, special atten-
tion being given to its equipment. So energetically was the work
of erection pushed that in ten weeks after the first stone was
laid brewing had recommenced. The continued increase of his
business is due to the high quality of excellence which he
maintains in all his productions. In 1876 his beer received the
centennial exhibition medal, in 1877 rhe medal of the Gam-
brinus Verein, in 1878 one from the Paris exhibition and in 1879
he was awarded the prize at the Sidney fair in New South
Wales. About the latter year Professor Doremus, after analyz-
ing his beer, in a letter to Mr. Bechtel pronounced it to be a
preparation made from pure hops and malt and free from any
deleterious substances whatever.

Mr. Bechtel has been foremost in all public and benevolent
matters. During the negro riots in 1861 he sheltered large num-
bers of these homeless people in the woods and sent them
nourishment daily till the trouble had subsided, a circumstance
which the colored people on Staten Island have never forgotten
and for which they have been ever grateful. On the organiza-
tion of the village of Edgewater Mr. Bechtel was elected trus-
tee of the Third ward in the face of strong opposition. From
1871 to 1879 he devoted himself entirely to business, taking
little interest in political matters. In 1879 he received the joint
nomination of the republican and democratic parties for super-
visor and was elected by an overwhelming majority. He has
since been yearly re-elected and during one year served as



728 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

chairman of the board. From 1879 to 1883 he also served as
trustee of the village from the First ward.

At the time of his election to the snpervisorship Richmond
county bonds stood at 80, taxes were eight per cent., and the
village of Edgewater had a debt of $125,000. Through his
energy the debt has been paid, taxes have been reduced to two
per cent., and the bonds are bringing $112. In addition to this
the roads have been greatly improved and cannot be excelled by
any on Staten Island. He succeeded in refunding the $50,000
war debt at four per cent, at a premium of one and one-half per
cent., a financial operation which no other county in the state
has shown.

In 1879 Mr. Bechtel was a delegate to the state convention,
the first ever elected from Richmond county. Three times he
was re-elected and was twice its first vice-president. While in
convention he was appointed by the first congressional delega-
tion, comprising Queens, Suffolk and Richmond counties, a
member of the state and executive committees.

Mr. Bechtel' s benevolent qualities show themselves on all oc-
casions, and many poor families on Staten Island have been the
recipients of his charity. It is said of him that he is ever ready
to help where it is needed. As a holder of office he is indis-
pensable, and the growth of the county is largely due to his
influence. He is a man of cordial temperament and is connected
with many associations, societies and clubs, prominent among
which are the Arion and Liederkranz societies of New York and
the German Society Erheiterung, of which he was one of the
first members. He was also a charter member of the Klobpf
Stock Lodge of Free Masons, to which he was transferred from
the Tompkins Lodge of Richmond county.

In 1879 the Japanese embassy, together with the secretary of
state and several other gentlemen, paid a visit to Mr. Bechtel' s
brewery. As a result they ordered one hundred thousand bot-
tles of beer to be sent to Japan. On their return they sent him
several very flattering letters and a pair of costly vases as a
token of their esteem.

Mr. Bechtel is the largest tax-payer on Staten Island. He
has lately added to his possessions a water-front of nearly one
thousand eight hundred feet, with an average water depth of
thirty feet at low tide. He has an elegant residence on the
island and an enormous stable, which is said to be one of the



... -
;




HOUSE AND STABLES OF GEORGE BECHTEL.
STAPLETON, N. Y.



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 729

finest in the United States. The latter has been highly compli-
mented by Mr. Bergh, president of the "Society for the Pre-
vention of Cruelty to Animals," of which Mr. Bechtel is a
member. Previous to the improvement of the Edgewater roads
Mr. Bechtel was obliged to stable his horses in New York city,
running a steamboat to and from the island solely for their
conveyance. The offices attached to his brewery are handsome
and complete. The furnishings and decorations are of the most
elegant description, their general design being that of the Queen
Anne period. A special feature of their outfit is a commodious
Russian bath, laid in cement, with imported white and blue
tiles.

Mr. Bechtel is now in the prime of life. He is a man of taste
and foresight, and is regarded by those who know him best as
a highly useful as well as influential man. It has been his in-
tention for some time to erect a hospital upon Staten Island
which shall be open to unfortunates of all nationalities and
sects. He will put his plan into execution as soon as the proper
site can be secured. He has just given a sum of money with a
promise of more, if necessary, to erect a hospital for invalid
Odd Fellows of the state of New York, and is at present nego-
tiating with a committee from the Smith infirmary to build a
pavilion costing from $4,000 to $5,000 and containing six en-
dowment beds, as an addition to their projected hospital,
entirely at his expense.

Mr. Bechtel married, in 1865, Miss Eva Schoen, of New York
city. He has five children still living, four daughters and one
son. The daughters were attendants of the famous French
school of Madame Colin, formerly conducted by Madamoiselles
Charbonnier.

The Clifton brewery, in Edgewater, is one of considerable
importance. It is invested with some degree of interest from
the fact that it was established by General Garabaldi and his
partner, Antonio Meucci, in 1851. Since their day it has passed
through the hands of several proprietors, among whom were
Louis Gross, Christian Trefz arid Gabriel Mayer, at whose de-
cease it passed into the hands of David Mayer and Fr.Bachmann.
The capital invested is about a quarter of a million dollars and
the work employs about fifty hands. This brewery was de-
stroyed by fire on the 31st of October, 1881. The buildings
were of brick, but they fell before the devouring flames, to-



730 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

getlier with an ice house and a saloon connected with the
brewery. The loss was estimated at about two hundred and
twenty-five thousand dollars.

The Atlantic brewery, at Stapleton, is owned by Rubsam &
Herrmann. It was established in 1870, and employs a capital
of about one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, and a
force of thirty to forty men.

Bischoff's brewery was established at Stapleton, in 1854, or
soon after that date, by one Gillich. Subsequently it became
the property of Wolf & Reinhardt, and later passed into the
possession of George Bischoff. About twenty hands are em-
ployed.

The Constanz brewery is located at Castleton Corners. It was
established in August, 1852, by August Schmid. Subsequently
passing into the hands of Joseph Setz, it was conveyed by him
to Monroe Eckstein, in 1875, and by him it has been greatly im-
proved and is still owned. The original number of buildings
was two, and its capacity until 1875 only three, thousand bar-
rels. Six large buildings have since been added and the ca-
pacity increased to forty thousand barrels. Inproved inachinery
has been introduced, which is driven by steam. The water here
is of first quality. About forty men are employed and ninety
to one hundred thousand bushels of malt and three hundred
bales of hops are annually used.

There are a few other similar establishments on the island,
but none so large as those we have noticed. At the centennial
exhibition at Philadelphia eleven prizes were awarded to brew-
ers in the United States, three of which were awarded to Staten
Island brewers, viz.: Mayer & Bachmann, George Bechtel and
Rubsam & Herrmann. Eckstein, Bischoff and some others did
not compete.

MONROE ECKSTEIN, one of the most enterprising men among
the brewers of Staten Island, is the seventh of twelve children
of Henry Eckstein, formerly a wealthy merchant of New York,
who came to this country from Bavaria in 1835. He was born
in the city of New York, June 23, 1849, and during his youth
attended private and public schools in his native place. Subse-
quently he enjoyed a term in the College of New York, after
which, in 1865, he engaged in the tobacco business with the firm
of Wertheimer & Co., of New York and San Francisco. Here
his business abilities soon won for him the favor of his employers



HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 731

and he was rapidly advanced till at the time of his leave
taking in 1875 he was buyer for the firm.

In the latter year Mr. Eckstein purchased from Joseph Setz
the Constanz brewery at Four Corners, S. I., which had been
founded in 1852, by August Schmid, one of the organizers of
the United States Brewers' Association. The brewery is located
on rising ground whence a magnificent view of the Kill Von
Kull, the Jersey country and vicinity can be obtained, and has
about it twenty-two acres of ground, most of which is attrac-
tively laid out as a pleasure park, with summer houses, seats, etc.
The immense increase in the business which Mr. Eckstein has
succeeded in bringing about has compelled him to enlarge the
building from time to time, and he is at the present writing
engaged in rebuilding the whole structure, and replacing the
old machinery at a cost of $125,000. This will make his outfit
one of the most complete brewing plants in the country.

Mr. Eckstein is a public spirited and enterprising man. He
takes great interest in the development of the neighborhood,
and was active in the organization and promotion of the rail-
road company that constructed the shore line direct to his es-
tablishment. Ever since his removal to the island he has been
identified with the more important enterprises on it. He is
commissioner of highways, chairman of the board of school
trustees of Castleton Corners, treasurer of the Richmond
County Railroad Company, president of the Richmond County
Savings Bank and a stockholder in the First National Bank
and the Bank of Staten Island.

Besides these he is an active member of the executive com-
mittee of the Association of United Lager Beer Brewers of New
York and vicinity, and a member of the vigilance committee of
the New York State Brewers and Malsters' Association. He is
also connected with many social clubs in New York city and on
Staten Island.

Mr. Eckstein has given large amounts to charitable purposes
and his spirit of benevolence is well known throughout Rich-
mond county. His genial nature and thorough integrity in the
transaction of his business have won for him many and lasting
friends.

Mr. Eckstein married, February 1, 1882, Miss Selina Dinkel-
spiel, of New York city, in which place he resides during the
winter months.



732 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

The firm of B. Kreischer & Sons, at Kreischerville, is engaged
in the manufacture of clay gas retorts, fire brick, blocks, and
all kindred fire clay goods necessary where high heats are ob-
tained. The factory is located on Staten Island sound, two
miles from Tottenville, and diagonally opposite the coal docks
of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.

This business was established in 1845, by Balthasar Kreischer
and Charles Mumpeton, under the firm name of Kreischer &
Mumpeton, at the corner of Groerck and Delancey streets, New
York city, and so continued until 1849, when, after the decease
of the latter, B. Kreischer carried on the business in his own
name. In 1859, his nephew becoming associated with him, the
name was changed to Kreischer & Nephew, and two years later,
upon the admission of Mr. Kreischer' s son-in-law, it was again
changed to B. Kreischer & Company. In 1861 the partnershi p
was dissolved, and the style of B. Kreischer again adopted. In
1870 Mr. George F. Kreischer was admitted as a partner, and
the style changed to B. Kreischer & Son. The manufactory
was again enlarged, and at that time occupied twenty-one full
city lots. In 1873, the property becoming too valuable and ex-
pensive for manufacturing, it was resolved to enlarge the Staten
Island works sufficiently to raise its capacity equal to that of
the New York works. Operations were at once commenced,
but were somewhat retarded by the general depression of busi-
ness. In the fall of the year 1876, the buildings being com-
pleted, the machinery was taken out of the New York factory,
and all tools, moulds, etc., shipped to Staten Island. The build-
ings in New York were taken down and tenement houses
erected in their stead. On the eve of the 1st of Jannary, 1877,
the factory was consumed by fire, causing a total loss of sixty
thousand dollars. By the energy and close attention of Mr. B.
Kreischer, however, assisted by his sons, on the 23d day of
April the engine was again running, and manufacturing opera-
tions were resumed. The factory was rebuilt and the newest im-
provements were made. In 3878 Mr. B. Kreischer retired from
the business, having been active in the same for thirty-three
years, and the style was changed to the present one, B.
Kreischer & Sons, Mr. B. Kreischer allowing his sons to use his
name.

The factory now covers over three acres of ground, is two
tories high, and has a capacity of twenty thousand fire brick a



HISTOKY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 733

day. A one hundred and twenty-five horse power engine, tak-
ing steam from two tubular boilers, supplies the motive power.
A line of shafting extends from one end of the main building
to the other, being three hundred feet in length. The storage
room for clay, etc., is composed of fourteen bins thirty- two by
twenty-five feet each, taking up a space of four hundred and
twenty-five feet in length, with a capacity of four thousand
tons. In the fall of the year 1885. a clay digging machine was
purchased by the firm, which gives great satisfaction, and ma-
terially reduces the labor of mining the clay.

There are altogether from one hundred to one hundred and
fifty men employed at the works and in the clay mines. The
annual consumption of raw material is about thirteen thousand
tons, and to dry and burn the material manufactured, from three
thousand five hundred to four thousand tons of coal are con-
sumed. The average production per annum is about three mil-
lion five hundred thousand brick, or ten thousand tons gross.
The fire brick manufactured are transported to New York city,
a steam lighter of one hundred and twenty tons capacity being
used for that purpose. This was built for the purpose in 1880.
At the foot of Houston street, East river, the firm has a depot,
where a large stock of all kinds of fire brick is constantly kept
on hand, and there the financial part of the business is con-
ducted. The present members of the firm are George F.
Kreischer, residing in New York city, and Charles C. and Ed-
ward B. Kreischer, both residing in Kreischerville, Staten
Island.

For the period of almost half a century this concern has
given close study and personal supervision to this important
branch of manufacture. The European systems have regularly
been examined by them, and valuable improvements have from
time to time been made. Such untiring energy, industry and
perseverance have met with the deserved reward of gaining the
highest reputation for their goods wherever they have been
used. Considerable difficulty was experienced about 1854, in
procuring a reliable supply of clay, and the proprietor, feel-
ing the necessity and the advantages of having his own mines,
purchased the clay property (discovered by him) situated here,
and here erected a building for the manufacture of fire brick.
Large additions were made to the premises in 1855, providing
for the employment of a large number of men. The growth



734 HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY.

and prosperity of this little village, by reason of Mr. Kreischer's
enterprise and success, was such that a post office was estab-
lished and the place named Kreischerville. In the year I860
the buildings were enlarged and the manufacture of clay gas
retorts introduced, this being the first place where gas retorts
of clay were manufactured in America. In 1865 valuable clay
beds at Woodbridge, N. J., and Chester City, Pa., were pur-
chased, and the business had become so prosperous that the
New York manufactory was rebuilt, and a new system of burn-
ing and drying, together with improvements in machinery,
were introduced.

BALTHASAR KREISCIIER, who was born March 13, 1813, at
Hornbach, a small village of Bavaria, is the grandson of Nicko-
las Kreischer, a native of Berschweiler, Rhenish Prussia, who
settled in Hornbach as a manufacturer of bricks. His three
sons were Peter, Andreas and Balthasar. The latter, born in
1776, married Susan Schlemmer, and had four daughters and
two sons, one of whom is the subject of this sketch. After re-
ceiving a common school education he was apprenticed to a
stone cutter and sculptor. At the age of twenty-two he
was selected, together with two others, to lay the corner
stone of the fortress of Germersheim, near the ruined castle of
Freidrichsbuhl, where Rudolph of Hapsburg died in 1291. In
December, 1835, occurred the great fire in New York which in-
fluenced his emigration to that city. Arriving in June, 1836,
he immediately sought work and aided in rebuilding the burned
district. Soon after he married Caroline, daughter of George
Haenchen, of Hornbach, and speedily became a builder on his
own account, erecting many houses and business structures.
The building of bakers' ovens became a specialty, his reputa-
tion being early established as the best builder of such ovens
in the city, many of them of fire brick. Mr. Kreischei having
discovered in New Jersey a suitable clay, determined to embark
in the manufacture of fire brick himself, and for this purpose
found a co-partnership with Charles Mumpeton under the firm
name of Kreischer & Mumpeton. To overcome the prejudice
against the domestic article, as compared with the English, he
entered into a contract with a consumer by which a furnace was
built, one-half with imported fire brick and the remainder with
brick of his own manufacture, giving a bond of indemnity
against loss in case his own gave out before the imported




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HISTORY OF RICHMOND COUNTY. 735

article. The result was in his favor and decisive. In a few
years the English article was almost entirely superseded by
brick of Mr. Kreischer's manufacture. Mr. Mumpeton having
died in 1849, his partner conducted the business alone, giving
it close attention and introducing from time to time improve-
ments suggested by his own experience and the study of Euro-
pean methods. Its extension was such that the factory originally
occupying one city lot, covered thirteen lots. Mr. Kriescher
also found time to start a chemical works in 1850 and works
for the manufacture of ultra-marine blue in 1852. He finally
purchased an extensive property in Westfield township, Staten
Island, built additional works near his mines, adjoining the
Staten Island sound, with superior facilities for transportation,
and ultimately made it his place of residence. A prosperous
village soon grew up, and the government established a post
office under the name of Kreischerville. Mr. Kreischer was
in 1860 one of the originators of the Staten Island Railway
which, by his subsequent generous aid, was rendered self-sus-
taining. In 1865 valuable clay beds were purchased at Wood-
bridge, New Jersey, on the Staten Island sound, and in Chester
county, Pennsylvania. The New York manufactory was re-
built and a new system of burning and drying, with various
improvements in machinery, introduced. In 1867 large works
were erected in Philadelphia, the New York works abandoned
in 1876, and extensive additions made to the Staten Island
establishment. Mr. Kreischer had meanwhile kept fully abreast



Online LibraryRichard Mather BaylesHistory of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time → online text (page 71 of 72)