Louis W. Kuehnle - Catharina Werdann Family Group

Parents   Parents
        Heinrich C. Werdann Catharina Sophie Balz
        b. 17 Feb 1900 in Bavaria, Germany b, 9 Apr 1904 in Weinheim, Bavaria, Germany
        d. ? d. 31 May 1861 in New York, New York
Louis W. Kuehnle Catharina (Katherine) Werdann
b. 6 Jan 1827 in Hasmusheim, Bavaria, Germany b. Mar 1828 in Weinheim, Bavaria, Germany
d. 7 Aug 1885 in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey d. 30 May 1909 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey
Relationship Events
Marriage 4 Mar 1852 Louis Kuehnle to Catharina Werdann in New York, New York
Henry Kuehnle b. 1854 and d. 27 Jul 1857 in New York, New York
  George William Kuehnle b. 23 Nov 1855 in New York City, New York; m. 11 Oct 1927 in New Brunswick, Middlesex. New Jersey, Bertha Luella Pratt (b. 1859 in Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois; d. 7 Nov 1920 in Brooklyn, New York); seven children: baby, William Louis, George Pratt, Bertha Luella, Lester W., Edwin Francis, and Gertrude Winifred Kuehnle
  Louis Kuehnle, b. 25 Dec 1857 in New York City, New York; d. 6 Aug 1934 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey
Heinrich (Henry) Kuehnle b. Dec 1859 in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey; m. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 21 Apr 1885 Emma Christina Schemm (b. 21 Apr 1863 Philadelphia, d. 25 Oct. 1926 in Egg Harbor); six children: Emma Louise, Katherine Sophie, Henry Jr., Florence Rosina, Louis Charles, and Charles Fortner Kuehnle
  Sophia Kuehnle, possibly b. and d. 1861 in Egg Harbor City.

What We Know About This Family

An Overview of Their Lives

The discussion of this family starts with three mysteries:

  1. The burial of a three-year-old child named Henry Kuehnle, who is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in New York in the plot that was purchased by Catharina's mother, Catharina Sophie Werdann, for the purpose of burying her son Phillip in 1851. The child Henry died in 1857. Our direct ancestor, also a Henry Kuehnle, was born in 1859. I believe it is safe to assume that this child was that of Louis and Catharina Werdann Kuehnle, who were living in New York at the time.
  2. The presence of a gravestone "Sophia" with no dates in the Kuehnle plot in the Egg Harbor City Cemetery. A family tree user on Ancestry gave the birth and death date as November 23, 1861, but without a source. If these dates are correct, the assumption could be made that Sophia was the infant daughter of Louis and Katherine and that she was either stillborn or died on the day she was born. She would have been their last-born child.
  3. The burial of Johanna Kuehnle, b. 1799, d. 1888, in the Egg Harbor City Cemetery plot for the Kuehnles. She was living in Atlantic City on the 1880 census. Her date of birth would make it possible that she was Louis' mother, but on the census, she listed herself as a servant in a household other than Kuehnle. It's difficult for me to believe that Louis's mother would have been working as a servant rather than living with her son. There can be no doubt that she was a relation, but the nature of the relationship cannot be assumed or confirmed.

Louis Kuehnle was trained as a chef in Baden (Bavaria), Germany. He emigrated to America in 1849 and was working as such in hotels in New York when he and Catharina (also known as Katherine) were married there in 1851. They had three sons, Henry, who died there at three years of age the same year their third son, Louis, Jr. was born, George William, and Louis, Jr. He was working in the hotel in Washington DC where President Buchanan was staying before the family moved to Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, in 1858. Their fourth and fifth children, the second Henry (our ancestor) and Sophia, were born in Egg Harbor.

Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, was organized by a group of German immigrants wishing to be free of the prejudice and discrimination against Germans experienced on account of the "Know Nothing" party that arose about that time. Louis, Sr. opened first in Egg Harbor City the New York Hotel facing the convenient railroad station on Atlantic Avenue. Louis was heavily immersed in the Egg Harbor City community where he served on the school board, on the city council, and was elected mayor for several terms. In January of 1875, he expanded the hostelry operations to Atlantic City, where he opened Kuehnle's Hotel, also advantageously placed across from the railroad station there. He turned the management of the Atlantic City hotel to Louis, Jr. when the latter was 18.

In 1885, Louis Sr. died intestate. Louis Jr. became the sole owner of Kuehnle's Hotel in Atlantic City, and it is from this base that he accumulated considerable local fame. Henry, was the proprietor, then general manager, of the New York Hotel in 1886. That hotel was sold to the Kumpfs, but I haven't found the records that tell us whether the sale was done as a result of Louis's death or whether Henry owned it for a while and sold it. Louis, Jr. sold Kuehnle's Hotel in 1903. Katherine moved to the more robust life in Atlantic City and outlived her husband by 24 years.

Proof of Relationship

Proof of Relationship of Louis and Catharina (Katherine) is found in contemporaneous publishings, and the records found reinforce that proof.

About the Children

  • George W, Kuehnle attended Rutgers College and was a civil engineer in the Brooklyn area. He and his wife had one child who died as an infant in Egg Harbor City, probably on the day it was born ("Baby" in the Kuehnle plot and a census number of seven children on the census year that tracked that information). George also worked as a census taker in the short period of time he and Bertha lived in Egg Harbor City. Their son Lester died at two years of age in Brooklyn, but five others survived to adulthood.

  • Louis Kuehnle, Jr. achieved power and wealth in Atlantic City. Known as "Commodore Kuehnle" because of his leadership in the Yacht Club, he was the de facto political boss and was instrumental in turning Atlantic City into a thriving resort area. A skirmish with New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson after the 1910 election led to the unsuccessful prosecution of Louis for election fraud, but the successful prosecution for a conflict of interest in awarding bids. He went to prison for six months, his reputation tarnished. He continued in a much less powerful position with the Atlantic City government until his death in 1934, his million-dollar wealth depleted by his loss of power and the Depression. Much information has been written about him, and the fictionalized Louis Kaestner character in Boardwalk Empire was loosely based on his life (he died of complications from appendicitis, NOT murder by a son who was conceived in rape - such a child never existed). Famous and infamous in South Jersey, his numerous nieces and nephews and their children knew him only as their affectionate Uncle Lou.

  • Henry Kuehnle, our direct ancestor is covered with his wife, Emma Christina Schemm, on their own family group page. They met when she traveled from Philadelphia to Egg Harbor City, and after their marriage, they settled in Egg Harbor City in a house very close to the New York Hotel where I believe they met. They raised their family of six children and remained in the town until their deaths.

What Else We Need to Learn

The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line. The research on this family is basically complete. The information may never be known, but the relationship of Johanna and Sophia Kuehnle, both of whom are buried in the Kuehnle plot in the Egg Harbor City Cemetery would close those mysteries.


Questions, Comments, or New Information -Email lee@leewiegand.com