Parents
     
   
Parents
  435 Henry Werdann Sophie Balz
?
?
WIFE
Katherine Werdann
b.1828
Hesse Darmstadt, Germany
d.30 May 1909
Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey, USA
HUSBAND
307 Louis Kuehnle, Sr.
b. 6 Jan 1827
Hamuscheim, Baden, Germany
d.7 Aug 1885
Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey, USA
Relationship Events:
1852 Marriage  
CHILDREN:
  George William Kuehnle b. 23 Nov 1855 in New York, New York; d. Sep 11, 1922 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, NJ
m.
Bertha Luella Pratt, b. 1859 in Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois; d. 7 Nov, 1920 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York Seven Children: Baby, William Louis, George Pratt, Bertha Luella, Lester W., Edwin Francis, and Gertrude Winifred Kuehnle.
  Louis N. Kuehnle, Jr. b. 25 Dec 1857 in New York City, New York, USA d. 6 Aug 1934 in Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey, USA
Unmarried.  
Ancestor Leaf 204 Henry Kuehnle b. Dec 1859 in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey; d. 1937 in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey, USA
m.

Emma Christina Schemm b. 21 Apr 1863 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsyvania, USA; d. 25 Oct 1926 in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic, New Jersey, USA

Six Children: Emma, Katherine (Kate), Henry, Florence Rosina, Louis, and Charles Fortner Kuehnle
What We Know

 

Louis Kuehnle, Sr.Louis Kuehnle, Sr. received the training of a first-class chef in Germany before he immigrated to the United States in 1849. He obtained employment in top hotels in New York City and Washington, DC, where he presided as the chef in the hotel where President Buchanan boarded.

He married Katherine Werdann, another German immigrant, in 1852, probably in New York City, where their first and second sons George W. and Louis, Jr. were born. 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. The Kuehnle family had moved to Egg Harbor by 1858, where their third son, Henry was born and where Louis, Sr. opened the New York Hotel facing the convenient railroad station on Atlantic Avenue at Liverpool Avenue, which had been designed as the city's premiere street.

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.

The Atlantic City hotel was placed under the management of his son, Louis,Jr. Louis Sr. remained affiliated with the Egg Harbor hotel until his death.

The 1880 census shows Louis Sr. and Katherine living with their son George and his wife Bertha. In addition, Katherine's niece Caroline Werdrann, aged 15 lived with them at that time. Katherine was the daughter of Henry and Sophie Balz Werdann, and three of her brothers Henry, John, and Jacob also came to America. Caroline was a daughter of her brother Jacob, and she married Henry Huth in Egg Harbor.

On the 1880 census form, George gives his profession as "civil engineer." The census taker on that form (which can be found in the Appendix) is George W. Kuehnle himself.

George and Bertha relocated away from Egg Harbor City. Through the excellent research of one of Henry Werdann's descendants, we have a more complete picture of George and his family. Bertha indicated on one of the census forms that she had lost a baby, I bbelieve it was their first child, who was born and died in Eggh Harbor, The couple had six more children after they moved from Egg Harbor. The parents moved a few times, and their children were mobile.Bertha died in Brooklyn, and George outlived her two years, passing away in Atlantic City in 1922. Records for George and his family can be found here.

Louis, Sr. died in Egg Harbor in 1885. A photo of his tombstone is below:

 

 

Henry married Emma Christina Schemm, and together they had six children, all of whom settled in the vicinity of Egg Harbor City. Daughters Emma, Kate, and Florence lived in homes on Liverpool Avenue bought for them by Henry and Emma, and for awhile their son Louis and his wife Esther Bozarth Kuehnle with their daughters Gertrude and Helen lived on the same street.

Louis' and Katherine's son Louis Jr. acquired some fame as the first "boss" of Atlantic City. A summary of his life can be found in the obituary of his death in 1934. He was featured in the book The Social Anxieties of Progressive Reform: Atlantic City, 1854-1920 written by Martin Paulsson and published in 1994.

The book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson and Terence Winter was published in the early 2000's and adapted to the screen by producer Martin Scorcese. Our "Uncle Lou" (shown on the right) is adapted into an easier-to-pronounce "Commodore Kaestner" in the HBO series and is played by the actor Dabney Coleman. The character in the serious bears little resemblance to our Uncle Lou. The latter book and the HBO series largely features the men who came after him. My mother Jean Henderson Wiegand knew her Great Uncle Lou well, and spoke of him very fondly. He died when she was a young teenager. Her favorite gift from him was a parrot which only she in her family was able to handle. (Left - Coleman as Uncle Lou).

 

 

After the death of Louis Sr. in 1885, Katherine apparently went to live with her son Louis Jr. in Atlantic City. A search in a newspaper archive site will yield many hits for Louis Kuehnle because he was written about often, especially during his trial and subsequent imprisionment. Then New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson wanted to break up the political parties of small cities in New Jersey, and his success in sending Lou to jail was thought to give his campaign for President some impetus. The Commodore knew everyone in Atlantic City, and spearheaded some large parties. He owned a yacht, which he named for his mother The Katherine, which is written about in one of the news articles of the time.

Louis had achieved enough fame by the time of his mother's death in 1909 that both her illness and death were published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

 

Brick Walls of Knowledge

 

We know nothing of Louis Kuehnle's parents or siblings. We know that he was born in Germany from the biographies that were written of him and from his census forms. We assume that he and Katherine were married in New York City.

Louis Jr.'s obituary mentioned that he was survived by his brother Henry, but George had died before he did. (The obituary does correctly number his nieces and nephews as 11 -- George's five surviving children and Henry's six).

 

 

 

We know the names of Katherine's parents and the fact that three of her brothers came with her from Germany and settled to start with in New York city. Her brothers had large families with many sons, so we have many Werdann cousins of the next generations from this family. (Two have contributed to the information about Henry and Sophie Werdann and their children who came to America.

Appendix
Name of Item Description of Item   Name of Item Description of Item
Kuehnle's Hotel A photo of the hotel in 1912 Probate Grant of Estate of Louis Kuehnle, Sr.
Bios of Louis Sr. & Jr. Biographies of the Two Louis Kuehnles Censuses for George 1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses for George
Bio of Louis Sr. A Biography of Louis Kuehnle, Sr. Commodore Kuehnle Various news articles about Louis Kuehnle, Jr.
1880 Census The 1880 Census of Louis & Katherine Kuehnle    
   
   
   
   
   
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