Schwitzgebel Genealogy

Kansas City Schwitzgebels

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What's the deal?

In the late 1950s, my grandfather and his uncle Harry corresponded with James & Hazel Schwitzgebel, of Kansas City, Missouri, and collected much of the information that we have regarding the descendants of Peter John Schwitzgebel, today. In a letter from 3 April, 1959, Uncle Harry says of the Schwitzgebels in Kansas City,

“Our son Robert[...]found out about James and Hazel Schwitzgebel in Kansas City. We (brother Gust and his wife and ourselves) had contact with them and their relatives in that area by visiting them. My recollection is that dad spoke of an uncle of his in the West (Peter I believe) who was James' grandfather. I have correspondence and pictures relating to these contacts and the families here involved. We had very pleasant association with them.”

"Dad", in this case, was my immigrant Schwitzgebel ancestor, Frederick Schwitzgebel, who came to Canton, Ohio, in 1887. If we're related to the Kansas City folks, we may someday find the link; in the meantime, we keep a database of their information, updating it when we stumble across new sources that shed additional light on their situation.

The Research: A Work in Progress

In late 2002 and early 2003, I received e-mail correspondence from a couple researchers with connections to the K.C. Schwitzgebels, and these discussions raised some questions about the accuracy and completeness of some of the information that Grandpa and Uncle Harry had collected. I started doing a bit of digging and re-established contact with Fred Hendrick, who graciously provided copies of some of the vital documents he possesses. The information that follows is rife with conjecture—though hopefully informed conjecture—and should, therefore, be viewed as a working theory. If you have an interest in this line and know that I've got some things wrong, I ask that you rather than just dismissing the work and moving on.

Peter John Schwitzgebel was born 18252 or 26 November, 182110 in Neckarau, Mannheim, Baden, Germany.1 He died 19 August, 188216 and is buried in Union Cemetery.

Peter received some sort of apprenticeship diploma in 18452 and though we don't know the nature of this training, one might guess that it had to do with his life's work as a brewer. According to Hometown Beer: A History of Kansas City's Breweries, Peter "and his new wife, whom he had met in St. Louis, moved here [Kansas City] in 1855" and by the late 1850s had started what is credited as the first brewery in Kansas City, Missouri3. He operated the brewery under various names, including Kansas City Brewery and Third Street Brewery, until 1872, when he lost his property due to economic conditions leading up to the Panic of 1873. By 1895, the brewery was called Kansas City Brewing Company, with Clark and Kump as its proprietors.3

For an eighteen-day period between 30 April and 18 November, 1864, Peter served at the rank of Private in Company B of the 77th Regiment of Enrolled Missouri Militia.18 This Kansas City regiment was raised in defense from Price's invasion in the fall of 1864.

From the wording used in Hometown Beer, it appears that much of Peter's family history was obtained from a biography of his son, H.C. Schwitzgebel, which was published in an 1896 retrospective of Kansas City and Jackson Co., Missouri. This biography clarifies Peter's migrations, noting that “[i]n early life his parents had come to America and in St. Louis they became acquainted and were married. In 1853 they removed to Kansas City, but after a short time left this place, returning, however, in 1855, to become permanent residents.”15 Assuming that this information is accurate—a bit of a stretch, perhaps, considering the sometimes shoddy research that went into biographies published in such county histories near the turn of the 20th century—it suggests that Peter's marriage might be found in St. Louis records.

Lingering questions aside, it's plain that Peter was married at least twice and fathered at least nine children between 1855 and 1876.

  1. Wilhelmina Hoehle5,19
    m. bet. 1850 and 1855, most likely in St. Louis, Missouri.3,19
    b. 23 April 18352 or 29 September 183410, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany6
    d. 14 October 1871, Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri2,3,10

    Wilhelmina was the second of three children produced from the first marriage of Sophia Wilke (b. abt 1806) to a man named Hoehle.19 Sophia's second marriage to Conrad Schaefer (b. abt 1820) produced two more children, whose birth dates suggest this second marriage occurred sometime between 1838 and 1843.20

    In 1846, Conrad and Sophia immigrated with their children to the United States and lived for a year in New Orleans, Louisiana, before resettling in St. Louis, Missouri, where Conrad was occupied as a successful blacksmith.19

    • Otto John Schwitzgebel
      b. 4 January 1855, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., Missouri5
      d. 24 January 1920, Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri5
    • Henry Charles "H.C." Schwitzgebel
      b. 11 January 1857, Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri2,6
      d. 14 April 1938, Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri2,8

      He first married Louise Schaefer on 26 Dec 187911. Louise was a sister of Josephine "Josie" Schaefer, who married Henry's brother, Louis. Henry and Louise's marriage ended when Louise died on 20 March 1881, barely a year later10.

      On 12 June, 1883, he married Carolyn L. "Carrie" Mintun13,14, the mother of sons John (1884-1929) and Charles (1885-1958). Carrie died 26 December, 1916.14 As far as I've been able to find, this was the only marriage that produced any children.

      On 8 March 19182,6 Henry married Delilah "Lilah" McCoy Lykins, granddaughter of Dr. Johnston Lykins, a Baptist minister and Kansas City's first mayor, and John McCoy, a pioneer founder of Westport, Missouri.

    • Katherine Schwitzgebel
      b. January 1861, Missouri6
      d. Kansas City, Jackson Co., Missouri2
    • Robert Schwitzgebel
      b. 1859/60, Missouri6
      d. 20 May 19202
    • Louis Schwitzgebel
      b. 10 Mar 1863, Missouri2,6
      d. 21 January 19292

      Louis, his wife Josie, and his brother Robert ran a grocery business under the name "Louis Schwitzgebel & Co." Adolph was a butcher and also may have been involved in some capacity.7

      Louis and Josie married in 188613 and had four children together—Joseph Louis, Henry Lester, and a daughter who was born and died the same day—before Josie died on 28 May 1897, as a result of complications resulting from the birth of her fourth child, a daughter.12,17

      According to a death notice in The Kansas City Star, Josie's funeral was to be held "from Lutheran church, corner 14th and Cherry."17 This is the first sign I've seen of any religious affiliation among the Schwitzgebel clan.

      In 1899, Louis was remarried to Carrie McNees13.

    • Adolph Schwitzgebel
      b. 1865/66, Missouri2,6
    • George Schwitzgebel
      b. 1867/68 in Missouri6
      d. before 1880 census

      George is something of a mystery. He shows up only in the 1870 census enumeration, which does not explicitly define the relationship of each household member to the head, and in no other source that I've seen. It is likely that he is a son who died young, but the evidence for this is circumstantial. In support of this relationship, there is a Gustave Schwitzgebel buried in the same plot in Union Cemetery with Peter, two of his wives, and two daughters-in-law; unfortunately, no birth or death dates appear on marker.10

  2. Katherine Homrighausen (also Homringhausen, Hummerhausen, Hummerichausen, and Hornwighausen)
    m. 6 April 1872, Jackson Co., Missouri2,9,11
    b. 28 January 1845, Wunderthausen, Prussia, Germany2,6,14 (in modern state of Nordrhein-Westfalen)
    d. 30 August 1923, Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri2,6
    • Amelia Rosina "Mollie" Schwitzgebel
      b. 23 January 18732
      d. 19492
    • Elizabeth Anne "Lizzie" Schwitzgebel
      b. 8 June 18742
      d. 23 September 19422
    • Wilhelmina "Minnie" Schwitzgebel
      b. 14 or 15 February 18762
      d. 19 or 20 November 19512

    Katherine Hummerhausen, age 25, appears as part of Peter & Wilhelmina Schwitzgebel's household in the 1870 census, her occupation listed as "Domestic Servant". The family employed two other women as servants, as well: Emma Misch, age 17; and Emma Rou, age 14.

If you have any related (no pun intended) information, please about it.

  1. Note that "Germany" did not exist as a unified country until 1871. The term is used here for convenience.
  2. Handwritten data provided to Harry and Gilbert Schwitzgebel by James and Hazel Schwitzgebel, of Kansas City, ca. 1965. Also, family research provided by Doris Dillon Schwitzgebel (daughter-in-law of James and Hazel), ca. 1975.
  3. Hometown Beer: A History of Kansas City's Breweries. H. James Maxwell & Bob Sullivan, Jr. Omega Innovative Marketing (1999). Page 12. Photocopy courtesy of Joann Mori.
  4. Vital Historical Records of Jackson County, Missouri. Kansas City Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (1934). Transcriptions courtesy of John O'Brien.
  5. Otto John Schwitzgebel death certificate. Photocopy courtesy of Fred Hendrick.
  6. United States Federal Census records for Jackson Co., Missouri, 1860-1880.
  7. Kansas City Directory, 1889-1890. Kansas City, MO: Hoye Directory Co. (1890). Kansas City Directory, 1890-1891. Kansas City, MO: Hoye Directory Co. (1891). (Database at
  8. Henry Charles Schwitzgebel death certificate. Photocopy courtesy of Fred Hendrick.
  9. International Genealogical Index.
  10. Tombstone Inscriptions. Union Cemetery Historical Society (1986). Transcriptions courtesy of John O'Brien.
    Note: Union cemetery records erroneously list 1889 as Peter Schwitzgebel's death year.
  11. Marriage Records of Jackson Co., MO. Jackson County, Missouri, Genealogical Society (1995). Transcriptions courtesy of John O'Brien.
  12. Death record for Josephine Switzgable (neé Shafer), Jackson County, Missouri. Microfilm roll C-19509, number 4558.
  13. General Index to Marriages, Jackson County, at Kansas City, MO. Transcription courtesy of John O'Brien.
  14. Henry C. Schwitzgebel obituary. The Kansas City Star (Missouri). Thursday, April 14, 1938. Transcription courtesy of John O'Brien.
  15. A Memorial and Biographical Record of Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri. The Lewis Publishing Company (1896). Transcription courtesy of John O'Brien.
  16. The Kansas City Times. Peter Schwitzgebel death notice, Sunday, August 20, 1882.
  17. The Kansas City Times. Josie Schwitzgebel death notice, Saturday, May 29, 1897.
  18. Peter Schwitzgabel record of military service. Missouri State Archives' Soldiers Database: War of 1812—World War I. Original source: record group, Office of Adjutant General; series title, Record of Service Card, Civil War, 1861-1865; box 74, reel S811. (accessed 30 May, 2005).
  19. Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri Biographical Record, 1896 [database online]. Provo, Utah:, Inc., 2004. Original data: A Memorial and Biographical Record of Kansas City and Jackson County, Mo. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1896.
  20. United States Federal Census records for St. Louis Co., Missouri, 1850.

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