Name: Andrew Erkenbrecher 1 2
Birth: 04 JUL 1821 in Colburg, Bayern, Bavaria, Heilegersdorf, Germany
Burial: 05 JAN 1885 Spring Grove Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio
Occupation: 1850 Corn Meal Grinder - Census
Death: 03 JAN 1885 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, USA
Cincinnati, The Queen City, Volume III, 1912
Pages 74 - 75
Transcribed by Linda Thompson, Wabash, Indiana
Cincinnati owes a debt of gratitude to its public-spirited and philanthropic citizens, and among the number of generous-hearted men who nobly contributed toward enhancing the reputation of the city should be named Andrew Erkenbrecher. Although the subject of this sketch passed from earthly scenes more than a quarter of a century ago, his good works continue to grow in importance, extending their blessings to the generation that has come upon the stage since he was called to his reward. He was the founder of the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, which is not only one of the most beautiful spots on the continent but has been for many years an educational agency whose value it would be impossible to estimate too highly. His services in promoting a love for trees, flowers and animals have redounded as much to the credit of Cincinnati as almost any other work that could be designated in connection with the city, and his name will not be forgotten as long as civic pride continues or a loyal son of Cincinnati can be found.
Mr. Erkenbrecher was of sturdy German stock. He first saw the light in the village of Heilegersdorf, near Coburg, Germany, July 4, 1821. He was a son of Henry and Catharine (Rauscher) Erkenbrecher, the father being a weaver by trade. The mother was a woman of remarkable energy and determination, and from her the son inherited many of his noble qualities. He received his early education in the village school and--at the age of fifteen, with his father, mother and sister--crossed the ocean to the new world. Arriving at New York City the family journeyed to Cincinnati where they entered the employ of Carl Reemelin, a spice merchant on Fifth Street. The young man soon afterwards, young Andrew secured employment in Cincinnati with John Meyers, a confectioner on Main Street, near Second. Later, he entered the employ of Colonel Gano as laborers, on his farm in the vicinity of Carthage, carefully saved his earnings and on reaching the age of twenty-two years, having accumulated a modest capital and desiring to conduct business on his own account, he erected a small grain mill which he subsequently combined with a starch factory, thus laying the foundation of his fortune. He possessed good business talents and was soon obliged to enlarge his factory, finally erecting another factory at Morrow, Ohio. In 1860, the latter establishment was destroyed by fire and, as there was no insurance, the fruits of sixteen years' labor were almost wiped out. However, Andrew Erkenbrecher was not a man to yield to discouragement. He resolutely put his shoulder to the wheel and, after six years, erected a commodious factory on the banks of the canal, near St. Bernard, which he provided with many improvements of his own invention and, as there was a very wide demand for the output he rapidly recouped his losses. The products manufactured at the new establishment took the highest premiums at the Vienna, Bremen and Philadelphia Expositions, so that Mr. Erkenbrecher became known, in due time, as one of the most successful men in his line of business in the country.
The origin of the Cincinnati Zoological Garden may be traced to a plague of caterpillars which visited Cincinnati in 1872 when every green thing in the city was destroyed, the trees being left as naked as in the dead of winter. At the suggestion of Mr. Erkenbrecher, it was decided to import insect-eating birds from Europe and an agent was promptly dispatched to the countries of the old world where he secured nearly one thousand birds for the experiment. Among the birds selected for the purpose were English larks, nightingales, German bullfinches, bobolinks, goldfinches, linnets, orioles, robins, starlings and dozens of other varieties. The birds were housed in an old residence in Burnet Woods late in the fall of 1872, and in May 1873, Mr. Erkenbrecher and his associates released them from their captivity. The experiment proved a success, and the public interest was so greatly aroused that the Zoological Garden was the result. Since then, the Garden has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, and has for many years been one of the most prominent features of interest in the city. Other cities have taken up the idea and the result of the disinterested labors of Mr. Erkenbrecher and his associates may be seen even in the most distant countries of the world.
Mr. Erkenbrecher was married at Cincinnati to Miss Amanda Meyers. Of the children of Mr. Erkenbrecher three are now living: Albert Gano, record of whom is given below; Emma, who married A. E. Burkhardt, a well known business man of this city; and Byron, a son by his second wife. Another son, Cornelius, now deceased, was for a number of years associated in business with his father. In 1877, the health of Mr. Erkenbrecher showed evidence of being seriously impaired. He visited Europe, returning somewhat improved in strength, but his vigor never fully restored. He died January 4, 1885, being then sixty-three years of age. Few citizens of Cincinnati have ever inspired more profound sentiments of gratitude, and few have contributed in a greater degree towards making the lives of others a blessing and a source of joy. He early learned the great lesson of self-dependence and, through unflagging industry and sound judgement, he gained a position as one of the leading citizens of Cincinnati. He was a brave and truehearted man who never turned away empty-handed a worthy applicant for assistance, and whose chief aim it was to add to the sum of human happiness.
Father: J. Henry Erkenbrecher
Mother: "J. Henry Erkenbrecher's Wife " Catherine
Amanda Jane Meyers b: ABT 1826 in Monroe Twp., Clermont County, Ohio, USA
- Luella Sue Erkenbrecher b: 17 MAR 1855 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, USA
- Clara Erkenbrecher b: ABT 1846 in Monroe Twp., Clermont County, Ohio, USA
- Cornelius M. Erkenbrecher b: 27 FEB 1848 in Monroe Twp., Clermont County, Ohio, USA
- Albert Gano Erkenbrecher b: 08 OCT 1858 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, USA
- Emma Erkenbrecher
Matilda Cann b: in Monroe Twp., Clermont County, Ohio, USA
- Byron Erkenbrecher b: 01 MAR 1876 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, USA
- Title: 1850 Hamilton County, Ohio Census
Page: Page 33
Text: 1st Ward Cincinnati
- Title: Cemetery Records
Page: Spring Grove Cemetery
Text: died of General Debility, lived Cincinnati, Ohio