Ernst Heinrich Buermeyer

1812-1886

   Although a lot of effort has gone into tracing Ernst's origins, there are no official documents as of yet to directly link him to any one particular branch on the Buermeyer tree.

   There is one document, however, that, if taken literally, may explain how Ernst is connected with our lineage.

   Genealogist Gerhard Detert sent me a document that his associate Gudrun Eichmeyer discovered at the Osnabrueck Church Bureau. It reads:

   Ziv.stands-Reg. verkürzte Wiedergabe: .....am 19. Februar 1812 erschien Clamor BUERMEYER, alt 44 Jahre, Heuerling (?), und meldete, dass von seiner Frau Marie KOHRING, 33 Jahr, ein Sohn am 17. Februar 1812 geboren worden sei. Das Kind soll den Namen Ernst Friedrich bekommen. Als Zeugen traten sein Nachbar Rudolf Buermeyer, 30 Jahr, seines Gewerbes Ackermann und Jost Leimbrock, 55 Jahr, Heuerling auf......... (nicht wortgetreu, zu langatmig!) Bis auf den 2. Vornamen Friedrich passt es schon besser! Ich werde in Buer nach der Taufe schauen! Freundliche Grüße Gudrun Eichmeyer

   At first glance it appears its' stating that Clamor Buermeyer and his wife Marie had a boy, born on February 17th, 1812 named Ernst Friedrich. The witnesses were Rudolf Buermeyer and Jost Leimbrock. We know Rudolf Buermeyer (described as a "neighbor" in the document) is actually Rudolf Spelmeyer who retained the Buermeyer surname after his wife lost her first husband, Johann Buermeyer. We know Ernst helped Spelmeyer's children and off-spring when he and his wife, Louisa ran The Broad Street House in New York many years later.

   But this document describes Ernst Friedrich, not Ernst Heinrich.

   Careful scrutiny of the document taken literally will state: The intention is to name the child Ernst Friedrich. And as my mother said, who was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany: "They intended to name him Ernst Friedrich but it doesn't mean he was christened Ernst Friedrich."

   In my view, this maybe the closest we come to resolving Ernst's origins.

   Speculation and hard facts are two entirely different things, but this is what I think happened:

   Family researcher William Campbell who is connected with the Spelmeyer branch, provided documents that describe Ernst as an uncle, or a direct relation with the Spelmeyer off-spring.

   If Ernst's father was Clamor, is it possible he lived on the Buermeyer farm with Rudolf Spelmeyer after his own father, Clamor died and, sharing the same name as his step-siblings, everyone simply assumed he was a direct relation with the Spelmeyer branch?


Old German Census

   A census during that period could confirm that Ernst lived on the Buermeyer farm after his father's death. Unfortunately, as Genealogist Wolfgang Druese recently explained, information during that period was hard to come by:

   "There were very few census in old Germany (unlike the USA where you had one every 10 years). We had a census during the French occupation of North West Germany. You know that Napoleon's brother Jerome became the King of Westphalia. Our area was the French Department Oberems / Arrondissement Osnabruck. A detailed census with all persons (full name, age, occupancy) living in a household was taken in 1811. Many of the original lists are in the Osnabruck archive. Unfortunately the Buer lists had been lost.

   The next censuses were taken when our area became part of the Kingdom of Hannover. The first one was in 1852, the next in 1855, and the last in 1858. The lists are very comprehensive, again with every name in every village. However, the Buer lists seem to be missing in the state archive."


   Ernst Heinrich Buermeyer and his wife, Louisa (Beyers) may have been the first Buermeyers to emigrate to the New World. We know they traveled in the 1830's at a time when religious and political discontent swirled throughout Germany. 10,000 Germans emigrated to the U.S. in 1832 alone. And the price for low taxes, rich soil and religious freedom didn't come cheap. Ernst and Louisa would have paid approximately $400 for their one-way trip!   Anyone who has read "Two Years Before the Mast" or saw the movie "Gangs of New York" will appreciate the conditions Ernst and Louisa were subjected to when they sailed to North America. Perhaps marginally better than a few decades earlier when Congress passed a bill requiring passenger ships to carry no more than 2 people per 5 tons of a ship's register.

   What was going through their minds as their ship slowly slipped away from the Bremen harbor knowing they would never again see their homeland or loved-ones? What did they experience on that treacherous voyage? And what did they experience those first few years in New York, a city bursting with immigrants? Remember, this was still 50 years before Liberty's beacon would welcome many more wide-eyed immigrants!

   In those early years, Ernst ran a Porterhouse at 76 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan. His son, Henry describes in his memoirs how all that changed:     I was born August 19th, 1839 at the corner of Broad and Marketfield Streets, New York City. The house I was born in was destroyed by the great Conflagration of 1845. Shortly after the fire my father leased the property at the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets, then known as the Broad Street House.

   Broad and Marketfield streets was only a block away from Pearl street where Ernst leased the boarding house. Ernst must have been an opportunist, seizing on the steady stream of immigrants wandering fresh off the boats on Ellis Island looking for accomondation. The Broad Street House was known in earlier times as Fraunce's Tavern, where George Washington bid farewell to his generals at the end of the American Revolution.

   I wonder if the Buermeyer farm influenced Ernst's thinking. The farm was a place of refuge. A secure establishment that provided food and protection for many family members. Many Buermeyers and their off-spring settled first in The Broad Street House before establishing their lives in other parts of the country. Was The Broad Street House an Americanized version of the Buermeyer farm?