ebook History of Watertown, Wisconsin


David Blumenfeld

1828 - 1905


Watertown Historical Society Collection

The History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin, published: Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1879.


David Blumenfeld was born in the ancient city of Creglingen, Kingdom of Wurtemberg, Feb. 13, 1828; received a common-school education and in 1841, entered a printing office at Stuttgart, the capital city of Wurtemberg; left that city in February, 1848, and worked at the case as a journeyman type-setter, in the cities of Neuwied, Dusseldorf and Schwerin.


Emigrated to America in June, 1850, via Hamburg, and landed in New York Aug. 15, 1850; stayed there and in Philadelphia a few weeks and came to Wisconsin in the month of September of that year; entered, a few days after his arrival in this State, the service of Messrs. Kohlmann Bros, who intended to publish a German paper in Racine, and in October, set the first stickful of German type that ever was set in that place. (See Racine History.) The Messrs. Kohlmann are now citizens of Oshkosh and publish a well-known German paper there the Telegraph.


In April, 1851, he left Racine and accepted a position as foreman in the office of the Daily Banner and Volksfreund, at Milwaukee, published by Morritz Schoeffler, who was well known among all the printers in Germany, having been, for a number of years, first foreman and manager of the world-renowned printing establishment of Baron von Cotta, in Stuttgart.


Watertown Anzeiger - August 27, 1853


In September, 1852, went to New York to get married to Nancy Lewensen, of Schwerin, Germany, and in August, the following year, removed from Milwaukee to Watertown, in company with John Kopp, from Augsburg, a pressman who worked in the same office with him in Schwerin, and afterward in Milwaukee. They commenced the publication of a Democratic German weekly paper, called the Watertown Anzeiger, and issued their first number August 27, 1853.




D. Blumenfeld has since that time continued in the printing business, since 1859, as sole proprietor of the Watertown Weltburger.


His family consists of his wife (with whom he celebrated his silver wedding on Sept. 11, 1877) and seven children, of whom two are married; has been a member of the School Board and Common Council from 1868 to 1872.


In the fall of 1857, Emil Rothe commenced the publication of another German paper called the Weltburger, which still remains under the editorial supervision of its original founder, but is now owned and published by D. Blumenfeld.



06 09 Die Westliche Monats-Schrift [Monatsschrift]

This is the title of a German monthly magazine which Mr. D. Blumenfeld has recently started in this city, the first publication of the kind ever attempted here. It is neatly printed on fine paper, contains 80 pages and is an interesting and well conducted periodical. Those of our American citizens who wish to become familiar with the German language should take it. Its contents are such as will attract them to its pages and form an inducement to become acquainted with the best productions of the German mind and literature. The price is $3 a year. We hope the publisher will be eminently successful in this new enterprise. [Die Westliche Monatsschrift was a literary edition of the Watertown Weltburger and was published for one year]. WD




It is getting to be quite fashionable for Watertown people to take a trip to Europe. There are now several of our city's representatives abroad, and the fever has even struck the editorial fraternity, D. Blumenfeld, of The Weltburger, and wife, having decided to visit England and Germany sometime next month. We understand that Chas. E. Parks and wife will also cross the big pond in July. WG




Last Saturday, August 15, 1903, David Blumenfeld celebrated his 50th year as editor in Watertown. Fifty years ago on that day he and John Koop published the first German paper in Watertown, The Watertown Anzeiger, which one year later was changed to The Watertown Weltbuerger. Some few years later Mr. Kopp sold out his interest to Mr. Blumenfeld, but remained as foreman on the paper until his death. In 1886 his son, Moritz Blumenfeld, was taken into partnership, and in June last they incorporated as The Weltbuerger Publishing Co., D. Blumenfeld remaining as editor. The Weltbuerger is one of the oldest German paper in Wisconsin, and has always been well edited and enjoyed a large patronage. It has had many able editorial writers, among them being the Hon. Carl Schurz and Emil Rothe, the latter becoming editor in later years of The Cincinnati Volksblatt. Bernard Cramer, editor of The Peoria, Ills., Democrat, and Carl Maag, editor of The Youngstown, Ohio, Ruendcshau, both learned their profession in The Weltbuerger office. Mr. Blumenfeld's son, Ralph, learned the rudiments of the profession in his father's office and he is now managing editor of The Daily Express, London, England. The Weltbuerger still enjoys a large patronage and is edited in its usual able manner. The Gazette wishes it continued prosperity. WG



Monday was the fifty-third anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. D. Blumenfeld and during the day many friends called to congratulate them upon the event and wish them many returns of the day. Mr. B. has for many years been the editor and publisher of the Weltbuerger and has been closely identified with the growth and prosperity of the city. Of late he has been in poor health, but if the wishes of his friends avail, he will soon be restored to health and again be at his office. WR



Monday morning the older residents of this city were pained to learn that David Blumenfeld, editor of the Weltbuerger, had passed away as the previous night and although the end was not unexpected, his old friends and associates for half a century, felt keenly the separation that his departure occasioned.


The deceased was born in Creglinger, Germany, Feb. 19, 1828. After learning the printer's trade in his native town he emigrated to America, landing at Racine, Wis., where he set up the first German type composed in the state.


The following year he went to Milwaukee where he was employed as foreman on the Daily Banner. In 1853 he went to New York, where he was married to Nancy Lewensen and the couple removed to Watertown, Wis., where in company with a Mr. John he established a German newspaper, The Anzeiger, in 1853. The paper was later changed to the Weltbuerger and he had been its editor since that time and sole owner since 1853.


In politics he was a democrat . . . He was a close friend of Carl Schurz in the early days when Mr. Schurz was a resident of Watertown. WDT



Father of Ralph Blumenfeld

Father of Moritz Blumenfeld

Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery 



History of Milwaukee, City and County, Volume 2, William George Bruce, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, Chicago, 1922.


The history of commercial activity and advancement in Milwaukee would be incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to Franklin P Blumenfeld, the president of the Blumenfeld Locher Company, manufacturers and wholesalers of millinery. He is also identified with other corporate interests and is recognized as a man of sound business judgment discriminating readily between the essential and the non essential in all business affairs.


Mr. Blumenfeld is a native son of Milwaukee born June 16, 1853, his parents being David and Nannie Blumenfeld who were married in New York in 1852. The father was a pioneer German newspaper publisher in the middle west. He left his home in southern Germany when a young boy and after connections with several leading newspaper establishments of Germany sought the liberty and freedom of the new world during the Revolution of 1850. He made his way first to Philadelphia and thence removed to Milwaukee establishing his home in Watertown that state in 1853. There he continued to reside for many years passing away at that place in 1906 at the advanced age of seventy eight. His wife, who was a very talented writer, died in Watertown in 1916 at the advanced age of eighty four years


Franklin P. Blumenfeld although born in Milwaukee spent his youthful days in Watertown where he acquired a public school education after which he became a student in the Spencerian Business College at Milwaukee, being graduated therefrom in 1869. He learned the printing business in the office of his father who was the publisher of the Weltburger, a newspaper of Watertown, and after receiving training in all departments of the newspaper and job printing business he made his way to Chicago in 1870 and there worked on the Volksblatt, then a prominent newspaper printed in the German language. After the great Chicago fire of October, 1871, he accepted a position with a new recently organized wholesale millinery concern and in 1874 he came to Milwaukee in the same line. For forty seven years therefore he has been identified with the wholesale millinery trade of the city and is now at the head of the Blumenfeld Locher Company, manufacturers and wholesalers of millinery. Their business has become one of substantial and gratifying proportions and back of their success is the unfaltering enterprise, keen sagacity and thoroughly reliable methods of the president and his associate. Mr. Blumenfeld is also the president of the Standard Crucible Steel Casting Company and is one of the directors of the National Bank of Commerce.


In Ripon Wisconsin on the 26th of July 1876 Mr. Blumenfeld was married to Miss Bertha Faustman a daughter of Charles and Mary Faustman. Her father was a pioneer fish merchant on Washington Island in Lake Michigan buying his supplies from the fisher folks from 1858 until 1863 and then packing and shipping from the island to eastern markets. In the latter year he removed to Ripon Wisconsin and in 1870 became a resident of California. Later he returned to Ripon where he passed away in 1895, his widow surviving him for a decade, her death there occurring in 1905.


To Mr. and Mrs. Blumenfeld were born two daughters, Clara the wife of Paul M. Pamperin of La Crosse, Wisconsin, who is a prominent manufacturer of tobacco and cigars in that city, and Nannie, who is the wife of Dr. William H Zwickey of Superior, Wisconsin, the county physician of Douglas County. Mr. and Mrs. Pamperin have two children, Irene and Franklin John aged respectively eighteen and seventeen years.


Mr. Blumenfeld gave his political allegiance for many years to the Democratic Party and since 1916 has voted independently or with the Republican Party. He is a member of Kilbourn Lodge AF & AM and belongs to the Milwaukee Athletic Club of which he has served as a director and was a member of the building committee at the time of the erection of its club house. He also belongs to the Wisconsin Club and the Elks Lodge. He is interested in organized efforts for the benefit of the trade development of the city, being president of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association in 1913 and a director of the Association of Commerce since that time. He stands for all those forces which make for advancement in behalf of the general public and his attitude on all vital questions of civic improvement is one of progress.


WDTimes column of 01 19 2013 on David Blumenfeld



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History of Watertown, Wisconsin