German American Population Map 1872The Western New York (WNY) region has a rich German heritage that can be traced back to settlers purchasing land from the Holland Land Company in the early 19th century.

The first recorded German settler in Buffalo was John Kuecherer, who arrived in 1821 via Pennsylvania.  Jacob Siebold, Buffalo's second German settler, arrived in 1822 from Wurtemburg and became a successful businessman.

Much of the migration to WNY took place in distinct waves from various regions of Germany after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. For example, many of those who came from Prussia and the North were Protestants while those from Alsace and the South were primarily Roman Catholic.

These hard working pioneers were laborers, farmers, craftsmen and owners of businesses such as grocery stores, furniture manufacturers and breweries. German immigrants are credited with clearing the vast forests of Amherst, NY and Depew, NY to make way for agriculture and farming.

Did You Know?

German was spoken in WNY homes, schools and churches well into the 1800's.

The old limestone building on the corner of Main Street and North Forest Road in Williamsville, NY was originally a meeting house built by German Mennonites in 1834.

During the Civil War, enlistment posters in WNY were written in both English and German, and promised volunteers $100.00 to join the Union Army.

WNY area German-American brewers and business owners were major investors in the 1901 Pan American Exposition of Buffalo, helping make the event possible.

Learn More

Visit the following websites for more information about WNY German-American history and culture. Please contact us if you know of other relevant Internet resources that may be considered for inclusion here.

German-American History in Buffalo, NY >>>

Amherst Museum History of the Town of Amherst, NY >>>

A History of Alsace >>>

Village of Depew, NY History >>>

Town of Holland, NY 175th Anniversary History Book >>>

Wikipedia's German American Article >>>


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