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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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The Pioneer, a monthly supplement to the Sheboygan Press

Sheboygan Press - May 1, 1922

Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement

Adolph Kuener

In point of uninterrupted residence in the city of Sheboygan, Adolph Kuener, 325 Wisconsin avenue, is our oldest living citizen. Others, like Anton Mallmann, James Hanford, and possibly one or two others, are considerably older then is Mr. Kuener, but they have not lived as long and uninterrupted in the city of Sheboygan as has he.

Adolph Kuener was born February 27, 1833, in the fortified city of Memmingen in the then kingdom of Bavaria, Germany. He came to this country August 18, 1849, together with his father, Johann Kasper Kuener, his mother, a brother and a sister, all of whom have long passed away.

The family shipped on an East India sailing vessel from Rotterdam, Holland, after an extended tour of the Fatherland, and they landed in Boston after a three months' journey and voyage. The family soon after landing came to Sheboygan and settled down on a farm in Town Mosel, where they remained until 1860, when the parents removed to Milwaukee and the then 27 years old Adolph settled permanently down in the city of Sheboygan. The parents remained in Milwaukee and passed away there about 40 years ago.

Adolph Kuener first worked as a clerk in the Sheboygan post office under Postmaster Doctor J. J. Brown, who conducted a pharmacy in connection therewith. When the Civil war broke out in 1861, Dr. Brown joined the boys in blue and Mr. Kuener took charge of the post office and pharmacy, which latter was located on the southwest corner of Eighth street and Pennsylvania avenue, and the post office was then located in the rear of the pharmacy, on Pennsylvania avenue.

Old-timers will remember the ingenious method of then displaying the general delivery letters on a perpendicular revolving wooden cylinder of about the circumference of a fat barrel but considerably taller, protected by a big pane of glass. The letters were stuck into tin clips on the cylinder with the address side out, and the cylinder could be revolved by means of buttons or small handles projecting to within reach of the public. This convenient device saved the postal employees and also the patrons much time, and it was in use for a number of years. Later, when Alfred Marschner, Sr., returned from the war and began a second term as postmaster (his first term was before the war), he removed the post office to the building adjoining Blackstock's drug store on Eighth street. Here the general delivery cylinder above described was discarded because of increasing business, and the boards of which it was made for years served as the roof of a pavilion in the garden of the Marschner home on Wisconsin avenue, between Eighth and Ninth streets.

In 1863, Adolph Kuener, in company with Dr. McIntosh, started a drug store three doors north of Pennsylvania avenue on the east side of the street, where in 1875 George End built the block now occupied by Henry Fessler as a furniture store and extending to the corner south.

Dr. McIntosh joined the boys in blue toward the end of the Civil war after selling out his interest in the drug store to Mr. Kuener, who thus became its sole owner. This was in 1864, At that time Mr. Kuener removed the store to the location now occupied by Mayor Herman Schuelke's tobacco business. Here Mr. Kuener operated his drug store continuously for 51 years, and for many years he conducted a news stand in connection with it.

Mr. Kuener was the organizer of the Sheboygan Mutual Savings, Loan & Building association in 1885, and continued for many years to serve as its secretary until William C. Roenitz, present incumbent, succeeded him, and since which time Mr. Kuener has lived in comfortable retirement with his daughter, Miss Mathilda, at the address already given above.

Mr. Kuener was in 1858 married to Miss Caroline Holtz, who was also of German parentage, and who passed away in 1916. Five daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Kuener - Miss Mathilda; Louise (Mrs. L. F. Hoffman of Philadelphia, Pa.); Emma (Mrs. Frank Springer of Sheboygan); Bertha (died at the age of 7 years), and Annie (Mrs. W. C. Gehr, Chicago).

Mr. Kuener was from the beginning interested in and identified with the local musical endeavor of the higher order. He played the flute in the first orchestra organized in Sheboygan, away back in the Fifties. At the age of 40 he began to play the piano, in which art he made satisfactory progress despite the late start, and although for dental reasons he was compelled to abandon his beloved flute, he has to this day literally kept in touch with his piano, an instrument vying in years with himself, a Steinway of the old square pattern, but which, like its owner, has survived the ravages of time and wear remarkably.

Mr. Kuener ascribes his hale longevity largely to his love for the outdoor and much exercising therein, and of the waters of Lake Michigan, into which he dipped daily nearly the year round until very recent years.

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