12 November 2015

Veteran's Day Remembrance to a Fallen Soldier

This blog post is in remembrance of a fallen WWII soldier, James Lyons Quinn. Not much is known about him aside from being my grandfather, Joseph Albert Koreman's second cousin. At some point I will trace his branch of the family tree.

James Lyons Quinn

James Lyons Quinn was born in Albany circa 1912 to Thomas J. Quinn (1891-1957) and Katherine Redmond (1890-1979). Thomas and Katherine had the following children:

  • William N. Quinn (1915-?)
  • Catherine M. Quinn (1919-1997) married Thomas L. Appio (1915-1998)
  • Rosemary T. Quinn (1922-1992) married Thomas W. Gunther (1924-1996)

My grandfather spoke regularly about WWII since he lost a younger brother, Arthur Stephen Koreman, at Iwo Jima. He also mentioned other cousins who lost their lives during the war. One was another second cousin John Joseph Hohenstein (1914-1943). Through research I found that he died from malaria in Italy. The second was James Quinn; whom my grandfather angrily mentioned numerous times that he was beheaded in a prisoner of war camp.

Below is a copy of an article from an undated and unknown Albany newspaper reporting Quinn's death. This article was passed to me from my grandfather.

A transcription of the article follows:

Quinn Death In Jap Prison Reported
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Quinn, 170 Morton, today were advised by the War Department their son, S/Sgt. James Lyons Quinn, previously reported missing in action over the Marshall Islands, was killed Feb. 2, 1944, while a prisoner of the Japanese.

First reported missing on Jan. 19, Sergeant Quinn was one of the first Albany causalities of the aerial battle for the Marshall's. Today's official confirmation of his death, stating he was killed at a prison camp, was the first news his family had received on his capture. The War Department revealed his death was reported in seized records of the Japanese government, which had failed to notify either the American military or Red Cross authorities.

Aerial gunner of a B-25, Sergeant Quinn had completed more than 15 missions with the 396th Bombardment Group during his one and a half years overseas.

He was graduated from St. Ann's Academy and prior to joining the Armed Forces in July, 1941, was employed by the city Department of Public Works as an electrician.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Thomas Appio and Mrs. Thomas Gunther, both of Albany, and a brother Pfc. William N. Quinn, who has returned to the states after completing more than two years overseas.

Below is a grave marker for Staff Sergeant James Lyons Quinn at Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont, NY.

04 November 2015

Brief History of the German-American Club of Albany

A series of upcoming blog articles will be posted regarding the former German Day celebrations that were held in Albany from 1904 through 1917. They were enormous fests that occurred over numerous days. These former parades may have even dwarfed Albany's St. Patrick's Day parades of today. However, very few people are familiar with these events from the past. Circa 1900, Albany was home to upwards of one hundred German clubs or Vereine. All of these German Vereine have disappeared except for one. The last remaining German club in the Albany area is the German-American Club of Albany; located at 32 Cherry Street in Colonie. The following information on the history of the German-American Club was compiled and written by Ulrich Fellehner in 1995 and edited and revised by Christopher White in 2007.

The present German-American Club is a direct successor to the German Gun club, which was founded on March 2, 1895 as Deutsche Schuetzengesellschaft #1.  The founding took place at the establishment of Johann Stapf, a tavern at the corner of Quail and First Streets in Albany.  We shall endeavor to give you a brief history and some interesting facts about our ancestral organization.

The “Gun Club” was one the last of the many German Vereine or societies to come on the scene before the end of the century.  Membership was restricted to 40 men, all of whom had to be born in Germany.  Apparently, many were of modest means.  We find frequent records of expulsion for non-payment of dues, which were .15 cents per month.  Another indicator is the passing of a rule that forbade any member to buy another a drink.  We assume that this was meant to spare those who could not afford to buy one in turn, the embarrassment.  The club also kept several rifles for common use although members were permitted their own guns so long as they were of the same caliber.

From the beginning, shooting was the club’s main purpose.  The first Schuetzenfest was held on August 15, 1895 and we are fortunate to have a photo of this event.  Practice and family outings took place at a variety of locations during the summer.  We find mention of Settler’s Hall and Garden, Lagoon Island, Collins Grove, Schaefer’s Grove, Wilkin’s Grove, and Hinkel’s Farm.

1st Schuetzenfest

The many German groups in Albany cooperated in a variety of ways, especially through the common ownership of German Hall on Beaver Street.  The year 1905 is an excellent example.  During this year, the Gun Club bought 10 shares of German Hall stock for $50.00.  They rented Liederkranz Hall on Sherman Street for a ball.  They took part in the 40th anniversary celebration of the Maenner Quartett, accepted an invitation from the German Veteran’s Society to attend their function at Dobler Park, accepted another invitation of the Brewery Worker’s Union to a picnic at Schaefer’s Grove, and joined the German Aid Society in an excursion to Schaefer’s.  It was further agreed to take part in the German Day celebration and have a Schuetzenfest on September 3rd with a practice shooting the day prior.

By 1907, the Gun club was strong enough to purchase a lot at the site of the present German-American Club for $180.00.  Earlier, all meetings were held at local taverns, mainly at Stapf’s but also at Strempel’s Hall at 253 Central Avenue, and Pikard’s Hall at 241 Central Avenue.  Now, plans were made to immediately build a clubhouse in Colonie, and to purchase additional land.  To accomplish this, with the same number of members, initiation fees were raised to $5.00 and each candidate was required to buy $5.00 in shares in the German Gun Club, as it was to be known.

In 1910, all summer meetings, from April to October, were held at “Schuetzenpark,” membership was increased to 50 members and work began on a bowling alley.  The club was on its way!

Former Bowling Alley

The first World War had less adverse effect on the “Gun Club” than on other German societies in Albany.  It should be mentioned here, that Adolf Meyer, a most outstanding President, led the club during that period.  While the majority of German clubs folded after succumbing to the intense anti-German propaganda and consequent actions, the “Gun Club” was one of the few survivors.  The reason can only be speculated on, but, it was probably because of the outside location in Colonie.  Fairly inaccessible, the club was not subject to the harassment suffered by other city clubs.  1918, marked the end of the German influence in Albany.  In the census of 1869, 4744 citizens gave their birthplace as “Germany” and the estimate of German speakers in 1890 was 20,000.  One could belong to any one of over 40 German societies.  In 1918, few very Vereine or societies remained.  These included the “Gun Club,” the German Hospital Association, and the Albany Maennerchor.

The German Gun Club continued to change, if ever so slowly.  In 1922, a resolution was passed to permit English spoken at meetings and in 1924 minutes of meetings were kept in English also.  1922, was the year in which the dance hall was constructed and membership was increased to 150.  There was a definite upward movement in the organization.

In 1925, an event took place that had great significance for the club; the Ladies Auxiliary was founded!  The Ladies would become a very important and indispensable part of the club and their role has ever increased as the years go by.  From preparing and serving food, raising funds, helping the needy and serving as chairpersons of events, the Ladies are always ready to help.  More recently they have also take their place on the Board of Directors and we are all richer because of it.  The history of club would not be complete however, without mentioning and honoring some of the outstanding Ladies whose contribution will not be and should not be forgotten.  We honor: Mrs. Borrmann, Mrs. Paulsen, Mrs. Krueger, Mrs. Schweikert, Mrs. Hoffmann, Mrs. Traegler, Mrs. Zewe, Mrs. Betzweiser, Mrs. Kopp, Mrs. Schwikard, Mrs. Blau, Mrs. Meyer, Mrs. Schwarz, Mrs. Sieler, Mrs. Meister, Mrs. Jaeger, Mrs. Verstandig, Mrs. Drautz, Mrs. Hafner, Mrs. Munninger; one could go on and on.

Increased immigration brought another element to the German-American scene and that was an interest in sports, namely soccer.  In 1026, the “German Albany Sport Club Armenia” was founded and among its founders were a number of members of the “Gun Club” and or the Maennerchor.  Cooperation the three organizations proved to be a great benefit to all of them.

In 1927, the “old” part of our present clubhouse was built and soon after, all meetings, summer and winter, were held there.  The economic outlook was much improved by this investment.  Small events could be held on premises year round.  The hall could be rented out and with park rentals, the future of the club was more secure.

In 1923, Adolf Meyer had first called for unity of all German groups in the area.  In 1938, the voice were raised once again and this time with success.  On March 6th, 1938, the “German Gun Club” and the “Albany Sport Club” merged and became the “Albany Gun and Sport Club.”  It was to be another two years of deliberations the Maennerchor decided on its course.  The outbreak of World War II swayed the last doubters as memories of 1914 came to the surface.  On May 14, 1940, the Maennerchor joined the other two and the “Albany Gun and Sport Club and Maennerchor” came into existence.  With its new strength, and the dedicated leadership of Joseph Bauhofer, the club survived the war years (1941-1945) despite many adversities and some losses.

The decade immediately following the war were memorable.  Again, new immigrants invigorated the club.  A Ladies Chorus was added to the singing section and the sports section was able to field several teams.  Leadership was steady and devoted.  For the first 20 years, after 1945, with the exception of two years, the club had only two Presidents: Arthur Borrmann and Karl Paulsen.  This continuity of leadership made possible long-range planning.  The result was an expansion of the clubhouse to its present size.  Large events could now take place on the premises.  The stage offered the singers new opportunities such as performing with the Delmar Orchestra.  The basement was built high enough to permit soccer practice in bad weather.  In 1953, something happened that threatened to impede the advances made since the war.  Through an article in the Times Union, an attempt was made to thoroughly denigrate the German organizations, especially “Schuetzenpark.” It was alleged that the club had been a “hotbed” of “Bund” activity.  Honorary President Bauhofer and President Paulsen confronted the writer and the paper about this slander and forced an immediate public retraction of the allegations.  1954 was therefore very significant.  In this year the club held, or took part in 16 different events.

The most important day was the “German Day” at Bleeker Stadium.  Large crowds were on hand when President Paulsen, Congressman O’Brien, and Joseph Munninger stood side by side at the ceremonies and marched together.  This event was very well received by the public and the press alike.

1954 Program 

Meanwhile, the Sport Club made its mark in soccer.  Karl Zwicklbauer, who had been ASC coach and manager, took a number of players and formed the Albany Athletic Club.  Competition between these two clubs was intense and for many years they split success in league play throughout upstate New York.  In 1965, the teams reunited and continued to be the top area soccer team for years.  Play ended in 1975 because of a lack of young players.

It was now time to bring the name of the organization up to date.  The “Gun Club” had not been active for many years and the Sport Club had stopped playing soccer.  The name “German-American Club of Albany” was chosen; a name the club proudly bears today.

The singers of the Maennerchor and Ladies Chorus competed and performed throughout upstate New York and brought home many awards.  Their proudest however, were the events the club sponsored in Albany.  Many remember the Fests and Concerts in 1947, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1965, and 1977.  These events rivaled any in the area.  In the 1980s, starting with the Presidency of Jakob Jaeger and continuing with Edward Genhofer and Gunther Hamel and to some degree today, the German-American Club became very active outside the club.  We sponsored many “German Days” at the Empire State Plaza, took part in International Days, Vietnam Day, Statue of Liberty Day, Christmas Festivals, Food Festivals, and many other occasions.  We are especially proud of our part in Albany’s Tri-Centennial where we had an award winning float and held a tree planting ceremony in Washington Park.

1986 Tri-Centennial Float
Today, we are mostly a social club.  Membership is open to all, regardless of sex, nationality, or religion.  We endeavor to maintain as much of our German heritage as possible under present circumstances.  We continue to speak German, play German music, and serve our German food.  Above all, we try to maintain that, which all who went before, considered most important, i.e., being hard-working, honest, and loyal citizens of our country, the United States of America.

The Albany Maennerchor

Between 1820 and 1900, 5.2 million Germans immigrated to the United States and in just the last two decades of that century, 100,000 arrived from Germany each year.  It was only natural that the traditional love of music should come to the fore.  The first singing societies emerged in large cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York, which led to the founding of the first German-American Singing Federation in 1849.  During this year, the Albany Germans formed the first Literary Society and the first singing society, the Albany Liederkranz.  The society lasted only six years, but in 1865 a new group, “the Albany Maenner Quartett” was founded and from that day on, Albany was never again to be without a German Singing Society until 1990 when the voices of the mixed chorus of the German-American Club fell silent.

The time-period of 1870-1910 was a high point of German cultural and economic activity in Albany.  During that epoch, Albany had five different German Singing Societies and at times had as many as seven had.  In 1897, representatives of 22 upstate societies met in Albany and signed the constitution of the Central New York Saengerbund.  In 1911, Albany was host to the Sixth Saengerfest.  All five Albany clubs cooperated to make it a brilliant success.  Soon afterwards, all of the clubs felt a lessening of interest and competition between the clubs increased.  As the clouds of the European “Great War” cast its shadow over the land more and more, farsighted members advocated unity among the clubs.  On September 24, 1914, the “Albany Maenner Quartett” (founded in 1865) and the Eintracht Singing Society (established in 1868) met in the music hall of German Hall on Beaver Street and the Albany Maennerchor was born.

The new club counted 235 members, 75 of whom were active singers.  The first officers of the new organization were: President: Dr. George Lempe, First Vice President: Adolf Fraser, Second Vice President: Henry O. Sturm, Recording Secretary: Alfons Bachmeier, Correspondence Secretary: Franz Franke, Financial Secretary: August Mitzenheim, Treasurer: August Weber, Archivist: William Berben and Fred Phillips, Trustees: George Kreuger, Henry Fischer, and Dr. George W. Papen.  The first musical director was Frederick W. Kerner.

The Maennerchor emerged from the dark days of World War I, very diminished in numbers, especially, in the ranks of the non-active members.  A good number of singers remained true to their club however, in large part due to the inspiring leadership of such officers as Dr. Lempe, Adolf Fraser, and Henry O. Strum.  After 1918, a new wave of immigrants rejuvenated the Maennerchor but it also became a wandering club.  German Hall was sold and singing was moved to Liederkranz Halle on Sherman Street, to Strempel’s Hall on Central Avenue, to Washington Hall at 206 Washington Avenue, and then from 1926 to 1934 to 69 South Pearl Street and back to Washington Hall.  Concerts, plays, and other social affairs took place at several different locations.  Odd Fellow Hall (former German Hall) was used for large gatherings until 1952.  Our Lady of Angels Hall was frequently used for concerts as was Chancellors Hall in the New York State Education Building.  In 1936, Professor Laabs led the Maennerchor and the WGY Orchestra in a Spring Concert at this location.

In 1925, the Maennerchor became stronger with the addition of a Ladies Auxiliary, which proved to be invaluable as the club struggled to maintain its integrity.  The feelings of the singers about their uncertain state of affairs is best expressed by a little poem written by Honorary President Christian Martin on its Twentieth Anniversary in 1934.

Maennerchor braucht ein Plaetzchen
Und waer es noch so klein,
Von dem er koennte sagen:
Das ist unser Heim
Hier singen wir, hier feiern wir,
Hier ruhen wir uns aus;
Es ist unsere Heimat;
Es ist unser Haus!

Friendly relations between the Albany Gun Club and the Maennerchor date back to the very founding of the latter.  As early as 1915, members of both groups would join in sponsoring balls, picnics, and plays.  Henry O. Sturm, who was President of the “Gun Club” in 1912-1913 was also President of the Maennerchor in 1916-1918.  AS the years went by, more and more men were involved in both organizations and by 1934 prominent in “Gun Club” affairs.  We like to mention a few: Meyer, Martin, Schilling, Bauhofer, Drautz, Forkel, Mitzenheim, Barth, and Erb.

It was another six years before the poetic dream of Christian Martin came true.  On May 14, 1940, the Maennerchor found a home, and the Albany Gun and Sport Club and Maennerchor, a dream for unity became a reality.

The singing section of the Gun and Sport Club and Maennerchor now had a Ladies Chorus that was almost as strong as the Men’s Chorus and with new immigration became even stronger. Under the baton of the very able Professor Arthur Laabs, the Albany singers competed in every city belonging to the Central New York Saengerbund and brought home many honors.

In 1947, the Albany Club was honored to host the 50th Anniversary of the Central New York Saengerbund.  The three-day event took place in Odd Fellows Hall, formerly German Hall, and culminated with a picnic at Schuetzenpark.  Other memorable events in Albany included the five City Concert in 1958, the 62nd convention in 1959, the 19th Song Festival in 1962, and the 20th Saengerfest in 1965.  The size of the mass-chorus at this affair rivaled the 800 voice chorus that was heard in Rochester in 1959.  The last major event in Albany was the 24th Saengerfest in 1977.

By this time the Albany Chorus had shrunk considerably.  It was only through the dedication of such stalwarts as Adam and Eva Schweikert, Mildred Blizinsky, and the talent of John Tanis that singing continued for several more years.  We remember fondly the mass chorus (with Troy and Schenectady) at the German Days at the Empire State Plaza, the club singing at the mall at Christmas or at the Tri-Centennial in Washington Park.

Above all, we remember the untold hours of pleasure derived from their singing at the club.  In 1990, the voices of the Albany Maenner and Ladies Chorus were forever stilled.  The void in our midst is felt deeply.  May the memory live on!

The Albany Sport Club

The Albany Sport Club was founded in 1926 under the original name of “Albany Sport Club Armenia.” On June 19, 1926, a group of 27 sportsmen gathered at the club room of the Albany Maennerchor at 69 South Pearl Street in Albany to elect a slate of officers to direct the club’s affairs.  Elected were: President, Karl Gross; Vice President, Heinrich Allmendinger; Recording Secretary, William Barth; Financial Secretary, Robert Kopp, and Trustees for quarter-year terms, Hermann Gminder and Karl Heilig.  Henry Schwarz and Joseph Eid were responsible for the gymnastic section of the club.  Joseph Bauhofer was appointed liaison to the Maennerchor and work out details about use of that club’s facilities.

In July 1926, the name, which had caused some confusion, was changed to Deutscher Sport-Club Albany’26 (German Sport Club Albany 26).  Almost immediately a second team was formed in order to have an opportunity for training.

The next few months were filled with straightening out details of a growing club with questions such as; Who will pay for laundry? Who shall pay for trips? How much to pay the player for doctor bills? How to train referees and first aid personnel? There were also some games against the Arrow Soccer Club Troy, Caledonia Schenectady, Clan Mac Gray Schenectady, and Amsterdam.

In Spring 1927, the club changed its headquarters to 39 Quail Street in Albany, and paid $37.50 monthly in rent.  These premises had a bar, clubroom, hall, and almost immediately the club began to have social functions.  At this time it was decided to accept ladies as members with the same rights and duties as the men.  Wives of male members were dues free.  The result was that quite a few ladies joined the club and separate gymnastic hours, for men and women had to be established.

By 1928, the club was in full swing! League play was steady; the first members were suspended for attacks upon the referee! Sunday dances and outing filled the social calendar.  Non-Germans were accepted into the club after two years of debate over the issue; but a restriction was added to prevent non-Germans from becoming a majority.  Also in the same year, the first discussions were held about uniting all German Clubs in Albany into one club, but without success.  This did not deter cooperation between the clubs in other matters.  In 1928, the Sport Club arranged a large Sport-fest with participation of Troy and Schenectady.  The event was held at Schuetzenpark and all clubs pulled together to change a common field into a soccer field for this event and made it a success.  This year also saw the final change-of-name.  On October 2, 1928, the club became the “Albany Sport Club,” a name under which it was to have many successes through the coming years.

Former Dance Hall at Schuetzenpark

As in other clubs, economic considerations occupied much of the club’s leadership.  Dances had to be held, rooms to be rented, and things to be raffled off in order to pay the bills.  The players were very active and in 1930 participated in nine Cup-Games beside numerous friendly games.  Later that year the financial situation turned so bad that the club could no longer afford its clubhouse.  A decision was made to sell the equipment and rent a room for occasional use only.  Talks with the Albany Maennerchor about a merger went nowhere.

Records after 1932 are not available, but numerous trophies, won in cup play show that the soccer section of the Albany Sport Club was very active and competitive.  For many years, charter members and members of the Sport Club, advocated merger of the two.  It was a proud day for J. Bauhofer, R. Kopp, H. Gminder, W. Meister, A. Verstandig, H. Schwarz, J. Eid, P. Miller, A. Mueller, and many others when on March 6, 1938 the “Albany Gun and sport Club” was founded.

Under the new association, soccer continued vigorously.  By 1940, Franz Zwicklbauer was manager of the ASC and in 1941 he was able to report an unbeaten season.  The war put an end to further advances.  Many young players entered into the Armed Services and some lost their lives.  Soccer in New York State was so depressed that the Albany Club joined the New Jersey Soccer League.  When the war ended, in 1945, the players returned and resumed training.  In 1946, Franz was able to report his team ready for league play- and so they did.  In 1948, the reserve team was able to win the Central New York League Championship.

Unfortunately, there was friction between the main club and the sports section (ASC) which came to a head in 1948.  Franz Zwicklbauer took a group of players out of the club and formed the Albany Athletic Club (AAC).  This was a start of a great rivalry.  The two teams were always competing for dominance in area soccer; some year one would win and the next year the other.  In all fairness it must be said that the AAC was the stronger team, but it was the ASC which survived.  In 1965, the two teams re-united under the banner of the Albany Sport Club.  This was one of the best, if not the best team the area had ever seen.  With different players it campaigned with great success until 1975 when the ASC “took down its goals.”  The lack of new, young players was the deciding factor.

Fortunately the tradition continues.  Some of the excellent players became active in area soccer as coaches, advisers, referees, and managers.  Youth soccer has been the great benefactor of their dedication.  Any time one of the area’s young teams wins a game, or even a championship, somewhere in its history is certain to be someone who either played for or against the Albany Sport Club.