This week's ancestor biography is on Stephen Behrhof; younger brother of my gg grandmother Margaret Behrhof. Stephen was the son of Michael Behrhof and Magdelena Schaetzle who were German immigrants from the town of Grosbardorf in the state of Bayern. Michael and Magdelena emigrated to America on 26 August 1852 on the ship Guttenberg. Stephen was born in Albany in June of 1856 most likely on Delaware Street in the South End of Albany. Stephen's siblings included
- Margaret (1844 - 1908) married Henry Koreman (1841-1923)
- Magdelena (1856 - 1892) married Charles Koreman (1844-1908)
- Peter (1861 - 1886)
|Stephen Behrhof, circa 1876|
Although Stephen was first generation American born in the Behrhof family. He could be considered a prominent German-American in Albany due to his cultural interest in his ethnicity. Stephen was a member in numerous Gesangvereine (German singing societies) in Albany. In 1907 he was the financial secretary of the German Hall Association. The association was instrumental in the building of the German Hall building located at 48 Beaver Street.
The Northeastern Sängerbund of America attempted to unify Albany’s Gesängvereine when it encouraged seven of Albany’s societies (Liederkranz OSDF, Eintracht, Harugari, Liederkranz, Männerquartett, Cäcilia, and Harmonia) to unite for the Seventeenth National Sängerfest in New York on June 23-26, 1894. On October 1, 1893, delegates from Albany’s singing societies met at Eintracht Halle, and the Gesängvereine agreed to merge as the Vereinigte Sänger von Albany, or the Combined Singers of Albany. At the meeting, the representatives voted Stephen Behrhof as President of the society.
Stephen was elected Chairman of the Music Committee for the 1907 German Day Parade. He was in charge of organizating all of the music activities for the three day celebration. From 1905 until 1916 there were enormous parades and celebrations commemorating "German Day." The German Day parades from the past possibly might have dwarfed Albany's St. Patrick's Day parades of today. Thousands of Albanians attended these festivals, which had numerous events; each chaired by prominent German-Americans. (German Day will be the subject of a future blog post.)
Stephen married Wilhelmina Neudorf (1860-1954) in 1885. They had no children. Stephen worked in various occupations throughout his years. He clerked in his father's grocery store and saloon at 48 Delaware Street. Later he operated the saloon. By 1900 he worked as a tailor at Koreman & Behrhof at 276 South Pearl Street. His partner was his nephew, Henry Koreman. Stephen died on 23 January 1917 in Albany. He was buried in Our Lady Help of Christian's Cemetery in Glenmont, New York.
|Stephen & Wilhelmina Behrhof gravestone|
For years I never knew what his epitaph meant. However as research on my family tree progressed I discovered that he was a member and officer in many German singing societies. His grave site above was rehabbed in 2013.