Henry & Mary Harrer Pfundstein
Henry Pfundstein was the oldest of the Pfundstein brood. He was born to Adam and Theresa in 1890 in Brooklyn. He lived and died in the New York area like many of his siblings. Henry followed his father into business and eventually took over the running of the tailor shop from his father.
Henry and Mary were alive to witness some of the great growth of New York City at the turn of the century. They literally would have watched the skyline of NYC change before their eyes with the construction of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. They were likely were also affected by the sinking the General Slocum in 1904. They would have both been teenagers at the time. Even though the victims were not from their church, the loss of so many lives of German immigrants must have sent shockwaves through the community. Henry was 21 yrs old when his youngest sibling, Christopher was born!
Mary Harrer was born to Frederick and Katherine Harrer in 1889. Unlike Henry, Mary’s parents were born in Germany. The Harrer family comes from a tiny town in Bavaria called Seussling (Soy-sling). It is the most beautiful town in the heart of Bavaria. It is very quaint and has probably not changed all the much since the family left. It was one of my very favorite stops when my sister and I visited Germany this past spring. In 2013 Seussling celebrated its 1000th anniversary! Our cousin had called ahead and when we arrived we had a welcoming party to meet us. The town historian met us along with the historian from 2 towns over, and the church caretaker were there to greet us! They couldn’t have been nicer and and told us the entire history of the town and bits and pieces about the Harrer’s. They were also tailors! We were able to tour the church and crypt. The Harrer home was next door to the church, the house had been re-built but the original barn was still standing. I have so much information on Mary’s family but I haven’t even been able to find a single picture of the elusive Mary – I’m working on that one!
When we visited Germany we stayed with a cousin related to us on our Grandfather’s side (we are related to the Pfundstein’s on our grandmother’s side). The Harrer’s are very interesting to us because Mary Harrer and my Grandfather were 1st cousins. Mary’s father, Frederick was the brother of my grandmother Catherine Harrer Marschall. So my grandfather Edmund Marshall and his cousin Mary Harrer both married into the Pfundstein family. Henry and Mary were married in 1914 and Ed and Ida were married in 1917. We are already know that my grandmother Catherine Marshall took in the Pfundstein’s laundry – that somehow led to 2 marriages between the families. It was probably not all that uncommon for the time.
Henry and Mary were married Sept. 17, 1914 at St. Leonard’s Church in NY. In 1917 Henry filled out his draft card for World War 1. He listed his occupation as a clothing cutter and his address as 1705 Myrtle Ave. That is the address of the Pfundstein tailor shop, the shop had apartments above the the store. He was described as medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and blond hair. (I love finding all of these blue eyed relatives!) They went on to have 3 children. Henrietta, Louis, and Eleanor.
I haven’t been able to track down much information on the children. The little bit I have found is as follows. Henrietta was born in 1917, She graduated from Bishop McDonnell high school – where one of her Aunt’s taught. In 1940 she married Joseph Fitzgerald. There were married by Fr. Adam, Fr. Edward, and another Uncle, Rev. Frederick Harrer. Henrietta died in 1998 in NJ. Louis was born in 1919, he graduated from Cathedral High School and joined the Air Force in 1943. He graduated from Advanced Navigational School in the 1945 and shortly after that married Irene Lawrence Adams. Louis and Irene were also married by the 3 Uncle’s. At some point (before joining the Air Force) Louis legally changed his last name to Funsten. I haven’t been able to find any more information on this – but I would really like to!! Maybe he didn’t want such a German sounding name with the war going on? The youngest daughter Eleanor was born in 1922, she married a James Mcmahon.
Henry died at the young age of 47 in June of 1938. His obituary states that he died at his home on Lefferts Blvd in Richmond Hill. His funeral was held at Holy Child Jesus R.C. church. He was buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village.
I am not done searching for information on this branch of Pfundstein’s – especially Great Aunt Mary. I can’t wait to find more…
- Detail Registration State: New York; Registration County: Queens; Roll: 1787167; Draft Board: 179 Source Information Title U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Ancestry.com Publisher Date 2005 Publisher Location Provo, UT, USA
- Web Address http://www.fultonhistory.com Source Information Title Brooklyn Daily Eagle Publisher Date June 25, 1938
- Transcript Groom: Pfundstein, Henry Joseph Bride: Mary Catherine Harrer, Marriage date: 1914-Sept 17, St. Leonard’s of Port Maurice-R.C. Detail Vol#3, Page#24, Entry#71 Web Address http://www.germangenealogygroup.com Source Information Title St Leonard’s of Port Maurice – R.C Church Author Church Database Publisher German Genealogy group.com Publisher Date 2015 Publisher Location Kings Park, NY Repository Information Name St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church Web Address 185 Suydam St, Brooklyn, NY 11221