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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 896-897 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The German ancestors of the Zeller family of Albany were for many generations native to the city and vicinity of Würtemburg, Germany. They were a family of good position, Lutheran in religion, and possessed of that not uncommon gift in Germany, musical genius of a high order. Although few of the family adopted music as a profession, they were all well trained and skillful performers. The founder of the family in America, Ernest Zeller, was one of those who from boyhood was destined for a musical career and followed it all his life.

Ernest Zeller, born in 1837, was the son of a well-to-do merchant and custom tailor of Würtemburg and Ludwigsburg, Germany. Ernest was the only child of his mother, although by a second marriage his father had a further issue. Ernest was carefully trained and educated in the public schools, after which he was given special musical training on the violin, for which early in life he showed a marked preference. He continued his musical studies until 1857, when he decided to come to the United States, and Albany, New York, where he had friends. His voyage across the Atlantic was long and dangerous, ninety-three days, and the little sailing vessel was often sore beset. On arriving in Albany he at once offered his services as a teacher of the violin, organized classes and gave private instructions to many advanced lovers of the violin, and did much orchestral work in Albany. Himself an accomplished musician, he created an enthusiastic following, and left a deep impression on the musical life of Albany. He was connected also with the German singing societies and social orders, "The Eintracht" and others. He was never greatly interested in politics, but voted with the Republican party. In church fellowship he was Lutheran. He died at his home in Albany, 1880. He married, in Albany, 1853, Elizabeth Neuser, born in Oberstaff, Westphalia, Germany, February 8, 1833. She was reared and educated in her native village. In 1851 came to the United States with her parents, settled in Albany, where she resided before her marriage. Since the death of her husband she has continued her residence at 130 Elm street, where she is tenderly cared for by kinspeople who make their home with her. Children of Ernest and Elizabeth Zeller:

  1. Rudolph, died aged one year.
  2. Julius, educated both in German and English; learned the trade of jeweler; never married; died April 7, 1891, in Albany, aged thirty-four years.
  3. Adolph, died in infancy.
  4. Augustus, died when four and one-half years of age.

Mrs. Zeller is the daughter of John and Margaret (Klass) Neuser, both born in Westphalia, John in Izerfeldt, Margaret in Oberstaff, where their marriage was solemnized. They were both descendants of old Westphalian families, for generations farmers and members of the Catholic church. John Neuser was of fine athletic build and was selected for his size as a member of the King's special bodyguard, serving three years. He was appointed later superintendent of mines to look after the state's interest. He died in Albany, in 1851, three weeks after his arrival from Westphalia, aged fifty-four years. His wife, Margaret, survived him until 1875, dying at the age of sixty-eight years. Children of John and Margaret (Klass) Neuser, born in Westphalia, Germany:

  1. Maria A., died young.
  2. George, emigrated to the United States, died at Carbondale, Pennsylvania, at the age of fifty-three years; married Gertrude Griessen, who survives him, resident of Carbondale; children: John, Joseph, Elizabeth, Jacob, Catherine, Charles and William; these are all married except Joseph.
  3. Elizabeth, married Ernest Zeller, of previous mention.
  4. Clara, married Jacob Messer; both deceased; left children: Emma, William, Louise, Clara, Josephine and George, all married and heads of families.
  5. Herman, died at sea, the result of an accident on the steamship of which he was steward; unmarried.
  6. Catharine, born in 1844; married Charles Schlueter, died in Newark, New Jersey, where he was engaged in the real estate business; she survives him and resides in Albany with her sister, Mrs. Ernest Zeller.
  7. Mary A., born 1846; married Frederick Breithut, who died in New York City in 1903; he was a veteran of the civil war, enlisted early in the war, Company B, Twentieth New York Volunteer Infantry; this regiment was composed of Germans and was known as "The Turners"; he served in many of the hard fought battles of the war and was seriously wounded in the head; on recovering from his wound he rejoined his regiment and served until the war closed; he later settled in New York City, where he died May 2, 1892; he was an active member of Steinwehr Post, Grand Army of the Republic, New York; children of Frederick and Mary A. (Neuser) Breithut:
    1. Otto, a pharmacist of New York City; married Mary Cody and has sons Otto (2), Walter and Fredrich Breithut;
    2. Charles H., a bookkeeper; married Josephine Weiness;
    3. Professor Frederick E., professor of chemistry in the College of the City of New York; married Edith Kingsmith Commander.
  8. Charles, died unmarried at the age of forty-five years.

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