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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Benjamin William Gerwig

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 506-507 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Benjamin William Gerwig, a well known and respected citizen of Herkimer, New York, was born in New London, Oneida county, on September 25, 1867, the son of Frederick and Barbara (Ruby) Gerwig. Frederick Gerwig was born in Alsace, Germany, on November 4, 1821, and died in New London, on December 27, 1876. He was a carpenter and builder and a boat builder, had a dry dock on the Erie canal, and also engaged in farming. In 1830, at the age of nine years, he came to America with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Gerwig, and one sister, Barbara, and they settled in Verona, Oneida county. Frederick Gerwig, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, died in Oneida county, at the age of nearly seventy-four years. Barbara (Ruby) Gerwig, mother of Benjamin W. Gerwig, was born in Alsace, Germany, on February 10, 1825, and died in Rome, New York, on January 19, 1910. Her brother, Bernhard Ruby, married Miss Gerwig, her husband's sister.

Benjamin W. Gerwig was educated in the public school at New London and at the McCreary & Shield Business College in Utica, New York, from which he was graduated in 1886. He then followed bookkeeping for a number of years, working in the flour and feed store of W. R. Pritchard of Rome, for one year and in the dry goods store of Smith & Hammond of the same city for two years. He then formed a partnership with Louis Weigel, under the firm name of Gerwig & Weigel, retail grocers, and conducted the business four years, after which he was a traveling salesman for T. R. Thomas & Company, wholesale fruit dealers of Utica, for four years. Mr. Gerwig then became associated with the Beach Lumber Company of Rome as salesman and remained ten years. In the fall of 1911 he came to Herkimer and bought out Field Brothers, coal dealers, and he and George W. Agan went into partnership under the name of the Gerwig & Agan Company and conducted the coal business until 1922, when Mr. Gerwig retired and sold out his interest to his nephew, Harry Gerwig.

Mr. Gerwig is the youngest of eleven children, all of whom were born in New London. The others are: Frederick Gerwig, Jr., who was born on November 21, 1843, and died on September 13, 1919. He married Kate Angley of Rome, New York, and they had six children, Edward, Frank, Elmer, Laura, Bertha and Martha Gerwig; Margaret Gerwig was born on October 7, 1845, and died on February 24, 1903. She married Rev. C. A. Weigel, who is also deceased. They had two daughters, Emma and Clara Weigel; Elizabeth Gerwig was born on July 31, 1847, was married to Christian Traxel, deceased, of Ava, New York, and they had seven children, Charles, Albert, Daniel, Eugene, Gertrude, Lillian and Erma Traxel; Barbara Gerwig was born on August 27, 1849, and died on April 14, 1905. She married George Rung of Rome, and they had four children: Fred, Charles, (deceased); Ella and Jessie Rung; George Gerwig was born on January 21, 1851, and married Belle Toten, and they became parents of Ruby, Roy, William, Nina, (deceased); Mabel and Helen; Jacob W. Gerwig was born on July 30, 1854, was married to Alice Niece of Rome, and their children are Harry, Stewart, Cora, Ruth, and Walter (deceased); Caroline Gerwig was born on October 20, 1856, was married to Charles H. Poole, and they have two children, Howard and Edith Poole; Amelia Gerwig was born on June 27, 1859, and died on December 15, 1905. She married Charles Roser of Ava, New York, and they had two children, Emerson and Winifred Roser; Sarah Gerwig was born on September 10, 1861, was married to Jacob Stoetzel of New London, and they became the parents of six children, Earl, Nettie, deceased; Lena, Minnie, Mildred, and Edna, deceased; and Charles Gerwig was born on August 12, 1865, and died on April 28, 1917. He was unmarried.

Mr. Gerwig is a member of Herkimer Lodge, No. 557, I. O. O. F. and his church associations are with the Dutch Reformed church. In politics he is a republican and for diversion he enjoys fishing and the woods.

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