Bio Sketch: Henry C. Schuberth (1848-1922), tobacco dealer in Miamisburg, Ohio

Henry Christian Schuberth was born June 7, 1848, in Wandsbek (near Hamburg), Germany, second of the nine children of William and Christina (Kahler) Schuberth.

Henry C. Schuberth's signature, 1887

Signature of Henry C. Schuberth from a September 1887 note (Schuberth Records, MS-033, Box 2, Folder 1)

Henry came to America when he was 3 years old. William and Christina Schuberth, with their four children, departed Hamburg, Germany, on November 17, 1851, aboard the ship Howard, and arrived in the port of New York in February 1852, after a voyage of 13 weeks.

The Schuberth family settled in Pennsylvania for two years before moving to Cincinnati in 1854, where William, a carpenter by trade, set up his business on the corner of Fifth and Elm Streets. William Schuberth later returned to Pennsylvania, settling at Unionville, near Pittsburgh, about 1870.

Henry C. Schuberth received a common education and worked as a clerk for a few years in both Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, as well as Cincinnati, Ohio, before moving to Miamisburg, Ohio, where he would spend the rest of his life.

Henry came to Miamisburg in 1865, when he was about 17 years old, to work as a clerk (for wages of $5 per month) in the tobacco business of his cousin Charles H. Spitzer. Spitzer was connected with the New York City tobacco dealing firm Bunzl & Dormitzer (Julius Bunzl and Henry Dormitzer).

When Spitzer removed to New York in 1873, Henry was given charge of Spitzer’s tobacco business at Miamisburg, including purchasing tobacco on joint account with Bunzl & Dormitzer. The firm traded several million pounds of tobacco per year at Miamisburg.

Bunzl and Dormitzer to H. C. Schuberth, 1876

Letter from Bunzl and Dormitzer, New York tobacco dealers, to Henry C. Schuberth, January 12, 1876. (Schuberth Records, MS-033, Box 2, Folder 3)

Henry continued to conduct business with the firm Bunzl & Dormitzer until the end of 1883, when the firm dissolved after 35 years due to the retirement of Mr. Dormitzer. On January 1, 1884, the firm reconvened as J. Bunzl & Sons, and consisting of Julius Bunzl and his three sons Victor, Gustave, and Ernest Bunzl. Henry continued to do business with J. Bunzl & Sons through at least 1889.

Henry C. Schuberth's letter books, 1873-1896

These letter books contain copies of Henry C. Schuberth’s outgoing business correspondence for his tobacco business, from 1873-1896. And even after 100+ years, the books still smell sweetly of tobacco leaves. (Schuberth Records, MS-033, Letter books 1-4)

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Schuberth letter book interior

Henry Schuberth’s copy of a letter he wrote to Bunzl and Dormitzer, tobacco dealers, in New York, ca. 1872. Schuberth’s copies of his correspondence are in 4 letter books with very thin paper. (Schuberth Records, MS-033, Letter book #1, page 74)

Henry conducted business with Joseph Bimberg, a tobacco dealer in Detroit, Michigan, from at least 1892 through 1897. Henry also conducted trade in the tobacco business with a number of other tobacco dealers in the Miami Valley, particularly Levi Baker of Brookville.

Henry’s tobacco warehouse was located between First Street (previously called Canal Street) and the Miami-Erie Canal, at the east end of Ferry Street (which used to dead-end before the canal).

H. C. Schuberth tobacco warehouse location

Map indicating the location of the H. C. Schuberth tobacco warehouse in Miamisburg in 1892 (from Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1892)

The spot where his tobacco warehouse once stood is now occupied by the continuation of Ferry Street between First and Second Streets.

HC Schuberth tobacco warehouse site

Ferry St bet First and Second (Miamisburg), former site of H. C. Schuberth tobacco warehouse (Photo by the author, 4 Aug. 2012)

Henry’s home, at 110 N. Main Street, was approximately 1 block away, where part of the Zee Motors lot is now.

HC Schuberth house site

NEC Main and Ferry (Miamisburg), former site of H. C. Schuberth house (110 N. Main) (Photo by the author, 4 Aug. 2012)

Henry C. Schuberth was widely recognized as being the oldest tobacco dealer in the Miami Valley at the time, when taking into account his years of continuous and actual service in the area’s tobacco industry.

Henry was a member of the Knights Templar, the Scottish Rite Freemasons, the Knights of Pythias, the International Order of Odd Fellows, and the Lutheran Church. In politics, he was a Republican.

On September 29, 1870, Henry C. Schuberth married a neighbor Sarah Oletta Shultz (1853-1937), daughter of Emanuel Shultz (1819-1912), a produce trader, tobacco dealer, banker, and later Congressman from Ohio’s 4th District.

Henry and Sarah had three children, all of whom were born in Miamisburg, Ohio:

  1. Clifford Manning Schuberth (born Apr. 15, 1876; died Mar. 13, 1960), who married Laura May Silberman (1875-1955), and had a daughter, Margaret Louise (Schuberth) Olinger (1903-1990);
  2. Mary A. Schuberth (born May 20, 1879; died 1923), who married Charles Henry Hall (1877-1951), and had a son, Henry Schuberth Hall (1902-1984); and
  3. Harry C. Schuberth (born Dec. 4, 1880; died 1954), who married Louise Victoria Kessel (1880-?), and had two daughters, Mary Oletha Schuberth and Virginia K. Schuberth.

Henry Christian Schuberth died on February 26, 1922, at his home in Miamisburg, Ohio, as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was buried on March 1, 1922, at Hill Grove Cemetery in Miamisburg. His wife Sarah died May 27, 1937, in Miamisburg, and was buried next to him.

Henry C. Schuberth tombstone 1

Henry C. Schuberth tombstone in Hill Grove Cemetery (Photo by Mary Downing-Mahan, from Find-A-Grave. Used with permission.)

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Henry Schuberth tombstone 2

Henry C. Schuberth tombstone in Hill Grove Cemetery (Photo by Mary Downing-Mahan, from Find-A-Grave. Used with permission.)

Bibliography

Conover, Frank. Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio. [Chicago]: A. W. Bowen, 1897. Pages 1048-1049. Dayton Local History 977.172 C753C 1897.

History of Montgomery County, Ohio. Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 1882. Pages 422, 458. Dayton Local History 977.172 H673A.

LaMarco, Frances. “Howard. Hamburg, Germany, to New York, November 17, 1851.” Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild. Transcribed 25 July 2000. Accessed 24 July 2012, http://immigrantships.net/v3/1800v3/howard18511117.html.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953.” FamilySearch web site. Accessed 24 July 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Miamisburg, Ohio, 1886 & 1892. Accessed 24 July 2012, http://dmc.ohiolink.edu/oplinmap.htm.

“Schuberth, Henry C. (1848-1922).” Find A Grave. Accessed 24 July 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=75055728.

U.S. Federal Census, 1860-1930, via Ancestry Library Edition.

When Tobacco was King and the Farmers Reigned. [Miamisburg, OH]: Miamisburg Historical Society, 2002. Pages 121-122. Dayton Local History 338.17371 W567 2002.

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This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in August 2012 for the Henry C. Schuberth Tobacco Business Records (MS-033) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original finding aid (which includes a name index), available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library or the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.

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