The Kramer Family

Early History

This section will concern itself with the ancestry of Asia Kramer and some of her relatives. The first portion of this family history comes from various published genealogies, and I can not vouch for its accuracy.

The Kramer's emigrated from Germany, arriving in Philadelphia in 1773 on the ship Britannica, with the following persons, of uncertain relationship, on board (the grouping of the names reflects their arrangement in the ship's manifest) :

Johann Georg Kramer came from Karlsbrunn, having married Whilemina Hollenbergerin in 1771 there. Son Christian Kramer was born in January of 1773.

Johan Balthaser and Johann Georg probably both worked initially at a glass making facility at Manheim, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, then moved to Frederick County, Maryland, working at the Amelung glass works at New Bremen . This facility went bankrupt in 1790, and members of the Kramer family subsequently moved west. While en route the caravan stopped at Tomlinson's Tavern near the present village of Grantsville, Md., between Cumberland, Md., and Uniontown, Pa., on the trail which later becme the National Road. Here they met Albert Gallatin, who had purchased and named the town New Geneva after his native Swiss city of Geneva. Doubtless you remember the Tomlinson name from the Frederick County, Maryland section of this narrative. Gallatin would later become a Congressman and, from 1801 until 1814, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. New Geneva is located on the Monongahela River near the (West) Virginia border .

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The establishment of the glass-factory, near where New Geneva was soon after built, was due to Albert Gallatin. Two stories are related concerning its establishment, one by grandchildren of the founders, the other by neighbors. The first, being the most credible, is as follows:

The glass factory went through several groups of owners and persisted for many decades.

It is recorded in the Uniontown newspaper records of 1894 that Christian Kramer, son of Johann Georg, married Margaret Reppert; their son Allen, born 1804, married Margaret, a daughter of a Baltzer Kramer, in 1827 . This Baltzer Kramer, the son of Johann Balthaser Kramer, was born in 1777 and died in 1852. He had married Sarah Phillips, whose mother's name was Prather; you may remember this family from Frederick County, Maryland as well.

Allen Kramer

Things get less confusing from here on. Allen Kramer, with his wife, one child and six other people aged 15 to 20, were in the South Ward of Pittsburgh in the 1830 census. In 1841 he founded a bank and brokerage house; the business is mentioned in the descriptions of the Great Pittsburgh Fire of 1845 .

Later in the decade he was joined by Edward Rahm, whose family had been manufacturing iron in Pittsburgh since 1819. A brief excerpt of Edward's father Martin's ancestry is included here :

Through her maternal lineage, Mrs. Noble Garvin Miller was a great-grandaughter of Conrad de Rahm, native of Metz, Lorraine, who came to this county aboard the "Europa" with a group of Palatines and settled on a farm near Philadelphia in 1741. Through his abhorrence of class distinction he is said to have dropped the prefix "de" from his name. Brothers and at least one sister also came to America; one brother was killed by Indians in Eastern Pennsylvania. They were Moravians. One brother [Martin] had a plantation in Dauphin County, and had slaves (will 1794 in Dauphin County, recorder's office). Prior to the Revolutionary War, Conrad Rahm sold his farm and removed to a section near Harrisburg. When the war broke out he became a corporal in Captain Benjamin Weiser's Company and saw action in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey. He also fought against the Indians as a member of Sullivan's Expedition; and as captain of the Huntingdon Dragoons in 1780, helped protect the frontiers of Northumberland County. Three of his sons, John Michael Rahm, of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; John Jacob Rahm, of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; and Melchoir Rahm, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, fought in the Revolutionary War...? Conrad Rahm, who worshipped in the Moravian Church, died in 1782. His youngest son, Martin Rahm, maternal grandfather of Mrs. Noble Garvin Miller, was only six years of age at the time. He was born near Harrisburg, October 44, 1776, and died in Pittsburgh, May 6, 1836. On January 20, 1806, in Huntingdon County, Martin Rahm married Anna Maria Dorothy Anshutz, daughter of George Ludwig and Catherine Elizabeth (Gerber) Anshutz. There were eleven children by this marriage, the fifth of whom was Anna Maria Rahm, mother of Mrs. N. G. Miller....Mr. Anshutz came to the city of Pittsburgh and built the first blast furnace in the Pittsburgh district, near Shadyside, East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was supposed there was iron ore in the neighborhood sufficient for the purpose, but as it had to be brought down the Allegheny River from near Kiskiminetas, this proved too expensive. It was abandoned after the "Whiskey Insurrection," when the soldiers camped nearby and burned his supply of wood used for charcoal. He then went to Westmoreland County and ran the Probst furnace for its owners. Poor iron ore again caused him to search further. He finally found better ore in Huntington County and moved there in 1795 and built the first furnace, in the then undeveloped Juniata iron region.

I freely admit that this history is irrelevant to the subject of this book, but it is pretty incredible that the progeny of the first glass makers west of the Alleghenies would team up with the progeny of the first iron makers west of the Alleghenies. All of the above information is confirmed in the Weiser family genealogy with one exception; Martin is thought to be the son of Melchoir Rahm . This biography further stated that Martin Rahm was a member of the iron commission firm Anshutz & Rahm in Pittsburgh, formed in 1814 . This firm was acknowledged as a large mercantile house as of 1818 in a later history of the city .

1850 ad for Kramer & Rahm

1850 Advertisement, Pittsburgh Directory

The partnership of Allen Kramer and Edward Rahm must have been close, as the 1850 census shows that Edward married Allen's daughter, Virginia. The resulting firm, Kramer & Rahm, was a major banking enterprise, surviving a run on the bank in 1855 ,

On January 22, 1855, Kramer & Rahm were forced to suspend operations. They had been sorely pressed during the previous runs [on other banks], but had managed to meet all demands, though they were so crippled that eventual suspension was necessary. No immediate run caused this action; they constant drain and poor collections rendered the closing of their doors imperative. It was said of them: "This house, like most of the others which preceded it, had out side risks -- large sums invested in a rolling-mill and other ventures of a similar nature, from which it is next to impossible to realize at such a time as this . . . .These are not the investments for those to whom are intrusted the temporary use of other people's money . . . . We have no doubt that the motive prompting them is a good and honest one, and we cast no personal censures on any. But the whole thing is wrong at the root." (Gazette, January 24, 1855).

The result of this monetary panic here was thus the failure of six brokerage and banking houses and an incalculable amount of suffering among small depositors. Out of the ruin of the old house of A. Wilkins & Co. arose the new one of Wilkins & Co., with the solemn promise to the public, through the newspapers, to stick closely to their legitimate business thereafter and not deal in any more outside ventures. Kramer & Rahm also managed to resume business again in April, 1855.

but not surviving in 1866 :

On May 14, 1866, by the failure of Work, McCouch & Co. of Philadelphia, of which they were a branch, Kramer & Rahm of this city, private bankers, were forced to close their doors. "This house is one of the oldest, and has always been considered one of the most reliable banking institutions in the city, and the suspension created considerable excitement in financial circles" (Gazette, May 16, 1866). The Philadelphia papers stated that the failure was due to stock gambling (Hestonville Railway stock) and involved upward of $1,000,000, and that the extent of the disaster was in doubt "beyond its intimate connection with a highly respectable firm in Pittsburg, which can scarcely stand up under this disaster." Kramer & Rahm, with characteristic promptness, turned over their private and personal effects to secure their creditors.

In 2012 the auction house of Kaminski sold a daugerrotype of Allen Kramer. The documentation indicated it had come from Maude Rahm, via the collection of Graham Nash. I reckon it is from the 1850s.

Image of recently sold daugerrotype of Allen Kramer

Margaret and Allen had seven children, including one named Asia, and one named Virginia who married Edward Rahm. The family stated in the 1860 census that they had two servants and a net worth of $200,000, an astonishing sum at the time. Allen died in 1868, perhaps broke, but owning a prime section of the Allegheny Cemetery, now known as the Kramer Circle, just up the hill from Stephen Foster's grave (who incidentally had an account at Kramer & Rahm ).

Florence Kramer

Florence was the first son of Allen and Margaret Kramer, born in 1830. He was prominently listed on the advertisements for the bank in the 1850's.

1858 Kramer & Rahm ad

1858 Advertisement, Pittsburg Directory

Following the bank's failure he declared personal bankruptcy in 1868 . Subsequently he worked in various business enterprises, notably wholesale and retail confectionary, according to the Pittsburgh directories, before selling insurance. He retired to Castle Shannon in southern Allegheny county in 1885, dying in 1887.

Florence and his wife Anna had three children, Asia (born 1863), Edward H. (born 1864) and Estelle (1870). Estelle married a Mackey, as mentioned Edward H. Kramer was managing Mackey's business as of 1892. He moved to Crafton in 1892, living on Belvedere Avenue next to the Methodist Church. As of 1895 he had his own brokerage company on Smithfield Avenue, Pittsburg. In 1897, with the birth of his daughter Margaret in Crafton, he declared his occupation as "gold prospector" . He left Pennsylvania shortly thereafter, being found in Alameda County, California 1900 and 1920 census. There he ultimately was a stock broker.

The 1905 map of Crafton showed the location of the Edward Kramer property, specifically the four lots which are referred to as the "Kramer Plan". This I believe represents a small subdivision which no doubt proved modestly profitable. It is tempting to propose that the Kramer family sold property to the Crafton Methodist Church. Also on the Crafton 1896 plat map there is a large lot on the east side of Noble Avenue, between Division and Crafton Streets, labelled "A. Kramer".

Kramer plan

1905 Crafton map detail, showing Kramer's Plan

Asia Kramer

I have already described what I know about Asia Kramer after her marriage to F. R. C. Perrin.

The Kramer history then becomes helpful in allowing one to see the difference in social background between F. R. C.'s first wife and Asia, his second. I don't think it is an accident that following his second marriage F. R. C. saw his employment opportunities vastly improved. Her family provided connections, and I suspect more capital than he had seen before. This allowed him to advance much more quickly to a position in the middle class, and allow (or motivate) his son to do the same.

Kramer Circle

Here is a list of the occupants of the Kramer Circle, Section 13, Lot 1 of Allegheny Cemetery. The persons buried are given in the order of the plot number; unfortunately the graves do not follow these numbers in space. Note that the date of burial is sometimes several days after the date of death.

While I have not photographed all of the stones in this circle, those which I have are included in this

The first set of plots fell to the Kramer family. To decrease confusion, I will try to describe these Kramers in terms of their relationship to Allen Kramer or his son Florence.

Name Date of Burial Relationship
Ellen H. Mackey 2/5/1894 Probably the child of Estelle Kramer (daughter of Florence) & Charles Mackey; the coffin is small
Florence Kramer 6/1/1887 Asia's father, and son of Allen & Margaret Kramer. Born 1830
Allen Kramer 11/7/1868 Patriarch. The stone states he was born December 24, 1802
Margaret Kramer 8/27/1867 Her stone states she was the wife of Allen Kramer, born July 20, 1808
Mrs. Asia Odell 8/16/1865 I believe from the census that she was born in 1838 to Allen and Margaret Kramer
Emma Kramer 6/10/1858 I believe from the census that she was born in 1843 to Allen and Margaret Kramer

The next group of plots must have fallen to the Rahm family for all buried there are named Rahm. It is best to relate these people to Edward Rahm, who was Allen Kramer's son-in-law.

Jamie Rahm 3/23/1892 Probably was Frank Rahm's wife, judging from the 1860 census, making her Edward Rahm's sister-in-law
Frank Rahm 12/30/1889 Edward Rahm's brother
Allen K. Rahm 1/15/1877 Born 1851, he was the son of Edward Rahm and Virginia Kramer
Martin Rahm 3/8/1859 Born 1849, he was the son of Edward Rahm and Virginia Kramer
Edward Rahm 7/28/1875 Born 1811, the son of Martin Rahm
Virginia K. Rahm 4/30/1870 Daughter of Allen Kramer, and the wife of Edward Rahm

Then after a gap in time, the plots are filled by either family in chronological order.

Allen Kramer 12/9/1918 Born 1845, he was the youngest son of Allen Kramer
Florus R. C. Perrin 10/19/1921 The husband of Asia Kramer Perrin, his remains were moved here from Homewood Cemetery
Annie K. Krame 10/18/1924 She was the wife of Florence Kramer, and Asia Perrin's mother
Edward Rahm 3/10/1929 Born 1859, he was the son of Edward Rahm and Virginia Kramer
Theophil A. Krumm 10/15/1929 The first husband of Asia Perrin's daughter Anna
Cora E. Buchanan 11/20/1929 The mother-in-law for Florus Ross Perrin, Asia's son
Asia K. Perrin 12/9/1930 Daughter of Florence Kramer
Mrs. Maude H. Rahm 12/13/1956 Probably the wife of Edward Rahm (died 1929), born in 1867 according to the census