October 14, 1888: 125 years ago today, Conrad Miltenberger and Minnie Mead were married at the Miltenberger’s family-owned Germania Hotel in Hempstead, New York. According to the newspapers, the ceremony was performed by Rev. P.G.L. Matschat (of Trinity Lutheran Church, Hicksville) and was attended by several hundred guests. While Minnie’s parents were in attendance, Conrad’s mother passed away in 1882 and his father died the previous year.
Conrad’s parents were German immigrants. They joined millions of other Germans that came to the United States mid-19th century. Anton Miltenberger and his wife, Margaretha, left northern Bavaria in the early 1850s (whether together or not is a question not yet answered). They settled in Albany, NY and had three children, Louisa, Henry and Conrad. Around Conrad’s birth, the family moved to Manhattan, where Anton ran a beer salon (according to 1870 census records). Some years later, he moved the family to Hempstead and bought the Germania Hotel. (To this day, I still have not identified Anton and Margaretha’s roots in Germany though the search continues. If anyone sees their marriage record in the Albany area, email me immediately.) A large obelisk-like gravestone marks the Miltenberger plot at Greenfield Cemetery in Hempstead. Anton, Margaretha, their three children and some grandchildren are buried at the plot.
Minnie’s parents were Peter Mead and Carolina Weckmann. They too were German. Peter was from Hesse, while Carolina was from the Rhineland. Peter and Caroline arrived separately, in 1854 and 1857, respectively. Caroline’s parents joined their daughter in America, immigrating here in 1861. Peter and family settled in Elmont, NY (or Munson) and started a farm. The Meads farmed mostly corn and rye. Peter was well-known and died in 1904. Caroline passed in 1921, at the advanced age of 94. They, and their six year old grandson, Alexander Van Dohlen, are buried in Elmont, with hundreds of other German-Americans that sought a better life in the United States.
As for Conrad and Minnie, they were married almost 40 years. Conrad was part fireman, part businessman and member of the Benevolent Society. He loved his after-dinner cigar and donated turkeys to locals for their Thanksgiving feasts. Conrad died in 1928 of a lingering illness that I can only be associated with smoking cigars and his overweight stature. Minnie, a small woman, chugged on for decades. My father remembers his great-grandmother well and has memories of her sitting in the same chair from when he was a small child to when she died on his birthday in 1963. The family continued to speak German for ages, my dad remembering it being spoken until its use in the family waned. Conrad and Minnie are buried at Greenfield Cemetery in graves marked “Father” and “Mother.”