Konrad Geibel

by Edmund Starling, 1886


Konrad Geibel, the parental head of the family of whom this sketch relates, was born in Wachenheim, Bavaria, on the eighth day of September, 1815. His father, Peter Geibel, with whom he lived until he arrived at the age of twenty-one years, was a shoemaker by education and profession, and under his guidance, our subject, at the age of fourteen years, became one of the most expert workmen in his native town. Under the rules of that country social, if not governmental, every child was required to attend Sabbath School up to his or her eighteenth year, and at the age of fourteen to be examined in church studies, and, if upon examination, the child was found proficient, he or she was then taken to the church for confirmation and given the first Sacrament. It was made the duty for every one to attend church service in the forenoon, and of all children to attend Sunday School in the afternoon. The services and mode of teaching was the same as that adopted by the Presbyterian Church of this country. Mr. Geibel went through all of the required forms and graduated in the church with credit to himself. In the year 1838, he married Miss Annie M. Keller, of his native place, and with her and his eldest son, Konrad, who was born in Bavaria, he set sail for America in the year 1840. The family embarked in a two-masted vessel at Havre, and was thirty-two days to the day upon the ocean, when the vessel landed at the port of New York. His object was to join some friends then living in the neighborhood, of Evansville, Ind., and, after having recruited fully from his sea voyage, he started on his Westward journey, going by canal boat from New York to Buffalo, thence by lake to Cleveland, thence by canal to Portsmouth, Ohio, on the Ohio River, and thence by steamboat to Evansville, landing there in precisely thirty-two days after leaving New York, and the identical number spent in crossing the ocean.

Mr. Geibel remained in Evansville only fourteen days, owing to the low price of wages, and it is not necessary to say that he was homesick and disappointed. About that time he hired to come to Henderson, and he did so, entering the shoeshop of John Boller, then established in a miserable old log shanty on the southeast corner of Main and Second Streets. This house was known as the old Henderson Bank, and in the garret was a box or two filled with old and worthless bank notes. The building was twenty-five or thirty feet long, with a clabboard room. At that time Evansville was a larger place than Henderson, but better inducements were offered mechanics here. Upon the arrival of our subject at Henderson great fiddifulty was experienced in getting a house in which to shelter his family. Governor Dixon at the time occupied two rooms in the brick on Main Street, recently torn down by Mann Brothers; the front room he used for his office, the rear room for consultation. He had taken quite a fancy to the newscomer, and, in the goodness of his heart, offered him the use of the rear room until better provision could be made. This kind offer was accepted, and into this room the little family lived for some time afterward.

In the year 1841, our subject formed a co-partnership with John Delker, under the firm name of Delker & Geibel, and purchased the stock of John Burke, then carrying on the shoemaking trade in a little frame building that stood near where the Planters' Bank is now situated. This firm was one year in business, and paid five dollars for the rent of the house. At the end of this time Mr. Geibel embarked in the shoemaking business on his own account, and, by energy, industry and honest effort, soon built up a large and paying trade. He was very popular with all classes, particularly those persons best able to pay him well for his work. so well did he keep his promises, so honest was he in all his dealings, that this large patronage stood by him up to the time his health failed, and he was forced to quit work. Economy and prudent management brought him a handsome competency to comfort him and his faithful life partner in their old age. They have living five boys, Konrad, George, Peter, John W. and Frederick, all remarkable for their native intellect and fine business character. Mr. Geibel has ever lived one of Henderson's best and most enterprising citizens, and the writer is proud to say that no man to-day enjoys the confidence and esteem of the community to a greater degree than does he.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 691-93;

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