Otto was born on the 10th of May 1837 in Prussia to Christian Friedrich Hähne.
Editor’s note: There was a Christian Friedrich Hahn b. in Hohenmölsen, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany in 1761? Lots of room for research!
Otto married Ottilie “Emelia” Fredericke Leveke, (b. 1 Mar 1812 Greifenburg, Angermunde to Philip Benjamen Loeveke) from Angermunde, Brandenberg, in the Lutheran church, Sankt Marian, Prenzlau, Brandenburg on 23 Jun 1833. If indeed this is the right church, I’m sure the bells rang at the end of the ceremony. Here’s a video!
Their first daughter, Anna Marie Ernestine Wilhemine Ottilie was christened on the 19th of May 1834 in Greiffenberg. Wilhemine died at 3 years, in 1837 Greifenburg.
Rebecca’s Great-great-great grandmother Marie Emilie Ulricke Hähn was born on 22 November 1836 in Greifenburg and christened in the Marienkirche, Prenzlau on 18 December 1836. This is in the Uckermark District, 33km from Greiffenberg. There was/is a national road 198 directly from Greiffenberg to Prenzlau. This whole region was sometimes under Polish rule as it is very close to the Polish border. It’s 66 km from the Polish city of Szczecin, though much closer (8 km) directly to the border of today’s Polish Pomerania. As so much of Europe, this region too was devastated during the Thirty Years War. According to Wiki, from the late 17th century onwards, the area was settled again by French Huguenots and an economic revival occurred. This may be the genesis of the Levekes. The area took a hit during the Seven Years War as well as the Napoleanic Wars. The later would coincide perhaps with Otto’s emigration…
On 8 July 1842, daughter, Alma Emily Lucie was christened in Greiffenberg. She married Marsden Davey in 1859.
Otto emigrated, alone, on 17 Nov 1853, departing from Bremerhaven, Germany. He traveled steerage class on the ship, Delaware arriving in Castle Garden NY. According to castlegarden.org, Otto paid his passage by himself. Emily traveled one year later, with Marie and Alma on the Sir Isaac Newton, arriving in New York on 16 August 1854. And in 1854, according to Marnee Meyer’s research in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser , Otto can be found living at 52 Sycamore. He’s 17 years old and already a cigar maker.
The 1854 Buffalo City Directory, we find Otto living behind 8 Court Street….his shop was open for business at 52 Sycamore. In 2016, it’s across the street or in the same location as the Buffalo Bisons Coca-Cola field.
In 1855 and 1856 the shop was located at 167 E.Seneca Street. For some reason, Otto is not listed in the 1857 city directory.
In 1858, Marnee Meyer found him listed as a “tobacconist” and he has moved the shop to 23 E.Seneca, his home is at 165 E. Seneca. There is also listed a Fred Haehn, tailor, living at 189 Oak. (Note, this Fred is also listed in the 1855 Buffalo Census. Methinks this is Otto’s brother and would give us a clue as to his parents’ as well as his reason for coming to Buffalo. As yet, though, we have no confirmation of this family link, There are several Haehns listed in the Buffalo Directory in 1857, but no Otto??)
Dr. Mike Grady also checked the city Directories in the Grosvenor Room of the Buffalo Public Library and found something interesting in the 1859 records. Otto is listed as a “tobacco, snuff, and cigar dealer” at 40 E.Seneca. Living at same address, there’s a Mary Haehn, a widow, washerwoman. Could this be an elder relative? Or a mistake? In the same directory, O. Haehn is listed as a cigar maker at 23 E. Seneca. Perhaps Otto was making the cigars in one location and selling them at another. . . .
The family appears in 1860 with the name transcribed as HCHN. Otto, Amelia, Mary and Anna lived at 40 E. Seneca in Buffalo’s, Wd 2, Erie, NY. Otto was a cigar maker. Otto is missing again in the 1861 directory (though Mary Haehn is still there as a widow and washerwoman with a home on Monroe near Batavia. The 1861 Buffalo City Directory lists Otto ( among 5 other Tobacconists), at 40 E. Seneca.
The 1862 and ’63 Buffalo Directories list Otto among 25 other Buffalo Tobacconists (Cigar Dealers). His shop was on Main Street at the corner of N. Division.
The 1864-’67 Buffalo Directories show Otto has begun manufacturing cigars at 273 Main. His residence is 25 Niagara Street. Note, this is the home of his son-in-law, Marsden Davey. There is also listed a William Haehn. laborer, living on Locust Street in Buffalo. The May-Dec 1865 Tax assessment lists Otto at 273 Main. He sells cigars. The valuation was 2000 and his tax was $40.00, though it is hard to read and it seems he paid $20.00 already.
The NY State census for 1865 shows Otto (58, a merchant) and wife, Marie Emily (50) living in his son-in-law’s, the engraver, Marsden Davey’s (31) home. It was a wooden structure shared with Marsden’s wife and Otto’s third daughter, Alma Emily (23), whom Marsden had married in 1859, and their 2 year old son, Walter. Alma Emily reports that she’d given birth to 3 children by this time. Evidently, 2 have died. Also living at the same address is Sigmund Levy (40 a merchant), Otto’s son-in-law, now married to the second daughter, Marie (28) and their one year old son, Leo. There is no record for Marie Emily’s first daughter, born out of wedlock in 1859, Anna Ida Hähn. Thinking that she was adopted, perhaps informally by this time.
The 1864, ‘5, ‘6, ‘7, ‘8 and ‘9 Directories list Otto, tobacconist has a cigar shop at 273 Main. He moves his home in 1868 to 72 Niagara. Otto’s daughter, Marie Emily Ulricke (Levy) died in giving birth to her 4th child, Otto, on 3 Jul 1869 in Buffalo. Marie Hähn Levy died in November 1869.
In 1870, 1871, Mike found Otto as “tobacconist” with his shop at 349 Main and living at 72 Niagara (on Niagara Square.)
Cousin Scott found another article on Otto’s troubles with his building, On 4 Oct. 1872, the Buffalo Courier & Republic, reported
FIRE– At twenty-five minutes after one o’clock this morning, an alarm of fire was sounded from Box No.2, and was rendered necessary, by a heavy volume of smoke which issued from the cellar that extends beneath the stores No. 349 and 350 Main Street, between North Division and Eagle Streets. Smoke soon gave way to fierce flames, which threatened destruction,but the department succeeded in subduing the flames before the fire had eaten their way through the first floor. Mr Otto J.(sic) Haehn occupied the first store for sale of tobacco and cigars, the second being used by Mr. C.M. Driscoll as a saloon. No damage was done to these places, beyond that inflicted by the smoke and a slight wetting.
The fire originated among a lot of boxes and tobacco cuttings, and is thought to have been the work of an incendiary.
The building is owned by Mr.Haehn, and both himself and Mr. Driscoll are fully insured.
In 1872, the city directory lists several Haehns. Otto is still living at 72 Niagara. Otto is listed a second time in 1872 under Cigar Manufacturers, of which there are now 103 in Buffalo. His shop remained at 349 Main Street. Ditto for 1873. In 1874 the shop is listed as at 849 Main, though methinks this is probably a typo in the directory because in 1875, the shop is again listed as 349 Main. He still lives at 72 Niagara Street.
Otto is 60 years old at the time of the New York State Census, 1875. It lists his birth as 1815 for some reason. They lived in the 9th Ward of Buffalo, E.D. 01. Marie is 58, and daughter Annie is living at home; she’s 18. The 1875 Buffalo City Directory lists Otto at 349 Main Street.
There seems to be a gap in the listing for Otto’s business for a few years. In 1876, 77, 78, 79 Otto’s home address remained on Niagara Street. Google Maps shows that there may be a restaurant there now. Perhaps we’ll check it out one day. At any rate, according to an article in the Buffalo Daily Courier on 8 Mar 1877, Otto’s place in wing city was burglarized. Frank Cook and two or three others, were the culprits and were already serving time in Auburn State Prison for stealing cigars, and smokers’ articles. (Scott Hicks)
On 7 March 1879, The Progressive Batavian newspaper noted that Otto F. Haehn’s “elegant” home on Grand Island burned down. The loss was $8,000. We believe this to have been the family’s “country” property. (Scott Hicks ). Here is a report from Fulton History.com, 22Feb 1879:
“SERIOUS FIRE ON GRAND ISLAND
The elegant residence of Mr. OttoF.Haehn , situated on Grand Island, together with the contents was destroyed by fire on Thursday night about eleven o’clock. Mrs.Haehn and her daughter were the only occupants at the time, Mr. Haehn being in the city, and they barely escaped from the building. There was no one near to aid them, and the two ladies were obliged to take shelter in the barn where they suffered not a little from the severe weather. There is an insurance on the property destroyed for $7,800 but it is thought that it will not cover the loss. The cause of the fire is not known,but it is thought to have been caused by a defective chimney.”
Though we driven across Grand Island many times enroute to Toronto, the only time we ever did anything was when when one of the kids had a class trip to Fantasy Island Amusement Park!
Scott Hicks also researched Otto’s work as a developer in Buffalo. On 28 Feb. 1879, the Courier wrote a piece detailing the builder, Mr.Beebe’s current projects: “On Main St., Mr.Beebe will put a new stone and brick front on Nos. 210 and 213 for Mr. Haehn, who now owns the property, having recently bought No.210 from Mr. Glenny. another story will also be added, making the building five stories high and a very handsome one. It will be occupied by Walker’s boot and shoe establishment. He is also drawing plans for Mr. Haehn of a handsome new fire-proof building to stand on the corner of Main and Seneca Streets, now occupied by Mssrs Powell and Plimpton. The will have an iron front on both streets, the first floor arranged for banks, the floors above for offices.” Otto paid $60,00 for the building. Sure enough, in November 1879, the Courier reported that “The Manufacturer’s and Trader’s Bank will take possession of Mr. Otto Hahn’s new iron building on the corner of Main and West Seneca on 1st April 1880, having leased the same for a number of years. The book and money vaults are built on the most improved plans and will successfully defy the burglar, the fire flood. The interior will be fitted up tastefully and the President’s office will front on Main Street.”
The 1880 Buffalo directory again lists Otto F. Haehn, Tobacco and Cigars at 816 Main. And the 1880 US census shows Otto, Emilie, and granddaughter Ida A., living at 72 Niagara St., Buffalo dist 159, Erie, NY. Otto is a tobacconist.
At 74 years of age, Otto died on 19 Feb. 1882. According to the death certificates, Otto died of “old age”. In his Letter of Testamentary, filed in Buffalo, of 14 Mar. 1882, Otto named Emilie his sole executor. According to an email from Dieter Meyer, in his will, Otto left everything to Amelia with no mention of any other family members.
He is buried in the beautiful, historic Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. The Daveys and Haehns are buried in a joint plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo. There is a fairly large monument in the middle with the last names “Haehn” and “Davey” on it, nothing else. On the left side are buried Otto, Amelia, Marie (Mary), Anna, and Harry Faulkner. On the right side are Marsden, Alma, and their 4 children.
Here is an copy of Otto’s obituary that appeared in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser 20 Feb 1882 page 3 column 1:
Death of O.F. Haehn–This widely-known and respected gentleman died yesterday morning after a brief illness, at the age of 75 years. He had been in the tobacco business in Buffalo for thirty years past, and was an exemplary business man and a good citizen. He leaves a widow, and one daughter, Mrs. Marsden Davey. The funeral will take place from the family residence No. 74 Niagara Street, tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock.
There was a death notice from the same paper, same date:
Haehn–In this city on the 19th inst., Otto F. Haehn, aged 74 years. Funeral from the family residence No. 74 Niagara Street on Tuesday the 21st inst., at 2 o’clock p.m.
(the two put different ages at death…)
Cousin Scott found the death in the Buffalo News on 20 Feb 1882 :
O.F.Heahn, a well-known Buffalonian, engaged in the tobacco trade, in this city for the past 30 years, died yesterday morning, aged 75, leaving a wife and a daughter– Mrs. Marsden Davey.
Scott found the following in the Buffalo Evening News on 22 April 1882:
The entire stock and fixtures belonging to the late O.F. Haehn, consisting of choice cigars of his ow manufacture, in lots to suit purchasers, show-case, metal Indian figure, leaf tobacco, counter, refrigerator, gas fixtures, etc, will be sold at public auction at the store, 816 Main Street, on Tuesday next, April 23rd, at 10 o’clock A.M.
EMILIA HAEHN, Executrix
Otto’s wife, Amelie Leveke Hähn died of paralysis on 3 July 1894. Dieter Meyer said that she sold Otto’s shop and contents to pay off quite a few creditors.
from Marnee Meyer: In 1893, Marsden Davey kept the office at 68 Niagara, but moved their residence to 297 Bryant St. Marsden Davey died at his home in 1911, and Alma died there as well in 1922. She had a little bit of money, and left it to many different people, but almost $2,000 each to Marie’s 3 children: Anna Empey, Hannah Von Hofe (aka Hannah Van Horn), Louis Levee. Louis Levee later assigned his share in Alma’s estate to Lorna Hicks (residing at same address as Louis). At that time, Anna was living in Ontario, Hannah in East Orange, N.J., and Louis in Buffalo.