Henry Overstolz

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Mayor Henry Clemens von Overstolz
Mayor Henry Clemens von Overstolz.jpg
24th Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri
In office
February 9, 1876 – April 12, 1881
Preceded by James H. Britton
Succeeded by William L. Ewing
Personal details
Born (1821-07-04)July 4, 1821
Munster, Germany
Died November 29, 1887(1887-11-29) (aged 66)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Philippina Espenshied
Children Lucile A. von Overstoltz, Ida von Overstoltz, Charles Henry von Overstoltz, Marie von Overstoltz, Catherine Philippine von Overstoltz

Henry Overstolz (born Henry Clemens von Overstolz on July 4, 1821 – November 29, 1887) was the twenty-fourth mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, serving from 1876 to 1881. He is a direct descendant of the oldest patrician family of Cologne, Germany (the Cologne patricians).[1] Henry exerted a wide-felt influence on public thought and action, upon political affairs and business activity, and fifteen years prior to his death he retired.[2]

Familial background[edit]

Detail of a painting of the battle at the Ulrepforte (1841); the old man is identified by his coat of arms as the mortally wounded Matthias Overstolz[3]
The Overstoltz House (Overstolzenhaus) in Cologne, Germany.

The family dynasty of Overstolz was the ancestral family of Cologne patricians and was one of the most influential and wealthiest families in medieval Cologne. The family clan went to the same origins as the clans of Lyskirchen and Quattermart and also led the same coat of arms, only in different colors.

The history of this family, shows that they derived extraction from a Roman, Superbus, which translated into German is Overstoltz (Over Proud).[4] The Overstoltz stock is a sturdy one, and noted for its longevity.[1] The Overstoltz ancestral family was one renowned in war and civil life. They were the merchant-princes of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries and their name is held in high esteem in their native city of Cologne.

The Overstoltz family donated the first half of the great Cologne Cathedral, as shown by the records of the building of this edifice, a small volume kept in the vault with the valuable church and crown jewels. Five hundred years were consumer with the erection of this wonderful structure.[4]

Matthias Overstoltz, a knightly prince, married Gertrud von der Kornpforte. They had one son, Gerhard von Overstoltz.[5] On October 15, 1268, Matthias headed a successful resistance to the assaults of forces of the archbishop, who had often endeavored to deprive the free city of its charter. Matthias lost his life in this struggle and the grateful citizens erected to his memory a statue which is still to been seen in their city hall, and which bears a striking resemblance to the living representative of the hero. Johann Overstoltz, a brother of Matthias, was the Mayor of Cologne in 1275.[1]

Gerhard von Overstoltz, son of Matthias, continued the battle in the Battle of Worringen in 1287 for similar a patriotic cause to that espoused by his father. It had been the hereditary right of the patricians to have the chief magistrate of Cologne selected from among their number only, and for opposing the forcible abrogation of this right the landed estates of the Overstoltz House (Overstolzenhaus) were confiscated, and they, together with fifteen other celebrated patrician families, were banished from the city, and most of them fled to Westphalia.[1]

As an additional mark of appreciation of the eminent services rendered by the Overstoltz's ancestors, the city of Cologne purchased the ancient mansion of the family and takes pride in preserving it in its original solidity, unimpaired by age.[1] Overstolzenhaus was completely restored in 1955.

Early life[edit]

Born in Munster, Germany on July 4, 1821 to William von Overstoltz and Therese Buse. His father William was born in Duisburg, Westphalia in 1780 and died in St. Louis in 1853. His mother Therese was born in Paderborn, Westphalia in 1790 and died in St. Louis in 1862. Henry moved to St. Louis in 1846, where he entered the merchandising business. Aside from his business prosperity, Henry could lay claim to eminent services rendered to his fellow-citizens in a political life as satisfactory, as it was honorable.[1]

Political career[edit]

Monument to the Battle of the Ulrepforte in 1268 at the Cologne city wall at the Sachsenring

Henry involved himself in the city's government and, in 1847, was elected to membership in the City Council. In 1853, Henry was elected as the city's comptroller, becoming the first native-born German to be elected to office in St. Louis. Later, in 1871, he was elected president of the city council.[6] Henry ran for mayor as an independent in April 1875, but lost to Arthur Barret.[7]

Following Barret's sudden death a scant three weeks after his election, Henry again ran for mayor in the special mayoral election that followed. He lost to his opponent James Britton. Henry contested the election two days later, alleging, among other irregularities, ballot stuffing.[8] In February 1876, after a recount of the ballots, Henry unseated Britton and was declared mayor, having won by 77 votes out of more than 29,000 votes cast.[9] He was a supporter of the Charter and Scheme that separated the city of St. Louis from St. Louis County in 1876.

As a result

of the new city charter, Henry became the first mayor of St. Louis elected to a four-year term when he was reelected in 1877.[6] During the course of his mayorship, Henry worked to reorganize the city government and forge new relationships with the county and state resulting from the changes instituted by the new city charter.[6] Henry sought a third term as mayor, but was defeated by William Ewing in the 1881 mayoral election.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Henry's home life was indicative of a mind of elegant attainments and studious tastes. His private library was choice and large and harmonized well with the liberal taste displayed in a valuable gallery of pictures and art objects. A happy home, graced by a wife and six children, crowned the labors of an active and honored citizen.[1]

Philippine as portrayed by Frederick Ruckstull with his sculpture Evening

In 1875, Henry married Philippina Espenshied (later known as Philippine E. Von Overstoltz, May 1, 1847 – September 6, 1925). He was a widower when he married Philippine. Philippine and Henry had six children.

Philippine was the daughter of a successful Western wagon-maker, Louis Espenschied, who was the owner of Louis Espenschied Wagon Co.[11] By the 1850s, the company was making large numbers of wagons for pioneers heading west during the great migration of 1853. During the civil war, Louis received a large contract for wagons and wheels for the Union Army. Philippine's paternal grandparents were Johann "Peter" Espenschied (born in 1793) and his wife Maria Philippina Spies (1796 - 1868).[12] They were born, grew up, and married during the time that their countryside had been occupied by troops of the French Revolution and Napoleon.[13][14] Her ancestors were of the native Rhineland dating back to 1650.[15]

Philippine's nephew was Lloyd Espenschied, the co-creator of coax cable and inventor of the radio altimeter.[16]

In her later years, Philippine was known for her modeling. Busts of her in bronze and marble have been made by the distinguished sculptor Ruckstuhl, and exhibited in the Paris Salon and later at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893.[17] She was the subject of the Frederick Ruckstull sculpture Evening, which is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[18][19] On returning to U.S. in 1892, Ruckstull opened a studio in New York City, where his work Evening won the grand medal for sculpture at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.[20]

Henry was the same age of her father and died only thirteen years into their marriage in 1887. One of his legacies to her was a large library and a very fine collection of paintings, valued at the time at $100,000 which was widely exhibited at large fairs and exhibitions.[21]

Among their children were Charles Henry von Overstoltz (April 18, 1880- December 27, 1941),[22][23] Ida von Overstoltz (September 26, 1878- October 6, 1961),[24] Marie E. von Overstoltz, Catherine Philippine von Overstoltz, and Lucile Alice von Overstoltz (March 29, 1876 – June 22, 1948), who married Maximillian Joseph Koeck.[25][26] Koeck purchased a controlling interest in Cape Brewery & Ice Company, a business which was founded in 1862. Henry's son, Charles Henry von Overstoltz later served as treasurer of the company.[2] Cape Brewery and Ice Company manufactured Ideal beer, which was shipped throughout southern Missouri. At the time, it was the only brewery in southern Missouri. Lucile's grandson, Maximillian Joseph Koeck III married thirteenth-generation Chilean Luz Eugenia Fuenzalida-Vadillo.

Son of Mayor Overstoltz, Charles Henry von Overstoltz (April 18, 1880- December 27, 1941)

Henry's son, Charles Henry entered Smith Academy at the age of thirteen and continued his studies to the age of eighteen. In the meantime, he also attended Washington University of St. Louis. When eighteen years of age he went to Chicago, where he spent two years as a pupil in the Wahl-Henius School of Chemistry, where he became acquainted with the scientific methods employed in the brewing business and he then served an apprenticeship as a brewer in Chicago, also working at the trade for five years in South Bend, Indiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and St. Louis, Missouri. He was made general superintendent of the Klausmann Brewery, a branch of the English syndicate of the St. Louis Brewing Association, continuing in that capacity for eight years. He then purchased the interest of Dr. Otto E Forster, who was treasurer of the Cape Brewery and Ice Company, as well as a physician, specialist, educator, and writer.[2][27] Charles Henry also served as director of Farmers and Merchants Bank of Cape Girardeau.[2] Charles Henry was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.[28]

Henry's other daughters, Marie von Overstoltz, married Joseph P. Whiteside, editor and owner of the Daily Tribune of Cape Girardeau and Catherine P. von Overstoltz married August Krutzsch, who was connected with the St. Louis Iron & Machine Works of St. Louis, Missouri.[2] The great-grandson son of Joseph P. Whiteside, who served as senior vice president and treasurer of Rutgers from 1981 until his retirement in June 2000, passed away February 5, 2003.[29][30][31]

Henry died on November 29, 1887 and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.[32]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g History of Saint Louis City and County: From the Earliest Periods ..., Volume 1
  2. ^ a b c d e Stevens, Walter Barlow (1915). Missouri the Center State: 1821-1915 (Volume 4). Chicago - St. Louis: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. p. 412.
  3. ^ "museenkoeln.de | Museum Ludwig". www.museenkoeln.de. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  4. ^ a b "Americans of Gentle Birth and Their Ancestors : a Genealogical Encyclopedia, Volume 1, Page 344 | Document Viewer". Mocavo. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  5. ^ "Matthias Overstolz". Coellen1288AD Wiki. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  6. ^ a b c "St. Louis Historic Preservation: Overstolz, Henry Clemens". City of St. Louis. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  7. ^ "James H. Britton". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  8. ^ "The Mayorality". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. 1875-11-05. Retrieved 2008-08-25. [dead link]
  9. ^ "St. Louis Mayors: James H. Britton". St. Louis Public Library. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  10. ^ "St. Louis Historic Preservation: Ewing, William L.". City of St. Louis. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  11. ^ "Coachbult.com - Espenshied Wagon Co.". www.coachbuilt.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  12. ^ Espenschied, Lloyd (1945). The Transatlantic Migration of Jacob Spies and Louis Espenschied in 1840. pp. 8 l. 
  13. ^ Espenschied, Lloyd (January 5, 1962). "Louis Espenschied and His Family". Missouri Historical Society Bulletin (St. Louis, Missouri). XVIII (2): 87–103.
  14. ^ "Espenschied family". www.slpl.org. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  15. ^ "Espenschied family". www.slpl.org. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  16. ^ "Henry V. Lucas | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  17. ^ "Women of the Century". Open Library. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  18. ^ Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.); Albert Ten Eyck Gardner (1965). American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 62.
  19. ^ "The Metropolitan Museum of Art". Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Frederick Ruckstull". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
  21. ^ Philippina Espenshied#cite note-11
  22. ^ Title: U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Author: Ancestry.com Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Publisher Date: 2012 Publisher Location: Provo, UT, USA.
  23. ^ Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 724; Family History Film: 1254724; Page: 229B; Enumeration District: 142; Image: 0407.
  24. ^ Title: U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Author: Ancestry.com Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Publisher Date:2012 Publisher Location: Provo, UT, USA.
  25. ^ "Maximillian Joseph Koeck". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
  26. ^ Title: California, Death Index, 1940-1997 Author: Ancestry.com Publisher: Ancestry.com Operations Inc Publisher Date: 2000 Publisher Location: Provo, UT, USA.
  27. ^ "Philippina Espenshied". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
  28. ^ "Charles H Overstolz (1880 - 1941) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-01-28. 
  29. ^ "Rutgers Focus - In memoriam: Joseph P. Whiteside". urwebsrv.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  30. ^ "Rutgers Focus - Joe Whiteside retires". urwebsrv.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  31. ^ "Joseph P. Whiteside's Obituary on The Record". The Record. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  32. ^ "Henry Clemens Overstolz (1821–1887)". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 

External links[edit]

  • Henry Overstolz at the St. Louis Public Library: St. Louis Mayors Online Exhibit.
Political offices
Preceded by
James H. Britton
Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri
1876 – 1881
Succeeded by
William L. Ewing