The history of Tuscarawas County is full of stories of first generation immigrants coming to the area and becoming successful and respected members of the community. This is the story of one such immigrant who made Dover, Ohio his home at the turn of the 20th century.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
According to later records, Christian Ludwig Keuerleber (1863-1957) immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1883. That same year his brother Henry Keuerleber (1862-1909), who had immigrated in 1881, was already living in Cleveland while Christian settled initially in Cincinnati. Both men had trained as cabinetmakers in their native country and continued to work in that field when they came to America. Henry was the first to arrive in Tuscarawas County, appearing in local records as early as 1884.
It was not until the late 1890s that Christian joined his brother in Dover, Tuscarawas County. Henry had already been in business with another partner, but dissolved that partnership in 1897. Christian arrived in August 1897 after working for the previous couple of years in Canton. The two brothers established their own cabinetmaking and undertaking business on Third Street in Dover under the name Keuerleber Bros. Two years later, Christian married Magdalena (Lena) Brinkman (1868-1947).
When the 1900 census was recorded, Christian was listed as being a cabinetmaker and his brother Henry as an undertaker. The two brothers’ shop on the 200 block of Third Street was often called upon to serve as a morgue where autopsies or coroner inquests might be undertaken. They also were paid on occasion by the county to care for the burial arrangements for indigents. Henry lived in a house on Third Street and his brother, at first, settled into a house on Fourth Street in Dover. Christian and Lena, in 1902, purchased a new home at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets for $2900.
The house that the Keuerleber’s purchased was built a few years prior to their purchase and was of the popular Queen Anne style of architecture. The home was a version of the style known as “front gabled”, common in more urban communities, and features of that style found on the home include a small porch on the second level, a full-width front porch with a pedimented entrance, and decorative columns and spindles on the two porches. The house may also have had other more decorative features than are currently visible on the home today.
Christian and Lena Keuerleber had three daughters by the time that Christian’s brother Henry died in June 1909 from pneumonia. Despite the loss of his brother and partner, Christian continued to operate the furniture and undertaking business under the name Keuerleber Bros. from their building recently built across the street from their past shop. He even expanded the business with the acquisition of an ambulance in the 1910s. Christian continued to operate the business into the 1940s and undertaking took on a larger and larger role for the company.
Lena Keuerleber died in the summer of 1947 and Christian, now retired continued to live in the house with their three daughters. One daughter died in 1956 and Christian died a little over seven months later in July 1957 at the age of 93. The daughters continued to live in the home for several more years, converting some of the home into apartments for other tenants as well. While many of the other houses on that stretch of Walnut Street in Dover have been taken down, the Keuerleber House remains.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.
One thought on “One House’s Story: The Keuerleber Family”
This is right in my childhood home area, I grew up on West 5th. Its interesting to look at the Fire Insurance map and see that there were homes across the street from their home. Now those lots are the parking lot of the church. Hope you come across some history of any of the properties on West 5th, aka Little Italy. I know my old home was once a grocery store, or what I was told.