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Special Collections & Archives

Manuscript Group 110

The Weisgerber Brothers

Papers, 1863-1918
1 l.f.

This descriptive inventory of the papers of the Weisgerber Brothers in the University of Idaho Library was prepared by Judith Nielsen in September 1982.


Philip and Sara (Hemel) Weisgerber of Wachtersbach, Germany (located east of Frankfurt on the Main River) were the parents of nine children, three of whom were later engaged in the brewery business in Lewiston, Idaho. These sons were Ernst (parish records at the church in Wachterebach list Heinrich Ernst, born August 21, 1835), John (Johannes, born December 5, 1844), and Christ (Christian, born September 11, 1848). Because Philip did not approve of the German conscription laws he and one or two of his older sons immigrated to the United States in the 1840's. They settled in Wheeling, West Virginia where he went into business as a cheese ager. As the other sons in Germany reached conscription age they were sent to join their father. In 1862 Christ and his mother left Germany to join the rest of the family.

In Wheeling, John worked as a wagon maker while Christ was employed in both the brewery and butcher trades. Meanwhile, sometime prior to 1862 Ernst moved to Spokane, Washington, where he worked in a brewery. He arrived in Lewiston in 1862 and leased a portion of the Newell Estate containing the California Brewery. On October 16, 1863, he purchased this brewery, located on First Street, from Charles Brown for $2,600. Within a few years he had purchased much of the surrounding property.

In 1867 Christ and John went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they established a meat market. They sold this business in 1869 and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where they worked in a brewery for a brief time. On May 11, 1869, they were again on the road, this time by rail, to join their brother, Ernst, in Lewiston. Ernst was, at this time, operating the brewery in partnership with Godfried Gamble. Christ thought it would be more profitable to again enter the butcher's trade and he soon formed a partnership with C.P. Coburn which lasted until 1871.

In 1870 John joined Ernst in the brewery business. Christ joined them in 1871. In September 1875 Ernst sold the business to his brothers and moved east where he died a few years later. In 1877 when the brewery was enlarged the brothers built the first brick building in Lewiston. Although there was a saloon attached to the brewery most of the beer was sold to other saloons in Lewiston.

After John's death on February 3, 1890, Christ continued to operate the business, now called C. Weisgerber Brewery, until Idaho passed the Prohibition Act in 1913. The building was leased to the Mason-Ehrman Company who used it as a warehouse. On February 7, 1936 a fire destroyed this structure.

Christ Weisgerber served on the Lewiston City Council for 19 years and as mayor of the city for two (1898-99). In 1905 he built what is known as the Weisgerber Block on the corner of 5th and Main in Lewiston. His first wife, Belle Grant, by whom he had two children, died in 1880. He then married Mary Jacobs by whom he had nine children; only five of his eleven children survived him. On February 15, 1914 he suffered a stroke which kept him bedridden until his death on November 21.



The papers of the Weisgerber brothers of Lewiston, owners of Idaho's first brewery, were given to the University of Idaho Library by Philip O. Weisgerber and his two sisters, Mrs. Edith C. Taylor and Mrs. Marie E. White, grandchildren of Christ Weisgerber. They are contained in one large archival file box.

Included in the material are legal documents, financial journals, and photographs. The legal documents include over fifty deeds dating from 1863 to 1906, the naturalization papers of Ernst Weisgerber, the last will and testament of John Weisgerber, and abstracts of title for property purchased by Christ Weisgerber. There are seven financial journals, a collection of photographs of the C. Weisgerber Brewery and early Lewiston, several newspaper clippings, and a map of the Park Addition to the City of Lewiston.

The above material is described in more detail in the following Description of Series.


The material in this archival group was organized by type of material. The deeds had been numbered in ink by the Weisgerber family and were left in this numerical order; this is, with a few exceptions, a chronological order. Since each financial journal contains a different type of information these were placed in roughly chronological order. Although it was decided to remove the photographs from the archival group and interfile them with the Special Collections photographs, they are listed in this inventory.


I. Deeds and Other Legal Papers

II. Financial Records

III. Photographs

IV. Miscellaneous


I. Deeds and Other Legal Papers

This series consists mainly of the deeds for property purchased by the Weisgerber brothers, beginning with Ernst's purchase of the California Brewery in 1863, and includes the subsequent purchases of the surrounding lots to enable the business to expand. Among the other items included in this series are Ernst Weisgerber's certificate of citizenship, the will of John Weisgerber and documents relating to the settlement of his estate, and several abstracts of title to property purchased by Christ Weisgerber.

Listed below are the items in this series:

1. Deed. October 16, 1863. Chas. Brown to Ernst Weisgerber

2. Bill of Sale. November 26, 1863. H.C. Brown & G. Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber

3. Certificate of Citizenship of Ernst Weisgerber. October 5, 1865

4. Deed. July 12, 1865. J.R. Marshall to Godfried Gamble

5. Deed. March 1, 1869. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber

6. Deed. March 1, 1869. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber

7. Deed. November 19, 1866. Charles Haas to H.C. Brown

8. Deed. April 29, 1867. M.E. Goodwin to Godfried Gamble

9. Deed. December 28, 1869. H.C. brown to Peter Sholl

10. Deed. March 2, 1869. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber

11. Power of Attorney. September 1, 1870. Ernst Weisgerber to John Weisgerber

12. Lease. R.J. Monroe to Ernst Weisgerber

13. Deed. September 8, 1875. Ernst Weisgerber to John and Christ Weisgerber

14. Deed. September 11, 1875. Ernst Weisgerber to John and Christ Weisgerber

15. Deed. September 25, 1875. Mayor of Lewiston to John and Christ Weisgerber

16. Deed. May 19, 1876. Mayor of Lewiston to John and Christ Weisgerber

17. Deed. March 21, 1877. John Brearley to John and Christ Weisberger

18. Deed. November 30, 1877. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber brothers

19. Deed. May 9, 1878. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers

20. Mayor Deed. June 8, 1882. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers

21. Deed. June 8, 1882. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers

22. Mayor Deed. June 8, 1882. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers

23. Warranty Deed. May 1, 1884. Joseph G. Shipler & John Siers to Christ & John Weisgerber

24. Warranty Deed. January 7, 1885. James Duggan to the Weisgerber Brothers

25. Declaratory Statement of Egidius Weingassner regarding unoffered land. December 31, 1888

26. Will of John Weisgerber. January 1, 1890

27. Cemetery Deed. February 12, 1890. Lot purchased by C. Weisgerber

28. Deed. May 15, 1890. Ezra Baird and Benjamin Morris to Christ Weisgerber

29. Abstract of Title

30. Ordinance No. 140, City of Lewiston. April 5, 1893

31. Ordinance No. 139, City of Lewiston. April 5, 1893

32. Mayor's Deed. April 17, 1893. To B.P. Morris, C. Weisgerber & Ezra Baird

33. Mayor's Deed. April 17, 1893. To Christ Weisgerber

34. Mortgage. July 18, 1894. From George B. & Ella Ladd to C. Weisgerber

35. Abstract of Title

36. Abstract of Title

37. Abstract of Title

38. Warranty Deed. May 13, 1896. Lucy E. and Samuel L. Brown to Christ Weisgerber

39. Abstract of Title

40. Deed. December 28, 1896. John B. Morris to Christ Weisgerber

41. Deed. January 11, 1898. Elmer Luce to Christ Weisgerber

42. Decree of Settlement. August 7, 1903. Estate of John Weisgerber

43. Final Account of Executor. January 31, 1899. Estate of John Weisgerber

44. Decree of Settlement. April 29, 1899. Estate of John Weisgerber

45. No item with this number

46. Treasurer's Tax Deed. December 26, 1896. To Christ Weisgerber

47. Treasurer's Tax Deed. December 26, 1896. To Christ Weisgerber

48. Treasurer's Tax Deed. December 26, 1896. To Christ Weisgerber

49. Warranty Deed. March 27, 1897. Chester P. Coburn to Christ Weisgerber

50. Treasurer's Tax Deed. June 9, 1897. To Christ Weisgerber

51. Abstract of Title

52. Deed. Nez Perce County to Christ Weisgerber. July 16, 1902

53. Abstract of Title

54. Deed. January 17, 1903- Christ & Mary Weisgerber to the Public

55. Warranty Deed. September 18, 1903. Chester P. and Martha Coburn to Christ Weisgerber

56. Deed . June 13, 1905. Nez Perce Lodge No. 10, A.P. & A.M. of Lewiston to Christ Weisgerber

57. Description of property purchased by C. Weisgerber from Leslie Thompson,

Treasurer of the Lewiston School District. September 30, 1905

58. Warranty Deed. December 3, 1906. Thomas Richards to C. Weisgerber

Misc. Abstract of Title

Misc. Summons and Complaint. February 10, 1920. Re: Ownership of property in Genesee

Misc. Abstract of Title

Misc. Promissory Notes. February - May 1922. Signed by Philip Weisgerber

Misc. Easement. September 12, 1938. Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co.

Misc. Specifications for stone retaining walls. August 1918

II. Financial Records

The following financial journals are included in this series:

1. Cash accounts at brewery, 1876-1878

2. Brewery labor expenses, 1906-1911

3. Journal containing notes and bills payable and receivable, 1890-1905; Christ Weisgerber general fund, 1905-1906

4. Journal containing Chas. Jasper, contractor, expense sheets, 1904-1905; Paid to C.P. Stanley account, May - October 1904

5. Journal containing rents from buildings, 1905-1907; expenses on buildings, 1906-1913

6. Cash book containing list of certificates of deposit, 1903-1912; stock records, 1903-1913; interest, 1903-1913; expenses for recording and discounting, 1903-1913; yearly balance sheets, 1903-1912; building expenses

7. Ledger containing appraisements; rents, 1944-1951; record of checks issued; lots in Park Addition sold in 1945; certificates of deposit, 1913; house expenses; financial losses due to fire in 1936

III. Photographs

The photographs which belong with this archival group have been removed from the archival box and are filed with the regular photograph collection. Listed below is a brief description of each photograph; the number in parentheses is the catalog number for the picture.

1. Almota Steamboat carrying soldiers on their way to the Spanish American Wax (6-96-1b)

2. Dick Beal carving part of the seal of the state of Idaho for the 1893 World's Fair (3-1855a)

3. Thomas J. Beall, Warren P. Hunt, Hank Trimble, Louie Delsol, Tom Moxley, George Underwood, and Ezra Meeker, all Lewiston pioneers (3-1856a)

4. C. Weisgerber Brewery, aerial view of the fire which destroyed the building on February 7, 1936 (5-7-8a)

5. C. Weisgerber Brewery building the day after the fire (5-7-8b)

6. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Exterior view of building (5-7-8c)

7. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Birdseye view of the building (5-7-8d)

8. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Barley drying on the floor (5-7-8e)

9. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Bottling room (5-7-8f)

10. Weisgerber Brewery, Engine room and ice plant (5-7-89)

11. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Stock cellar (5-7-8h)

12. C. Weisgerber Brewery, 2 men washing barrels (5-7-8i)

13. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Brew house (5-7-8i)

14. C. Weisgerber Brewery, Christ Weisgerber sitting in his office (5-7-8k)

15. Elite Cleaning Works. 2 views of the exterior of the building (9-324-1a, 1b)

16. Harvesting with a steam powered combine on the McKissick ranch (6-17-83)

17. Team of horses pulling a ground powered combine (6-17-84)

18. Lewiston flood, 1894. Rescue boats on a main street (5-7-4p c.2)

19. View of downtown Lewiston in 1886 (5-7-4d c.2)

20. Birdseye view of Lewiston taken from a point on the north side of the Clearwater River, 1889 (5-7-4e c.2 )

21. Birdseye view of Lewiston taken from a point on the north side of the Clearwater River in the early 1880's (5-7-4s)

22. Lewiston City Hall with city officials standing in front; taken in 1897 (5-7-9a)

23. Group of Lewiston men (not identified) (5-7-7b)

24. First Snake River Bridge between Lewiston & Clarkston under construction (5-7-1h)

25. Mrs. Weisgerber (?) (3-1854a)

26. Christ Weisgerber in 1910. (3-1857a)

27. John Weisgerber and Thomas J. Beall (3-1853a)

28. Weisgerber family home in Wachtersbach, Germany (6-190-1)

IV. Miscellaneous

The items in this series are:

1. Agee, J.H. Soil survey of Nez Perce and Lewis Counties, Idaho. Washington, D.C., US Government Printing Office, 1920.

2. Godwin, J.H. Goodwin's improved book-keeping and business manual. 9th ed. New York, 1888.

3. The Rand-McNally Grammar School Geography. Chicago, Rand, McNally & Co., 1895.

4. A file folder containing:

Small letterhead paper of C. Weisgerber

Typed translation of a letter from Pastor Weber of the Protestant church in Wachtersbach to Christ Weisgerber dated 12-29-1911, containing the parish records pertaining to the Weisgerber family

Lewiston Daily Tribune, October 15, 1898, with a notice that Chris Weisgerber is making beer

Newspaper article from the Lewiston paper March 3, 1940, showing an old picture of the Grostein & Bimard store which also shows a corner of the Weisgerber Brewery

Lewiston Morning Tribune, May 30, 1965. "Full Circle at 4th and Main."

Lewiston Morning Tribune, March 12, 1961. Photograph of Lewiston in the mid 1880's

Great Falls Tribune, Montana Parade. Sunday, October 29, 1961. "Scenic Lewis and Clark road in Idaho shortens Montana-West coast route."

5. Rolled map. Plat of the Park Addition in the City of Lewiston, dated May 19, 1890.

July 1997 / mg110.htm

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