GEORGE PFEIFFER SR. was born Johann George Pfeiffer in the southern region of Germany known as Bavaria in 1828.
When sixteen years of age, George Pfeiffer came to seek his fortune in America, locating in Philadelphia, where he learned the baker's trade, and worked there until the time of the Mexican War, when he enlisted in the United States Army. He served with the Pennsylvania regiment commanded by General Beauregard, of Civil War fame. At the close of the war he returned and in 1854 settled in Camden NJ, where according to the 1897 published book Biographical Revue Contaning Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Camden and Burlington Couties, New Jersey he founded a bakery. Census records and city directories of the time indicate that George Pfeiffer was running a saloon, from the 1850s through 1880s. The discrepancy is probably attributable to the Boston-based publisher's desire to "shine the apple", the temperance movement then being quite strong in some quarters of the United States.
The Census for 1860 gives his occupation as restaurant keeper, those for 1870 and 1880 also reveals that he was operating a lager beer saloon in these times. The 1860 and 1870 Censuses indicate that his close neighbor was shoe merchant Anthony Kobus. The 1880 Census indicates an address of 830 South 4th Street. Son George Jr. was at this time in the beer bottling business, and living in the next block at 714 South 4th Street. This is confirmed by the many deposit bottles bearing his name still in existence today. By 1887 George Pfeiffer seems to have closed his saloon, and moved to 818 South 5th Street. The 1890-1891 City Directory places him on Market Street at 7th.
Biographical Revue states that George Pfeiffer Sr. went into the coal and lumber business in Camden, where he successfully conducted business until 1875. He then established a coal, brick, and stone business at the corner of the Coopers Creek Bridge and Federal Street which he operated profitably until his death in 1894. His son, George Pfeiffer Jr. would operate the business several years after his father's passing.
George Pfeiffer Sr. married Catherine Kuemmerer, who also had been born in Germany. They had five children, George Jr., born in 1856, Lizzie, David, Rose, and Anna. They were members of Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1870 the church in order to expand, purchased two lots on either side for fifteen hundred dollars. George Pfeiffer Sr. contributed one-third of the amount.
George Pfeiffer Sr. was a prominent member of several fraternal organizations, including the Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Improved Order of Red Men. He was buried with Masonic honors.
June 23, 1884
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