The successful building contractor and real estate dealer of this name residing in Geneva, possesses the traditional integrity, thrift and industry characteristic of the Teutonic race, and these essential elements of sturdy manhood were developed to a high degree by his thoroughly German training. Coming to America a bright and courageous young man, strong and vigorous as the result of a term of service in the German army, he readily adapted himself to the manners, customs and business methods prevailing in this country, and ere long found opportunities which ultimately placed him upon the high road to prosperity.
The Schnirel family, originally residing in one of the South German states, was transplanted on the banks of the River Wartha by Daniel Schnirel early in the last century. Born at Rarhl Ruh, South Germany, in 1799, Daniel Schnirel witnessed in his younger days the rapid recovery of the Fatherland from the disastrous effects of the Napoleonic wars. Having learned the mason’s trade he settled in the ancient city of Posen, now (1910) a Prussian fortress of the first rank, and became a prosperous contractor, a business which his descendants have followed with success. Jacob Schnirel, son of Daniel, was born at Posen in 1822, and died there in 1876. He was an extensive contractor and was chiefly employed by the German government in the construction of public buildings. He was a man of excellent moral character and a member of the Lutheran church. He married Elizabeth Schilf, who was born at Posen in 1822.
Reinhold A. Schnirel, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Schilf) Schnirel, was born in Posen, March 25, 1856. Having completed his education with a special course in the higher branches of study at the public school in his native city. he became associated in business with his father, from whom he derived a thorough knowledge of building construction. After the death of his father in 1876, he was called to the performance of his military duties in the German army, in which he served for three years, and at the time of his discharge in 1879 he was attached to the German Grenadiers No. 8, of Emperor William I. Resuming his former occupation upon leaving the army, he conducted business in Posen on his own account until 1881, when he emigrated to the United States, and shortly after his arrival he settled in Geneva. New York, where he found no difficulty in obtaining employment. In 1886 he established himself as a building contractor in Geneva. where in an unusually short time his work became widely and favorably known for its reliability and excellence, and he is still actively engaged in that business, having in the past twenty-five years erected nearly three hundred buildings. He erected upon his own account the first fireproof structure in Geneva, and he is also the builder and the owner of the only office building in the city equippedwith an elevator service. Some years ago he turned his attention to the development of real estate for residential purposes, opening one section of twenty lots, another of twenty-five lots in the western part of the city, and still another on Washington street; and in company with his son, Herman F. Schnirel, has opened one hundred lots on Hamilton Heights. After becoming a citizen of the United States he united with the Republican party and has ever since been active in political affairs, taking a profound interest in the welfare of his adopted city, and has rendered valuable aid in making Geneva one of the most enterprising and prosperous municipalities in western New York. For two years he represented the first ward on the board of aldermen, and while serving in that body he not only favored the adoption of the city charter, but used his influence in favor of purchasing the water works and the installation of the present sewer system. Upon the organization of the city government under the new charter, he was appointed by Mayor Herendeen a member of the board of public works. He is a member and a trustee of the German Lutheran Church.
Mr. Schnirel was married in Geneva, June 15, 1882, to Augusta Buchholtz. Children: 1. Herman F., born in Geneva, April 19, 1883; studied at Hobart College, Columbia University and Cornell : is now (1910) professor of languages in Maryville, Tennessee; married Martha Wellman, January 2, 1908, at Geneva, and has one son, Wellman W., born in Geneva, August 9, 1910. 2. Lillian, born in Geneva, in 1885 ; is studying music under the direction of Professor Rose. 3. Ida F., born in Geneva in 1889; pursued course in modern languages at Cornell. graduating in 1909; is now (1910) teaching in Maryville, Tennessee. 4. Albert R., born in 1891, died in 1893. 5. Anna G., born September 24, 1895; is now (1910) attending the Geneva high school. Mrs. Schnirel’s uncle Von O. was the chancellor of the Kingdom of Hanover during the reign of the Blind King.
Mrs. Augusta (Buchholtz) Schnirel was born in Joseph Ruh, Germany, August 27, 1859. Her father, Augustus Buchholtz, was born in the same town, and was a farmer. Her mother was before marriage, Anna Berg. The Buchholtz family came to America in 1871, and settled in Geneva.