US GenWeb


This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Henry Lueke

There are few residents of the city of Albany of German birth and parentage who have done more for this city and whose name and memory will live longer than that of Henry Lueke. He was born in Brakel, Westphalia, Prussia, February 1, 1808, and is a son of George and Margaret Lueke. George Lueke was a custom tailor by trade and it must be borne in mind that the trade of his choice in those days demanded more care and study and closer application than the same trade does to day. In the making of fine habits and uniforms George Lueke was looked upon as the leader in the town of Brakel. The first eleven years of Henry Lueke's life were not very promising. He was a sick boy during that time, but the tenderest care of his loving parents and the best medical attention overcame the ravishes of disease. When he became sufficiently strong he began his studies at the public school and continued them until he was fourteen years of age. During those few years he was very attentive and ranked with the highest in his class, displaying both docility and ability, characteristics which went a great way toward forming a suitable foundation for his later years. It was contrary at that time for those learning a trade in Europe to travel about from one country to another. Henry Lueke chose his father's trade and in accordance with the custom above mentioned, he started at the early age of fifteen to thoroughly acquit himself for his trade. He traveled through Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland, apprenticing himself to the best custom tailors, and then went to London to put the finishing touches on his education. While at London he learned how to make the most exquisite habits then in vogue, and the dazzling uniforms then used in the army and navy. But while preparing to earn a livelihood he did not forget to educate the other sides of his nature. He learned the English language and studied the customs of the people and in every way sought to ennoble his character. The styles of England were not the only ones he studied. During the three years spent in London he visited Paris and acquired the language and styles of dress there. He therefore had visited the three greatest cities for setting the style to the world Berlin, London and Paris. With the knowledge of his business thus acquired Mr. Lueke felt competent to carry it on anywhere. America, to which many of his fellow-countrymen had gone and succeeded, appealed to Mr. Lueke as being the most desirable place to start in business. Consequently in 1837, he left London and sailed for the New World. He arrived at New York city and spent six years there following his favorite vocation. He did a magnificent business making uniforms for the army and navy officers and ladies' riding habits. In those days a New Yorker was not considered well dressed unless his suit was from Lueke's. In 1843 Mr. Lueke removed to Albany, N. Y., and located on Liberty street as a custom tailor. Subsequently he moved to South Pearl street shortly before the war broke out. In 1848, at the time of the great fire, he lost almost everything, and again in the panic of 1857 he had considerable trouble, but despite these disasters his fine work brought him custom and he was able to recover his losses. April 7, 1871, he retired from business at the age of sixty-three with a substantial competence. He had friends by the score. He was very saving, yet at the same time liberal in his gifts to the worthy distressed. He invested largely in real estate in Albany, the income from which now supports him. He is temperate in his habits, yet withal enjoys the good things of life which he has so hard earned. So strict was he in his business that when asked to go out for a few moments' enjoyment during business hours his answer always was, "No, I am expecting a customer." Mr. Lueke possesses a very strong constitution, and even to-day reads the daily paper by gaslight without glasses. He is actively identified with Holy Cross church and was its treasurer for thirty-four years. He has never meddled in politics, but has always voted the Democratic ticket and has been a subscriber to the Argus ever since he came to the city. He is at present a member of the board of trustees of St. Agnes Cemetery and is the only surviving member of the original board which was composed of sixteen members. In 1837, in New York city, Mr. Lueke married Miss Catharine W. Rodemeir, who was a schoolmate of his. In October, 1887, Mr. and Mrs. Liieke had the pleasure of celebrating their golden wedding. Mrs. Lueke died in December, 1890. Two daughters survive her, Adelaide, the wife of Rupert Spang of Syracuse, N. Y., and Gertrude, who ably manages her father's property. Mr. Lueke prefers his home and church to any club life and derives most of his enjoyment from reading history. He is a very fluent speaker on this, his favorite topic. He knows the history of Europe thoroughly for the past two hundred years and prides himself on being able to trace the relationship between all the royal families.



Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page