Edward Hessenmueller was a prominent German American, who spent much of his life in Cleveland, Ohio.
People of German heritage were among the earliest white settlers of Ohio. Many migrated from Pennsylvania during the late 1700s and the early 1800s along Zane's Trace, settling in the central part of Ohio. By the 1820s and 1830s, a large number of German migrants had also settled in the northeastern portion of the state.
Hessenmueller arrived in the United States of America in 1836. He was born in 1811, in Braunschweig, Germany. He graduated from the University of Halle while in Germany. At twenty-five years of age, Hessenmueller moved with his wife to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, hoping to improve the young couple's fortunes.
Upon arriving in Cuyahoga County in 1836, Hessenmueller studied the law, passing the bar exam in 1839. In 1840, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he soon embarked upon a political career, becoming a justice of the peace in 1843. In 1853, Hessenmueller became a U.S. commissioner and pension agent. In 1860, he became a police court judge in Cleveland. During the American Civil War, Hessenmueller actively recruited German Americans for the Union military and assisted soldiers' families by disbursing relief money. He also led Cleveland's City Infirmary, which provided medical care for both civilians and veterans.
Besides his political activities, Hessenmueller also was a prosperous businessman. Beginning in 1850, he served as a trustee for the Society of Savings. Eventually, Hessenmueller became involved in the insurance industry, becoming secretary of the Teutonia Insurance Co. In addition to these interests, Hessenmueller also founded the first foreign-language newspaper in Cleveland in 1846. It was known as Germania and was published in German. Initially, the paper favored the Democratic Party, but it quickly changed its political leaning to the Whig Party and then the Republican Party. It appears that the paper remained in publication until at least 1855.
Hessenmueller died on January 27, 1884. Like many other Americans during the late 1700s and the early 1800s, the German immigrants, including Hessenmueller, viewed Ohio as a land of opportunity.
- Cazden, Robert E. "The German Book Trade In Ohio Before 1848." Ohio History: The Scholarly Journal of the Ohio History Connection 84: 57-77.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.