The Weisgerber Brothers Papers, 1863-1918

Overview of the Collection

The Weisgerber Brothers
The Weisgerber Brothers Papers
1863-1918 (inclusive)
1 l.f.
Collection Number
MG110 (collection)
Legal documents, financial journals, and other items related to the Weisgerber Brewery in Lewiston, Idaho.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

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 (1898-1899). 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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of the Weisgerber brothers of Lewiston, owners of Idaho's first brewery, were given to the University of Idaho Library by Philip 0. 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.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


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.


Defenbach, Byron. Idaho: The Place and Its People. Chicago, American Historical Society, 1933- v. 3, p. 11-12.

History of Idaho Territory. San Francisco, W.W. Elliott, 1884. p. 281.

Lewiston Morning Tribune. November 22, 1914.

Lewiston Morning Tribune. February 8, 1936.

Taylor, Edith C. (Weisgerber), Philip 0. Weisgerber, and Marie E. (Weisgerber) White. A Man, His Family, and His City. cl982 by Edith C. Taylor.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I. Deeds and Other Legal Papers Return to Top

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.

Description Dates
1: Deed. Chas. Brown to Ernst Weisgerber
October 16, 1863
2: Bill of Sale. H.C. Brown & G. Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber
November 26, 1863
3: Certificate of Citizenship of Ernst Weisgerber
October 5, 1865
4: Deed. J.R. Marshall to Godfried Gamble
July 12, 1865
5: Deed. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber
March 1, 1869
6: Deed. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber
March 1, 1869
7: Deed. Charles Haas to H.C. Brown
November 19, 1866
8: Deed. M.E. Goodwin to Godfried Gamble
April 29, 1867
9: Deed. H.C. brown to Peter Sholl
December 28, 1869
10: Deed. Godfried Gamble to Ernst Weisgerber
March 2, 1869
11: Power of Attorney. Ernst Weisgerber to John Weisgerber
September 1, 1870
12: Lease. R.J. Monroe to Ernst Weisgerber
13: Deed. Ernst Weisgerber to John and Christ Weisgerber
September 8, 1875
14: Deed. Ernst Weisgerber to John and Christ Weisgerber
September 11, 1875
15: Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to John and Christ Weisgerber
September 25, 1875
16: Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to John and Christ Weisgerber
May 19, 1876
17: Deed. John Brearley to John and Christ Weisberger
March 21, 1877
18: Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber brothers
November 30, 1877
19: Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers
May 9, 1878
20: Mayor Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers
June 8, 1882
21: Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers
June 8, 1882
22: Mayor Deed. Mayor of Lewiston to the Weisgerber Brothers
June 8, 1882
23: Warranty Deed. Joseph G. Shipler & John Siers to Christ & John Weisgerber
May 1, 1884
24: Warranty Deed. James Duggan to the Weisgerber Brothers
January 7, 1885
25: Declaratory Statement of Egidius Weingassner regarding unoffered land
December 31, 1888
26: Will of John Weisgerber
January 1, 1890
27: Cemetery Deed. Lot purchased by C. Weisgerber
February 12, 1890
28: Deed. Ezra Baird and Benjamin Morris to Christ Weisgerber
May 15, 1890
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. To B.P. Morris, C. Weisgerber & Ezra Baird
April 17, 1893
33: Mayor's Deed. To Christ Weisgerber
April 17, 1893
34: Mortgage. From George B. & Ella Ladd to C. Weisgerber
July 18, 1894
35: Abstract of Title
36: Abstract of Title
37: Abstract of Title
38: Warranty Deed. Lucy E. and Samuel L. Brown to Christ Weisgerber
May 13, 1896
39: Abstract of Title
40: Deed. John B. Morris to Christ Weisgerber
December 28, 1896
41: Deed. Elmer Luce to Christ Weisgerber
January 11, 1898
42: Decree of Settlement. Estate of John Weisgerber
August 7, 1903
43: Final Account of Executor. Estate of John Weisgerber
January 31, 1899
44: Decree of Settlement. Estate of John Weisgerber
April 29, 1899
45: No item with this number
46: Treasurer's Tax Deed. To Christ Weisgerber
December 26, 1896
47: Treasurer's Tax Deed. To Christ Weisgerber
December 26, 1896
48: Treasurer's Tax Deed. To Christ Weisgerber
December 26, 1896
49: Warranty Deed. Chester P. Coburn to Christ Weisgerber
March 27, 1897
50: Treasurer's Tax Deed. To Christ Weisgerber
June 9, 1897
51: Abstract of Title
52: Deed. Nez Perce County to Christ Weisgerber
July 16, 1902
53: Abstract of Title
54: Deed. Christ & Mary Weisgerber to the Public
January 17, 1903
55: Warranty Deed. Chester P. and Martha Coburn to Christ Weisgerber
September 18, 1903
56: Deed. Nez Perce Lodge No. 10, A.P. & A.M. of Lewiston to Christ Weisgerber
June 13, 1905
57: Description of property purchased by C. Weisgerber from Leslie Thompson, Treasurer of the Lewiston School District
September 30, 1905
58: Warranty Deed. Thomas Richards to C. Weisgerber
December 3, 1906
Miscellaneous: Abstract of Title
Miscellaneous: Summons and Complaint. Re: Ownership of property in Genesee
February 10, 1920
Miscellaneous: Abstract of Title
Miscellaneous: Promissory Notes. Signed by Philip Weisgerber
February - May 1922
Miscellaneous: Easement. Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co.
September 12, 1938
Miscellaneous: Specifications for stone retaining walls.
August 1918

Series II. Financial Records Return to Top

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

Series III. Photographs Return to Top

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.

Description Dates
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: C. 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 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)

Series IV. Miscellaneous Return to Top

Description Dates
1: Agee, J.H. Soil survey of Nez Perce and Lewis Counties, Idaho. Washington, D.C., US Government Printing Office
2: Godwin, J.H. Goodwin's improved book-keeping and business manual. 9th ed. New York
3: The Rand-McNally Grammar School Geography. Chicago, Rand, McNally & Co.
4: Miscellaneous
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
May 19, 1890

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Breweries -- Idaho -- Lewiston -- History -- Sources

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Weisgerber Brothers (Firm) -- Records