Alan Spier

Glastonbury (a suburb of Hartford), Connecticut, USA
Fechter ancestors:
Alice Fechter (paternal grandmother) was born in Conway, Massachusetts on 31 July 1868 and died in New Haven, Connecticut on 12 May 1924. She was the daughter of Henry Albert Fechter who was born on 5 October 1845 in Southbridge, Massachusetts and died on 23 September 1909 in Durham, Connecticut. Henry's father was John Fechter, born in Germany.

My grandmother, Alice, also had a brother, Charles, whom I believe to have been born in 1874.

In 1888 or so Henry Fechter began marketing a patent medicine claimed to cure most cases of baldness. It was called "Fechter's Famous Fairicon" and was manufactured by Henry's company, The Fechter Remedy Company, in New Haven, Connecticut, where Henry lived. The bottle in which Fairicon was packaged is now a collector's item and has earned an entry in Richard Fike's "The Bottle Book". New Haven also was the home base about the same time for the notorious Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company which earned a chapter of its own in Richard Holbrook's book, "The Golden Age of Quackery". The New Haven City Directory reveals, not surprisingly, that in 1895 Henry was employed as a traveling salesman for the Kickapoo.

Besides enjoying an appetite for peddling medicinal nostrums, Henry was musical. A death notice in the Middletown (Connecticut) Penny Press reports that Henry was 'a member of numerous well known musical organizations', and, cryptically, that '[h]e was the senior member of the well known Fechter family, who for several years traveled extensively, giving entertainments in many states of the union.'

Henry's wife, Alice Edgerton Fechter, nee Alice G. Edgerton, and presumably a member of Fechter family entertainers, seems to be a direct descendant of one Richard Edgerton, the first Edgerton in America, who emigrated from England to Connecticut in the mid-1600ís and became one of the original proprietors of Norwich, Connecticut. He has an enormous number of descendants whose lineage is elaborately documented on the comprehensive Richard Edgerton Geneaology Database elsewhere on the web.

This musical theme continued on for another generation as the daughter of Alice and Henry (my grandmother, also named Alice) was musical and met my grandfather at the time both were members of a choral group in New Haven.

My paternal grandparent was a Spier. My great grandfather (Siegwart Spier - or possibly spelled Spear before he arrived in the USA) emigrated in the 1850's to Connecticut from Kassel, Germany. Siegwart's father's name was Asher Spier and his mother's, Peschen Fleischhacker. Apparently, Asher was the superintendent of an orphanage in Kassel, Germany.

Siegwart made the trip alone at age 13 and stayed with a cousin in Norwich, Connecticut.  He attended the Norwich Free Academy (a distinguished secondary school in Norwich, Connecticut) and then went on to Yale Law School (an undergraduate major in those days). 

It was an incredible feat for a young Jewish, German-speaking boy in 1845, requiring much courage and initiative.  Unfortunately, the stories and lore that accompanied his adventures are lost and I only know a bit more about him because of the excellent alumni records at Yale.

Any information anyone may have about these people would be greatly appreciated. 
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Date this page was last edited: Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

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