Fechter, Hon. Louis - Erie County

HON. LOUIS FECHTER is a Buffalonian distinguished in public life and successful and prominent as a business man. As Senator, Mr. Fechter has served the State with signal capability and zeal, and in the business world ranks as a man of, exceptionally large experience and sound practical sagacity. Mr. Fechter is a native of Germany, coming of families which for many generations have lived in lower Alsace, on the Rhine, where he was born in 1851, a son of Louis Fechter, a farmer and Madalena Fix. As a boy young Fechter received an excellent education at private schools in his native village of Cherreedern.

In 1871 he came to America. Settling in Buffalo, he was connected for a number of years with the operating department of the Lake Shore R. E. In 1877 he engaged in the flour and feed business, and later established a rendering works in East Buffalo, where he built up a large and successful business in the face of trust opposition. He sold out in 1893, and later became connected with the Buffalo Fertilizing Company, with which he has ever since been identified.

He is President of the Fechter-Ellicott Agency, dealing in real estate and insurance, is a large owner of valuable real estate holdings on the East Side, a section in whose development he has borne a prominent part, and President and General Manager of the Minnehaha Mining & Smelting Company, which owns gold-mining properties in the Canadian Northwest.

From early manhood Mr. Fechter has taken an active interest in politics, and fourteen years ago, his political affiliations being at that time with the Democracy, he opposed the Sheehan machine for election as Alderman of the old Eleventh Ward. He fairly won the nomination in the Democratic caucus, but by fraud and violence was deprived of the Democratic candidacy. Solicited to run on an independent ticket, he was elected, receiving a majority of 132 in a ward which was normally Democratic by 800 votes, and served two years. In 1904, when he was nominated for State Senator by the Republican Convention of the old 48th Senatorial District. To -Mr. Fechter belongs the honor of being the only Republican who ever carried that district. He was elected by 116 plurality in a district that had usually returned pluralities of from 2,500 to 3,000 for the Democratic candidates. Mr. Fechter served in the Senate in 1905 and 1906, and declined a renomination for the office. While in the Senate he introduced and was instrumental in the passing of the bill doing away with the fee system in the office of Superintendent of the Poor, thus saving this county from $6,000 to $7,000 a year, and was the means of passing other valuable reform measures for Erie County. It was he who introduced the bill lowering the price of illuminating gas in Buffalo, but this salutary measure was defeated by corporate interests. Senator Fechter served on the Committees of Public Health, Commerce and Navigation, as well as on other important committees of the Senate. Throughout his Senatorial career his record was conspicuously that of an honest and efficient legislator, and he left the Senate with the confidence of his associates and constituents and the respect of his opponents.

Mr. Fechter is a member of the C. M. B. A., and served for several years as its representative in Grand Council and the Central Council. He belongs to the Teutonia Liederkranz and St. Agnes Parish of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1874 Mr. Fechter was married to Mary T. Gehlweiler of Buffalo. They have five children: Louis Fechter, Jr., who married Julia Fritz of Alden, N. Y.; Joseph Fechter, who married Anna Heibach of Buffalo; Charles, Frank, and Mary Fechter.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I