Peter Köhl (1785-†1851) – The confectioner

Peter Köhl, married in 1820 to Anna Neisa Stupan (1790-†1837).
Son of the relative Simeon Köhl (1760-†1845) and Lucia Meisser (1763-†1792).
Grandson of the head guild master Bernhard von Köhl (1693-†1762) and Anna Wald (1728-†1796).

Children of Peter Köhl with Anna Neisa Stupan:

  1. Köhl Flurin (1821-†1868), confectioner, married Julia Zielanowska (1829-†1905) in Odessa in 1850. No descendants.
  2. Köhl Cecilia (1822-†1856), married Jan Karol Jakub Strohmeyer (1814-†1888) in Warsaw, had 5 children and died at age 34 in Warsaw.
  3. Köhl Peter (1824-†), probably died as a child.
  4. Köhl Chiathrina (1826-†1827), died at 1 year old.
  5. Köhl Luzia (1827-†1852), married a Reineke in Warsaw, where she also died. Nothing is known about descendants.
  6. Köhl Chiathrina Neisa (1831-†), died probably as a child in Vilnius.

Wife: Anna Neisa Stupan
Children: 6
Occupation: confectioner

Peter's childhood

Peter was born in Chur as the first child of Simeon Köhl, relative, and Luzia Meisser of Davos. Well-known personalities were present at his baptism: Councillor Peter Walser, Martin Bawier, Mrs. Hauptmännin A. Planta née von Salis, Mrs. Hauptmännin Badoli née Lehai, Mrs. Landammännin Tschaler née von Salis.

3 further siblings were added. But unfortunately the happiness did not last long. Brother Simeon died at the age of 2, the following year his mother and brother Paul also died. His father struggled with the loss of his wife and the 2 children and was left with his two boys. When his brother Meinrad died of tooth fever in 1794, Peter was taken in by his uncle Peter Meisser in Pontresina. Thus Peter may have lived in Pontresina from the age of nine, perhaps even earlier.

His uncle Peter Meisser had moved from Davos to Pontresina in 1792 and now lived there with his wife Urschla Stiffler (1769-†1821) and their 1 year old son Clo. Another Davos resident, Johann Jenny (1771-†1818), had married Anna Robbi, a native of Silvaplana, and had lived in Pontresina since 1790. He also had a son, Peter Johann Jenny, also called Peider. So Peter also grew up in Pontresina with the children of the Meisser and Jenny family. They were all to play an important role in Peter's further life.

The Upper Engadine confectioners

The Robbi family as well as Johann Jenny worked as confectioners and opened several confectioneries in Germany and the Russian Kingdom.

Johann Jenny migrated to Warsaw in 1794 and worked there as a confectioner. In 1804, he traveled to Dresden, borrowed money from his brother-in-law Nuot Robbi and and migrated via Warsaw on to Vilnius.[82] There, together with his nephew Ulrich Lorenz (Filisur) and Peter Castelli (Silvaplana), he opened a confectionery, the Konditorei Jenny, located at Schlossstrasse 189, near St. Johannes Church.[83]

With the end of the village school and confirmation, a new phase of life began for Peter. As was usual in the mountain valleys at that time, the young people had to be able to stand on their own feet quickly. Thus, Peter could have signed an apprenticeship contract with his community neighbor Johann Jakob in his pastry shop in Warsaw as early as 1800. Such a contract was usually concluded for 4-5 years. And at best he followed Johann Jakob to Vilnius.

Johann's son, Peter Johann Jenny (1793-†1876), also worked in his father's business (from 1813), as did Clo Meisser (1792-†1813), Peter Meisser's son (from 1810). Clo, however, died in 1813 in Vilnius at the age of only 23, probably from a disease brought by Napoleonic soldiers. In the same year Johann Peter married Anna Meisser, daughter of Peter Meisser, in Pontresina. The Jenny family sold their business activities and took over the shares of the confectionery L'Orsa & Co, with two branches also located on Schlossstrasse. This also included his holdings in the Cukiernia Castelmur, in Senatorska 46 in Warsaw, and in the confectionery Gebrüder Jenny, Oderstrasse in Szczecin.[75] Peter's wife, Anna Meisser, remained in Pontresina, responsible for recruiting the apprentices, whom she selected according to her husband's exact specifications in the Engadine.

Takeover of the Jenny confectionery

In 1816 Johann Jenny, presumably already ill, returned to Celerina, where he also died in 1818. His son Peter Johann Jenny now took over his father's business. But he wanted to return to Switzerland. Peter Johann Jenny made Peter Köhl a partner and handed over the management of the business to him. The two friends were members of the Freemasons and attended the same lodge in Vilna, "zum Guten Hirten", which was also represented in Warsaw. Peter Johann Jenny then returned to Pontresina and first children were soon to follow.

Peter now managed the confectionery in Vilnius. His uncle Peter Meisser was an innkeeper[84] and in the meantime had risen to become the mayor of Pontresina. In 1820 Peter married Anna Neisa Stupan, daughter of Flurin and Chiatrina Stupan, who came from Pontresina.

The Stupan or Stuppaun family came from Pontresina, other representatives of the family had changed their Rhaeto-Romanic surname in Italy to Stuppano and in France to Stoppany. The wealth acquired abroad allowed the confectioner family to build the Chesa Stuppaun, today's Chesa Campell, on the main street of Pontresina in 1742.

Peter was a citizen of Chur at that time, so he had previously acquired citizenship. The couple lived in Wilna where their 6 children were born. However, two of the children died in their first year of life.

Translated with (free version)

The families Köhl, Meisser, Jenny and also Bruesch were closely connected. This is shown by the entries in the church books. Various members of these families appear in the baptisms of Peter's children. For example Peter Johann Jenny, Peter Meisser, his daughters Anna Jenny-Meisser and Verena Meisser as well as Anna and Johann Bruesch-Köhl. His two brothers Christian and Simeon, however, are not mentioned.

Business seemed to be going well and Peter expanded his business. Thus, in 1826, he owned a confectionery with a restaurant and billiards at 141 Zamkovaya Street, another house owned by Simon Kreszkiewicz. In 1828 Peter acquired the shares from his business partner Peter Johann Jenny and was now the sole owner of the confectionery. He probably received part of the money for taking over the business from his father in Chur. Simeon Köhl had sold his apartment and a plot of land in Chur at the same time. The apartment had been bought as a counter transaction from Joh. Jenny.[75] 6 years later Peter paid back this loan, about 2600 gulden to his father.

Peter was described at this time as wealthy, but not rich.[76] In a list of businessmen in Vilnius, Peter is also listed in 1829 as the owner of a hotel in the Symson House, located at 312 Pogulianka Street.


Death of his wife Anna Neisa

His eldest son Flurin began an apprenticeship as a confectioner in his father's store in 1836. The following year Peter's wife died in Vilnius. Probably only 3 of his children were still alive at that time: Flurin (16), Cecilia (15) and Luzia (10). Peter asked his half-brother Christian, who had been working as a confectioner in Riga (Russia, today Latvia) since 1830, for help. So Christian traveled to Vilnius and now worked in his brother's store.

At that time, the Köhl-Stupan family owned a house in Pontresina, in the San Spunt part of the village. Anna Neisa had probably inherited it from her parents. The family probably used the house during their stays in Pontresina. After the death of Anna Neisa, the family did not seem to use the house anymore. Therefore they decided to rent the house. As a proxy, Peter Johann Jenny found a tenant in Hans Faler from Davos and signed a rental agreement with Faler on 21.4.1839.

In 1844, his eldest daughter Cecilia married Jan Karol Jakub Strohmeyer, of German origin, in Warsaw. Presumably she had moved to Warsaw earlier. Peter was now able to experience the birth of 4 grandchildren.

The next generation now took over the business. Peter Johann Jenny's daughter Anna (*1824 in Pontresina) married Johann Saratz in Pontresina in 1845, also descending from a family of confectioners. Peter Johann's son Eduard (*1826 in Pontresina) was 16 years old when he began his apprenticeship at the family confectionery "Gebrüder Jenny" in Stettin. Around 1850, Eduard and his older brother Peter Alexander took over their father's confectionery at Oderstrasse 12 in Stettin.

Florian had taken over his father's business and was also trying to build up a new business in St. Petersburg. Florian had married Julia Zielengowska, the daughter of a Polish-born doctor, in Vilna in October 1850. His father did not agree to the marriage at first, as Julia had often been ill and weak since her youth. However, his son was able to convince his father and sisters and received his blessing from the father.

Luzia married a Mr. Reineke around 1848. This marriage was unhappy, however, and Luzia divorced her husband again. Luzia moved back in with her father and reproached herself for not being able to keep her marriage vows and for still being attached to the young man.

So in 1850 the father lived together with his two daughters Luzia and Neisa in Vilnius. In that year, however, Peter seemed to suffer from an internal illness which weakened him more and more. He went to Warsaw for a cure with his daughter Cecilia. But he became weaker and weaker, could hardly work. His businesses made less sales and because of the running expenses the money became scarce. Peter asked his friend Peter Johann Jenny in Pontresina to sell a meadow in Chient Buinas. Nuot Lelly, father of Jenny's daughter-in-law Ursina Carolina Lelly, bought the 1900 m2 meadow.

He returned to Vilnius and on the evening of May 25, 1852 called his two daughters, Luzia and Neisa, to him. Florian, who had just arrived from St. Petersburg, was also present. The father said goodbye to his children and passed away in the same night at the age of 65.[66] Despite an autopsy, the doctors were unable to determine the cause of his death, which was probably cancer.


66: Protokoll der Armenpflege Chur, 1868, StAC AB II/P 06.09

75: Kaufprotokolle Köhl-Jenny, Stadt Chur, 1829, StAC B II 2.0019.095, S38, Nr. 1412

76: Bündner im Russischen Reich, Roman Bühler, 2003

83: Fast ein Volk von Zuckerbäckern, Dolf Kaiser

82: Jenny, Johann, von Wilna Ganzoni, Gian-Paul: Il cudesch da Johann Jenny a Wilna.

84: Kaufprotokolle Köhl-Jenny, Stadt Chur, 1829, StAC B II 2.0019.095, S38, Nr. 1412

The legacy of Peter Köhl

Due to his father's illness, the business in Vilnius had suffered badly. His son Florian now took care of them, Christian Köhl probably continued to work there.

With the death of Peter, the various assets of the Köhl-Stupan family also had to be divided among the children. Since these were spread out in Vilnius, Warsaw and Pontresina, the assets had to be compiled and distributed accordingly.

Since this also affected the family house in Pontresina, a lively correspondence arose between Florian Köhl (Vilnius), Johann Strohmeyer (Warsaw) and Peter Johann Jenny (Pontresina)[66]. The family now decided to part with this house and the associated estates and to sell them. Peter Johann Jenny received the power of attorney to take care of this matter and to initiate the sale.

Florian was in financial difficulties because the business was not running as desired, losses had been incurred and his wife had fallen ill again. His sister Luzia continued to live in the family home. The youngest, Neisa, Florian had promised to a schoolmate, Lieutenant Hugo von Rosenberg in Russian service. The couple married in August 1851 and probably moved in together.

Shortly thereafter, the siblings fell out. Apparently it was decided that the proceeds from the sale of the property in Pontresina should go to the two sisters (Neisa and Luzia), since they needed the money the most. Florian had received the business and Cecila was married in Warsaw. But Florian did not agree with this. He thought that the sisters had already received their dowry and that the money from the sale of the property should be divided equally among the siblings. Florian threatened with a lawsuit. Luzia had to move out of her parents' house and look for a rented apartment.

In June 1852 the house Stupauna, located in Platr da St. Spiert in Pontresina, could be sold for 3100.-- to Peter Giöri Jenny of Pontresina. Luzia Köhl was already ill with tuberculosis and bedridden. She was cared for by her sister Cecilia. The disease progressed rapidly and Luzia died in Warsaw in the same year at the age of only 25. Since she had no descendants, she distributed her inheritance among her siblings.

Peter Johann Jenny was able to sell all the properties in Pontresina by 1854. The properties had been sold to country judge Elias Manzinoia, the husband of Veronica Meisser. The proceeds were handed over by Nicolo Jenny in Warsaw to Johann Strohmeyer and distributed among the heirs.


Briefe-Kö 65.1M, 14.11.22, 11 downloads

The children of Peter Köhl

Cecilia Köhl was born in Vilnius and probably grew up there. Certainly she also visited Switzerland, but her center of life was probably the new home of her father. Around 1844 she moved to Warsaw and fathered with her husband Jan Karol Jakub Strohmeyer 4 daughters and 1 son. The latter died at the age of 2. Two of the daughters also died shortly after birth. Shortly after, Cecelia also died in Warsaw, only 34 years old. Her daughter Mironia Maria died at 19, and the eldest daughter, Cecylia Eufrozyna, married the industrial Wincenty Ludwik Norbli in 1864, but died the same year. Cecila was buried, along with her husband and daughters, in a family plot in Warsaw.

Luzia Köhl also grew up in Vilnius like her sisters, but was closely connected with her relatives in Pontresina. She is mentioned in Pontresina in 1844 at the baptism of a child of Veronika Meisser, daughter of Peter Meisser. Luzia married a Mr. Reineke at a young age. The marriage failed and Luzia divorced him. After the death of her father and a quarrel with her brother, she left the parental home and lived for rent. She contracted tuberculosis the same year and died a few months later in Warsaw, only 25 years old. She was buried in the same grave as her sister Cecila.

After his father's death, Florian took over his father's business. The business in Vilnius had suffered badly due to his father's illness and the annual turnover of the confectionery fell from 5,000 rubles in 1853 to only 2,000 rubles turnover in 1857. In 1859 he is mentioned again, running a café on Bolshaya St. in the house of Mr. Baben and his wife Julia a confectionery store, also owning a wine cellar. Around 1861 he is mentioned for the last time and probably closed his confectionery shop after that. It is not known what he did after that. However, Florian returned to Chur with his wife Julia Zielanowska in early 1868, shortly after the death of the last Strohmeyer daughters. He was penniless and in debt. With the support of the city of Chur, the trained confectioner wanted to open a confectionery in Zurich. For this purpose he received a loan from the city of Chur. The enterprise did not succeed, however, as he died in Zurich after a short illness.[72] His widow, Julia Zielanowska-Köhl, was left penniless. Julia found lodgings with a Polish family and then lived in Zurich, where she died at the age of 76.

After the death of her father, Chiathrina Neisa Köhl married Lieutenant Hugo von Rosenberg. Whether they had descendants is not known.

With Florian, the last descendant of Peter probably died in 1868 and this family line died out.



Gravestone of the Köhl-Strohmeyer family (Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Augsburski, Warszawa)


Gravestone of Cecylja Kohl-Strohmeyer (Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Augsburski, Warszawa)

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