THE SCHOTT FAMILY - From Cincinnati 
(& Germany)

J.M. Schott emigrated from the Franconia area of Bavaria, Germany to America, arriving in July,1866. With a background in brewing and cooperage (barrel making) he found a job with Schaefer Brewing in New York City for a couple of years. It was there that he became friends with a son of Christian Moerlein, who was serving as an apprentice.  Through this acquaintance, J.M. moved his family to Cincinnati around 1870 and obtained employment at Morelein Brewing in the Over-the-Rhine (OTR), living nearby.  Apparently, he left Moerlein after just a year or two.  By 1872, it appears J.M. may have been working on his own as a cooper and living on Pleasant Street in the OTR. By 1876,  J.M. settled on the east side of Browne St. (now McMicken Avenue) between Tafel Street and Marshall Avenue. His family lived on the upper floor of a 3-story building that he owned, while operating a saloon on the lower level.  J.M. established a cooperage firm next to the saloon in the late 1870s or early 1880s.  All his sons eventually became part of the family business before his death in 1903, and they operated it into the 1930s.


In 1914, William Charles (Will) Schott married Lucia Riedlin, the youngest daughter of William Riedlin, who operated and owned what became the Bavarian Brewing Co. from 1882 until 1919. Will was  the son of Johan Michal (J.M.) Schott Schott who operated a Cincinnati cooperage established in the early 1870s.  This union between the Riedlin and Schott families established an involvement in the Bavarian Brewery between 1882 and 1965, for over 83 years. The following provides some background about J.M. Schott and William C. Schott families. The Wm. Riedlin Family is examined in another section


A Possible Early Schott & Riedlin Connection. It is curious that both J.M. Schott and William Riedlin arrived in Cincinnati possibly in the same year (1870) and both lived in the OTR. However, J.M. was about fifteen years older than William and had four children before William became married in 1877.   Whether they knew each other before William moved to Covington, KY, in 1882 is unknown.  Even though the OTR had thousands of inhabitants  and some 300 saloons, it is possible that the two men may have been at least acquainted with each other in the 1870s as they both owned saloons. After William Riedlin became involved with the Bavarian Brewing Co. in the 1880s, it appears the brewery became a customer of the cooperage. This would have meant these two men would have had some familiarity with one another in the 1880s or 1890s, if not earlier.  It's highly possible that Will Schott and Lucia Riedlin met through acquaintances who were directly or indirectly connected to their family businesses.


John Michael and Elise Schott had nine children, seven surviving childhood, which included five sons and two daughters. Shown on the side photo left to right is; George, Lou, John Michael, John Michael, Jr., Dorothea (Dora), William C. (Will), Christian (Chris), Elizabeth (Elise) and Magdalena (Lena). There was a wide range in the age of the children of about 20 years. Dora was the only child born in Germany, in 1865. Chris and John were born in New York City in 1867 and 1869.  The other children were born in Cincinnati. Will wast the youngest child born in 1884. The photo on the side was taken in the early 1890s.


From left to right is a photo of  William, George and Lou, taken around 1890. They were born in 1879, 1881 and 1884, respectfully. There older brothers, Chris and John Jr., were born in 1867 and 1869.  So, there was a difference in the ages of the younger and older Schott boys from 10 to 17 years. Essentially, the three younger boys grew up together making them closer to one another another than to their older brothers. When they had some free time in the summer, they would go down to the Miami and Erie Canal nearby and go swimming.  In particular, Louis and William became especially close friends and business associates. However, the oldest, Chris, may have been closer than John to their younger brothers, particularly in business affairs. Chris named each of his fours sons after his brothers.

William Charles Schott, the youngest of the Schott clan, known by family and friends as Will, was born on January 3, 1884. The pictures on the left are when he was at the age of about 3 and 10 years. Will was born almost 20 years after his parents had their first child and 18 years after they arrived in the U.S. from Germany. By the time Will was a boy, his father and older brothers had secured economic and housing stability for their family. However, like everyone in the family, Will was expected to contribute.  As a boy, he would clean the bar, including the brass spittoons. As he became older, he was a bartender, where the saloon featured Moerlein beer. (See the photo below right.) Will also worked for the cooperage firm when he was in school, and afterwards. 


The saloon and building where Will lived and worked with his family was located at the northeast corner of Tafel and Browne St. ( now McMicken Avenue). It was situated down the hill from the University from Cincinnati and just north of the OTR.   Above the entrance to the saloon, carved in stone, was the name J.M. Schott and the date of the building. Even though this brick building no longer exists, the frame building in the photo below still remains. (See the lower left photo below.)


After learning the cooperage trade from his father, and having some brewing experience in Frankfurt, Germany,  J.M. Schott initially found work as a cooper when he emigrated to America.  He continued in that trade when he moved to Cincinnati and worked for Moerline Brewing Co.  His work with Morelein only lasted for a couple of years before, until probably the early 1870s, before he decided to go into business for himslef. His first venture may have been in being a saloon keeper. However, shortly thereafter he obtained a loan and began a cooperage business. Not long afterwards, in the 1880s, his sons Chris and John joined him. In order to retain good workers, his wife, Elise, along with their daughter, Dora, provided hearty lunches for the men working next door at the cooperage. The cooperage business grew. By the 1890s, all of J.M.'s sons were part of the cooperage firm, and it was reflected in the name of the firm.   

As shown by the pictures above, the cooperage made beer barrels, which contained 31 gallons, but also large casks containing 300 barrels. The firm sold an distributed a large volume of products within a multi-state region, requiring a large inventory of lumber, as illustrated by the middle photo. One of the casks in a couple of the photos was for a brewery in Columbus, OH.  These large casks were not a rarity for the cooperage, as there were times when the firm would have a rail shipment of over a dozen casks at a time. The men that worked at the cooperage around 1900 are shown in the lower right photo below. Seated in the center and next to the smallest boy is J.M. Schott with his grandchildren. On either side of him, are his oldest sons. His youngest son, Will, is seated on the far right and may have still been in high school. 


A story Will shared with his family, is that when he was working at the cooperage, around July 4th, an undetected rocket from some celebertoy fireworks, apparerntly landed in their lumber yard.  It was undected and smoldered for about a day, before causin a fire and considerable damage.  As a result, every year around Independence Day, a couple brothers had to be vigilant staying up throughout the nights and early mornings, prepared to put out fires in their lumber caused by such fireworks.  Even when Will was much older and no longer involved with the cooperage, he was never fond of July 4th because of this experience.


Will was an excellent student at school. With his father and four brothers working for the cooperage, his family supported Will's interest in academics.  However, he still found time to work at the family's cooperage when he was in college, as shown in the photo above (seated on the far right).  He was the first member of his family to graduate from college.  He revived an A.B. degree in 1905 from the University of Cincinnati (U.C.). After graduation from undergraduate school, he entered the Medical College at U.C. starting in the fall of 1905. An invoice for annual session in 1906-7 was only seventy dollars, as shown below, along with his  medical instruments.  His family retained some of his medical notes with illustrations and lab equipment. These were donated to the Winkler Center for the History of Health Professionals at U.C. 

While Will was in the final year of Medical School, apparently the galvanizing business had some challenges. With his education, including some knowledge of chemistry, Will dropped out left medical college in 1908. He became more active in the cooperage business (see his card below), but became the General Manager of the galvanizing business soon thereafter. 

vanizing business. With his education, including some knowledge of chemistry, Will dropped out of medical college in 1908 with  became the General Manager of the galvanizing business.


As the cooperage grew under J.M.'s According to some accounts, the beginnings of the Cincinnati Gavlanizing Co. had challenges.  Apparently, this business was more difficult than conceived by the Schot, this process caused a fire at the plant and was very challenging for the brothers.  Apparently, this explains why Will may have dropped out of the U.C. Medical College in 1908, with just one more year remaining. The other brothers, who had no advanced education, may have needed their younger brother, who had some studies in chemistry, to provide them with needed technical assistance for their new enterprise, while the brothers alsoneeded to be active with their cooperage company.  This probably explains why Will became General Manager of the galvanizing business around the time he joined his brothers working there. 


In 1905, a couple years after J.M. Schott died, his established the Cincinnati Galvanizing Co. with an initial investment of $20,000. It was located within a block of the cooessentially an outgrowth of their cooperage business.  Their first venture into the galvanizing foray was possibly with coating the metal rims used for the barrels in their cooperage trade. Instead of making wood containers primarily for beer, this galvanizing concern allowed the brothers to enter a larger market for galvanized metal containers. They also made some novelty items like the King Seamless Press Potato Ricer. However,

By the early 1920s the galvanizing business was expanding and their plant next to the cooperage business was physically constrained. The Schott brothers decided to build a new plant in a burgeoning  industrial area of Cincinnati along Spring Grove Avenue. A picture of the ground breaking of this venture, with Elise Schott and the mother of the brothers in the center, is shown on the left. From left to right are: Lou Schott, George Schott and his daughter and Will Schott. The others are unidentified. The plant expanded over time and it employed about 150 people by the 1940s. Some photos of the plant are shown below.

The picture in the upper left below is an aerial photo of the Cincinnati Galvanizing Plant taken around 1940. The photo to its right, is an early photo of an exhibit featuring their World's Largest Ash Can at a fair, which was marketed under the brand name "King."



Around 1910, Wililam C. Schott had apparently became acquainted with Lucia Riedlin, as he gave her a birthday gift at that time. Four years later, on September 30, 1914, Lucia Riedlin married Will (as Lucia called him) at the William Riedlin home, at 925 Main Street. A reception followed for 100 plates at the Bavarian Rathskeller. The first home the couple lived in was on the corner of University Court and Strait Street next to the University of Cincinnati (U.C.), just up the hill from where Will had lived and worked. Both Will and Lucia were the youngest children in their families.  


In 1922 William and Lucia Riedlin Schott started to build a home on the west side of Cincinnati. It was on a site....


Pine Meer, 5330 Cleves-Warsaw Pike

This estate is reduced in size from nearly 100 acres to only a few acres today.

Will Bavarian Brewery

After the brewery was acquired by Will and three of his brothers in 1937, each of them were President of the brewery over the next 17 years. Then Will's son was in charge of the brewery for over a decade. However, Will was never President of the brewery over this period. Perhaps it was because he was briefly President of the Riedlin

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