The Pioneer Meyer Brothers of Omaha, Nebraska

The  Meyer Brothers: Max, Julius, Adolph & Meyer

Values Codes – I-E-P

Omaha was Booming in 1867. “15,000 residents and transients. 20 churches. 3,000 attending. 127 saloons attracting more than the churches.”Omaha Morning Bee 7/21/1867

The Meyer Brothers were born in Bromberg, Prussia.

They arrived in the United States in the 1860’s

 

Business

Max Meyer first worked in New York City, then Pennsylvania oil country, finally arriving in Omaha, Nebraska in 1866 where he went into the tobacco business.

Max Meyer of Omaha, #WS5680

Max Meyer of Omaha,
#WS5680

Julius Meyer arrived in 1867 and Adolph  and Moritz Meyer joined Max in Omaha in 1869.

Their firm became known as Max Meyer & Brothers Co.

Max Meyer & Brothers Co. expanded to jewelry and musical instruments becoming the largest business of its kind in the West for many years.

Max Meyer & Brothers Co. was the first Omaha store to install a telephone

A branch was opened in Cheyenne WY.

Five salesmen traveled the territory west of Omaha.

By 1880’s, Max Meyer & Brothers Co. had 25 employees, with ¾ million dollars sales.

 

Julius Meyer had an additional business called the Indian Wigwam - selling trinkets, souvenirs and Indian artifacts

He learned several Indian tongues and was a good friend of Indians.

Julius Meyer was known among Indians as Box-ka-re-sha hash-ta-ka and made their official interpreter.

Julius Meyer, friend of the Indians, #WS5691

Julius Meyer, friend of the Indians,
#WS5691

He was highly trusted by Chiefs Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and Swift Bear.

Julius Meyer closed the Wigwam in 1880 but retained his close association with the Indians.

In 1883, Julius Meyer was hired by French government to accompany a group of Indians to Paris.

Civic

In 1885, Max Meyer and local Jewish architect Louis Mendelssohn, organized a company to plan for an opera house and exposition building which, after building and a number of events, was leased to the city for office space and a police station.

Julius Meyer was a founder of the Omaha Musical Union.

“As a citizen and businessman, Mr. Max Meyer is conceded to be one of the most active and valuable to Omaha. There is nothing in the shape of a business enterprise calculated to benefit Omaha that does not secure his attention and such aid as he can give it.” – from a local publication.

 Julius Meyer as Interpreter for Indians

Julius Meyer as Interpreter for Indians

Fraternal

Max Meyer was a 32 degree Mason, a Shriner, an Elk, and Chief Patriarch of the Odd Fellows.

Adolph, Julius, and Albert Meyer were active in the Concordia, the German Singing Society.

Julius Meyer was a founder of the Omaha Symphony.

Community

Max and Julius Meyer were two of the founders of Nebraska’s first synagogue, known today as Temple Israel.

 

Max Meyer & Brothers Co. business failed in the 1893 Depression.

Max & Adolph Meyer left Omaha.

Julius Meyer, who never married, was found shot dead in a park 1909. Whether it was murder or suicide was never firmly established.

 

For more information see the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • The Jews of Omaha: The First 60 Years, by Carol Gendler, 6-part series, Vol. 5, #3 & 4; Vol.6, #1 – 4. 1973-1974

This material was gathered in 1974. Much more information has probably been found since then. Any more information will be appreciated. Just click on “Contact” on the top bar.

Julius Meyer at the Wigwam Store in Omaha

Julius Meyer at the Wigwam Store in Omaha