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Thomas Arthur Klipsch and
Paul Henry Klipsch
were half-brothers and although the name Klipsch has its origins in Germany,
they were born in England as was their father Frederick Arthur Klipsch. His father, Arthur André Klipsch, was born in Bordeaux.
Paul was killed in World War II and both Thomas and Fred appear to have ended their days in New Zealand.
The first Klipsch to leave Germany and to settle in Bordeaux – this was at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries - was almost certainly Karl Charles Christophe Klipsh. He was born in Magdeburg on 4 September 1776, the son of a doctor of medicine, Johann-Christophe Klipsch (1743-1824), and Catherine Dorothy (née Neumann) .
Karl met his future wife, Henriette Louise Marie Chotard, known as Aménaïde, when he was working for M. Richard de Meÿere in Bordeaux (Meÿere or Meÿer was the name of a one-time German consul in Bordeaux); Karl himself has been described as a 'magistrate and diplomat'. Aménaïde’s family originally came from Thouars, Deux Sèvres, but in the mid-17th century her grandfather, Louis Chotard, settled in St Dominica and she herself was born in Jacmel, Haiti, in 1784. However, it was decided that she and her brother, Henri, should sail to France, probably to be educated. They arrived in Bordeaux on 17 September 1792, just at the time of the French Revolution. Aménaïde and Karl were married on 15 June 1807, by which time Karl and a friend were running their own business.
Christian Gaden, a friend of Karl’s from Magdeburg, had also left Germany to settle in Bordeaux; he may have done so just before Karl. Christian had been born in Pampow in northern Germany, in 1776 and in Bordeaux he worked for a while for a merchant who was a native of Lower Saxony. Between 1802 and 1803 Christian undertook a voyage to ports of the North Sea and of the Baltic to visit commercial contacts and clients and to make new contacts in Amsterdam and Danzig. He realised the importance of ‘networking’ and in this way he built up a pool of clients, based on exchanges of information and mutual trust, aided by the bond of friendship and a shared culture and religion. In 1803, armed with advice about when and where to buy and sell wine, he and Karl founded the firm of “Gaden and Klipsch” on the famous Chartrons Quays in Bordeaux. This quarter of Bordeaux had rapidly developed with the expansion of the wine trade by merchants from England and France who were later joined by merchants from further north, including Germany. The expansion was temporarily slowed during the French Revolution, the collaboration of Gaden and Klipsch being the only significant firm to be established in the Bordeaux area during the First Empire. It was a brave and well-judged gamble as under the Restoration of the monarchy their company became one of the ten premier wine trading houses in Bordeaux.
This 1804 painting by the local painter, Lacour, exhibited in the Museum of Decorative Arts, captures the atmosphere along the Chartrons Quays at that time. The lively activity along the quays between the fine houses of the wealthy wine merchants’ and the river’s bank, to which cargoes were brought from the tall ships anchored in the channel, markedly contrasts with the convivial promenades where the gentry could stroll between the lines of lime trees and admire the fountains.
Johann Friedrich Klipsch (12 May 1808-20 November 1848); this is almost certainly the Frédéric, who according to another source married Maria Lafitte from whom were descended a line bearing the name Carlsberg.
Caroline Dorothy Klipsch (4 February 1810-30 April 1886); she married Ivan Reyher, from whom were descended families bearing the surnames Reyher, Fourault and Bonnard.
(Amenaïde) Sophie Klipsch (21 July 1813-ca. January 1862); her marriage to Hermann Gaden on 16 January 1833 led to families bearing the surnames Gaden and Deves.
Charles Ferdinand Klipsch (4 August 1816-16 May 1893)
Marie-Mathilde Klipsch (ca. 1818-ca. January 1828)
(Chrétien) Hermann Klipsch (21 July 1819-21 April 1870); he was a magistrate and he married Henriette Boué on 9 October 1850 but the marriage may have been childless.
Sarah Marie Elisa Klipsch (19 September 1820-ca. January 1821) Henriette Louise Klipsch (15 December 1821-ca. January 1900); her married name was Leroy.
Wilhelmine Louise Klipsch (18 December 1821-30 April 1851); she married Jules Rousse.
Maria Anna Louise Klipsch (27 January 1823-ca. May 1823)
Ferdinand Klipsch (ca. 1825-19 June 1843)
Clearly the ties between the Klipsch and Gaden families were strong. As mentioned above, (Sophie) Aménaïde Klipsch married Hermann Gaden and following the death, on 5 December 1904, of Louis Klipsch (aka Ferdinand Louis Klipsch) of 9 rue-Cornac, Bordeaux, probate was granted to Charles Gaden, merchant (his effects were valued at £830 7s 6d).
The Klipsch connection with the Gaden family was hugely beneficial. Gadens came to wield power locally; for example, Charles Gaden (b 1837) was a municipal councillor from 1878, then deputy mayor, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a foreign trade councillor of France and President of the Union of Wine Merchants. In addition to the respect acquired through political activities, the wealthy German wine merchants of Bordeaux engaged in philanthropic works. However, although the families of German wine merchants made efforts to integrate, they also preserved their traditional values, often intermarrying within their community and generally marrying like-minded Protestants. This did not preclude marriages into catholic Bordelaise bourgeois families since some devout members of the Gaden and Klipsch families became Catholics.
It is hardly surprising that during the 19th century Gaden and Klipsch cemented trade links with Northern Europe but their willingness to speculate, to seek out new commercial opportunities, and their constant desire to expand their horizons inevitably led to increased world-wide trade; in the early 1890s advertisements by an agency in an Otago (New Zealand) newspaper included claret from ‘C. Gaden and Klipsch, Bordeaux’ as one of the wines they supplied. Commercial links with Africa were no doubt aided by the ethnologist and soldier Henri Gaden (1867-1939) (and see here) who spent most of his life in West Africa; he left a vast legacy of letters and writings about that part of the world. Nothing stopped the expansion of Gaden and Klipsch, not even an outbreak of vine disease towards the end of the 19th century.
The publication Clarets and Sauternes, Classed Growths of the Medoc and Other Famous Red and White Wines of the Gironde. (1920) (click here to view) lists many distinguished wines bought and laid up by “Gaden and Klipsch”. For example:
Chateau Latour has always been sold direct to the first-class Bordeaux houses, and from 1906 to 1910 was sold "a 1'abonnement" for five years, in thirds, to Messrs. Gaden and Klipsch, Mestrezat et Cie., and Mateo Petit fils.
However, Karl Klipsch died at Bordeaux on 15 September 1849, by which time he had established a clan of Klipsches in the town and, like Henri Gaden, some ventured further afield. In 1859 Edouard Klipsch, aged 22 and born in Bordeaux, a merchant clerk, landed in New York. However, of greater interest in the context of this account are emigrations to England and to New Zealand.
To the best of my knowledge, the first of the Bordeaux Klipsch family to settle in England was Arthur André Klipsch though the records of alien arrivals show that a merchant, Ferdinand Klipsch, sailed from Havre (Le Havre) aboard the Ariadne arriving in England on 21 April 1842. Early in the 19th century there was a John Philip Klipsch, a surgeon, living in Evesham, Worcestershire. Edward Frederick Klipsch and Frederick Klipsch were almost certainly members of that family who on 24 October 1850 sailed from Plymouth aboard the Isabella Hercus, arriving at Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand, on 1 March, 1851. Isabella Hercus was a full rigged ship built in 1849, and she carried 148 passengers. Edward was a ‘Fore cabin’ passenger and Frederick sailed non-paying steerage. Records show that Frederick was a twenty-five year old native of England who was recommended by the ‘Land Purchasee’, J.P. Wills (presumably this was a prerequisite under some sort of sponsorship scheme that was operating in those days). In August 1852 a list of letters uncollected from the Post Office, Wellington, included one for Edward Klipsch (New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian).
Arthur Klipsch was born in Bordeaux in about 1840. In 1861 he was lodging at 150 Faulkner Street, Liverpool, and he was a ‘Clerk General Merchant’. Ten years later he was lodging at 47 Faulkner Street, Abercrombey, Liverpool, and was a ‘Clerk’. On 2 June 1871, at Bickenhill, Warwickshire, Arthur married Emma Marion Dugard [Meriden 1871, 2nd qt]. She had been born in Brixham [Lambeth 1841, 2nd qt]. The birth of their daughter Ada Louise Klipsch was registered in 1872 [W Derby 1872, 2nd qt]. She was baptised at St Thomas, Seaforth, Lancashire, on 29 April 1872 but her death was registered just a few months later [W Derby 1872, 4th qt]. At that time the family was living at Moss Cottage, Seaforth, which is on the north shore of the mouth of the Mersey, and Arthur was a Merchant’s Clerk. Several years elapsed before the birth of their only child to survive, Frederick Arthur Klipsch [W Derby 1877, 3rd qt]. On 16 September 1877 he was baptised at the church where his sister had been baptised. Arthur was then a Merchant. Arthur’s occupation was described as “General Merchant” in 1881 when his family with two resident staff was living at 27 Alexandra Road, Litherland, Lancashire. In 1891 and 1901, again with two resident staff, the family was living at 12 College Avenue, Great Crosby, Lancashire. The 1901 census revealed that at that time Arthur was a “Nitrate of soda & cotton merchant”. Arthur André Klipsch became a naturalized British subject on 6 March 1897 and early in the 20th century the Klipsh family was living in Warren Road, Blundell Sands, on the coast north of Liverpool.
Arthur, died on 13 December 1908, aged sixty-nine [W Derby 1908, 4th qt]. At the time he and Emma were living at ‘Shanty’, Blundell Sands, near Liverpool and by then Arthur was an extremely wealthy man. Probate was granted to Emma and to a cotton merchant, Walter Cunningham, and the effects initially valued at almost £30 000 were then reassessed at £28 992 11s 2d, an enormous sum of money in those days. Emma was living at the same address when she died on 26 June 1927. Probate (excluding settled land) was granted on 1 September 1927 to a chartered accountant, Frank Skaife Howorth, and a solicitor, Thomas Goffey, and these effects were valued at £1 960 17s 8d. Probate (limited to settled land) was granted on 14 September to her son, Frederick, at that time a hotel proprietor, and to the solicitor, Thomas Goffey, and these effects were valued at £2 150.
On 9 July 1907 Frederick Arthur Klipsch married Janet Elizabeth Cram, daughter of Robert Cram, at St John, Liscard, Cheshire; she was twenty-four and he was twenty-nine. She died the following year on 10 May, presumably in childbirth; her death and the birth of their son, Thomas Arthur Klipsch, were registered at the same time [W Derby 1908 2nd qt].
Two years after Elizabeth’s death Frederick remarried [W Derby 1910, 2nd qt]. On 2 June 1910 he married (Lily) Mabel Tomkinson at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Waterloo, Lancashire. She came from a very wealthy family but her father died when she was quite young so her family suffered ‘reduced circumstances’. In 1911 Fred, Mabel and young Thomas Arthur Klipsch were living at “Garth”, West Derby, Lancashire.
Fred and Mabel’s first child, a daughter, Pauline, was probably still-born; her death [W Derby 1915, 1st qt] was registered the quarter before her birth. A son, Paul Henry Klipsch, was born the following year [W Derby 1916, 2nd qt]. His story is in the main text on this site.
In partnership with a man called William Davison, Fred was proprietor of a ‘motor garage’, ‘Davison and Klipsch’, at 137A Upper Hill Street, Liverpool, but Fred took over the business in 1911. In 1915 Fred was a motor engineer in charge of a large motor repair works in Liverpool. That year he was attached to the West Lancashire N.R. and subsequently the 5th Btn. Liverpool Regt T.F. but he begged to join the Royal Flying Corps, where he served for three years until he was gazetted on 26 December 1918. After the war he never returned to his wife and child.
He married for a third time in 1921 [Barnet 1921, 3rd qt]; his bride was Elizabeth Martin. In the early 1920s Fred had simultaneous entries in the telephone directory as a Consulting Engineer at 67 Jermyn Street, London SW1 and at 19 Brick Street, London W1. He then was entered as living at ‘Killalve’, Royston Park Avenue, Hatch End, Middx and in 1927 he again had two entries, as a Consulting Motor Engineer at 14 Temple Square, Aylesbury, and at ‘The Caravans’, Buckland, Aston Clinton. In 1930 Fred gave his last permanent address in UK as “The Shanty”, Carmel, Nr Holywell, N Wales and he gave his occupation as ‘engineer’ (note the name of the house was the same as that of his parents in Blundell Sands). On 1 February 1930 Fred sailed alone aboard SS Balranald bound for Australia, stating on the passenger list that this was where he intended to live permanently. Elizabeth Klipsch remained in England where she died at the age of 76 [Wirral 1964, 3rd qt]. In fact, Fred transferred to the Marama, bound for Wellington, New Zealand, almost certainly to join his first son, Tom. It was in New Zealand that Fred died on 5 May 1945 aged 67, apparently still working as a motor engineer. His place of burial two days later is described as 'Soldiers Burial G, Row 9, Plot 48' of Waikumete Cemetery, to the west of Auckland.
Tom, Fred's son from his first marriage, had sailed to Wellington aboard Tainui, leaving Southampton on 4 June 1926. Less than a year later, Tom's future wife, Margaret Crush, arrived from Engand with her family; I am told they met at a dance in New Plymouth, married and bought a farm on a road, later named Klipsch Road, in Patumahoe, about an hour's drive south of Auckland. Tom and Margaret became very much a part of the local community; the Evening Post (a Wellington newspaper) reported in October 1932 that Mr & Mrs Klipsch (Auckland) were among the guests at the Midland Hotel and in September 1938 it reported that M Klipsch and T A Klipsch each donated £2 to The New Zealand Council for the Adoption of Chinese Children. I am told that Tom was a very good farmer, winning a number of awards, although at least one of his four daughters believes that he might have preferred to be an engineer. The farm was sold in the sixties when Tom retired and he and Margaret moved to Takapuna on the northern promontory of Auckland. He died on 21 December 1968. Margaret outlived him by thirty years.
So it was that the descendants of the Klipsch family of Bordeaux came and went from England and the Klipsch name disappeared from this branch of the family. Paul Henry Klipsch returned to the French soil of his ancestors and Thomas Arthur Klipsch found a new life on the other side of the world where his descendants - four daughters, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren - now live.