"Brewing in Maryland"
by William J. Kelley
Nicholas Hodel (1857)
John G. Hodel (1861) [Son]
Nicholas Hodel, born in Olsberg, Basel, Switzerland, on December 6, 1791, began, about 1857, a small brewery in Cumberland at the rear of North Centre Street, below, or south of, Valley Street. At present the site is utilized by the Cumberland Cement & Supply Company, although there is no trace of the former brewery. Nicholas Hodel is believed to have had brewing experience in his native Switzerland and also in Cumberland before operating his own brewery. His death occurred on December 6, 1861, and he was interred in SS. Peter & Paul (German) Catholic Cemetery, in Cumberland.
Upon the death of the father, John G. Hodel, II, born in 1837, came into possession of the brewery. His brother, Thomas as well as John G., were also employed in the brewery before the father's passing. Thomas continued for a while under the ownership of John G.
Ernest Hartmann, an old resident of Cumberland, aged 91 years when contacted concerning several old Cumberland breweries in 1941, mentioned that John G. Hodel was also an inventor and was especially intrigued by a perpetual motion idea. According to Mr. Hartmann and Mr. William P. Rizer (both deceased), the latter the former secretary for many years with the Queen City Brewing Company of Cumberland, John Hodel's body was found at the bottom of a crag, near Lover's Leap, in the Narrows, just north of Cumberland. Daniel Schultz, son of George Henry Schultz, another of Cumberland's brewers, discovered the body. The death occurred in 1882. Shortly thereafter the brewery was closed, and on the site the first artificial ice plant in Cumberland was operated, according to Mr. Rizer.
Mrs. William C. (Bessie Hodel) Thompson, daughter of John G. and Anna M. Hodel, still resides in Cumberland at 135 Bedford Street. When contacted she held a passport (1864) for John G. Hodel, her father, to Olsberg/Basel, Switzerland, when he studied brewing in that country. She also retained the Hodel Coat-of-Arms, and several old beer kegs utilized by the brewery with name "N. Hodel" cut in them.
Sabella Hodel, daughter of Nicholas, the founder of the brewery, was born May 11, 1832, and died September 11, 1874. She married James Twigg, Sr. of Cumberland.
The Will of Nicholas HODEL
"In the name of God, Amen. I, Nicolas Hodel of Allegenny [sic] County, in the State of Maryland being of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding, considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and therby for the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me home, do therefore make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and that is to say,
First and principally, I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, and my body to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor, here in after named and after my debts and funeral expenses are paid and my wife's thirds taken out I devise and bequeath as follows:
I give and bequeath unto my wife Ann in addition to her widow's thirds during her natural life, the house and lot situated on Centre Street in Cumberland City, being the same as described in a deed from Bernard O'Rourk and wife to me. It is my intention that this bequest to my said wife, is to be understood and considered as inclusive of and in addition to her devices or thirds of all my property which she is entitled to by law.
I give and bequeath to my grandson, Joseph Messman, son of my daughter, Mary Messman, now deceased, the sum of six hundred dollars which the said sum of six humdred dollars, I hereby impress said dollars to be put on interest on good security until the said Joseph Messman becomes of age, that is to say until he shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years, and then paid at that time he is to receive the said sum of six hundred dollars, with the interest therein, that may have accrued up to that time, and not until then.
I devise and bequeath all the rest and residue of my estate both real and personal to be equally divided among and between my sons Thomas, Joseph and John, to share and share alike.
And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Joseph Holdel [sic] to be sole executor of this my last will and testament revoking and annulling for me heretofore made, ratifying and confirming this and none others to be my last will and testament.
In testimony wherfor [sic] I have herewith set my hand and affirmed my seal. This fourth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine.
Signed and sealed
Published and declared by Nicholas Hodel the above named testator as and for his last will and testament."
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