Peter Joseph Cochems, Baker/Cigar Maker.

by Lois Jones - December 2002

Joseph Cochems was Henry Cochems and Anna Maria Goebel's second child. Joseph married Gertrude Stolz in Cochem, Germany, on July 21, 1861. Three of Joseph and Gertrude's children were born in Germany and two in the United States as follows:

  Born Died Married
Henry May 20, 1862
Apr. 10, 1943
Orange. Co., CA
Gertrude (AKA Sadie)
in Chicago about 1889
Anna Maria
Sep. 22, 1863
April 27, 1941
Orange Co., CA
Matthew Kramer
Gertrude Dec. 31, 1864
Jan. 31, 1957
Orange Co., CA
Louis Mattes on June 28,
1884, in Joliet, Illinois
Anthony June 5, 1873
Chicago, Illinois
Sep. 19, 1921
Los Angeles Co., CA
Katherine Schiller on
Oct. 9, 1894, Los Angeles
William June 22, 1879
Chicago, Illinois
Oct. 3, 1938
Orange Co., CA
Jessie Geiger
on June 5, 1922

The Cochemer Familienchronik states that Joseph was a baker and that he and his family left from Trier, Germany and traveled to America in 1871. Perhaps Joseph left in 1871 but the family came in1872. Wife Gertrude and children, Henry, Mary and Gertrude Cochems arrived in the United States aboard the Steam Ship Minnesota on August 5, 1872. The Minnesota had commenced the voyage in Liverpool and stopped in Queenstown for more passengers. According to The Ships List web site (, the Minnesota was a 3,008 gross ton ship, 335 by 42 foot clipper stem, one funnel, two masts (rigged for sail). There was room for 72 first class and 800 third class passengers. When the Cochems made the trip there were 301 steerage and 10 cabin passengers. The Cochems traveled in steerage. No births or deaths were recorded on the log. However the log did note that 33 passengers were Belgian, 80 English, 21 Irish, 130 German, 9 French, 7 Swede, 1 Dane, 20 Norwegian, and 20 American. I have viewed ships logs from 1868 where there were more than 1,000 passengers aboard one ship. The Cochems were lucky to travel with only 311 people.

According to the 1875/76 Chicago Directory Joseph worked as a cigar maker at 279 West 14th, probably his home. In the 1880 Census Joseph was listed as a baker and two other, apparently unrelated bakers, were living with the family. Henry the oldest child was 18 in 1880 and was not living in the home. Per the 1883 Chicago Directory, Joseph lived with his brother Peter at 181 W. 13th and worked as a baker at 472 So. Halsted.

The History of Orange Co. states Joseph came to Los Angeles in 1886 and his wife Gertrude followed later. In fact in 1886 Joseph traveled to Valwig, Germany where his sister Anna Zenz lived. He then traveled back to America with Anna and her 5 children arriving in New York on November 8, 1886. Joseph and Anna then stopped in Chicago for a short visit and then continued on to Los Angeles. More on this trip to America in the Anna Cochems Zenz' section of this history.

The first Los Angeles Directory that lists Joseph was the 1888 Directory by W. H. L. Corran where Joseph was listed as a cigar manufacturer living at 338 Center. In the 1890 L.A. Directory, Joseph was listed again as a cigar manufacturer living at 338 Center. His sister Anna Cochems Zenz in a separate entry is shown living at the same address.

Following are the Cochems listed in the 1895 Los Angeles Directory.

Cochems Anthony, butcher Karl Roeder, r. 426 1/2 Amelia

Cochems Antone (Cochems & Son), r. 217 Wilmington

Cochems Arnold F., gripman, r. 214 W. Sixth

Cochems Joseph, bakery, 248 E. First, r. same

Cochems William, baker Joseph Cochems, r. 248 E. First

According to the above in 1895 Joseph had his own bakery at 248 E. First where he also lived. William Cochems, aged 16, worked for and lived with his father. Anna Zenz and her family lived in a separate home in 1895.

Arnold Cochems in the above 1895 Directory entry was the son of Matthias Cochems of Wisconsin. According to Kathleen Cochems, the Anthony Cochems identified as a butcher in the above list was the son of Joseph Cochems. I was never able to identify Antone Cochems.

I could not find Joseph or his son William in the 1900 California or Chicago Censuses. Perhaps Joseph was in Europe. We know Joseph traveled to Europe because he left Antwerp aboard the steamship Kensington and arrived in New York on April 16, 1902. On the ship manifest Joseph was listed as a resident of Los Angeles. You can find Joseph Cochems name and a picture of the ship he traveled on at Obviously everyone on this web site was not a new immigrant.

Joseph's wife Gertrude was enumerated in the 1900 Los Angeles Census. She was listed as a widow and servant at 248 E. First St., Los Angeles. Although Gertrude was listed as a widow in this Census; Joseph her husband was very much alive; he was just not living in Los Angeles. 248 E. First St. is the same address where Joseph had operated a bakery in 1895. In 1900 Gertrude was living at this address with Joseph Langnickel, a baker, and his wife and 3 children. The Langnickel family apparently had no familial connection to the Cochems family. Gertrude however, is not without family in Los Angeles. According to the 1900 Census her oldest son Henry J. was renting a home at 135 South Avenue Twenty-One in Los Angeles with is wife of 10 years Gertrude.

A newspaper article dated March 11, 1903, stated that "Joseph Cochems and Ed Ward of this city have entered the business field at Orange, having started a bakery. A complete new plant has been put in and the firm will give Orange an up-to-date bakery. Mr. Cochems has had years of experience in the bakery line is qualified to put out a good product. The bakery is located north of the plaza."

A public notice dated May 4, 1904, reported "Jos. Cochems having bought all business interest of the firm know as Cochems & Ward at Orange and having done business at No. 314 Main street, Santa Ana, has removed his Santa Ana store to Sutton's New Market at No. 304 E. Fourth street, Santa Ana, I therefore ask all customers and others to call and give me a trial. JOS COCHEMS." Joseph was 70 years old when this public notice was printed.

According to the 1910 California Census Joseph lived in Santa Ana at 732 "F" Street with his son Henry J. (child #1) and daughter-in-law Sadie G. The Census listed Henry as a naturalized citizen and Joseph as an alien. Henry worked as a cornice maker in a tin shop and owned the "F" Street home which was mortgaged. Mary (child #2) lived next door at 720 "F" Street with her husband Matthew Kramer and their four children. Joseph's wife Gertrude was living with youngest child William who was a master baker and owned his own home, which was mortgaged, at 640 French Street in Santa Ana.

The Santa Ana (1916) City Directory states that Joseph was living at 711 West 10th and his wife Gerturde continued to live at 640 French with youngest child, William.

Joseph Cochems died on January 7, 1918 at the age of 84. His address was listed as 701 West Tenth St., Santa Ana. His wife Gertrude died 10 years later on July 20, 1928 in her home at 720 French Street. She was 90 years old. Both were buried from St Joseph's Catholic Church in Santa Ana.

Henry Cochems (child #1) married Gertrude about 1889 in Chicago. According to the Santa Ana (1916) City Directory, Henry Cochems was a tinner for F. P. Nickey Hardware Co. and lived at 732 Lacy. According to Adeline Cochems Walker, Henry operated a tin smith shop in the McFadden Hardware store in Orange County for many years. Per the 1920 Census Henry owned his home at 732 Lacy, Santa Ana free of mortgage. Gertrude died June 15, 1925 at the age of 54 in Santa Ana. According to a newspaper article dated June 17, 1925 her funeral was held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Santa Ana. The newspaper stated "Solemn requiem high mass was sung by the pastor, Monsignor Henry Eummelen, assisted by a choir. Father Eummelen, in a brief eulogy of Mrs. Cochems, spoke of her as a perfect Christian woman always ready to give of her best to all church activities." Henry died at the age of 80 on April 10, 1943 in Orange Co., California.

As stated above Mary (child #2) lived next door to her brother Henry in 1910. Her husband Matthew Kramer was a house carpenter. The 1910 Census states daughter Katie was 14 and born in Illinois. Children, Andrew (age 11), Charlie (age 9) and Clara (age 7) were all born in Missouri. Mary Cochems Kramer died at the age of 77 on April 27, 1941 in Orange Co., CA. Katherine Kramer Maag died in 1987 (age 92) in Orange Co. Charles Kramer died in 1987 (age 86) in San Diego Co. Clara Kramer Faber died in 1981 (age 77) in Orange Co. I don't know what happened to Andrew Kramer.

Gertrude (child #3) married Louis Mattes on June 28, 1884, in Joliet, Illinois. In the 1920 Census Gertrude was living alone on Parton Street in Santa Ana. The census stated Gertrude owned her home which was mortgaged and described her as a 55 year old married woman who worked as a shop laborer. In 1920 Louis Mattes was living in Chicago. Louis died July 30, 1941 in Chicago. Gertrude Mattes died on January 31, 1957 at the age of 92 in Orange Co, CA. According to California death records the Mattes' had at least one child namely Gertrude Martin who was born in 1887 in Illinois and died in 1981 in Riverside Co., California at the age of 94.

Anthony (child #4) married Katherine Schiller on October 9, 1894 in Los Angeles. In 1895 he worked as a butcher per the Los Angeles Directory. In 1904 when son Tony was born, Anthony owned a bakery in Bakersfield, California

In the 1910 California Census, Anthony lived in Pico Canyon with his wife Katherine and their five children, William, Mary, Paul, Tony and Vincent. Anthony was a baker for Standard Oil and owned his own home. In 1910 there were 121 adults and children living in Pico Canyon. Standard Oil was the principal employer in Pico Canyon although there were also two bee farms. (See Pico Canyon was a part of the Newhall Precinct which numbered 1600 people. Besides Standard Oil, major employers in the Newhall Precinct were the railroad and Los Angeles aqueduct. There were also a few general farmers, bee farmers and gold miners. In 1910 the aqueduct accounted for almost 400 of those enumerated in the census. Most of the 400 were working men but a few of that number were the families of some of the working men. The Los Angeles aqueduct was completed in 1913.

Anthony Cochems and his family were still in the Newhall area in 1920. However there was no separate listing for Pico Canyon in the 1920 Census for the Newhall Precinct; so I don't know if the family still lived in Pico Canyon. According to the 1920 Census, Anthony, Katherine and the children were living in a rented home; so perhaps they had moved out of the Canyon. In any event according to the census, Anthony no longer worked as a baker but was a gas engineer in the oil fields. Anthony's two oldest sons also worked in the oil fields, William (age 24) was a foreman and Paul (age 20) was a laborer. (See Anthony Jr. (age 15) and Vincent (age 12) attended school. Daughter Mary (age 22) also lived in the home with her infant son James. The Newhall Precinct in 1920 numbered about 715 people.

As discussed earlier, Nicholas Cochems of the Wisconsin Cochems came to California in the late 19th Century. As fate would have it two of Nicholas' children, Ethel (age 19) and Carl (age 16) also lived in the Newhall Precinct in 1920. According to the census. Ethel and Carl both worked in a general store, she as a saleswoman and he as a laborer. Ethel Cochems died on March 13, 1928, when the St. Francis Dam collapsed.

Anthony died from asthma on September 19, 1921 in Los Angeles County. He was 48 years old. Katherine, his wife, died on October 10, 1955 in Los Angeles Co. two days before her 83rd birthday. As for their children, William died at the age of 73 in Los Angeles Co. Mary Cochems Anderson died at the age of 96 in Santa Clara Co. Paul died at the age of 90 in Ventura Co. Tony, Jr. died at the age of 84 in Kern Co. Vincent died at the age of 86 in Orange Co. All four sons had careers with or worked for Standard Oil Co.

William (child #5) finally married at the age of 42. According to Adeline Cochems Walker, William married Jessie on June 5, 1922. Per the History of Orange County William lived at 640 French Street and owned the Vienna Bakery and Confectionery at 210 East 4th Street, Santa Ana. The following is a quote from the History of Orange County: "Having learned the art of baking from his father, William Cochems started out as a journeyman baker...and held positions as baker at the celebrated Hotel del Coronado and also at the Raymond at Pasadena....He bought out H. L. Smith, in 1901, and took charge of his bakery at 309 North Main Street, in Santa Ana. Three years later he removed to 210 East Fourth Street, and here he has been ever since....For twenty years he has devoted on an average not less than eighteen hours a day to his business interests." He died on October 3, 1938 in Orange Co. California at the age of 59. He and Jessie had no children.

In 1910, according to the census, Santa Ana had 7,671 residents; Newport Beach, another coastal city, had 413 inhabitants. It is not surprising that all but one of Joseph's children would be attracted to this small town in rural Orange County with its pleasant mild climate. Of course today anyone familiar with Santa Ana knows that it is just one of many cities that make up the huge housing and industrial development that Orange County has become.

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