Genealogy Today: Instead of home run, I hit brick wall | Sun Life

After researching, I found that a family story of my great-grandfather Edward Klein playing baseball for Cincinnati was not true. However, I did learn more about him.

The Klein family was in the hotel and tavern business in Richmond, Indiana from the late 1800s until 1940. Among items from the Grand Hotel (owned by Edward’s brother George) is a one-quart amber beer bottle embossed with Geo. L. Klein Richmond, Indiana.

Recently I bought a similar bottle embossed with E.W. Klein, Richmond, Indiana, on eBay. Though costly to produce, bottlers used embossing to ensure they would be returned for refill. I figured that each brother was in the brewing business or that George filled his bottles at the hotel bar for take-home.

In the book “Hoosier Beer,” by Bob Ostrander and Derrick Morris, two Richmond breweries were listed and Geo. L. Klein and E.W. Klein were two of the 10 listed bottlers in the city.

From 1875 to 1890, federal regulations prohibited brewing companies from bottling their own beer. They had to be separate companies and at separate locations. So, Edward was in the bottling business. He could have bottled for one of the two local brewers or for Christian Moerlein of Cincinnati, since he had been their agent.

Hauling beer from the Cincinnati brewery nearly 70 miles north to Richmond for bottling was not feasible in those days. However if the brewery wanted a presence in the Richmond area, the bottling company there might be the answer.

If Edward bottled beer from Christian Moerlein, it would have been lager beer. Lager, the German word for storehouse or cellar, ages by bottom-settling yeast fermenting for about six months in barrels or casks in a cool environment before it is bottled or consumed. The hilly landscape in Cincinnati provided tunnels and caves dug into the hillsides, which brewers used for aging. Many…

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