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Johann Meyer Philanthropist..his Deeds and Recognitions

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I treasure my families blood that runs through my veins ~ and that very thought came to my mind in1990 while laying in a Hospital bed. I'd been diagnosed with cancer. Sadly I lost both parents from this decease, and knowing this I thought I might die. I was scared, although the prognosis was good for me - but still, I was scared.

While in Hospital I had lots to think about, and as I was looking at my skin with pronounced veins in my arms... this very thought came to mind. “This blood that runs through my veins is not only from my father and mother...but their parents as well, all the way back to the beginning of time.” The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know...Who were they and what have my ancestors done to contribute making this world a better place. I wondered, did they help others, and did they have a strong religious Faith?

My mother told me stories about herself, including dad and other family members of the past. To me the stories seemed so incredible that I had a hard time believing them. I just had to know, so my search began.

Then of course I had to ask Myself....what have I done to make this world a better place?

*Starting with my inherited News Article about my GGgrandfather Johann Meyer who through his philanthropy, was ennobled.

Johann Meyer 1800 - 1887


Article title: Who did Good to be Remembered - January 7 1937 He had been dead for 50 years ~ the “Russian Meyer”

Johann Meyer  - Russische Meyer

Johann Meyer - Russische Meyer

The "Russian Meyer" written in German

This is about Johann Meyer, detailing his journey and Russian involvement with Industries that gave him the name...Salt, Railroad, Thread, and Cotton Mogul and a ‘Grosskaufmann’ merchant 1 (great merchant) The rest of the story, honoring him for all he had done for the city of Dresden Germany, where he was also an Honorary Citizen and a street named after him (Johann-Meyer Strasse)

A note: My researcher has found Johann Meyer‘s middle names indeed were different, as shown in the strikeout in the 1937 article. That's a story in itself with lots of new information.

I've also noticed it’s been mentioned Johann Meyer as a Banker. I'm not sure where this comes from, there were many Johann Meyers during that time period...including in Dresden.
Maybe that's why my father went to a Banking School in there might be something to it.

Dresden has not forgotten him!

Another article January 20, 1994 Sachsische Zeitung article - posted again SZ Sachsische Zeitung Jan. 6, 2006

Letters recording the deeds, from STADTMUSEUM

Unfortunately this letter is in German, for those that can read German you might be able to understand it. It basically starts with 1863 with 1200 Thaler and went total 575,200 Marks, which in those days was a great deal of money...With his philanthropy Johann Meyer was given the title of Honored Citizen of Dresden.

Also stating in the letter that in October 1991 and January 1994 the newspapers had articles commemorating his Philanthropy. The first Newspaper article was written in 1933, I can't find the ones written earlier in my research, most likely they where destroyed from the Fire Bombing of Dresden 1945.

#1 pg. explaining J.Meyer donations and reasons

Personal image all rights reserved

Personal image all rights reserved

#2 pg. more about his Philanthropy records

2nd page more Philanthropy records

2nd page more Philanthropy records

Art Collectors and artists in the family

Being an artist myself, I found it interesting that Johann Meyer was an avid art collector ....he went to Dourot’ Auction in Paris, as well as Dresdens‘ Fountainebleau School of art.

He liked supporting upcoming artist and displayed their art in his Villa for the public to see... the list of artists are very impressive, and wish I had just one of them.
There are several artists and collectors in the family.
Meyer had a great deal of influence on some of his famed friends to collect art.

Invitation to the Dresden State Museum

In 2006 we visited Dresden, and the Stadt Museum invited us to view a "Wood Cutting" of the image of Johann Meyer by famed Hugo Bürkner (1818–1897) The visit to the Museum was very interesting, they took us to a vault and gave us white gloves to wear so that we might handle the books. It is by pure luck that these items from the Museum survived through the Anglo-American firebombing of Dresden in 1945.

My father and my aunt where caught in the midst of the bombing, I heard some very terrible stories about that night.

Dresden is beautiful and it's nice to see that the city is being rebuilt, hopefully in its old glory. I still have a hard time understanding why of all the cities in Germany, they chose to destroy this most beautiful and cultured city. Over 250,000 innocent children, women, old people and prisoners of war, dying or injured that night.

Street sign and together with Plaque

Street Name

Street Name

Plaque how it looks now

Plaque how it looks now

Street Sign & Commemoration Plaque

The Museum director gave us directions to see the Street that was named after Johann Meyer the "Johann-Meyer-Strasse"... as you can see there is Graffiti on the street plaque sign, you can't get away from it...what a shame!

Not only did he build one building but others on that street. His first building was to accommodate the poor working people at the Factories. He also built Schools, Hospitals and helped Churches, setting up trusts that to this day are still in affect. These are just some of the things he did to warrant his ennoblement, and for one year he was the Honorary Citizen of that beautiful city Dresden.

Johann Meyer's heartfelt concern for those that worked so hard in the city factories living in deplorable disease ridden conditions was without notice, and the fact he gave a huge amount of money to the poor to be distributed amongst them, makes me exceedingly proud of lucky I am and that his blood flows through my veins...

Some answers

When visiting Dresden I found out from the Museum where the Trinitatisfriedhof (Cemetery) was located. We took a bus there and a nice lady took us to the area that the Meyer/von Meyer family grave site was.
I took photos, but never noticed the discrepancy until later, when things just didn't mesh with my g.g.grandfathers' Johann Meyer name. You must understand that the name Meyer is as popular as Smith is in the states. So you can see that this research has been frustrating... especially finding more mistakes.

I happen to find a photo on Flicker that showed the same grave site that I took a photo of, and that's when I noticed the last name was wrongly spelled Mayer, however the years were correct. Then I received mail from the Cemetery, they said that no one knew why the last names were misspelled. Johann Meyer had a daughter named Auguste, she married a Müller. Johann's wife's' name was Auguste Dorothea 'Fehst' and she also is buried at this grave site, but I did not see her grave there and completely forgot to ask...I guess I was too excited seeing all this.

Then thinking, how does one find corrections for all this? Well, the mystery just got deeper....I was told that this is indeed Johann Meyers' headstone. From what I understand the city of Dresden replaced the war torn headstone, but not the original which might have had a Bust of him on top. My grandfather and great grandfather are right next to him, as seen in the photograph.

Now I have the answers for some of these inconsistencies, but there are still some unanswered things plaguing me...I'll carry on as long as I can and hope someday to fulfill my dream of answers.

Villa Meyer

While in Dresden I wanted to see where the Villa Meyer once stood, this at the corner of Beustrasse1 - Parkstrasse. I knew it had been firebombed, and most was torn down around 1954, except for one building which in recent years was torn down and the property sold.

Originally designed by Russian Architect Harald Julius von Bosse. Then with additional designs, built by the famed Georg Hermann Nicolai.

Sadly for some reason we never made it to this area where the remaining building stood.... a big regret.

When I saw the Villa Meyer listed on the Nicolai's Wikipedia, I knew there had to be more information available. You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find images of the Villa Meyer on Wikipedia!

Unfortunately this house on Beuststrasse 1/Parkstrasse Dresden was destroyed in 1945 from the firebombing and then completely torn down In the last few years.

Discovering more Information

Stadtwiki Dresden

Stadtwiki Dresden

The American Journal of Sociology - wrote

The American Journal of Sociology

The American Journal of Sociology

Willkommen im Stadtwiki

I came upon this webpage Stadwiki Dresden featuring Johann Meyer. The addition to that site was done Sept. 2012. I was happy to have found some answers to questions I had...Interestingly enough they used my webpage for some of their information, but most likely it came from the other references they have.

The page can be translated by copying/pasting the Link URL into Google and then use the translator...although a few of the words are translated wrong (example Johann Meyer was not a reindeer ;-) however it's very informative and helpful to me.

NOTE: Having researched more on my ggGrandfather Johann Meyer, I’ve discovered many this should not be used for genealogy purposes until corrected.

Finding the ‘von’ in Conferred Peerage -

Listing of family conferred peerage

Listing of family conferred peerage


When I first started this story it was my intention to research the Coat of Arms ~ Crest and Peerage, how and who earned it. I was always told that the Coat of Arms was dedicated for my g.g.grandfather ”Johann Meyer for his philanthropy”. I noticed he didn't use a title or the “von“ in front of his last name and wondered why. After reading his will I could understand why. He was modest and wanted the attention on others, not him.