Short Bios | Francis Erdelmeyer

Colonel Francis Erdelmeyer, 32nd Indiana
By Michael A. Peake

Frank Erdelmeyer, born November 2, 1835, in Herrnsheim, Germany, to Philip and Elizabeth Tag Erdelmeyer, apprenticed as an upholsterer until age 17, when he immigrated to New York to pursue his vocation. In 1858, Erdelmeyer relocated to Indianapolis where he apprenticed at John Ott’s furniture store, 215 West Washington Street. Young Francis held membership in the Indianapolis Turngemeinde that met at Ott’s store.

When the Civil War began, Erdelmeyer enlisted in Colonel Lew Wallace’s three-month 11th Regiment Indiana Zouaves, along with many other Indianapolis Turners, and served in the regiment as a sergeant of Company “E” on the Upper Potomac until July 1861. He organized a company of Germans in August that became Company “A,” 32nd Indiana August 24, 1861 with Erdelmeyer as captain. Erdelmeyer served the remainder of the war at command level in the 32nd Indiana, taking command of the regiment from before Stones River until they returned to Indianapolis from the trenches around Atlanta in August 1864.

Two months after his return he wed Katherine Hoffman, a native of Germany, who gave him a son and three daughters. Erdelmeyer entered into a successful pharmacy partnership at 91 East Washington Street with his former comrade and close friend, Adolph Metzner, until he bought Metzner out in 1868. He operated a pharmacy business until shortly before his death at the age of 91, on October 16, 1926. He is buried in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery, Section 12, Lot #35.

Photo by E. & J. Bruening, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Colonel Francis Erdelmeyer
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129680