Edmund T. Zschoch (3 Mar. 1854-May 1891)

There is not a lot of hard information about Edmund T. Zschoch, but we can gather a number of details from the records that survive. The name Zschoch can be found in the records with a variety of spellings. “Zschock,” “Schock,” and “Shock” are three of the more common alternate spellings.

Edmund Zschoch was born in Germany. He was the son of Theodore Zschoch. When Edmund was nine years old, he and his sister Elisabeth emigrated from Germany on the ship Teutonia and arrived in the United States at Castle Garden, New York, on 23 June 1863. Their fare was paid by Edmund himself. Ten years later, Edmund attended the University of Virginia in session 49 (1872-1873).

The Zschoch/Zschock family appears in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York in the 1875 New York State Census, and the 1880 U.S. Census of New York. From these records we find that Theodore (in 1875, listed as Thomas) Zschoch was born ca. 1826, Margaret, his wife, was born ca. 1841; Edmund, his son, was born ca. 1854; Eliza (in 1875, Elizabeth), his daughter, ca. 1857; Paul (in 1875, Peter), his son, ca. 1865; and Walter (in 1875, William), his son, ca. 1867. Theodore, Margaret, Edmund, and Eliza were born in Saxony, Germany; Paul and Walter were born in Kings County, NY. Margaret is probably not Theodore’s first wife, because she would have been twelve or thirteen years old when Edmund was born in Germany. Therefore, she is probably only the biological mother of Paul and Walter, and because Paul and Walter were born in New York, Margaret probably married Theodore about 1864 in the United States.

In the 1875 NY state census, Theodore (Thomas) was a liquor salesman. In the 1880 U.S. Census, Theodore Zschock’s occupation is “Broker Comm,” perhaps an abbreviation for “commissioned broker” or “broker on commission.” From newspaper articles it seems that Theodore was a broker or agent for the Louisiana State Lottery Commission, a money-raising mail-order lottery scheme that began in 1869. The Commission was for many years the only legal lottery in the United States, and it soon controlled the Louisiana legislature and governor. Ninety percent of the lottery tickets were sold outside of Louisiana, thus causing trouble for the other states.

 On 24 Oct. 1877, Theodore Zschoch, a “banker and broker,” was convicted in the New York court system of mailing lottery circulars. On 13 Nov. 1879, the Postmaster-General promulgated a decision that forbade the purchase of lottery tickets by mail; the example letter quoted in the newspaper is the one regarding Theodore Zschoch: “It having been represented to me that a certain Theodore Zschoch, at New-York City, N. Y., is engaged in conducting a scheme or device for obtaining money through the mails by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and being satisfied from the evidence before me that the said Theodore Zschoch is so engaged, I do hereby forbid the payment … of any postal money order drawn to the order of said Theodore Zschoch…” In 1880, both “Theodore and Edmund T. Zschoch, father and son,”  were indicted for selling lottery tickets. On this occasion, their lawyer got them off on a technicality.

Edmund T. Zschoch died in May, 1891, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York.

[Note: Edmund Zschoch’s birth date is listed in the UVA Matriculation Books. — JLC]


  • Donohue, Judge, “Court Notes: Suing for back pay. Decisions. Supreme Court — Chambers.” ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008), 25 Oct. 1877, p. 3.
  • “Edmund Schock immigration record.” CastleGarden.org [website]<http://www.castlegarden.org/quick_search_detail.php?p_id=4123997&gt; accessed 6/7/12).
  • “John Morris, Lottery King.” ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008), 11 Feb. 1894.
  • “Lottery men punished. Two sent to prison — others fined — errors in the indictments.” ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008), 20 Sep. 1880, p. 3.
  • “The Lottery-ticket war: Action of the Postmaster-General — The Arrests in this city.” ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008), 15 Nov. 1879, p. 3.
  • “New York, State Census, 1875,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VNJH-5YV : accessed 8 June 2012), household of Thomas Zschoch, Brooklyn, Ward 10, E.D. 02, Kings, New York, United States.
  • “United States Census, 1880,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZ8L-XQC : accessed 9 June 2012), Theodore Zschock, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Zschoch/Schock graves, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY. Findagrave.com (accessed 6/8/12).
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