Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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August Goebel

Goebel was born in Mustermaifeld Rhenish Prussia in 1839. He left Germany at the age of 17 and was headed for Chicago when he ran out of funds. He landed in Detroit, and began working as an apprentice at Elwoods Bookbindery.

At the age of 20 he joined the Scott Guards of the Michigan Militia (Oct. 26, 1859). He was promoted to First Sergeant and elected Secretary, a position he held until the Civil War broke out. At that time he enlisted in the same company, which became Company A, Michigan 2nd Infantry. He rose to the rank of Captain by August 1862. He and his unit were active in 14 separate engagements before he was forced to resign due to a severe hearing loss. After the war (1881) he reenlisted in Scott Guards of the Michigan State Troops. He achieved the rank of Commissioned Lt. Colonel and Assistant Inspector General, First Brigade from which he was honorably discharged April 15, 1891.

He married Sophie Hellings and they had eleven children. Four of the children died young.
Described by a contemporary newspaper, as ”one of the most enterprising and successful citizens in Detroit business life…who has given freely much of his valuable time to municipal and state affairs…” He served as: Superintendent of Public Parks, Representative in the Michigan Legislature, Detroit City Council member, President of the Council and acting Mayor, member and President of the Water Works Board.


In 1873 Goebel and his partner Theodore Gorenflo founded A. Goebel & Company which by the 1880’s had become the third largest brewery in Detroit. The brewery and its successors flourished until Prohibition forced the company to close. The last of the Goebel family involved with the business was Ted Goebel a grandson. The company, for various reasons, was closed in 1964.

August Goebel died November 26, 1905 after a brief illness.

Born: 1839
Died: November 26, 1905
Buried: Indian Mound, Lot 4