"G" is for the German Friendly Society

Sep 8, 2017

"G" is for the German Friendly Society. Oldest of all the German male social organizations in Charleston, the German Friendly Society was founded by Michael Kalteisen and Daniel Strobel in 1766. Originally it was a social and mutual-aid society to pay sick and death benefits, and allow members to borrow funds at low interest rates. Within a few years, German ethnicity was no longer a requirement for membership. By the mid-1800s the organization’s membership reflected the assimilation of colonial Germans into Charleston society—causing newer immigrants to say that they had "lost their German-ness." Following the Civil War and the decline of German immigration to Charleston, the society developed into a social and charitable organization. During World War II, the group dropped "German" from its name, but in 1965 reverted to its original name, the German Friendly Society.