Heritage \ Writings \

William E. Zabst (1863-?)
Born in Erie Co, Ohio, move to Bay City in 1879.

1892 biography. (Added May, 2010)

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan - 1892.


Instructor on the violin, cornet clarionet, guitar and banjo, is one of the best teachers in Northern Michigan and has been very successful in his profession. His exceptional attainments as a musician are widely recognized, and the citizens of Bay City entertain an especially high opinion of his abilities. He has given numerous successful concerts in Bay City and West Bay City which were highly commended by the citizens of both places. Upon these occasions the participants were the pupils who have been under his tuition from the very beginning of their musical careers. During one concert he had an orchestra of thirty-five pieces, composed of his pupils, containing sixteen violinists (all ladies) besides cello, trombones, cornets, etc. He possesses a thorough knowledge of music, which has power to charm even savage ears.

Prof. Zabst was born January 23, 1863, in Erie County, Ohio. His grandfather, John Zabst, who was born in Germany, emigrated to America and died in Crawford County, Ohio, when eighty-seven years. Jacob Zabst, father of our subject, was born in Province of Alsace, on the Rhine, in Germany, and was reared to farming pursuits. When eight years old he accompanied his father to the United States and learned the trade of blacksmith in Ohio, afterward following it in the Buckeye State and Indiana. He now resides in Toledo, Ohio and works at his trade. The mother of our subject was known in maidenhood as Clementia A. Page and was born in Ohio.

In the family of Jacob and Clementia Zabst there were eight children, our subject being the youngest son. He was taken when about four years old from his native home in Erie County, Ohio, to Indiana and thence back to the Buckeye State, and when eight years old was bound out on a farm. His education was received in various parts but principally in the High School in Castalia, Ohio. At the age of twelve years he commenced to play the violin, for which he had a talent, and soon became adept in its use. He early became self-supporting and worked out on farms and in any business which offered an honorable means of livelihood.

The Professor came to West Bay City in 1879, where for three years he was employed in the Sage Mill and during that time he studied music under the best instructors here. He also devoted considerable attentional to painting, both in oil colors and crayon, having artistic abilities of no mean order. While engaged in the Sage Mill he saved enough money to carry him through college. In 1882 he entered Ada College, in Ada, Ohio, and there paid special attention to the study of the fine arts in connection with literature for two years, returning to West Bay City in the spring of 1884. After his return his days were spent in work at the mill, while during the evenings he was employed as a teacher of music. The year following his return the strike occurred which caused him to turn his attention exclusively to music, and since that time he has found constant employment in that line.

In the summer of 1889 Prof. Zabst spent considerable time at Central Music Hall, Chicago, his violin instructor being the well known Prof. Jacobson. He excels as a violinist, and the citizens of Bay City consider it one of their greatest pleasures to listen to the sweet melodies which his skilled fingers evoke. He is a member of the military band, where he plays the clarionet. The Zabst Music Rooms are located on the corner of John and Dean Streets, and there the Professor may generally be found. In his political relations he is a firm Republican, and socially belongs to the Order of Foresters. His nephew, Bert Zabst, who is only thirteen years old, is one of the finest cornet players in the State and has received his entire musical eduction from the Professor. The latter has a wonderful influence over young people, and it seems impossible for anyone else to awaken such a love for music and such skill in playing among the children.

Additional Notes.

    1889 Directory: West Bay City, Mich.

  • Zabst Bros (Eugene and Frank O Zabst), blacksmiths and horsehoers n w cor John and Catherine.
  • Zabst, Eugene (Zabst Bros), res Hurley blk.
  • Zabst, Frank (Zabst Bros), res e s Center 2s of John.
  • Zabst, Wm E, musician, bds Hurley blk.
Related Note & Pages

William E. Zabst

Related Pages:
Sage, Henry W. mill
Zabst, Eugene. bro.
People Referenced
Jacobson, Prof.
Page, Clementia A. (mother)
Zabst, Burt (nephew)
Zabst, Eugene (bro)
Zabst, Frank O. (bro)
Zabst, Jacob (father)
Zabst, John (g-father)
Zabst, William E. (subject)
Subjects Referenced
Ada, OH
Ada College
Bay City, MI
Central Music Hall
Chicago, IL
Crowford Co. OH
Erie Co., OH
Rhine, Germany
Sage Sawmill
Toledo, OH
West Bay City, MI
Zabst Bros.
Zabst Music Room
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.