In 1833, fellow University students, and members of the Giessen Blacks, a group of student revolutionaries, Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius, from Giessen Germany, published a small pamphlet – A Call for Emigration, suggesting a massive group of emigrants could establish a German State or colony in the far western United States. Over a thousand applied to be members of this Utopian endeavor. And by July of 1834, the last members of the Giessen Emigration Society settled along Lake Creek, a small tributary on the north bank of the Missouri River across from Washington, Missouri and about 50 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the members settled in St. Charles, Warren, and Franklin County, when the group disbanded.
While the Utopian dream was never realized, these early emigrants did firmly establish themselves and their culture, filling the Missouri River valley from St. Louis to Hermann, Missouri. The interesting stories of the Giessen Emigration Society members, are vivid examples of what so many emigrants envisioned for their new lives in the U.S. in the 19th Century. Much of this rich heritage still remains today.
On Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at 1p.m. the buses will depart Washington Missouri and tour participants will have a rare opportunity to become a member of the Giessen Emigration Society, and experience their departure from Germany, voyage to the U.S., travel the frontier and settle in the Lake Creek valley. Tour will include visits to the sites of Gottfried Duden, Friedrich Muench, Paul Follenius and the Baron von Bock’s Dutzow. As participation is limited to bus seating, tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $25 per person and available by PayPal or by mail. The tour is being sponsored by the Missouri German Heritage Consortium and members of the Sommer-Republik from Bremen, Germany.