Missouri’s German Heritage
October is full of discussion of Germans it seems! Quite often the discussion of the Giessen Emigration Society comes up with these programs. The immigration group of 500 was founded by Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius, former students of the University of Giessen in Germany. In 1833, they opened the Society with a Call for Emigration. When they held a meeting of those who wished to join them, they were amazed. The group was hoping to create a place where all Germans could feel at home. Some would consider this a Utopian dream, yet many felt it was achievable!
The group was composed of Germans from all parts of Germany, many religions, and all walks of life. They would settle in Missouri and ultimately be part of See https://mo-germans.com/2014/12/15/are-you-a-descendant/. Those early waves of Germans would change the demographics of the State of Missouri, and ultimately our State’s history. By the time of the Civil War, many towns, villages, cities, and counties would be predominately German in its ethnic makeup. Missouri had entered the US as a slave state but was “occupied” by the Union because the Germans had made it their home. They would become abolitionists, serve in the Union Army, and fight to preserve our democracy. I am very proud of my German heritage as a Missouri German.
Missouri has become a “German” state, filled wth the rich traditions and culture our ancestors fought so hard for. From abolitionists to zither players, and everything in between, we are proud of this heritage.
St. Louis is an anchor in America’s German triangle, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis where that heritage still resides today. By the turn of the 19th Century, St. Louis was one of the most foreign born cities in America, and its fourth largest, with the largest ethnic background of German descent. Today St. Louis is proud of its cosmopolitan heritage and diversity and that it is one of the most “immigrant” filled cities in our country! A country where 50 million people still call German their ethnic background.