Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America is bilingual, in German and English, and the story of 500 immigrants to America from all parts of Germany in 1834. After Gottfried Duden’s Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America, published in Germany in 1829, 120,000 Germans would emigrate to the U.S. in the 1830s. Over one-third of those would choose Missouri, presumably because of Duden’s advice.
This is the story of the Giessen Emigration Society that primarily settled in Missouri. It was organized, originally to settle in Arkansas, and then headed for Duden’s Missouri instead. Founded to colonize with a settlement, it would include all walks of faith, and Germans from every walk of life. The names of all of the Society’s members are listed in the book, and many of their stories are interwoven. It will be interesting reading for anyone who has ancestors that are German.
In 1833, leaders Paul Follenius and Friedrich Muench would issue A Call for Immigration, announcing their plans, and hoping to attract a few friends. What followed was thousands who wanted to join them to what Muench called “The Land where the Sun of Freedom Shines” in America. Muench went on to become the most prolific writer for German immigrants in the 19th Century, and a leading German abolitionist who worked for emancipation of Missouri’s slaves as a member of the Missouri Senate from the 1st District.
Today, Missouri is one of the most “German” states in America, of the approximately 50 Million that claim German as their ethnic heritage. St. Louis was the most foreign born cities in the U.S. and part of the country’s German Triangle with Cincinnati and Milwauke where the most with German heritage live today,
The book is available at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis or on Amazon.