Face of Love

SAVE THE DATE

Saturday, February 23, 2019

THE FACE OF LOVE

Symposium on the common history of the African-Americans and the German-Americans. Learn about the remarkable contributions of German emigrants to abolish slavery in Missouri and emancipate the enslaved.  With special presentations by historians and artists.

Location: German Cultural Society of St. Louis Hall, 3652 Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, 63118

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Special Guests: Herbert Quelle, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, John Hayden, Police Commissioner of the City of St. Louis.

Look for further information here or at gitana-inc.org

 

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German Abolitionists

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into effect, freeing slaves in all Confederate-held territory. But Lincoln’s decree did not extend to Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Maryland, all of which were slave states that had remained loyal to the Union.

In 1864 some of the Missouri Germans backed an attempt to challenge Lincoln from the Left by nominating a Radical anti-slavery man for president. When Lincoln outflanked them by endorsing the 13th Amendment ending slavery, the Germans returned to the Republican fold and put their energies into revising the Missouri constitution to abolish slavery in their state

Legal freedom for all African Americans slaves in Missouri came by action of a state convention meeting in the Mercantile Library Hall in St. Louis. The convention convened slavessoldierson January 6, 1865 with German immigrant and abolitionist Judge Arnold Krekel serving as president. Radical Republicans, many of whom were also German-Americans, comprised two-thirds of the convention seats. A vote on the “emancipation ordinance” passed overwhelmingly 60 to 4 on January 11, 1865, with no compensation to slave owners. A month later the convention adopted the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the country.

Eight of the sixty-six delegates to the Missouri Constitutional Convention were born in Germany. One of the immigrants, Arnold Krekel, was elected Convention President. thWhile nearly all native-born Republicans believed that Missouri’s blacks should be freed, the status of blacks in freedom was contentious. Many thought that blacks, if they were free, should not be given the right to vote. Even among whites, women and young people under the age of 21 were not allowed to vote. One could be both a citizen and be deprived of the privilege of voting in 19th Century America.

The St. Louis Community College’s program THE GERMAN ABOLITIONISTS AND THE CIVIL WAR explores the relationships between the Germans and the enslaved community that they worked to emancipate. The program will be at the Missouri History Museum, on Tuesday, October 16, at 10:30 am in the Lee Auditorium will have speaker Dorris Keeven-Franke, Executive Director of Missouri Germans Consortium. The program is free as always and open to the public.

How German are we?

The St. Louis Metro area is considered the third largest German-American community in all of America! From the Library of Congress: “The German immigrant story is a long one—a story of early beginnings, continual growth and steadily spreading influence.” U.S. Census (2017) reports show that German is the largest ethnic group with approximately 44 Million in America who claim it as their heritage. And among the 53 U.S. metro areas with at least one million people those considered to be among the most German are Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul and St. Louis” according to Cincinnati.com who ranks fourth. Three of these: St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati are considered the German triangle of America where you will find the highest concentration. In Missouri alone 1,376,052 reported their ethnic background to be German, and we definitely know how to celebrate National German-American Day on October 6th.

High Resolution Graphic
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]
No wonder St. Louis knows German so well! With German-American Day coming up soon, if you are looking for a family friendly way to connect with your roots, check out these three great events.  On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 at 7 pm at the Missouri History Museum,  the series German Heritage: History, Culture and Community opens with “What Makes Missouri So German?” with speaker Dorris Keeven-Franke. The program is at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, 63177 in the Lee Auditorium. The program is free and open to the public.

 

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018 National German-American Day opens at the German Cultural Hall of St. Louis at 3652 Jefferson Avenue with a Fest and Feast! Join all of the St. Louis German American organizations when the hall opens at 10 am. Meet members of each of the 18 German organizations of the German American Committee and learn about their history. Then at 1 pm. the Missouri Historical Society hosts a German Feast with culinary samplings from around Germany! Take a culinary tour and sample the entire country. For more information or to make reservations for the dinner visit http://mohistory.org/events/german-american-day-fest-and-feast_1538848800 and click on the register link at the bottom or call 314-746-4599 and ask for reservations. Enjoy the music, dancing and food of the Germany. Following the Feast at 3pm will be FREE performances by St. Louis’ own Mannerchor (Men’s Choir), Dammenchor (Women’s Choir) and our own Liederkranz, the oldest combined men and women’s German singing group west of the Mississippi.

Finish your week off with “What STILL Makes St. Louis so German” and a panel discussion moderated by Dorris Keeven-Franke. Joining us will be German Consul General Herbert Quelle to share his views on the German-American Community today. He will be joined by Dr. Steven Belko of the Missouri Humanities Council sharing Missouri’s German Heritage Corridor and Susanne Evens, President of St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities who will be discussing St. Louis’ Sister Cities programs. The program will be on October 10, 2018 at 7pm at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, 63177 in the Lee Auditorium. The program is free and everyone is welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related links:

German-American Day Fest and Feast: http://mohistory.org/events/german-american-day-fest-and-feast_1538848800

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/2017/october/german-american.html

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/09/20/how-german-cincinnati-region-among-top-five-among-biggest-us-metros/1359288002/

Coming to America

In the decade of the 1830s alone over 120,000 Germans immigrated to America, and one-third of those settled in Missouri. Those are the emigrants that made it. Thousands would not survive the journey at sea or the difficult overland trek westward.

Nicholas Krekel: “In the fall of the year 1832 we sailed from Bremen. It took about three months, we landed at New York, went up the Hudson River to Albany, and from Albany to Erie by canal. Intending to go to Cleveland Ohio from there and to Missouri. On arriving at Erie, there was so much ice in the lake that we could not make the trip, so we went overland to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, a distance of 160 miles. Mother, my sister Katherine (11 years), myself (Nicholas Krekel) rode in the wagon. Father, my three oldest brothers, Godfred [sic], Arnold and Frank walked. On this overland trip my mother took cold which continued to get worse when coming down the Ohio River, so we landed at Louisville, Kentucky to get medical assistance and religious consolation. She died there on December 14, 1832 and was also buried there. Three years later Arnold went there to find his mother’s grave but the city had been built beyond it. The voyage across the Ocean took 9 weeks, the overland trip from Erie to Pittsburgh took about 3 weeks. After her burial we continued our way to St. Louis. On arriving there we put up at the William Tell house on Main Street, a two story stone building.” 

Of the forty thousand immigrants that arrived in Missouri in the ’30s, at least one-fourth of those Germans chose the city of St. Louis. The city’s population grew from approximately 15,000 to 35,000, meaning that half of that growth was by Germans alone. The city’s Germans were often affluent and educated, supporting six German newspapers. The sound of German voices filled the air and it was said one could spend the day and never hear a word of English.

“From there we came to St. Charles and were there during the Christmas holidays and New Year. A man from the western part of the county named Cashew and his son named Jackson were there with a team of four horses having been to St. Louis. They took us to our new home. While looking about for a location we stopped with a man named Bonet, a bachelor that made spinning wheels (the place was later owned by the Braehus family) he showed my father a piece of land owned by the government on which a man named Wood had built a log house. After looking at the land which was covered with heavy timber my father went to St. Louis where the land office was and bought it for the sum of $__for ____ acres. He paid the man Wood $9 for the log cabin that was on it, he seemed well paid and settled further towards Warren County”

Warren County had been carved out of Montgomery County in 1833. St. Charles County which had been created out of the St. Charles District of the Louisiana Territory in 1812 had stretched to the Pacific Ocean until the counties like Montgomery and Franklin were cropped-cropped-1823-missouricreated in 1818. At least 30,000 German immigrants chose to go west in the 1830s, settling in St. Charles, Warren, Franklin and Gasconade counties. They settled along the Missouri River valley creating the towns of Dutzow, Dortmund and Hamburg. They helped the town of Washington grow and become a German town. They turned The Philadelphia Settlement Society into the German town of Hermann.

“The name of the vessel we came to America in was Isabella. Two years later Anton Hoester’s father and family came over in the same vessel. In the year 1835 it was wrecked at sea. Before leaving Europe my father had decided to settle in this neighborhood. A criminal Judge named Duden with whom my father was personally acquainted had come to America several years previous and wrote such favorable letters to Europe that my [father] thought well of this country”

In 1829, Gottfried Duden published A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America and a Stay Along the Missouri (During the years 1824, ’25,’26., 1827). ReportBorn in Remscheid in 1789, the young attorney had lived with the farmer Jacob Haun, even though he had purchased a large parcel of land himself. Observing the life of the “American farmer” and describing the life of Missouri’s earliest residents Duden described a place where freedom and opportunity were almost taken for granted, causing some Germans to decry Duden’s description as an impossible fairy tale.

“On our way there through St. Charles County we passed prairie lands that now are fine farms, but we were under the impression that where no trees grew, no vegetables would grow. So we settled in the dense forest and it took several years of hard labor to clear the land, burn the logs and the brush. Many large walnut trees were cut and burned.”

Duden’s farm was approximately 50 miles west of St. Louis on the eastern edge of Warren County adjoining St. Charles County, near the Missouri River. In 1832, a group of Germans often referred to as “the Berlin Society” made the first German settlement in Missouri when a town named Dutzow was established here. The village is named after the former estate in Germany of its founder, Johann Wilhelm Bock and adjoins Duden’s farm to the south.

“In sight of our home in Germany was the home of Carl Deus. Carl’s father was a brewer, distiller and coal merchant. The family was quite wealthy and of high social class.”

The conditions in Germany were desperate following the Napoleonic War, leading to overpopulation and famine. Revolutions were stirring among the students, and hundreds of such books as Duden’s were being written about Russia, Brazil, and England as places to immigrate to.

“In the year 1832 when Carl’s father heard that our family intended going to America he asked my father to wait until ’34 when there was a colony coming over, but my father was of a disposition not inclined to subject himself to anothers’ dictation so came alone with his family”

The Giessen Emigration Society  was founded by friends of the Krekel family, Paul Follenius and Friedrich Muench, whose farms adjoined Duden’s to the north. Their arrival in Missouri in July and August of 1834 brought over 500 Germans who settled all over St. Charles County, including St. Paul, Cottleville and St. Charles. By 1850 St. Charles County was over 50% German with many of them being established second generation families.

Next: Life of a German Immigrant Family

This is the voice of Nicholas Krekel and the story as told to his daughter Bertha Krekel. He was the founder of O’Fallon, Missouri, born in Germany on August 30, 1825 and emigrated with his family to America in 1832. The story was shared in his final years just shortly before his death. The journal has been graciously shared with me by a descendant, John Griesenauer. The author extends her utmost appreciation for allowing her to share this wonderful piece of family history.

From: https://stcharlescountyhistory.org/ 

Missouri Germans Consortium

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We are a free online International association of everything German in Missouri, for those interested in the German heritage of Missouri. Our mission is to partner with other organizations such as ours, preserve the culture, educate on the history, promote with programs and projects, while providing an open forum for everyone to come together. Are you a Missouri German?  Anyone can be!

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We support the Missouri Humanities Council initiative called the German Heritage Corridor of Missouri and other such projects every year who work to keep our German heritage alive!  We applaud the Missouri Humanities Council’s huge endeavor because Missouri is definitely one of the most “German” States in America! Like us on Facebook for up to the minute information https://www.facebook.com/mo.germans/

We also partner with several other like minded organizations, universities, museums, and individuals around the world, and across the U.S. and Germany to bring our story alive. Online we share everything from history to current events, provide programming, resources, focus groups, tours and more. With friends in 24 countries, we can provide assistance and partnership in Missouri’s German heritage everywhere.

Anyone can be a Missouri German! For free you can follow our blog and receive our newsletter. Or get involved and join us at any event or program listed in the Consortium’s Events calendar! Like us on Facebook and follow our up to the minute posts https://www.facebook.com/mo.germans/ 

Follow us on Facebook and if you are a descendant of a member of the Giessen Emigration Society we invite you to  join us on our Focus Group page.  Missouri Germans Consortium has online focus groups, such as the descendants of the Giessen Emigration Society which shares in an online digital research library. By locating descendants of the original 500+ members of the 1834 emigration society, we provided materials and partnership with the Traveling Summer Republic in Germany for their exhibition: Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America, from Giessen, Germany.

We are open 24/7, where the parking is always free and there are no rules or lockers necessary for researchers. Executive Director Dorris Keeven-Franke, can be reached by email at missourigermans@gmail.com

Emigrants hope for a better future

This grapevine above is growing on a trellis on the island of Harriersand in the Weser River near Bremen. Not where you expect grapevines, but these are very hardy. Like the German emigrants that gathered here as members of the Giessen Emigration Society, in 1834, looking forward to a new life in Missouri, “where the sun of freedom shines”. Their ship, the Olbers had left with one woman ill on board, disease spread like wildfire, nearly killing the entire ship.  The second group was just beginning to gather in Bremen 180 years ago, only to soon learn that the ship that they’d booked, would never arrive. They would spend weeks on the island, some families even taking shelter in the huge old hausbarn on the island. Others pitched tents and some who could afford to, found lodging in the nearby village of Brake.  An emigrant needs all the funds they have saved for that new life.

Unless you have emigrated from one country to another, it is difficult to understand all one faces.  On one level, there is the heated discussions with family and friends, if one’s chosen to share that plan. Some don’t because of this. When the Giessen Emigration Society left Germany, there were close friends very angry with the leaders, Muench and Follenius’ and their decision, labeling them traitors to “the cause”. Some of these same friends would be imprisoned and executed within two years.  Others considered them leaving for an impossible dream, a Utopia.

On another more personal level when one is leaving behind all that one knows, whether good or bad, and giving up all one possesses in the world, it takes a great leap of faith.  One hopes one will find one’s destination everything needed, and hoped for. When one arrives, one often faces discrimination; labeled an illegal emigrant when one isn’t, simply because of a name, one’s  appearance or birthplace.

Others don’t understand how often emigrants make the best U.S. citizens. Why?  Because an immigrant has chosen, worked hard, saved, and has given up everything to be a citizen. Immigrants often know the Declaration of Independence better than a natural born citizen. Why? Because they studied it, believed in it and chose the U.S. because of those words.  Immigrants are very hardy stockholders in a better future for the U.S., because they have already paid a high price to make it their own.

One cannot go back.  America is a melting pot for so many, as nearly all of our families were immigrants once. Once our own ancestors came here with their own dreams pinned with hope for a better future.

Giessen Emigration Society boarding the Medora at Bremen in July 1834
Giessen Emigration Society boarding the Medora at Bremen in July 1834

A German emigrant’s comments on July 4th, 1840

Excerpt from Friedrich Muench’s

Fourth of July Speech given in Washington Missouri in 1840

abbreviated and simplified by R. F. Vieth

   In 1840, Washington, Missouri was only one year old when the United States of America was celebrating its 64th birthday. The young city would celebrate the occasion at its’ own Liberty Hall, known for eagle screaming speeches. Friedrich Muench, who had just arrived six years earlier, was honored when a request was made for his comments, as follows:

“We Germans met a hearty welcome from some of you, but at the same time we heard and still hear a loud and passionate cry against us from a party that proudly call themselves “Natives.” Who, then, are properly and solely the natives of the vast territory now in possession of the United States? The red skinned hunters, who by the arms of the whites have been exiled from the country of their birth and driven to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

But, speaking particularly of my countrymen, what makes those “Nativists” cherish so hostile a feeling toward us? We newcomers, far from endangering the happy state of this country, will bring to it our skillful hands, our money, our talents, and our scientific accomplishments. We also bring the sincere desire to promote by any possible means the welfare and independence of this our adopted country.

Perhaps the “Natives” will object that we differ in customs and language. That is a circumstance harder on ourselves than on you! You are the great majority, and your language is, and forever will be, the language of all public transactions. We are eager to acquaint ourselves and our children with your language, but learning a new language is not easily achieved! That we will do, but what we shall never do is discard entirely the sweet language of our mother country, this sacred inheritance from our German forefathers.”

Continue reading A German emigrant’s comments on July 4th, 1840

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