Category Archives: Day in History

A German abolitionist

On January 11, 1865, Arnold Krekel signed the Missouri Constitutional Conventions Proclamation ending slavery here in Missouri.  Krekel, was born in Germany in 1815, served as President of Missouri’s Constitutional Convention when slavery was abolished in Missouri on January 11, 1865. He emigrated with his family to Dutzow, Missouri in November of 1832. The young man moved to searchSt. Charles and attended the  St. Charles College where he studied law. He worked as a surveyor and became a Justice of the Peace as well. In 1844 he graduated the bar and opened his law office. Krekel became the St. Charles County and city attorney from 1846 to 1850. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1852. In 1855, he purchased 320 acres of land, and platted the town of O’Fallon. There his brother Nicholas Krekel, built the first house, and established the town’s Post Office. They established O’Fallon as a town on the Wabash Railroad, with Nicholas the agent.

Krekel Addition

 

Arnold Krekel was editor of the St. Charles German newspaper, Der Demokrat from 1850 until 1864, and when the Civil War began, Krekel served in the Union Army, as Lt. Colonel of a regiment of Missouri volunteers. When the Civil War began, Missouri’s plans for gradual emancipation infuriated the Radical Republicans, who wanted slavery abolished immediately. They took their grievances to Lincoln, who refused to take sides in Missouri’s politics, which infuriated them even more. Provisional Governor Gamble offered to resign, but the First Constitutional Convention would not accept it. Gamble died in office on 31 January 1864. Missouri’s radicals arranged for elections and for a new Constitutional Convention in November 1864, where they elected Thomas C. Fletcher Missouri governor.

Constitutional Convention of 1865

Arnold Krekel, a Democrat, was elected President of the new Constitutional Convention that met in the Mercantile Library in St. Louis on January 6, 1865. On January 11, 1865 the convention, by a 60 to 4 vote, abolished slavery in the state with no compensation for slave owners. A month later the convention also adopted the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish slavery throughout the U.S..

On March 6, 1865, Krekel was nominated by President Lincoln to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and confirmed on March 9, 1865. Krekel later taught law at the University of Missouri Law School in Columbia from 1872 to 1875, and continued to as a Judge for the Court until his retirement on June 9, 1888.

 

EmancipationProc

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Memorial Day

Since 1868, the United States has observed Memorial Day as a national holiday on this day.  It was originally known as Decoration Day, in honor of the Civil War’s fallen. Only on Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon.  The flag is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who have given their lives in the service of the United States of America.   At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all…Throughout our great nation’s history, German immigrants and their descendants have been instrumental in defending the values that we, as Americans, hold so dear.  Renowned Germans, such as Baron Friedrich von Steuben and General Peter Muhlenberg, were essential to our success in the American Revolutionary War.  German-Americans were the largest ethnic group to fight for the Union in the American Civil War. In Missouri, young 17-year old Berthold Muench gave his life at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. During World War I and World War II, more than 2 million German-Americans joined the ranks in the American fight for freedom, and German-Americans have fought for the USA in every one of the nation’s conflicts.
We also salute and acknowledge the 36,691 American troops currently stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany, knowing that they will continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship and mutual security between our two democratic nations.  As we observe the holiday this weekend and honor those who have served and still serve our country, we extend a special tribute to our German-American patriots.