Category Archives: Missouri Germans

German Heritage Bus Tour

Join us and our friends with the St. Charles German Heritage Society and the Boone’s Lick Road Association on Sunday, September 17, 2017 for an afternoon of history, wine, and German food! Become a German immigrant who would have joined thousands of other American settlers who followed the Boone’s Lick Road. Spend the afternoon at Blumenhof Winery in Dutzow, enjoy a German dinner and wine (for those over 21) and learn about the German Heritage of Missouri. Bus will return to St Charles through America’s first Viticultural Area passing through Augusta and the former village of Hamburg. Bring a friend and spend the day exploring your German Heritage. Tour leaves St. Charles at 1pm and returns at 5pm. Tour guide is Dorris Keeven-Franke, Director of Missouri Germans Consortium. Reservations must be made in advance, no refunds.

Seats are $40 per person. Purchase your ticket(s) online at Eventbrite or if you need further information contact us with the form below



Scott Ruffner

An update on the Memorial plans here in Missouri…

It is with great sadness that the family of Scott Daniel Ruffner, of Bangor, ME and rural Hermann, MO, notes the sudden passing of their dear son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, and nephew on May 29, 2017, at the age of 66.

Born in Columbia, MO on November 5th, 1950,Scott was the son of Wallace C. Ruffner (deceased) and Mrs. Leora M. Buschmann Ruffner Scheer, who survives at her home in Hermann, and the stepson of Alfred J. Scheer (deceased).

He is also survived by one brother Robert, a sister Christine Ruffner, and nephew Bernard Bingham all of Columbia, MO; a sister Martha (Scheer) Melsha, brother-in-law Jeffrey Melsha, nephew Jacob Melsha, and niece Olivia Melsha all of Kirkwood, MO. Also surviving is his best friend and partnerChristiane Duespohl of Freiburg, Germany;and an aunt, Mrs. Doris Meyer of Linn Creek, MO, and many relatives and friends.

Scott was very generous, kind, helpful,and adventurous, with a positive outlook and keensense of humor. He made many trips to visit friends and relatives in Europe, especially Germany.His engaging personality and many interests resulted in many friendships near and far.

He began his education in a rural one-room schoolhouse near Bay. He graduated from Hermann High School and received a BA degree in German language from the University of MO-Columbia and spoke German fluently. During his school years, he participated in many activities and sports.

Scott began farmingat 15 and continued for many years before moving to Maine, returning seasonally to his farm.As a young man, he also briefly worked with the National Park Service.

He was proud to have helped his elderly grandparents as well as helping other elderly neighbors.  He was interested in the ancestry and history of these local families and recorded and shared many of the local stories and lore.

Throughout his life, Scott was interested in many topics, including history, genealogy, poetry, music, art, current events, and the German migration to the Hermann area, just to name a few.  He loved nature and all it offered.

He moved to Maine in 1982 and worked as a real estate broker, where he helped many loyal customers, many of whom became good friends. Maine was a great place for his adventurous and energetic spirit, allowing him to pursue many outdoor activities, especially sailing in the Penobscot Bay and other areas.

Scott’s concerns about peace, justice, social, and environmental causes started while in high school and continued throughout his life.  While in Maine, he was very active in politics at local, state, and national levels, working with Democratic and other organizations to promote fair and just policies to help those in need.

While in MO, Scott enjoyed many visitswith hismother, family and friends.He lovedmusic, andattendingconcerts, especially those of his niece and nephew.  He also frequently attended various local historical meetings. He wascurrently renovating his historic Bay Mercantile store building for useas a museum about the local history of the Bay area, a project that continues.

Scott will be missed by many. He will long be remembered for his friendship, many kindnesses, honesty, generosity, andenthusiastic good-natured spirit.

A memorial celebration of Scott’s life will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 3:00, at Hermann Hill Village, east of downtown Hermann.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Scott’s memory to the Ruffner family to support their efforts to fulfill Scott’s dream of restoring the historic Bay Mercantile store building(to Robert Ruffner, c/o Mrs. Leora M. Scheer, 2331 Hwy 100, Hermann, MO 65041).



Nachruf/Obituary Scott Ruffner

Scott Daniel Ruffner (11/5/1950 – 5/29/2017), of Bangor, Maine, and Hermann (Bay) Missouri –

It is with great sadness that Scott Ruffner’s family and friends share the news that Scott died unexpectedly from a heart-related condition, on May 29, 2017, in Missouri. Scott was an energetic and passionate person, and had a unique joie de vivre, with an infectious laugh and a humorous sense of the absurd. He loved to bring people together to discuss national, state, and local politics; his family and farm in Missouri, German wines, and his various projects.

Scott traveled regularly to Germany to spend time with his best friend and partner Christiane Duespohl, of Freiburg, and she regularly traveled to Bangor and Missouri as well. He lived and worked on the family farm near the small town of Bay for many years, and along with his brother Robert, began working the farm at age 15. Over the past year, he was also excited about his plans to host a large total solar eclipse party for his friends and family in Missouri, in August.

Scott received a BA degree in German from the University of Missouri (Columbia), and he spoke German fluently.  He moved to Maine in 1983 with his former long-term partner, Naomi Jacobs of Bangor, and began to sell real estate about 10 years later. He was an avid sailor, and an active member of the Penobscot Cruising Club. He loved to invite friends to join him in sailing from the Hampden Marina to Belfast and the Penobscot Bay.

Scott was involved in many groups and causes, ranging from Maine Veterans for Peace and the Peace and Justice Center in Bangor, to the local Democratic Party in Penobscot County,and was a member of the Maine Democratic State Committee for many years. He was also a delegate at the 2008 National Democratic Convention, and worked hard in the recent Maine efforts to implement rank choice voting. Scott’s friend Par Kettis describes him: “He had the great combination of being aware of the political problems of our time and wanting to discuss them, also having ideas about how to solve the problems, and was finally prepared to do something active about it. Scott was much admired and liked by many people. We will long remember his kindness, honesty, concern for all people, especially those less privileged; and his preparedness to stand up for what he believed in.”

Scott also loved music and poetry, and the German language. He did extensive research on the local history of Hermann, Missouri, and the German migration to Hermann in the 1800’s. It was his dream to establish a museum on Hermann’s and Bay’s local heritage in the former Bay post office and store building, which he bought for this purpose, and he hoped to recruit both people and funding to make this a reality.

He is survived by his mother, Leora Ruffner Scheer; brother, Robert Ruffner; sisters Christine Ruffner and Martha Melsha (nee Scheer); brother-in-law Jeffrey Melsha; nephews Bernard Bingham and Jacob Melsha, and niece Olivia Melsha; and his beloved long-term partner of several years, Christiane Duespohl of Freiburg, Germany. He was predeceased by his father, Wallace C. Ruffner, and stepfather Alfred Scheer.

In addition to a family service in Missouri in August and a service in Freiburg, Germany, there will be a local service and celebration of Scott’s life on Sunday, July 23rd, at the Sea Dog in Bangor, at 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to Veterans for Peace 003, Jim Harney Chapter or to the Ruffner family, to support their efforts to fulfill Scott’s dream of restoring the historic Bay store building (donation checks made out to Robert Ruffner, and sent to Robert Ruffner, c/o Mrs. Leora M. Scheer. 2331 Hwy 100, Hermann, MO 65041.

Bay General Store
Library of Congress photo

Columbus, Ohio

unnamedToday Joan and I started our journey east and discovered the Historic German Village in Columbus, Ohio:

In 1796, Congress appropriated the Refugee Lands for individuals who had supported the Colonial cause in the American Revolution. By 1802, an American Revolution veteran named John McGowan claimed 328 acres, most of what would become the German Village. As German immigrants arrived, McGowan sold tracts of land to them. By 1814, the German Village found its roots, originally called “die alte sud ende” (the old south end), and German immigrants contributed to building the first statehouse.

By 1830, massive German immigration to the city had occurred. These South Enders had little time or money for extras. As the local newspaper, “Der Westbote,” described in 1855: “The people who live in these small houses work very hard. You will not find silver on the doors, but you will find many little gardens which produce vegetables for the city’s market. You will not find silk or other very expensive things; but the houses are very clean, the people work hard, and are very healthy, and they are very happy.” (

“Today, German Village is a historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio. Initially platted in 1814 in Columbus’s South End, the German Village area primarily developed between 1840 and 1914. It was settled largely by German immigrants in the mid 1800s. German descendants at one time comprised as much as a third of the population of the entire city of Columbus.”