Category Archives: News

Friedrich Hecker

Friedrich Hecker was a hero to the vast majority of German Americans living in the United States during the mid-19th Century. The Friedrich Hecker Monument was dedicated on October 1, 1882 before a crowd of over 15,000 in our beautiful Benton Park, Fr_Hecker_3in St. Louis, Missouri.Born September 28, 1811 in Eichtersheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, he was a German lawyer and politician, and one of the primary agitators in the 1848 Revolutions in Germany. Following the 1848 German Revolution he moved to the United States, but maintained an acute interest in events in Germany. In the spring of 1849, the Baden revolution re-ignited, and Hecker returned to Europe to participate. However, he only made it as far as Strassburg when word came that the insurrection had been defeated by Prussian troops and he returned to Illinois once again.

Leading up to the Civil War, he became increasingly focused on the issue of abolishing slavery, and wrote the forward to a German translation to Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man so that all of his fellow Germans could know this great writing. After the Battle of Fort Sumpter, when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, Hecker would begin recruiting, and Illinois exceeded its allotment of 6,000 volunteers in five days. Hecker would serve as a Brigade commander in the Union Army during the Civil War, leading the 3rd 350px-Friedrich_Heckers_FarmBrigade, 3rd Division, XI Corps.  After the war, Hecker returned to his farm in Summerfield, Illinois. It was in 1871 that he gave his very famous address at St. Louis of his enthusiasm for the German Americans and their glorious future in their newly united Fatherland, the United States. He passed away on March 24, 1881 and was buried at his farm in Lebanon, Illinois called Summerfield.

On Sunday, August 12, 2018 Johannes Fechner (MdB) a member of the German Bundestag, will be visiting our area to lay wreaths at both the Benton Park Memorial and the burial site in Summerfield, Illinois. Members of the Illinois Civil war Hecker Regiment will be at the Summerfield Ceremony along with members of the Missouri Sons of Union Veterans. The wreath laying at Benton Park will take place at 10am. and is located at 2101 Wyoming St. St. Louis, 63118. The wreath laying at Summerfield will take place at 12pm Noon and will be at 9920 Summerfield South Rd, Lebanon, Illinois. Everyone is most welcome to attend either or both events. Please feel free to contact us using the comment section if you would like further information.







The Beer Barons

It’s always fascinating to know that Germany has as much interest in the immigrants who came here as we do in the homeland. Look Filmproduktion is making a documentary for Germany’s public TV about the Beer Barons. We all know that beer, Germans and St. Louis are synonymous right? Share what you feel beer meant to our German ancestors and its role in St Louis culture please?

LOOK! Filmproduktion, is an independent production company commissioned by German public service broadcaster SWR to produce a 90 min. documentary film about the history of German immigrants who came to the US in the 19. Century and established themselves as brewers. Our plan is to tell the stories of several “beer-families“, the specific culture they and their fellow German immigrants brought to the cities they settled in, such as St. Louis and Milwaukee, and their rise and fall through Civil War, Gold Rush era, World Wars, Prohibition and into the 20th century, drawing a lively and engaging picture of a very special part of American and German history and culture.. It is important to us to show the ways in which St. Louis has been formed by its German citizens and breweries.”

Learn more….

World War I

On this day 100 years ago, the U.S.A. entered the war against Germany. This would not only change world history, but it would also be the beginning of a huge shift in the perception of our German-American culture as well. We will explore that history in the coming months. But today we wanted to draw your attention to the available online resources being unveiled and shared.

At the Missouri State Archives:

At the Missouri History Museum:

And on NPR:

My friend Jim Merkel will be sharing some St. Louis Missouri stories about this subject at about 4:20 CDT as well, and I hope you can tune in.