The Village of Dutzow

The Village of Dutzow, in Lake Creek Valley, was founded and platted by the “Baron” Johann Wilhelm von Bock in March of 1834. The land had been purchased communally by the Berlin Society in November 1832, the first  group of followers inspired by Gottfried Duden. The land adjoined Duden’s farm, a place that became a mecca for Germans who emigrated in the 1830s.

Bock’s novel idea for that time was to lease lots, as well as sell them. If the buyer was German, there was one price, but if not German the price was double, because he wanted his town to be “truly German” in all ways. The village had 12 streets named after famous Germans, like Schiller and Mozart, with lots dedicated for schools and churches. Today, Missouri Highway 94 follows Schiller Street.

The original Dutzow platted by Bock, began to fade when the railroad came through the area in 1893 and business located closer to that for convenience. The little village grew, and today still has one of the best Missouri wineries, winner of the most awards Blumenhof Winery.

Today’s Dutzow Verein holds educational programs, community events and other programs on the area’s history.

In an issue of the Alte und Neue Welt  Bock set forth “This was my plan: To make it possible for German emigrant families who are not well off to live close together, not singly.  For it is different with us fathers of families.  One must have witnessed for oneself the sorrows expressed when the great expectations were so disappointed.   And the foreign ways, mentally and materially of the Americans and other emigrants, appear so distasteful to the German.  The wish of a German who loves his fellow German, and who wishes to help them as much as is in his power can be justified, by giving them an opportunity to avail themselves of a way of life ‘that fits’ their German ways and sentiments.

For that reason, I came up with the idea of establishing a village – not a town – which I have named Dutzow, after the name of my former place of residence.  I have laid out 168 lots, each the size of a half acre with streets  which are 50 feet wide and have been named after admirable Germans”. Bock named his streets, Mozart, Schiller, Herder, Moser, Humboldt, Schroeder, Jean Paul, Iffland, Kant, and Salzmann.

In the Village of Dutzow, there are three terms under which lots can be obtained.  The first  being a ten year Lease, and if the leaseholder dies, his widow can remain for the yearly payment of $1.00.  The second being a Sale with conditions, that the mortgage would have to be paid if the owner wanted to sell the property during those first 10 years to someone who was not of German descent. The last Term being without any conditions, when $100 is paid for the lot.

From these conditions my fellow Germans can see that it is supposed to be a pure German establishment.  If it does not develop into that within the first 10 years, then it must be considered an attempt that failed. The village of Dutzow in Warren County Missouri is intended for German families who prefer to live in the German way among Germans. Where they will live among other German families, and wear clothes that were brought from home which are not considered ‘strange’ by others, and so that the vanity of the females will not force men into great expense”.

Bock intended “to establish a good German School of higher learning.  Only through their industriousness, cleanliness, decent and moral behavior, knowledge of languages (not only German and English, but others also) and education in other scientific subjects, can the German immigrants earn the respect of the rest of the American free states for themselves.  And then the idea to ‘use’ the German instead of blacks, will gradually disappear”.

Bock explained that in Dutzow, emigrants would find German Gemuthlichkeit (good will) and sociability,  “since in the vicinity of 10 miles at least 150 Germans were living”. But Bock cautioned “Only those who share these thoughts wholeheartedly, and for whom money making is not the only all important thing, only those do I invite to come here. Bock insisted “establishing this village was indeed not a subject of speculation”. He stated he was not wealthy enough to turn the idea into reality, without getting the money he put into it back.

“One will likely be wondering why I did not publish my plan more openly, and like a cheap jack had it published in all German Newspapers.  I had several reasons not to.  First of all, I hate this kind of advertising. Then second, I did not want to cause expectations, which through the romantic sentiments of our countrymen, could very easily be set too high – and then result in sad disappointments. Then in the third place, I did not consider myself so infallible that I could right away make a ‘lay out'[plat] which time and experience would not be adding improvements to. In the fourth place, I did not want too many people who would come who want to achieve no higher goal than to make money, and whom I don’t particularly appreciate…  to earn money in the proper way is a part of life, because money is needed.  But, it must not be the only driving force”.

But, that was not to be the last word.  Immediately beneath Bock’s report appeared a harsh challenge to his veracity from another, much closer to home, the St. Louis Anzieger des Westens.  Taking ardent issue with Bock, it says: “you want the village of Dutzow to be looked on as an exclusive German colony. We are quite willing to believe that these are your intentions and is in accordance with your beneficent disposition toward your fellow Germans, and that this is your purpose for your village.   But” the St. Louis writer continues sarcastically, “you will not hold it against us [Anzieger des Westens] if we cannot call a village of 5 to 6 families, and one that you yourself described as a temporary place of stay for newly arrived German farmers and handworkers,  a truly German settlement.

Bock had stated in 1836, “The village of Dutzow … is supposed to be a pure German establishment…if it does not develop into that within the first 10 years, then it must be considered an attempt that failed”. Bock was an idealist with philanthrophical goals, a generous benevolent nature, imbued with romantic ideals such as carving out a new ‘fatherland’, and a Republic of Germania in the ‘far west’.

Bock was considered eccentric and a dreamer by some of his more utilitarian contemporaries and neighbors. Although well liked, his jovial and benevolent personality betrayed him, and it did not always allow others to take him seriously.  Neighbor Frederick Muench often criticized Bock for his ventures. Bock is one of the eleven suicides in those early years that Muench later referred to.   Bock had misjudged the dreams of the majority of the next wave of emigrants.  They were pragmatic individuals, who relied more on the advice of letters written home by their own relatives, than “emigration pamphlets” such as Duden’s Report. The so-called Berlin Society was  des Berliner deutschen Vereins zur Gründung einer deutschen Republik im Missouristaate (the Berlin German Society for founding a pure German Republic in the State of Missouri).

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One thought on “The Village of Dutzow”

  1. Bock is my 5th great grandfather. Morsey is my last name. My 4th GG married Bocks daughter. Not sure if you have any other pics or insights you can share. Thanks!

    Like

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