Tag Archives: Dorris Keeven-Franke

Arnold Krekel, German Abolitionist

On January 11, 1865, Arnold Krekel, serving as the elected President of the Missouri Constitutional Convention signed Missouri’s Emancipation Proclamation thereby ending the enslavement of all African Americans in Missouri. The Krekel family were part of the huge wave of German immigrants that came in the 1830s. Their journey was a difficult one. They were among the thousands of Germans who understood the importance for the State of Missouri, the place they said “Where the sun of Freedom Shines” and worked to make it so for everyone.

Arnold Krekel’s brother Nicholas recalled the journey “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.” 

Germany

Arnold Krekel was born in the small village of Berghausen, by Langenfeld in the Rhineland “near Cologne on the Rhine” and was seventeen years old when he made the journey. Born on March 12, 1815 to Franz Leonard Krekel (1783-1862) and Maria Catherine Schumacher (1779-1832), he was their second son in a family with nine children. His family would settle in the far southwestern tip of St. Charles County near Dutzow, a small German village in Warren County, where Gottfried Duden had lived. Duden was a friend of Arnold’s father and had authored A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North

Gottferied Duden
A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America

America in 1829, inspiring thousands of Germans to immigrate to the U.S.

Missouri

There his father purchased U.S. Congress land from the government, and purchased a house built by a previous squatter. While his oldest brother Gottfried, a farmer, purchased adjoining land, Arnold was turning eighteen and would strike out in new directions and make changes in the world. He would first attend the St. Charles College in the old city of St. Charles, fifty miles away, where he would meet the Americans. This was a school filled with the “old families” wealthy with property and slaves. There his connections with society began, as he studied law. Familiar with the process of surveying, he also grew his network of those actively involved in the growing city.

His religious views took him in another direction as well, as a member and one of the original 36 members of the Friends of Religious Enlightenment in 1838. The 29-year-old man was a member of the Association of Rational Christians, or Frei Denkers (Free Thinkers) in 1845 when Friedrich Muench performed his marriage to 28-year-old German born Ida Krug. Her father, was a wealthy physician in the Dutzow community, who had come with the huge Giessen Emigration Society back in 1834. They began married life in St. Charles where Arnold had already taken an active role. He had been elected a Justice of the Peace in 1841, and as a surveyor, and lawyer, he was involved in property deals all over the area. After his friend William Eckert died in 1845, former Secretary of State William Pettus had hired him to survey Eckart’s land. Eckert was the son-in-law of Francis Smith, whose estate Krekel would purchase 320 acres of land from ten years later.

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Arnold’s law career began in St. Charles after being admitted to the Bar in 1845. As the City’s attorney and prosecuting attorney this brought him into close connection with the City’s rapidly expanding and prominent population.  In 1852, Krekel is a rising star, as he wins the race for a seat in Missouri’s House of Representatives, the first German to be elected to Missouri’s House.  He had run a campaign using his newly created newspaper, Der Demokrat, which was the first German newspaper in St. Charles County. While Krekel’s business associates were wide, he was still very proud of his German heritage and his closest friends, like Friedrich Muench and Emil Pretorius were examples. In 1853, he attended the North Missouri Railroad Convention in St. Charles, where St. Louis businessman and philanthropist John O’Fallon was also in attendance. On August 6, 1856, he surveyed and laid out a plat of a town on the 320 acres he had purchased from Smith, calling it “O’Fallon” hoping that the North Missouri Railroad would create a station. The need for wood and water at certain distances were necessary for the engines. And the U.S. Postal Service had announced that station stops would also be the locations for Post Offices.

Arnold established his younger brother, Nicholas, as the first resident of this new town of O’Fallon, with a house and property of his own.  Nicholas served as the town’s founder, Postmaster and the Station Agent for the railroad all the while running his own mercantile. Nicholas would later oversee the Public sale of the lots in O’Fallon, on July 22, 1870. It was the intention of Nicholas and his wife Wilhemina (nee Moritz) to see the Catholic Church established in O’Fallon. Arnold was busy elsewhere as he had been nominated for the office of Missouri’s Attorney General in 1856.

Slavery

As the state headed for the crisis over slavery, Krekel the abolitionist was a radical voice and leader among the Germans. The U.S. Slave Schedule shows him to have one thirty-

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1860 U.S. Slave Schedules for St. Charles County, Missouri

year old male mulatto living in the household in 1860, but he was not alone in this regard, as there were several German families in St. Louis, St. Charles, Warren and Franklin Counties that also owned or rented their servants as well. Most were of the belief, that until the practice of slavery was abolished, they could provide a much better living environment for the African-Americans than they would encounter in the south.  He attended the Republican National Convention in May of 1860 with his friend Muench, where Germans were the only foreign born were in attendance. This gave the nomination to Abraham Lincoln for President. Up until that time, Krekel like many other German immigrants, were Benton Democrats in their politics, but the parties had shifted with the issues of immigration and slavery. In 1861, Krekel was appointed Provost Marshall for St. Charles, Warren and Lincoln counties. Provost Marshalls were established only where the local government was either failing to or refusing to meet the needs of the local citizens. Things were in turmoil and one of the most striking acts was when members of the Board of Directors of the same college where Arnold had been a student, and studied law, the St. Charles College, refused to take an Oath of Allegiance. Krekel threw out the entire board and turned the school into a hospital – for Union Troops in December of 1862.

Krekel was serving as a Colonel in the Enrolled Military Militia. His troops’ career is storied with unfortunate events that are best explained in the annals of a war that rocked the country. His Home Guards, was where his involvement brought Germans into action at the Camp Jackson affair in April of 1861. The Union soldiers managed to secure the Arsenal and rifles that could have fallen into southern hands.  His troops were next called into action as Federal troops in July 1861, and while away in maneuvers in western Missouri, Krekel’s troops were accused of marauding Confederate sympathizers’ homes. Back in St. Charles County, his troops were placed in charge of guarding the crucial Peruque Creek bridge, just west of O’Fallon, which enabled vital rail transport.

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An Ordinance Abolishing Slavery in Missouri

Arnold’s younger brother Nicholas, who had served in the Mexican War, was a Captain in the Home Guards, back in O’Fallon.

In 1862, Arnold served as Vice President of the State’s Radical Emancipation Convention. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 did not cover Missouri because it was a “slave state” and one of three that did not secede from the Union.

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 1864

Arnold Krekel, a Democrat, was elected President of the new Constitutional Convention that convened 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 31, 1865, shortly before his assassination President Lincoln appointed Arnold Krekel as Federal Judge for the Western District of Missouri. On September 17, 1866, Arnold who was long a proponent for public education, would help establish Lincoln University, Missouri’s first African-American college. For more than ten years, Krekel and his family lived in Jefferson City where he would lecture at the University for free. He was a member of the Board of Directors, and elected President of the Board in 1883. From 1872 until 1887, he also taught at the newly established School of Law at the University of Missouri, in nearby Columbia. He served as a Federal Judge for 23 years, and only retire when his health began to fail.

The family would continue to live in Jefferson City for many years. There his wife Ida,

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Arnold Krekel’s home is Cliff Manor Inn Bed & Breakfast today, at 722 Cliff Street, Jefferson City, Missouri

mother of his six children, Laura, Alfred, Franklin, Hilma, Alma and Walter, passed away in 1870. They had lost two sons as young children, Walter when he was two, and Franklin at age 6. By 1880 he had gone to live with his oldest daughter, Laura, who had married Louis Schmidt, still in Jefferson City.  In November, Arnold at age 65, remarried to Mattie Perry of Kansas City.  Early in 1888 Krekel resigned his Judgeship because of illness, and he and his wife had moved to Kansas City. In July of 1888, Arnold Krekel passed away from Bright’s Disease, a kidney ailment, in Kansas City. His body was brought home to Saint Charles by his brother Nicholas and was laid to rest in the City’s Oak Grove Cemetery. A German emigrant’s amazing career was memorialized by his close friend Emil Preetorious as many mourned his loss.

Sources for this post are Krekel family papers, Dictionary of Missouri Biography and Crossroads by Steve Ehlmann.

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Face of Love

Face of Love: Symposium on the Common History of German and African Americans in Missouri is on February 23, 2019 and will include three components: a) educational, b) cross-cultural engagement and 3) an arts component.

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

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The educational program will be delivered by historians and will focus on the significant role of German abolitionists in Missouri and their contributions to the African American community. The historians will be joined by community leaders on the panel who will connect history to the present offering perspectives on where we are today and what is needed.

The panel will include Dr. Sydney Norton, Associate Professor of German at St. Louis University, Dorris Keeven-Franke, Director of the Missouri Germans Consortium, (Collaborating Partner), Dr. John Wright, highly regarded educator, historian, Honorary Consul to Senegal and community leader from the African American community. Rev. Starsky Wilson, President/CEO of the Deaconess Foundation will also join the panel. Rev. Wilson is a philanthropist and activist that was appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Gov. Nixon in 2014 and was elected chair of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in 2017.

Dr. Norton and Dorris Keeven-Franke will focus on the actual history of German Abolitionists in Missouri and Dr. Wright and Rev. Starsky Wilson will connect that specific history to our community needs today. Rev. Wilson
will provide additional comments that celebrate the contributions of German Abolitionists from the African American community. Q/A will follow the symposium presentations.The cross-cultural engagement component will include music and arts presentations provided by representatives from the German and African American community and the inclusion of key leaders from both communities. John Hayden, Police Commissioner with the City of St. Louis and German Consul General Herbert Quelle have confirmed their participation and will provide the welcome and opening remarks. Consul General Quelle is a musician who plays harmonica and specializes in German folkloric music as well as
the Blues. Actors and singers from the African American and German community will join the Consul General in an exchange of music and performance.

General Purpose and Goals
This program aims to bring together the two largest ethnic groups of the St. Louis region (Germans and African Americans) who are each represented by diverse social, cultural and political experiences and perspectives. As
Americans we have the opportunity to hear about our incredible common history that moved the State of Missouri forward and resulted in the emancipation of slavery. This is an opportunity to learn about that shared history and for both communities to celebrate the contributions made by German abolitionists who were largely immigrants. Through the understanding of that history (largely unknown particularly in the African American community) and the celebration of the achievements of German Abolitionists and African Americans during the Civil War period we hope to open up pathways to dialogue that allow us to converse about the core ideals of Democracy that we share and to promote authentic relationship development.

In succinct terms our immediate goals are a) to impart information about German Abolitionists in Missouri and the shared history between African Americans and the German community, b) to engage both communities in
dialogue about that history and connections to the present, c) to engage African Americans and Germans in an artistic experience that highlights our common love for music and the arts and d) to intentionally “sow the seeds” of continued education and engagement.

http://www.gitana-inc.org

http://www.mo-germans.com

Register at Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/face-of-love-common-history-of-african-americans-and-germans-in-missouri-tickets-51863301531

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Weihnachten

Christmas  /  Weihnachten  (pronounced Vi – nock – ten)  The Christmas holidays are a time for tradition! So much of our customs have been passed down for generations from our German ancestors. This month we gathered just a few and packed them into this christmas-treenewsletter just for you! We hope you enjoy and invite you to add your own (on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/mo.germans/) and share the JOY with everyone. We wish you the happiest of holidays, from the First day of Advent to Three Kings Day!  Enjoy! Here is our list of some of our favorite things… Advent Calendar (Adventskalender), Advent Wreath (Adventskranz), Christ Child (Christkindl), Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden), Christmas Trees (Tannenbaum) , Cookies (Springerle), Nutcrakers (Nussknacker),, Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). There are so many more, we can’t possibly share them all in this newsletter! We’ve packed this newsletter full and hope you enjoy the Springerle Cookies and the Calendar of Christmas Events we’ve packed into the end!

The Advent Wreath Adventskranz is adorned with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The first Advent wreath, which appeared in the mid-19th century, had 4 larger candles and 19 smaller ones. Each day one additional candle was lit to help the children count the days until Christmas. Today only the four larger candles remain. The tradition of a ring of light existed among the Germanic tribes many centuries before the celebration of Advent. It is believed that fewer candles were lit with each progressive lighting to represent the shortening of the days until the solstice, at which time the Julfest celebrated the return of light. (Incidentally, the English word yule is a cognate with the Germanic Jul). The Advent Calendar – Adventskalender is a German invention that was originally designed to involve children in the festivities leading up to Christmas. The calendars are usually made of cardboard and have 24 small windows or flaps, one of which is opened on each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each window is a Christmas scene or motif. Nowadays, calendars may contain chocolate or candy behind each window, and sometimes even small toys. The Advent calendar is a more recent invention of modern capitalism. Originally, families would mark the 24 days of December preceding Christmas with a chalk line on the wall. The first hand-crafted Advent calendars were produced in the mid-19th century; the first printed calendar appeared in Munich in 1903. Eventually the custom was exported all over the world.

Santa Claus –  St. NicholasSt. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th in Germany. On the evening before the 6th, children place their newly cleaned shoes in front of theshoes door in the hope that Nicholas might fill them with nuts, fruits, chocolate, and sweets. If the children have behaved well, their wishes will be fulfilled. Children who have caused mischief will receive only a switch, which symbolizes punishment for their bad deeds. The real St. Nicholas lived in the 4th century and was the bishop of a region located in nastsantBW150present-day Turkey. Through stories and legends associated with him, he became known as the protector of children and the anonymous bestower of gifts upon them. Over the centuries, the life and deeds of St. Nicholas were celebrated on the saint’s appointed day, the 6th of December. By the Middle Ages, the observance had already become a celebration of children and a day on which they received gifts. It was the German Martin Luther who sought to sever the connection between the saint and the gift-giving celebration for children, because in his Reformation theology, there was no place for the glorification of saints. Rather than abolishing the custom outright, Luther replaced the persona of Nicholas with that of the Christ child; in his Protestant teachings, not Nicholas but rather now the baby Jesus was attributed with bringing the children gifts, and not on the saint’s day but rather at Christmas. Today in many regions of Germany, not Saint Nick, but rather the Christkindl leaves Christmas gifts for children on December 24th.

Christmas TreeTannenbaum – Born in 1796, Karl Follen grew up in Hesse-Darmstadt, one of the scores of principalities that made up the Germany of that day. It was there that, as a boy, he experienced each year the magic of the brilliantly-lit Christmas tree. In 1813 Follen began law studies at Giessen University, but soon interrupted his studies to Tannenbaumenlist with his older brother in the Hessian volunteers fighting Napoleon. He was caught up in revolutionary activities, and  fearing for his liberty and even his life, he fled from Giessen to Jena, then to Switzerland, and finally to Paris. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette, who urged him to go to America. So in 1824, at age twenty-eight, Follen began his career in America. During his first year he taught German and gymnastics at the Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts. The year 1830 was a banner year for Follen, as he became a U.S. citizen, and was appointed to a full-time chair in German language and literature at Harvard, and their first child was born. Follen wanted his son ”little Charley” to experience the same magic of the lighted Christmas tree that had enchanted him as a boy in Germany. When Charley turned five, the Follens set up a tree in their home and invited little Charley’s friends and their families to a party, at which the unveiling of the tree would be a special surprise—doubly so, because up to this time Christmas trees were unheard of in Puritan New England. They also invited a distinguished guest for this occasion, Harriet Martineau, a widely-read British author who was traveling in America.  She was in on the surprise, and came early to help with the preparations. She also took careful note of the event as it unfolded in the Follen household that evening, and subsequently published her account. “I was present,” she wrote, “at the introduction into the new country of the spectacle of the German Christmas tree. In 1834, Karl Follen’s brother Paul, had emigrated to Dutzow, Missouri, with his brother-in-law Friedrich Muench, co-founders of the Giessen Emigration Society. Undoubtedly the custom of the Tannenbaum had also made its way all the way to the Far West frontier as well!

And to top off our gift to you, we are sharing our springerle cookiesfavorite Christmas Cookie – the Springerle – with you as well!

Springerle Cookies

For eating quality, ease and quality of prints this recipe is just perfection! What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (Hartshorn) or baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 #)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of anise (if substituting fruit flavored oils, use 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 lb. box sifted cake flour (Swansdown or Softasilk)
  • grated rind of orange or lemon – optional (enhances flavor of the traditional anise or the citrus flavors)
  • more flour as needed

Dissolve hartshorn in milk and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. Add the hartshorn and milk, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon or orange, if desired. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the 2 lbs. of flour to make stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a flat pancake approximately 1/2 inch thick. Roll thinner or thicker based on the depth of the carving in the cookie press you are using. Shallow carvings will need to be thinner while deeper carvings will need to be thicker. SpringerleFlour your cookie mold for each and every pressing. Press the mold firmly and straight down into the dough, then lift, cut and place the formed cookie onto a flat surface to dry. (I like to put the formed cookies directly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, but you may put them on a countertop or tabletop covered with flour sack cloths if you do not have enough cookie sheets.)

Do not cover the cookies while they dry. The goal of drying is to set the design. Let the cookies dry at least 12 hours;24 hours is best. Larger cookies and warm humid weather may require longer drying times. Cookies that are not dried long enough will not retain the beautiful designs, but will taste fine.

Bake on greased or baker’s parchment-lined cookie sheets at 255° to 325° till barely golden on the bottom, 10-15 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie.Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months, and improve with age. Yield 3 to 12 dozen.

And to tie up our gift for you, here are some holiday events to enjoy this holiday!

November 29 – GERMAN CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS – Speaker: Dorris Keeven-Franke  St. Louis Community College Continuing Education – Missouri History Museum 10:30 am Free For More info http://mohistory.org/upcoming

mouth-watering-german-christmas-traditions-we-can-2-22882-1417195346-0_dblbigDecember 1 – St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities – ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY Info 636-530-1010 or stl4stuttgart.com

December 8  – Bayern Verein – ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER & DANCE German Cultural Society Hall Info 314-381-2814 or 314-518-6327

December 9 – German Cultural Society/German School Assoc – WEIHNACHTSFEIER – German Cultural Society Hall – Germanstl.org

December 9  – KRISTKINDL MARKT Blumenhof Winery, 13699 MO-94, Dutzow, MO 63342, USA (map) 800 – 419 – 2245

ChristkindlmarktDecember 10 – St. Charles County German Heritage – WEIHNACHTSFEIR  –  RSVP 636.928.8056 $25 per person

December 10- German Cultural Society WEIHNACHTSGOTTESDIENST (German Christmas Service) German Cultural Hall  Peace Lutheran Church Info 314-771-8368 Germanstl.org

December 11 & 12 – OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY STROLL – Zumwalt Fort & Heald House – City of O’Fallon $3 per person – https://www.ofallon.mo.us/celebration-of-lights

Christmas in the Heald House

December 31 – German Cultural Society – SILVESTERFEIER (New Years Eve Dance) Germanstl.org

We want to wish all of you a very happy and memorable Christmas, and may the coming year be filled with PEACE! LOVE! And JOY!

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Dorris Keeven-Franke, Executive Director

Missouri Germans Consortium   https://mo-germans.com/

Email: MissouriGermans@gmail.com