St. Louis Community College education class led by historian Dorris Keeven-Franke, who will share the lives of the Muench family who emigrated to Missouri in 1834. Friedrich Muench was a co-founder of the Giessen Emigration Society, who served in Missouri’s State Senate from the First District during the Civil War. He was an abolitionist and was widely published. His daughter was Pauline, who left behind a journal and letters, which will also be shared. Her writings explains life for women leading up to the Civil War and their relationship with the issue of slavery. She was married to Gordian Busch who lived near Washington, Missouri and raised fourteen children. Her younger brother is Berthold, who joined Franz Sigel’s Regiment; and who was present at the attack on Camp Jackson and the Battle at Wilson’s Creek. The program will be at the Missouri History Museum in the Museum’s Lower Level. This event which is at 10:30 am on March 28, 2017 is free, but reservations are required. Call St. Louis Community College at (314) 984-7777.
Pauline Muench was born in the small village of Nieder Gemünden, in Hesse (Germany) in the same house that her ancestors had been born for several generations before her. Her father Friedrich Muench remarried after her mother died when she was just three. As co-founder of the Giessen Emigration Society he led over 500 Germans to Missouri in 1834, and Pauline would spend her seventh birthday aboard the ship the Medora. Her family settled in a small log house in southern Warren County (Missouri) where she would live until her 21st Birthday and her marriage to Gordion Busch, from Bielefeld, Germany whose family had settled in Franklin County.
Pauline’s diary begins shortly after her wedding day on her 21st birthday, June 30, 1848. Through its pages we learn the story and the lives of one German emigrant family until Pauline’s death in 1891. Her journal entries share the births, the marriages, the Civil War, the good times and the sad. How the loss of her son left her with an inability to write for three years. She bore 13 children, adopted 2 others, and raised 3 children of her husband’s sister after their mother’s death. Pauline’s diary gives us a rare glimpse into the life of a German emigrant woman during the 19th Century in Missouri.
For more about Pauline and her diary, see the next issue of Der Anzeiger.
Missouri Germans Consortium’s family heritage project the DESCENDANTS PROJECT focuses on families that are descended from those who we believe to be members of the original Giessen Emigration Society. Research for the traveling international exhibit Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America, the catalog and
the documentary came from members of the Traveling Summer Republic in both Germany and in the United States and the generous contributions of descendants of those original members.
It is a free and open collaborative to those families who are descendants of the Giessen Emigration Society that departed from Bremen in the summer of 1834, and for anyone who is interested in these chapters of Missouri’s German Heritage.
for those who are descendants of the Giessen Emigration Society that departed from Bremen in the summer of 1834, and for anyone who is interested in these chapters of Missouri’s German Heritage. I hope everyone enjoys the wonderful photograph of all of the Giessen Emigration Society descendants that were at the closing of the Utopia exhibit when it left St. Louis a few weeks ago.
Society in 1881. At the time of his death, a codicil to his will that was written (in German) for his children specified that a) these instructions were for his family and not “the Courthouse” and that b) all of his papers, writings, speeches, etc., were to be gathered and given to that institution at St. Louis where the public could have access to them. Over the years, other family members and historians have also been generous in their donations of family history and family treasures, such as the Muench portraits painted by Anton Gastauer in 1833. Much of the the exhibit, documentary, and catalog would not have been possible if not for the foresight and generosity of the family.
Finding one’s family treasures is always an awesome discovery for family historians! As the Utopia project began, I felt that if so much could be learned from the papers of Friedrich Muench, how much more could be learned about the plans, dreams and lives of the Giessen Emigration Society members if all of the memories and writings of all five-hundred plus members could be in one location. And so began my quest to find descendants of as many members as possible.
After Gottfried Duden published his book A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North Americain 1829 about Missouri, Germans began emigrating to the “Far West” by the thousands. The 1830s were a decade of “Group Movement” as entire villages, or Societies formed for the express purpose of emigration were popular following Duden’s advice “for the safety of the family”.
The Giessen Emigration Society was officially formed on September 1, 1833 in Friedburg, Germany with a public meeting. Its Statutes had been added to a publication The Call for
Emigrationwritten by co-founders Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius. As no original membership list has ever been located, the Ship arrival lists of the Medora and the Olbers, led respectively by Muench and Follenius, are used constructively for the members of the Giessen Emigration Society.
On the Missouri Germans Consortium website, the Giessen Emigration Society, combines the members list, images of the original Ship arrival lists, the Call and its Statutes, to give a better view of the society and create an online digital archives. But no picture of the Society would be complete without a biography of all of its members! We are asking each of the families if they will kindly share their family heritage in digital format so that all can visit and learn from this important group of German emigrants.
If you are a descendant of a member of the Giessen Emigration Society, we would like to hear from you!