No. 139 May, 2010
Coming To America - Emigrant Stories
by Delores Miller
The folks in this part of Wisconsin, most of their ancestors came from overseas, from a place called 'PRUSSIA'. It is no where to be found on modern maps and the world atlas. Said to be Germans, but actually it is now part of Poland. Beginning after the Civil War, rumors of good land and most important religious freedom was offered to the people of Prussia. By 1870 immigration began.
$32 was the going rate for an adult traveling from Breman, Germany with children at half price. Steamship tickets, for one's own passage could of course be purchased directly from the steamship company's agent in the port-of-departure. But perhaps, someone in America wanted to send for a family still in Europe and could prepay the fare. An Emigrant ticket could be purchased from an agent, usually a merchandise store and sent by mail back to Prussia. The emigrantee would consult sailing schedules, choose a ship and departure date. The various agents of the shipping lines did not perform these activities out of the goodness of their hearts, they charged a percentage. Some of these tickets also included passage to Wisconsin.
None had cold hard cash, so it was a bartering system to get passage money. Pooled resourses sent the first brave soul to America, with the promise of an 'emigrant' ticket to be sent back so the next batch of kith and kin could catch the boat. It is unclear how they traveled from their home to the Port of Departure. This was a distance of at least one hundred miles. Whole villages left for America. Bremen and Hamburg located on the Black Sea were ports of departure. The first ships had masts and depended on wind power, the journey took at least six weeks. By the 1880s steam engines, plus masts brought the voyage down to a few weeks. No first class tickets for these peasants, they bunked down in the steerage. A steamer trunk held their worldly possessions. The Gottfried Klingbeil family came in 1869, with two small children, one died on the ship and is buried at sea, the other child died shortly after reaching Wisconsin. They went on to have eight more children including my Grandmother Bertha Lembke, who at this stage of the game, 2010 has uncountable descendants.
Some ports of entry were New York and Baltimore. Also, unclear is the route taken to Wisconsin, over 2000 miles. Some surmise the Erie Canal to the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes and down into Milwaukee, bringing boats up the river to the drop off point at Fremont, then the 40 miles to the Township of Dupont in Waupaca County.
One such family was the Julius and Louise Draheim Family Louise Steinhaus and Julius Draheim were married in 1879 in Temnick, Kr. Saatzig, Pomerania, Germany. After the birth of two daughters Anna Schoneck, born in 1880 and Lizzie Strohschoen, 1882, this family found the means to come to America. Julius was 26 years old, his wife 24. Found their way to Bremen, Germany, leaving on the ship Strassburg arriving in Baltimore, Maryland in May 1883. Along with their steamship trunks, they brought the Lutheran Religion of Martn Luther. And kept the faith until they died.
From thence making their way to Dupont. By 1889 Julius had purchased 80 acres in section 33 of the Township of Dupont. A new home and new babies, Emil, 1887, Willie, 1889, Herman, 1891, Edward, 1893 and Minnie Wolf 1894. No doubt, when they purchased this land, there were very few buildings. Logs were cut from the woods, a primitive house and barn were errected, and this is how pioneers lived. Dairy cattle, pigs, chickens and ducks were raised for human consumption. Crops were planted each spring, oats,wheat, corn. Big gardens, fruit trees. A self-supprting family. This farm was kept in the Draheim name until the Second World War when Milton and Walter Polzin purchased this dairy farm.
(By 1890, the family was so prosperous, a group lithograph was taken with four children, Annie, Lizzie, Emil and Willie. This was a time release photo, where the people could not move for at least ten minutes until the camera shutter clicked. That is why no one was smiling, or perhaps they were too poor to grin.) Dan - I am sending this photograph from 1890, also the advertisement for Emigrant tickets which was in that last history book Mr McDivitt did with his students. And a picture of the Dupont Draheim farm house. And a picture of 7 year old Annie, taken in 1887.
Three more children were born, Herman, Edward and Minnie. Herman Draheim married a neighbor girl, Myrtle Polzin, 3 children, Mayme Laux, Harold, and Louie. Anna Draheim married Herman Schoneck and had 9 children, Edward, Otto, Alma Ebert, Alice Fink, Rudolph, Lester, Melvin, Oscar and Arnold. Lizzie married William Strohschoen in who had immigrated from Fredricksburg, Pomerania, Germany in 1902 and had the following children: Lilly Zillmer, Rose Wolf, Esther Roloff, Arthur, Leonard, Martin, Hilda Laack and Viola Moennning. Willie Draheim married Lillie Kretschmer and had Reuben, Enid Ploeger and Irene Opper. Edward died as a young child and is buried in Greenleaf Cemetery. Minnie married Arthur Wolf and had 3 sons, Wallace, Clarence and Lloyd. Minnie died at the age of 30. Clarence as a young lad, spent his summers on the William Zillmer farm, and was forever famous for putting a fire cracker in a fresh cow pie and lighting it. And it exploded in his face. He also brought a baby skunk into his bed in the house. He never lived these episodes down. Clarence went on to have a successful career as a CPA in Sheboygan, but folks forever remembered his fire cracker story.
When Louise Draheim died on July 8, 1937 at the home of her daughter, Mrs Herman Schoneck, she had 37 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren. She had been in America for 54 years and was a member, along with her whole family at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, South Dupont. Rev. W. E. Lange conducted the funeral with burial in Greenleaf Cemetery next to her husband Julius, son Edward and Mother Steinhaus. 1820-1899.
In 2010 this family has uncountable descendants.
We can all be thankful our ancestors had the foresight to emigrant from Prussia or we would all be German peasants under the Nazi rule.
copyright 2010, Delores and Russell Miller