Letter August 11, 1848
Second letter to Rev. Loehe of Germany.
Contributed by Kathy (Stroemer) Czuba -- May 2005.
August 11th, 1848
Dear Pastor, beloved brother in the Lord,
Concerning the sad and terrible news of the fartherland which I received in your last communication, it is very urgent at this time to share with you good news of our new colony at Frankenlust, both in regards to bodily as well as spiritual progress. May God restore unto you and the dear church of the fatherland, after all the hardships and struggles that you are experiencing at the present time, once more the peace and unity as we are blessed with over here.
In my last letter of June 27th, I could not inform you of our entry into the new homeland, as we were still in Saginaw at the time. Farmer Tuerker made us an offer if we would clear a small parcel of his land, we could use it for planting potatoes, corn and other provisions. This offer we could not refuse, but it delayed our moving to Frankenlust.
On the 3rd of July all planting and clearing was completed because we all helped together. Andrew Goetz returned from Detroit where he had bought $350 worth of the most necessary tools, stoves, windows, flour, food and household goods. We all agreed on our departure from Saginaw for the following day, July 4th.
In my last letter I had informed you that it was very unwise for the colonists to ignore my advice which I had written in a letter to New York. Upon their arrival in New York, they were suppose to notify me immediately by letter so I could meet them in Detroit and buy all the necessary items beforehand. The colonists would not have to go as far as Saginaw but could have taken a smaller boat from Lower Saginaw up the Squaquanning to our present location. Now we had to pack all our earthly belongings and leave Saginaw by land and river towards Lower Saginaw.
We divided into two groups. One group had the responsibility of transporting all provisions and household goods, led by Andrew Goetz and an English man by the name of Butts, whom they called in jest the “Captain of the Scow.” He commanded the steering and directing of the scow on the Saginaw River. The second group had the responsibility of transporting the cattle by land, under the leadership of Hachtel. I was their guide through the wilderness.
The departure from Saginaw was made July 4th, “Independence Day,” the only holiday of the United States. The citizens of Saginaw celebrated with boisterous merrymaking. All day the woods re-echoed from the sound of cannon shot in Saginaw. A steamship came from Detroit to offer rides on the beautiful Saginaw River for the pleasure-seeking and cheering Saginaw citizens, whilst our scow was steered down river with much effort and labor.
The second group that traveled by foot through the wilderness from Saginaw arrived in the evening very tired and weary and settled on the bridge of the north arm of the Squaquanning, a little stream approximately two rods wide and about seven feet deep. There were no coveniences whatsoever, and we were completely out of food. We had hoped that the members of our colony that came by boat would meet us here at the bridge that same evening, but they only came as far as Stone Island.
All of our group were hungry, and with nothing to eat, they witnessed a most unusual scene. Mr. Hachtel had bought one of the best cows available, but being there was no bucket into which to milk, he laid himself under the cow and milked directly into his mouth!
In haste we built a little fence for the calves that we brought along and gathered some wood to build a fire for the cool of the night. For me they took an old board from the bridge to sleep on, which I shared with Mrs. Helmreich. I slept on one end of the board and she on the other. The following morning we met the members of our party that came by boat at Stone Island. We thanked the Lord that He brought us together again. As we were all close to fainting, Mr. Stone, our English neighbor, satisfied our hunger with a good meal.
In the afternoon we all moved on to our new home. This time we stayed at the first bridge of the south arm. This was as far as our boat could go. The raft loaded with 8,500 board feet of lumber, which was tied on the back of our boat, we had to leave further upstream because in spots the river was too overgrown with wild rice, which made it very difficult to get through with our big load. However, we were happy that all our other belongings arrived at our destination without any great cost.
The following day we started surveying, but towards evening unusual and windy, rainy weather started so that this work could not be completed for days. You can hardly imagine how burdensome and difficult it is to survey in a wilderness where all land is overgrown with trees and brush. Mine would be the first one, and it
was required that all surveying would start in the middle of the stream. On both sides of the river there is quite a large swamp area with marsh grass growing up to six feet tall. By highwater level, this marsh area is completely flooded so that one has to wade waist deep in water. Two English men and Andrew Goetz are my faithful helpers. Several times we had to cross the river so that we were in water shoulder deep. Good weather for surveying was very much desired. However, the good Lord did not bless us with nice weather the first eight days. Instead, it was constantly raining day and night on our narrow and lightly-constructed shanty. Because our shanty was not waterproof, many of our belongings spoiled by the rain. We regretted having stayed by Tuerker in Saginaw to plant potatoes, where we could have used the time more advantageously to get organized here.
Finally, by the end of the second week, it stopped raining. The surveyor, Mecamic by name, surveyed the parcels that were divided by casting lots. Sunday night we left our common shanty . Only once did we have Sunday worship services in it. The second worship service was held in Andrews’ and Hachtel’s joint shanty on the boundary of the two joining plots.
The joint shanty for the 17 colonists had only one room. In the middle, where a big coffer was placed, were my quarters. The two English surveyors were next to me. All other colonists were laying around in a circle. Despite the inclement weather, all remained in good spirits. All were convinced that the Lord led them to a beautiful and fruitful area where by honest labor and God’s blessing there would be no lack of daily bread.
The plan for the settlement was now made. We decided to start on the south side of the river. I recommended that the church, parsonage and school be built where the north and south arm flow together, from where a bridge from Hachtel’s land to the church property would have to be built. The land between the two streams should not be sold as farmsteads but for small garden and house plots. In this way more houses would be built close to the church. Likewise, the land along the road from Saginaw to Lower Saginaw should be reserved for house and garden plots as far as is indicated by pints on my map. Outside of the state road that I wish to have occupied by house and garden plots, according to my plan, I would like a roadway further inland, as the homesteads are all bordering each other next to the river.
So, you see, dear Pastor, the plan for Frankenlust is made to the best of my knowledge. Please write and give me your opinion if this plan is practical.
I was very much disturbed after receiving the news that we should reimburse the capital that we borrowed, at the present time, and have the fondest hope to hear from you that this reimbursement can be detained until the Lord has blessed us with more favorable circumstances. You have to realize that the plan for Frankenlust can only be achieved if the Pastor always has enough money available to buy the needed acres for the colony. If the north arm of the Squaquanning is settled when more emigrants arrive, I would have to buy much more land. Otherwise one settler could only have a few acres. If I do not have enough capital at this time, someone else could buy the whole territory and sell it to his own advantage. Do not withdraw the money from us unless you have any other advice. Unfortunately, I was not aware that I had to pay $420 towards Fort Wayne; otherwise I would not have bought the Saginaw city lots for $400.
In all I have bought a total of 725.57 acres on the Squaquanning for $1813.92 ˝. All of Sec. 1, T4E, 13N, except 120 acres. In section 31, T5E, 14N, two parcels of 205 acres. 38.1 acres for the Indians on the Tittabawassee for $95.25, gradually to be paid with sugar and some money on the due date. Lots No. 3, 4, 7, 8 in Block No. 8, Saginaw city, for $400, for a total of $2309.17 ˝.
At the present time I have sold to seven families 230 1/4 acres for $575.62 ˝. According to your voucher, Andrew and Hachtel still owe $40 each. Knoerr is not paid up also. In order to make my payment towards Fort Wayne, I had to borrow $100 from Mr. Lang in Frankentrost. Now I was able to pay Pastor Craemer $175. Part of that money was sent to Pastor Burger’s wife and part of it towards Fort Wayne, although I have no receipt of payment from Pastor Craemer or Dr. Sihler. Moreover, I will assign my relatives to send direct to you approximately $400 which was due me over here but which I never received.
The overhead expenses for attaining the land in Frankenlust amounts to about $70-$80 and includes traveling, change of property, postage and surveying. Interest for $2000 for one year is about the same. These extra expenses I have decide to shoulder myself for the time being, with the understanding that the buyers of this land would pay this expense to increase the church property. In this way the church would own 60 acres for $150 in the middle of the two streams.
Besides this, for every 20 acres that a member of Frankenlust congregation buys, they should pay $2.50 for the church, 2/5 for the pastor, 1/15 for the school, 1/15 for the pastor’s widow, and 1/15 for the teacher’s widow. The church land, however, can only be sold for
house and garden plots for $5 or $6 per acre. From these proceeds additional land has to be purchased immediately.
The hardships and expense of my colony are very great, and there is constant danger that he poor among us would leave the colony and seek employment by the English people who pay higher wages than we could afford, for clearing the land. In this respect, the people that are more well to do should show their love and concern, that they hire the less fortunate to clear land, even if it would cost them their last dollar. The wealthier people would have the advantage that their land would be under cultivation sooner, thereby regaining ten times more than what the clearing cost them. Hopefully something can be worked out. Otherwise church life and brotherly unity will collapse. I will try to influence the church members not to work for their own interest but for the welfare of the whole colony.
Andrew Goetz is our church custodian and for elder J. G. Helmreich was elected. The latter has a great love and enthusiasm for the church although he is a little weak on knowledge of the Word.
Among the later arrivals are some weak and worldly people, but I will not lament that such people were led to our colony for the Lord will sure draw them to Him also. My only desire and prayer is that we all grow daily in love, understanding, faith and humility, for we all have our sluggish and evil ways and the great danger to dominate over the others.
Our church services are gladly and very well attended. The daily services will be postponed until the parsonage is completed.
You assumed that H. Nuetzel would find employment in Frankenmuth or Frankentrost, but at the present time there are urgent demands in these areas. Most likely Graebner had already informed you that he moved in peace to Fort Wayne.
Our brothers Graebner and Craemer returned from the St. Louis convention. Their biggest concern was that more congregations come to the true knowledge and understanding and join our Synod to become members of the true church so that their children will be brought up in the true doctrine.
Frankenmuth received some support from mission money, but now are pretty much independent. Frankentrost did not receive any support. The area is very isolated, until some roadways are built; then the situation should be excellent.
For Frankenlust, I am anticipating a brilliant future, and when the unity and church life will flourish, the people here can enjoy a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty. To this end may the Lord help us.
We are still living in shanties, but next week, God willing, the first house will be erected. Until the parsonage is built I am living with Andrew Goetz and John Hachtel. The latter proposed to Eva Enser, but in vain. Thereby the Lord once more turned Hachtel to his disloyal bride if she would return with him to Frankenlust. He is waiting for her answer and prays to God that He would turn the hardness of her heart. Hachtel is a very talented and renowned man among the English people who supply him with much work.
Fourteen days ago we had Pastor’s conference in Frankenlust. Craemer, Nuetzel and Pinkepank were present. The main topic for discussion was my call to St. Charles, Missouri. Nuetzel had the conference sermon. We celebrated Holy Communion with the entire congregation taking part. Unfortunately, we had stormy rain weather and my shanty hardly had enough room. The church service, however, was not interrupted.
Sebald, Lists, Beileins, etc., arrived safely. Perhaps a Rostaller will decide to purchase some land in Frankenlust.
I will close for this time.
Many thanks to you and your dear friends who have supported us with your prayers and donations. May God give you the strength and patience to endure the many hardships that you are experiencing at the present time. Am remembering all of you in my prayers. The Lord be with you and with me.
Boat on Saginaw River
Bridge near stream
First house (parsonage)
First worship service
Lower Saginaw (Bay City)
Shanty - 1 room
St. Charles, MO
St. Louis, MO
Swamps & marshland
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