THE GERMAN IMPRESS.
THE INFLUENCE OF GERMAN IMMIGRANTS UPON THE SOCIAL, FINANCIAL, PATRIOTIC, COMMERCIAL AND ARTISTIC LIFE OF THE UNITED STATES - FROM THE GENERAL TO THE PARTICULAR - WHAT GERMAN-AMERICANS HAVE DONE FOR THE PROSPERITY, MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL, OF DAVENPORT AND SCOTT COUNTY - A TRIP CROSS-COUNTY AND WHAT IT SHOWS - GERMAN ORGANIZATIONS.
Pictures included with this chapter are: Old Turner Hall Northwest Davenport - Turner Hall, Davenport - Music Pavillion in Schuetzen Park - Schuetzen Park Club House - German Pioneers of Scott County - Memorial Shaft Of The Kampfgenossen-Verein of 1870-71 In Washington Square - The Free German School - Memorial Of Kampfgenossen-Verein of 1848-1851 In Washington Square.
A BRIEF FOREWORD
After the invitation had been given me several times to prepare for the forthcoming history of Davenport and Scott county, an article setting forth the influence of the staunch German population of city and county, an invitation which it was each time necessary to decline through lack of time, I was finally persuaded to write the following chapter through urgent request of one whom it is always a pleasure to oblige, Principal Harry E. Downer, in editorial charge of the work, who urged me in these words: "There must be in this history a chapter in which the recognition due our sturdy citizens of German birth and descent is made; in which justice is done to these sterling emigrants from the Fatherland and their direct descendants for the part they have taken in the patriotic, social, intellectual, musical and financial life of this community. This article is especially needed at the present time, for recently many, unacquainted with the admirable character of our German inhabitants, have disparaged them, belittled their accomplishments, and spoken of them in terms of general condemnation. You must write the truth about the part the Germans have played in the development of Scott county and Davenport, making the story as brief as you please or as long as the importance of the topic warrants. In any event, we are counting upon you for this chapter which shall in its truthful narration be a vindication of German character as we have known it here."
Through this friendly pressure I acceded, and pledged myself to the undertaking.
From the beginning it was evident that in an article prepared in a comparatively short time, even if it was of considerable length, completeness could not be attained, nevertheless, I have hoped to note a number of the many important points which would somewhat demonstrate the value and admirable quality of the German spirit. There will be an attempt to note briefly how the earliest German immigrants proved their patriotism in the war of the revolution under Washington, as later arrivals from over-seas did in the dreadful conflict for the freedom of the slave in the '60s of the last century, in devotion to their adopted fatherland, also how the German-Anericans have contributed to advancement in all branches of culture, and have attained eminence in the fine arts as well as contributing their full share to the substantial prosperity of America.
THE GERMAN SPIRIT IN THE UNITED STATES IN GENERAL.
The date when German first came to America cannot be determined with certainty. Rumor tells us that even on the Viking ship of the danger-loving Norseman, Leif Erickson, who was the first to land on the shores of our country, to which he gave the name Vinland, almost 500 years before Columbus' discovery, there was a German. When Columbus in 1492 had rediscovered America the love of wandering instinctive in the German race soon made itself manifest. This wander instinct was encouraged in the adventure-loving German by the descriptions of travel, partly imaginative, published by Amerigo Vespucius, and he reached this golden wonderland in ships of Spaniard and Portuguese.
It was the German professor, Martin Waldseemueller, who in a Latin book printed in 1507 suggested the recognition of the over-estimated services of Vespucius, by naming the new land America, which name it has retained, although Columbia would perhaps have been a juster recognition. When a full 150 years later upon the soil now the United States in the neighborhood of the English colonies the Swedes founded New Sweden and the Dutch New Netherlands, an important part was taken in the latter colony by the German Jacob Leisler, defending in 1691 as representative of the Dutch government of New Amsterdam the settlement against the encroachment of English tyranny. Even earlier than this a German, Peter Minnewit, had been governor of this struggling Dutch colony.
It was impossible for Germany in its dismembered condition to plant colonies, yet the despotism of German princes and religious persecution easily explains emigration to the land of promise, America. Through an invitation extended by William Penn directly to the eminent German lawyer, Franz Daniel Pastorius, Germans united in settling the colony to which Penn's name had been given. October 16, 1683, the ship Concord brought the first organized company of German emigrants to this country. There were thirteen families from Krefeld, thirty-three people who arrived and were welcomed by Pastorius and Penn. The heads of these families, who were for the most part weavers, founded the settlement called Germantown near Philadelphia which was given the title of city in 1691. German day, which is observed in many places on October 16th of each year commemorates the day in 1883 when these first German emigrants in larger numbers landed on American soil and founded a successful American colony.
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It would take too long to write a general history of the Germans in America. It is perhaps generally known that the Germans in Pennsylvania developed such strength that the matter of making German the official language of the colony was considered. When the question came up for decision in the council it was defeated by a single vote and that one was cast by a German who argued that a single language would promote the unity of the colonies and induce their prosperity. It should be noted that the Germans of Germantown under the leadership of Pastorius in 1688 made the first protest against slavery which was at that time tolerated by Puritan and Quaker alike. The original of that memorable document is still to be seen at the present time in Philadelphia. It should also be mentioned that it was in the printing establishment of Christopher Sauer of Germantown that the first German Bible was printed in this country.
In the war of the Revolution the noble Washington habitually chose German soldiers for his bodyguard. Among the heroes in that war whose names are infrequently given due honor in school books and so-called historical works may be named Generals Nicholas Herchheimer (Herkimer), Peter Muehlenberg, Johann von Kalb (de Kalb), Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, the last being appointed drill master of the army by Washington and the Continental congress. We must also not omit to mention that the first treasurer of the united colonies was the German, Michael Hillegas. The historical figure of the battle of Monmouth, the heroine Mollie Pitcher, was a German and her real name Maria Heis. Prussia's heroic king, Frederick the Great, was the first monarch to recognize the young republic, the United States of America.
When the republic had been established by the conflict which followed the glorious Declaration of Independence and England's despotism had been ended, the immigrant stream from Germans became uninterrupted. The German immigrant stream from Germany became uninterrupted. The German immigrant was numbered among the best of those who settled the western country. Where there were no railroads the wagon drawn by oxen served. The Germans with other immigrants and American pioneers followed the course of the larger streams coming up the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis and even to the smaller villages beyond-Burlington, Davenport, Dubuque, etc.
The reaction following the revolution in Germany in 1848-49 brought in the next ten years and in the early '60s, 1,500,000 of the flower of the German population to America. Among these were such men as Carl Schurz, Franz Sigel, Friedrich Hecker, G. T. Kellner, Herman Raster, etc. To Davenport came many liberty-loving Schleswig-Holsteiners, such as Bleik Peters, Hans Reimer Claussen, Ernst Claussen, Enil Geisler, G. P. Ankerson, Theodor Guelich, Jens Peter Stibolt, etc.
Then came the secession of the states and civil war lasting from 1861 to 1865. In this desperate struggle, which ended with the refounding of a single large North American republic and the freedom of the slaves through the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, 200,000 Germans swore allegiance to the flag of the union and through their aid this country was saved dismemberment. Here may be mentioned some of the most noted German commanders in the Union army: Generals Osterhaus, Ludwig Blenker, Rosecrans, August Willich, Friedrich Hecker, Carl Schurz, etc. The number of German officers in the Union army in a class with our Captain Robert Henne were numbered by the hundreds, which is not an occasion for wonder, as many German immigrants were skilled in military tactics through service in the fatherland and had an understanding of military discipline which native recruits had yet to acquire. The members of the German turner societies of this country were among the first to decide with enthusiasm to uphold the Union. By the thousand the turners raillied to the standard. Turner halls were in many cities depopulated during the war, for instance in Cincinnati, where the first turning society in the United States was established. This was November 21, 1848, and on the instigation of that champion of freedom, Friedrich Hecker, who came from Baden. In the Davenport Turner hall a company was organized that with three exceptions consisted of Germans, and whosse officers were Davenport turners; to make especial mention: August Wentz, Theodor Guelich, Johann Ahlefeldt, Ernst Claussen, Louis Schoen, Fr. Dittmann, Charles Stuehmer, etc.
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Carl Schurz, who may be called with justice the most distinguished German-American, having filled the highest position accorded those not native born, while secretary of the interior, was the first to call attention to the inevitable and irreparable results following the destruction of the forests and earnestly recommended the introduction of German methods of forest conservation. The well-known German-American poet, Konrad Nies, voiced this protest in poetic language in his noted poem, "The Revenge of the Woods." Bernhard E. Fernono, one of the founders of the National Forest association and editor of the publication, "The Forester" was principally instrumental some ten years ago in launching the movement for forest conservation, which cannot fail to bring blessings to the land.
To the development of American industries the German-American has contributed in generous measure. Much of the groundwork of these enterprises is the result of German thoroughness and German perseverance, as for instance the piano factory of Steinway & Sons, in New York; the steel cable establishment of John A. Roebling's Sons, in Trenton, N. J. The deceased John A. Roebling was the builder of the famous Brooklyn bridge, the first bridge over East river, at New York. There may be also cited the leather works of R. H. Foerderer, in Philadelphia, the immense breweries in St. Louis, Milwaukee and elsewhere, that of Anheuser-Busch at St. Louis being the largest in the world. In the central states, success due to German diligence is manifested in numberless instances in American industries. Here in Davenport are conspicuous examples of this success, an instance being the large manufacturing plant of the Bettendorf Axle Company, in a suburb of Davenport, at whose head are William P. and Joseph Bettendorf and in connection with which is their father, M. Bettendorf, a man who holds the German liberal thought in highest esteem. In this great factory where among other things steel railroad cars are made the business transacted approaches a million each month. This factory promises to be one of the greatest in this part of the country. The president of the factory, William P. Bettendorf, has proven himself a genius in invention, and his valuable patents are now bringing him a rich return.
Not all German-American inventors have been so fortunate. It is only necessary to remember Ottomar Mergenthaler who designed the linotype, that machine now indispensable in the printing establishments of the country, the most magnificent machine the mind of man has ever devised. Mergenthaler died in poverty in Baltimore in the year 1899, after long illness. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company has since that time amassed many million dollars in the manufacture of the improved machine.
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The German press of the country has steadily gained in influence and importance and has probably not yet reached its zenith. The oldest German newspaper, still published in Reading, Penn., is the Reading Adler, founded in the year 1796. The German newspapers now number in the hundreds. Among the daily publications of the first rank are the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung, the Westliche-Post in St. Louis, the Illinois Staats-Zeitung of Chicago, and others. In Davenport appears as a daily newspaper Der Demokrat, a German paper which was founded by Theodor Guelich in 1851. Its proprietor, from 1856 to 1903, was Henry Lischer and it is now published by the H. Lischer Printing Company, whose members are the sons of Henry Lischer. Another Davenport newspaper is the Semi-weekly Iowa Reform which was founded by the writer of this article in 1884 and who has continued its publication from that year with the assistance of his brother Gerhard Petersen, with good success. Last year, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, a jubilee edition was issued, a piece of journalistic achievement rarely equalled in the German-American field. Concerning the German-American press the distinguished historian Rudolph Cronau says in his latest work, "Three Centuries of German Life in America," from which work many of the dates above given are taken: "The tone of the German-American press is genuinely American. It is everywhere the constant defender of the best elements in our political system, sharp in its criticism of political mistakes, and an untiring champion of the general welfare, of order and of personal liberty. To the praise of the German-American newspapers it may be further said that with few exceptions they are free from the disgusting sensationalism through which many American newspapers endeavor to enlarge their circle of readers."
Brief mention has already been made of what the German turning societies did in the time of the country's greatest need. Hastily will be sketched what the German immigrants have accomplished in the realm of music in this mighty land. To them thanks are due for the development of orchestral music and much that is admirable in vocal music. The names of the following pioneer conductors: Leopold Damrosch, Theodore Thomas, Carl Zerrahn, Christoph Bach and Friedrich Stock are household words. In Davenport Jacob Strasse was the founder and pioneer of good orchestral music. In the realm of grand opera may be written the noted Wagner directors and singers; Anton Seidl, Walter Damrosch, Alfred Hertz, Andreas Dippel and others and the equally noted song-birds, Ritter-Geotze, Marcella Sembrich, Schumann-Heink and others. On occasions of great saengerfests the four-part choruses for male voices have been given with immense effect, a recent example being the male choruses at the saengerfest of the Northwestern association in July, 1898, in Davenport.
The German theater in the United States has contributed much to the elevation of public taste, although in many cities where it formerly flourished it is now struggling for existence. In New York, St. Louis and Milwaukee the German theater still prospers. In Davenport where for more than fifty years the "Deutches Stadttheater' was able to exist, giving pleasure at all times and instruction on many occasions not only to the Germans but also to the English speaking population, there is now being given at the Grand Opera House a series of plays by a dramatic organizations of St. Louis. The present director of the German theater in Davenport is the excellent character-actor, G. C. Ackermann. Formerly for many years John Hill was the manager of the locat theater. Fritz Singer also rendered valuable service in this line, as before him did Berthold Kraus. The most famous of those who have appeared upon the local stage as artistic managers are Gustav Donald, Hans Ravene, H. Neeb, G. C. Ackermann and Hans Wengefeld. The qualities which made the German immigrant successful in this country and caused him to be recognized among the most substantial of American citizens found their finest expression in the exhibits of Germany at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 and at St. Louis in 1904, where she was the equal of all exhibiting nations, and surpassed most. But greater than this excellence in material benefit is the gift to Americans and the foreign born citizens of this land other than the Germans of those influences toward the higher life, and in this consists their greater debt to the German-Americans, which is most manifest in its influence upon the younger generation. We brought America not only German industry which helped to change the bare prairie into laughing, fruitful fields, we also brought it the systematic physical training now taught in many schools of this country, according to German methods, the fostering of the best in vocal and instrumental music, true love of liberty, and the Christmas tree with its many sparkling lights, which is now to be found in nearly every American home.
America has profited much by the addition to her life of all that is German. By far the larger portion of German immigration, grown less in later years through more favoring conditions in the fatherland, has been a blessing to this country. The very large portion of the present population of the United States made up of Germans and their descendants is shown by the fact that out of 80,000,000 souls, about one-fourth, or 20,000,000 have German blood in their veins. And if to these be added the English and Scandinavian people, which addition is just, as they are of Germanic stock, it is easy to see that all other elements are exceeded, and that makes for the greatness of America. That the German language may be kept alive by those descended from the German immigrants and also by other American citizens and fostered to a degree greater than ever before to me seems of great importance. It is gratifying to note that the practical American has found a value in a knowledge of the German tongue. It is equally euphonious with the English and ranks next to that language in use among civilized nations. German commerce enlarges its field each year, and it is to be hoped American commerce will expand in the same way. These two great leaders in the world's civilization are dependent on each other. May the goodfellowship between them become incresingly cordial.
THE POPULATION OF GERMAN DESCENT IN DAVENPORT AND SCOTT COUNTY
The earliest German immigration came to Scott county almost at the beginning of her history. From historic sources of unquestioned verity the population of Davenport in 1836 was about 100, consequently the history of the village cannot be said to have begun before that date. On may 15, 1836 the first German family came to this vicinity. It was the family of Carl Jacob Freitag (Friday) who with his wife and his three sons, Johann, Jacob and Gottlieb, had emigrated from Wurttemberg, pressed forward across the broad, western prairies, for the most part using a yoke of oxen for transportation, until he settled as a farmer in what is now Rockingham township, a few miles down the Mississippi river. Here in the new home three days later, a daughter, Caroline, was born to the German pioneer couple. In the year 1836 there also landed in America the Bomberg family which included Friedrich Ernst Bomberg, his wife and seven children. From Gotha in Thuringen they came, and made their first American home on a farmstead near Buffalo in Scott county, where in October of the following year, 1837, Mr. Bomberg passed away. In the same year of Mr. Bomberg's death his widow brought her flock of little immigrants to Davenport and made their home in the young village, and here remained, the first German family in Davenport. April 14, 1910, there died in the old home Mrs. Augusta Ranzow, nee Bomberg, the last member of the very earliest German family to settle in Davenport. In the year 1837 came Adam Weigand, Joseph Gehmann, Christopher Schneider, the last named, the discoverer of coal at Buffalo, ten miles below Davenport, which is mined until the present time. At the close of the year 1846 the population of Davenport was increased by sixty Germans, a large part bringing with them their families. Among the immigrants from Germany who came during the first ten years following 1836 we find Michael Gold, Christian Kober, E. Steinhilber, Christ Schuh, Carl Sauer, Johann H. Schuett, Franz Lambach, Louis Beyer, Johann Kaspar Wild, Franz Xaver Kessler, Kaspar Schroepfer, Nicholas Mock, Asmus Vieths, Peter and Clasu Puck, Jochim and Hinrich Steffen, Jochim Plambeck, and others. April 11, 1847, seventeen persons landed in Davenport, among whom were Claus Lamp, Asmus H. Steffen, Jochim Schoell, Hinrich Muhs, J. F. Lafrenz and Hans Wiese. June 21, 1847, ninety other persons came. Among these were Hans Stoltenberg, Wulf Hahn, Jochim Klindt, Thies Sindt, Claus H. Lamp, Eggert Puck, Claus Wulf, etc. July 13, 1847 came fifty additional people. August 1, 1847, sixty emigrants from the old fatherland followed, among whom were two who became especially well known and popular-Matthias J. Rohlfs and Nicholas J. Rusch. In December of the same year twenty-four German immigrants landed at New Orleans whose destination was Davenport, but who could not reach this place until the following spring, for it was not until that time that the Mississippi was free of ice.
Early in the year 1848 Davenport received an additional company of German immigrants numbering about 250, most of these coming from Schleswig-Holstein, where political conditions were intolerable. This stream of immigration continued, as those who had reached this land induced their friends and relatives to come. When finally the struggle of Schleswig-Holstein against Danish despotism had reached an unfortunate conclusion a larger immigration began in the years from 1851 to 1853. The German immigration was swelled by those coming from other German provinces, due to the reaction following the times of revolution in the fatherland. Until the beginning of the '80s of the last century a large stream of German immigration poured into this vicinity, which gradually became weaker, and although today comparatively few in the old fatherland think of emigrating it has never entirely ceased.
The Iowa census of 1890 gave Scott county a population of 43,164, of which 10,130, or very nearly one-fourth, were natives of Germany. If to this large number be added the German immigration of the twenty years following 1890 and the direct descendants of all those coming from Germany a strong showing is made for the strength of German-Americanism in this county. That not all descendants of Germans retain their German spirit is unfortunately true, yet on the other hand, it is pleasant to be able to state that in a large number of the sons and daughters of the immigrants of the '40s till '60s, the inherited spirit of the fatherland still is manifest and the love of the German language and the good old German customs has not died out. There has been no lack of continued commercial success for such true German-Americans. It is only necessary to mention here the descendants of several old forty-eighters and others more recent: Louis Hanssen's Sons, Christ Mueller's Sons, Ferdinand Roddewig's Sons, H. & H. Rohlfs, Wahle brothers, Peter Feddersen, Oswald, Walter and Herman Schmidt, Charles Naeckel's Sons, T. Richter's Sons, the sons of Henry Lischer, Alfred and Henry True, Henry and William Wiese, Ad. Eckermann, and others.
October 14, 1902, a German-American Pioneer association of Scott county came into existence. Only such Germans as have lived in America for fifty years, or those of German parentage who have reached the age of fifty years, may become members. The association had reached a membership of several hundreds, due very largely to the activity of its secretary, John Berwald. A complete membership list was published in the jubilee edition of the Iowa Reform of last year. It is probable that a revised list of the members will be incorporated in this work. In this connection it may be mentioned that as early as the year 1873 an association of German veterans was formed in Davenport whose title is "Schleswig-Holstein Kampfgenossen Verein von 1848-1850." To the special edition of the Democrat and Leader, published to commemmorate the fiftieth anniversary, two of the best known members of this verein, Emil Geisler and Bleik Peters, contributed. The latter, who was the president of the society of rmany years, died recently. The annual meeting of this organization occurs on March 24. At the date of the publication of the Half-Century Democrat, October 22, 1905, the association had 175 members, of whom fifteen are over eighty years old, and the remaining 160 between seventy-two and eighty. In the article contributed by Bleik Peters appears a long list of deceased members. This list has naturally increased greatly in the past five years, but about 100 of the old forty-eighters are still living, hale and hearty. It will probably be more than another decade before the last of these staunch old heroes shall be called upon to join the great army. To give the details of the Schleswig-Holstein Kampfgenossen Verein would take more space than is available. A large volume would scarce suffice to record the efforts and accomplishments of these old soldiers and of the younger generation of German-Americans who have taken such energetic part in the development of Davenport and Scott county, but it is fitting that this contribution to the work in hand shall not overrun the bounds of reasonable article. There is much that has not been touched upon. The problem is now how to handle what remains with conciseness. Now follows such an attempt.
A SHORT TRIP CROSS-COUNTRY
A drive through Scott county, that is, through the farming district that stretches from Davenport with its 45,000 inhabitants, to the westward, northward and eastward, is well worth one's while. For it gives opportunity to see some of the most fruitful and valuable farming land in the great agricultural state of Iowa. As a matter of course the right season of the year must be chosen. In an automobile the longest distances can be covered in the shortest time, and automobiles in great numbers utilize the country roads, that is if they are in a good condition, which, unfortunately is not always the case, even in summer. But for our purpose the automobile is too rapid, and we will take the older fashioned means of travel, the horse and buggy.
We drive through the townships of Davenport and Blue Grass until we reach the little city of Walcott which is about ten miles from Davenport. After a short stay in this place our drive continues through Cleona, Hickory Grove and Sheridan townships and in this circuit we touch the villages of Plainview, Maysville, Eldridge and Mt. Joy. Everywhere in this expanse of land, wealth is apparent, which is also the case in each one of the fourteen townships of the county. We inquire to whom this or that especially beautiful farm belongs, and the names of the proprietors given us are always those of Germans. We are told that every nearly nine-tenths of the land in Scott county is owned by German immigrants and their descendants. An inspection of the townships traversed on this trip as depicted upon a Huebinger map of Scott county shows that the owners of the farms whose names are recorded on this map, with very few exceptions, are German. In Cleona township where farms large and small to the number of 150 are platted we find that out of this number only three are owned by those whose names do not have a German sound, as for instance Erastus Bills. All others are German. We find that formerly more Americans were landowners in Scott county, but that the German was thriftier, knew better how to manage, and that gradually chances to buy were offered and accepted. It has always been, and still is, possible to tell on what farms a representative of any other nationality has tried the remunerative occupation of farming. On the German farms there is system,-no farm machinery rusting in the open, no dilapidated sheds on the place, no rank weeds and evident negligence, as is often the case when another than a German farms. Of course there are here as in customary, exceptions to the rule. Gradually the German farming population has acquired the largest part of the best land in the county. Scott county farmers are with few exceptions German, and wherever one enters a farmhouse one meets with cordial welcome and hospitality.
Wealth reigns in the farming region of America, and this is notably the case in Scott county.
In addition to their splendid estates, their stock which at the present time is of such great value, their residences, other buildings and modern agricultural machinery, our farmers have a very large share in the deposits-amounting to many million dollars-in the large Davenport banks, and also in the smaller banks which have been established within the last ten years in the country towns. In many of these little cities met with in a cross country drive, such as Walcott and Eldridge, we find that the German population greatly out number the English. Eldridge, even, has a good Turner association with a large membership. When we reach home in Davenport from our trip through the farming territory we are more than ever convinced that the German farming population of the county has made fine choice of occupation and is succeeding splendidly therein. Also in the city of Davenport, as had already been intimated, the German prospers in many professions and undertakings, of which short mention will be made in that which follows.
GERMAN-AMERICANS SUCCESSFUL IN VARIED CALLINGS
In Davenport many German-Americans have been, and still are, successful in manufacturing. Several will be mentioned, as they come to mind: Wahle Brothers, in machinery; Henry Kohrs & Son, wholesale pork packing; Schmidt Brothers, washing machines, etc.; Voss Brothers, washing machines, etc; Brammer Manufacturing Company (Hugo Braunlich and others), washing machines; Nicholas Kuhnen, Otto Albrecht & Co. (Theodor Hartz), cigar manufacturers; and in the same line Ferdinand Haak and Sons, P. N. Jacobsen, Jr., H. Harkert, Claus F. Hanssen, W. & E. Goettsch, Julius Goos, Junge & Oden, C. L. Wollenberg; Krabbenhoeft Brothers, cigar boxes, etc.; M. E. Nabstedt & Sons, manufacturing jewelers; Wilhelm and Reinhard Wagner, printers; Zoller Brothers, brewers; and in the same line, George Klindt, Herman Wulff, F. Holdorf, etc.; as successor to H. Koehler, Oscar Koehler, M. Frahm, J. Lehrkind, etc.; L. P. Best, in various branches of industry; H. Korn & Sons, wholesale bakers; R. Mittelbuscher, cooperage; Ed. Berger, building material; H. O. Seiffert, building material; F. G. Clausen, as architect and part owner of factories; F. T. Blunck, in factory and other enterprises, etc. etc.
In professional circles, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, etc., we find many Germans or the direct descendants of Germans. Here follows a partial list of doctors: P. A. Bendixen, Henry U. Braeunlich, Oscar Dahms, Geroge E. and Herbert Decker, August de Fries, E. O. Ficke, L. F. Guldner, A. L. Hageboeck, Julius T. Haller, C. C. Hetzel, H. E. Hoefle, C. F. Jappe, J. F. Kempker, Kulp & Kulp, A. B. Kuhl, Fred Lambach, John V. Littig, Carl and Heinrich Matthey, R. Neufeld, L. J. Portmann, F. E. Rudolf, A. Sauer, Ben Schmidt, P. H. Schoreder, Wm. A. Stoecks, E. F. Strohbehn, Kuno H. Struck, Karl Vollmer, J. S. Weber.
The pharmacists follow: Louis P. Carstens, Theodore Danquardt, Hugo Emeis, Martin Hansen, J. Harding, W. Heiber, J. J. Japsen, E. J. Kistenmacher, J. E. Klenze, W. Lage, G. G. Lauffer, A. F. Meisner, E. A. Moetzel, J. F. Neufeld, A. Riepe, Gustav Schlegel & Son (Carl F.).
These are the dentists: Hugo A. Braun, F. H. Dueser, H. Littig, H. G. Pape, A. L. Schmidt, W. A. Seeboldt, J. D. Unangst.
The present German members of the Davenport bar: Henry A. Arp, Waldo Becker, Louis Block, Phil Daum, H. E. C. Ditzen, C. A. Ficke, Robert Ficke, Sam Finger, Charles Grilk (who is in line for the honor of representing the second Iowa district in congress), Carl F.Hass, Albert W. Hamann, Wm. Hoersch, Henry H. Jebens, G. H. Koch, V. L. Littig, Alfred C. Mueller, Walter H. Petersen, Louis E. Roddewig (police magistrate), Claus Ruymann, Adolph Ruymann, Henry Thuenen, Jr., Fred Vollmer (county attorney), Henry Vollmer.
Notaries public among the German-Americans: John Heinz, Edna A. Goettig, Aurthur, Charles and Julius Ficke, Otto Ladenberger, Albert J. Noth, Otto Rieche, Ignatz Schmidt, H. O. Seiffert, Gustave Stueben, Edward Soukop.
The German clergymen who have been active in Davenport for many years: Right Rev. Anton Niermann, of the St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) church, who for more than fifty years has presided over his parish. During last year at the celebration of his fiftieth anniversary the title of monsignior was converred upon him by Pope Pius X. He has reached the advanced age of eighty-one years. His assistant at the present time is Rev. John Scherf. For more than twenty-seven years Rev. A. D. Greif has been the pastor of the German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity church. With deep regret the members of his congregation have very reluctantly bade him farewell upon his departure for his new field, Charter Oak, Iowa. His successor is Rev. Mahnke. Two additional highly respected evangelical pastors are Rev. Herman P. Greif and Rev. Carl Holtermann.
It would require too much space to enumerate all the Germans who hold responsible positions in the ten or more banks of the city, most of which were founded by Germans, or to name the directors or employees of the same. Here are a few taken from the two frist named classes: Charles N. Voss, Ed. Kaufmann, J. D. Brockmann, John H. Hass, Gust Stueben, August E. Steffen, Wm. Heuer. Otto Eckhardt, Julius Hasler, Claus Stoltenberg, Julius E. Burmeister.
Even much less would it be possible to enumerates all the German-Americans who are active in commercial enterprises at the present time or have been in the past. To the list of those who have been especially successful in the past belong the name of Robert Krause and many others. All lists of names herein given make no claim to completeness, the purpose being to give a somewhat correct idea of the activity of the Germans in Davenport and Scott county.
The oldest grocer in Davenport is Hohn C. Johannsen, whose business was founded as early as 1867. In this same branch John H. Schuett has long been active,-for from thirty to forty years. A few German Israelites who have been successful in commercial enterprises: Silberstein Brothers, H. & J. Deutsch, Simon & Landauer, John Ochs' Sons, etc. Especial mention should be made of those large merchants, wholesale and retail, J. H. C. Petersen's Sons, who have been the most successful merchants in Davenport for the last thirty years.
THE GERMANS OF SCOTT COUNTY IN PUBLIC LIFE
Although Iowa Germans and their direct descendants number some 400,000, or about one-sixth of the population, they have never entered into public life in proportion to their numerical strength. The fellow citizens of Irish extraction, although forming a smaller portion of the population, better understand the entry into political life. The immigrating German must first gain a command of the English language, in many cases a slow process, and he is as a rule reserved and reticent where the reorganization and reformation of political conditions are concerned. Much could be accomplished in the political field were it not that the old world habit of disagreement brought with him from the old home by the immigrant German-Anerican shows itself at inopportune times. But the purpose of this article is not to pick flaws, but to demonstrate the good qualities of the Germans and their successes in this neighborhood.
But it can be said that the German-Americans of Scott county do exhibit a united front when called upon to show their high esteem for personal liberty and condemnation of un-American and unjust compulsory laws, although they have learned by experience that they cannot yet oppose successfully the superior strength of their opponents in the state and must for the time being submit to laws passed by the legislature and unworthy of a free people.
Scott county has sent many excellent Germans to the general assembly at Des Moines. As early as 1859 Scott county elected Nicholas J. Rusch to the state senate, and later in 1860 Rusch was elected lieutenant governor on the same ticket with Iowa's war governor, S. J. Kirkwood. Somewhat later, in the year 1869, Scott county sent the Schleswig-Holstein patriot, Hans Reimer Claussen to the state senate where he rendered valuable service to the liberal element of the people of Iowa. In 1884 Scott county elected that guardian of free thought, William O. Schmidt, to the hosue of representatives and at a later date to the senate, where he won great honors as the champion of liberal ideas and the opponent of prohibition. Matthias J. Rohlfs, a forty-eighter also proved his excellence in the legislature. Others representing Scott county in the lower house at Des Moines have been: Ernst Mueller, Lorenz Rogge, Philip Dietz, Henry Thuenen, Jr., Jacob Nabstedt, A. W. Hamann, A. A. Balluff, Adolph Stoltenberg, Fr. Balluff, H. H. Boettger.
A large number of Gemans have been prominent in the city administration of Davenport. At the head of the list stands Ernst Claussen, the youngest of the forty-eighters. As a boy of sixteen he fought with Schleswig-Holstein against the despotism of Denmark. Ernst Claussen, the mayor, who served more years than any other, his term running from 1883 to 1889, is remembered for his resolute character and uncompomising liberalism, and also for his typical American patriotism. Other notable German mayors were: C. A. Ficke, 1890-1891 and Henry Vollmer, 1893 to 1896. Both of these followed in the liberal pathway marked out by their predecessor Claussen. Fred Heinz was also an excellent mayor, and Waldo Becker, a native born son of German parents, gave the best of his ability to the service of the city. The mayor chosen at the April election of 1910 is Alfred C. Mueller, son of Christ Mueller, one of the founders of the Davenport Turngemeinde.
To name all the past and present German members of the city council with the accompanying dates and the wards from whch they were elected would take too much space and the thought must not be entertained. The first German city fathers of Davenport were: A. Wiegand and A. F. Mast in 1851 and 1852. Later German members of the city council, the count running to the present: C. J. H. Eyser, L. Beyer, E. A. Gerdtzen, John Schott, T. Guelich, A. Schmallfeld, H. Ramming, H. H. Andresen, F. Vollstedt, G. P. Ankerson, Bleik Peters, John Schmidt, William Glassman, Francis Ochs, H. Lambach, J. Wunderlich, Samuel Hirschl, G. M. Matthes, C. Tegeler, H. A. Runge, N. Kuhnen, P. B. Harding, Otto Klug, Christopher Kruse, H. Abel, H. Lischer, H. F. Laverenz, C. F. Knappe, Martin Kunkel, J. Speetzen, H. Schumacher, F. Vollstedt, H. Lamp, William Claussen, N. Krambeck, Henry Kohrs, F. G. Clausen, Theo. Blunck, George Rebuer, A. J. Lerch, Christ Kuehl, 1882, and is again a member of the council, Valentine Laux, A. C. Beyer, William Klein, William Bischoff, P. J. Stelling, L. H. Rehling, P. F. Petersen, Edward Edinger, H. J. Meyer, Henry Korn, G. W. Kerker, F. G. Dickmann, Henry Abel, Ernst Zoller, Wm. Rath, W. J. Reese, J. Eckmann, J. C. Brauch, Frank Klauer, Wm. Reese, Henry Stender, Gus Eckhardt, Henry Vollmer, Henry Thuenen, Jr., Chas. Schutter, John Berwald, Walter Hass, W. H. Regennitter, Louis Eckhardt, Charles Schick, John Schnack, Wm. E. Matthes, John P. Mass, Louis Wiese, Theo. Bargholz, William Gosch, Chas. F. Zoeckler and Fred Denger.
Among those holding city positions these served as treasurer: L. Schricker, H. Mittelbuscher, Otto Klug, Rudolph Priester, Louis Rieck, F. Kruse, J. B. Frahm, Chas. Hagermann, Wm. Heuer, Wm. G. Noth. These served as city clerk: J. G. Tuerk, H. Goos, Hugo Moeller; as marshal and chief of police; John Kaufmann, Frank Kessler, Henry Martens, Thies Herzog; as assessor: E. Hugo Schmidt, Jeppe Bierring, Ignatz Hild; as city attorney; Henry Thuenen, Jr.; as assistant city engineer, C. H. Beuck; as street commissioner; B. Eseke, A. D. Lepper, Henry Nagel; as city electrician; Al. Goldschmidt; as chief of the fire department: John C. Piening, John L. Stoltenberg; as police magistrate; B. Finger, John Kaufmann, G. F. Kramer, S. A. Finger, Louis E. Roddewig; as plumbing inspector; Adolph Kahles, Otto Meinert, etc.
Probably the above list is not complete, but an effort has been made to make it so.
On the school board and park commission Germans have rendered valuable services. A complete list of the names is not at hand, but here are a few representative names of those filling those positions recently or at the present time. Members of the board of education and treasurers of the school district: Jens Lorenzen, Paulo Roddewig, Dr. H. Braeunlich, Henry Vollmer, W. H. Gehrmann, Dr C. Matthey, Edward Berger, Theodor Hartz, Dr. G. E. Decker, Alex Naeckel, Alfred C. Mueller, Dr. Oscar Dahms, Edward Harms; park commissioners: John D. Brockmann, Dr. H. Matthey.
German county officials.-Auditor: H. Jarchow, Edward Berger; sheriff, Louis Eckhardt; county clerk, Wm. G. Noth; recorder; H. Vollmer, Sr., Frank Holm; treasurer: M. J. Rohlfs, Henry C. Struck, Rudolph Rohlfs, Ben F. Luetje; county attonrey: Fred Heinz, Julius Lischer, A. W. Hamann, Fred Vollmer; county superintendent of schools: C. L. Suksdorf, J. H. Jacobs, H. A. Ronge; surveyor, C. H. Beuck; coroner, Dr. F. Lambach: county physician: Dr. C. L. Barewald, Dr. E. O. Ficke; members of the board of supervisors: L. Rogge, Leonhard Litscher, H. J. Wulff, Peter Schwartz, Henry Schroeder, Theodore Gasseling, Julius Sander. This list is also necessarily incomplete.
IN THE MUSICAL WORLD
The Germans of Scott county have been eminent in many fields, and especially have the German women done great service in the elevation of the plane of social life. Large German festivities and social occasions have reached triumphant conclusion through the ennobling efforts of German women. In the musical world also, especially in the realm of vocal music, our German ladies have been especially prominent on innumerable occasions. To record all the names of those eminent in music would be utterly impossible and should the attempt be made, it would be easy to accuse incompleteness and even favoritism.
In instrumental music also Davenport has achieved brilliant results. More than nine-tenths of the professional musicians here have at all times been Germans. This proportion holds when a tri-city musical organization if formed, as of the 170 members of the Tri-City Musical Society, 150 are Germans. Among the directors of recent times who have won especial prominence are Ernst Otto and Albert Petersen. These came to the front after the already mentioned pioneer leader of instrumental music, Jacob Strasser had retired on account of advanced age. Among the most noted instrumental soloists have been Hugo Toll, Henry Sonntag, William Paarmann, Oswald Stark, William Barthel and many others. In former years such musical artists as Charles Beiderbecke, Gustav Schlegel, Theodore Cramer and Hugo Braeunlich took first rank. In this connection we must also name Messrs. Bahns, Haas, Toenniges, Restorff, Wernentin, and Lepper. Until very recently the most widely known Davenport director was Theo. Rud. Reese, who a short time ago removed to Omaha for residence, where he is working in the interest of the approaching great fest of the Sawngerbund des Nordwestens. Besides this there must be mentioned the Davenport Zither club which under the direction of Albert K. Fahrner has given us many excellent concerts.
Two of the leading lady vocalists of present-day Davenport are Mrs. Hilda Matthey, and Mrs. Lilli Stibolt-Hanssen. Among the solo-pianists of note are Mrs. Bruning-Starbuck, Miss Olga Schmidt, Miss Meta Lerch, etc. Among the noted portrait artists are Karl Schmalhaus, Miss Carrie Decker and others.
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Among the German chorus societies of the city the oldest is the Davenport Maennerchor. This organization was founded in 1851, and celebrated its golden anniversary May 26, 1901, at Schuetzen Park most successfully, the attendance being about 5,000 and a delightful program of vocal and instrumental music rendered. Other musical organizations in Davenport are the Gesang Section of the Davenport Turngemeinde, the Northwest Davenport Liedertafel, the Germania Saengerchor, etc. From these societies a mass chorus of from 100 to 200 voices had been formed to take part in the great saengerfest in Omaha. Much good work has also been done by the Arbeiter Gesangverein, Vorwaerts, under whose auspices the Bundes Arbeiter Saengerfest was held in Davenport in June, 1907. Mention has also been made of the extraordinarily successful saengerfest of the "Bund des Nordwestens," that was held in Davenport the latter part of July, 1898. On this occasion it was an American, and more still, a Davenport girl, who achieved the highest triumph by her solo work-Miss Poddie Ross. Splendid success was also scored at that saengerfest by miss Bertha Sonntag and Miss Pauline Woltmann, the former of Davenport, and the latter of our sister city, Rock Island. The united male choruses of this fest sang with magnificent effect. Davenport musicians also won great honor.
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The dedication of the music pavilion in the Schuetzen park brought together a larger number of people than had ever before assembled on a similar occasion in the history of Davenport. On that day, June 9, 1895, this naturally beautiful scenic park was visited by 10,000 people. The next largest assembly of the people that Davenport can boast was at the Bundes-Kriegerfest in the '80s. This was also held at Schuetzen park.
THE FREIE DEUTSCHE SCHULGEMEINDE
The organization named in the heading is the successor of the "Freie Deutsche Schulverein" which was founded in Davenport as early as the year 1853. For the last named society, Messrs. J. H. True and J. S. Kahrmann worked for many years and with fine results. German teachers in private schools up to the '70s were William Riepe and Carl Gertzen and others. The old association transferred its property to the Freie Deutsche Schulgemeinde, which was founded in the year 1897. This transfer was made after a site had been acquired and a building erected through the efforts of these members: Dr. Carl Matthey, John F. Bredow, Henry Vollmer, Emil Geisler, Adolph Petersen, W. W. Wahle, Christian Geottig, Albert J. Jansen, M. Goettsch, Theodor Falk, A. Richter, Theodor Hartz and others. The transfer was approved by the citizens in general, who gave willingly and generously to the enterprise. The "Freie Deutsche Schule" through its Sunday sessions, its vacation and evening schools in which instruction is given in the German language and other branches has accomplished much good. At the present time lectures in the German language are given regularly for the children. As the German language is taught in the public schools it is difficult to maintain a regular German school in Davenport, nevertheless there are several parochial schools where instruction is given in German. Free thought is the basis of all instruction in the German Free school. At different times bequests of considerable size have been received by this school organization. First in importance among these was the legacy of the old German citizen, Matthias Frahm; another considerable sum was that given by Mrs. Louise Drause in memory of her father Ezekiel Steinhilber, one of the oldest German settlers of this neighborhood. Other bequests have been received from Henry Koehler and H. Riessen.
Among those instructors who have given the children informing lectures are: Dr. P. Radenhausen, Prof. J. H. Paarmann, Albert J. Janse, H. E. C. Ditzen, Mrs. Antonie Falk and Mrs. M. Speetzen. Mrs. M. Silberstein leads the children in German songs. The work of the Freie Deutsche Schulgemeinde has been of noticable importance of late years and of great practical value. This is shown by the large number of German immigrnts who have learned their first English in these classes, and have been through this instruction able to fill responsible positions in large business houses where a knowledge of both German and English is required.
GERMAN ORGANIZATIONS IN DAVENPORT
Among the German organizations of our city the Davenport Turngemeinde takes front rank through its numerical strength. It was founded in the year 1852 by thirteen German men, among whom were Christ Mueller and Louis Hanssen. The membership is now between 600 and 700. The Davenport Turngemeinded belongs to the North American Turnerbund, founded in the year 1850. Two of the bennial meetings have been held in Davenport, one in 1884 and the other in 1902. The number and character of those in attendance at these meetings impressed all Davenport. August 24 and 25, 1902, the Davenport Turngemeinde celebrated its golden anniversary, the greater part of the festivities taking place in Schuetzen park, with an assembled attendance ranging from 6,000 to 8,000. On that occasion Turner C. A. Ficke gave the principal address. This fest left a great impress upon those who participated. Three festal days of equal importance were those whereon the new Turner hall was dedicated, May 17-19, 1888. Even a cursory description of this series of events would take too much space. The Davenport Turngemeinde hopes in time to come into possession of the large building which is its home, and to discharge all liabilities still resting thereon. The gymnasium over which the admirable turning teacher, Wilhelm Reuter has presided for more than thirty years is spoken of in terms of greatest praise all over the United States. From this school have gone forth many admirable turners who have won for themselves honors in the fair field of open contest furnished by the North American bund. The Davenport Turngemeinde has done much to sustain liberal ideas. The German song has been cultivated in this association, formerly under the leadership of Reese and at the present time under Ernst Otto. The association has a good German library, and has fostered German sociability. The Northwest Davenport Turnverein which was founded August 5, 1871, and has about 200 members, owns its own hall, has its own organization and in every way holds fast to turner principles. A strong branch of the bund is the East Davenprot Turnverein which also owns its own hall.
Besides the organization of the war veterans of 1848-1850, the Kampfgenossen, already mentioned, there exists in Davenport a strong Kampfgenossen-Verein of 1870-1871 who erected a memorial shaft in Washington park, September 8, 1907, and dedicated it with appropriate festivities. Another organization of German soldiers is the Deutscher Kriegerverein which has a large membership and has done much to sustain the German language and German customs.
An association which owns its own hall is the Claus Groth-Gilde. The especial mission of this society is the aiding of its members in need of help through sickness. There are a number of German mutual aid societies all of which have a large membership roll. Their names are: Germania, Teutonia, Columbia, Northwest Davenport, West Davenport, Black Hawk, St. Joseph's, etc.
German lodges are also not a few. There is for instance the German Order of the Harugari, which is represented locally by a strong lodge, the Hermann lodge. To this order also belongs Hertha lodge, for ladies. The order of Hermann's Sons has two lodges in this city, Davenport Lodge, No. 1, and the Eintracht Lodge, No. 3. Many other lodges and numberous social organizations exist, whose names cannot be given for lack of space.
A German society of more than ordinary importance is the Davenport Schuetzen-Gesellschaft, which has more than 200 members. This society is the owner of the beautiful Schuetzen park, previously mentioned, where is held its regular shooting tournaments, for prizes. In this park concerts have been regularly given in the summers for thierty years or more. The social life which formerly obtained each Sunday in the park has been greatly injured by the working of the state compulsory laws, hated by all good Germans, these laws having especially strict provisions for the first day of the week. But the park will always remain a much loved place through its providing oportunities for social enjoyment in most beautiful surroundings.
There still remains to note that all German societies, lodges, etc., formed some three years ago a closer alliance through the organization of the German-American Central association of Davenport and Scott county. This has regular quarterly meetings at which the membership of from 3,000 to 4,000 are represented and this in turn is a member of the strong national association, at whose head as president is the excellent organizer, Dr. Charles John Hexamer. The state association was orgainzed the past year. For the organization of the local central association whose president is now Henry Vollmer, especial credit is due to the well known turner and eloquent orator, Gustav Donald and Dr. A. Richter, editor-in-chief of the local daily German paper, Der Demokrat; also, John Berwald, J. F. Grant, P. N. Jacobsen, Sr., E. Hugo Schmidt, and several others.
From this newly organized state association, for whose founding Peter Kuehl of Manning labored indefatigably, much that would be a blessing to the country may be hoped. The especial problem to be solved is mollifying the severity of the Iowa compulsory law which scoff at common sense. As the writer of this article said in his anniversay edition of the Iowa Reform. "The whole population of this state should remember that the freedom which made this land of America great must be wholly won back and held in high esteem, that liberty, right and the dignity of namkind may be preserved."
A FEW WORDS IN CONCLUSION
In the foregoing article, which was somewhat hurriedly arranged, I have endeavored to write a little memorial for the German immigrant and his direct descendant which is well deserved. It has already been said that htis writing has been kept as free from fault-finding as possible though at times it might not have been out of place. For the object set before me was to picture the services rendered by the German-American. During the last years blame, and at times very unjust blame, has not been wanting for the German population of Scott county, Iowa.
As in numerous publications designed to advertise Davenport, little or no reference is made to the part taken by the Germans in building Davenport and bringing the surrounding country to a flourishing condition-because of this-the foregoing portrayal, made with the utmost possible exactitude, may not seem irrelevant or wholly out of place even if it might be regarded as a hymn of praise.
One thing more should be especially emphasized, that the German population is held, or rather the German-American citizens are held in high esteem by the cultured American and by the cultured foreign citizen of other than German extraction. On the whole great harmony exists, which we hope may continue and help Davenport to attain in the greatest measure possible the end for which she is now striving-to take rank with the other great cities of the Mississippi valley, St. Paul, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
And even if the Germans of this locality have not always accomplished the ends for which they have striven, yet have they reason to be proud of the many successes, such as the introduction of the German physical training in the public schools and the teaching of the German language in these schools. It is true that the teaching of the German language is but small in comparison with that of English, the language of the country, but, as has already been said, the American frequently recognizes the value, yes, even the necessity, of learning the German language, and the Germans all learn to speak the English language fluently, so that one danger only remains-that the direct descendants of the Germans shall neglect and forget their mother tongue with its rich heritage of German thought. To offset this regretted neglect may it come about that the good qualities of the German people be taken up by the American nation and built into American character and in this way be perpetuated for all time.