9/9/20 German Migration primary sources

The Stille and Krumme Family

Wilhelmina Still was the farmer’s daughter on a rural family farm in Germany and the tenant farmer’s son, Wilhelm Krumme was a relevant tenant farmer on the same farm. Wilhelmina’s directly family were not heirs of the farm, so were just occupying it as family memberships without much power. These two were in a relationship but could not marry and being lowers in a relationship on a farm, especially the family owning the farm and the tenants intermingling was not acceptable. They decided to emigrate to be together and because it would provide more opportunity than learning another trade would in Germany. About a dozen relatives of each family demonstrated chain migration and formulated enclaves of their cultural groups around the Ohio River (even after Wilhelmina’s passing, her family emigrated into these enclaves). In the nearby village enclave of Triadelphia, German inhabitants changed the culture, booming into language-exclusive prints in 1850, where the German population quadrupled since the 1830s. Money and support from relatives at home, in which the Stille family transcended and the Krumme family inherited (Wilhelmina’s death) was the kickstart to applying known farming skills and starting up home base in America. There is extensive communication and artifacts between five Stille’s and Krumme’s which show prevalence in adapting to sudden emigration, followed by chain emigration. 

            Common elements of discussion I found are included here. Bosses play a huge role in finding work for immigrants. It is extremely hard to make true profit often. Encouragement and hopefulness for profit are positive anyways, and even encourage more family to invest. The language, religious, and cultural barriers are prevalent between Americans and Germans, but the German culture is well established through similar descended community in the enclaves. The communities often cling to each other and rely on each other to pinch cost and live together. Most immigrants aim to buy land which is too pricey, and the pay up is so soon and high-pressure, so they request support from their families back home. In fact, the immigrants to new land perceive most things as very expensive (city). Meals affordable, crop production and harvests, and talers earned as wage were the most common indicator of economic health. Death and illness is common among settling and the boat ride, or journey to migrate was rough- not recommended for children or the elderly. The economic trends, opportunity to make wealth in the changing economy, and updates on health and earnings are customarily touched on letter to letter. 

Martin Weitz

            Weitz was another German who was likely pushed to emigrate from economic crises and a surplus of competition from where he originates around the impoverished area of Schotten. Weitz was a single wool weaver specifically. His occupation suffered from European mechanization of the industry. 

Skilled trades most popular in Weitz’s homeland included wool weaving, followed by butchers than the textile-industry workers. However, after the 1830’s, wool weaving was made obsolete by mechanization and farmers came up with horrible harvest in the 1840’s, so emigration was taken up among mostly farmers and weavers. In the early 1840’s about a thousand emigrated from Oberhessen (province), and 2% of the population, about 15,000 emigrated in the early 1850’s. Most emigrants were single and destined for America. 

            In the late 1850’s, recent arrivals of German immigrants began inhabiting the area of Rockville, mostly comprised of non-English speaking, wool weaving Germans. By 1870, it is reports almost 650 Germans were in this established German-culture enclave; in comparison to the observations of Stilles and Krumme, there were churches, newspapers, schools, and an elaborate society in place. 

            Unlike Stilles and Krumme, Weitz communicated his experiences with obviously lower education and only from his personal account, but still very detailed. 

            Significant discussion point and contrasts I observed in Weitz’s letters are as follows. Similarly, sickness and a long journey were described, not cheap, and in high demand by many emigrants. Differently, the currency of spending from his homeland were referred to as guilders. Likewise, to Stilles and Krumme, Weitz reported high living expenses, but was lucky enough to find a job through known acquaintances, that he even sent financial support in a transaction back to his family at home, which was not what we read from the other accounts. Weitz was intrigued by the different weaving techniques in America but couldn’t emphasize the great account of unemployment of other migrants, thousands and thousands struggling, and not supporting each other anyways. He reports his lack of ability to speak English, the high disease, and rising costs of living despite high unemployment characterized his struggle in America In the mid 1850’s. He says you have to overcome the crime and dangers of America to persevere, which is easiest with connections. Weitz (1857) works to find marriage for a greater capacity of success and despite the crises in America, he is still confident he could better support a woman there than in Germany. Weitz attempts to acquire a German woman and uses his parents as a Segway for transaction to her/her family. His wife did arrive with high costs and she was free from her parent’s disapproval, free in general in America. 

The last letter from Weitz bursts excitement about him and his wife’s birth of a daughter, but did not follow up in the updates of a birth of a son, a successful career in well-paying looming, his death of sickness, an integral member and volunteer of the German community, then his daughter’s and son’s marriages and involvement in weaving. In addition, the son shifted his occupation to a barber, dreamed of by his father, before death. 

            More fascination with industry-weaving difference entail water looms, Fektorian work, and different social make ups of the groups. In 1857, new loom technology allows for faster combination of multiple pieces. 

            There is a huge political spotlight on the temperance movement, Yankee know-nothing party revolting, and pressures by the bosses to conform to the socio-political movements. There is incomplete, but repetitive conversation and questions proposed about the warfare, deaths, and peace situations In Germany and generally across Europe. In 1856, Weitz gave insight to the birth of the republican party (north) to combat slavery and instead fight for freedom. He sheds dangers in Kansas, defined by hugely slavery, but controversial violence and revolts by slaves as well. A fear I picked up on is that slavery had the chance of spreading to other immigrants, potentially justifying German migrants’ support for republicanism against slavery. The German immigrants advocate for Republican views and love freedoms, like that of press, exposing “Democratic cheating” and scandals. Weitz even foresaw civil war to protect freedom. 

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