Did they come for Independence?


part of ship passenger list for Rudolph Kaiser

Ship Passenger list for Rudolph Kaiser

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic for week 27: Independence
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. Do you have an ancestor who served in the American Revolution? Do you have a relative who was fiercely independent? Maybe an ancestor who struggled to gain some personal independence? 

I’ve been thinking and thinking about this one.  I do not have any ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.  I cannot think of anyone who was fiercely independent or struggled to gain some personal independence that I have not already written about.

But after some thought about this I came to this conclusion.  All of our ancestors who came to America came for independence of some kind.  So I thought I would list my ancestor’s that came here, the date they came, and reason for coming (if known).

Bonnet Bowers and his son Charles Bowers left Liverpool, England aboard the sailing ship Conqueror on 1 February 1851 and arrived in the Port of New York on 19 April 1851.[1]  This trip took 78 days across the Atlantic.  I can’t imagine spending that long on the ocean, but they did it.  I don’t know their reason for coming.  According to the 1841 England Census they were laborers on a farm.[2]  Maybe they came for economic reasons and thought they could make a better life in America. 

Konrad John Reinhardt his wife Anna, and the children left their home in Germany in 1879 for the United States.  My grandmother always said that Konrad left Germany because he deserted the German Army.  I have been unable to verify that story.  They boarded the steamship ship Bergenland at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium and arrived in New York on 5 December 1879.[3]  From New York they traveled to Amana, Iowa arriving on 22 December 1879.[4] They settled in the South Amana village.[5]  In 1880, they had another daughter, Elizabeth, born in South Amana.[6]

“In 1714 in Southwestern Germany two men started a religious movement which later became known as the Community of True Inspiration.  A group of people from this movement came to the United States in 1842 settling in the vicinity of Buffalo, New York.  They built four villages known as Middle Ebenezer, Upper Ebenezer, Lower Ebenezer, and New Ebenezer in New York State.  They also built two villages in Canada.  The Buffalo area was becoming quickly urbanized so the group sought land to west, and in 1854 purchased the sight of the present day Amana Colonies in Iowa.”[7]

“After arrival in this county, the group adopted a religious-communal way of life, with all property held in common and with all church and secular decisions being made by the same leadership.  The communal way of life lasted nearly a century until the people voted separation of church and state in 1932 adopting the free enterprise way of life that surrounded them.”[8]  Konrad may have deserted the German Army, however it is more likely he came to avoid being drafted into the German Army.  The Community of True Inspiration were pacifist, so it fits that Konrad did not want to fight.

Rudolph Kaiser came to the United States from Germany when he was 26 years old.[9]  He boarded the Ship Lahn in Bremen and landed at Castle Garden, New York on 30 April 1891.[10]  On the same boat is an Anton Springer.[11]  Could this be a brother of Wilhelmina Springer (Rudolph’s future wife)?  So far I haven’t been able to find proof.  Don’t know Rudolph’s reasons for coming to America were, however I have found letters written in German to Rudolph and it appears that he had another family in Germany.

Wilhelmina Springer arrived in New York aboard the Ship Lahn from Bremen on 3 August 1888.[12]  She seems to have come alone, however she had a sister already here.

Isidor George Manfroid left Germany around 1877 and came to the United States.[13] George’s occupation was an iron molder.[14] I do not know how George found his job in iron molding, or why he came to the U.S., but  he may have come due to economic conditions in Germany, or to escape being conscripted in the German military service.[15]

Carl and Augusta Desens arrived in the United States on April 28, 1888 in Baltimore, Maryland aboard the ship Main along with their daughters, Emma, Berta, and Mina.[16]  I don’t know there reasons for leaving either, I can only assume it was for economic reasons or religious freedom.

I assume that these ancestors had many reasons for coming to America and among them was independence.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Year: 1851; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm roll M237_107; Line: 26; List number: 1664. Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc

[2] Ancestry.com. 1841 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.  Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841.Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.  Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. Class: HO107; Piece 109; Book: 8; Civil Parish: Stockport; County: Cheshire; Enumeration District: 8; Folio: 19; Page: 33; Line: 4; GSU roll: 241242.

[3] Germans to America(Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[4] Amana Church Membership Records, in archive collection of the Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[5] Year: 1880; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: 345; Family History Film: 1254345; Page: 146D; Enumeration District: 201

[6] Birth record for Elizabeth Reinhardt, Iowa County Births 1880 – 1835Index (https://Familysearch.org).

[7] Bourret, Joan Liffring-Zub and John Zug, Amanasyesterday: a religious communal society: a story of seven vilages in Iowa: historic photographs 1900 – 1932. IA City, IA: Penfield Press, 2003


[9] United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897, Database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDQD-PG6 : Rudolf Keiser, 30 Apr 1891; citing Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897, Ship Lahn, departed from Bremen & Southampton, arrived in New York, New York, New York, United States, NAID identifier 1746067, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

[10] United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KD7R-XWR : accessed 1 June 2016), Anton Springer, 30 Apr 1891; citing Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897, Ship Lahn, departed from Bremen & Southampton, arrived in New York, New York, New York, United States, NAID identifier 1746067, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

[11] Illinois, Kane County, Marriage License and Return no 10271, Kaiser-Springer 1896, County Clerk’s Office, Geneva.

[12] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVSL-4BFV : accessed 1 June 2016), Minna Springer, 1888; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm .

[13] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[14] Ibid.

[15]  Energy of a Nation:  Immigration Resources, a project of the advocates for human rights; www.energyofanation.org/4e667f77-e302-4c1a-9d2e-178a0ca31a32.html

[16] Ancestry.com.  Baltimore Passenger Lists 1820 – 1948 [database on-line].  Provo, UT. USA:  Generations Network, Inc. 2006.  Original Data:  Baltimore, Maryland. Passenger Lists of Vessels arriving at Baltimore, Maryland , 1821-1891.  Micropublication M255.  RG036 Rolls # 1-50.  National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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