Times Past, Pausing to Remember

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In my tenth year, 1836, my father and mother were persuaded to go to America by two of his friends, Benjamin Thone and Friedrick Rohle. My father had not sufficient means to go with them but they promised to loan him what he lacked, which was three hundred dollars. There were then three children, myself and two sisters. The three families left in the spring of 1836, first by wagon to Karlshaven on the Weser, from there to Bremerhaven on a boat which was carried down by the current and poles to push it where there was no current. We, with the other two families, left Bremerhaven on a sail vessel, Isabelle, June 24, Captain Meyer, and landed in New York Aug. 10th. We went from New York to Buffalo by canal boat. One of the greatest surprises of my boyhood was one day when something was wrong and the boat had to stop over for a day, and the Captain who could speak no German and neither of us a word of English, came to us with a boy about my age, spoke to him, of which we understood nothing, and the boy turned to us and spoke in good German, explaining why the boat could not go on until some repairs were made. The surprise of hearing a thing in our language and speaking it at once in another was not very long a mystery, for in a year from that time I was able to do so myself.

Harbor at Bremerhaven today

At buffalo the funds of the three families were exhausted, and we could go no further until some were procured. The families were quartered as economically as possible, and my father worked at different jobs about the wharf while Thone and Bohle went to Green Co., Ohio, where a brother of the former was living, who had crossed the ocean a number of years before. Securing sufficient funds, they returned to Buffalo, and were thus enabled to continue our journey toward our destination. We were delayed four weeks in Buffalo, and they were weeks of sore trials to those who had to remain there. We had no money save the meager earnings of my father, whose diet was so scant that he was unfit to do hard work.

In passing along the line of canal boats I received more than one dish of fragments which were left over from their tables, no doubt Providentially directed through those who had charge of them, who doubtless saw by my appearance the evidence of hunger and need. A faine boat was found on which we were to be taken to Cleveland, Ohio, but on the way to the boat one of those unfortunate events occurred which are so common in the experience of those who know little or nothing of the tricks of dishonest men. A man met us speaking good German, represented himself as an agent of the steamboat line, saying that the boat on which we intended to go would not leave until the next day, and that a boat which he represented would leave soon. His offer was accepted and we were led to his boat. We were no sooner in with our baggage until we learned that we were badly deceived. The boat we had first engaged to go in left on time, whilst ours started hours later. The night was stormy. The water frequently dashed over the deck; women were crying with fear of going down to a watery grave. Instead of being taken to Cleveland, our destination, we were set off at Huron, and the next day had to take a boat back to Cleveland. A four horse team took us all to our destination, via Columbus to a settlement three miles north of Bellbrook, Ohio, where all found shelter in time for the approaching winter in an old log house on the farm of George A. Glotfelter, who was a member of the Reformed church at Beaver, not far from Harbein mill, Rev. David Winters, pastor, where we also attended services.

Frederick would have traveled from New York City to Albany via the Hudson River.

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