The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages 54 - 58


entire entourage of trusty supporters along with him. Now the ladies also followed and provided delightful diversion, which lent spice to the whole affair.

From the residence of the bishop the path led to a nearby meadow in the forest. Here there were scarcely any footpaths such as there were in Radeberger-Bade or Seifersdorf Valley. There were no golden clusters of grapes hanging from dark vines such as those in Hoflösnitz. Here the branches of ancient oak and beech trees rustled. Sumptuous moss beckoned one to welcome rest and shrubbery covered the spaces between giant trees. Here a perfect peace prevailed and only the lowing of free-roaming cattle penetrated the nocturnal calm. Even the rays of the fullest moon could not stream past the thick leaf canape and there were no curious gendarmes following the happy strollers.

_____

An article by preacher Benjamin Kurtz in an American newspaper caused quite a sensation. This man was famous in Dresden by 1826 and it was there he met Martin Stephan. He trumpeted Stephan's praises and could not say enough about the man's virtues. Among other things, he said that it was a sad day for Germany when Stephan left its shores but it was a cause for celebration in the State of Missouri when Stephan arrived in St. Louis. The article was written in English and


was read to the astonished Stephanists in German translation.

A noble carriage brought from Germany for the bishop by Dr. St*** proved to be useless because of its weight so a lighter one, like the ones used in St. Louis, was procured for the bishop.

Meanwhile a rebuttal to the article by Mr. Koch (page 50) was written by the aforementioned Dr. Gempp, who now served as physician to the congregation.

                   Anzeiger des Westens - March 16, 1839

If the reasonable public had hoped to find a way to put to rest the affair of the immigrant Old Lutheran congregation and its leader, Bishop Stephan, through the articles written by "A Tolerant Man" in issue 19, then thoses hopes were dashed to bits by the article written by Mr. H. Koch in the last issue. The "Tolerant Man" writes as any reasonable person would concerning the affair and yet not only is he slandered without provocation by the literary claptrap of the intolerant man but also new fuel is added to the heap of insults piled upon the immigrant community and its leader. The intolerant man proves that he is ignorant of the facts, therefore it is unnecessary for reasonable people to refute his accusations. I merely refer to them to the extent that I wish to express my scorn for such baying at the moon. The purpose of these lines shall merely be


to shed light upon the facts, which have been so thoroughly distorted for the public by the description of the all-knowing Mr. H. Koch, who so far has not revealed the motives for his interest in the matter. First of all let me dispel the accusation of bias, which will be hurled against me because I am physician to this congregation and have its precious trust in tending to the sick. It is just this position which gives me the opportunity to observe the inner and outer workings of this group in a way which no outsider can have. The following assertions are based on the truth.

"Individuals allow themselves to be rented out for 25 cents per day by the ministers and are forced to hand over their hard-earned wages." In many cases the ministers find employable people from the congregation and contract them out for wages because in the past these people have seen that their pastors are best able to assess their work skills; they have found that it is often difficult to find work on their own and thus with the ministers acting as employment agents they are able to obtain appropriate positions. Individuals may work for 25 cents a day because at the time higher wages may not be available


and these people would rather work for a meagre wage than remain idle, as so many others might elect to do. Among these people there may also be a lack of awareness concerning costs in this country; the people were happy to be earning wages comparable to the highest rates paid in Germany. In most cases these people earned more than double the rate listed and often times more. If in some cases these honorable people gave their earnings to the ministers, in turn these were handed over to the elected administrators of the community funds who had been entrusted to care for the maintenance of the community since the time of the voyage. In this way other members of the community could benefit from his donation. Some were paying off a portion of the debt incurred for their passage and here we see a form of honesty so often missing from today's world. We cannot sufficiently praise its presence here.

"They went to sympathetic people for their daily bread." If this truly occurred, it must have been done by certain completely impoverished people who could not be considered members of the congregation. There were individuals of this description who were brought along on the voyage free of charge because they were poor and asked for help. Once they arrived here however, they proved themselves unworthy of the community's generousity because of their conduct and the community has taken steps to distance themselves from these individuals. Even now such people prefer to help themselves by begging,


as is the custom among the poor in Germany. The community faithfully provides for its truly poor members. It's also possible that other beggars have passed themselves off as members of the congregation to appear virtuous.

With regard to the usage of the term "meat which cannot be sold at market," I can assure you that as a physician going to the residences of these people daily, I have never found a meal made from spoiled food.

"Women tethered to carts." I myself have never seen a Saxon woman tethered to a cart and in making inquiries I have found no one who has made such an observation. However I will concede that Mr. H. Koch may have witnessed a woman pulling a wagon under the following circumstances. Among some people many changes in residence often occur, in which case I have observed that in their spare time men transport their trunks in small two-wheeled carts to their new homes to save themselves the cost of a moving crew — and rightly so! It may very well have happened that a woman lent a hand in such transport because in Germany women of the working classes are used to dealing with heavy loads in push carts and other conveyances, not giving a thought to creating an spectacle "of dismay and sympathy" from people. The newly arrived poorer Germans are usually unfamiliar with what is considered unseemly,


Go to pages 59 - 63


Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks