The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages 114 - 118


and have not had dry clothing for many days. Illnesses have set in and some of the patients have already been given up as hopeless. Since there is no overall plan, no leadership and no food, the large population occupies itself with self-appointed tasks. An attempt was made to build blockhouses but they lacked oxen to transport the blocks. The men tried to haul the blocks but after several failed attempts they gave up on the activity and only one house was built. Then they tried to clear the forest, which reasonable people know should not be done at this time of the year. However being unaccustomed to the work, the heat and humidity defeated them with the first attempt. At present only 80 acres of land belonging to the congregation are being cultivated. Money for food is running out. How will these unfortunates be fed? Most of them are showing signs of discontent and depression. They complain that the current leadership is ignoring them. Regardless of what objections there were to Stephan, he had always given them counsel and comfort; he always stood by them and never left them without the necessities of existence. The current ruling pastors have not asked about their living conditions. Instead they demand ever renewed effort for tasks which never reach their goals.

These same pastors are too far away to see or understand the congregation's great need. They ignore the utter misery


while constructing their grand plans. They speak to them of projects for establishing colleges, building churches and schools, erecting a city. They have yet to consider how the population can be saved from death by starvation and pestilence over the next few months.

Indeed, it is high time for help to come from outside. Not monetary assistance but help in the form of providing jobs for able-bodied men in areas appropriate for their level of education and degree of skill. They need to be told where work is available, where they can find housing, where the heat of summer will not consume them and finally where the sweat of their brow will lead them to self sufficiency rather than turning them into sheep feasted upon by a power hungry group of idlers.

We are pleased that the residents of St. Louis have taken the first steps to form a committee in order to obviate these people's misery. We advise this committee to use all care and discretion in dealing with the congregation and in applying their energies to find means whereby those, who seek help, will be able to help themselves.

_____

The results of the meeting mentioned on page 108 were published in the June 15th edition and were taken from the recorded proceedings:

Meeting of the German Citizens of
St. Louis, June 10, 1839.

"At the meeting which followed the announcment, a large number of Germans assembled at


"Mr. Weinheimer's establishment. Mr. Klimm was elected president and Wilhelm Palm was elected secretary.

"Mr. Theodor Engelmann gave a brief overview of the history of the Old Lutherans under Martin Stephan and their current situation in the colony on the shore of the Mississippi. After the speech a proposal was tended by Wilhelm Weber.

"It was decided that the president would appoint three men to a committee to carry out the the proposals of the assembly. The president named Messers Carstens, Meier and Engelmann. During the recess much was discussed by Messers W. Palm, H. Koch and E. Angelrodt concerning the objectives of the assembly. The committee then introduced these items before the assembly and made certain proposals, which after a few changes were adopted into the following platform.

"Since we, as Germans, know what it means to be German or at least share the tie of having names of German origin, we have a common bond. Since the time of our residence in our freely adopted homeland we have been aware that what we do and what we tolerate among ourselves, our compatriots and the land of our birth must be seen as honorable in the eyes of our fellow American citizens. To that end:

"Resolved, that we will take an active role in the fate of the Old Lutheran congregation which immigrated here under its bishop, Stephan, and a number of other ministers a few months ago.

"Resolved, that we are convinced


"that these Saxons were deceived and abused in the vilest way by their Bishop Stephan and his appointed ministers in the name of religion, that their wives and daughters were seduced, that they were demeaned, enslaved and robbed of their property.

"Resolved, that these Saxons are timid by nature as the result of the tyrannical oppression they grew up with and were accustomed to see practiced among their clergy; they appear incapable of seizing hold of the means whereby they can once and for all rid themselves of the ties which destroy their family fortunes, negate their right to self determination, consume the fruits of their labor and divest them of their property.

"Resolved, that it is up to us as their compatriots and as Germans, to prevent them from blemishing the German reputation; we must liberate these diligent Saxons from priestly guardianship and make it possible for them to live as honorable and independent human beings able to partake of the benefits of our free country through their own perseverence and industry.

"Resolved, that while we are loathe to interfere with the tenets of faith or the religious observances of the Old Lutheran congregation or wish to limit their freedom to practice their faith, we cannot help but express our deepest regret for those congregation members who continue to subjugate themselves to their managers after all that has happened.

"Resolved, that we support any and all who


"intend to cast off their chains of dependency. We will offer them the hand of friendship and give them advise and support.

"Resolved, that a committee of seven shall be appointed and charged with the task of acquainting the Old Luthern congregation with the resolutions of this assembly; they shall offer help and the support of the committee to the congregation members should they wish it.

"Messers E. Angelrodt, Theod. Engelmann, Ben. Sagner, Joh. Humbert, F. Lüdeking and J. Kimm from St. Louis and Dr. Brühl of Perry County were appointed to the committee. The meeting was then adjourned."

_____

The following describes the grandiose plans made by the congregation's leaders even after the dismissal of Stephan:

            Anzeiger des Westens, June 29, 1839

The city they intend to build for the Old Lutheran congregation in Perry County will be laid out according to these plans: On the strip of land formed where the Brazeau River meets the Mississippi they will construct several hundred buildings in two rows flanking the shores of both rivers. These buildings will be designated commercial establishments. The fronts of the outer row of buildings will face the rivers. The inner row will form an enclosed marketplace on two sides. This section of the city consists of about 11 acres of soft bottomland. Below this and between the bluffs there is a ravine,


Go to pages 119 -124


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

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks