The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages 29 - 33


the community should feel honored to have such a blessing of the Lord in its midst and that it should not hestitate in the least to make the life of this persecuted hero of faith as pleasant as possible. He added that the congregation had sinned through such unseemly grousing and the individuals responsible had transgressed against the rest of the congregation, which had placed its trust in its idolized teacher, etc.

The captain had already boarded a small steamboat so he could go on to St. Louis and send back some small steamships since it appeared fairly certain that the Selma would have to wait until the water level rose. — The crew on board, tired of waiting, decided on Saturday the 16th to try moving forward. The captain never would have allowed this but the helmsmen thought there would be significant financial reward if they managed to bring the steamship afloat. The Selma would receive wide acclaim when it made its way to St. Louis in such low water. The deed would be published in the newspapers to induce many passengers to use the ship. However it hadn't occurred to the helmsmen what would have happened if the boiler burst or the vessel sank. The congregation would have to pay for the damages and bear the burden of the many lives which might have been lost.


As to the unfortunate mishaps with steamships - the American is very careless in this respect and the greater level of competition increases the danger since one company tries to outsail the other.

Let us now return to the Selma. The helmsmen used full throttle and the boiler threatened to burst. The heavy iron chains housed in cases with pulley wheels were shifted from one side of the deck to the other to take the weight off the section of the ship which was stuck. The passengers also had to come on deck and perform the same manoeuvre. When the command was given everything moved together to correct the ship's position. With great effort the Selma paddled its way through the silt and made its way to deeper water. Loud jubilation broke out among the crew as they saw they would be able to continue the journey. The passengers thanked God that they had passed beyond the peril.

They sang with happy hearts:
         The hardships are all surpassed
         As our ship arrives at last
         Unto the land of Canaan;
         Then together we shall sing
         And gracious offerings bring
         To the mighty Lord, the miracle man.
         As we make our way on land
         Jacob's ladder will descend
         Showing the path to heaven;
         Where God on His throne presides,
         To His right Jesus resides,
         Storm and sin for eternity shriven.


The journey proceeded without incident and all were happy as they approached St. Louis. Three ships had already sailed ahead and were there. The Selma reached the port on February 19th.

The Stephanists who had arrived earlier were at the dock with their ministers in front. They came on board the steamship to greet the reverend bishop. These people had received the same indoctrination as the passengers on the Olbers and they too had cast their votes. However Martin Stephan refused all greetings and dismissed them along with various speeches and congratulations, etc. by shaking his head and making dismissive gestures — the poor man could not speak because he had a sore throat, so his adoring entourage would have to wait until a time to be designated.

A carriage was procured to take the bishop to his new residence outside the city between Second and Third Streets on the so-called Indian Hill. The house was the home of Dr. White. The interior was expensively furnished. Tables, mirrors and mahagony filled the place and every surface sparkled like glass. In St. Louis the pastors had purchased a very beautiful sofa but one had been brought on the Selma. These items were not cheap and they had been purchased with funds from the community chest, so it seems that comments of reproach made earlier on the Selma had their grounding.

The other passengers were separated into quarters rented for them


so that either a few families or 6 to 8 single people lived together. The cost to rent these quarters was between 500 and 600 dollars per month.

Before we go further, we wish to give a short overview of St. Louis as far as it could be determined by the passengers during their half-year stay.

The city of St. Louis has approximately 20,000 residents and its favorable location is particularly advantageous for commerce. Since most fabricated goods for the West come from the East and the Mississippi can be traversed by the largest steamship until you reach St. Louis, the city has become a trade center. From here goods can be transferred to smaller boats and sent farther on. Since it was so far from the eastern shores and travel to it was so difficult in earlier days, those who settled the city were mainly diligent immigrants who brought their love for hard work with them. It is for this reason that the city has experienced its rapid burgeoning. The majority of the population is American of English ancestry with native born Frenchmen, or Creoles as they are called here. Besides these there are representatives of just about every nation including many immigrant Englishmen and Germans. By their diligence and cleverness most of these immigrants have amassed considerable fortunes and have gained the respect of their fellow American-born citizens.


If immigrant tradesmen wish to continue their professions here, they find they must settle for lesser positions because so many of the trades are practiced in entirely different ways than they are in Europe. Indeed for many it is better to set aside their previous trade, because it is not needed, and learn a new one. Goods made in factories have replaced items made by human hands. The major requirement is knowledge of the English language, without which it is extremely difficult to make a living. Often the tradesman must be content to find work merely for room and board. However once the German has adjusted he usually earns an attractive daily wage. A mason or carpenter, for example, seldom works for under a dollar and a half or two dollars a day. When workers are sought, this wage goes up somewhat. Daily wage earners and manual laborers usually earn between one dollar and a dollar and a half per day. Along with meals and laundry estate servants earn between 10 and 16 dollars per month. Maids make at least 80 dollars per year. They are not treated harshly by their employers because there are never enough servants especially in the St. Louis area.

One must not forget the high cost of living , which is especially felt during the winter months. The State of Missouri has not fully developed its agricultural potential and much is brought in from Illinois. In winter trade with this state is usually hampered and is often cut off completely, thus the high costs.


Go to pages 34 - 38


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

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks