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Rottweil-Tuttlingen Genealogy

The 1847 Emigration of Schwenningen Citizens to America

Last updated: 6 March 2007

This page seeks to document the North American whereabouts of those who emigrated from Schwenningen in 1847 as part of a town-supported effort to help the town's poorest start anew in America. In the table listed below, I searched on most of the surnames in the 1850 census; I found several likely candidates for some of these emigres. Due to the commonness of the surnames, I did not search for Mueller (which often became Miller) or Majer (which often became Meyer).

For further details for what's summarized here, see Karl Weiler's Jakob Weiler Page, scrolling to the bottom for links to scanned images of the lists and other related documents, and scroll even further down for Karl's transcription of an article about those who settled in Wapakoneta, as well as the text of the letter from Jacob Weiler and Johannes Rapp to the town of Schwenningen.

A book written by Otto Benzing about the history of Schwenningen includes the story of the Schwenningen emigrants of 1847. The book describes how the extreme cold and wet of 1846 resulted in a bad grain and potato harvest, leading to the beginning of a famine (in German: Hungersnot).

This famine resulted in a large number of impoverished residents in Schwenningen. The municipality of Schwenningen calculated that it would cost less to send the poorest to America than it would to support them until the famine ended. Therefore, the community decided to finance the emigration of the poorest people who were willing to emigrate. You'll note from the following lists how many of them were widows with few or no sons.

As many as 240 people reported for emigration. By April 1847, a total of 190 men, women and children left Schwenningen. (Researcher Warren Atcheson has a translation of a "passport" dated 12 April 1847 giving Jakob Jaeckle permission to leave and assuring safe travel.)

Their trip took them initially to the German city of Mainz, where the group divided into two. The first group (65 persons) was brought to London and from there to New York on 28 April 1847. This is confirmed by research conducted by Sharon Sheppard. She found a pension claim deposition in which her ancestress, Catharina Gula, reported that her family left Schwenningen the day after her birthday, that they arrived in New York, and went up the Hudson River and settled near Albany. (This evidence is supported by the 1850 census; see GULA below.)

The second and larger group was brought (via Rotterdam) to London. But upon arriving in London, this second group found that there was no ship to New York available. So this larger group sailed on 26 May 1847 to Quebec, Canada. From there, they were transported to the United States.

Johannes Rapp and Jakob Weiler, having each come on a separate ship, did join up in Wapakoneta, Auglaize Co., OH. From there, they wrote a letter to the Schwenningen city council, reporting that they had arrived in good condition.

What follows is the list of these emigres, with an attempt to identify which family in Schwenningen they are attached to (i.e., their ancestry), where they settled in North America, and which current-day researcher(s) are working on or otherwise related to them.

Research Challenges

Author Otto Benzing says the first group came from London to NY on the ship "Hendrik Hudson." But the handwritten lists of emigres (created by Schwenningen officials?) have written on the larger list (of 122) "Henrik Hudson 28 April 1847." But we know this:

  • The smaller group of 65/68 went to New York on 28 April 1847.
  • The larger group came later and through Canada.
  • Review of the Henrik Hudson passenger lists during the appropriate time frame include NO names from Schwenningen.
  • The Henrik Hudson did not go from London to Canada.

Therefore, it's likely that a) whoever wrote "Henrik Hudson 28 April 1847" did so on the wrong list. AND there is every indication that NO one from the Schwenningen emigre lists came on a ship called the Henrik Hudson.

The following is adapted from information sent to me by Karl Weiler, which was itself sent from a researcher in Schwenningen. Karl has posted original documents on his web site.

The list from which this first table is compiled clearly says "Henrik Hudson" and "28 April 1847 " on it. But this is the larger group, which came on the later ship through Canada. The first pair of M/F columns are for those over the age of 12; the second set for children; "Inf" is infants. These distinctions were important because of how the town paid for their emigration.

Head of Family Name Occupation M F M F Inf Notes
Link (Birk?), Matthias uhrmacher 1 1   2 1 May be the father of the Anna Link who is found married to Jakob Wuerthner in Buffalo, NY in the mid 1850s. However, she is listed as born in Schura (on the 1855 death record of her son Jacob).
Jauch, Andreas schuster 2   2 2   Likely ancestor of Jillaine Smith; son Ludwig settles in Buffalo 1867. Unable to find Andreas, Sr.; Andreas Jr. may have been in Buffalo baptizing a daughter in 1866; may be in Indiana in 1870. Question: where were they between 1847 and 1867?! Currently pursuing the theory that they were one of the several families who peeled off the caravan and did not get on a ship; searched Hausen ob Verena files for them unsuccessfully. His son, Ludwig, emigrates 20 years later.
Martin Mueller, Conradt taglohner 1 1 1      
Balthas Wirthner maurer 1 1 1 2    
Thomas Wirthner taglohner 1 2 2      
Jakob Jaekle schuster 1 3 3   1  
Anna Maria Wirthner   1     1    
Maria Haller geb. Jauch   1 1 2    

But on "original" list, this line is crossed out; on another it's not crossed out, but "geb. Jauch" is left off.
There's a Christian Haller, b. abt. 1802, and Mary Haller, b. abt. 1800, in Pusheta, Auglaize Co., OH in 1850 census (living very close to a KAIFER family, but not one on this list).

There's a John (26, tailor) and Maria (20) Haller, b. 1829, in 4th ward Buffalo, NY in 1850, with a dau Maria (1).

There's a Daniel (45) and Mary (39) Haller with children Anna and Patrick in 4th ward Buffalo.

There are a number of other German-born Mary Hallers throughout the 1850 census.

Illegible   1 1 1 2    
Maria Speck     1   2   There's a Mary Speck of right age in Philadelphia, PA, and also one in Clyde, St. Clair, MI
Andreas Wirthner taglohner 4 2 1 3 1

I'd say there's a good chance that this is the family found in the 1850 census in Buffalo, NY, 4th ward:
* Andrew Wuerthner, 50, laborer, b. Germany
Christina, 48, b. Germany
Christian, 25, laborer, b. Germany [found at 430 Clinton, laborer, in 1869 city directory.]
Jacob, 23, peddler, b. Germany
Andrew, 15, laborer, b. Germany [Andreas Wuerthner, laborer, is found at 432 Clinton in the 1869 city directory.]
Catherine, 13, b. Germany
Christiana, 11, b. Germany
John, 6, b. Germany [A John Wuertner, watchmaker, is found at 208 Genesee in the 1869 city directory.]

They're living two doors down from Jacob Benzing, his wife Elizabeth, and children Elizabeth and Adam, all born Germany. (No equivalent on these lists.)

Johannes Mayer taglohner? 2 1 3     Entire line crossed out
Johannes Mayer   2 1 1 2   On one list, but not another ; brother of Philipp below? Settled in Cleveland, OH. Ancestor of Jeanine Scholz.
Illegible   1          
Anna Maria Mayer     1 1      
Katharina Mayer     1       Might be the Katharina geb. Schrenk of Schwenningen, wife of Jakob Meier, who dies in Buffalo on 15 Aug 1869, with a birth listed of 30 Oct 1803.
Agatha Flaig     2   2    
Catharina Benzing     1   2   Only Benzings this spelling are in Buffalo (Jacob, Elizabeth, Eliz. and Adam) 4th ward. Adam is found in 1869 city directory at 317 Genesee.; he's working in groceries with Frank Beer.
Katharina Vosseler     2   3 1  
Jacob Weiler taglohner 2 2 2 1 1 Ancestor of Karl Weiler; settled in Wapakoneta, OH (is there with family in 1850 census)
Philip Maher, Andreaslis   3 1 1 2   Family of Philipp Mayer and Anna Maria Benzing. Jeanine Scholz is researching this line. In 1850, they are in Saint Mary's, Auglaize Co., OH. [Just down the road to the west from Wapakoneta.]
Martin Kaefer widower   2       Confused; male name provided but "2" listed in the adult female column.
Jacob Link (Birk?) Andreas   1 1 2      
Christian Mueller   1 2   1    
Johannes Schlenker   3 1 2 1  

There's a John Schlenker family in 4th ward Buffalo, NY in 1850 census:

John M. Schlenker, 32, watchmaker (!)
Catherine, 48
Ursula, 18
Agnes, 15
Agatha, 7
Maria, 6
Agnes C., 3
all born Germany

Johannes Hilfinger   - - - - - He's on one list, not the other. No numbers are listed in the people column.
Illegible   1 1   2    
Christian Benzing     1       Or is this Christina, given that the marking is in the Adult Female column?
Illegible   1          
Jakob Palmtag Holzmacher 2 2 1 1    
Christian Kaefer   1          

This next table is compiled from a hand-written list that has no date or ship name on it; but we now know this is the group that left London first and landed in New York in April 1847.

Family Name Occupation M F M F Inf Notes
Jakob Speck Taglohner 1 1 1 1    
Jakob Jaekle   1 1 2 2 1

NEW: In Feb. 2007, Jillaine was contacted by Greg Neff, a descendant of this line; confirmed that this is Jakob JAEKLE, b. 10 Dec 1809, son of Johannes Jaeckle and Ursula Speck; on 24 Feb 1835 (FHL #1658745, Band 13, Marriages 1835, #5), he married Maria JAUCH, daughter of Johannes Jauch and Agnes MEHNE. Their family registry is Volume I, #154b (FHL #1658747, Band 24). They had several children through late December 1846 before emigrating in April 1847. They settled initially in Sand Lake, NY, but ended up in Berkshire Co., Massachusetts as glassblowers. Jacob and Maria appear to have died here abt. 1880/1881. Many of their descendants ended up in Madison Co, IN.

Martin Helfinger   1 1 2 3   1850: there's a Martin Hilfinger in 4th ward, Buffalo, NY:
Martin Hilfinger, 39,
Christina, 40
Anna, 14
John, 13
Margaret, 11
Christina, 9
Christian, 9
George, 1, b. NY
Joh. Georg Gula   2 3 2 1   A posting by Sharron Shepperd in this Ancestry Message Board indicates that Johann Georg was married to Agnes [Schlenker] and that they settled in Averill Park, Rennselauer Co., NY. Children were:
Hannah Gula, b. 1826; m. Bower
Catharine Gula, b. 1834; m1. Wurmle; m2. Schuhmacher
John Gula, b. 1838
Christina Gula, b. 1838
Anna Gula, b. 1841
Louis Georg Gula, b. 1843
May have had 4 more children either in Schwenningen or NY
(crossed out Benzing)              
Martin Laufer (or Hauser?)   1 2 2      
(two crossed out)              
Joh. Weiler, invalid weber 1 2 1 3 1  
Jakob Schlenker   1 1 1 3 1

There's a Jakob Schlenker family in 4th ward Buffalo, NY in 1850 census (and in 6th ward in 1870):
Jakob Schlenker, 35, peddler [dies in 1882]
Mary, 35 [per Jacob's death record, this is Maria Schrenk]
Mary, 9
George, 7
Agatha, 3
Anna, 1

Jakob's funeral took place at St. Peters German Evangelical; check there for the marriages of his children and the death of his wife.

Jakob? ______?? (Karl says Jauch)   2 3 3 1    
Jakob Schrenk   1 1 1 1 1  
Christian Mueller sch.... 1 1     1  
Joh. Rapp, Martins weber 2 1 1 1   co-author of letter, with Jacob Weiler, sent back to Schwenningen after safe arrival in Wapakoneta, OH. Also in 1850 census.

 

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