State Highway Marker

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Post War Immigration: Special Octoborfest Edition

. . . post Civil War immigration that is . . .

While searching through the 1870 census for New Kent County, looking for Northern post-war immigrants who might have been active in the nascent Republican Party I came across a curious pattern. The non-Virginia born are few and far between in 1870, literally page after page is filled only with Virginia born with a sprinkling of Alabamans, Georgians and Marylanders. The Northern born number less than ten. As for foreign born, they are as few as you would think. They are: one Englishman, one Swede, one Scot, one Welshman, one Frenchman(the gardener for the Lee's) and six Irish. They are all single men or married to Virginia wives, except for the case of one Irish family of a husband and wife and two adult children. The data I found striking was the eleven German led households. The birth locations identify five as Wurttembergers, four as Prussians, one from Baden and a Pole with a German name. I assume the "Pole" was Prussian, there having been no "Poland" for fifty years. Here is the list . . . first the Prussians . . .

  • Schair, Henry          age 48
  • Miller, Henry                 35
  • Myers, Henry                37
  • Vendal, Anthony            36
 with the "pole"
  • Rosse, John W.              50

the Wurttembergers . . .

  •  Ackerman, David           41
  • Brown, Earnest               18
  • Wolpert, William             40
  • Happold, George D        46
  • Troelsch, Louis(?)           42
 . . . and the Badener(is that what they're called?)

  • Mortig, Charles               38
Mainly farmers, the exceptions are; Vendal and Mortig, who were watermen, Myers, an engineer, and Rosse, a gardener. Earnest Brown is listed as "farm laborer." These men were the poorest of the lot. Ackerman, Miller, Schair, Wolpert, Happold, and Troelsch all had land valued at least $900 dollars with Schair's coming in at an impressive $16,000. The five of these men fell between the ages of 35 and 48.
Three of the men had Virginia born wives: Myers, Rosse and Mortig.
The birth locations of their children tells its own story, with six of the men having children born in America, the earliest American birth of an eldest child being between 1852 and 1862. Probably most telling, four of the men; Miller, Ackerman, Happold and Troelsch have children listed as born in Pennsylvania before the war, putting these men in the category of Northern immigrants.

As for Post Bellum German immigration to Virginia, I did find this  . . .

"In 1866 the Legislature passed an act to encourage and increase immigration to Virginia, a Board of Immigration was organized and General G. Tochmann and Mr B. Barbour were appointed agents of immigration to Germany and England but without any obligation on the part of the State to pay the expenses. Only insignificant results could be expected of such illiberal policy. Colonel Frank Schaller was authorized by General Tochmann to travel to Germany and to visit first his native State of Saxony to draw immigrants to the Old Dominion. But the success was very trifling. However full credit must be given General Tochmann for his endeavors and good will.
. . .
During the summer of 1868 Rev I. A. Reichenbach came to Richmond, Va., with the intention to organize German colonies in the South On July 21st a public meeting was arranged in front of the City Hall to hear the propositions of the pastor and a committee was elected to examine his plan. The committee consisted of the following highly respected citizens Peple Hoffbauer, Tiedemann, Gimmi, Leybrock, Dr Strecker, and Dr Grebe But the project was soon abandoned for want of confidence in the propositions and the person of the reverend German settlements promising good results were started in the counties Chesterfield, Prince George, Louisa, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg. Wm Grossmann of Petersburg, Va., a native  of Silesia and in the old country professor at a German college but now real estate agent has done very much to develop the German settlement at Port Walthall in Dinwiddie county near the city of Petersburg In Chesterfield county at Granite Station, not far from the city of Manchester, is a prosperous settlement of German Catholics In Lunenburg. Ch. Rickers and O. Jansen from Schleswig Holstein and A. and G. Petzold from Saxony are successful farmers and the same may be said of E. Williams (Wilhelm?) of Prussia in Prince George county. In the southwestern part of Louisa county in 1868 two German villages Frederickshall and Buckner stations on the C & ORR were started by Heselenius, Frosh, Mauker, Lieb, Goering, Stolz, Schrader, Lorey, and others Some of these settlers have removed to other parts of the country, but the majority still remain and are doing well. In the northwestern corner of the same county the author purchased in 1886 a farm and planted a large vineyard known as "Idlewild Vineyards." The reports of the State Commissioner of Agriculture mention that in 1888 to 1892 several Pennsylvania Germans came to Botetourt. Into Albemarle and Orange Germans immigrated from Illinois, Wisconsin, Dakota, Nebraska, and Ohio, in Prince George a number of Germans from Russia and Bohemia purchased farms, and in Goochland many families from the northeastern States and among them some Germans settled since the war and are well pleased. Other official documents show that the counties Henry, Norfolk, Warwick, Roanoke, Alleghany, and Taxwell increased in population from 126 to 195 per cent and that a large number of the newcomers are Germans. The old German settlements on Opequan, Shenandoah, Rapidan, Rappahannock, Dan, New, and Roanoke rivers also received some additions from the Northeast and direct from Germany. The status of Virginia for the year 1870 says page 178, "Of the foreign population of Virginia, Ireland furnished nearly one half, Germany one third, England one sixth, and Scotland one twentieth . . ."

-History of the German Element in Virginia, Volume 2
Herrmann Schuricht
T. Kroh & sons, printers, 1900



. . .oh, and it's Badenser

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