Tought of the month: The trick to life, I can say now in my advanced age, is to stop trying to make it so
I like to feature the state of Iowa
in the month of May.
Iowa has suffered enormous losses and devastation this spring on account of flooding.
I was surprised to see much of the state under water when I started searching on the internet for the contributions of German pioneers in that state.
Over the years I have read about the people from Schleswig Hostein, who settled in Iowa.
Schleswig Hostein is in Northern Germany, the Low Lands, where people speak Low German, or Platt Deutsch.
Since I am also from the Platt Deutsch speaking lands of Germany, except further West in the direction of Holland instead of Denmark, known as the West Muensterland, I was always interested in the state of Iowa and its Low German population.
I have read that the language is still spoken among the older generation, and that in the summer months, teachers from Schleswig Hostein come to Iowa and still teach the Low German language.
A couple of years ago, the descendents of the Schleswig Holstein pioneers purchased a totally dilapidated 200 year-old farm house, dismantled it and had it shipped to Hannon, Iowa. It is now restored and serves as a museum and is the main attraction in a park.
I hope that the park and farm house is still intact and is not effected by the flood.
The Park is witness to what can be accomplished if the residents of a community are goal oriented and are proud of their heritage.
Many of these immigrants came just before or after the 1848 revolution which swept over all of Europe but totally engulfed Germany. Germany tried to unite all the little states and principalities to make it one Germany and as such hoped to have more opportunities for all people. The Revolution was crushed by the Prussian Armey and many of its citizens lost hope for a better life for themselves. They came to the New World, mostly America. Once here some build churches and schools, others who were Humanists established Turnvereine. These were athletic clubs promoting and cultivating not only the body but also the mind. Many of them were Freethinkers. Combined they were known as the 48ters.
For me, these 48ters are the Elite of all the German immigrants who have come over a period of 400 years. All of them did their share in populating and building this country into the richest country on earth. I believe this was not their aim but came as a byproduct of a way of life they had developed and lived.
A few years ago, my husband and I participated in an International Festival at Berkley University when a woman, who looked like a real lady approached our tent and inquired about the Turners. She said that she teaches Physical Ed. and that she had researched the Turners in the San Francisco Bay Area during the time of the Gold Rush.
She said something like this, I am actually English but the Turners had it together. She said, she had studied all the different ethnic groups who came as gold diggers, but the Turners were far superior to all others. I thanked her, and said that it was OK for her to say so but that it did not sound as good if I, as a German, would make such a statement.
I mailed her some material regarding the Turners, and she paid 3 times the amount of money I had requested for the copies.
We can study the Citizens of Iowa and learn more about the 48ters from Schleswig Holstein and their descendents.
Congratulations on your success in building the Farm House Museum.
I wish you well, especially after the flood.
The Germans of Iowa, Des Moines, 1900
German Pioneers in Iowa, 90years and older, 1895
Amana Colonies explore German Heritage
German House barren brought over from Germany
Klein Offenseth, Germany 1996
Your Iowa Vacation start s here,
The University of Iowa, German Department
Forty Eighter’s Monument dedicated,
Forty –Eighters and Nativists
1800’s: The Forty –Eighters Head West
Die Deutschen von Iowa, Errungenschaften
Zion Lutheran Church in Davenport
Iowa Pathways, Germans
The Wends, a West Slavic Tribe settled in Germ. and Iowa
German Heritage in Carrol County, Iowa.
Henry Finnen, Journalist
Germans meet Germans
Metwurst from Iowa
Zither Ensemble In Iowa
The Lagacy of the 1848 Conference, Iowa