To Avoid Conscription, Grandparents Head for Land of Opportunity

Great-grandparents travel by train, survive crash to arrive in Iowa, where they married.
CAPPER’s Staff
Good Old Days


Content Tools

Related Content

Free Is Always Good

Some of the varieties of free fruits available for the taking. All it takes is a little time, a litt...

Finding Paradise Right Where You Left It

How we managed to travel across the country twice only to realize that we left something incredibly ...

The Kitchen and Shopping

The first year of our hobby farm continued.

Curious Comfort

A paragraph or two on what different people consider comfort foods.

My great-grandparents on my grandmother's side came from Germany. Asmus Stoltenberg was born September 29, 1842, at Stackendorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Dorothea Weise was born October 18, 1837. Asmus became a naturalized citizen in Scott County, Iowa, on February 16, 1870. Asmus and Dorothea worked as servants or laborers in the same home. As I understand, he came to America to avoid forced conscription into the German Army.

Unmarried, they arrived in New York aboard the ship Neckar, then boarded a train of the Grand Trunk Railroad line. This train, which was scheduled to go through Canada and the western United States, carried 475 immigrants from different European countries.

On June 29, 1864, this train fell through the open Richlieu Drawbridge at St. Hillaire, near Montreal, Canada. Eighty-seven bodies were recovered from the ruins; 80 people were injured. Some of the train cars had landed on a barge below the bridge. Without the barge to prevent the cars from plunging into the river, more people would have drowned. The immigrants' various origins and virtual anonymity made it impossible to correctly identify the dead. Fortunately, Asmus and Dorothea were not injured. They continued on to Iowa and were married at Davenport on August 2,1864.

In 1876, a group of men bought 11,647 acres of land in Ida County, Iowa, from the Northwestern Railroad at $5.75 an acre. Asmus settled there and is referred to as the first settler in Ida County, Iowa – the German settlement at Holstein, Iowa. His wife and family arrived later. He eventually bought five more farms for his six living children.

I am proud of what is behind me, and I hope to learn more about my heritage. I know my ancestors would be proud of my family – four well-educated daughters, and a son who retired after a career in the army.

Marian B. Williams
Fair Oaks, Indiana


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
 

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!