Advice at the Mormon Temple

Roman Catholic man gave grandfather a good piece of advice.


| Good Old Days



My maternal grandfather, Nicholas Klotz, was born in Austria. From the beginning, Grandpa Klotz had an exciting life. In the early 1800s Austria was taken over by Napoleon. Grandpa remembered an octagon-shaped fort with portholes and a stone-slabbed roof. It was used in times when raiders came through the Brenner Pass, near where the family lived. At one time Austria was one of the most powerful countries in Europe, but by the time he was born, the country had been through many wars. Each time Austria suffered greatly and lost some of its territory.

The Austrian people grew tired of war. In 1847, Joseph Ludwig Schneller, an uncle of Grandpa's who was a sea captain, ship owner and importer/exporter, fitted a sailing vessel for a trip to America. About July 11, Captain Schneller set sail with members of the Klotz and Schneller families, including 6-year-old Nicholas.

The Klotz family settled in Fond du Lac county, where Grandpa received whatever education he could in the common schools of the area. His father was a firm believer in education, so when his brother-in-law, Father Anton Schneller, suggested Nicholas come to New York and attend 51. John's College at Fordham, he gave his permission. Grandpa always said he received five years of education in the two years that he was at 51. John's.

Nicholas returned to Wisconsin to work on his father's farm, but in 1858, when he was 17, he began the adventure of his lifetime. His uncle, Captain Schneller, who had -brought the families to America, offered him a trip to California on his sailing vessel.

The only complete water route at that time was around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, which was still a primitive country. Naked natives were a common sight along the shores. Theirs was not one of the new clipper ships that made the trip in 100 days or fewer. Their journey took a year, and they had to endure as many as 200 days of boredom and seasickness. Despite the drawbacks, thousands of gold-seekers were willing to pay $300-a large amount in those days-to reach California. The alternative was a land-sea route through the jungles of the Isthmus of Panama. With the best connections, this route could be negotiated in as few as eight weeks if the traveler survived the hardships and tropical diseases. Also, they often waited many weeks for a ship out of Panama City bound for San Francisco.

When Captain Schneller's ship arrived at San Francisco, ships of every description were riding anchor in the harbor. Of the tens of thousands of prospectors who streamed into California during the gold rush of the late 1840s and 1850s, many arrived in vessels such as these.





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