Land of Opportunity: Brothers’ Port of Entry Was New York

Blacksmith later finds work as cooper and farmer around St. Louis, Missouri.

| Good Old Days

In 1844, my great-great-grandfather, Charles Barlett Pflum, came to the land of opportunity from Germany, arriving in America at the New York port of entry. The port of embarkation was Le Havre, France. Records are in the St. Louis Public Library. Ship records are there also. Charles was 18 when he chose to leave his trouble-torn birth country. He was listed as a mechanic and blacksmith on the ship's record, and he worked for his passage on the ship. He brought with him a brother named John.

In New York City, the two brothers became separated and were never reunited.

My great-great-grandfather found various jobs and worked his way to the city of St. Louis, Missouri. There he found work as a cooper, making barrels for the breweries in the beer-making city.

He eventually became so fond of America that he felt compelled to return to his homeland to bring more of his relatives to the freedom and good life he found in this good land. His father and sister returned with him to make their home in St. Louis. In the course of time his father died. The sister, the brother and his city-born wife decided they wanted to leave the city and return to the country life from which they had come in the old country. They were farm people at heart.

They settled in northeast Missouri on a rural farm. It was a small farm of 40 acres. The family was listed on the United States Census in 1861 in Shelby County Communal Colony, Bethel, Missouri. The village of Bethel was noted at that time for its distillery. Corn whiskey was a product, thus, there was a need for the cooper and the barrels he made. Great-Great-Grandfather's occupation was listed as cooper or barrel maker and farmer.

Bethel, Missouri, is a place of interest today. It was the most successful and long-lasting communal colony in Missouri, and one of the most successful in the nation. It is now registered with the Missouri and National Historical Societies as a national historic site. The annual Bethel, Shelby County, Missouri, Harvest Fest held in October attracts visitors from all over the United States.

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