Grandfather’s Homesick Sister Brings Him Come to Land of Opportunity

Family connections, grandfather’s farming skills help him make his way to Kansas in the land of opportunity.

| Good Old Days

Grandpa Philipp was born in Horrenberg, Germany, on March 30, 1876. His father was Wendelen and his mother was Theresa. The children were Rose, Bertha, Carl, Frank and Eugene, the youngest. Horrenberg was a little country village near Heidelberg. Grandpa grew up on a farm and helped with the horses, cattle and sheep. Rose married and came to America, the land of opportunity, as her husband was to accompany his sister. Their brother was a priest in America and wanted the sister to be his housekeeper. In America, Rose lived on a farm four miles north of Ellinwood, Kansas. She was homesick for some of her family. Grandpa's older brothers didn't want to come to America as they both had girlfriends in Germany. Later, Frank had to go into the army. Because of a broken jawbone, Carl was not eligible for service. Eugene, our grandfather, wanted to come to America, but his father thought he was too young to leave home. They later learned that Mr. Creulich was coming to America to visit a son who was a priest. Grandpa's father then consented for him to come with Mr. Creulich.

On July 30, 1892, at the age of 16, Grandpa left Germany for America. There were approximately 1,600 people on the ship Spardum. After a 12-day voyage, they arrived in America on a hot August day. Grandpa didn't have much to say about the ship ride to America. He recalls that the ladies stayed on one side of the ship and the men on the other. The men had fun teasing the ladies about being sick. Grandpa said most everyone got sick, including him.

The people aboard the ship were taken to Castle Garden in New York, where they had to wait for trains to take them on their way. Grandpa and Mr. Creulich traveled together as far as Chicago by train. Grandpa recalled Mr. Creulich telling him to go to sleep and when he woke up Mr. Creulich would be gone. When Grandpa awoke, sure enough, he was gone. Grandpa never saw him again, although Grandpa did learn through correspondence that Mr. Creulich lived with his son in Louisville, Kentucky, for some time and later moved to Michigan to be with his sister. Grandpa was on his own.

In spite of his youth, he didn't encounter any major problems while finding his way to Ellinwood, Kansas. His father had told him to send his sister a telegram when he arrived in America so she would know that he was coming to see her, but Grandpa, a stranger to his new surroundings, completely forgot about it. He traveled by train to Kansas. Although he couldn't speak any English, he got along real well. He knew that the priest, his brother-in-law's brother at Ellinwood, Kansas, would help him find Rose and Simon. Grandpa recalled that the train came into Ellinwood from the east.

When he got off the train, he met a lady walking toward him on the street. He asked her the way to the priest's house. She couldn't speak German, but she motioned with her hands to give directions. Grandpa walked a short way and soon noticed a church with a cross on the steeple. When he got to the church he recognized the hymns, which were being sung in German. He stood in the back of the church until the service was over. As people were leaving he asked a lady where the priest's house was. She spoke to him and very kindly took him there with her. She was the priest's housekeeper and the sister of Grandpa's brother in-law, so she knew who Grandpa was.

Soon the priest came home. He said Grandpa should spend the night with them and he would help him meet Rose and Simon in the morning. The next day was Sunday, and the priest was to offer Mass at the country settlement where Rose and her family attended. It was named St. Peter & Paul. Grandpa went with the priest and met his sister Rose there.



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