Quad-City Times from Davenport, Iowa on June 7, 1931 · 21
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Quad-City Times from Davenport, Iowa · 21

Davenport, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 7, 1931
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DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT j THIRD SECTION THIRD I SECTION I AND LEADER SEVENTY-SIXTH YEAR No. 206. DAVENPORT, IOWA, SUNDAY MORNING, JUNE 7, 1931. PRICE FIVE CENTS Arrival of The Ficke Family in Davenport in 1852 T Required 45 Days to Cross j Ocean on the Long Journeyj From Germany to Davenport By C. A. FICKE CHAPTER 11. Fischer's letters create a sensation Father's preparations for the Journey The ocean voyage The Journey to Iowa Arrival in Davenport Purchasing a farm Our new neighbor. Fischer's letters created a profound sensation in his home town. They arrived at a time when Germany was in the throes of reaction, and when everybody was under suspicion of bavin? been in sympathy with the revolution. Free , speech was under a ban and gloom and despair prevailed everywhere. Thee letters described an earthly Paradise: A country in which all men were equal; in which those who were willing to work would meet v,-ith success beyond their fondest dreams; and in which land rf the best quality was to be had for the asking. They brought a ray of 1 cht Into deepest gloom. They even pointed out the most direct route leading to a land of plenty, and warned against the pitfalls that would be encountered on the way. The letters passed from hand to hand and were eagerly read. They were copied numberless times, in their travels the originals wre. lost and copies only, in father's handwriting, remain as treasured possessions. When one at this distance peruses these letters he ceases to wonder that Iowa, which Fischer ard doubtless many others, described in such rosy and tru? colors, attracted so large a volume of the German immigration of the 'fif'ies. O , i High Class Immigrants o o The immigration of, that period was of the highest class. It included merchants, officers, clerks, farmers, teachers, writers, artisans, end representatives of every vocation that one could mention. - It was composed of persons who were willing to work and willing to undergo the hardships of pioneer life which awaited them, in order to better their condition and the condition of those who were dependent on them. And what tremendous admiration they had for their new "fatherland." Fischer voiced his admiration in one of his letters. This admiration was shared by all the newcomers. It was this that caused them to afray themselves, almost to a man, on the Union side, at the outbreak of the Civil war, and caused many of them to enlist in the Union army. There were no "Copperheads" among the German immigrants of the fifties and six'ies. Fischer's description of conditions in Iowa was in the main correct. His statement, however, that native born Americans sat with their feet, on the table or stuck them out of the window, and that they ate their meals in silence and with such undue haste, is as amusing as it w-as erroneous. Fischer had been in America but ten weeks when he wrote his first letter in which, he criticised American customs. During so short a sojourn he had had no better opportunity to study the customs of the country than foreign travelers who today visit America for a month and then write a volume of criticism, based on meager information. Fischer could not have bad an opportunity during the short lime be spent in the country to dine in, and observe the customs of a typical American home. He must have based his impressions on what he saw in a third class, email town, boarding house. It is almost certain that father, even before Fischer left Germany, bad considered the advisability of following him to America, should lie report favorably on conditions In that country. Among father's letters I found one from a resident of WiscpnRin, which manifestly had been written in reply to a letter from father, pent before Fischer's departure. This letter indicated that father had sought information regarding conditions in that state. It, can be readily Imagined what effect Fischer's rosy letter had on father, who was so eager to learn the truth about conditions in America. He had a wife and eight children. Their happiness was nearest his heart. What future was there for his children in Germany, In its then wretched condition, and particularly in Boitzen-burg a small town on the Elbe, in Mecklenburg, in which he was engaged in business. This business yielded him an income sufficient for present needs. Would It provide a sufficient Income when his lliree sons must be sent to higher tfducatlonal instil ut ions, In order 1o obtain an education such as was necessary to pass the examination which would reduce their terms of military service) from three to one year? Would it, suffice to give his five (laughters the education he wanted thrm to have? In view of lhe, alluring opportunities, open to men with large families, in Iowa, as Fischer had pointed out in his first letter, was it not his duty to dispose of his business, proceed to America and j let his children grow up with a j country in which a man was a j man, his own master, and not the j slave of another? i r f i Stirs to Action l0 o I Fischer's first letter, coming j from an implicitly trusted friend, i stirred fa(her profoundly. Fischer's i second letter did so no less. Moth er was equally stirred. At first the idea of exchanging her comfortable home in Germany for a cabin on the bleak prairie in Iowa, and parting forever from her mother, her sisters, her brother, and all her dearest friends, appalled her, and she refused to entertain it. But Fischer's letters were so alluring and convincing. They described a paradise on earth. What right, she asked herself, had she to place obstacles in the way of her children becoming dwellers in It? Both father and mother realized that the most momentous problem of their life confronted them, and that upon its correct solution depended their happiness and the happiness of their children. A decision must not be reached in haste. After the receipt of Fischer's first letter father wrote him for additional details. He asked him innumerable questions, all of which were answered in the second letter. It was perhaps soon after father had dispatched his letter to Fis-cher, that the letter from Sheboygan, previously mentioned, arrived. It bore date of Sept,, is, issi, which was about a month later than that of Fischer's first letter. The Sheboygan letter must have given my parents a rude shock, and must, for the time being, have interrupted father's dream of going to America. It described the conditions in Wisconsin as being far from rosy. It added, that conditions in Iowa, to the writer's best information, were equally unfavorable. Its author called it a most risky venture for a man, with a large family, to come te America unless willing to submit to great privations. He stated that no one should embark "A dog in life the firmest friend, Firit to welcome, foremot to defend." $100 REWARD It offered by the Tri-City Ken-nel and Beagle club for Information leading to the arrest and conviction of a poisoner of dogs In the Trl-Cities. Unregistered Champions. Dog News reports that a movement is on foot in Canada to make possible registration of unregistered dogs which have won their championships. Such a rule is in effect in the United States and permits the registration of many a splendid dog that was or could not be registered because of some defect in the record of the animal's ancestry. Honor Among Dog Fanciers. Dog World, editorially, says: After reading from time to time of the fraud and fakery practiced in fox breeding, rabbit breeding and other fields, especially by way of selling stock in breeding ranches, we are rather pleased with ourselves and the dog fancy, for the stock faker and the swindler have been totally absent from the dog field. We believe there is less fraud in dog breeding than in any other field of breeding or sport." Send in your dog newt! Dog Saves Livestock, Often we have read of dogs saving men, women and children from drowning, fire and other agents of death. Now comes a story of Zip, a Westport, Conn., dog which rushed Into a blazing stable and nipped 21 horses and a cow so fiercely that the animals rushed from the barn. Had it not been for Zip doubtlessly many of the animals would have he-comw confused and succumbed to smoke and gasaes. " Wow! In Chicago, Henry Mgit was arrested for barking like dog, thereby disturbing the peace, Ha explained: "I was barking and howling to frighten away my daughter's boy-frlenda." But Mrs. Msgis said: "Whenever Henry Magis gets drunk he thinks he's dog. Anyway, he's a wow!" Time 1 1 MJ HdogTchats j 5-' ' AjJ V. BRIGGS fV'2 l COMMUNICATIONS INVITED ) t , & W w '' v 7 ' n, , - ar" v - - - in farming, in this country, unless accustomed to hard labor. On the other hand he stated that if father should nevertheless decide to come, he thought father could dispose of his stock to advantage in Sheboygan. Father may even at one time have considered the advisability of going into business in America. A letter from a Mr. Kepler in New York to Goehlman Brothers in Sabula, Iowa, would so indicate. It asked that firm to assist father in finding a suitable location if he should wish to go into business. After months of anxious waiting, Fischer's second and most assuring letter arrived. It furnished information on every point. What route to take, what to bring, what to do, and what to avoid. Even with the encouragement which this letter brought, many points remained to be considered. Father was a trained merchant. He had had no experience in farming. What success would be make of it? The idea of going into business, if it was ever seriously entertained, was quickly dismissed. Being unacquainted with American business methods, there would be danger of his losing his all. If he went to America he would invest in. land, whielt was the basis of all wealth. Question after question was advanced. To most of these Fischer's letter furnished answers. If it did not the question was brushed asid. He'll Fly High 7 This Norwegian elkhound, a relative of the elkhound puppy presented to President Hoover a few months ago, will be present, ed to Commander Charles Rosen-dahl as a mascot for the new navy dirigible "Akron." The pup hasn't been named yet. Animal Rescue Home. C. K Ford, superintendent of the Michigan Humane society, has announced that work will bo started Immediately in Detroit on a fully equipped animal rescue home. The new home will include executive office, hospital clinic, kitchen, and accommodations for dogs and cats. How about something like this In Davenport? Helen Keller Ones Said. "Wers my Maker to grant me but a single glance thru these sightless eyes of mine, I would without question or recall ask first to see a child, then a dog." T v ' - r wir& ' A (; 1 4m 4i V',. I fey- As Davenport Looked to the Fickes On Landing Her Children First a a Grandmother Praesent, my mother's mother, lived in Uelzen within easy reach of Boitzenburg. One of her sisters, the wife of a merchant, resided in the same town. Her other sister, the wife of a government official, and her only brother, a lawyer, resided in Hanover, also within easy reach. With all of these she exchanged frequent visits. If she went to America the chances would be remote that she would ever meet them again. This thought appalled her. Mother possessed a lovely and well trained voice and was an accomplished pianist. She had many times taken part in amateur musical entertainments. Taken out of an atmosyhere of culture and refinement, would not pioneer life, on an Iowa farm, be intolerable? Would she ever be able to accommodate herself to such a life? She certainly would if the future happiness and welfare of her children depended on her doing so. She would take her piano along. In her home she employed a cook and also a nurse for her children. In America these would have to be dispensed with. Even thig did not appal her. She was an expert cook and would do the cooking herself. In her girlhood she had spent a year in the cooking school for girls maintained by the Bishop of Hildesheim. She would dispense with the nurse for the children. With the assistance of her two older daughters she would take care of the younger children and do the cooking besides. Many dangers would beset them on the way. Yes, but Fischer had pointed out how to avert these. The journey would be long and tedious. Yes, but at the end of the trail lay the enchanted land of opportunity, with a happy future for her children. But what educational facilities for her children, would a country provide, in whose schools reading, writing and arithmetic w-ere the only branches that were being taught? Even to this question Fischer's letter furnished the answer. One could employ a private tutor. Every conceivable difficulty was carefully weighed. Mother, as will be remembered, at first had been unwilling to entertain the idea of going of America. However, the more the question was considered, the firmer became her belief that this would be the thing to do. My parents finally reached the decision that father should close out his business, and that they would embark on their great adventure. The decision, once made, stood. Neither the pleadings and warning of father's brothers, Uncles August and Edu-ard Ficke, whom twenty-five years later, on my first trip to Europe, I met and learned to love, nor the tears of mothers' sisters and the pleadings of big-hearted Grandmother Praesent were able to induce them to revoke it. o o I A Test of Courage It was Spartan courage, on the part of my parents, to surrender what was certain, in exchange for what might prove to he but a will-o'-the-wisp, and to part with relations and friends with the certainty that it was a parting for life, For Iowa was then a land whence no traveler was expected to return, and such it proved to be In father's and mother's case. Neither of them ever revisited Germany or saw any of their German relations again. Of their eight children only four were ever to see Germany again. We children never ceased to bless our courageous parents for adhering to their decision to make their great sacrifice, in order to insure our happiness. Fischer's second letter could not have reached father much earlier than March 1. By April 15 he had disposed of his stock of goods, had packed such of his belongings as he expected to take with him to America, and was ready to sail with his family. Following closely Fischer's direct ionn regarding what he should brine If he expected to engage In farming, he brought, not only the things mentioned but many additional things. The shipment in-clided two dnuble-barrrled shot guns, seed1 of all kinds, rope, empty sacks, and linen napkins, table cloths and sheets, in such abundance, that, upon the marriage of four of my sisters, each was supplied with a complete outfit. It further included many pairs of boots for the men, numberless pairs of shoes for the children, feather beds for the entire family, crockery in abundance, clothing in plenty for all the family, tool3 of every description, Fabers' lead pencils in such numbers that they lasted a quarter of a century, many reams of letter paper, a quire of which I preserve as a treasure, and buttons of all kinds to last 25 year3. Then they brought a piano, the second one brought to Scott county, two high parlor mirrors, with heavy mahogany tabernacle frames, two mahogany bureaus, mahogany tables, cut glass, a sterling silver table service, steel engravings in gilt frames, and other articles too numerous to mention. Not until I was old enough to take notice of things did I discover to what varied uses the boxes in which these things arrived had been put. The box in which the piano arrived had been turned into a wardrobe. Not until then did I realize what a difficult task it must have been to transport so large a shiptment from Germany to Davenport, with transportation facilities as primitive as they were in the fifties. From the sale of father's stock of merchandise, and such household goods as were not to be taken along, he realized a considerable sum. What remained of this sum, after paying the ocean passage for ten persons, and the freight on his many boxes, he converted into a letter of credit on New York. f Both Pity and Envy f o ' o When it became known that father contemplated emigrating to America, he was pitied by some and envied by others. Pitied for embarking on what was called a foolhardy venture; envied for possessing the means with which to quit Germany. There were many who would gladly have joined him had they had the means to do so. A number of young men and a number of young women pled with father to allow them to accompany him. Even if they had possessed the means to pay for their passage it would have been folly to have allowed this. Our party was already quite large enough. Of those whose request to be taken along had been turned down, Lizette, who had been my nursd since my birth, was the most heartbroken. She had become so warmly attached to her two-year-old charge that she was loath to part from him. Some years later father gent for her and she became the first domestic employed in our family in America. Two years after Lizette arrived she married. Seventy years after Lizette had carried me in her arms in Germany, her grandson showed me a locket, containing a lock of my hair, which she had preserved, and which proved what a flaxen haired chap I had been at tho age of two. Later in life, when I had become a successful lawyer in Davenport, Lizette gloried In telling her friends that she had many times carried me in her arms. O- r The Parting Days a -a The last days In Boitzenburg, with tho partings from life-long friends and relations, were most trying. Grandmother Praesent came down from Uelzen to say a last farewell. A few days before the date of sailing, we proceeded to Hamburg. Here Mrs. Keltel, mother's sister, with her husband met us to bid us Godspeed. They brought a last letter written two days before the day of. sailing. This letter, browned with age, lies before me as I write. "My dearest Betty," grandmother wrote', "how I longed for one more line from you, and now that I have received it, I find my fears that you are broken In spit it verified. Hut my dearest Betty be of good cheer and strong, for your husband and children depend upon you. Tray to God for courage and confidence, and believe mp, dearest, Ho will guard and help jou. My blessings, the blesslncs of a heartbroken, but God fearing and God trusting moth Here in 1832. er go with you to your distant home, and now a hearty farewell." I treasure as one of my most highly valued possessions the original certificate issued by the "Ham-burg-Newyork-Packetfahrt," dated April 10, 1852, entitling C. H. Ficke, Betty Ficke, his wife, and their eight children, Henriette, Herman, Heinrich, Mathilde, Betty, Auguste, Johanna, and August, to passage on the "John Herman," a sailing vessel leaving Hamburg April 15, 1852. On the day named the Ficke family of 10 sailed from that port, on the vessel named, for the New World. As I was only two years old my memory is a blank regarding what occurred between the date on which we sailed and that on which we reached Davenport. Nor does it recall anything that happened during the early years on the farm. Fortunately, however, my parents preserved many of the letters which they received, and copies of many letters which they wrote during their early years in America, to relations and friends in Germany, and to various persons in this country. From these originals and copies, and from what my parents related to me in later years, I built up what I have related, and what I shall relate regarding our Journey to Davenport, and the early years on the farm. If you have a dizzy feeling when radio announcers become so perfect in their mike butlering and their Oxford pronounciations of words that they sound like a proofreader reading aloud the Congressional record, your radto entertainment is getting flat. What you really need, in the opinion, of research engineers In attendance at the sixth annual convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers being held in Chicago this week, Is a color organ, science's latest aid for the jaded fan. It is now possible, according to E. B. Tatterson, to have color with your coloraturas, providing and who cares about a provision you have $10,000. This startling news was disclosed at the opening session of the convention by Mr. Patterson, who further described this color organ which operates on radio principle's and automatically converts music into changing hues that synchronize with the moods of the music. Radiotricians, generally apeak-ing, are deep thinking fellows, but none of them have given a thought as to where Mr. and Mrs. Radio Fan are to get the 10 grandiolas for the color organ for their radio set. Numerous technical papers were presented to the 260 engineers attending the meeting, and among the lighter writings sent thru by the press relations department was an explanation by G. D. Gillett of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, New York City, of how better transmitters had enabled WOC, Davenport, and WHO, Des Moines, to broadcast simultaneously on the same frequency. Mr. Gillett, who visited Davenport while the synchronization tests were being conducted, explained that the scheme is eventually to put all network stations carrying the same program on the same wave length, thus relieving channels for independent programs. While extolling the merits of WOC-WHO, we. might add that WHO of the Central Broadcasting company has been chosen by popular acclaim the second most popular station In tlin state of Inwa. The "State Champions" election, conducted by The Radio Pigejt, gave radio ysteners an opportunity o- 45 Days at Sea My father's health, during the later years in Germany, had been somewhat impaired. As soon as the ship reached the open sea he had to take to his bed, which he kept during the entire ocean voyage. The burden of looking after the children, therefore, rested entirely on mother. The sea voyage lasted 45 days. Long as this seems now when one can cros3 the Atlantic fn less than six days, it was called a short journey in the early 50's. M.' J. Rholfs, who crossed the Atlantic a few years earlier, required 98 day3 for the trip. Another of father's friends, who came over a few years later, required 82 days. And in 1S56 mother wrote grandmother that the thing3 which she had sent mother, thru a friend, had been so slow in reaching her because it had taken the friend 86 days to cross the Atlantic. News of our safe arrival in New York had been slow in reaching our relations in Germany. A disturbing rumor had reached them that our ship had been lost in a storm, and they suffered untold agonies until they learned of our safe arrival. Altho our journey had been long and tedious, all the members of our party, except father, had been free from mal de mer, except during the Radio Scraps 'n' Sensations BY Florrie Ann Tarns to vote for their four favorite stations in their home states. Here's the lineup for Iowa: 1, WO I, Ames; 2, WHO, Des Moines; 3, WMT. Waterloo; 4, KFNF, Shenandoah. PARAGRAPH ICALLY SPEAK. ING: Frazier Hunt calls Rock Island his home, but he brings to radio listeners of 160 stations thrilling stories of his adventures in London, Moscow, Peking, Siberia, Paris, Norway, and nearly every corner of the world. Hunt, like Floyd Gibbons and Lowell Thomas, has done his traveling, as a newspaper man, and these travels are now part of the Chrev-rolet Chronicles put on the air over WOC, Listen for this one: Brightest luno of tho week "When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba" from the "Third Little Show.". It's got a grand lyric. Someone should step up and tell President Hoover (but not us, of course) that 51 broadcasts In two years' time Is a lot of mierophonlng. It makes Coolidge's 37 In seven years look like the population of Idaho. But this time they will both participate in the same radio program to be broadcast June 16 from 1 to 2:15 p. m. over NBC In con-junction with the dedication ceremonies of the memorial to Warren G. Harding at Marlon, O. Noted In a diary of a radio drifter: So the Dally News observes that Guy Lombardo 13 enjoying bachelorhood. Wonder what Mrs. Lombardo will think about that? It's a long time off, but James Cruze's Salt Lake City spectacle, "Covered Wagon Days" on July 25 ought to be a fetching broadcast Often wondered why some other sponsor doesn't sign Wendell Hart, the Colliers tenor. He can turn a classic tune as neatly as a jazz ditty, and In every language except Afghan. INSIDE PICKUPS: Your True Story dramas will be coming over the NBC stations shortly, while the spot vacated on CBS stations will be filled with a new Liberty program Oh yes, Just as we told you a long time ago, those Sisters of the Skillet win be heard thrir.e weekly starting in July Arthur Continued en Pass Twenty. Fivi, first few days. They had encountered no serious storms on the way. With the exception of the youngest member they had had little to worry about. lie, however, had called the dare of the captain of tho ship, to throw his hat overboard, and thereafter worried lest he should not get a new hat in New York. We slept soundly and many hours. We partook of from three to five meals, which, however, would have been most unpalatable had they not been supplemented by the many delicacies with which grandmother had supplied us. The principal articles of food served were lentils, which appeared on the table at least twice each day. Even the soup, which was frequently served, had lentils as one of Its ingredients. No one anticipated the troubles and worries that were encountered in New York, and on the trip to Davenport. During the long days of the voyage, however, every line of Fischer's warnings and Instructions were committed to memory. The New York sharpers were not to be allowed to fleece us Jf it could be prevented. At last land hove in sight The Joy of the passengers knew no bounds. Had the hour of release really arrived? Were these really tne snores of the land of the fre&? Solid ground was soon to be under our feet. However, the patience ofl tne passengers was yet to be taxed to the utmost. Hour. seemed like days while the ship, with slackened sails, at snail's pace, crept up the, lower bay, then thru the narrows, and finally up New York bay toward Manhattan Island. Ellis Island had not yet been made a haven of safety, where arriving passengers would find protection against the- human vultures that were lying in wait for them. Ships unloaded their passengers at a wharf on North river on Manhattan Island. jj In Wait for Victims f The news that the "John He?-man" was coming up the harbor with a large party of immigrants, who would provide rich pickings, reached those Interested long before the vessel waa ready to dock. Hotel runners and money changeTS hurried to the dock, ready to fleece the immigrants aa soon as they should venture to leave the ahlp. Much as they wanted to see New York, nothing could have induced the members of our faniliy to surrender the protection the ship afforded them, except for a short time to make the necessary arrangements for the further Journey, and these were made with the assistance of persons who had been recommended to father. Fortunately father was able to complete all his arrangements within the time he and his family were permitted to remain on shipboard. With these completed, the family went direct from the ship to the railway station. From New York we went by train to Dunkirk, which town was then the western terminus of the railroad that was being constructed from New York to Chicago. Here father-called on the person named in Fischer's letter. From Dunkirk we went by lake vessel to Detroit. From there by railroad to New Buffalo on the east shore of Lake Mich-igan, and then by lake vessel to Chicago. Chicago as yet had no railway connection with the Eat. How differently the lives of the members of our family would have shaped themselves if father had settled in Chicago, and they had had an opportunity to grow up with that city, instead of settling on an Iowa farm. An agreeable surprise awaited t)S in Chicago. Th route from Chicago to Davenport, which Fischer had recommended, led by canal boat as Mr as Peru: thence b" steamer down the Illinois river to St. Louis, and finally by boat up the Mississippi to our destination; or from Peru, by wagon, to naven-port. The latter route was the en-father had planned to take. The construction of a railroad to Davenport had not even begun. A railroad, with the Mississippi as iti goal, however, was In the course of construction, and had bfen fom-nleted half wav across llllnoK to Cherrv Valley, a village a short distance enst of Rorkford.- So we went as far as Cherry Valley by train. Here father hired two wagons, with drivers, to carry tits family and its baggage to Catena. From there we Journeyed to Davenport by steamer. Alth the jmirnev in Galena by wagon required three days, it 'wai one of unalloyed pleasure, compared w"h that from New York to Cherrv Valley in crowded cars and boats, We were bv onrsHv and masters of our own time. We could stop by the wayside a often and as long as we. pleased. Hailing from a country where wild flowers were rare, W were Interested in those which carpeted the pratrlM over which we traveled, and thi children gathered many of them. Upsides the vast expanse of prairie, which we beheld, was fasdnafin. ? Town of Galena I o - - rresenf-dny Glen 1 located n a small xMeam, whi'h bv imr'eT, is culled a "thcr" Thli 'ram H so riann-, nd n l.-trk'nz water, a to be unnavmnie "vn In tow hnaK Wh-n we ri.V1 ,t-lena tn lv"2 th:. now umtuporUn', Centinusd en P3 Twenty. Five.;

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