August 11th in 1839 became a very significant day in the lives of the new immigrants in East Perry County. On that day, Johann Georg Gube died. That fact may not seem important, but because of the circumstances, it was.
Johann Georg Gube is described as being a rather wealthy farmer in Germany. He was also part of what was described as Rev. Martin Stephan’s “inner circle” of people who assisted with the arrangements of the immigration. When the group got to St. Louis, Gube was then part of a group of men who were involved in finding land to buy for a colony to settle. Also included in that group were Christian Gottfried Schlimpert and Johann Gottlieb Palisch. They enlisted a man by the name of Heinrich Bimpage as a real estate agent and legal representative. In the end, when the land was purchased, it was all put in the name of Johann Georg Gube.
When Gube died so early in 1839 not long after the group was in Perry County, it caused an absolute legal mess. Before his death, Gube attempted to get power of attorney to Schlimpert and Palisch, but his efforts did not meet legal requirements. It was going to take years of legal wrangling before this dilemma was cleared up. Gube was here all alone with no heirs. The immigrants ended up having to sue Henry Bimpage who was in charge of Gube’s estate. Eventually, this mess was resolved, but not before there were a lot of anxious moments for the immigrants who were wondering if they were going to have a legal claim to some land here in Perry County.
Interestingly, Gube, even though he started out in the inner circle of Stephan advisors, in the end he signed the document that declared that Rev. Stephan had to be exiled from the immigration society. Here is a list of those signers from Zion on the Mississippi.
The land that I now own was part of this legal wrangling. I have some transcribed records for my property which indicate the general nature of this legal problem.
The original owner of my property was Christiane Buenger. She apparently paid a “certain amount of money” to Gube for the eleven acres she owned.
It was on Christiane’s land that her son, Johann Friedrich Buenger, along with Ottomar Fuerbringer, and Theodore Brohm built the Log Cabin College, which later became Concordia Seminary.
It is difficult to get too angry with Johann Georg Gube. In those early days in the settlement here, the main goal was to stay alive. Certainly, getting legal matters squared away must have been way down their list of priorities. I am sure it was not in his plans to die so early and cause the mess that resulted.