Buried on the Bank

A Schuricht family history book includes the following paragraph which includes an account of the death of Johann Gottlob Schuricht on January 8, 1839.


Based on evidence that we have at our museum, here is what I think happened.

Johann Gottlob Schuricht (who appears to already be a Junior in the Schuricht family history) brought his family to America as part of the Gesellschaft in 1838-1839.  Here is a photo of Johann Gottlob, who was 49 years old when he made the voyage to New Orleans:

Johann Gottlob Schuricht

His oldest son was also named Johann Gottlob Schuricht.  That would make him Johann Gottlob III.  He was 28 years old at the time of the immigration.  We know of a few families who traveled on more than one of the ships that were part of the immigration.  The Schuricht family was one of them.  Here is a portion of the passenger list of the Copernicus which was the first ship to arrive in New Orleans.

Copernicus – passenger list

Here you can see three Schuricht brothers, Johann Gottlob (age 28), Johann Gottlieb (age 26), and Friedrich William (age 23).  That ship arrived in New Orleans on December 31, 1838.

Here is a portion of the passenger list of the Olbers:

Olbers – passenger list

On this ship, we see the parents of the Schuricht family along with the four other younger children in the family, one girl and three more boys.  The Olbers arrived in the port of New Orleans on January 20, 1839.

Early in January, after the passengers of the Copernicus had boarded the steamboat, Rienzi, they began the trip up the Mississippi toward St. Louis, Missouri.  That is when, on January 8, 1839, it is recorded that Johann Gottlob Schuricht died as a result of what was referred to as nerve fever.  He was buried at an undisclosed location on the banks of the Mississippi River.  My best guess is that he is buried somewhere in either Mississippi or Louisiana.  So it was that, even before the rest of the family had arrived in New Orleans, one of their family members was being buried in United States.  I am sure that it would not have been until the family was reunited in St. Louis that the parents found out about the loss of their son.  That would not happen until February 19th, when the steamboat, Selma, arrived in St. Louis carrying the passengers of the Olbers.

So, as I have it figured, it was already in Germany when the Schuricht family was separated into two groups.  One of those two groups was made up of three sons, not two, as the family history records.  Because they traveled on two separate ships to New Orleans, they also made the trip up the Mississippi River on two different riverboats.  The second group aboard the Selma was totally unaware that they were traveling past the new grave of Johann Gottlob as they made their way to St. Louis.

The Schurichts were one of the families that chose to stay in St. Louis and not settle in Perry County.  They were members of Rev. Otto Herman Walther’s congregation there.

One of the facts that is interesting in this story is that the death record of Johann Gottlob Schubert is not in the records of Old Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  It is only found in the Trinity, Altenburg records.  That is because it was Rev. Buerger, the pastor of the Seelitz congregation who came to America aboard the Copernicus and the Rienzi, who noted this death.  Later, after the Seelitz congregation dissolved, Rev. Loeber would include Rev. Buerger’s notes in the Trinity church books.  Here is the record of Johann Gottlob Schuricht’s death in those books:

Johann Gottlob Schuricht death record – Trinity, Altenburg

This was a rather tragic beginning to the Schuricht family’s new beginning in America.  However, we know that this family did survive and prosper.  In fact, we know that several Lutheran pastors would come from the family of this weaver from Germany.








4 thoughts on “Buried on the Bank

  1. Here is the translation:
    5. Johann Gottlob Schuricht, oldest son of Johann Gottlob Schuricht, weaver form Walbach in Saxony.
    Died on nervefever Jan. 8. 1839 on bord the steamboat during the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis.
    Johannes Kraemer


  2. Thank you for sharing this story. I am related to the Schurichts through the Tirmenstein lineage. Would you or someone be so kind as to provide a translation of the German script in this record? I will be visiting you sometime this year or next, bringing many pictures and records for the Tirmenstein-Schuricht lineage, as well as uploading the data into zionrootsgenealogy.com. Really looking forward to meeting everyone there. I see connections to the families in some of your stories through both sides of my German ancestry, as well as many family pastors involved with the development of the Missouri Synod.


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