Tales from an Old Newspaper

Those of you that know me, know that I am a retired teacher whose supposed expertise was in the area of mathematics.  I am even teaching one Math class each day this year on an interim basis.  So it is true that I did not spend much time teaching history.  However, now that I am retired and volunteering at our museum here in Altenburg, I have become immersed in the study of the history of this place.  Today, I must tell you that I am giddy about making a new discovery.

I decided to just do an internet search on today’s date and picked out the year 1839.  After typing in January 23, 1839, I came up with a number of links to check.  One of those caught my attention because it mentioned the city of New Orleans.  I found out this was a link which took me to a Library of Congress webpage which showed a page from a newspaper titled the True American which was published in New Orleans.


Although I didn’t find any information on that particular page, I noticed that you could navigate to other issues of that newspaper.  I found paydirt when I went to the issue that was published on January 21, 1839.  Although this is not what I was looking for, the first thing that caught my eye was this notice that the Copernicus was leaving the port.  That ship had brought the first of the immigrants that were part of the Gesellschaft and had arrived in New Orleans on December 31, 1838.  That ship must have remained in port for about three weeks before it left again headed for Baltimore.


Then I found what I was really looking for.  It turned out to be more than I expected.


Here you can find that the last ship of the immigration, the Olbers, had arrived.  However, above that reference, you can see that an account is also given about the towboat Tiger returning to port with the Olbers.  The story of the Olbers getting stuck in the mud was related in our blog post, Olbers in New Orleans, just a few days ago.  The Tiger assisted in getting the Olbers out of the mud.

In the same issue, I found this advertisement.


Is it possible that an advertisement like this may have caught the eye of Rev. Martin Stephan who is known to have purchased a nice chair for his use that is now on display at our museum?  Right before arriving in New Orleans, Rev. Stephan had managed to get himself declared the Bishop of the immigrants.  This chair has become known as the Bishop’s Chair.

The Bishop’s Chair

Now I have more research to do.  I’m going to have to see if I can find any evidence of the other ships that were a part of the immigration in this newspaper.  If any of you want to help with the research, you can go to the following website:


This is probably a good place to start because it shows the dates in the year 1839 which are available for viewing.  Other years can also be accessed.  If you find anything interesting, please let us know by sending an email to research@lutheranmuseum.com.




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