Really Woeful Biehles

Johanne Fredericke Biehle was born on this day in Germany in 1802.  She and her husband, Friedrich came with the Gesellschaft aboard the Republik in 1839 along with six children.  Then the Biehle family experienced plenty of tragedy.  Johanne was pregnant when she boarded the ship in Bremehaven.  She attempted to give birth on March 23 while the immigrants were spending time in St. Louis waiting to travel to Perry County later in the spring.  Not only did the child die during delivery, but so did Johanne.  They were buried in the same grave in a cemetery in St. Louis.  Rev. Gotthold Loeber included this record in the Trinity, Altenburg church books.

Trinity, Altenburg – death record

A little more than a week later, their three year old son, Heinrich Ferdinand, died on April 1, 1839.

Trinity, Altenburg – death record

Six days after that, their one year old daughter who had the same name as her mother, Johanne Friedericke, died.  A rather interesting fact that goes along with this record is that another young child also died at the same time.  It was the youngest son of Adolph Marbach.  This record indicates that these two children were buried in the same grave in St. Louis.

Trinity, Altenburg – death record

Adolph Marbach’s claim to fame is the fact that he was one of the main participants in the Altenburg Debate in 1841.  He argued that the immigrants should return to Germany.  Not only did the Marbach family lose this child in St. Louis, but they lost another one at sea on the voyage over here.  I am convinced that his sorrow over losing these two children contributed to his attitude about returning to Germany.

Pastor Loeber probably recorded these deaths in his church books because they had traveled to America on the same ship.  We have no other indication that the remaining members of the Biehle family ever made it to Perry County.

The next indication that we have of the whereabouts of the Biehle famiy is that a daughter was born to Friedrich and a new wife in Wisconsin.  That daughter’s tombstone says that she was born in 1842, and census records say that she was born in Wisconsin.  Her name was Lydia.  What becomes confusing is that we find a marriage record of Friedrich marrying Margaret Trayser in 1845 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Wisconsin did not become a state until 1848, so it might have been difficult to go about the civil process of getting married in those days.

Friedrich became a farmer in Waterloo, Wisconsin.  Here is an 1899 map which shows land that may likely have been Friedrich’s.  He had three grandsons with first names that began with an “O”.

Biehle land – Waterloo, WI

Two of Friedrich’s children, Auguste Caroline and Friedrich Christoph, stayed in Wisconsin their whole lives.  Auguste married William Hatfield Edwards.  Christoph married Louise Huebner.  It is the oldest son in this family that led quite an interesting life. He carried the same name as his father, Friedrich.   He married Mary Werbelow prior to 1853 because it was in that year that their first child was born.  When the Civil War occurred, Friedrich was drafted and served in the Wisconsin 32nd Infantry Regiment from September of 1864 till June of 1865.  It appears that he was involved in Sherman’s March to the Sea.

After the war, Friedrich moved his family to Stanton County, Nebraska where he obtained some land as part of the Homestead Act.  Here we see land that is shown to be Ernst Biehle’s in 1899.  Ernst was Friedrich’s youngest son, and I am guessing that it is the land that his father once owned.

Biehle land – Stanton, NE

Friedrich, Jr. was one of the first settlers in this area of Nebraska.  He became the very first postmaster for that county.  He was also one of the charter members of St. John’s Lutheran Church, a Wisconsin Synod church in Stanton.

The Biehle’s were an example of a family that came to America with plans to settle with the rest of the Gesellschaft, but their plans changed.  I guess you can say that God led them along a different path.


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