Julius Migrates from Altenburg to Altenburg

Dale Kirmse (2)Our friend, Dale Kirmse, from Florida is the author of today’s post.  Dale is a relentless researcher.  He was a presenter at our Immigration Conference here in Altenburg last October.  He is our “go-to” guy for information on the out-migration that took place from Perry County to Alva, Oklahoma.  We at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum cherish his contributions to our research library.  He is indeed a friend of our historical society, and we are incredibly grateful for this contribution to our blog today.  We welcome you to a growing list of our guest bloggers.


Today is the birthday of Julius Kirmse who was born February 6, 1835 in Fichtenhainichen. Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg (now Altenburger Land, Thuringen, Germany).

Fitchtenhainichen - Altenburg - Map
Fitchtenhainichen-Altenburg-Map. Source: David Rumsey Map Collection

Today’s  story is about Julius’s ancestral home, his emigration to America and eventually migrating to Perry County, Missouri not very far from Altenburg, Missouri.

According to the records of the Protestant Evangelical Church, Rositz, Saxe-Altenburg, Julius was the legitimate son of Christoph Kirmse, native farmer of Fichtenhainichen, and his wife Justine nee Kratsch who was a native of Großröda. He was the 3rd child and 1st son of his mother. He was baptized 15 February 1835. His sponsors were Gottlieb Dietze, house owner and carpenter of Rositz; Marie Meuschke, housewife of Michael Meuschke of Kriebitzsch and Melchior Kratsch, neighbor and gardener of Großröda ,

Julius Kirmse - Birth Record 6 Feb 1835 cropped
Julius Kirmse – Birth Record 6 Feb 1835 – Rositz

Julius spent his youth at home and family lore has it that at the age of 5 he herded family geese. Julius had two older sisters (Eva, born 5 April 1830 and Maria, born 8 March 1832) as well as half-brothers and half-sisters. When Julius was 7, his mother passed away (21 October 1842).

Julius’s father had previously been married to Maria Findeisen (a native of Zipsendorf) with whom he had six children (Christine, born 21 February 1820, Hermann, born 23 January 1822; Melchior, born 9 August 1824; Maria, born 26 January 1826-died 14 July 1827; Jacob, born 5 April 1827-died 22 April 1827; and Christoph, born 13 October 1828). Shortly after the birth of Christoph, the mother Maria died (24 November 1828).

After Julius’s mother died, his father married Sophie Wiegner and they had a son (Bernard, born 16 April 1845). Julius’s step-mother Sophie died 4 August 1854 and his father died 2 February 1863.

As Julius approached his 18th birthday, he was concerned about being drafted for military duty. He had witnessed the brutal treatment of German recruits in training and wanted no part of that. While talking across the fence with a neighbor and a medical doctor who was returning to New York, Julius mentioned his desire to immigrate to America. The doctor offered Julius a job in New York and would pay for Julius’s travel provided Julius for one year would maintain the doctor’s horses and buggy and always have them ready for immediate travel to a patient/case. Julius agreed to the offer.

On February 3, 1853, just three days before his 18th birthday, Julius was granted an emigration certificate from the Saxe-Altenburg authorities for permission to immigrate to America and was released from all duties of a subject of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg.

20160311_Permission to Emigrate - Julius Kirmse
Julius Kirmse – Permission to Emigrate. Source: Helen (Kirmse) Hacker shared this document 2005

The passenger list of the Bark Kosmos, Bremen arriving in the Port of New York City on 22 April 1853 includes Julius as traveling in steerage. The voyage from the Port of Bremen (Bremerhaven) , Germany took 42 days during which time the drinking water ran out and everyone on board got seasick.

Kosmos look-like Hohenstaufen-1851

According to the Bark Kosmos ship passenger manifest, when Julius debarked at New York’s port of entry, his final destination was Buffalo, New York. Julius worked off his obligation to the doctor and also worked in a dry goods store where he learned English.

Julius heard of a Lutheran community in southeastern Missouri and decided to seek out this group. As Fred Eggers has reported, he traveled on the Bark Kosmos with two other people from Saxe-Altenburg who immigrated to Perry County, Missouri. See The Perry County Connection for Julius Kirmse at https://mysaxealtenburgrelativesv1.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-perry-county-connection-for-julius-kirmse/.

After completing his year obligation, Julius supposedly worked on the Illinois Central Railroad laying tracks. The next record of Julius is his purchase of 40 acres of land near Farrar, Missouri and being one of the 11 founding members of the Salem Lutheran Church at Farrar.

The irony is that while Julius avoided military duty in Germany, the American Civil war broke out shortly after Julius arrived in the USA. In the summer of 1862, Julius enlisted as a private in the 64th Regiment of Enrolled Missouri Militia and served until March 12, 1865.

The story of Julius Kirmse’s ancestral home and his emigration from the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg to near Altenburg, Missouri is available to read for free online in a two volume e-book titled My Saxe-Altenburg Relatives.  The second volume at https://mysaxealtenburgrelatives2.pressbooks.com/ is a research journal that documents the research findings and the first volume at https://mysaxealtenburgrelativesv1.pressbooks.com/ analyzes and summarizes the results of volume 2. Enjoy.

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