Saturday, February 9, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - The Journey to Milwaukee

The Journey to Milwaukee
The villages of Villmar, Selters, and Bad Camberg
are all part of the  Burbach saga.

Georg Burbach left his home village in Oberselters, Nassau, Hesse, Germany in search of a better life.  He moved to the village of Villmar where he met and married Catherine Caspari about 1848.  Their oldest son Adam was born in Sept 1849 and died in Dec 1854.  Son Hermann was born in 1852 and John was born in 1854.  In 1856 Georg and Catherine, with their two surviving sons left Villmar and began their journey to America.  Later Georg’s sister Helena and her family would settle in Milwaukee along with members of Catherine’s Caspari family.
In 1846, three neighboring towns combined to form the city of Milwaukee. The population continued to grow thanks to the waves of German immigrants over the next several decades.  Originally the area was home to many Indian tribes. The word "Milwaukee" may come from Potawatomi language minwaking, or Ojibwe language ominowakiing, "Gathering place [by the water]”.[i] [ii]

The German Revolution of 1848 sparked the immigration of over a million Germans to the United States.  Wisconsin was a popular destination because of the availability of cheap land and assurances of freedom.[iii]  Many of those arriving had suffered poverty in Germany. 

Milwaukee has long been known for it’s meat packing and processing businesses.  In the 1860s the pork processing industry boomed, in part due to the Civil War and the needs of the war effort.  It was also the era that Patrick Cudahy and Phillip Armour were establishing their companies. Many of Milwaukee’s population were involved in the meat industry as drovers, butchers, packers, and transporters.  It was a good place to settle and raise a family with good opportunities to make a living. Georg was first a drover, then a cattle broker and later a butcher.

Milwaukee’s large German community supported the publication of many German Language Newspapers, such as Wisconsin Banner and Volksfreund, which reported on local as well as world news.  Church and club news as well as school news and births, marriages, and deaths often appeared only in the German Language Newspapers.

[i] ^ a b Bruce, William George (1936). A Short History of Milwaukee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Bruce Publishing Company. pp. 15–16. LCCN 36010193.
[ii] ^ "Ojibwe Dictionary". Freelang. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
[iii] Wikipedia
photo credit Google images

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