HENRY KUEHL HISTORY
The following information from the Henry Kuehl diary was transcribed and submitted by Brent Hemphill.
HALF A CENTURY AGO
50 Years Tomorrow Since Henry Kuehl Landed in Davenport
by Henry Kuehl and published in the Davenport Daily Republican, on June 20, 1897. He was one of a large Party from Probstei, Holstein. He tells of the Early Days in this City.
Fifty years is a very long time in this country, where age comes soon to the hard working and fast living people. Fifty years have entirely changed the surface of this part of the globe. Disappeared has the prairie, the woods have been cut down and where the proud Indian used to hunt, there are farms surrounded by fences, railways traverse the country; large cities grew up and the formerly wild west is just as civilized as the eastern part of this great republic.
But to whom belongs the credit for this great change to the better? Who has done this work? Who has made Scott county the most prosperous county of this state? We cannot but admit that this was done by the settlers, who landed at Davenport then a small village, fifty years ago. They came from Holstein, and from that part of it which is known as the "Probstei."
On April 12th, 1847, there left Hamburg the old sail ship "Henriette," which was commanded by Captain Hunker. On June 8th the ship arrived in New Orleans, without a single death occurring while at sea. When the immigrants went ashore they were offered a bounty to enlist in the Mexican War; but they went on up the Mississippi to St. Louis, where they arrived on June 19th. On the voyage up the river occurred the first death, the victim being Mrs. Klindt. Both shores of the great father of waters were lined with timber and the captain informed the passengers that they would see no human being and no settlement would be reached for the next four hundred miles. On June 21st they came to Davenport. The fare from Hamburg to New Orleans was 92 marks Luebish ($29.45) from New Orleans to St. Louis $2.50 (without board) and from St. Louis to Davenport $1.00 without board.
The following is a list of those who landed in Davenport on that memorable day fifty years ago.
The married were Hans Stoltenberg and family, among whom were Henry, Hans, Jochim and Claus; Claus Ladehoff and family; Wulf Hahn and family; Asmus Maas and family; Hans Stoltenberg who has now reached the age of 90 years, and family; Claus Hagedorn and family; Peter Lage and family; Carl Maskow and family; Peter Arp and family; Franz Hahn and family; Henry Wulf and family; Jochim Klindt and family; Hans Moeller and family.
The unmarried were: Henry Kuehl, Jochim Kuehl, Hans P. Lage, Asmus Arp, Hans Meyer, Claus Lamp, Hans Ruser, Peter Ewald, Henry Arp, Marx Stuhr, Claus Wulf, T. Sindt, and a number of others.
When they landed in Davenport there were houses up to Warren Street. The commercial part was on Front street.
It was very hard for families to find lodgings; Hans Stoltenberg and Claus Ladehoff had to move 2 1/2 miles out on the new Hickory Grove road, where they lived in a log house which they called "Sorgenfrei" (sorrow free). A. C. Fulton was building a steam flour mill, which he finished in the fall of that year. Flour was sold in barrels only and cost $7 per bbl. The first yoke of oxen that one of the settlers (Claus Ladehoff) bought from John Friday's father cost $30. Horses were sold at $45. The first cow was bought by Claus Ladehoff from John L. Davis, of Davenport, John Lafrentz being interpreter, the price being $9. Most of the settlers bought government land about three and one-half miles northwest of Davenport which they called the "Probstei," these farms are today in the possession of their descendants. Money was very scarce. You could earn $1 per day, and if you worked by the month you could earn $10 per mo. with board or $20 without board. Farmers were very poor and could not afford to hire help. Before these settlers came there were here from the Porbstei [sic] the following old settlers: Henry Vieths, 1836; Henry and Claus Mundt, 1845; John Hagge, 1844; he had a farm near Gilrath's school house; Claus Steffen, 1846; Jochim Steffen, Claus Lamp, 1846; Claus, Henry and Peter Puck, 1846; Jochim Schoel, 1846.
What a change since those days! If when the old settlers who came here in 1847 look over the country they are hardly able to recognize the old landmarks. The old courthouse is gone, the streets are paved and the roads in the country are much improved. Bridges in the county at that time were almost unknown, the only ones being on Brady street and the River road. The first society was formed in the winter of 1847 and 1848, being a singing society, it was called the Liedertafel. M. J. Rohlfs was the director. The first sick relief society was formed in 1848 and at one time contained over 100 members, but has ceased to exist for a number of years. Dr. Berger was the first president and Mr. Unruh, the first secretary, and E. Steinhilber, first treasurer. The first German newspaper was started in 1848, the German type being furnished by E. Steinhilber, Hiram Price and a number of others. The editor was a Mr. Jacobsen, a theological student, but only six weekly editions were issued, then procuring all the money he could get from his subscribers he skipped the country. The material lay idle until 1851 when Theo. Guelish who was working for Henry Kuehl was told by his employer that he could procure the material for starting a German paper if he so desired, the advice was taken and Der Demokrat was founded which is in existence today. In politics the German upon reaching the new country was advised to vote the democratic ticket; they did so almost without an exception up to the year 1854 when James Thorington was candidate for congress on the republican ticket and Gov. Hempstead on the democratic ticket. They voted the republican ticket and voted for Fremont, Lincoln and Grant.
During these 50 years many of the above named German settlers have joined the silent majority, and their descendants have taken their places; but they are not forgotten, their work lives after them and Davenport and Scott county are an everlasting monument of German industry and perseverance.
For more information on the Henry Kuel family check out the Kuehl Diary.
Note: Martha Blocker updated the name of the ship to Harriet. It was a type of bark, and was listed as Bark Harriet in the United States National Archives.