From Altena to Mt. Sterling

The Journey of Rev. August Rauschenbusch
by Anna Rademacher

While traveling through the Westphalia area of Germany, Virginia (Brandenburg) and Wayne Buschmeyer met the local historian of the town of Altena. He gave them copies of newspaper articles published in 1854 and 55, which were submitted by Rev. August Rauschenbusch. The articles depicted the trials and adventures of immigrants traveling from Altena, Germany to Mt. Sterling, Missouri in 1854. This journey was typical of the experiences of many of our ancestors who came to Missouri during the 1840’s through the 1880’s.

This was not Rauschenbusch’s first trip to America. He had come in 1846, employed by the American Tract Society, to serve as a missionary to recent German immigrants. His territory included much of the Eastern United States as well as Canada. However, he frequently came to stay with his friend, Rev. Koewing of Mt. Sterling for rest and recuperation from his extensive travels. He assisted Koewing with his large mission field, preaching from Union to as far west as Boonville. He also did some missionary work in St. Charles County and some in St. Louis.

In 1853 August Rauschenbusch returned to Germany. He married and sailed with his wife and a colony of immigrants from Bremen to New Orleans, then by steamboat up the Mississippi to St. Louis. The following are excerpts from his diary of the voyage that were subsequently published in the Altena newspaper. Included here are family names and total numbers of passengers who arrived safely in New Orleans in November, 1854.

“From Altena: Ed Drier, 6; Peter Schmidt, 7; Georg Sassmannhausen, 6; Ant. Schneider, 4; Carl Oventrop, 3; Aug. Rauschenbusch, 2; Wilh. Delgmann, 2; Widow Boellinghaus, 2; Didr. Trompetter, Arn Rump, Heinrich Becker, Henriette Grotensohn, Caroline Grotensohn, Susan Lambert, Wilhelmine Severing. In total from Altena, 41 persons. Lived in Altena for awhile: Cas. Hegemer, Heine Proeppe, Wilh. Schoelte, Aug. Burckhard. From Neuenrade and Dahle: Heinrich Brandenburger, 8; C.D. Hengstenberg, 5; H.D. Huelke, 7; Jos. Neidert, 5; Johan Schnieder, Ludwig Dieckgraeve, August Seitz and Casper Schroeder. Altogether 30 persons. From other towns in the county of Altena: Wife of Budde, Ludenscheid, 3; Emilie Boedecker; F.W. Rademacher out of Werhdahl, Theod Turch out of Rierdpe. Total of 6. From Balve and Unna: P.C. Uetterling, 5; out of Heppingser Bach, Casp. Pluthoelter, 6; Herm. Ihue, 5; D. Heimsehr from Unna. All together 16 persons.

“It was on October 13 at three in the morning as our ship, the three-masted Uhland, left Bremerhafen with Captain Lahufen, 395 passengers and 30 crew. The steamer Simson towed it across and down the Weser River into the sea. That was the last chance we had to mail letters to our homeland. The steamer returned to Bremerhafen and our ship was alone as the ocean waves spilled over it. The sails were then set. For a time we traveled seeing the church tower of Insel Wangerooge on the left and high stone dikes of Insel Helgoland on the right. Before evening, however, all land disappeared from sight and we saw nothing more than the heaven above and the sea all around us.

--Gasconade County Historical Society Newsletter, Volume 16, Number 2, Summer 2003