Memoirs of Doodooshaboo: Joseph Austrian’s migration to Manhattan 1848-1850

December 29, 2016

By Amorin Mello

This is the second installment of the Memoirs of Doodooshaboo series on Chequamegon History, as transcribed by us from the original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian at the Chicago History Museum.  This installment covers Joseph Austrian’s migration from Bavaria to New York City.  Later installments describe Joseph Austrian’s experience with his Leopold and Austrian relations on Chequamegon Bay during 1851-1852 (Part 1 and Part 2).

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from Bavaria 1833-1847.

 

Left Wittelshofen.  1848.

Feuchtwangen is a city in Ansbach district in the administrative region of Middle Franconia in Bavaria, Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org
Uncle Samuel N. Guttman lived with his children Henry and Babette in Feutchwangen.  Henry and Babette immigrated with their Austrian cousins to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Chicago in later years.  Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. (grandson of Babette Guttman and Samuel Freudenthal Leopold) was the subject of worldwide scandal due to his role in the Leopold-Loeb Murder of Bobby Franks.

I went to Feuchtwang, to my uncle’s home, making myself useful in the fields about the house and barn and otherwise. He was an intelligent man, self educated and well read, a fine gentlemanly person, but penurious. My coming in contact with him was beneficial as I spent my evenings with him in his study and profitted by his large knowledge of things. My aunt was very kind and treated me as one of her own family, after having been there for one and a half years, and finding there was no further improvements to be gained, in accordance with the suggestions of my brother Julius and brother-in-law Lewis F. Leopold, who had gone to America some four years before, it was finally decided that I with my sister Ida should emigrate to America.

Mr. L. F. Leopold had a fishing and trading business at Mackinaw, my brother Julius was located at La Pointe on Madelaine Island, one of the Apostle group of islands in Lake Superior, northern Wisconsin, where he was engaged in the fur trading and had a general store, and traded with the Indians and half breeds buying fur from them.

 

Emigrated to America.  1850.

Frankfurt  is a metropolis and the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany…”
~ Wikipedia.org
Uncle Heinrich Heule and wealthy cousin Frau Richa Schuster lived in the Jewish community of Frankfurt.
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia, northern Bavaria, Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org

On October 4, 1850, at 4 o’clock in the morning, my sister Ida and I started for America. It was a cheerless raw morning, and with heavy hearts we set out in a private conveyance, via Feuchtwang to Wurzburg, where we arrived that evening and put up at the Wittelsbacher [Hof?]. The following morning we started on a little steam boat on the River Main, for Frankfurt, via Ashaffenburg, where we arrived that evening, leaving for Frankfurt the next morning, arriving there in the afternoon, and were met at the landing by our Uncle Heinrich Heule, who received us most cordially and invited us to his home, where we remained two days. We dined the 2nd day with his daughter, our wealthy cousin, Frau Richa Schuster, who gave a fine dinner in our honor.

Mainz is the capital and largest city of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.”
~ Wikipedia.org
Le Havre is an urban French commune and city in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of northwestern France. It is situated on the right bank of the estuary of the river Seine on the Channel southwest of the Pays de Caux.”
~ Wikipedia.org

From Frankfurt we went to Mainz, to which place our baggage had been forwarded ahead of us. The following morning we started on a Rhine steamer for Rotterdam, thus taking in the entire Rhine trip which we enjoyed immensely, we remained in Rotterdam two days, when we crossed the North Sea on rather a poor small steamer for Havre, France. In crossing we encountered a terrific storm during the night, the waves swept over the decks of the steamer causing the water to rush into the cabin where we were sleeping, and we had our first and most severe experience of home sickness. On our arrival at Havre we looked woe begone, and some of our baggage was almost ruined. The ship on which we were to sail was a large three masted “square rigged” sail vessel, “Robert Kelley”, Captain Barstow. On looking her up, I found she would not leave for five days to come, as she had not yet finished loading her cargo. In the meantime we were comfortably located in a boarding house where we made further preparations for our Ocean Voyage. Oct 20 we sailed from Havre taking 2nd cabin passage which was near the captain’s quarters. There were seven persons besides ourselves occupying our cabin. The ship did not furnish food for the passengers, but provided facilities for them to do their own cooking in a limited way. There were some rows of a certain kind of cooking stoves which were heated by an employee of the ship, the places were divided into a number of spaces so arranged, that kettles could hang in them. Each space was allocated to certain parties during the trip, but there were many more passengers than spaces, and it was not seldom that a fight was occasioned by one or the other party claiming the privilege of priority. In fact when a person turned his back for a few moments, while engaged in preparing food, someone would take off his kettle substituting his own. On certain person finding himself thus dispossessed grew furious and hurled his kettle contents and all on him who had played him this trick. The mate happened to come along, and made the one who had thrown the kettle, take off his coat, and with it wipe up the floor clean, threatening to lock up anyone who would do any thing of this kind again.

Before leaving home my mother had provided us with food such as could be easily prepared, such as roasted [four?], prunes, [gruieback?], dried beef, smoked tongue, &c. During the trip, two others of our party besides myself alternately attended to the cooking, and we got along as well as could be expected. On the voyage we had generally heavy winds and a rough sea, but fortunately the winds came mostly from the direction favorable to our sailing, consequently we made good headway.

Our Captain was a very capable navigator and very strict in his discipline. Among our passengers were two close friends, “frenchmen,” who often indulged to freely in French wine, quarreled, one stabbed the other but not seriously. After the Captain investigated the matter, the offender was hand cuffed. When it was rough the poor fellow tossed about mercilessly, when his injured companion took pity on him, and at such times would remain with him, leading him by the arm to protect him and to keep him from falling.

Besides the second class passengers there were about two hundred steerage passengers, below. One of these men “a monk” jumped overboard one day, the Capt. happened to see it, and gave orders to have the ship quickly turned about. A life buoy thrown by the Captain to the man struggling in the water, was grasped by him and six sailors in a life boat put out to rescue and managed to save him just in time. The monk was brought back to the vessel more dead than alive, the ship’s doctor worked until he revived him. On being questioned he said, he jumped over board owing to the terrible unpleasant surroundings in Steerage. The Capt. then told him that he would not again risk the lives of his sailors, should he jump in again, but there was no need of it, as he did not make another attempt.

On November 20th, we sighted land during the afternoon, and in compliance with a signed “wanting to be towed”, a tug came along side of our ship the next morning, throwing us a tow line, and we expected to reach New York the following morning. But we were doomed to disappointment, a large head wind sprang up and the tug could make no headway, and after a few hours of futile struggle, the tug gave up the attempt to tow us and cast off our line, and our ship was compelled to turn back to sea to avoid danger of the coast. But the next morning two tugs came on and took our ship in tow, and the wind having subsided, made good headway.

Presently a little schooner came along side our ship, and parties aboard began bartering with the passengers to buy their bedding, for which they might have no further use, I gladly sold mine.

 

Arrived in New York.  1850.

Castle Gardens did not operate as an Immigration Station until the years 1855-1890. ~ Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Gardens was still an entertainment center in 1850, and did not operate as an Immigration Station until the years 1855-1890.
~ Castle Clinton National Monument

We landed at Castle garden about noon November 21st, our trip over, having lasted about a month. Under the inspection of the Custom House Officers the luggage was unloaded, by sliding the same down a steep plank, and in watching this performance to my great consternation, I saw one of my big chests burst open and contents scattered, giving me an endless amount of trouble to get all repacked. The chest contained an outfit of linens and feather beds our mother had given us for our future use.

1850-austrian-immigration-on-robert-kelly

Joseph and his sister Ida arrived at New York City via the Robert Kelley on November 21st, 1850.
~ “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” image 560 of 869; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Joseph Austrian (Oestreicher) and his sister Ida. ~ "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-5GDD-X?cc=1849782&wc=MX62-DMW%3A165759201 : 21 May 2014), > image 565 of 869; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Joseph Austrian (Oestreicher) and his sister Ida on the passengers list.

Uncle Max Heule and his wife likely lived in Kleindeutschland.  This is the Lower East Side or East Village of Manhattan in New York City.

On landing, an Uncle of ours, Mr. Heule, an old gentleman about 70 years old, met us on the pier, and it seemed good to see some one who knew us. My Uncle and sister went for a short walk leaving me to look after the baggage, expecting to return in a little while for me, but the afternoon passed, and night came on without their returning. Most all of the passengers had left the pier and I was left alone on my first night in America. Some of the sailors feeling they had been abused by the mate on the voyage over, and made up their minds to get even with him, and on the upper deck that evening, together they attacked him, beating him till they nearly killed him. The noise and excitement the tummult occasioned, did not have a cheering effect upon me, however, when things quieted, I went up on deck and stayed there till after midnight watching the ferries cross and re-cross, which was a novel sight I enjoyed. By this time I despaired of seeing or hearing from my uncle or sister that night, and although worried I sought to get some rest, there was no bed for me and I laid on the hard wood floor that night, and had not a morsel of food to eat. I could not speak a word of English, and altogether, I felt rather forlorn, on this my first night in America. Finally next morning they came to look for me & simply explained that they had wandered too far and Uncle thought it too late to come back for me, and had gone on to his home. I accompanied them back, on our way a vender of notions with his basket on his arm happened to pass me, my Uncle turned to me remarking that I would have to begin with something of this kind to earn my living; it was not an encouraging prospect, and I said nothing, but I little thought then how soon his words would come to pass.

I visited at my Uncle Max Heule’s two days and then decided to start for my intended destination, Mackinaw Island.

To be continued at Mackinac 1850-1851

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One Response to “Memoirs of Doodooshaboo: Joseph Austrian’s migration to Manhattan 1848-1850”

  1. Very interesting to read the description of the travel to America aboard The Robert Kelly, as my great grandmother was a passenger aboard the same ship. Thanks so much for transcribing and posting this record!

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