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Voyage 1846

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The following was extracted from "Autobiography of the Zellhoefer Family" by Rev George G Zellhoefer after 1921, describing the voyage of his grandmother,  her children George Leonhard (GGZ's father), Christina Eva, Anna Margaretha w/child & husband George Scherer, Eva Maria w/child, and assorted
others in party. 

We have since found that this was the voyage of the ship Telegraph which departed Bremen abt 2 May 1846 and finally made it to New York on 17 Aug 1846.  Note that GGZ was not on the voyage, but rather
relating tales heard from his elders, and written many years later when GGZ was the last remaining child, so all "hearsay" and GGZ definitely suffering from both his age and perhaps failing memory, but interesting nonetheless.

"... By the time this understanding was agreed upon, spring of 1846 was
close at hand. The farm and stock had been sold and must be relinquished to
the purchaser, and the house vacated in time for the new owner to move his
house furnishings, the spinning wheels and weaving looms, etc., iron bound
chests and boxes, save the necessary clothing, bedding and cooking utensils,
etc., were packed into large strong homespun linen sacks easy to carry on a
man's back. For about two weeks the family made farewell visits among the
numerous friends and neighbors, the two married daughters had also come to
bid their Mother, brothers and sisters "good-bye."

Then by about the middle of April, the first leg of the long journey began
by wagon transportation to Mannheim on the Rhine. By the time the party was
aboard ship ready to sail towards the golden west, the month of May had well
advanced. Through the English Channel, the weather and sailing were fine but
100 leagues out on the Atlantic, the voyagers struck heavy winds from the
West that piled up the rolling waves as high as the tallest building on
terra firma. The captain of the three-masted schooner ordered the sails set
so as to drive the ship north to northwest which course gave the ship a
peculiar slant and caused her to roll and lurch diagonally over the tops of
the oncoming waves. Only tried sailors could navigate the deck without being
pitched over the ship's rail into the boiling sea. All passengers were
ordered to remain below decks in the dark cabins, lighted only by tallow
candles fastened to the walls. All the hatches and vents were securely
battened down in order to keep the waters from the great combers that broke
over the ship's rail and flooded the deck, sometimes to a depth of three and
four feet, from filling the ship's hold and drowning all the passengers.
This storm kept up for three days without a respite. The majority of the
passengers were seasick and were strewn around in their straw-filled bunks.
Those that were not sick attended to the sick as best they could without
having their heads cracked against the timbers by the constant lurching of
the ship.

Finally the ship got so far to the North that she encountered icebergs and
snow storms and every one aboard ship shivered from the cold, and still the
head winds blew a gale. One night the Captain gave orders to tack ship. The
turn to the South was successfully made, though the ship's timbers creaked,
groaned and shivered. Passengers were pitched or rolled out of their berths
onto the floor and the waves poured over the ship to such an extent that at
one time she seemed to be completely buried beneath the raging waters. All
the passengers thought their last day had come and would never see daylight
again. But they did not sink.

When daylight appeared, the ship was headed south by southwest, and now the
rolling of the ship was reversed. Gastronomical sensations also changed,
some felt relief while others experienced a more intensified seasickness. As
the ship advanced towards more southern latitudes, the air grew warmed, the
sun broke through the clouds but the wind, though with much less force,
steadily blew from the West.

George, through all this storm and turmoil of the sea, never once felt even
the smallest twinge of seasickness. He was the only one of his party to
escape this dreaded malady. It kept him busy day and night attending to the
wants and needs of his family. He was cook, nurse, chambermaid, doctor and
whatnot. He was the first of the passengers to reappear on deck after the
turn southward had been made. The two girls (brides to be) occupied a berth
or bunk together and assisted each other nobly and without help from others.
But when the weather had moderated to such an extent that it was safe for
escorted women to appear on deck, George invited the two girls to come on
deck with him. Which they did. But when they were the high but now lazily
rolling waves coming toward them and throwing the broken spray high over the
prow of the ship, they took alarm and retreated to their cabin below deck.

After several days more of the gradually dying down of the wind and the
waves, George persuaded his girl, whose name was Anna, to come on deck with
him for fresh air and a little promenade. She accepted and of course the
little ship, of only eight-hundred tons burthen, still heaved and twisted
her neck over the rollers which gave a landsman poor footing for a straight
walk, so George had taken Anna by the arm in order to steady her. This close
and warm contact of the two bodies caused a peculiar though pleasant
sensation to course through the veins of both, and as they promenaded back
and forth and talked of their future prospects in the new land, if they ever
reached 1t, they became more confidential toward each other. George had
wonderful ambitions -- what all he was going to do, what a fine farm he was
going to make, how many cows, oxen, hogs, sheep he was going to raise for
market, etc. Anna in return said the first thing she was going to do was to
get a position in some Yankee's farmer's home in order to quickly learn
American housekeeping and butter making.

So the days on board ship passed, one by one, and the days passed into weeks
and the weeks into months. The ship was still headed towards Brazil; the
wind was still from a westerly direction, sometimes veering for short
periods to the Northwest. The air grew hot and hotter as the ship clipped
southwest. The promenading of passengers on deck became numerous and more
regular. George and Anna grew closer together and their promenades on deck
became more regular. Confidences of a more intimate nature were exchanged,
the seeds of conjugal love began to sprout, and one day as they were
strolling together in the hot sun that scorched the deck and drew blisters
on the paint on the deck house, they had come well toward the prow of the
ship where a furled sail cast a shadow on some folded shrouds lying on deck.
"This is a good place for a tee-a-tee between lovers, make use of this
opportune invitation and rest a while in the cool shade."

Inspirationally, the two lovers sat down side by side very close together.
George was telling Anna for "the Nth" time of his aspirations in the new
country; how he would first of all secure some land, build a house and barn
of logs and as soon as the dam was built across the Bark River and the saw
mill put up to turn trees into boards and scantlings, he would cut the large
trees on his land and haul them in winter, when the deep snow was on the
ground, on a sled to the saw mill and so get plenty of lumber to build a
regular frame house. "But you see, my dear Anna, to do all this I must first
have a wife as a companion and helper". Anna had listened without saying a
word or giving a sign that she understood what George was driving at, only
now she said: "Yes, that is true, you will need a wife if you are going to
do all you say you intend doing." George slid closer to Anna and started
talking again while her eyes locked straight ahead out over the vast and
deep blue Atlantic. George's left arm stole softly around Anna's waist
without her seemingly noticing it. He pressed his face closer to her ear and
in a low voice said, "Anna, I want you to accept that position as wife to me
and helper in making the farm of my dream. Will you do it? And then our
future is solved and our fortune made together." While thus speaking, the
muscles in his left arm grew taut and gently pressed her to his heart. Her
answer was, "Yes, I will", and turned her face up to receive the sealing
kiss of her promise.

Meanwhile, the other girl whose name was Charlotte had been looking for her
chum and found the two beneath the reaved sail in each other's arms. "So
that's what you two are doing, you are nice ones to play such a deceitful
trick as this, how long has this been going on, etc. etc.?" She played fast
and loose, but all to no avail. The two lovers laughed at her and George
said, "Just wait until you meet Leonhart, you've been promised to him over
two years and when we get to Rome we will have a double wedding and then you
will be my sister, which is something to highly appreciate." Then Mother
Zellhoefer was informed of George's and Anna's engagement, and she said,
"Well that is what I had anticipated and why Anna had been induced to come
with us to America."

By this time the ship had sailed as far south as the northern edge of the
Saragossa sea and the wind had almost died down completely. Again the ship's
nose was turned northwestward, a light wind still being from the West. The
heat during the day was oppressive and almost unendurable. The ship's
drinking water became very warm and almost foul, the people had to boil it
and cool it off at night, worms had gotten into the bread, all vegetables
were consumed, only some potatoes were still at hand. Butter and lard had
become rancid. Coffee, tea and sugar still held out; also the salt pork and
beef packed in strong brine in large barrels. Of course canned fruits and
vegetables were unknown in those days.

The month of September was drawing near and the ship's population had not
seen or tested any green things so far that year. Salt meat, potatoes, hard
ship bread, coffee, tea and sugar in small doles, constituted the menu for
the passengers. Several passengers, a man, a woman and two children had
become sick and died, their bodies sewed in canvas and iron weights attached
to the feet and the bodies slipped off a plank into the sea.

As the ship crept north westward still bucking a westerly wind, the weather
became more tolerable and also more stormy. Heavy clouds appeared coming
from the West and by late afternoon the wind and rain hit the ship, sails
were spread on deck in such a way that the rain water thereon caught was
directed into large casks. The storm increased in violence, veering off to
the Northwest. It blew with such violence that the ship had to be tacked
with the wind. The Captain did not want to risk another turning like the
previous one that nearly scuttled the ship with its load of human freight,
as the ship was allowed to drive before the wind with just enough sail up to
keep the boat steady. When this storm had exhausted itself and the wind
veered to east by northeast, the Captain told George that they were 600
miles nearer Europe than they were several days ago, made them disconsolate
indeed. But strange to say, after the storm passed on the Southeast, the
wind began to veer off to the east and finally to the Northeast. Coming from
that direction, and increasing in velocity, the ship was soon under a full
head of sail and speeding with the wind toward New York at a tremendous
clip. This breeze held good until the ship reached New York harbor and
landed its passengers at Castle Garden, the free for immigrant station.

It is now the latter part of September. The immigrants had been aboard ship
just fourteen weeks and three days, and still a long way to go before
reaching their destination. Going along the docks and streets of New York,
everywhere they looked there were all sorts of fruits and vegetables staring
them in their faces. Even before they sought or chose lodging places, they
purchased fruits, melons, cucumbers, etc., and devoured them right on the

In New York the company of family spent a number of days. Arrangements had
to be made for transshipment of their goods as well as passage secured for
Buffalo and Milwaukee and then too, All the wonderful things to be had to
eat at such low prices, who knows when, if ever, there would be another
chance to get such wonderful things to eat, so let's eat our fill for this
is America the land of wealth and great abundance. Of course they should
have known better than to indulge so heavily in these unaccustomed fruits
and vegetables after months of such diet as they had aboard ship. Still who
could blame them, no one told them of the tremendous price they would have
to pay for this orgy of over indulgence. Soon after, others of the party
became sick with colic, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They became very
disgusted with New York's unhealthfulness, bad water, unclean streets, etc.,
and hurried to resume their journey.

The railroad having been completed from New York to Albany, they went by
rail at the great speed of 15 miles per hour to that town, and then over the
Erie Canal to Buffalo. Nearly all of the party were still sick, some almost
dangerously ill with dysentery. They were two weeks on the water from
Buffalo to Milwaukee and about a week and a half from New York to Buffalo,
so by the time they landed at Milwaukee the fall of the year was well

The names ZellTree, SolarSense Designs,  and all works within this website, are copyright 1998 thru 06 Dec 2009 by Ron Klotz Zellhoefer.   Permission is given to copy & print for private archival purposes only.  Republishing of DATA ONLY (not webpages!) to other websites is permitted IF credited to Ron Klotz Zellhoefer and ZellTree.  Please, let's verify and collaborate first!