Volume 7, Number 6 - Winter 1981

President's Message

Greetings from sunny San Diego, California where I am spending the cold winter months with my daughter Pat Kreger. I miss my many friends in Missouri and hope to be back home in time for the March meeting.

Martha Koelling, WRVHS member and President of Hickory County Historical Society and I attended the annual meeting of the State Historical Society of Missouri at Columbia October 25th. In the business session it was stressed that 80% of the correspondence coming to the society relates to genealogy. So, if we have been called a genealogical society rather than a historical society we are in good company.

Have you wondered why so many German families came to Missouri about the same time, the early 1800’s? The speaker at the luncheon meeting was Dr. James W. Goodrich, Associate Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, editor and translator of "Gottfried Duden, a Nineteenth Century Promoter." Gottfried Duden was one of the early authors of emigration literature. The German people in the early nineteenth century were very poor and oppressed and eager for a new and better life. Duden was a 'gentleman farmer" who came to the Warrenton area and wrote back personal letters stressing the rich soil, luxuriant forests stretching for miles, the golden opportunities to be grasped in Missouri. He told his German friends that for less than $1,000.00, a couple could come to Missouri, buy a farm, erect a dwelling, buy farm equipment and soon be on "Easy Street." As a result, German’s came to Missouri in droves and many were disappointed and disillusioned as Duden’s idyllic description proved more strenuous than expected. The German people who came to Missouri settled first in the area of central Missouri - many of the names of Missouri towns reveal their origin; Westphalia, Herman, Frieburg.

The edited and annotated translation of Duden’s book, on sale by the University of Missouri press, provides a significant contribution to U.S. immigration history and a unique and delightful fragment of Missouri’s rich German heritage. Many WRVHS members are of Germany ancestry and would have been delighted with Dr. Goodrich’s address on Duden’s book.

June 1981 is our 20th Anniversary and at our Annual Meeting on June 14 we want to greet as many members as possible. Plan your vacations so you can be in the area at that time and spend the day with us. We want to have a big crowd to help us celebrate. Special recognition will be given charter members with continuous membership, past presidents still active, member coming from the greatest distance, and many others. A gala event is being planned and we want you there with us.

Lucille A. Brown


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