HENRY KUEHL DIARY

The following information from the Henry Kuehl diary was transcribed and submitted by Brent Hemphill.

FORWARD TO THE FAMILY TREE

by Gustav Adolph Kuehl

One day I was looking over some of our father's papers and came across his diary, in which he recorded instances in his life from the time he was born until he reached Davenport, Iowa. Then I decided to collect what information I could about his and our mother's families. With the help of members of the family I have collected the following information. Here it is. There are so many names and dates that undoubtedly there are errors. Sometimes my typewriter and I had an argument about the spelling of a name or about a date, but my typewriter always won out. But the information is on loose-leaf sheets so that anyone can readily correct any error and add what information they desire.

The family name was originally spelled Kuhl, using the German dotted or umlauted u. There is no letter or combination of letters in the English language by means of which the sound of the German dotted u can be pronounced. The nearest equivalent is the combination ue. English being the language used by the United States Government, our father, Henry Kuhl, in later years, used the equivalent ue, instead of the German umlauted, or dotted u, in signing his name. Just when he first did this is hard to determine. The spelling Kuehl has been used by his children, and the name pronounced as if spelled Kehl.

INTRO TO THE FAMILY TREE 1897

Fifty years is a 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 12, 1847 they left Hamburg on the old sailship "Henrietta", which was commanded by Capt. Hunker. On June 8 the ship arrived in New Orleans. 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 19. On the whole trip they saw no settlement or any house along the shores of the Great Father of Waters. On June 21 they came to Davenport. The following is a list of those who landed in Davenport on that memorable day fifty years ago:

  • Hans Stoltenberg with 12 children (5 boys & 7 girls). Among them were Claus, Henry, and Jochim Stoltenberg, who went to California.
  • Claus Ladehoff, with 9 children (7 girls & 1 boy), among them Mrs. Hering (widow of James Hering), Mrs. Haller and Mrs. Lage.
  • Wulf Hahn with 1 child.
  • Asmus Maas with 2 children.
  • Hans Schneckloth (91 years old now) with 3 children (among them Mrs. Fritz Rolfs).
  • Claus Hagedorn with 4 children.
  • Peter Lage with one child.
  • Carl Markow with one child.
  • Peter Arp with seven children.
  • Franz Hahn with one child.
  • Henry Wulf with one child.

The unmarried were:

  • Henry Kuehl
  • Hans Meyer
  • Marx Stuhr
  • Asmus Arp
  • Hans Ruser
  • Joachim Kuehl
  • Heinrich Arp
  • Claus Lamp
  • Claus Wulf
  • T. Sindt.

When they landed, there were houses in Davenport up to Warren Street. The Hirschl homestead was at that time the residence of a lawyer named Cook. Some houses were up to Seventh Street. It was very hard for married people to find lodgings and Hans Stoltenberg and Claus Ladehoff had to move two and one half miles out on the Hickory Grove Road where they lived in a blockhouse which they called "Sorgenfrei". There were two flour mills at that time in the county - one at Rockingham and one steam mill at Davenport, which A. C. Fulton built about the time when these settlers arrived. Flour was sold in barrels only and cost $7.00 per barrel. The first yoke of oxen that one of the settlers (Claus Ladehoff) bought from John Friday's father cost $30.00. Horses were sold at $45.00. A cow cost $9.00. The only one who understood some English was Herr Lafrentz, who acted as interpreter as well as he understood it. Money was very scarce. You could earn one dollar per day and if you worked by the month you could get $10.00 per month, with board and $20.00 per month without board. Farmers were very poor and couldn't afford to buy a new suit nor could they pay any hands. Before these settlers came here from the Probstei the following were already here: Heinrich Vieths (1836), Heinrichs and Claus Mundt (1845), Johann Hagge (1844), he had a farm near Gilbreath's school house. Claus Steffen, Jochim Steffen, Claus Lamp, Claus Hinrich and Peter Puck (1846), and Jochim Schoel (1846).

When they landed, there were houses in Davenport up to Warren Street. The Hirschl homestead was at that time the residence of a lawyer named Cook. Some houses were up to Seventh Street. It was very hard for married people to find lodgings and Hans Stoltenberg and Claus Ladehoff had to move two and one half miles out on the Hickory Grove Road where they lived in a blockhouse which they called "Sorgenfrei". There were two flour mills at that time in the county - one at Rockingham and one steam mill at Davenport, which A. C. Fulton built about the time when these settlers arrived. Flour was sold in barrels only and cost $7.00 per barrel. The first yoke of oxen that one of the settlers (Claus Ladehoff) bought from John Friday's father cost $30.00. Horses were sold at $45.00. A cow cost $9.00. The only one who understood some English was Herr Lafrentz, who acted as interpreter as well as he understood it. Money was very scarce. You could earn one dollar per day and if you worked by the month you could get $10.00 per month, with board and $20.00 per month without board. Farmers were very poor and couldn't afford to buy a new suit nor could they pay any hands. Before these settlers came here from the Probstei the following were already here: Heinrich Vieths (1836), Heinrichs and Claus Mundt (1845), Johann Hagge (1844), he had a farm near Gilbreath's school house. Claus Steffen, Jochim Steffen, Claus Lamp, Claus Hinrich and Peter Puck (1846), and Jochim Schoel (1846).

What a change since those days. If the old men, who came here in 1847, looked over the country they are hardly able to recognize the old land marks. The old courthouse is gone, the streets are paved and the roads in the country are good and can be passed at all seasons. Many of those old German settlers have joined the silent majority and their sons and their grandsons have taken their places. But they aren't forgotten and Davenport and Scott County are an everlasting monument of German industry and perseverance.

Henry Kuehl's diary

German translation by Gustav Adolph Kuehl

I was born on the 9th of May 1826 in Barsbeck, Kirchgut Schoenberg, Herzogthum Holstein, Konegreich Dannemark, born. As I 10 years old came, went I to a Bauern Transtorf and stayed with him. After this I went to a Bauern in Witch by name of Hans Gottsch and stayed 4 years with him. I received in a year 6 -- and in the last year 10 --. As I became 16 years old I was Eingesegnet, or confirmed. After that I went to a Toghermeister to be taught. Here I went every summer to Rabsaatarbeit, earned about - - per year, 25 - -. At the end of 4 years I had earned 200 - -. Now I was 21 years of age. I had my trade fully learned. Now with my countrymen I went to North America.

On March 30, 1847 I traveled from Barsbeck to Rensburg. I stayed only one day in Rensburg. From there I took the train to Hamburg. However, because of an unfavorable wind, we had still to stay there till Monday, April 12th.

At 11 o'clock in the morning, we lifted anchor and sailed to Gloeckstadt. It was a friendly day and a fresh breeze blew into our sails. Everybody was pleased and gay; on leaving we fired six canons. On the second day we rode at anchor at Gloeckstadt. On April 15th the wind went to S.E. and we lifted anchor. A fresh breeze blew and we soon entered the North Sea. Now sea sickness came up. Until now nobody had felt anything of it. One lay here, another lay there for a place where he could spit. Captain and Helmsman said that some overcame it more easily but others had to fight it harder. I suffered little of it. I went to bed at 4 o'clock and slept till the next morning. With the help of a fortunate wind the North Sea was soon Passed through. On April 17th we had the pleasure to look at England with the naked eye. We had aboard a pilot from Hamburg. He went ashore at Dover in England. All followed him with their eyes longingly. Several of wrote letters to their left friends and acquaintances which he offered to take care of. On April 18th we had a favorable wind. On the 19th we were pleased to hear from our Captain that we already had passed half of the Channel. On the 20th a lull occurred and we hardly moved from the spot. Now we were at our leisure to look at all the fishing boats. One day we could count more than a hundred. Sometimes they approached us closely enough to make a deal with them, but they asked so unreasonably that we did not buy anything from them.

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and prayer. We had songs and a sermon. After the service was over, we had dancing or a baptism on the deck. On the 3rd of May we saw a large fish. It jumped merrily out of the water, and again we had some dancing or a baptism. We made 42 miles that day. On May 4th we enjoyed wonderful weather, but the wind came from the S.W. and we could make only 5 miles in a watch. We also sighted a brig on this day, and we had not seen any ships for 8 days. Up to here we lost 2 hours on this day and now our trip went along fast. The wind came usually from the North till May 18 (or 16). On this evening the wind came from the East and we noticed we entered Ost...?. From now on we had always the same wind and we enjoyed a very happy trip. Every day we sighted a lot of flying fish. On the 19th of May we hit upon the 50th degree west longitude. On the 20th a strong breeze blew and we could make 9 miles in a watch. The wind still came from the East and on the first Whitsunday at 2 o'clock in the night, we were pleased to sight land. On the 29th we sighted St. Domingo. Now we were on the 73rd degree west longitude. On the 30th we sighted Jamaica. The shore line was high and rocky. We had now always a favorable wind, but only a moderate breeze was blowing. On June 2nd we sighted Cuba. We traveled very close along the shore and as far as the eye could reach the island was covered with bushes. We noticed also some houses close to the beach but we did not sight any people. Here we sighted 5 ships. This was something new to us because for a long time we had not seen so many together. We hit upon the 83rd degree west longitude and 23 north latitude. The heat is rising with every day and now we have already 40 degrees in the air and 22 degrees in the water. The Helmsman caught a big dolphin, which had yellow stripes over its entire body and offered a fine sight. However, it soon lost its color and became white. It weighed approximately 15 pounds. From now on we had only a moderate breeze and we had to stay four days in the Mexican Bay. On Sunday morning a steamship approached us from the front. We arrived at New Orleans on June 8, 1847, we proceeded up the Mississippi River and landed at St. Louis June 19th. Then we proceeded on up the Mississippi River and reached Davenport, Iowa Monday, June 21st. The name of the sailing ship on which we came over was Henrietta, with captain Hunker in charge. The fare from Hamburg to New Orleans was 92 marks or $29.45. Fare from New Orleans to St. Louis was $2.50 without board and fare from St. Louis to Davenport was $1.00 without board.

For more information on the Henry Kuel family check out Kuehl History.

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.