Gert Goebel arrived in Franklin County, Missouri, in 1834, an eighteen-year-old caught up in the early stages of a transformative immigration wave that eventually brought more than one hundred thousand newcomers from Germany to Missouri (and several million to America). Four decades later, Goebel drew from his range of experiences as a pioneer farmer, wide-ranging hunter, county surveyor, and state legislator to write a vivid and insightful memoir describing German settlement, state politics, and Civil War events within Missouri. First published in German in 1877, Goebel’s narrative has long been known to scholars as a significant record of nineteenth-century Missouri history. This translation by Adolf E. Schroeder and Elsa Louise Nagel, coedited by Schroeder and Walter D. Kamphoefner, offers a historical treasure to English-language audiences.
By gathering the stories of old-time settlers as well as recording his own experiences, Goebel traces Missouri’s history from pre-statehood to the 1870s. He describes farming techniques and backwoods skills learned from his new American neighbors as he and his parents worked to establish a farm in early Franklin County. He also demonstrates a keen eye and sense of humor in observing the wisdom and faults of German settlers and “Old Americans” alike while shrewdly assessing relations between these two communities. In later chapters, Goebel provides a characteristically German perspective on Missouri’s Civil War experience. Goebel’s text is illuminated and enhanced by extensive annotations and the editors’ introduction.
About the Editors
Adolf E. Schroeder, Professor Emeritus in Germanic Studies at the University of Missouri – Columbia, taught from 1970 to 1985. He received a M.A. from LSU and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.
Walter D. Kamphoefner is a professor of History at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri –Columbia. He has published articles and books in the immigration and ethnicity fields, with contributions in both English and German.
About the Translator
Elsa Louise Nagel, Professor Emerita of German at the University of Missouri – Columbia, taught from 1926 to 1966. She received a M.A. from the University of Missouri – Columbia. SHSMO holds Nagel’s collections, which includes correspondence with family, friends, and soldiers in World War I and World War II.
Published by the State Historical Society of Missouri and The Brush and Palette Club, Hermann 2013. 464 pages. 44 illustrations.