The Dickenhorsts Emigrate, landing October 25, 1851
on the sailing ship Julius, Bremen to New Orleans


Sailing Ship Julius
Painting at the Focke-Museum in Bremen
The JULIUS was a three-masted, square-rigged ship (later re-rigged as a bark), built by Peter Sager at Vegesack, for the firm of Gebruder Kuhlenkampff, Bremen. She was launched on 4 July 1848. She registered at 729 tons, with a size of 43,5 x 10,1 x 6,5 meters (length x beam x depth of hold—143’ x 33’ x 21’). She was captained, in turn, by Friedrich Wilhelm Warck*, Johann Klockgeter, Johann Carl Meyer, and Johann Hinrich Rosenau. In 1864, the JULIUS suffered severe damage and was condemned, but she was rebuilt and sold to N. J. Evenson, of Arendal, Norway, who renamed her ILOS, and used her primarily in the transport of wood. In 1895, she was sold to A. Smith, also of Arendal. She was scrapped in 1904, after 56 years of service, a particularly long life for a wooden sailing vessel.

The sailing ship JULIUS, Warik*, master, carrying 325 passengers (185 males and 140 females) all German farmers bound for America, set sail from Bremen on 4 September 1851 and arrived at New Orleans 49 days later. Anna Marie Margarethe Grüngras Dickenhorst and Hermann Dickenhorst emigrated from Spenge, Germany (Westphalia) with their daughter Anna Maria Dickenhorst, an older daughter and a younger daughter. Their son Henry was born on board! The original passenger list was lost, and the quarterly abstract does not mention any births or deaths, nor did the succinct article from the New Orleans newspaper "The Daily Picayune":

The Daily Picayune - New Orleans Marine News - October 28, 1851 ARRIVED SUNDAY: Brem Ship Julius, Warik, 49 days fm Bremen, to Warnekin & Kirchoff—Lafayette

Margarethe’s life story is incredibly tragic. Margarethe Grüngras was supposedly a lady-in-waiting (minor royalty) in Westphalia in the 1830’s. Her family supposedly disowned her upon her marriage in 1840 to the commoner Hermann Dickenhorst (however, to date, I have not been able to uncover any evidence of the veracity of these stories told by Margarethe’s daughter Maria Dankenbring to her own daughters and granddaughters). Hermann’s older brother Friedrich had emigrated four years earlier, in December 1847 at age 34, with several German friends to settle in the Concordia, Missouri farming area, undoubtedly due to his cousin, Caroline Dickenhorst Frerking who had emigrated 6-8 years earlier. This was a time of famine in Germany, which was likely the impetus behind leaving not only your town, but your country, especially since two older brothers, with their rapidly growing families, were both living in the ever-smaller family home (#21 Spenge). Hermann and Margarethe left in September, 1851, with their three young daughters (ages 3, 5, and 9), and Margarethe nine months pregnant! Son Henry was born on board in the first month of the trip! Life must have been hard on the trip over, but it was only to get worse. In the next nine years, by the time of their first census** in America, the youngest daughter died in St. Louis, two more daughters were born, Hermann died too, and Margarethe remarried and had one more daughter. Then, life became unbearable: the Civil War started, and Concordia was a prime target for the Kansas-Missouri bushwackers led by Quantrill and Poole (including many of the Concordia non-German neighbors! - all pro-Confederacy); whenever they were bored they would decide to wreak some havoc on the German community, even murdering German-Americans at christenings. Friederich Dickenhorst was murdered in the Concordia massacre of October 10, 1864. His nephew Henry, the only remaining male Dickenhorst, grew up, married, had four sons, but only one of those sons had a son, and this last American male Dickenhorst died in January, 2002. There are still many Dickenhorst’s in Germany today, but somehow, it is not surprising to me that other Dickenhorst’s declined to emigrate, after the life events of our ancestors. It is hard to imagine that Margarethe and the Dickenhorst brothers did not rue their decision to emigrate.

* Note, it looks like Warik on the passenger list and in the newspaper listing, but others have it listed as Warck
** There were special state censuses in 1852 and 1856, but both were destroyed for most of the state, including Lafayette County.

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There is also an overview of some of the reasons why our ancestors emigrated, a list of the sources used in data collection and summaries, a description of the hazardous steamboat voyage up the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis, and finally, a summary of the history of Germany in the middle of the 19th century.