Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Feb. 7, 2000

The Reinmuths' road to America, Part 1

By Edward Reinmuth and other family members

First of a four-part series.


This is a true story about the first pioneer family to settle in Middleville Township near the present town of Howard Lake. It is a story of extreme hardship and a tremendous desire to own land and make a home in the wilderness, in spite of the obstacles that were laid before them.

My first cousins, Wayne and Lila Marie Reinmuth, gathered much factual information about the family; and our German cousin, Susie Feidler, a librarian, gathered information from German records in regards to our family.

Wayne Reinmuth

Wayne Reinmuth is my first cousin and the oldest son of George and Velma Reinmuth. Wayne and Lila Marie, his wife, spent most of their working years near the Washington, D.C. area.

They lived in Damascus, Md., which is about 35 miles from Washington, D.C. My wife, Rosalynde and I visited them in 1989 on a trip to the east. Wayne worked for the Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission. Lila Marie was a trained nurse and worked in the Damascus school system as a nurse and teachers' aid.

After they both retired, they chose to move back to Alcester, S. D., where Lila Marie had grown up as a child. She had inherited her mother's home, as well as a small farm nearby.

Wayne had also grown up in Alcester. His father was a preacher in the congregational church there and so the family lived in Alcester.

Wayne and Lila Marie travel quite a lot and when they were working on the family history, they traveled to Europe and Germany several times.

It was on a trip to The National Archives in New York City, looking for information on when the George Reinmuth family came to America, that Wayne had success. After much searching, Wayne came upon the name of the ship and the names of the Reinmuth family listed on the ship's manifest. The sailing ship was the Trumbull and on board were Johann George, our great-grandfather; Barbara, our great-grandmother, and their children.

Johann George Reinmuth

Grandfather Ludwig "Lewis," age 2, who was born at Mortlestein, Germany, Jan. 20, 1852, and Louise, a daughter born February 1853, also in Germany, came to America on the Trumbull.

There were four other children who were born and died in Germany before the family immigrated to America. They was an unnamed child who was born and died in 1845. John George was born Nov. 12, 1846 and died in 1850. Elizabeth was born Dec. 14, 1848 and died Dec. 28, 1852, and Ferdinand was born Oct. 4, 1850 and died Mar. 1, 1851.

Little Louise was ill when the family reached Manchester, Pa.; and died there soon after that in 1854.

There were also children who were born after the family reached Minnesota: Gustave, born Jan. 22 1856 and died April 1861; Lavina born July 31, 1858 and died Nov. 11, 1862; Aaron, born June 24, 1861, lived 43 years and died in 1904; Mary Reinmuth "Bean" was born July 2, 1863 and died in 1952 in Ohio, and Victoria, born Jan. 5, 1866 and died Nov. 16, 1869.

The children who were born in Minnesota and died in infancy were buried in the little cemetary on the Reinmuth farm. Louise was buried at Manchester.

The sailing ship, Trumbull, left Liverpool, England, went to La Havre, France, and loaded passengers and freight for the journey to New York. The Reinmuth family boarded this ship. Great-grandfather's sister, Elizebeth, and her husband, J. G. Ehrman, were also traveling with them.

They had traveled from Mortlestein, Germany, leaving there Dec. 12, 1853, driving a team of horses and wagon with all of their earthly possesions loaded on board.

They arrived in La Havre, France, in about 18 days, shortly before embarking on the Trumbull. It is thought that the horses and wagon were sold in La Havre, to help finance the journey to America.

Our German cousins thought that the dates mentioned are pretty acurate, as they said it would take at least 18 days to travel with horses and wagon from Mortlestein to La Havre.

The Trumbull sailed Dec. 29, 1853, arriving in New York in 39 days on Feb. 6, 1854. Wayne explains how this all fits together in a letter sent to me dated Dec. 12, 1994.

I believe that the reason the family traveled to Manchaster, Pa. from New York was that they wanted to reach the Ohio River and travel down it to St. Louis and then, on up the Missisippi to St Anthony, Minn. via riverboat. However, by the time that they reached Manchester, little Louise was very ill and died there in March 1854.

Another unexpected thing that happened was Great-grandfather's brother-in-law, J. G. Ehrman, was also ill and unable to travel at that time. He died in June 1854 and was buried in Manchester.

It was due to these extenuating circumstances that the family had to delay their journey to Minnesota. Manchester was very close to Pittsburgh and is now part of Pittsburgh.

Great-grandfather ­ I shall call him J. G. ­ found work on the riverboats that were plying the Ohio River, and so the family stayed in Manchester about two years. It was during this time that J. G. met a family man by the name of August Enkie, a carpenter and house painter, who helped him at times.

It was the goal of these two men to move their families to Minnesota as soon as possible, and so in early spring of 1856, they booked passage on a riverboat for a trip down the Ohio River. The two families traveled together.

Not much is known about the fate of J. G.'s sister, Elizebeth. It is thought that she stayed at Manchester, making her home there.

Think about the hardship and tragedy that those early pioneers endured so that they could own land, be free, and practice the religion of their choice, knowing they may never see their family again.

We need to consider our great-grandmother, Barbara, a remarkable woman who gave birth to 12 children and only saw three survive. She endured the hardships of travel with small children, survived the cold Minnesota winters, and still had enough love for those little babies, and Great-grandfather, too.

There just has to be a special place in heaven reserved for women like her.

Go to Part 2


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