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[*] posted on 8-7-2016 at 09:25 PM
August Haak's Ben Nevis Diary


This article by Dr. Joseph Wilson first appeared in the Journal of the German-Texas Heritage Society. It subsequently appeared in A Collection of Histories of St Paul Lutheran Church, Serbin, Texas in commemoration of the congregations 150th anniversary in 2003. The entire Collection of Histories... is available for purchase at the Gift Shop of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and Library located at Serbin, Texas. You can access the Order Form by clicking on the link.

August Haak's Diary

An account of his voyage to Texas in 1854 on the Ben Nevis, as translated by Mrs. Edith Zeiske (1)

Joseph Wilson with the help of Arthur Wammel



In February of 1989, Arthur Wammel of Houston notified me that his family and other families related to August Haak had copies of an English translation of a diary which Haak had kept during his trip from Germany to Texas in 1854. Haak had crossed the Atlantic on the English sailship Ben Nevis, departing from Liverpool. He had thus partaken of the famous voyage of the group of over 500 Wendish-German Lutherans under Pastor Johann Kilian. Mr. Wammel generously provided me with a copy of the diary translation and of genealogical and other historical materials he has gathered relating to August Haak and the Haak and Wammel families. These materials fit together beautifully with other new information which I have accumulated, from the Kilian archives and elsewhere, relating to the voyage and to August Haak. I am also indebted to Pastor Paul Hartfield and St. Paul Lutheran Church of Serbin, Texas, under whose auspices I have been working in the Serbin archives, to Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis and its director, Dr. August Suelfiow, where many of the original Kilian documents are archived, to Dr. Ruth Haak of Austin for genealogical information on the Haaks, and to my wife, the former Adele Herbrich (of the Ben Nevis Herbrigs) for typing.

Pastor Kilian's Lutheran emigration group had come from many different villages of the Wendish area north of Bautzen, in what is now the southern part of East Germany. After a tragic voyage on the Ben Nevis, during which more than seventy people died, they finally reached Galveston in December of 1854. Because of poverty and sickness, some of the group stayed in Houston, and others settled among the Germans in the Industry area. The nuclear group continued on and established the settlement of Serbin. The major book on the Texas Wends is George Nielsen's In Search of a Home: Nineteenth Century Wendish Immigration (Texas A&M Press, 1989); also useful is Anne Blasig's The Wends of Texas (Brownsville, Texas: Springman-King Printing Co., 1981; reprint of 1954 ed.).

The Wends had departed from Bautzen on September 4, 1854, and traveled by rail to Hamburg, where they took a steamer to Hull (or the neighboring Grimsby) on the east coast of England. Then they crossed England by rail to reach Liverpool on the west coast, where they were to board the Ben Nevis and embark for Galveston. A few people were delayed a week in leaving Bautzen; they traveled separately to Hamburg, took the next steamer to Hull, and joined the main group in Liverpool. Pastor Kilian, himself, and his family were also unable to leave with the main group, because Kilian had to defend himself against a charge of inciting to emigration. Fortunately, he was able to clear himself within a few days; he and his family went to Harburg, a suburb of Hamburg, arriving after the group had departed. Hoping to save time, the Kilians went through Belgium, becoming harrowingly separated from each other for 24 hours, found each other again, and proceeded via Dover and London to Liverpool. Thus, the Wendish congregation was re-united; however, the reunion was ill-starred: there was a cholera epidemic in Liverpool and the Ben Nevis passengers got caught up in it. Many were sick and a number died, and the sailing had to be delayed. After two weeks, they finally departed, but the epidemic among the passengers continued to be so bad that the captain (Herron) anchored in the harbor of Queenstown, Ireland, where they remained quarantined, caring for the sick and attempting to dis­ infect the Ben Nevis. After three and a half weeks in Queenstown harbor, they finally began the Atlantic crossing; eight weeks later they landed at Galveston.

We do not know nearly as much as we would like to about the arduous trip of the Wends; we have had to put together bits and pieces of information from various sources. The major previous description of the trip is contained in a letter Pastor Kilian wrote to Teacher Dutschmann in Weigersdorf, dated March 19, 1855, and published in Wendish (although evidently written originally in German) in the Wendish Newspaper Serbske Nowiny in several installments in June, 1855, and the weeks thereafter; Nielsen utilized the letter, but it has not yet been published in its entirety. The second most valuable previous description is a memoire written in his old age by Johann Teinert, who had made the trip as a thirteen-year old boy; this report, usually referred to as Ein Brief ['A Letter'), was used by Nielsen and others. Although it was published, in the original German, in the Missouri Synod Lutheran periodical Texas Distrikts-Bote in 1929, its details, like those of the Kilian report, have remained unknown to the general public.

A few years ago, I discovered a brief shipboard diary kept by Pastor Kilian, covering one week of the sailing; it is a precious fragment, the first account to be found which was actually written during the voyage, and by Kilian himself (first published in this Journal, v. 5 (1983), no. 2). I also recently discovered the names of the Kilian group (including that of Haak) entered into the passenger records at Hamburg, so that a number of gaps in our knowledge have been filled. Now, the August Haak diary opens a whole new panorama, with a day-by-day account of the entire Ben Nevis voyage, plus the preceding segments from Hamburg, where Haak joined the few late-comers of the Wendish group, to Hull to Liverpool.

August Haak was not a Wend, nor was he a member of Kilian's group. He came from the village of Prit(t)isch, which was in the Province of Posen, in the Kingdom of Prussia, an area about 100 miles northeast of the Wendish region. Prittisch was about 7 miles east of the small town of Schwerin (not the larger city of Schwerin east of Hamburg), about 60 miles west of the city of Posen, in the central part of eastern Germany (now part of Poland). He had been born at Bauchwitz, about 7 miles southeast of Meseritz, or about 14 miles south of Prittisch. The Polish names these places now have are: Prittisch: Przytoczna; Bauchwitz: Bukowiec; Schwerin: Skwierzyna; Meseritz: Miedzyrzecz; Posen: Poznan.
i
August Haak was born Aug. 28, 1830; he was, consequently, just 24 years old when he left for America. There happened to be room on the Ben Nevis for a dozen or so more passengers, besides the Wends,and Haak was one of them. His passage had been arranged by the same agency, V. L. Meyer of Hamburg, which was taking care of the Wendish group. Coming from a different area, his route was different from that of the Wends until he reached Hamburg, where he joined them. As his diary informs us, he arrived in Hamburg two days after the main Wendish group had departed on a steamer for Hull (Grimsby), but he found the small group of Wends who also had arrived late. He and they took the next steamer for Hull, and a few days later joined the main group in Liverpool. Haak evidently identified informally with the Wendish group throughout the journey. As we see in his diary, he took part in their church services (the German ones, no doubt), and speaks of Kilian as 'our pastor.' However, after reaching Texas, he had no more connections with Kilian or the group (his father, Johann Gottlieb Haak, did later live at Serbin and became a member of Kilian's church; he and his wife and another son had come to Texas a few years after August). August Haak settled at Bellville and lived the rest of his life there, except for three years of service in the Confederate Army. He continued the trade of shoemaker that he had learned in Germany until he later became a merchant. He married Emilie Wamel in 1857 and had 8 children; he died in 1901.

The version of the diary that Arthur Wammel made known to me is a photocopy of a handwritten English translation, made by Mrs. Edith Zeiske of Bellville from the German handwritten original. Mrs. Zeiske deserves credit for having made a serviceable translation for the family, but since she was not otherwise acquainted with the events and places mentioned, the translation naturally suffers from a number of flaws. Mr. Wammel and I have been trying for the last two years to find the German original or a photocopy of it, but without success so far, although we have reason to hope that it will still be found. I have waited until now with a publication about the diary because I wanted to work with the German original; however, since it seems that it may yet be another year or longer before the original is found, I have decided to publish Mrs. Zeiske's translation in the interim, adding corrections and notes.

The following is Mrs. Zeiske's translation, with my notes in brackets. [In this printing most of Dr. Wilson's notes have been placed as endnotes. ed] I have not changed Mrs. Zeiske's spellings or punctuation, nor her various question marks and dashes, indicating something illegible or not understood. Information on people who died is taken from Pastor Kilian's death and baptismal records. Ina few cases, the death actually occurred the day before the date given by Haak.

Diary of August Haak Describing his Voyage 1854.

[A date with an *asterisk in front of it is a date where Johann Kieschnick makes a notation in his diary.]


[The first part of Haak's trip was via a different route from that of the Wendish group, since he was coming from a different area. In Hamburg he joined the late-comers of the Wends, and from there on, the route was the same as the main body of the Wends had taken. Who his companions at first were, we do not know. They were not his family; they (his parents and brother) came a few years later.]

Departure from Rittsick (2) on September 8 at l A.M. On the first day we drove or rode as far as Dressen. (3) On the second day from Dressen (4) to Frankfort (5) where we arrived at 10A.M.[;] from Frankfort to Muenchenberg, (6) and arrived Sunday afternoon at 4 in Berlin. (7) [He did not state whether he traveled by coach or train. (8)] On Monday I had several things to bring in Berlin, and missed the early train, and had to take the afternoon train at 6 P.M., which arrived in Wittenbergen (9) where I stayed overnight, and got up at 5 and came to Hamburg at 10 [am], Tuesday, with other immigrants that went to New York. Here in the station were many that took charge of the immigrants. But I did not pass as an immigrant and took my card (10) which agent Berger (11) had given me, agents wanted to take me along but I did not find any of my company. (12) Later I found the agent Berger and two families (13) from my company the others had gone ahead. I paid thirty dollars. (14)

Wednesday September 13, 1854 we received our passes. (15) For our eats we had to go back to our place of lodging until the ship was ready to start. In the afternoon at 5 we took a boat or the Steam ship with which we went to Hull. (16) It did not start until 7 with many immigrants. Our lunch consisted of bread, butter, cheese, and a bottle of wine. Until Liverpool fine weather.

On Thursday 14, at 6 A.M. embarked. She had stopped when we left the Elbe. (17) High winds, the first day. Many were seasick, and we laughed at them until we became sick ourselves. Second night high winds, so that the dishes were thrown around, as if we were sitting in a swing.

Friday the 15th the wind kept on blowing until noon. Everybody was sick in the storage (18) and there was no order at all. Some had taken their mattresses out. I was up early and on deck because I could not stand the foul air.

Saturday the 16th we arrived in Hull but had to stay out in the sea for a long time then we sailed through several canals those that stayed in Hull (19) or wanted to go to London got out of the Ship. (20) Our chests were inspected by the police. When we got out there were two that brought us to the depot going all through the town. Our goods stayed in the Ship. (21) Only small things that we could carry, we were allowed to take along. We were being searched to see if one had any tobacco or cigars. I was worried about my things. At 2 o'clock [pm] we left and arrived in Liverpool at 10:30 [pm]. Everything was nice and green wheat etc. was still in the fields. Sometimes we traveled through mountainous regions and tunnels where it was so dark that we could not see anything. We met other trains, and every time we passed them it gave a terrible noise. We had fun at the station for the workers came running when they heard that we were Germans, and wanted tobacco, when we gave them some they thanked us very much because tobacco there was very high.

Sunday 17th we went to the decks (22) to see if we could find the rest of our company (23) but everything was in confusion. At one o'clock we had to go back to our lodging house. In the afternoon I went to town with a brewer and a man from Vienna and we got some beer.

Monday the 18th we had to go back on the Ship (24) to look after our baggage which was all being inspected also we were examined as to our health by a physician sent by the Government. At 3 o'clock we went on board. We had been about 200 in one and 400 in another boarding house (25) nearly all of whom were help on account of sickness. (26)

Tuesday 19th. We were not sailing yet as the ship had to be scrubbed and cleaned first. One woman died. She had been well up to a short while. She wanted to go to New York, (27) the next day Wednesday a boy died. (28) We were again sent off the ship. Again we had to look after our baggage, everything was there. (29)

Thursday 21. We went to a German church (30) where services were held every Sunday at 7 and were attended by all immigrants. Our own pastor was there.

Friday 22nd. A Steamer took us to the Sail Ship. The Ship's name was “Bennervis.” (31) An English physician came on board to see about the general condition of health. A woman and her child were sent to the hospital where eight others had been left. (32)

Saturday 23. Today we were given hope of sailing soon. Therefore our pas tor held services in the afternoon. The text was: ? 13 verse 14-15. But he soon had to stop, as the sailors started singing. (33)

Sunday 24th. German church services then in Wendish. In the afternoon the wind became stronger and the waves upset a boat with three persons. Some boats went to the rescue, but I don’t know if they were saved. In the afternoon we had communion in German and in the Wendish language.

Monday the 25th. At 10 this morning another Ship came by to see if anybody was sick. In the evening we had services again. (34)

Tuesday 26. At last we embarked from Liverpool. It is a beautiful sunny day and little wind. A woman died (35) and was taken back with the steamer that took us to the Sail-boat. The wind became stronger. In the afternoon German services.

Wedlnesday 27. The wind became stronger. A man died (36) also a boy 7 years old. (37) They were lowered into the water. At eight o'clock we met a Steamer. The Captain gave a sign, which was answered by the other captain. We sailed by the coast of Ireland.

Thursday 28. A man 30 died. (38) Seasickness was bad as the Ship rocked bad back and forth. Today we saw light-houses of the coast of Ireland. We met another Ship. The Captain said if more people were to become sick he would stop in Ireland which did not suit us at all.

Friday 29. Again a man and his wife died and were buried in the sea (39) and many others were sick. Therefore we sailed on to Ireland where we were to stay until everybody was well again. Soon a boat met us with a Pilot that took us to Ireland Greenstown, (40) the police were also there. That is we had to stay on our Ship, only the sick ones were taken ashore. They thought it cholera. We admired the beautiful mountainous coast of Ireland.

Saturday 30th. Today we got provisions like we did every Saturday. The sick persons were transferred to an old Man-of-War, which had no more Matts. (41) Our cook was discharged. (42)

Sunday October 1st. We saw the first big _? Several persons died. (43) Today we had church services. At noon in Wendish, in the evening in German.

Monday 2nd. Today we received fresh bread, as well as milk from the City as well as yesterday, which shall help us remain well. I saw a big fish which looked like a man. The doctor came on board again. (44)

Tuesday 3 October. Today everything was quiet. Only sick persons came over every day to the other ship, many died. (45) Evening German lessons. (46)

Wednesday 4. (47) Some went to our Sail Boat (48) to get some of their things. They said everything had been thrown around. I left my _ Felleison. (49) I found it again. A Mr. Meier from Liverpool came on board today. He came with the Government probably to investigate the health conditions. (50)

Thursday 5th. The sick ones were taken to another Ship, three men. (51)

Friday 6. Strong winds. (52)

Saturday 7. Strong cold winds. Meier came back. He said the beds had to be packed, changed. (53)

Sunday 8. Wendish church services, in the evening German. Today no sick persons were transferred to the other ship like they had been on all other days. (54)

Monday the 9th. Again sick people were sent to the other vessel. (55)

*Tuesday the 10th. High winds today and the Ship rocked back and forth so that I became seasick, it did not last long, towards evening the winds quieted down. Another woman in our Ship died. Several got sick. (56)

*Wednesday 11th. Nothing important today. (57)

*Thursday 12. The sick ones came from Liverpool, there were ten of them. (58)

Friday 13th. The Government physician came on board. These that had not been sick were to go to the other Ship, 240 then we would finally sail. (59)

Saturday 14th. Again some sick ones but they stayed on our Ship. (60)

Sunday 15th. This morning church services in Wendish. (61)

*Monday 16th. About 100 passengers came from the other ship (62) who had been examined by the doctor.

Tuesday 17th. Very cold. The deck had been washed. (63)

Wednesday 18th. High winds towards evening, some people came on board from the other Ship, only four. (64)

Thursday 19th. About 100 persons were examined. Some died. German lessons. (65)

Friday 20th. The rest of the passengers came, only 4 families stayed on account of sickness.

Saturday 21. This morning the 4 families came. Tomorrow they say we will sail. The anchor was heaved or __

Sunday 22nd. We are still in the same place. The Captain came from the city at about 11 o'clock. The second anchor has been heaved. Another woman died. (66) She was lowered into the water. Then all at once the anchors were let down again. I don't know the reason. (67)

*Monday 23rd. At 4 A.M. the anchor was heaved again and then lowered. The wind was high, and had changed. Our hopes were again disappointed. We were up early. A Steamer came to pull us out. Strange looked the two fortresses by Greenstown. (68) Our Ship was thrown back and forth. Many became seasick. I did too. (69)

Tuesday 24th. This first night the wind was very high. Many were seasick. I did not go on deck until late. The waves were gorgeous to look at. We met two ships.

Wednesday 25. High winds. Our tin dishes were thrown about. Everything had to be fastened.

Thursday 26th. Today the weather was fine, everybody came on deck.

Friday 27th. High wind. The sky looked red and they said this was a sign of storm, which came soon, and lasted through the night. Boxes were thrown about, so we did not sleep much. Our heads were high one minute and low the next. We did not have a straight course on account of the contrary winds. (70)

*Saturday 28th. The weather was better we were sailing southward.

*Sunday 29th. Fine weather and the ocean is smooth. We saw one ship. This morning we had services in German. In the evening in Wendish.

*Monday 30th. Last night high winds. Quieter towards morning. We saw a Ship and not long we had overtaken it. It was a Hamberg (71) 2 master. They hoisted a flag, and our captain let a number be written on a plate. It was no. 1615. They greeted us with their hats and caps. The wind was high in the morning.

*Tuesday Oct. 31. All day fine weather. Today we celebrated the Feast of the Reformation. In the morning German and in the afternoon. Wendish church services in the evening. We saw large fishes.

Wednesday Nov. 1st. High winds and rain.

*Thursday Nov. 2nd. Rain strong winds but favorable.

*Friday Nov. 3. The good wind continued. Wesaw a ship. Towards evening the wind grew stronger. (72)

*Saturday Nov. 4. Very Changeable, towards noon very high winds, storm so that the waves rolled over the deck of the ship and no one could stay on it. In the kitchen it was the same, and at night we got our dinner (noon meal).

*Sunday Nov. 5. This morning the wind had become less, and we saw an island very mountainous. We saw it until about 3 P.M. We saw four vessels. Church services first in Wendish then in English. (73)

*Monday Nov. 6. Clear. Some wind. Rain in the evening.

*Tuesday Nov. 7. Favorable wind. More sails were hoisted. A boy of six, years died (74) the 4th corpse since_? (75) 54 in all since our departure. (76)

*Wednesday Nov 8. Fine warm weather, strong winds.

Thursday Nov. 9. Last night I had fever and felt bad, did not eat anything, only drank water. I was on deck a little while. Fine weather. (77)

*Friday Nov. 10. This morning a child was confirmed. The pastor made a speech. Strong winds. (78)

*Saturday Nov. 11. Fine weather. Soft winds. We met a ship going south.

*Sunday Nov. 12. Fine weather. Not much wind. I saw the first flying fishes. Two children were confirmed. I felt bad with fever heat and chills. (79)

*Monday Nov. 13. Today I was sick with headache, in the afternoon I felt better. The weather was the same as yesterday. We saw a ship.

*Tuesday Nov 14. Strong winds toward noon __? (80)

*Wednesday Nov 15. Cold wind.

*Thursday Nov 16. Favorable winds, all sails are up. Very warm, so that we preferred even sitting still __? (81)

Friday Nov. 17. The weather was like it was yesterday. The captain fired two Sky rockets. German evening lessons. (82)

Saturday Nov. 18. Weather like yesterday. Again two Sky rockets were fired, and two packages of torches lit. A Ship was in sight.

Sunday Nov. 19. This morning the weather was fine but it changed soon and rained hard. In the morning Wendish church services, and German in the evening.

Monday Nov. 20. This morning the wind was cold. I became sick with severe colic and nausea and stayed in bed all day.

*Tuesday Nov. 21. Same as yesterday. A boy died this morning (83) and a woman in the evening. (84)

*Wednesday Nov. 22. This morning we saw an island in the distance which seemed very mountainous. We passed one very closely at about 7 P.M., and saw several lights. The weather had been fine all day, more windy towards evening. The name of the island is Little __? (85)

*Thursday Nov. 23. Fine weather and little wind.

Friday Nov. 24. The wind was a little stronger. We saw many big birds around our ship. German lessons (86) in the evening as at noon.

Saturday Nov. 25th. Hardly any winds at all. A big gray bird came close to the ship, then many more, also large fishes.

*Sunday Nov. 26th. Hardly any wind. Towards noon it became stronger the rain and wind became less strong, then stronger again which took all joy out of us. A bird had settled on one of the masts and a sailor got him down. In the evening German church services and in the morning Wendish services. We saw islands in the distance.

*Monday Nov. 27. Last night favorable wind this morning also. Many birds to be seen. A woman died. (87) A child was being confirmed.

*Tuesday Nov. 28. An island (88) was sighted, it is very mountainous. Many big fishes. (89)

*Wednesday Nov. 29. Little wind last night. The ship hardly moved. Island Damingo. (90)

*Thursday Nov. 30. This morning we saw many islands. The wind became stronger. Many became sick, so did I. The waves were even with the ship. (91)

*Friday Dec. 1. This morning we saw the island Jamaica. This night was good but much work for the sailors. The Captain was very attentive for he sailed between two islands (92) which was dangerous. All day favorable wind.

*Saturday Dec. 2. Last night as well as today pleasant sailing good winds. Another island. We saw houses. The island is called “Ship Map”__? Island. (93)

*Sunday Dec. 3. Good winds church in Wendish and German. The sermon was about epistle ?

*Monday Dec. 4. Little wind. Towards noon we saw the last point of the Island of Cuba. We saw two ships. One met us. It was a Spanish Man of War. The flags were hoisted when we met. We ran on a sandbank and had to lower the anchor. We saw many towers on the left we saw a long strip of land. Houses are to seen. Four sky rockets were ordered by the Captain to be fired. Also two cannon shots __.? (94)

Tuesday Dec. 5. Last night a Warship sailed around our ship. Favorable wind, but rainy weather and cold. (95)

Wednesday Dec. 6. Same as yesterday. A woman died who had been well only the day before. (96)

Thursday Dec. 7. Storm. On the middle mast two sails were torn off. We did not know what it was and I quickly went on deck. The storm lasted until noon. This night it rained. (97)

*Friday Dec. 8th. Fine favorable wind. The anchor chains were being handled out of the ship's storage.

Saturday Dec. 9th. Favorable wind. We saw land, provisions for seven days were distributed.

Sunday Dec. 10th. This morning new sails were fastened no land to be seen. It rained all day, much fog. At about ten we saw something - was it trees or ships. Again the depth was taken. Towards 3 P.M. the anchor was turned and the sails. Church services in Wendish and in German. (98)

Monday Dec. 11th __ (99)

Tuesday Dec. 12th. This morning at 5 o'clock the anchor was pulled up, and we sailed on and we saw land on two sides. We hoisted a flag. The depth of the sea was being measured. And they were on the lookout for a Steamship to meet us. (100) In the evening we gave a signal with a burning torch. (101)

*Wednesday 13th Dec. This morning we saw land but it still was not Galveston. Sometimes we saw land and sometimes we did not. We watched for a Steamer. We saw houses.

*Thursday 14th Dec. This night we were anchored but early in the morning the anchor was pulled up again. We saw many houses which was Galveston. The Pilot came on board. The Captain went on a boat and sailed to the mainland. (102)

*Friday 15th Dec. Geese, chickens as well as horses and cows. The poor animals (?) stayed outside because it cost half dollar daily, and who had money. (103)

Saturday Dec. 16. (104) At about 1 (?) a Steamer (105) and our baggage was loaded - at four o'clock we sailed off. We saw another Steamer which was stuck on a sandbank. We sailed there to help. [Dec. 17th:) At about seven in the morning we arrived in Houston. It was cold. (106)

Sunday Dec. 17th. Everybody was at the landing looking after their baggage. Chests were being inspected. In the afternoon we went hunting.

Monday 18th Dec. This morning we went hunting again. In the afternoon __? Very few of us stayed in Houston. We were taken to the woods and we stayed overnight __? (107)

Translated by Mrs. Edith Zeiske, Bellville, Texas

After beginning the long and difficult trip inland, Haak evidently had no more time to keep up his diary, unfortunately. Since he made relatively good time to Bellville, he must have ridden a horse or taken a coach. The Kilian group went much more slowly, traveling on foot, with ox-drawn wagons for their possessions. and those unable to walk. Pastor Kilian says it took them 15 days to get to New Ulm, where again some settled temporarily (as a few had done in Houston), while Kilian and the leaders went on to the area that was to become Serbin. In spite of the incredible suffering and scores of deaths, Kilian expresses his feeling that they still were fortunate that most of them made it at all, since so many ships wrecked with total loss of life.

Brief as it is, August Haak's diary tells us much that we did not know about the fateful journey that he and the Wends shared. Moreover, it allows us to relive - to some small degree, at least -the day-by-day experiences of that perilous voyage, filled with tragedy and suffering on the one hand, but also with adventurous excitement and the great hope for a new life.


End Notes
1. From the Journal of the German Texan Heritage Society, v. 13 (1991).
2. Evidently Prit(t)isch, see above.
3. Presumably Drossen, (now Polish Osno) about fifteen miles northeast of Frankfurt on the Oder, east of Berlin.
4. Drossen.
5. Frankfurt on the Oder.
6. Muencheberg, thirty miles east of Berlin.
7. Note by Mrs. Zeiske.
8. Presumably by coach; there was no rail line for this route at the time, as there was, however for the segment from Berlin to Hamburg.
9. Wittenberge.
10. Ticket.
11. Evidently the A.W. Berger who was Meyer's agent in Berlin and who had made out the ticket for the Kilian family, see picture in Blasig.
12. The Kilian group.
13. The families of August Groeschel and Andreas Miertschin, which had arrived in Hamburg after the main group had left.
14. Probably the balance due on his ticket, allowing for the down-payment he had made before leaving home; according to a letter from Seydler and others, each adult in the Kilian group paid 55 Thalers (roughly equivalent to dollars).
15. Passports?
16. From the Hamburg passenger lists we learn that the steamer was the Hammonia and the captain was Wendt.
17. Evidently meaning the steamer had left the harbor at 7pm, proceeded out to the mouth of the Elbe River, anchored for the night, and started out into the North Sea at 6 the next morning.
18. Evidently the ship's 'hold,' where most of the passengers were housed.
19. Grimsby?
20. It is unclear here and from the Kilian and Teinert reports as to whether they disembarked at Hull, as said here and by Teinert, or in nearby Grimsby, as Kilian says. Haak's description would seem to indicate that the steamer stopped first at Grimsby, which is on the south bank of the river and farther out towards the mouth, to let off people who wanted to go to London (to the south) or stay in Grimsby, then it proceeded to Hull, farther inland and on the north bank, with those who wanted to go to the west (Liverpool) or north.
21. Evidently to be sent directly by rail to the Ben Nevis at Liverpool.
22. Evidently 'docks'.
23. The main Kilian group.
24. Evidently the Ben Nevis; before the 22nd, the ship must have been docked, and the passengers were able to go on and off the ship, but were still living in the boarding houses.
25. He and the other few latecomers have now found and re-joined the main Kilian group, living in houses provided by agent Meyer.
26. It may be that they went on board today with the hope of staying there, since Kilian's birth records state that a child, Magdalena Falke, was born on the ship on this date.
27.Thus not one of the Ben Nevis group; Haak had noted above that he had become acquainted with emigrants headed for New York.
28. Five members of the Kilian group had already died: Matthius Schulze, 47, in Hamburg, and Hanna Schatte, 26, Rosina Schatte, 53, Agnes Pampel, 45, and Marie Magdalene Neumann, 2, in Liverpool; the boy here is August Noack, 7.
29. Sept. 20th. Pastor Kilian arrived in Liverpool. Died: Carl Heinrich Pampel, 2.
30. The German Evangelical Church of Liverpool.
31. Ben Nevis; in anticipation of sailing, the ship has left the dock and is anchored out in the harbor. From now on, the people are living on the ship.
32. The Ben Nevis finally sailed on the 26th, without these sick people; luckily for them, the Ben Nevis had to stop at Queenstown, Ireland, and the ten people who had been left in Liverpool rejoined the ship there (see below). Kilian's report indicates that not all who had been left at the hospital recovered. Died: Matthius Schatte, 51; Matthaus Schatte, 8; Ernst Urban, 2; Caroline Bertha Dunzer, 1. Pastor Kilian baptized Magdalena Falke, born the 18th (see above), and Peter Fritsche, born Sept. 11th on the steamer from Hamburg, on the Ben Nevis.
33. Died: Magdalena Falke, 4 days (recorded in the baptismal records, which specifically state that she died on the Ben Nevis); Matthius Schelnik, 6; Johann Ernst Jeschke, 3. ·
34. Died: Hanna Schatte, 1.
35. Rosina Schatte, 32.
36. Johann Merting, 74.
37. Johann Schatte, 6; also Johann Merting, 3.
38. Johann Schelnik.
39. Andreas Miertschin, 44, and Hanna 45.
40. Queenstown, also called Cobh.
4l. masts?
42. Kilian's report says “the healthy were moved to an old frigate, the Inconstant, while the sick remained on our ship, Ben Nevis, until an old ship, the Elisa, was readied as a hospital.” Since Haak does not give the names of the ships, but simply says “our ship, the other ship,” etc., it is difficult to be sure just who was where from one day to the next. Apparently, at first the sick were transferred to the Inconstant, as Haak says, then, when the Elisa was ready as a hospital ship, the sick were moved there, the well were moved to the Inconstant, and the Ben Nevis was cleaned and disinfected.
43. Sept. 29-30: Michael Dube, 47; Johann Schatte, 29; Johann Paulus Kohl, 2; Johann Symmank, 6; Andreas Pilak, 56; Christoph Hohle, 20; even the English physician sent to them (Dr. Blennerhassel) died, himself, on Sept. 30, according to Kilian's report.
44. Kilian mentions two more English physicians at Queenstown, Dr. Scott and Dr. Kelly, and two German ones, one named Dr. Hanka, sent by agent Meyer; he says Dr. Kelly was later assigned to them for the voyage.
45. Oct. 1-2: Johann Traugott Jeschke, 41; Elisabeth Trinks, 60; Hanna Fritsche, 6.
46. ? Presumably the German word is Stunden or Abendstunden, meaning, in this case, not lessons, but (evening) devotions; Kilian writes, “In the evening we held devotions.”
47. Now, Haak and the other well people are evidently on the Inconstant.
48. Ben Nevis.
49. backpack.
50. Died: Hanna Merting, 28; Hanna Matke, 6.
51. Died: Johann Fritsche, 43; Hanna Lorentschk, 48; Andreas Kurjo, 5; Hanna Hobie, 57.
52. Died: August Neitsch, 1; August Miertschin, 34 days.
53. Died: Hanna Pilak Birnbaum, 1.
54. Died: Rosina Tschornak, 4.
55. Died: Magdalena Kurjo, 34. From the Serbin archives, we know that on this date the Kilian congregation held a meeting on board the Inconstant and elected their church elders. Some of the Wends were Prussians and some were Saxons, and for the election they divided into these two groups and each group elected its own elders. Haak does not mention the meeting because he was not a member of the congregation.
56. Died: Johann Lowke, 5; Christiane Reinhart Miertschin, 20; Johann Urban, 67; Johann Ernst Wuensche, 8.
57. Died: Matthäus Mertling, 1; Maria Ritter, 2.
58. Died: Carl August Dube, 1.
59. Evidently the well people are now moved back from the Inconstant to the Ben Nevis; “240” may signify the number of people who had not been sick. Some people still stayed on the Inconstant, perhaps because they were sick; see note to the 15th, below.
60. Evidently now the Ben Nevis.
61. Died: Rosina Iselt, 44. From the Serbin marriage records, we know that on this date Pastor Kilian performed his first two marriages since leaving home: on the Ben Nevis Christoph Vogel was married to Agnes Jenke, and on the Inconstant Joseph Birnbaum was married to Magdalena Pilak. Thus, there still were some people on the Inconstant.
62. The Inconstant or the Elisa.
63. Died: Johann Kiesling, 67.
64. Died: Hanna Kiesling, 57.
65. Presumably “devotions.” Died: Johann August Buettner, 3.
66. Died: Magdalena Noack, 42.
67. Pastor Kilian's fragmentary diary, mentioned above, begins on this date and covers just one week, through the 27th.
68. Queenstown.
69. Died: Agnes Tschornak, 1.
70. Died: Andreas Noack, 2; born: Peter Symmank.
71. Hamburg.
72. Died: Johann Schatte, 4.
73. If this is correct, it was the first of Kilian's few sermons in English; in the English sermon he preached (besides a German one and a Wendish one, of course) at the dedication of the first church building in 1859, Kilian stated that that was his “first speech in English.” Since the English sailors' work was particularly hazardous during the storms, an English sermon of thanksgiving for them may have seemed appropriate after the storm of the previous day had passed.
74. Died: Andreas Moerbe, 5.
75. Since departure from Queenstown.
76. The Moerbe boy's death is numbered 57 in Kilian's death records, but the Falke infant's death on Sept. 23, like the later infants' deaths before arriving at Serbin, is not recorded in the deaths, but only in the baptismal records, so that 58 have now died, including the first death in Hamburg; since departure from Liverpool, 43 have died.
77. Died: Maria Moerbe, 2.
78. This is the first of four confirmations mentioned by Haak; this is some of the most interesting information in the diary, since there is nowhere else any mention of them. Kilian was evidently teaching school on the ship (this was one of the subjects discussed at the meeting on the Inconstant on Oct. 9th), including confirmation instruction. Kilian's confirmation records do not start until 1856; presumably the first year at Serbin, 1855, was too chaotic for school and confirmations. Who the children were who were confirmed on the ship cannot be determined without consulting the records in Germany to ascertain who already bad been confirmed there.
-Died: Magdalena Casparik, adult.
79. Died: August Jeschke, 3; August Hermann Richter, 2.
80. Died: Maria Schelnik, 2.
81. Died: Auguste Noack, 2.
82. Presumably “devotions.”
83. Died: Matthius Schulze, 11.
84. Died: Agnes Pampel.
85. Possibly Lesser Antilles (island group). Kilian wrote that they passed through the Lesser Antilles, with the English island of Antigua on their right and the French island of Guadalupe on their left.
86. Presumably “devotions.”
87. Maria Teinert, 38, the mother of the boy Johann Teinert, who later wrote the description of the voyage usually called 'Ein Brief'; he gives a short but touching account of watching his mother's body being lowered into the water.
88. Santo Domingo.
89. Note that they are passing south of Santo Domingo and Cuba.
90. Santo Domingo.
91. Died: Hanna Moerbe, 25.
92. Possibly Jamaica and Santo Domingo (Haiti).
93. Kilian mentions seeing Grand Cayman island.
94. This can also mean “large firecrackers” in German.
95. Born: Hanna Kasper.
96. Hanna Fritsche, 38; also the newborn Hanna Kasper.
97. This seems to be the worst of the several storms Haak describes. Kilian said there had been no really big storm, but Teinert gives a chilling report of a storm (probably the one of this date) so bad that the sailors refused to climb the masts to furl the sails, so that Captain Herron himself had to climb up, whereupon one sailor followed him, and the two of them furled the sails. When the captain came down, he was so exhausted and shaken that he could not even walk to his cabin without several men helping him.
98. Died: August Jannasch, 9.
99. Died: Emil Jannasch, 2.
100. Kilian explains that large ships had to anchor outside the sandbar off Galveston and transfer their passengers to a steamer.
101. Died: Andreas Jannasch, “over 20.”
102. Kilian adds, “in order to arrange for a steamer to transport us across the bar to the city.” Died: Ernst Jannasch, 4; the fourth Jannasch child to die in five days.
103. Presumably Haak saw these animals on the land, and was surprised that they were outside in the winter. Kilian says the steamer came in the afternoon and picked up the people and their things.
104. Kilian says they arrived on the steamer in Galveston in the morning.
105. To take them to Houston; from the baptismal records we know this was the Neptune.
106. Born on the Neptune: twins Hanna and Peter Born; they died in Houston.
107. Kilian writes, “Everybody lay in Houston under the bare sky” for a week, waiting for some who were still in Galveston, before going on inland. Haak, however, did not wait; he left the group and proceeded immediately to Bellville, where he arrived on Dec. 22 and made his home.

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