Friedrich Wilhelm Hanekow (Wilhelm) and Maria Charlotte Goetsch were married in the church at Battin on February 15 1874. The wedding was presided over by Pastor Sauberzweig. Church records state consent was given by Wilhelm's mother, Anna Christine Hanekow (formerly Kerstin) and by August Friedrich Goetsch, Marie's father, of Brussow, who worked as a barber in Prenzlau. Wilhelm was forty five years old, Maria was twenty.
The church at Battin, May 5 2016. Courtesy of Ulla Kilias.
One month later, they departed for Hamburg, the first leg of their journey to Rogers City in Presque Isle County Michigan.
Michigan in 1874. Presque Isle County is in the north eastern corner of the state. Macomb County, in the vicinity of Detroit, is in the south east.
Their decision to resettle in a small, remote, town over 5,000 miles away was influenced by friends and possbly family members already there. Their grandson Alfred Haneckow later recalled being told members of the Slager (Schlaeger?) Brege and Bade families that they already knew assisted them when they arrived. The families were part of a group of early Presque Isle county settlers that included the Kartens, Schlaegers, Bredows, Brunings, Klees, Altmans, Haselhuhns, Kortmans, Hopps, Brandts, and others from the vicinity of Brussow, near Battin, according to Donald Knopf, an expert on the first Prussians to the area.
Those families were among an immigration of Prussian "Old Lutherans" to Wheatfield in Niagara County New York that began in 1843. "Old Lutherans" rejected the union of the Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) churches mandated by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in 1817. Labeled as "Separatists" they were persecuted and driven to worship in clandestine services. Some sought emigration as a path to religious freedom. Most of them who went to Niagara County were followers of Karl Wilhelm Ehrenstroem, who preached in Brussow and the surrounding villages in the northern Uckermark. Upon arrival they established three settlements: Martinsville, Neu Bergholz and Neu Wallmow in Wheatfield New York.
Successive waves of immigrants from Brussow and neighboring villages joined them over the next three decades. Starting in the 1850s, when farmland was no longer readily available in Niagara County, some proceeded west. According to Uprooted From Prussia Transplanted in America by Eugene W. Camann "The locality which attracted most of those moving at this time was Macomb County Michigan".
It was in Macomb County, in 1869, that a number of former Uckermark families responded to advertisements placed in Detroit area newspapers promoting Rogers City. The advertisements were placed by Alfred Molitor, one of the founders of the townsite, and an owner of Rogers and Molitor Steam Sawmill located there. The town "...was planned not just as a timber and sawmill operation, but as a community - a city surrounded by farms, in the style of Europe at that time." according to Gerald Micketti and Mark Thompson in Almost and Island, Early Histories of the Shoreline Settlements in Presque Isle County. "A strenuous effort was made to encourage farmers to settle in the area."
In addition to the before mentioned Bade, Brege and Schlaeger families, it is quite possible that the Karsten family were the same Kersten family of Wilhem's mother. It is also possible that Maria, being from Brussow, the center of Ehrenstroem's followers, was connected by friendship and family ties to the settlers. It has also been noted that Goetsch was a long standing last name in Rogers City, perhaps an indication of kinship. Another factor in their decision to go to Michigan might have been Wilhelm Erdmann Hanekow and his wife Wilhelmine Christine (Schulz), from the village of Bietikow, approximately 15 miles (25 km) southeast of Battin, who came to Macomb County in 1872.
Hamburg to Hull to Liverpool.
On March 20th 1874 Wilhelm and Maria boarded the steamship Minerva in Hamburg, destined for Hull, on the east coast of England. Hull was the primary entry point for European emigrants on their way to Liverpool, where transatlantic steamships departed for New York. Hamburg-Hull-Liverpool-New York was the most common indirect routing for emigrants from northeastern Germany to America.
Hamburg passenger list for the steamship Minerva, listing Wilhelm and Maria Hanekow, March (Marz) 20 1874.
The Minerva was owned by H.J. Perbach & Company. It was built in 1863 for North Sea service between Hamburg and Hull. The ship was a steam and sail driven three masted schooner, propelled by a single screw. Its iron hull was 191.9 feet long with a 27.1 foot beam.
Upon arrival in England Wilhelm and Marie likely proceeded to the North Eastern Railway Company's large emigrant waiting room near the Hull Paragon Railway station. The facility had been built in 1871 amidst local concerns regarding perceived health risks brought in by the large numbers of migrants passing through. It provided shelter, washrooms, and the opportunity to meet with ticket agents. It is possible they then availed themselves to one of the local emigrant lodging houses for an overnight stay. Whatever the case, it was rare for emigrants to be in Hull for longer than 24 hours.
From Hull they traveled on the North Eastern Railway company to Liverpool where they boarded the SS Greece for the Atlantic crossing.
The SS Greece belonged to the National Steam-Ship Company, popularly known as the National Line. Established in 1863, it was the first transatlantic line to offer service from Liverpool to New York City. In 1874 the National Line's fleet consisted of the Canada, Denmark, Egypt, England, Erin, Greece, Holland, Italy, Spain and The Queen. Emigrants were an important part of their business, to whom they advertised: "The Comfort of Steerage Passengers specially considered - the Accommodation being unsurpassed for Space, Light and Ventilation".
The ship was described in the New York Times, April 12 1874:
"The Greece is one of the best vessels owned by the National Line. She is 390 feet in length and 42 in breadth. From her metallic deck to her ceiling she has a depth of 35 feet. She is rated at 4,400 tons burden. Her engine-room is 50 feet long, and her machinery is pronounced to be of the very best description. She has two vertical, direct acting compound engines of 500 nominal horse power, but which can be worked up to 3,000. Her machinery was made and set up by Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead. She has one smoke stack which is painted white nearly up to the top, thence up black, making a striking contrast. She is bark-rigged, with double topsails and studding sails, and should any accident happen to her machinery she could make the same time as a first class sailing vessel. Her arrangements for the accommodation of passengers are complete. Her state rooms are all upon the saloon-deck and open into that apartment. These can accommodate 150 persons. Her steerage is large and well ventilated, and there is ample room for 1,400 passengers".
Wilhelm and Maria departed Liverpool on March 24th 1874, five days after they started from Hamburg. The next day, the Greece stopped briefly at Queenstown Ireland for more passengers. Upon leaving Queenstown there were 520 steerage passengers, 29 cabin passengers, a crew of 104 and a single stowaway on board, - a total of 655 persons, about one third of the ships capacity.
The Greece soon came upon rough seas, which slowed the ship's progress. Circumstances developed that would delay the ship considerably longer. William Kennish of Philadelphia, a cabin cabin class passenger, related the course of events to the New York Times on April 14th 1874:
"We encountered an uninterrupted succession of head winds, frequently reaching a gale against which the Greece could do little more than maintain her position. On the morning of the 2nd of April, our seventh day out, being then only 1,000 miles from Liverpool, a vessel came on site from the south east, steaming in what seemed to be a course parallel to our own. For some hours she seemed to remain at the same distance to us, but at about 3 P.M. we saw that she was drawing nearer and soon discovered her to be a French steamer flying signals of distress".
The ship was the SS Europe, of the Compagnie General Transatlantique, aka the French Line, with 374 passengers and crew on board. According to Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 2nd 1874:
"The Europe left Havre on Thursday afternoon, March 26th. In passing the bar a slight jar was felt, and some of the passengers remembered that an anchor from a merchant vessel had been lost there some time before. It is thought that an injury came from grazing the fluke of the vessel. She was originally a side-wheeler and made her first trip in May 1867, under Captain Lemairle, who commanded her on this last voyage. In 1872 she was lengthened to 410 feet and altered to a propeller. Her 2,000 tons of freight, said to be valued at $2,000,000 included 8,000 baskets of wine. At Brest the steamer stopped a few hours, and then steamed into the Atlantic. On Sunday, water was discovered in the engine compartment under the machinery, and a storm was coming on. By Tuesday the leak became serious, and the pumps worked constantly. Meanwhile the storm increased, and on Wednesday the vessel was rolling frightfully. She was then 891 miles from Brest. Few passengers slept during Wednesday night, for the storm raged with terrible fury. It abated, however, after daylight. Towards noon a steamer was sighted, westward bound. It was the Greece of the National Line. A few hours later the passengers of the Europe were startled by the boom of a gun and then, for the first time, they learned from the reticent officers that the vessel was filling with water. The Greece soon came within hailing distance, and after a few words of explanation, a transfer of passengers was ordered".
Passengers from the Europe being taken aboard the Greece. The cover page of Fred Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 2 1874.
For two hours that afternoon, into the evening, lifeboats from both ships ferried the passengers and crew from the Europe to the Greece, with no loss of life "...not without great difficulty." according to G.F.T. Reed to the New York Times.
William Kennish, of the Greece, narrative from the New York Times continues:
"...the officers and men of the Greece worked as if their own lives depended on their efforts. The boats were cleared away, the crews crowded into their seats, and were soon struggling with the heavy sea on their errand of mercy. In the mean time the Europe had launched their boats, and shortly after our First Officer had reached the leaking vessel the first French boat, laden with women and children, were on their way to us. We watched with great anxiety their progress. At times the high waves would hide them completely from our sight. When she reached the side of our vessel every soul on board the Greece was ready give a helping hand; ropes were thrown into the boat and slipped round the waists of the sufferers; a hundred willing hands lent their aid, and one after another of the unfortunate were safely landed on our decks. After this, the boats arrived in quick succession, and by 7 P.M. the last soul had left the Europe, and that splendid vessel was deserted to be tossed around by the waves of the Atlantic".
The Greece kept beside the stricken ship overnight. In the heavy seas the lifeboats that had been used for the rescue were lost, except one. The next morning, Chief Officer Buck and a volunteer crew of 25 boarded the Europe with a plan to sail it to Liverpool. They rigged the Europe to sail, but needed assistance to turn into the wind. A tow line was fixed between the two ships. As the Europe came about it collided into the stern of the Greece, an incident the seriousness of which would vary in latter tellings.
The salvage crew sailed the Europe for two days. Water could not be pumped out fast enough to keep up with the amount coming in. The weather was worsening when they sighted the SS Egypt, another National Lines ship, bound for Liverpool. Buck signaled the Egypt regarding the Europe's condition. An attempt to tow the crippled ship was agreed upon, but as the barometer continued to drop, Captain Grogan of the Egypt ordered the salvage crew to abandon the vessel. The Europe drifted away, not to be seen again.
Upon arrival in Liverpool, the story of the Europe's loss, and the rescue of its passengers and crew was picked up by the press and transmitted by the transatlantic telegraph cable to New York, where the Greece would be anxiously awaited.
The Greece had continued west with 1,039 passengers and crew crowded on board, a reduced compliment of lifeboats, and a hole in its stern from the collision. On April 11th, eight days after leaving the Europe, it was sighted off Nantucket Island from Siasconset Massachusetts. Two days later a violent gale was reported off the New Jersey coast. On April 14th the ship was seen off Sandy Hook, prompting crowds to gather at the National Line's Manhattan pier.
"When 8'oclock came and there was no signs of the Greece, or any of the tugboats that had gone down to her with the officers of both companies, the watchers grew impatient and began to fear the watchers grew impatient and began to fear the possibility of falsity of the announcement of the Greece's being in the Lower Bay. This doubt was removed by the continued absence of tugboats, and the preparations at both piers for the passenger's reception. Therefore the people strained their eyes in trying to peer through the darkness, and discover the mammoth hull of the English steamer in the neighborhood of Governor's Island. The river was being traversed by many tugs and ferry boats carrying the green, red, and bright night lights, and oftentimes persons shouted "Here she is!" when they saw all three lights at once, as they must belong to a vessel coming up river. At length it was rumored that the Greece would not be brought up until morning as she was too large to be handled with safety on the river in such darkness. The tug boats were expected up, however, so the people remained, and their numbers were augmented every minute. When they had almost grown weary of watching and looking far down the bay, someone looking across the river towards Jersey City exclaimed, "Why there she is!" All eyes were turned that way immediately, and saw her great black hull and towering spars lit up with lanterns about four cables length from the pier. She was moving slowly up and continued to do so until she reached a good anchorage out of the channel opposite Hoboken. Her anchor was dropped, and it became evident that the passengers would be landed first at Pier No. 50. Thither the crowds on No. 47 hastened and succeeded in getting good positions at the lower end of the pier. There were very many ladies among the number and the excitement was universal. A little before 9 o'clock the Only Son was seen to leave the Greece and head for the Transatlantic Company's Dock."
"Captain Garland's men did good service by clearing the landing stage and its vicinity of the excited persons. When the tug came along and the gangplank was run out, the officers and crew of the Europe stepped ashore and filed into the gas-lit dock house. They presented a sadly comical appearance. Each man wore just what the had when he deserted his ship, and around his waste a cork life preserver securely fastened. These, they said, were taken to be cherished as souvenirs of the Europe".
"The officers wore their uniforms, lace bands, and brass buttons, and seemed anxious to escape general observation, and get away as fast as possible. This they could not do, because the company had arranged to billet them at certain hotels and boarding-houses in the City, so they had to wait until they received their assignment. Meanwhile the spectators crowded around them with innumerable questions. The story of the disaster was told by 160 tongues at the same moment. Many a rough tar was interrupted in his recital by the hasty exclamation of welcome and warm embrace of a newly arrived friend how was beside himself, or herself, with joy at seeing the saved sailor".
-The New York Times, April 14th 1874 with illustrations from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 2nd 1874.
The damage to the stern of the Greece.
On board the Greece, at anchor on the Hudson River.
In contrast to the officers of the French ship, Captain Thomas and the crew of the Greece were regarded as heroes by the press, and by the passengers of the Europe, who presented Thomas with a watch commemorating the rescue.
Wilhelm and Maria had arrived in the United States, twenty one days after departing Liverpool and twenty six days from starting out from Hamburg.
Upon disembarking, the passengers were ferried to Castle Garden, the immigrant depot on the tip of Manhattan Island (on the site of today's Battery Park) where "... immigration officers counted them and obtained information regarding age, religion, occupation, and the value of personal property. Immigrants were required to bathe with soap and water. And though few ever received direct financial assistance, they were able to exchange money, purchase food at reasonable rates (kitchen facilities were provided), buy railroad tickets, and receive job advice, all relatively free from the influence of predatory "providers." There was no formal housing there, but immigrants were provided with temporary shelter". - Immigrants to North America, www.immigrationtous.net .
Castle Garden on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It was replaced by Ellis Island in 1892.
Cover page of the passenger manifest from the SS Greece, filled out at Castle Garden, April 14 1874. The Europe's passengers were tallied separately.
Wilhelm and Maria's entries, from the Greece's April 14 1874 manifest, the 6th and 7th lines beneath the crease.
From New York City they resumed their journey. Earlier immigrants from the Uckermark had traveled by the Hudson River, then west on the Erie Canal. By 1874 it was far more likely that they went by rail via the New York Central and its affiliated Vanderbilt owned lines. It is possible they visited friends or family in Niagara County, New York, and / or Macomb County, Michigan but such scenarios can not be advanced beyond conjecture.
There were no railroads north of Bay City Michigan. Most travelers to Presque Isle County arrived by steamboat. The Marine City, a side-wheel passenger and freight steamer owned by the People's Line conveyed many early settlers to Rogers City and Crawford's Quarry according to Almost an Island, Early Histories of the Shoreline Settlements in Presque Isle County. It is likely that it, or a similar vessel, was used by them for the last stage of their journey.
It is not known how long it took them to travel between New York City and Presque Isle County. Wilhelm's certificate stating his intent to become a citizen was filed in Rogers City on the 16th day of an illegibly written month. The earliest it could have been signed would have been on May 16 1874. If that was the case, their entire journey from Battin to Presque Isle County would have taken nearly two months.
Presque Isle county map 1873, one year before Wilhelm and Maria's arrival.
Rogers City Michigan was five years old when Wilhelm and Maria arrived. German was widely spoken but there was much that was unfamiliar in the remote town. Lutheran families that had first arrived in Niagara County in the 1840s had, within a generation, ceased to build their houses in the traditional half timbered (Fachwerk) style of their former homeland and had adopted American wood frame and clapboard construction. Unlike in the Uckermark, farmers tended to live on the land they worked rather than in villages.
In the census of 1880, Wilhelm and Maria, listed as William and Mary, had a farm in Belknap Township, outside of Hagansville in Presque Isle county. They had three children. Most of their neighbors came from Germany, but there were English, Scottish and Irish as well. They owned forty acres of land, eight tilled aces and 32 still in woodland (much of what would later be farmland in the area was still heavily timbered at the time). They owned forty dollars worth of farm equipment and eighty dollars worth of livestock. It was a small farm relative to some of its neighbors, and stories have been passed down that Wilhelm also received some sort of stipend from relatives in Battin.
It is very unlikely either one of them ever revisited Germany. Continuity with their past though seems to have been of importance. Their daughter, Anna, was named for Wilhelm's mother, while their son, August, was named for Maria's father. In 1884 they donated a half acre of land to the St. Johns Society of Belknap for the establishment of a Lutheran church in at Hagansville.
Copy of Wilhelm and Maria's donation to the St. Johns Society of Belknap. Courtesy of Byron Haneckow.
Maria died in 1903, Wilhelm in 1909. Both are buried in the St. Johns Hagansville Lutheran cemetery. By the time of their deaths, they spelled their last name with the addition of the c, which was adopted in Germany in the years that followed their departure. Contact between the American and German members of the family seems to have continued until around 1946.