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Friedrich Wilhelm Gotthilf Matuschka

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 8:03 pm

As the Ben Nevis set sail from England for Texas a young passenger boarded the ship who was not an immigrant.  He indeed was Wendish and could speak both Wendish and German, but he also spoke English.  This young man was an interpreter who was employed to assist the Wends on their journey.

We do not know who hired the interpreter, the shipping company or the Wendish leaders.  Nor do we know when he was hired.  The plans had called for a direct voyage from Hamburg to Galveston.  But when the migrants arrived at Hamburg, there was no ship large enough for the group, and the Wends insisted on traveling together.  The solution was to go by ship and train to Liverpool where the Ben Nevis was unloading its cargo, most likely cotton for the textile mills.  He was either hired earlier to sail on a German ship from Hamburg and help in Texas, or he was hired at the last minute when the decision was made to use an English ship so that he could help with communication on board ship and then continue his services in Texas if they were needed.

Because he was not an immigrant, his name was not on the Ben Nevis passenger list and no reference to his presence on the ship or in the Serbin community has been found in any of Kilian's records.  The only references to his work with the Wends are found in his obituary in Der Lutheraner and in the Matuschka family tradition.


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Ghost Riders

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 3:45 pm

        Pastor John Jacob Trinklein, a Frankenmuth native, was fresh out of the seminary when he received his first call in 1881 to serve as a “circuit rider” missionary in Texas.  His assignment was to seek out the scattered German Lutherans in Texas and try to gather them together to form congregations.  His travels were mostly by train.  But in more isolated places where there was no train, he either had to walk or go by horseback.  In later years, he told of a strange experience on one of these trips by horseback.  His young grand-daughter who heard this story later wrote it up and send it in to have it published in the Guidepost magazine.  This is her story.

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Ben Nevis and The Hamburg Passenger Lists

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 12:32 pm

During 1853 and 1854, someone, who most logically would have been a representative of the V. L Meyer Shipping Company, went to Lusatia to collect names and deposits of Prussians and Saxons interested in going to Texas with the group of "old Lutherans" from the churches of Klitten and Weigersdorf.  As he went to and fro he accumulated the names and the fares and recorded them on a document heretofore known as the "Ben Nevis List."  This list accompanied the Wends to Texas and was used by Pastor John Kilian as a resource to document the birth and death events in the lives of his parishioners.  In 1953-1954, Anna Blasig relied on these lists to write her masters  thesis, "The Lusatian Wends Who Came to Texas" which was published as the book, The Wends Of Texas, and upon completion of her research deposited these lists in what was then named Barker Library at the University of Texas.  Today the "Ben Nevis Lists" are in the same place, now named Dolph Brisco Center for American Studies, Sid Richardson Hall, University of Texas, next to the LBJ Presidential Library.

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