Male speaker interviewed by Jürgen Eichhoff, June 1968, New Holstein, Calumet Co

This speaker, in his native Low German dialect, discusses the migration of his ancestors from the province of Schleswig-Holstein in the far north of Germany to northeastern Wisconsin in the nineteenth century. Most immigrants were well informed about Wisconsin and how to get there before they departed from Europe.

Dialect: Holsteinisch, Wisconsin German Dialects

Location: Calumet, Wisconsin

So tell us about how it was when the first settlers came to this place; where did they come from, and what did they first do?

Well, they came from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and then they went to Hamburg and went on a sailing ship and then from there traveled on the Elbe River to the North Sea and from there to Newfoundland and then to New York, and from there they followed the river up to Albany, New York. And there they … well, those who could afford it then traveled by train to Buffalo. Or the others put their stuff on barges and went along the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and then they went by sailing ship over the [Great] Lakes to Sheboygan.

And in Sheboygan they went with oxen and wagons overland to Plymouth and then to Greenbush, and then on the third day they arrived in Fond du Lac. And then from Fond du Lac they went by foot, usually, here to the east side of Lake Winnebago, by foot, and then to Calumetville. And there was a hotel there where they could stay until they had a place to live.

And then, let’s see, on the 29th of May eleven men walked out into the country and went eleven miles until they found land where there were a lot of stones, because their relatives in Germany had said that if they found land with a lot of stones in it, the soil would be good there.