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Author of "The Grandissimes," "Bonaventure," etc.


HE may be living yet, in 1889. For when she came to Louisiana, in 1818, she was too young for the voyage to fix itself in her memory. She could not, to-day, be more than seventy-five. In Alsace, France, on the frontier of the Department of Lower Rhine, about twenty English miles from Strasburg, there was in those days, as I suppose there still is, a village called Langensoultz. The region was one of hills and valleys and of broad, flat meadows yearly overflowed by the Rhine. It was noted for its fertility; a land of wheat and wine, hop-fields, flax-fields, hay-stacks, and orchards. It had been three hundred and seventy years under French rule, yet the people were still, in speech and traditions, German. Those were not the times to make them French. The land swept by Napoleon's wars, their firesides robbed of fathers and sons by the conscription, the awful mortality of the Russian campaign, the emperor's waning star, Waterloo-these were not the things or conditions to give them comfort in French domination. There was a widespread longing among them to seek another land where men and women and children were not doomed to feed the ambition of European princes.

In the summer of 1817 there lay at the Dutch port of Helder for the great ship-canal that now lets the largest vessels out from Amsterdam was not yet constructed-a big, foul, old Russian ship which a certain man had bought purposing to crowd it full of emigrants to America. These he had expected to find up the Rhine, and he was not disappointed. Hundreds responded from Alsace; some in Strasburg itself, and many from the surrounding villages, grainfields, and vineyards. They presently numbered nine hundred, husbands, wives, and children. There was one family named Thomas, with a survivor of which I conversed in 1884. And there was Eva Kropp, née Hillsler, and her husband, with their daughter of fifteen, named for her mother. Also Eva Kropp's sister Margaret and her husband, whose name does not appear. And there were Koelhoffer and his

wife, and Frau Schultzheimer. There is no need to remember exact relationships. All these except the Thomases were of Langensoultz.

As they passed through another village some three miles away they were joined by a family of name not given, but the mother of which we shall know by and by, under a second husband's name, as Madame Fleikener. And there too was one Wagner, two generations of whose descendants were to furnish each a noted journalist to New Orleans. I knew the younger of these in my boyhood as a man of, say, fifty. And there was young Frank Schuber, a good, stronghearted, merry fellow who two years after became the husband of the younger Eva Kropp; he hailed from Strasburg; I have talked with his grandson. And lastly there were among the Langensoultz group two families named Müller.

The young brothers Henry and Daniel Müller were by birth Bavarians. They had married, in the Hillsler family, two sisters of Eva and Margaret. They had been known in the village as lockmaker Müller and shoemaker Müller. The wife of Daniel, the shoemaker, was Dorothea. Henry, the locksmith, and his wife had two sons, the elder ten years of age and named for his uncle Daniel, the shoemaker. Daniel and Dorothea had four children. The eldest was a little boy of eight years, the youngest was an infant, and between these were two little daughters, Dorothea and Salome.

And so the villagers were all bound closely together, as villagers are apt to be. Eva Kropp's young daughter Eva was godmother to Salome. Frau Koelhoffer had lived on a farm about an hour's walk from the Müllers and had not known them; but Frau Schultzheimer was a close friend, and had been a schoolmate and neighbor of Salome's mother. The husband of her who was afterward Madame Fleikener was a nephew of the Müller brothers, Frank Schuber was her cousin, and so on.



SETTING out thus by whole families and with brothers' and sisters' families on the right and on the left, we may safely say that, once the last kisses were given to those left behind and the last look taken of childhood's scenes, they pressed forward brightly, filled with courage and hope. They were poor, but they were bound

for a land where no soldier was going to snatch the beads and cross from the neck of a little child, as one of Napoleon's had attempted to do to one of the Thomas children. They were on their way to golden America; through Philadelphia to the virgin lands of the great West. Early in August they reached Amsterdam. There they paid their passage in advance, and were carried out to the Helder, where, having laid in their provisions, they embarked and were ready to set sail.

But no sail was set. Word came instead that the person who had sold the ship had not been paid its price and had seized the vessel; the delays of the law threatened, when time was a matter of fortune or of ruin.

And soon came far worse tidings. The emigrants refused to believe them as long as there was room for doubt. Henry and Daniel Müllerfor locksmith Müller, said Wagner twenty-seven years afterwards on the witness-stand, "was a brave man and was foremost in doing everything necessary to be done for the passengers" - went back to Amsterdam to see if such news could be true, and returned only to confirm despair. The man to whom the passage money of the two hundred families-nine hundred souls - had been paid had absconded.

They could go neither forward nor back. Days, weeks, months passed, and there still lay the great hulk teeming with its population and swinging idly at anchor; fathers gazing wistfully over the high bulwarks, mothers nursing their babes, and the children, Eva, Daniel, Henry, Andrew, Dorothea, Salome, and all the rest, by hundreds.

Salome was a pretty child, dark, as both her parents were, and looking much like her mother; having especially her black hair and eyes and her chin. Playing around with her was one little cousin, a girl of her own age, that is, somewhere between three and five, whose face was strikingly like Salome's. It was she who in later life became Madame Karl Rouff, or, more familiarly, Madame Karl.

Provisions began to diminish, grew scanty, and at length were gone. The emigrants' summer was turned into winter; it was now December. So pitiful did their case become that it forced the attention of the Dutch Government. Under its direction they were brought back to Amsterdam, where many of them, without goods, money, or even shelter, and strangers to the place and to the language, were reduced to beg for bread.

But by and by there came a word of great relief. The Government offered a reward of thirty thousand gilders-about twelve thousand dollars to any merchant or captain of a vessel who would take them to America, and a certain Grandsteiner accepted the task. For

a time he quartered them in Amsterdam, but by and by, with hearts revived, they began to go again on shipboard. This time there were three ships in place of the one; or two ships, and one of those old Dutch, flattish-bottomed, round-sided, two-masted crafts they called galiots. The number of ships was trebled — that was well; but the number of souls was doubled, and eighteen hundred wanderers from home were stowed in the three vessels.


THESE changes made new farewells and separations. Common aims, losses, and sufferings had knit together in friendship many who had never seen each other until they met on the deck of the big Russian ship, and now not a few of these must part.

The first vessel to sail was one of the two ships, the Johanna Maria. Her decks were black with people: there were over six hundred of them. Among the number, waving farewell to the Kropps, the Koelhoffers, the Schultzheimers, to Frank Schuber and to the Müllers, stood the Thomases, Madame Fleikener, as we have to call her, and one whom we have not yet named, the jungfrau Hemin, of Würtemberg, just turning nineteen, of whom the little Salome and her mother had made a new, fast friend on the old Russian ship.

A week later the Captain Grone—that is, the galiot-- hoisted the Dutch flag as the Johanna Maria had done, and started after her with other hundreds on her own deck, I know not how many, but making eleven hundred in the two, and including, for one, young Wagner. Then after two weeks more the remaining ship, the Johanna, followed, with Grandsteiner as supercargo,and seven hundred emigrants. Here were the Müllers and most of their relatives and fellow-villagers. Frank Schuber was among them, and was chosen steward for the whole shipful.

At last they were all off. But instead of a summer's they were now to encounter a winter's sea, and to meet it weakened and wasted by sickness and destitution. The first company had been out but a week when, on New Year's night, a furious storm burst upon the crowded ship. With hatches battened down over their heads they heard and felt the great buffetings of the tempest, and by and by one great crash above all other noises as the mainmast went by the board. The ship survived; but when the storm was over and the people swarmed up once more into the pure ocean atmosphere and saw the western sun set clear, it set astern of the ship. Her captain had put her about and was steering for Amsterdam.

"She is too old," the travelers gave him credit for saying, when long afterwards they

testified in court; "too old, too crowded, too short of provisions, and too crippled, to go on such a voyage; I don't want to lose my soul that way.' ." And he took them back. They sailed again; but whether in another ship, or in the same with another captain, I have not discovered. Their sufferings were terrible. The vessel was foul. Fevers broke out among them. Provisions became scarce. There was nothing fit for the sick, who daily grew more numerous. Storms tossed them hither and yon. Water became so scarce that the sick died for want of it.

One of the Thomas children, a little girl of eight years, whose father lay burning with fever and moaning for water, found down in the dark at the back of one of the water-casks a

place where once in a long time a drop of water fell from it. She placed there a small vial, and twice a day bore it, filled with waterdrops, to the sick man. It saved his life. Of the three ship-loads only two families reached America whole, and one of these was the Thomases. A younger sister told me in 1884 that though the child lived to old age on the banks of the Mississippi River, she could never see water wasted and hide her anger.

The vessels were not bound for Philadelphia, as the Russian ship had been. Either from choice or of necessity the destination had been changed before sailing, and they were on their way to New Orleans.


That city was just then- the of 181215 being so lately over-coming boldly into notice as commercially a strategic point of boundless promise. Steam navigation had hardly two years before won its first victory against the powerful current of the Mississippi, but it was complete. The population was thirty-three thousand; exports, thirteen million dollars. Capital and labor were crowding in, and legal, medical, and commercial talent were hurrying to the new field.

Scarcely at any time since has the New Orleans bar, in proportion to its numbers, had so many brilliant lights. Edward Livingston, of world-wide fame, was there in his prime. John R. Grymes, who died a few years before the opening of the late civil war, was the most successful man with juries who ever plead in Louisiana courts. We must meet him in the court-room by and by, and may as well make his acquaintance now. He was emphatically a man of the world. Many anecdotes of him remain, illustrative rather of intrepid shrewdness than of chivalry. He had been counsel for the pirate brothers Lafitte in their entanglements with the custom-house and courts, and was believed to have received a hundred thousand dollars from them as fees. Only old men remember him now. They say he never lifted his

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voice, but in tones that grew softer and lower the more the thought behind them grew intense would hang a glamour of truth over the veriest sophistries that intellectual ingenuity could frame. It is well to remember that this is only tradition, which can sometimes be as unjust as daily gossip. It is sure that he could entertain most showily. The young Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was his guest. In his book of travels in America (1825-26) he says:

My first excursion [in New Orleans] was to visit Mr. Grymes, who here inhabits a large, massive, and splendidly furnished house. . . . In the evening we paid our visit to the governor of the State. . After this we went to several coffee-houses


where the lower classes amuse themselves. Mr. Grymes took me to the masked ball, which is held every evening during the carnival at the French theatre. . . . The dress of the ladies I observed to be very elegant, but understood that most of those dancing did not belong to the better class of society. ... At a dinner, which Mr. Grymes gave me with the greatest display of magnificence, we withdrew from the first table, and seated ourselves at the second, in the same order in which we had partaken of the first. As the variety of wines began to set the tongues of the guests at liberty, the ladies rose, retired to another apartment, and resorted to music. Some of the gentlemen remained with the bottle, while others, among whom I was one, followed the ladies. . . . We had waltzing until 10 o'clock, when we went to the masquerade in the theatre in St. Philip street. . . The female company at the theatre consisted of quadroons, who, however, were masked.

Such is one aspect given us by history of the New Orleans towards which that company of emigrants, first of the three that had left the other side, were toiling across the waters.


THEY were fever-struck and famine-wasted. But February was near its end, and they were in the Gulf of Mexico. At that time of year its storms have lulled and its airs are the perfection of spring; March is a kind of May. And March came.

They saw other ships now every day; many of them going their way. The sight cheered them; the passage had been lonely as well as stormy. Their own vessels, of course,― the other two,-they had not expected to see, and had not seen. They did not know whether they were on the sea or under it.

Át length pilot-boats began to appear. One came to them and put a pilot on board. Then the blue water turned green, and by and by yellow. A fringe of low land was almost right ahead. Other vessels were making for the same lighthouse towards which they were headed, and so drew constantly nearer to one another. The emigrants line the bulwarks, watching the

nearest sails. One ship is so close that some can see the play of waters about her bows. And now it is plain that her bulwarks, too, are lined with emigrants who gaze across at them. She glides nearer, and just as the cry of recognition bursts from this whole company the other one yonder suddenly waves caps and kerchiefs and sends up a cheer. Their ship is the Johanna.

Do we dare draw upon fancy? We must not. The companies did meet on the water, near the Mississippi's mouth, though whether first inside or outside the stream I do not certainly gather. But they met; not the two vessels only, but the three. They were towed up the river side by side, the Johanna here, the Captain Grone there, and the other ship between them. Wagner, who had sailed on the galiot, was still alive. Many years afterwards he testified:

"We all arrived at the Balize [the river's mouth] the same day. The ships were so close we could speak to each other from on board our respective ships. We inquired of one another of those who had died and of those who still remained."

Madame Fleikener said the same:

"We hailed each other from the ships and asked who lived and who had died. The father and mother of Madame Schuber [Kropp and his wife] told me Daniel Müller and family were on board."

But they had suffered loss. Of the Johanna's 700 souls only 430 were left alive. Henry Müller's wife was dead. Daniel Müller's wife, Dorothea, had been sick almost from the start; she was gone, with the babe at her bosom. Henry was left with his two boys, and Daniel with his one and his little Dorothea and Salome. Grandsteiner, the supercargo, had lived; but of 1800 homeless poor whom the Dutch king's gilders had paid him to bring to America, foul ships and lack of food and water had buried 1200 in the sea.

The vessels reached port and the passengers prepared to step ashore, when to their amazement and dismay Grandsteiner laid the hand of the law upon them and told them they were "redemptioners." A redemptioner was an emigrant whose services for a certain period were liable to be sold to the highest bidder for the payment of his passage to America. It seems that in fact a large number of those on board the Johanna had in some way really become so liable; but it is equally certain that of others, the Kropps, the Schultzheimers, the Koelhoffers, the Müllers, and so on, the transportation had been paid for in advance, once by themselves and again by the Government of Holland. Yet Daniel Müller and his children were among those held for their passage money.

these troubles and came to the rescue. Suits were brought against Grandsteiner, the emigrants remaining meanwhile on the ships. Mr. Grymes was secured as counsel in their cause; but on some account not now remembered by survivors scarce a week had passed before they were being sold as redemptioners. At least many were, including Daniel Müller and his children.

Then the dispersion began. The people were bound out before notaries and justices of the peace, singly and in groups, some to one, some to two years' service, according to age. "They were scattered," so testified Frank Schuber twenty-five years afterwards,-"scattered about like young birds leaving a nest, without knowing anything of each other." They were "taken from the ships," says the jungfrau Hemin, " and went here and there so that one scarcely knew where the other went."

Many went no farther than New Orleans or its suburbs, but settled, some in and about the old rue Chartres- the Thomas family, for example; others in the then new faubourg Marigny, where Eva Kropp's daughter, Salome's young cousin Eva, for one, seems to have gone into domestic service. Others, again, were taken out to plantations near the city; Madame Fleikener to the well-known estate of Maunsell White, Madame Schultzheimer to the locally famous Hopkins plantation, and so on.

But others were carried far away; some, it is said, even to Alabama. Madame Hemin was taken a hundred miles up the river, to Baton Rouge, and Henry Müller and his two little boys went on to Bayou Sara, and so up beyond the State's border and a short way into Mississippi.

When all his relatives were gone Daniel Müller was still in the ship with his little son and daughters. Certainly he was not a very salable redemptioner with his three little motherless children about his knees. But at length, some fifteen days after the arrival of the ships, Frank Schuber met him on the old customhouse wharf with his little ones and was told by him that he, Müller, was going to Attakapas. About the same time, or a little later, Müller came to the house where young Eva Kropp, afterwards Schuber's wife, dwelt, to tell her good-bye. She begged to be allowed to keep Salome. During the sickness of the little one's mother and after the mother's death she had taken constant maternal care of the pretty, black-eyed, olive-skinned godchild. But Müller would not leave her behind.


THE prospective journey was the same that Some influential German residents heard of we saw Suzanne and Françoise, Joseph and

Alix, take with toil and danger, yet with so much pleasure, in 1795. The early company went in a flatboat; these went in a round-bottom boat. The journey of the latter was probably the shorter. Its adventures have never been told, save one line. When several weeks afterwards the boat returned, it brought word that Daniel Müller had one day dropped dead on the deck and that his little son had fallen overboard and was drowned. The little girls had presumably been taken on to their destination by whoever had been showing the way; but that person's name and residence, if any of those left in New Orleans had known them, were forgotten. Only the wide and almost trackless region of Attakapas was remembered, and by people to whom every day brought a struggle for their own existence. Besides, the children's kindred were bound as redemptioners.

Those were days of rapid change in New Orleans. The redemptioners worked their way out of bondage into liberty. At the end of a year or two those who had been taken to plantations near by returned to the city. It was growing, but the upper part of the river front in faubourg Ste. Marie, now in the heart of the city, was still lined with brickyards, and thitherward cheap houses and opportunities for market gardening drew the emigrants. They did not colonize, however, but merged into the community about them, and only now and then, casually, met one another. Young Schuber was an exception; he throve as a butcher in the old French market, and courted and married the young Eva Kropp. When the fellowemigrants occasionally met, their talk was often of poor shoemaker Müller and his lost children. No clear tidings of them came. Once the children of some Germans who had driven cattle from Attakapas to sell them in the shambles at New Orleans corroborated to Frank Schuber the death of the father; but where Salome and Dorothea were they could not say, except that they were in Attakapas.

Frank and Eva were specially diligent inquirers after Eva's lost godchild; as also was Henry Müller up in or near Woodville, Mississippi. He and his boys were, in their small German way, prospering. He made such effort as he could to find the lost children. One day in the winter of 1820-21 he somehow heard that there were two orphan children named Millerthe Müllers were commonly called Miller in the town of Natchez, some thirty-five miles away on the Mississippi. He bought a horse and wagon, and, leaving his own children, set out to rescue those of his dead brother. About midway on the road from Woodville to Natchez the Homochitto Creek runs through a swamp which in winter it overflows. In here Müller lost his horse. But, nothing daunted, he pressed

on, only to find in Natchez the trail totally disappear.

Again, in the early spring of 1824, a man driving cattle from Attakapas to Bayou Sara told him of two little girls named Miller living in Attakapas. He was planning another and bolder journey in search of them, when he fell ill; and at length, without telling his sons, if he knew, where to find their lost cousins, he too died.

Years passed away. Once at least in nearly every year young Daniel Miller-the "ü” was dropped-of Woodville came down to New Orleans. At such times he would seek out his relatives and his father's and uncle's old friends and inquire for tidings of the lost children. But all in vain. Frank and Eva Schuber too kept up the inquiry in his absence, but no breath of tidings came. On the city's south side sprung up the new city of Lafayette, now the Fourth District of New Orleans, and many of the aforetime redemptioners moved thither. Its streets near the river became almost a German quarter. Other German immigrants, hundreds and hundreds, landed among them, and in the earlier years many of these were redemptioners. Among them one whose name will always be inseparable from the history of New Orleans has a permanent place in this story.


ONE morning many years ago, when some business had brought me into a corridor of one of the old court buildings facing the Place d'Armes, a loud voice from within one of the court-rooms arrested my own and the general ear. At once from all directions men came with decorum, but with haste as well, towards the spot whence it proceeded. I pushed in through a green door into a closely crowded room and found the Supreme Court of the State in session. A short, broad, big-browed man of an iron sort, with silver hair close shorn from a Roman head, had just begun his argument in the final trial of a great case that had been before the court for many years, and the privileged seats were filled with the highest legal talent, sitting to hear him. It was a famous will case,1 and I remember that he was quoting from "King Lear" as I entered.

"Who is that?" I asked of a man packed against me in the press.

"Roselius," he whispered; and the name confirmed my conjecture: the speaker looked like all I had once heard about him. Christian Roselius came from Brunswick, Germany, a youth of seventeen, something more than two years later than Salome Müller and her friends. Like them he came an emigrant under the 1 The will of R. D. Shepherd.

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