Husband: Jacob Britzius, Bretches (1)
Born: 14 Dec 1828 in Pfalz, Germany
Married: 20 Jan 1856 in Anna, Shelby, Ohio
Father: John Henry Britzius
Mother: Catherina Kutscher
Wife: Lydia Ann Shafer (2)
Additional Information

Jacob Britzius, Bretches:


I sent the Carl Boesel letter to S K Bretches and she believes it to be an account of her gg and g grandfather's coming to America. She remembers that her g grandfather lost a sister on the ocean voyage and the dates or places are correct.

"My Trip to America

(This is a letter written by Carl Boesel, an emigrant from the Pflaz in 1832. It was found in an Illinois library by Roland Paul, director of Helmatstile Pfalz, Kaiserlautern. It was translated by Bill Moyer.)

In 1832 it seemed as if everything important in the world was gone. The liberal spirit that had given people such hope seemed to have been crushed and we appeared to be going back into the Dark Ages without a free press.

The previous year the government had given us the impression that we might have greater freedom. Men like Frederich Schuler, Savoy of Saarrueken, Dr. Siebenpfeifer in Zweibruecken, Barth in Lauterecken, Dr. Wirth from Homburg near Kaiserlautern, and the Protestant preacher Hochdoefer in Sembach responded with speeches and publications gaining the support of freedom-loving people everywhere. A big rally was planned to be held in the ruins of the old castle at Hambach near Neustadt on Sunday, May 27.

People came from all over, even from as far away as France, Holland, and England. There was a big parade in the morning with music, flags, guns saluting and bells ringing from the Neustadt market grounds to the castle at Hambach. The crowd sang the 387th Lied and wonderful speeches were made about human rights. However, the Government later had the leaders arrested and continued in it's old ways. The movement toward freedom had ended.

I hope with this background you can better understand why so many from Germany were willing to give up their historic homeland in that period and to seek a new life elsewhere.

On the 4th of April, 1833, a group of us left the Pfalz: Jacob Maurer; Adam Braun; Peter Stein; a Mr. Hoffman; clockmaker Waelde and Mr. Semon (or Simon) from Meisenheim (Meisenheim is about 6 Miles NNW of Bisterschied); Fuerster Lang and family from Zippersfeld (now well known in Tiffin, Ohio); the Ackert (Eckert) family and the Breceus (Britzius) family from Bisterfeld (Bisterschied) and Adam Paul from Shoerborn (Shonborn); so that altogether 135 souls arrived in (Le) Havre (France.) It took us 18 miserable days to make the trip to Havre.

There we had to wait a week because the ship Jefferson was not ready to put to sea. Mrs. Ackert from Bisterfelt died. I will always remember how six men had to carry the body and casket three miles for burial.

Finally, on April 25 we put out to sea with 45 days' supplies. It was a bad voyage and lasted 63 miserable days before we reached Baltimore. The food ran out and the water became so bad we could hardly drink it. As I said, it was a terrible trip. Smallpox broke out so that moaning and discomfort were everyday things. We lost one child which we wrapped in a sailcloth and gave up to the waves. It belonged to the Britzius family from Bisterschied.

The captain, who was form Norfolk, suffered a stroke and became lame, so we went to Norfolk to drop him off before we went to Baltimore. We spent two days anchored at Norfolk, where for the first time we saw black people.

When we reached Baltimore we were in bad shape, especially the poor little children. I have never in my life seen children who looked so awful as these did-it made you shudder to see them. The authorities would not let us land in Baltimore but we were taken by flatboat a mile from the city and put ashore under God's free sky so that on the 27th of June towards evening we knew we were going to have the pleasure of spending our first night in free America sleeping in God's free world.

I'll pause now to tell you the story of a good deed. As we were coming ashore we noticed a few cattle. We had some resolute young women on the ship and two of them set off to obtain what would add to the skin and bones of our poor children-namely milk. It didn't take long for them to reach the herd and start to work. They were astonished to find the cows so different from in Europe, as no matter how hard they tried they could get no milk from the third one. It was a bull! One of those young women is dead now. The other lives in Sidney, Ohio.

On the 28th we continued our travel westwards, making a very difficult trip over the Allegheny Mountains which took 18 days. After that we split up and went different directions. Lang, Hoffman, and many others went to Tiffin, Ohio. Maurer, Paul and Stein stayed with our group. Paul hurried ahead of us to Cincinnati where he found a black man who spoke German and would transport some of our luggage free. However, when we reached Cincinnati, he said differently and wanted us to pay $2.15 for each hundred pounds. Cincinnati was then still a small city, not yet having earned the name, “The Paris of America.”

We rested there a few days and then went on to Hamilton, where we settled our families and set out to buy land. Our trip from there went via Dayton to Piqua. Here we heard that two German settlements were to be laid out. Next we went nine miles further through a thick forest to Fort Laramie (Ohio), passing an occasional blockhouse. Finally we came to a blockhouse on which there was a long sign pointing east. The sign was in bad shape and at first we couldn't make out the letters, but finally we read “Stallotown.”

This town had been laid out in 1832 by a man named Stallow. If I remember correctly, he was the uncle of the present Judge Stallo of Cincinnati. He died, I'm sorry to say, of cholera in 1833, before his plan for development was carried out.

We marched on to new Bremen. We found it in no better shape than Stallotown, a pair of shabby blockhouses being the only signs of anything but wilderness. All around there was Federal land available at $1.25 per acre. We determined finally to settle here because the land pleased us. We hurried to Wapokoneta and each of us bought as much land as he could afford. Maurer bought 960 acres.

Now we returned to Hamilton where we picked up our families and brought them to their new homesites in New Bremen, which took until August of the year 1833.

Bremen had been laid out the year before by a man named Schroeder who was originally from Bremen, Germany. He suffered the same fate as Stallo, dying before his town was settled. In 1833 Jacob Maurer also died of the cholera, which was a hard blow to our little group.

Our founding fathers of that time have all left this temporal blessing. May the earth rest lightly on their bones."

  1. S K Bretches, email.
    (3 Nov 2014)

    Then to their son, John Henry Britzius born 4 May 1800 at Bisterschied, married Catharina Kutscher in 1828 at Bisterschied. They came to America in 1832, settling in Ohio. At that time they had three children. My great-grandfather was one of them, Jacob Britzius, later spelled Bretches, born 14 Dec 1828, married Lydia Ann Shafer on 20 Jan 1856 in Anna, Shelby County, Ohio.

  2. Ibid., email.
    (3 Nov 2014)

    My great-grandfather was one of them, Jacob Britzius, later spelled Bretches, born 14 Dec 1828, married Lydia Ann Shafer on 20 Jan 1856 in Anna, Shelby County, Ohio.

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Revised: February 19, 2018