March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.
I have to admire the strength and courage of my great-grandmother, Augusta Sprengel Werner. She and her husband, Anton, lived in the most northern part of Germany near Koningsberg. It is said that they were peasants on a farm and had little food to eat. The landowner would lock the excess food away so his peasants wouldn't be able to get to it.
In March of 1888, Anton set out for the United States. Former tenants on the same farm had previously come to the United States and urged Anton and his family to come for a better life. Anton left behind his family knowing they would re-unite soon.
Anton made his way to Grafton, Ohio where he worked in the sandstone quarries. He worked very hard to have a home for when his family when join him.
Either just before, or just after Anton departed Germany, Augusta gave birth to their second son, Otto. The records indicate that Otto was either 2 weeks old or 2 months old when Augusta and her two sons set sail for America in April of 1888. The church record from Elyria, Ohio indicates that Otto was born in March of 1888.
It is not known if Augusta traveled with friends or family. It is known that she had two small children with her. She was leaving the only life she had ever known for an unknown future. Augusta was 27 years old. Family stories tell us that on the ship, Augusta became very ill. They were traveling in steerage. Her worldly possessions were only a feather bed and a wicker trunk. It is said that without the help and assistance of the other passengers, she would have died on that trip.
This is a picture of the ship Trave that Augusta and her sons traveled to America on
Augusta did survive the trip. She never learned to speak English very well and insisted her children speak German at home. Of course, being born in the United States, they were only learning German from their parents. It was difficult for the children. Six more children were born including my grandfather after they settled in to a life in Grafton, Ohio.
Would I have the same courage to make that kind of a move on my own? To move away from my family and all I knew? Time and circumstances dictate our choices in life. Perhaps it is just knowing you would have the opportunity have a better life or make a change that would be worth it in the end.