by Harold Hoeft, 1980 Return to family page
During the first third of the 19th century the country from which our forefathers came was in somewhat of a political and cultural unrest. Germany was experiencing great difficult in dealing with its states in an economic way. In 1818 it decided to institute the "Zollverein", the customs union of the German states that was formed to help establish national unity. The economic depression did much to cause unrest among the Germans, as did also the absolute monarchial spirit that the Prussians were trying to put over.
Also present was the gloom of the threat of ecclesiastical tyranny which was more cause for unrest. The state provided compulsory religious education and rigorously prescribed the rites of baptism, confirmation, marriage and burial for all its citizens.
The attractions of the New World were most alluring in the light of all of this German unrest; and a few notables, including Gottfried Duden who settled near Dutzow in Warren County, Mo., directed much attention to the New World. Duden had come over to our shores in 1824 and had written home about the prospects in America. The stories he wrote back told about the availability of fertile soil, low taxes, and above all, religious freedom. All of this was indeed alluring to many back in the German homeland.
A few pioneer families had emigrated to America prior to 1830, but after the revolution of that year mass emigration to America started and the largest group to come over were the so-called "Thirty-twoers" who came over in 1832. A group of ten thousand arrived that year.
It is not known if FRIEDERICH JOHANN BRUEGGEMANN, who was born in Germany in 1824, came to America with the "Thirty-twoers" or not, but it was sometime in the 1830's when he arrived. He settled and grew to manhood in the Cappeln area of St. Charles County, Mo. And pursued farming as his way of life. In 1854 he was married to MARIE E. KEMPER who was born on February 8, 1837.
They started their life together and raised their family under primitive conditions as we know them now, but faith and hard work carried them through many tasks and hardships.
Their first child, a daughter LOUISE, was born unto them on July 30, 1855 and she grew to adulthood to be married and have a family of her own.
Their second child, a son HENRY, was born unto them on January 11, 1858 and he, too, became an adult and had a family.
A third child, a daughter named EMMA, came to bless their home on May 15, 1860. She , too, grew to adult womanhood and later married and had offspring.
When the Civil War broke out FRIEDERICH was drafted into the military to do battle. The story is told that after Friederich had been in the service for some time he came home on furlough to visit his family, and the children did not recognize him because of the beard that he had grown.
With FRIEDERICH, the husband and father, away from home during his military service, the wife, MARIE, had extra hardships cast upon her to keep life moving. On one occasion it became necessary for Louise and Henry to go to a neighbor's house during the night, carrying a lantern so they could see, to secure help in getting a doctor. The neighbors, in turn, went to get the doctor. The children were less than 10 years old when they did this, so one can see that it took courage on even the youngsters part to make life work.
A fourth child, another daughter CAROLINE, came into their home on July 10, 1863. She, too grew to adulthood and eventually had a family of five children.
By the time their fifth and last child was born the Civil war had ended and life was probably pretty much back to normal. On July 8, 1870 JOHN made his appearance to complete the family. When John was born he cried so much that the parents thought that he was quite sick and might not live, so the father, Friederich, went during the night and brought the minister to the house to have John baptized. After he had been baptized JOHN stopped crying and nothing more seemed to wrong with him. The saying was, "he cried so that he could be baptized". John grew to adulthood and took his place in the realm of the business world.
FRIEDERICH departed this life on June 6, 1891 in his 63rd year and MARIE passed away on March 12, 1895 in her 59th year. They are both at rest in St. Johns United Church of Christ Cemetery, Cappeln, St. Charles County, Mo.