The Giessen Society
In 1834, the Giessen Emigration Society arrived in Missouri under the leadership of Friedrich Muench and his brother-in-law Paul Follenius, who was married to Friedrich's and Georg's younger sister, Marie. Georg would follow his older brother to America a few years later.
Named after the University of Giessen in Germany, the goal of the group was to form a democratic state in the New World that would serve as a model for the future Germany, which was still a disunified patchwork of independent principalities. Muench and Follenius were political revolutionaries working for a democratic Germany, and were being monitored by the authorities. Paul's older brother, Karl, had been forced to flee Germany already.
While the society’s dream did not work out entirely as planned, the related families settled in Dutzow and Augusta, along with other German immigrants living along the Missouri River.
This is a lithograph of the Medora, upon which Friedrich Muench's contingent of the Giessen Emigration Society sailed for America. Rolf Schmidt discovered the lithograph in the state archives in Altenburg, Germany. An inscription reads "Ship Medora, Captain Griffith, sailing from Bremen for Baltimore June 3, 1834." Friedrich Muench's contingent landed at Baltimore and traveled to Missouri via the Ohio River, while Paul Follenius' group landed at New Orleans and headed up the Mississippi River. (From Vieth, Richard F., "A Young Person's History of the Muench Family in America and Germany," 2011.)