History books tell as a lot about  emperors and kings, princes and archbishops, but not about people like you and me. Little is known about those people who in the early modern age left their beloved homeland because they were suffering hunger and hardships, or persecution for their beliefs. This story is about Rhinelanders who left their home to build up and new life for themselves in America. Nonetheless, they always kept in touch with their German relatives. We will accompany them through German and American History from the time of Louis XIV of France until the Great War and the Allied Rhineland occupation.

New Homeland Pennsylvania

Quebec

King George’s War

[America, around 1740] Ambrose had gotten a sister whom they had named Betty, after Anton’s beloved Lisbeth. Both children were proud of their “Merry Dragon” inn. Sometimes they showed the guests their rooms or laid the […]

Bonn around 1700

The Escape

[Rhineland, 1714]  After many years of fighting, the War of the Spanish succession (1701-14) was finally over. Elector-Archbishop Joseph Clemens of Cologne of the powerful Wittelsbach family, who had sided with King Louis XIV of […]

Amish Family in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

[America, 1715] Lady Meredith’s small country house had become a jewel. Working together with his friends and Lady Meredith’s brother Lord Ruben, who had given them a warm welcome, they had quickly built an annex […]

"Merry Dragon" country inn

Colonial America

[America, around 1725] For ten years Anton had been living in New World. He had a fine stone house at the Brandywine Creek near Chadds Fort. He and Andy had helped building a country road which […]

American Indian warriors in the woods

French and Indian War

[America, 1754] Shortly after Anton’s death, his friends Lady Meredith and Lord Ruben passed away too. But the friendship between the two families helped them through the time of grief, and they knew that they would […]

Subjects and Citizens

Leaving

The Bergmanns leave

[Rhineland, around 1815] Restoration After the victory over Napoleon, the statesmen of Europe gathered at the Congress of Vienna restored the old order. The whole of the Rhineland, Westphalia, and some other territories fell to […]

Moscow 1812

Napoleon’s defeat

[Europe, 1812] Since Napoleon could not conquer England, he intended to fight it by economic means, and decreed the Continental system: no country was allowed to trade with England, no harbor was allowed to let English […]

French soldier at the Rhine

Napoleon at the Rhine

[Rhineland, 1794]  While at the Potomac the new capital came into being, no stone remained unturned in Europe. The French Revolution shattered Europe’s monarchies, soon war broke out. Napoleon and the Rhine frontier (1794-1803, Germany) […]

A young man wearing black-red-gold

Revolution 1848 in Germany

[America and Germany, 1848/49] In May 1848 one saw a new decoration at the Merry Dragon Inn. Next to the American flag there was a black, red and golden one. Beaming with joy, Niklas shared […]

"Merry Dragon" country inn

No time for books

[America, around 1820] For some years now Niklas and Heinrich Bergmann had been living in America. It was a good life, they had worked hard and could live in financial security now. Above all, they […]

Years of War

Fort Sumter

North and South

[America, around 1860]  A large country had come into being, but not homogeneous one. The “house divided” In the North, farmers cultivated their own small estates and with agricultural workers, here manufacturing and industry flourished, […]

Mountain Men vineyard, 1865

Reconstruction

[America, 1865] In an embittered civil war the North prevailed. No one felt like celebrating, the wounds sustained from the war were too deep. After the war Annelie shuddered at the thought of General Sherman and […]

Chambersburg 1864

Defeated South

[America, 1865] In an embittered civil war the North prevailed. No one felt like celebrating, the wounds sustained from the war were too deep. After the war Annelie shuddered at the thought of General Sherman […]

Neuville, Prussian-French War

Prussian-French War

[Europe and America, 1870/71] In France, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte ruled, a nephew of Napoleon I. After his failure in Mexico, he badly needed a success in his foreign policy. At the same time, the much aggrandized […]

Castle Garden, New York

Castle Garden

[America, around 1850] A few weeks later Niklas and Heinrich Bergmann, now seasoned gentleman, stood on the pier in New York and waited for Lorenz. He had had just enough time in London to telegraph the […]

The Land of Limitless Possibilties

Rhine at Königswinter around 1900

Memories of Germany

[Rhineland, around 1893/94] A few weeks later, Lorenz and Annelie were on board of a huge steamer on their way to Germany. The shipping companies competed for size and comfort, soon floating palaces like the Titanic […]

Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz, the statesman

[America, around 1870/80] Senator (1869-1875, America) Carl Schurz loved his new homeland; here all that he had fought for back then in Germany should become reality. He was now living in St. Louis, and was […]

New Palais, Park Sanssouci, Potsdam

Old fatherland and new

[Germany and America, around 1890] In Germany, the year 1888 saw three Emperors: Emperor Wilhelm I died in March, greatly mourned by his country. His son Friedrich III was suffering from incurable laryngeal cancer and died, […]

Ellis Island

Lady Liberty and Ellis Island

[America, 1895] Two years after Lorenz and Annelie’s visit to Germany, Sophie’s dream had come true. With her daughter Lottie and her son-in-law Matthias she stood at the southern tip of Manhattan, looking out over the […]

"Merry Dragon" Country inn

Uncle Harvey

[America, around 1877] After the Civil War, more and more settlers moved to the West, throughout the prairies and the west new cities came into being, railroads and stagecoaches opened up the West. To the […]

The Great War

Rhine ferry Mehlem - Königswinter

Will France annex the Rhineland?

According to the armistice, the left bank of the Rhine had to be evacuated by December 4th 6 am. For most people defeat had come as a complete surprise, because until the very last moment […]

Belgium 1914

“Halt the Hun” War Propaganda

[USA, 1917/18] Shaken, Chiara looked at the Liberty Bonds she was about to buy. On it was a creature with a Pickelhaube abgebildet, so obviously a German. It was completely dehumanized, and even a gorilla did […]

Austria-Hungary 1919

Austria-Hungary 1918

[Austria-Hungary, 1918] Already in the last days of the war, the Czechs, Galician, Polish, Slovenes and Croats had broken with Austria-Hungary. In Transylvania, Romania had assumed power.The Hungarian government had broken off the the Union with […]

Armistice

[Germany,  November 1918] At the the end of September, the High Command had informed Kaiser Wilhelm II that there was no more hope, and that Germany had to ask for an armistice upon Wilson’s “Fourteen Points”. […]

Lusitania 1915

War at the sea .. naval blockade and U-boats

[May 1915] Already in August 1914, Great Britain had established a naval blockade, cutting off Germany from imports of all kinds. It was not a close blockade with warships being placed in sight of the blockaded […]

American Forces in Germany

A boy wearing an "army coat"

Rebuilding one’s life after the war

[Rhineland, spring 1920] The young Weimar Republic was overshadowed by political turmoil and great need. Many people blamed the republican politicians rather than their wartime leaders for the defeat and the hard Treaty of Versailles. Back […]

Wilson and Coolidge

The United States withdraw from Europe

[USA and Germany, 1920/21] In the USA, the political situation changed decisively. President Wilson was exposed to hostility from all sides. During a campaign for the Versailles peace treaty, he collapsed and remained seriously ill for […]

Putsch in Berlin, 1920

Kapp-Putsch and Red Ruhr Army

[Germany, March 1920] The first years of the young republic were civil war like. The deep political rift, the hatred and willingness to use violence troubled Kathi und Max. They both were mourning Hugo Haase, chairman […]

Bonn 1919

A family reunion after the war

[Rhineland, autumn 1919] By the end of September, fraternization was finally allowed, and both Germans and American soldiers seemed pleased. On the way to Bonn Some weeks later Chiara and John rode on a train from […]

Grapes

Farewell

[Rhineland, 1921] In the USA, the political situation had changed decisively, most people wanted a return to normality, the USA should concentrate on their own country and not get involved in international conflicts. No ratification The […]