About PetersPioneersNotebook of John Adam Schickell

Richard Drueke obtained this translation of John Adam Schickell's notebook.

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Version 1, written in Tiffin, Ohio, before the Schickells moved to Grand Rapids in 1853

Family Tree of

Johannes Adamus Schickell, born in Europe in the year 1795 in the month of July in the place Kassel. Seat of the State Court. Kingdom of Bavaria under Mainkreiss. Married Maria Eva Schum born in 1805. In the year 1820 ... in the above named place. We lived with each other 15 years in the above named place and were blessed with children

Maria Veronika the 14th of December 1820.
Anna Apolonia born 14 September 18 died
Johannes Andomis...1824 died
Johannes Nepomuk....1826 died
Maria Augusta .....1828 May the 3rd
Maria Amalia..... 1830 October 6th
Peter Cresszenius.......1833 January 17th
Maria Apolonia.......1835 April 13th
Franzisskus Xavierus.......1837 July died
Josephus.......1839 September 23rd died

1834 on the 27th of August, we emigrated to America on the ship "Johannes" from Bremen to Baltimore. And (we were) on the ship 60 days. We were in Baltimore 80 days. Then we went to Pittsburgh and stayed 14 days where I bought a horse and with an extra little wagon that I had brought from Germany because I myself had travelled to Bremen with my family and sold my horse that same evening at the Duke of Cambridge Inn to a jolly [..] man for the price of 22 Thalers and as much beer as one could drink. So from Pittsburgh again I traveled with my own wagon to Canton, Ohio then further on to Seneca County, City Tiffin and 6 miles from there bought 40 acres of land from two Germans and leased an additional 40 acres, so 80 acres of land where I had to live very poorly for a year and a half.

After this I traded the land to a Doctor Kressbach for a block house in the city of Tiffin and held music school, then it went somewhat better, but bread was very expensive. 16 dollars for a sack of flour.

But it went better all the time. I got a lot of work with the music school and often got 100 Dollars a month.

Version 2, written in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after the death of Maria Eva in 1878

Family Tree - (Second Version)

Johannes Adamus Schickell born in Europe in the year 1795 in the month of July. At that time the Kingdom of Bavaria in the jurisdiction of Mainkreiss State Court in the locality of Kassell. Married to Maria Eva whose maiden name was Schumm and who was born in the above named town of Kassell in 1800. We lived together for 15 years in the town of Kassell where our parents are buried and were blessed with children....

Anna Maria Veronika born on the 14th of December 1820
Anna Apolonia born on the 14th of September 1822. Died on the 14th of March 1823
Johannes Andonius born February 1824. Died 19 April 1825
Johannes Nepomuk born 15th May 1826. Died 17th June 1832
Maria Augusta born 3rd May 1828
Maria Amalia born 6th October 1830
Peter Cresszenssius born 17th January 1833
Maria Apolonia born in America 1835 in Ohio Seneca County
Franciscus Xaverius born in America 1837. Died 26 September in Ohio
Josephus born in Ohio 3rd September 1839, participated in the war in the southern states and lies buried in Columbus, Ohio

Before I go any further, I have to write about life in America as I understand it. When I arrived in Baltimore from the great ocean after 62 days, there stood people by the hundred on the land. It was on a Saturday afternoon. I looked at them. They were all white people, but no brother, or sister or friends. My eyes became moist. There I am with my four children and wife (and) no friend or acquaintance.

A [...] person came into the ship and yelled out loudly "Is anyone on this ship from Gelnhausen?" "I approached her and said, "Yes". She looked at me and immediately said, "You are Schickell from Kassel! - Now you will go with me to Affron." She was the wife of Affron from Gelnhausen who had emigrated the year before to America, where I could not go yet. Well, I went with her to her home. She made me a good (cup of) coffee which I enjoyed greatly, and Affron went with me to the ship and brought my wife and children also a nice refreshment. We had to stay over on the ship on Sunday.

I had my crates full of instruments. The sailors told me that whoever had some wares had to pay duty on them. Tomorrow the inspector was coming. Now what should I do?.... I should open the crates and Affron with 3 or 4 others would slowly carry the instruments off the ship. I did so, and the sailors were helpful to me, and so he carried all of my instruments away. And so Affron, a Jew, was my first friend in America.

Now, as far as life in America is concerned, there are people from all four corners of the world here and so many religions that I can't count. Many Germans, though, are nothing more than freethinkers and scoffers the greatest part of which are with the Bohemians. The Jews are very strong and are loved by the Americans.

In America, freedom of religion is protected by the constitution. It is a rich land. Whoever works hard and budgets well will soon come to a good home. The American says, "Sweet Home".

That is, if one remains healthy and is honest. Roving beggars are not tolerated. Every county (or Bezirk in German) must take care of its own poor. - J.A. Schickell


I built my house to standard, taking my work very much into consideration and built it 60 by 80 deep and established myself in commercial life where 1 did very well, as long as I could take care of everything myself and with my own. Finally, I sold to Adams for 22 hundred dollars cash, and moved with my family in April of 1853 to Grand Rapids, Michigan. As I write this - and the Lord has done well by us, our fortune has increased somewhat. We gave each of my 5 living children 1000 dollars and still have something left to live on. Thank God for that.

I arranged for a German church here, which didn't go very well because we were still too weak..

There is now a second German one starting up to which I have given 150 dollars in books.

This is written as an observation of human existence. I am now in July 1871, 76 years old. My wife is 71, and may God be thanked that we are still alive.

[Following is the last page, written several years later, when his wife died.]

Gold Words (Proverbs)

If you buy, pay honestly.

If you promise and make debts -

He who promises much is often in danger and easily becomes a liar.

A word, a word,
A man, a man,
Making a promise and keeping it,
Is becoming to young and old. [translater's note: It rhymes in German!]

In Domine Confito
I trust in the Lord

My wife, Maria Eva, died in 1878 at the age of 78 years on the 24th of September at 9:30 in the evening.

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