German immigration to Wisconsin began in 1839, when land was sold at $1.25 per acre for those willing to suffer the three month journey. After a 4,000-mile journey, these hearty souls had to journey another 900 miles inland to their destination near Lake Michigan. But why?
In the 1830s, Germany was divided into multiple states such as Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria and Austria. Pomerania, which is now part of Poland was under German control which became a problem when they attempted to force all the churches to unite. Rathe than compromise their beliefs, a group of devoted Lutherans in Pomerania opted to head for the land of the free - America.
In 1839, forty families from Pomerania, Northern Germany, arrived in Freistadt, now located in Mequon, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They suffered the journey specifically for religious freedom. The first building they constructed was a church, where sermons were preached in their native language until the mid-1900s.
These images are from a 1976 documentary called Destination America, telling the story of these German (and some Irish) immigrants to Wisconsin.
If you're interested in German immigrants to Wisconsin, watch the short film from Archive.org free: [Alternate Link]
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