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BECKERLE BRANCH - PEARL RIVER NY Hesse Germany circa 1859 Churh where old BECKERLE homestead used to be (NOW PARKING LOT)
Beckerle Lumber Mystery INFO

SPOUSE OF JOHANN BECKERLE

Margaretha Bardon BECKERLE

Wars, Farms, and Railroads.

In 1859:

There was NO INTERNET.
There were NO computers.
There were NO airplanes.
There were NO cars.
There was NO TV.
There was NO radio.
There were NO telephones.
There weren't even electric LIGHTS!

November 3rd 1859, the Beckerle family arrived in America. The Beckerle's had lived for centuries as farmers in Germany. Why would a middle aged family pack up and leave there homeland? To understand the possible WHY's we have to go back to the world in 1859.

What WAS there in 1859?

There were a lot of royal monarchs.
There were a lot of farms and farmers.
Like today there were a lot of WARS.

Specifically, a war had broken out between the French under Napoleon III and the Austrians. A new invention was being utilized to aid in France's war efforts. The steam engine railroad. Europe had laid many miles of railroad tracks making a more efficient transport system than the existing horse and buggy. France rapidly moved its troops into the war zone via the railroads escalating the war with Austria. Germany was caught in the middle . Perhaps a German farmer's wife who was witnessing this turmoil foresaw the possibilities for a better future else where?

The following letter summarizes my speculative guess as to why the Beckerle's made the big move.
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Margaretha Bardon Beckerle b.1814 (Germany) d.1895 (America)
m. 18 jun 1840 Johannes Beckerle b. 8 jul 1812 (Germany) d.1897 (America)
Letter to sister: Catherine Bardon Cook in America circa 1859
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Catherine,
My sister you cannot believe the horror that life has become. After you left there is only talk of war and politics. France is still a menace to our way of life. There is talk that Prussia wants a unified Germany which also threatens our independence. We are just farmers. Johann works hard day and night. What has brought despair to us all is we have no control over our own destiny, it doesn't matter how hard we work. Bigger powers will determine our lot. Everything that we have worked so hard for, can be lost.

I refuse to give into the despair. I believe there is hope, but only if we leave our home. We have to leave. I know you have had problems in your adopted home. You have talked of a possible civil war, prejudice against the hessians and the language problems. I understand it is not easy anywhere today. But I have reason to hope that our future in America will be better than our future in Germany.

In America, we will at least have more control over our destiny. We will be leaving our royal monarch Grand Duke Louis III for democracy. Freedom. To me freedom is more than just a word. It is the hope that the future can be better than the past.

I have reason to hope.

I have witnessed the growth of the railroads here in Germany and how life has changed. I think there will be changes in America as your new country develops there railroads . Railroads need railroad stations, stores and hotels to service the new railroad passengers. I know we have always been farmers but perhaps this can provide us with future opportunities?

Johann has saved enough money to buy some land in your new country.

In your past letters you mentioned you know a Mr. Jacob F. Koch who is a large land owner that might be interested in selling some land. Dear sister, I have a proposal. Can you broker a land deal for us? Your knowledge of the area and Mr. Koch are invaluable to us. I entrust my families fate in your hands. We will be forever in your debt.

Your sister,
Margaretha Bardon Beckerle
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