The Immigration of Johann Gottlieb Lehman and Family

Until the 1880ís Germans in Russia could own land, practice their faith, and need not serve in the Czarís army. In the 1880ís the Czar began a Russification program whereby Germans could not only land unless they spoke Russian and practiced the Russian Orthodox faith. Also they could be conscripted into the army. Additionally in this period there was racial animosity against anyone not Russian.

According to the southern Lehman family, in 1891 Johann Gottlieb Lehman had sons that were conscripted into the Russian Army. The army was a nasty place to work but it did provide Christmas vacations. When the sons returned home for Christmas in 1891, the Johann Gottlieb Lehman and Anna Florentine Spitzer, their sons, their families, the Fietz family, and even Louise Lehman Hoffman (Johann Gottlieb Lehmanís aunt) gathered together in Grunwald, Kiev, Russia. They had sold almost all their belongings. Late January 3, 1892, they all boarded dog sleds and set out across the snowfields of the Ukraine into Poland. It was late at night and secret since the sons were then Russian Army deserters so could be shot if caught.

They must have transferred from dogsleds to other form of transportation and eventually made it to Bremerhaven, Germany. They left for Baltimore aboard on the Karlsruhe on January 27, 1892. Their first stop was to be a visit to the Wilhelm Otto family of Ottenheim, Kentucky; they were related to Wilhelm's wife, Caroline nee Spitzer; they migrated to the US in 1884 and probably bought the land as soon as they arrived in New York City where there was an Ottenheim sales office. They went through immigration in Baltimore on March 19, 1892 and then onward to Kentucky. Note the latter and the former dates are too far apart as it doesnít take two months by sea so perhaps the actual departure date was a bit later.

Son Jacob Lehmanís daughter Pauline, born 12 June 1889 in Grunwald, perished on the last day of the voyage. Grandfather Johann Gottlieb carried her wrapped in his coat when they disembarked. Pauline was wrapped in a blanket and taken though immigration by grandmother. They took the train to Kentucky and buried Pauline in Ottenheim, Kentucky on 21 March 1892. (This story is from the Family History written by Lester Lehman and also told by Sharon Poll.)

Although they initially went to Kentucky to visit the Wilhelm Otto family located there, they soon migrated to Arkansas where other relatives had already settled and Wisconsin. Others in their party stayed in Ottenheim; in particular, the Jesswein families stayed in Ottenheim.

Ottenheim Kentucky (also know as Lutherheim) was developed in 1883 by Jacob Ottenheimer. The idea was for Kentucky to the attract immigrants going to the west. Ottenheimer purchased 20000 acres at about $3.50 an acre; the land was marginal farming land and was sold at $7 per acre to immigrants. Ottenheimer's company was based in New York City and sold the land to arriving immigrants like our Wilhelm Otto family and the Jesswein family.


From the passenger list (from Sharon Poll):

Louise Hoffmann, age 55, was from Russia, in good health, was in possession of a ticket, had $80.00 in her possession, was a Protestant, and her destination is listed as Kentucky.

Ludwig Lehmann, age 30, married, five in his family, from Russia, in good health, was in possession of a ticket, had $700.00 in his possession, was a Protestant, and his destination is Kentucky. He was a farmer. His wife Caroline, age 31, from Russia, was in good health, in possession of a ticket, was a Protestant, and her destination was Kentucky.



Their ship, the KARLSRUHE
The "Karlsruhe" was built by Fairfield Co Ltd, Glagow in 1889 for North German Lloyd of Bremen. She was a 5,057 gross ton ship, length 415ft x beam 48ft, straight stem, one funnel, two masts, steel construction, single screw and a speed of 13 knots. There was accommodation for 44-1st, 36-2nd and 1,955-3rd class passengers. Launched on 31/8/1889, she started her first Bremen - New York - Baltimore crossing and on 28/9/1892 commenced her first voyage from Bremen to Australia via the Suez Canal. On 8/2/1902 she started her last voyage from Bremen to New York and Baltimore, on 18/12/1902 her last Bremen - Baltimore voyage (37 N.Atlantic crossings), 16/5/1906 saw her last Bremen - Australia voyage (19 voyages) and on 22/9/1906 she started her last Bremen - S.America voyage (3 voyages). She was scrapped in 1908.] North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.2,p.554.] October 7, 1999