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Katharina (Storch) Boerner and Sons Come to U.S.

September 23, 2011

Two years after Martin arrived in the United States, in 1899, Katharina and their sons, Jacob, Johann, and Karl set sail aboard the Friesland* to join her husband and their father in Wisconsin. Katharina was 28 years old and had waited in Gaulsheim, Germany for word to follow Martin to the States. It was a common practice at that time for the men to go ahead of their families to America and look for work and housing.

According to the ship’s manifest, Katharina had $10 with her when she boarded the ship. She, Johann, and Jakob could all read and write, but young Karl could not yet. They left Antwerp, Belgium on July 1, 1899 and arrived at Ellis Island on July 11, 1899. One of the advances in travel in the 1890s was that steamships replaced the old sailing ships. This cut down travel time from an average of three months, to two weeks or less.

Passenger List for the Friesland.

When Martin came over, he moved to Kaukauna, WI to live with his brother, Bartle**. The ship’s manifest reports that Katherina’s destination was also Kaukauna, WI to meet up with her husband; the boys with their father, and each of them had a ticket to ride the railroad to there Wisconsin destination. As the family story tells it, Martin and Bartle had gone up to Niagara, WI that year for work. Bartle then returned to Kaukauna, but Martin stayed in Niagara. According to the book, Niagara Falling, by Carol D. Miller, “Martin and Katherine Storck Boerner moved from Germany to Kaukauna, so Martin could work at the Badger Paper Mill, but the mill burned, so he and his brother went to Niagara to find work. Martin stayed at the Grand View Hotel. Eventually he brought his family to live in one of the Kimberly-Clark homes built behind the mill.” (Miller got this information from Garvaglia, 1976:13.) Martin’s family had joined him in Niagara by the 1900 U.S. Census, less than a year after their arrival at Ellis Island. The family became long-time residents of Niagara.

One of the tragedies of the journey to America was that five-year Karl died about the time they arrived. Family tradition says that he died the day before they landed at Ellis Island and the family had him buried in New York. Ellis Island records do have him arriving on July 11 but he was not on the family’s U.S. Census record the following year. In the ship’s manifest above,  it looks like the phrase “in hospital” might apply to all three boys. Also on that page, the number of passengers changes from 29 to 26 if those boys were not released right away. More research needs to be done to settle this.

* Source:  New York Passenger Lists, 1820 – 1957 and Ellis Island records for Karl Borner.
**Source: New York Passenger Lists, 1820 – 1957.

From → Boerner/Storch

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