My name is Joseph Conde. I was born in 1810 in Oppau, Rheinbaiern. My wife, my two children and I left my birthplace in 1839 in order to find a new home in America. In Havre we and many other immigrants embarked on our journey to New York by sailboat. We arrived in New York after 21 days and were fortunate to have had a very safe journey. From the captain of the flatboat, that he should provide us with sufficient food once each day for 7 days. We agreed on a certain price for our food and transportation. In New York before the start of our trip, we had to pay extra for the shipping of our belongings. Our travel expenses were then adjusted at the end of our journey in Buffalo. On the first day of our journey we found that there was not even enough food for half of the immigrants. Consequently, most of us quarreled with the captain and demanded to have what we had paid for. However, he decided that we would not receive anything more because of our inappropriate behavior. We were therefore forced to do the best we could for the whole week. Those who had extra money purchased food on the boat. The rest of us had to find food wherever we could. When we finally arrived in Buffalo, the captain of the faltboat demanded that we pay the agreed upon travel expenses, including food cost. He refused to give us our belongings until we had paid him. We discussed what we should do to avoid this injustice. As we were standing at the bank discussing the situation, a Jew appeared who could speak German. He became involved in our conversation. We told him our situation, and he responded to it, "you have to sue the captain." There was no one among us who could speak English. Also we did not know how we were to supposed find the "Squire" whom the Jew had mentioned, nor how to proceed with this "suit." The Jew, however, advised us, "If you give me five dollars, I will lead you to the Squire, and I will be your interpreter." We all collected enough money to pay the Jew his price. When he received his money, he led us to the Squire in Buffalo. We did not understand anything that transpired in front of the Squire, so we left our advocate to argue our case for us. We waited anxiously until the end. The decision was in our favor. Triumphantly we returned, escorted by two constables and our advocate, to our wives and children who had been waiting by the boat. We were as happy as if we had won a whole kingdom, even though it was only a matter of a few dollars for each one of us. But this money was supposed to help us create a new home in an unknown land and protect our wives and children from any misfortune. We, therefore, had to be frugal and had no money left to attract those who would take advantage of us. Both of the constables figured out what the captain of the flatboat could charge us. They forced the captain to give us our things, and we were very satisfied with out advocate and the whole proceeding.

From Buffalo we took another flatboat and arrived in Portsmouth on the Ohio River without any further incidents. From there we took a steamer to Pomeroy, Ohio. The journey from New York to Pomeroy took a day longer than our entire ocean voyage of 21 days. A few of us got out in Cleveland and traveled on in various directions. As far as I remember after 32 years, the following men came with me to Pomeroy: Johann Laubener with his wife and 6 children, Jacob Schwarz with only his wife, Johann Schuler with his wife and one child, Adam Reitz with his wife and four children, Johan Lentz and his wife, and Jakob Ulrich and his wife. Some of these men have already died, while others are still alive. A few of them went to the country and became farmers. The cobbler Adam Reitz, the mason Johann Lentz, Jacob Schwarz and I remained in Pomeroy. Johann Laubener immediately bought himself land and became a farmer. Jacob Ulrich is still alive and is presently living as a farmer in Athens County, Ohio.

When I arrived here in Pomeroy, I immediately found work in a shovel factory which was then located here. If I remember correctly, I received one dollar for one day's work. I worked in this factory for one year. Since I was a carpenter back home, I found a better job the following year in 1840. I worked for Horton, the coalmine owner, for whom I built the coalboats. These boats would transport coal to Cincinnati and further on. I am still in this business today. This is all I am able to tell you about my immigration from Germany to America.

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Learning About Our World: Germany
Ohio Department of Education
Last Updated: 14 April 1997, ARK