The largest group of Wends came to Texas in 1854 on the Ben Nevis, but they weren’t the first (or last) Wends to emigrate. Two smaller groups arrived in 1849 and 1853, and others came after the War Between the States and into the twentieth Century.
Frank Wissel’s great-grandfather, Andreas Mattijetz, was six years old when his family departed from Bremen on the brig Reform as part of the 1853 group.
Frank has written “A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams” as a work of historical fiction, chronicling the journey from the Andrea’s perspective. Andreas who was born in Kaschel, Saxony, experiences a number of new things over the course of the journey – steam locomotives, sailing ships, and steamships. Ultimately the trip doesn’t go as planned, but the experiences are remarkable!
A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams is available both as a Kindle edition via Amazon (https://amzn.to/2IdMIvV) for $4.99 as well as a print edition via Frank (email email@example.com for more information) for $7.95.
I purchased the Kindle edition last week and over the course of about a week, I read several chapters a night to my children before they went to bed.
Amazon states that the book is targetted at fourth to sixth graders, but I found that my son, who just completed the second grade, enjoyed the story just as much as my daughter, who just completed the sixth.
My children’s ancestors (on their mother’s side) came over on the Ben Nevis the following year, but this was still a fantastic opportunity for them to learn more about their heritage and why the Wends came to Texas in the first place. Several times we paused and talked about related questions like “Why didn’t they use a ship with a metal hull?” and discussed the situation in the Lutheran churches in Prussia and Saxony and how the letters the 1853 group sent home led to the 1854 group coming to Texas.
When we got to the end of the book Sunday night, my children wanted to know more about what happened to Andreas and his family. Frank, you may need to write a sequel – I bet the story of Andreas’s move from Texas to California, and the items he patented is interesting too!
Kindle Edition ($4.99): https://amzn.to/2IdMIvV
Print Edition ($7.95): Email Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org