the following biographies demonstrate, the German newspapermen of
County came from a variety of
backgrounds. Some were born to rather
privileged families, while others came from more modest circumstances.
John G. Burkhardt
was the first editor of the Carroll
Demokrat. At present, very little
biographical information is available concerning him. He was 23 years old when he arrived in
Carroll in 1874. He had previously been
employed at the Beobachter am Missouri,
Omaha’s first German newspaper. He was editor, and for a time publisher, of
the Demokrat until he left Carroll in
July 1878 to work for a new German paper established by Dr. L. Rick in
Kinsley, Kansas. He
subsequently worked for other German papers in the “West” including papers in
Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Around
1900, he worked for the Gainesville Anzeiger in Cooke County, Texas, where there was a large German community,
including a number of transplants from Carroll County.
was a county representative and correspondent for Der Carroll Demokrat when it was established in 1874. He edited the paper from 1880 until 1891, and
again from 1919 until his death in 1922.
He also edited Die Germania for a time during the 1890s.
His full name was Franz
Ferdinand Chassot von Florencourt,
and he was born on September 1, 1844 to an upper-class family in Naumburg,
Saxony. When he was
5 years old, the family moved to Vienna, Austria, and converted to the Catholic religion. In 1854, the family moved to
Cologne, Germany, where his father, a well-known journalist,
established the Kölner Volks-Zeitung
(Cologne People’s Newspaper), a leading publication of one of Germany’s political parties.
attended school in Cologne, and later he was sent to a Benedictine school in Metten, Bavaria. He then
went to a naval academy in Bremen,
and when he was 22 years old he entered the merchant marine as an officer. He served one year as a volunteer in the
Prussian Navy, and then served until 1870 aboard various merchant ships,
traveling to many parts of the world.
When the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, he was aboard a ship
harbored in England, and by the time he returned to Germany his services were not needed. He came to the United States in December 1870, and then sailed from
New York as on officer on the American merchant ship Benefactor on a year-long trip to China and back.
In 1872, he traveled to Michigan, where he met his brother Carl. In April 1872, they
came together to Carroll
County and purchased farmland in
Wheatland Township. Franz worked at farming for
two years, and taught school for three years in Roselle (Hillsdale).
He was also with Der Carroll
Demokrat as county agent and correspondent beginning in 1874.
In 1886, he married Wilhelmina Von Lück, and
they had four children.
As noted above, he edited the
Demokrat from 1880 until 1891, and
also edited Die Germania
during the 1890s. He returned to the Demokrat as editor in 1919. He died in July 1922 due to complications
from an operation for appendicitis. His
funeral was at the Catholic church in Carroll.
Alois Becker edited Der Carroll Demokrat from approximately
1892 to 1900. He was born on
March 9, 1854 at Calcar, near
Kleve, on the lower Rhine River. In 1856, his family moved to
Essen, where Alois attended school and later trained to
be a dentist. In 1879, he married Sophie
Louise Viemann, and they eventually had four
After living in Essen for about three more years, the family immigrated
to America and moved to Carroll County, where Mr. Becker at first set up a dental practice. In 1891, he was named editor and business
manager of the Carroll Demokrat, and
he remained with the paper until October 1899.
The family then moved to Council Bluffs, where Mr. Becker took over the Freie Presse, a Democratic weekly paper, which
he edited and published until approximately 1908.
M. Dunck was born in Iowa and
raised on his parent’s farm near Maple
River, and he received his early education
in the public and parochial schools in Carroll
County. In 1887, he went to Teutopolis,
Illinois and attended St.
Joseph’s College for two years. He then returned to work on his father’s
farm, and received further tutoring from Father Roettler
in Mt. Carmel. In 1894, he obtained his B.A. degree from
Joseph’s College in Dubuque,
and five years later he obtained his M.A. from the same school.
For the next 10 years, he
worked as a schoolteacher. He was then
made editor of the Carroll Demokrat in
1905, and he worked at that until 1918.
He was a Demokrat and a member of the Catholic Church. He died in 1922
Huendling was the founder of Die Ostfriesische Nachrichten,
and was also the first pastor of the Wheatland Presbyterian Church near
Breda. He was born
in 1854 in Holte, Ostfriesland
(East Friesland), where he attended the public schools as a
youth. It is said that two of his
ancestors, a father and son, were pastors in a Calvinist church in Germany and
that they ministered the same church in the same little town for 105
consecutive years, from 1650 to 1755.
Huendling family immigrated to America in 1869.
After stopping for a time in Freeport, Illinois, they moved to Dubuque,
Huendling enrolled in the German Presbyterian College there, and he graduated
in 1876. Three years later he graduated
from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
During his summer vacation in 1878, he was invited to preach at the
Wheatland Presbyterian Church near Breda.
After being ordained a minister, he served as pastor of Wheatland
Presbyterian from 1879 to 1881.
then accepted a position for two years as a professor of languages at the
German Presbyterian College in Dubuque.
During this time, he recognized the need for a German-language newspaper
as a means of maintaining connections between the East Frisian populations in
the United States and their family, friends, and countrymen back in
Germany. He began publication of Die Ostfriesische Nachrichten in Dubuque in 1882.
Huendling moved the operation to Carroll County in 1884, and the paper was
printed on the presses at the Carroll
Herald until 1898, when the paper was moved to near Breda. As noted above, the newspaper served to connect
the East Frisian immigrants in America with their countrymen back home. In approximately 1907, Rev. Huendling hired
D. B. Aden to come from East Friesland to assist in
editing and publishing the paper.
Huendling married Nellie Daane in Sheboygan County,
Wisconsin in 1880. They eventually had
seven children. While living near Breda,
Rev. Huendling was also active in community affairs and worked to modernize the
quality of life in his rural area. In
the early 1900s, he advocated the installation of telephone and electrical
service, as well as establishment of a rural postal route. It is also said that he obtained the first
radio in the community, and one of the first automobiles in the area around
1910 or 1911. As a preacher, he was
known to walk for miles if necessary in order to minister to the local
population. He assisted in establishing
the Emmanuel Church in Carnarvon, in neighboring Sac
County, where he also preached. Rev.
Huendling died in 1937. The paper
continued to be published until approximately 1971.
Berthold Krause was born on January 4, 1863 in Bohemia, a
German-speaking area around Prague, and now part of the Czech Republic. After attending public school in his
hometown, he continued his studies at an advanced high school in Saaz (possibly present-day Žatec),
where he obtained an excellent classical and liberal arts education. It is said that he developed a fondness for
the great German playwrights, Schiller and Goethe, and that he then decided to become
a stage actor.
He immigrated to the United
States in 1883. Without funds at first,
he worked for a time in a store in Cleveland, and then as a farm hand and
railroad worker. He then went to Chicago,
where he worked with a theatre company and traveled with the troupe through
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
He later moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he became director of his own
company, the Davenport Theatre, said to be one of the best German theatres in
the country. While on a trip to Manning
with his troupe, it is said that Krause greatly enjoyed the thriving little
German town. He quit the theatre and
settled in Manning permanently, where he married and started a family.
Krause soon decided to start
a German newspaper to serve his new hometown, and the first edition of Der Manning Herold appeared on February
2, 1894. His new business faced many challenges in the first few years. At first, he created his type sets out of
cigar boxes, and a fire virtually destroyed the business in its early
days. At first he published the paper in
the Ruhden building, and in 1897 he moved into the
second floor of the Carpenter building.
Through his hard work and dedication, the paper prospered and
expanded. By 1900, circulation was
approximately 650, rising to 800 by 1910, and to 950 by 1915.
In addition to the newspaper,
Krause also published the Manning city directories, and in 1900 he published a
hardback History of Manning, which
had been complied by J. L. Robb. Krause
was also a member of the school board, and it is said that he worked hard to
ensure that German was taught in the local school system.
Krause died on June 15, 1907, at the age of 42.
After his death, the paper was taken over by Peter Rix,
a German farmer who was motivated to carry on the paper because of his
friendship to Krause as well as love for his native German culture.
became publisher of the Manning Herold
upon the death of the former owner, Berthold Krause,
in 1907. Rix
was said to be motivated in carrying on the business due to his friendship for
Krause, as well as his love for his native German language and culture.
After approximately three
years, in 1910, Rix sold the Herold to Paul Werner and Carl Hasselman. Rix was appointed
postmaster in 1915 and served until 1925.
In 1919, shortly after the end of World War I, Rix
purchased an English-language paper called the Manning Monitor. The Herold was then merged into the Monitor, and thereafter Rix and Paul Werner published the paper together. The loss of the town’s only German paper was
a sad blow to many German residents of Manning. Peter Rix retired
from publishing the paper in 1945, and her died in 1951.
Clemence A. Bohnenkamp
Clemence A. Bohnenkamp ran the Breda Watchman from 1894 to 1909.
He was born in Breda on February 23, 1877, the eldest son of John H. and
Caroline Bohnenkamp. He attended public
school and graduated in 1891. He learned
the art of typesetting as an employee at the Breda Watchman, an English-language newspaper started in 1890 by J.
J. McMahon. Bohnenkamp became manager of
the paper and eventually purchased the business in 1894. He married Christina Ricke in 1898. The Watchman
went out of business in 1909 when Bohnenkamp moved to Duncomb,
Iowa to start a new paper.
Langenfeld was an editor at Der Carroll Demokrat from 1901 to 1904. He was born November 24, 1855 at Rübhausen, in the Rhine Province of Germany. He attended school there until he immigrated
to America with his parents in 1869. The
family settled first near Mendota, Illinois.
In 1874, the family moved to Carroll County, Iowa, where they farmed
about a mile north of where Halbur is now located.
William became a teacher in
1878, and during the winter months he taught school in Roselle (Hillsdale) and
Washington Townships and later took over a school in Roselle. In 1883, he married Gertrude Rohlmann, a native of Germany who had come to America with
her family in the 1870s. In 1888, he
moved to Arkansas for approximately three years, and then he returned to
Carroll County in 1891.
Upon his return, he worked as
the station agent in Halbur for approximately nine years. He then moved to Carroll, where he edited Der Carroll Demokrat from 1901 to
1904. In early 1904, he became deputy
county treasurer, and he was elected county treasurer in 1908. He belonged to the Democratic Party, and he
and his wife were Catholics.
As seen above, Carroll
County’s German newspapers prospered during the late 1800s and early
1900s. The Carroll Demokrat and the Manning
Herold together probably had over 2000 subscribers prior to World War
I. Both papers, however, went out of
business shortly after the war ended in 1918—the Herold in 1919, and the Demokrat
in 1922. Only the Ostfriesische Nachrichten,
with its greater circulation around the country, managed to survive.
Anti-German sentiment caused
by the war undoubtedly played a role in the demise of both papers. During and shortly after the war, there was a
great deal of hostility directed at the German population in Iowa, and Germans were denounced by many politicians and
newspapers around the state. In May
1918, Governor Harding had even gone as far as issuing a proclamation totally
outlawing the use of all foreign languages in public—this included things like
telephone conversations and even church services. On numerous occasions, this hostility also
resulted in acts of vandalism against German property and violence against
persons of German descent. People were
assaulted, and homes and business were attacked. Many “patriots” adopted the practice of
dousing German homes and business with yellow paint. As seen above, this once happened to the
building housing the Manning Herold. Similar episodes also took place in Carroll,
as noted in the following short article printed in the English-language Ruthven Free Press in August 1918:
Splattered with three batches of yellow paint, the sign
on the German Savings Bank at Carroll, stands as mute testimony of that
community’s growing ire against those who control this institution. This bank is a festering sore in
Carroll. Its stubborn refusal to change
its name is arousing countrywide feeling.
This is the third application.
In essence, during and even
after the War, public displays of “Germanness” were
unpopular and even dangerous. Numerous German papers in Iowa, and throughout
the United States, either went out of business or changed to English-language
publications during this time.
Another reason for the
decline of the German press was the fact that the number of German-born
residents was declining. By 1920, many of
the early German settlers who had come to Carroll County between the late 1860s
and 1880s had passed away. A comparison
of the Carroll County census figures for 1900 and 1920 indicates that the
number of people actually born in Germany had declined dramatically during this
period. This undoubtedly also led to a
drop in the demand for German-language publications.
For nearly half a century, however, Carroll
County’s German papers served to inform, entertain, and unite the Germans
residents in Carroll County. During
their day, they played a major role in fostering and preserving the German
culture and language. They fulfilled the
role of the German press, as described in 1900 by Joseph Eiboeck,
editor of the Iowa Staats
Anzeiger in Des Moines:
newspaper, whether daily or weekly, delivers the up to date information of
events and information of the present.
It is the public observation of the day.
It strives to bring everything before the reader in as true and reliable
a manner as the prevailing circumstances a permit the editor and publisher to
present. It brings the reader a picture
of life, how it is, and also how it could and should be. It grieves with the family when a member
passes away or when pain or misfortune strikes.
It offers congratulations at the arrival of a new baby, and strews roses
on the path of the newlyweds. It
furthers German clubs, German churches, German schools, and goes to battle for
many a German candidate in politics. It
strives greatly for the well-being of its patrons, as well as for that of the
town and the state.
NOTES AND SOURCES FOR CHAPTER FOURTEEN:
Much of the information contained in this chapter is
taken from various issues of Der Carroll
Demokrat. The general county and
Iowa histories used in previous chapters were also used here. Eventually, I would like to expand the
sections dealing with the other papers.
Hopefully, additional issues of all of these papers will eventually be
discovered. Information on the Ostfriesische Nachrichten
was obtained in the Breda centennial book and from the Wheatland Presbyterian
Church centennial book. Information
about the Manning Herold was obtained
from the Manning centennial book and from J.L. Robb, History of Manning (Manning 1900).
The outstanding web site maintained by David Kusel
of Manning was also extremely helpful: <davidkusel.com>. Information on
the Demokrat, the Monitor, and some German newspapermen
was also obtained from Joseph Eiboeck, Die Deutschen von
Iowa und deren Errungenschaften
[The Germans of Iowa and their
Achievements] (Des Moines 1900).
Dates and statistics for these papers were obtained from Karl Arndt and
May Olson, Deutsch-Amerikanische
Zeitungen und Zeitschriften
1732-1955 [German-American Newspapers and Journals 1732-1955] (New York and
London 1955 Reprint).