Saalman Family Website by todd saalman

Christian Saalmann in Union Army uniform - painting from photo

Reinhard Gottfried Christian Saalmann

25 Jan 1829 - Jul or Aug, 1864

On Then, To America

Family tradition holds that Christian was to become a weaver and expected to take up the part-time 'Tenther' duties of his ancestors. (A 'Tenther' was a tax collector, collecting 10% of a peasant's production for the local authorities.) But he didn't want to be conscripted into the Prussian Army nor to serve as Tenther. [See this transcript of a published interview with Estel Saalman, great-grandson of Christian.]

At age 23, Christian married Dorothea Christiana Rühling, also from Hoym. Their first child, a son named Carl, died in infancy. If not for the chaos of the time, Christian would have had a reasonably secure life with his trade and hereditary duties. But few were free of fear and many harbored thoughts of freedom and security.

It would not be coincidental that in November, 1853, Christian and Dorothea named their second child Christopher Columbus, a harbinger of their flight from occupied, wracked homeland to America.

Emigrant Sailing Ship In the spring of 1854, 25 year old Christian, along with his widower father Johann Christian, wife Dorothea and their four month old son Christopher Columbus had arrived in the port city of Hamburg. This year, the number of German emigrants leaving for America from Hamburg had risen to some 51,000. On April first, Christian and family boarded a sailing ship for the crossing to New York. The rest of their families stayed behind. Thirteen ships left Hamburg that day; eleven were headed for America.

The family arrived in New York on May 16, 1854, after 45 days on the open sea. They took a small boat, which was pulled by two horses walking along the riverbank, up the Hudson River, and made their way to Detroit.

The Erie Canal. 1829

They stayed in Detroit a little more than a year, and Christian supported his family there by working as a weaver. In late 1855 they moved to Indianapolis where, in November of that year, their daughter Hermiena Dorothea was born. At some time early after their arrival in America they dropped the typical German "nn" ending to their name; Saalmann became Saalman.

They stayed in Indianapolis three years, living in a house on Elm Street. They had another daughter, Anna Amenda, and Christian supported his family by cutting cord wood and clearing land. He had saved enough money by 1858 for them to move to the small town of Branchville, in Oil Township, Perry County, Indiana, in what is now the Hoosier National Forest.

There he bought a 40 acre farm from a man named Joseph A. Lynch a couple of miles out of town. On November 6, 1861, they had their fifth and last child, my great-grandfather, Joseph Christian.

Christian's father, Johann Christian Saalmann, who accompanied his son, daughter-in-law and grandson Christopher Columbus to the New World, never met his youngest grandson, having died less than four months earlier, on July 22, 1861. He is buried in the Walker Cemetery in Branchville, where many Saalmans lie.

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