Dorothy Bengener was ten years old when she along with her brothers and parents sailed for the new land of Texas in 1845. Early German noblemen had already visited and laid claim to some of the finest land in Texas. News of this traveled around Germany in the form of books, letters, and newspaper articles, and it wasn’t long before thousands of Germans began to answer the call including the Bengeners and the Papes. Johann Heinrich Bengener and Sophia Pape, their children and other Pape relatives boarded the ship Hercules on August 25, 1845 sailing from Bremen, Germany. A total of 170 immigrants were aboard.
On November 23, 1845 the ship arrived at Galveston, Texas and later sailed down the coast to Indianola where the passengers first set their feet on their new homeland before heading in land toward the Adelsverein, their final destination. The plans and dreams of my grandmother’s family and many other passengers was short lived, however. When their ship arrived, the weary passengers were greeted with disease and starvation.
Read their story in my forthcoming book “The Man I Met at the Airport” to learn more and to find out who the man is.