This had been a horrible day for Concordia Teichmann. Her son Emil had made the decision to leave his home in Delitz am Berge and emigrate to America. Today had been his last day at home, her husband Friedrich had just left to take him to the train station in Halle, from where he would take the train to Bremen and then the boat “Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse” to New York, where he was supposed to arrive on March 28, 1912. And it wasn’t only HIS last day at home, it was HER last day with her little boy, the last time for her to see him, to talk to him and to hug and kiss him, the last time ever. Ever. The entire family had been here to say their goodbyes, but it seemed as if Emil already was on his way. Didn’t he feel sad about leaving? What was he looking for over there? Was there something that attracted him or did he simply want to get away from home? Her little baby was already 23 years old, tall, strong and handsome, ready to leave his home and do something with his life. But couldn’t he have done that in Germany, somewhere closer to home?
Home, that was her farm in Delitz, it had been in her family for many generations. Her ancestors had worked day and night to buy themselves out of serfdom and fought hard to be able to hold this farm. Her father, Johann Friedrich Kahle, had been a good and well respected man, a member of the parish council and the accountant at the local Lutheran Church. And after her three brothers died as infants, she was the only surviving child and heiress to a large and profitable farm. Her husband Friedrich Samuel Teichmann, who she had married in May 20, 1872, had been a farm administrator in Holleben and took over the farm after her father’s death in 1878. God had blessed her and her husband with 14 wonderful children, 7 boys and 7 girls, born between 1873 and 1889. It had been tough, 14 children in 16 years, not to forget that she also worked on the farm. But her mother, Concordia Kahle, who also lived on the farm, had always helped her and in the end it did work out somehow. Only their eighth child, little Friedrich Otto Franz, had died, only 7 months old. All the other children had grown up to be honest and hard working young men and women. Most of her children were married by now and she already had 19 grandchildren, most of them living close by. Unfortunately not all of them. Three grandchildren, Fritz, Frieda and Eda Teichmann, lived far away, in Roxbury, Delaware County, New York, America. Her son Albin and his wife Lilli owned a dairy farm in the catskills and an inn called Ironwood Post. Frieda and Eda even were born in New York City, she had never seen them. So, Emil was not the first son she lost to America. Albin, a cook, and his wife Lilli had left for New York City in 1906 and took their son Fritz with them. They had moved from Delitz a long time ago to live in Cologne, so they hadn’t met too often. Still, Cologne wasn’t as far as America! Albin sent letters home, telling them how great things were and had suggested for Emil to come. He would surely find work there, they were looking for good workers from Germany…. It had been easy to convince Emil and finally the day of his departure had come…..
But maybe it was the right thing for him to do. Her son Kurt was supposed to take over the farm, the other children had received their inheritance in cash. But what would Emil do in Germany? Work for his brother? That might not be the right thing to do. He did not seem to be ambitious, but there was something driving him away from home… Was he sick and tired of his family? Of not being treated seriously, he, who was child number 13? Concordia didn’t know, there was something she simply didn’t understand. How could you not love this land, this fertile soil that fed them so well? Leave your family and the community you were a part of, where you were related to nearly everyone. She did not know. All she knew that she had lost one more son to this strange country called America…..
Concordia died on March 9, 1922, 72 years old. Before she died she had lost another son, Kurt, in WWI. The land remained in their family until East Germany’s forced collectivization in 1952. Parts of the family fled to West Germany and now a wall and not only an ocean separated the families. Meanwhile all the family members had died and their descendants had moved from Delitz and today the name Teichmann is forgotten.
Emil never returned to Delitz, he remained in Roxbury for the rest of his life, working as a gardener and florist at the Sheppard Estate. In 1920 he married Pearl Fredenberg, a daughter of a local farmer of German descent, in 1925 their only child was born. Emil did not speak German with his daughter. He died on March 14, 1967 and was buried in Roxbury, close to his brother Albin.
Albin and Lilli continued to speak German with their children, their son Fritz even studied aviation in Dessau, not far from Delitz and visited the family as often as he could. Also two of Albin’s great-grandchildren studied in Germany. The families always stayed in touch, exchanging letters, visiting and today, communicating through facebook.
Albin died in 1955 and was buried on the Roxbury cemetery, with a view on a mountain named after him, Teichman Mountain, where he spent most of his life.