It has been documented that the first Germans to arrive in America did so in 1608.
The facts on the following table represent the German and German/American’s contributions to Maryland.
1669-John Lederer was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1644, and studied medicine at the Hamburg Academic Gymnasium.
On March 9th, 1669, Lederer left Chickahominy, an Indian village near the headwaters of the York River, traveling northwest to Eminent Hill. He and the members of his party became the first Europeans to crest the Blue Ridge Mountains and the first to see the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny Mountains beyond.
John Lederer settled in Maryland in 1671. In 1672 his observations were translated from Latin by Sir William Talbot, the governor of Maryland, and published, along with a map of his expeditions, as The Discoveries of John Lederer, In three several Marches from Virginia, To the West of Carolina, And other parts of the Continent: Begun in March 1669, and ended in September 1670. He was naturalized in 1671, when he settled in Maryland.
Source: Drake, Richard B. (2001), A History of Appalachia, Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky
Source: "The first Germans in North America and the German element of New Netherland"-1912
1681-The first known German settlers within the now current limits of Maryland were Dutch and French Labadists, who located on Bohemia Manor (see profile Augustine Herman-Science & Medicine), Cecil County (at that time part of Baltimore County).
1708-Justus Engelhardt Kuhn, of German descent, from the Rhine Valley, applied for citizenship. He was the first Maryland portrait painter. He continued his painting until his death in November 1717.
1714-Twelve German families of fifty persons, followed by twenty families of eighty persons, settled on the Rappahannock river near the present city of Fredericksburg.
1729-The Maryland General Assembly authorizes the erection of Baltimoretown (Baltimore) on the north side of the Patapsco. They appointed commissioners to govern.
1732-First German Church is built in Frederickstown, near the Monocacy river.
1732-Charles, Lord Baltimore on the 2nd of March 1732, made the liberal offer of 200 acres of land in fee, subject to a rent of four shillings sterling per year, payable at the end of three years, for every hundred acres, to any person having a family who should within three years actually settle on the land between the rivers Potomac and Susquehanna, and to each single person, male or female, between the ages of fifteen and thirty, one hundred acres of land on the same terms.
1733-Maryland was an insignificant colony before the German immigration. It was first settled in 1633, and after 56 years, in 1689 it had only about 25,000 inhabitants. The next 21 years saw only an additional 5000 and in 1733 the number of taxable inhabitants..which comprised all males above the age 15 was 31,470. It was about this time the Germans began to arrive and the population increased to 130,000 and in 1756 154,188 and in 1761, 164,007.
1735-In 1735 about 100 families from the Palatinate Germany by way of the Chesapeake Bay, landing at Annapolis or Alexandria settled at Monocacy and Frederick.
1745-‘Frederick Town’ settled-“Frederick Town” was laid out by Daniel Dulany (a land speculator) in 1745,and settled by a German immigrant party led by a young German Reformed schoolmaster from the Rhineland Palatinate named Johann Thomas Schley. He and his wife built the first house of the new town. The settlement was founded upon a tract of land granted by Daniel Dulany on the banks of Carroll Creek. Within three years the settlement had become the county seat of Frederick County.
Schley's first task as leader of the settlement party was the foundation of a German Reformed Church (today the church is known as Evangelical Reformed Church, UCC), which also served immediately as a public school, in keeping with the German Reformed tradition of sponsoring universal public education. The Schleys were activists for the American Revolution and had been a military family in Germany.
1748-2,800 Palatinates came into Maryland by way of Baltimore and Annapolis; some of whom located in Baltimore and Baltimore County, but the larger part settled in and about Fredericktown.
1753-May 1753, Rev. Theodore Frankenfield, installed as the first regular pastor of the Monocacy and Conogocheague congregations, which were the only regularly organized German Reformed congregations in Maryland.
1756-‘Schifferstadt’ was completed on the 300 acres purchased by Joseph Burnner in Frederick Maryland. The Brunner Family arrived in Philadelphia in August 1728 aboard the ship 'Allen'. It was built as a residence and as a fort against Indian attacks. The walls are 3" thick, cellar is 10-12 ' deep. It is America’s finest example of German colonial architecture and celebrated their 250th Anniversary in 2006. It is one of the oldest structures in Frederick.
Listed on the National Historic Registry 74000952 7-22-1974.
To read more, click here.
1765-First book printed and published in Baltimore: The Detection of The Conduct and Proceedings of Messrs. Annan and Henderson,.Baltimore-Town, was printed by Nicholas Hasselbach, a German.
Source: The preface to this work is dated February 12, 1765 and survives only through a unique copy found in the Garrett Library at John Hopkins University.
1776-The first paper mill in Maryland was founded by William Hoffman, a German from Frankfurt, in 1776. Known as the Hoffman Paper Mill, it was located in Baltimore County on the Gunpowder Falls. When paper currency was first adopted by the Continental Congress, it was Hoffman’s Mill who made the paper for it.
1777-Hessian Barracks built in Frederick. To control the traffic through Frederick during the American Revolution, the British garrisoned a Hessian regiment in the town during the war. After the war, with no way to return to their homeland, the men of the Hessian regiment stayed on and married into the families of the town, strengthening its German identity.
Barracks Frederick –built by Chapter X-Acts of Maryland. General Assembly passed 1777. Used during the Revolutionary War to confine Hessian soldiers. (Hessian Soldiers)
Glatz (Shultz) House-Maryland 1734
1779-Resolution introduced in the senate of the general assembly of Maryland that Messrs. Hanson, Beale and Fischer translate into the German language certain acts of the assembly.
*The first official recognition by the State of the existence of the German language among its inhabitants.
1783-The German Society of Maryland is founded to help combat serious problems facing immigrants from German-Speaking countries. Incorporated by Act of the General Assembly of Maryland, Chapter 100 (February 3, 1818)
1784-John Frederick Amelung arrives from Bremen with 300-400 tradesman. He establishes the New Bremen near Frederick. It is thought to be the first works established in America for the manufacture of hollow glassware. Pieces made and presented to General George Washington. See John Amelung profile-Manufacturing & Retail.
1787-Ordered by the House of Delegates that the printer of Fredericktown be directed to translate into the German language the proceedings of the Committee on the Federal Constitution and print copies for distribution in Frederick, Washington & Baltimore counties.
1790-As many as 100,000 Germans have immigrated to America. They make up an estimated 8.6% of the U.S. population and account for 12% of the population in Maryland.
1796-First Sugar refinery in the United States was founded by Gartz (Garts) and Leypold on Peach alley on the east side of Hanover street between Conway and Camden.
Sources: Baltimore Past & Present (Brantz Mayer 1891) and http://www.homes-baltimore-maryland.com/history.shtml
Historical firsts in Baltimore
The German Citizens in Baltimore, By Karl A. M. Scholtz, 1929
1800-Between 1800-2005, over 7 million German speakers immigrated to the US (Majority between 1840-1914). Source: Max Kade Institute.
1828-The first umbrellas manufactured in Baltimore were made by Francis Beehler, a woodcarver from Heidelberg, Germany, who established a factory in 1882 on East Baltimore Street. It later moved to 204 W. Lexington St., in 1886, which burned in a spectacular 1922 fire that was fueled by thousands and thousands of yards of silk and took the life of a firefighter. It is said to be the first umbrella factory in the United States.
Source: Baltimore Sun June 07, 2003
1832-The German Society (Charles F. Mayer, Counselor and Brantz Mayer) had a state law passed in December of 1832. The purpose was to relieve the German Society of part of its financial burden in tending to the immigrants. It provided that the captain of each ship arriving in a Maryland port state the number of immigrants on board. Then each immigrant had to pay a sum of $1.50 to the State. Three-fifths of this money was to be allocated to the "Trustees of the Poor of Baltimore" and two-fifths to the German and Hibernian Societies of Baltimore. The Hibernian Society, founded in 1803, is the Irish counterpart of the German Society. The law of 1832 originally stipulated that the money be divided equally between the two societies, an unsatisfactory arrangement, because many more Germans and Swiss arrived in Baltimore than Irish. Therefore, in 1833, an amendment was passed providing that the money be divided proportionally between the two societies according to the actual number of arrivals of each nationality.
*Seal designed by Prof. Charles Raddatz
1833-Law indicated above was amended- The law of 1832 originally stipulated that the money be divided equally between the two societies, which was not a fair disbursement since many more Germans and Swiss arrived in Baltimore than Irish. Therefore, in 1833, an amendment was passed providing that the money be divided proportionally between the two societies according to the actual number of arrivals of each nationality. This meant that the German Society received $.60 for each German/Swiss immigrant arriving. For the first time, reliable figures were obtainable.
1833-1839: 44,584 persons
1840-1850: 50,660 persons
These official statistics support the fact that some 180,000 Germans arrived in Maryland ports during the three decades preceding the outbreak of the Civil War.
1835-Two brothers, George and Henry Berger, travel to Baltimore from Germany. They combine three bakeries and formed ‘Bergers’. Bergers continue to produce one of Maryland’s best known cookies.
1837-Carroll County was created in 1837 from parts of Baltimore and Frederick Counties. The county is located in the northern, central part of the state. The first settlers to Carroll County consisted of two primary ethnic groups: Germans from southeast Pennsylvania and English from Tidewater Maryland.
1839-William Knabe formed a partnership with H. Gaehle and began maufacturing pianos originally at the corner of Liberty and German Streets, but to expand to 1-7 North Eutaw Street. One of the largest manufacturers of pianos in the United States, employing up to one time more than 230 persons in Baltimore. Numerous piano medal winners. See Knabe profile in Manufacturing and Retail
1841-Frederick Raine, a German from a family in Westphalia, Germany, landed in Baltimore (1840) after working as an apprentice in a newspaper office in Münster. In 1841 he established and began printing ‘Der Deutsche Correspodent’, a weekly German language newspaper that grew from the initial eight subscribers to a daily circulation of about 15,000 during the 1880s and 1890s. The last edition ran on April 28, 1918. The paper is being digitized by the Maryland Historical Society (2010). See Frederick Raine profile in Printers & Publishing.
1845-St. Alphonsus Church in downtown Baltimore is built by German immigrants. It was referred to as the ‘German Cathedral’. Early German immigrants were predominantly Lutheran. St. Alphonus was the first church of German Catholics. See church section for more information.
1847-School Sisters of Notre Dame come to Baltimore. Mother Theresa (Karolina Gerhardinger, born in Regensburg, Bavaria (1797) with five companions arrive to teach children of German immigrants. Sister Caroline is left in charge when Mother Theresa returns to Germany. Sister Caroline worked for 42 years establishing elementary schools, high schools and colleges throughout the country. Dozens of parish schools, 2 girls high schools and a college were established in Maryland.
1860-The 1860 Federal Census Analysis shows that there is a population of 590,860 peoples in Maryland. Of that number, 77,536 were foreign born. Of that 77,536, 43,884 were born in the German states (Austria 182; Bavaria 7,733; Baden 3,485; Hesse 8,126; Nassau 94; Prussia 2,827; Wuertmberg 2,229 and Germany-not specified 19,208. The next largest foreign born population was that of Irish and was 21,872, followed by the English with 4,235 and the Scottish with 1,583.
1860-Between 180,000 and 216,000 German born men served in the Union Army. More than a dozen German born men attained the rank of General. Between 3500-7000 German born men fought in the Confederate service. Source: Encyclopedia of American Civil War, A political, social, military history, by David Heidlow and Heanne T. Heidler.
1863-Ludwig Hilgartner joins Gottfried Schimpf (Schimpf until 1873) and forms Schimpf & Hilgartner with offices on Lexington Street. By 1879, using both imported Italian and fine domestic marble, machinery powered by 22 workers in a two story building at 528 W. Baltimore Street became one of the most prominent and well-known finishers of marble in the United States.
1864-Through the last will and testament of Mrs. Catherine Eberhart, three two story houses on North Caroline Street near Madison were donated in 1864 to the Redemptorists to take care of the sick and infirmed. By 1867 the institution had expanded so much the sisters were forced to purchase four acres of land at Caroline and Hoffman Streets (at $24,000). The money was raised by the three parishes of St. James’, St. Alphonsus and St. Michael’s. The work was done by the nuns who came to Baltimore of the request of Archbishop Martin Spalding. He sent for them to care for the growing German population in Baltimore. Here the sisters established St. Joseph’s German Catholic Hospital. It officially opened its doors in 1872.
St. Joseph’s German Catholic Hospital became St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson in the 1960s.
Source: Baltimore Sunpaper 1-1-2012; Ecclesiastical History of the Catholic Germans, SHGM, Charles Gelner.
1867-Concordia Hall was a music venue in Baltimore, founded by Germans from the largest immigrant community in Baltimore. It was the location for readings by Charles Dickens in 1868, during his first American tour, and other visiting lecturers and musical groups, and the site of civic events. A fire tragically destroyed the Concordia in 1891. It stood on the west side of Eutaw Street, south of old German Street (Redwood). It was the location of a large national convention of Brewers in 1887.
1868-The Maryland General Assembly orders “That bill or bills’ proposing amendment or amendments shall be published by order of the Governor, in at least two newspapers in each county, where so many may be published and where not more than one may be published, then in that newspaper, and in three newspapers published in the City of Baltimore, one of which shall be in the German language, once a week for at least three months preceding the next ensuing general election, at which the proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted, in a form prescribed by the General Assembly, to the qualified voters of the State for adoption or rejection. Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, March 30, 1868. Maryland Manual1929; Vol. 146, pg. 424.
1868-Every public general law which is made to take effect before the first day of June next after the session at which it may be passed, shall immediately after its passage be published at the expense of the State, daily for one week in two daily newspapers of the City of Baltimore, one of which shall be printed in the German language, and one newspaper in each county having the largest circulation, if there be a newspaper in said county. C440. Maryland Archives, Vol. 388, pgs. 22-23.
1873-The School Sisters of Notre Dame found a college on Charles Street at Homeland Ave., which was then Baltimore County. It is the first Catholic women’s college in the United States.
1875-In 1875, George Aloysius Frederick (see profile Architects & Engineers), Baltimore born to German immigrants from Prussia, completes Baltimore’s City Hall. Frederick was awarded the job in 1865. The building was made with Baltimore County marble and Falls Road bluestone and was the first municipal building in the country built to be fireproof.
1875-The Medical Alumni Association was established by Dr. George W. Miltenberger (see profile in Science & Medicine), and formal meetings began with the election of a president. It was the first such Association in the United States.
1884-Ottmar Mergenthaler (see profile Printers & Printing) invents the Linotype machine. The machine revolutionizes the printing industry. Prior to its invention, no newspaper in the United States with more than eight pages was printed.
1884-Winfield Scott Schley (See profile, Military) volunteers, after two unsuccessful attempts by others, to search for survivors of “Greely’s Arctic Expedition”. He is successful in locating seven members of the expedition.
1886-The founding of the Society for the History of the Germans in Maryland. The charter was adopted on January 19, 1886.
The first meeting was held on January 5th of that year at the Maryland Historical Society. On January 19 this committee submitted a draft of Constitution, which was at once adopted and ordered to be printed. Twenty three gentlemen subscribed their name to the Constitution.
The regular officers were selected. Rev. J.G. Morris as President. The first meeting had guest speaker Hon. Anton Eickhoff, author of ‘In der neuen Heimath’.
It was around this time when the society attempted to obtain a listing of all early German immigrants but found that all lists prior to 1846 had disappeared.
Their website: http://www.shgm.org/
1886-Elizabeth Mimms Schmidt and Peter Schmidt, her husband, open a bakery where the bread is baked in their home by Elizabeth and sold and delivered by Peter. Today the Schmidt Baking Company employs 860 people with eleven distribution centers, making it the largest independent premium line wholesale baker in the mid-Atlantic.
1890-October 6-The ‘German Day in Baltimore’ (to commemorate the cornerstone of German immigration in 1683). Occurred all over the city with over 14,000 participants (floats, singing groups, fireworks at the Washington Monument, etc.). Source: ‘The German Day in Baltimore’ by L.P. Henninghausen. This was the beginning (even though there were a few years between the event) of the 'German Festival', which is still celebrated annually. For a history of the event, click here.
The 1890 Baltimore Census shows of the 434,439 people in Baltimore, 101,112 are German or of German parentage. This is 23.28% of the city's population.
Another estimate stated y Karl Scholtz in 'The German Citizens of Baltimore' (1929) states that according to the best figures available, in 1890,one fourth of the city's population at that time spoke German.
1891-The first ballpark in Baltimore to have a double decked grandstand and the first stadium to have lettered rows and numbered seats (prior to this date, it was all open seating), was built by the Von der Horsts, owner of the Orioles of the American Association. It was called ‘Union Park’ and was located at Barclay Street.
1894-According to 'The German in Baltimore', by J.G. Morris in 1894, there are 32 (thirty two) places of Worship in Baltimore in which all the pulpit instruction is imparted in the German language. See German Churches.
There were also five German banks, Three German Fire Insurance Companies and Five German bookstores.
1898-The Immigration Law passed in 1832 was later incorporated in an amendment form in the Baltimore City Charter of 1898.
1900-53.4% of Marylanders had one or both parents who were born in German speaking districts of middle Europe. Maryland had the 4th largest concentration of German-Americans (exceeded only by Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri). The national average was 30.2%. The actual numbers were 44,990 born in Germany and 145,513 with one or both parents born in Germany.
Source: The ‘Deutsche Sprachgebiet’. German Life Magazine Inaugural edition. Author Dan Tolzman.
1904, June-Cornerstone of the Deutsche Emigrantenhaus was laid at 1308 Beason Street.
Establishing a house here was very important as Locust Point became one of the major immigration points after the Civil War. The arrivals in 1866-67 alone jumped from 4,000 to 10,000. In fact, over 1.2 million European immigrants disembarked near this site (piers six through nine), as part of the ‘Great Wave’ of immigration from 1868 to 1914.
The house still stands today.
1906-Henry Sonneborn, a german immigrant arriving in 1849, opens the 10 story Henry Sonneborn Company, at the corner of Pratt and Paca Streets. It was once the largest menswear factory in the world.
1907-The Hansa Haus located at 2 East Redwood (German Street when built) Street in Baltimore City was built in 1907 for the North German Lloyd Steamship Company. Parker, Thomas & Rice were the architects. Until the end of the 20th century, the Coat of Arms of the 37 cities of the Hanseatic League were displayed on the exterior of the building. See ‘Hansa Haus’.
1910-The 1910 census gave as the number of persons born in Germany who were resident in Maryland 36,652. Those of German parentage, including those born in Germany and those whose parents were born in Germany 135,325. This amounts to 45.7% of the total foreign population in Maryland and about 11% of the total population of Maryland.
The population of Baltimore contains a larger percentage of Germans than the counties. The large cities attract the immigrant especially those with a seaports. The city of Baltimore in 1910 had 26,021 persons born in Germany and 96,557 of German parentage. This was 45% of the total of 211,913 foreign parentage and 17% of the total population of Baltimore. If the old immigration is added about 40% of the population would have German blood. Maryland was above the general average for the country.
As for the US, the total white population was 81,731,957 of which
English (including Scottish and Welsh) 24,750,000
1911-Johns Hopkins begins the First Art as Applied to Medicine Department. It is the oldest medical illustration program in the country. Max Brödel (See profile, Science & Medicine) was named the department’s first head and went on to train some of the world’s leading medical illustrators.
1914-By 1914, on the eve of World War I, 94,000 Germans lived in the City of Baltimore, making up 20% of the population.
1916-Gustav Strube (See Profile, The Arts), a German born conductor and composer and founding conduction of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He taught at the Peabody Conservatory. He wrote one opera, Ramona, which also premiered in 1916.
1920-So profound was the German influence in the city that through the 1920s, a third of the city’s public schools included German as part of the regular curriculum, one in four Baltimoreans could speak German fluently.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, 1-24-2010, Frederick N. Rasmussen
1933-Approximately 100,000 German Jews came to the United States (Max Kade Institute)
1940-Gustav Brunn, a Frankfurt, Germany native develops a spice used for crabs. He had arrived a year earlier in Baltimore from Germany. His spice was sold many years later to McCormick. Brunn invented 'Old Bay'
1970-In 1970 more than six million Americans reported that they had learned German as their first language. The 1980 total of subscriptions to German language newspapers and magazines: 300,000. These break down into two daily papers, 23 weeklies, 15 monthlies and 12 other periodicals.
1987-German-American Day (October 6) was established by Congressional resolution and presidential proclamation by President Ronald Reagan.
1990-The 1990 Census show that the German-Americans are the largest ethnic group in the U.S. with 57,947,374 persons or 23.3% of the U.S. Population claiming some form of German ancestry. Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann, President of the Society of German-American studies adds that the German category does not include Germans from other German speaking states and regions of Europe and the Americas. So to the German Statistic could be added:
Swiss-German 700,000* (70% of the total Swiss Statistic)
Pennsylvania German 305,841
The six additional German ethic groups total 1,952,051. The total of the seven groups 59,937,646. The results indicated that the German Americans constitute a full one-fourth of the population. (Source: Deutsche Welt-U.S.A., July/Aug. 1992)
2000-German Americans comprise 15.2% of the United States population, followed by Irish at 10.8% and African at 8.8%. German is the largest ethnic group in the United States. In Maryland, the German population represents 15.7 of the population (5,296,486).
Source: 2000 U.S. Census. See Map Largest Ancestry-2000
2008-German Americans comprise 16.5% of the United States population. The largest, followed by Irish and English. In Maryland, the German population is also the largest ethnic population with 16.5% (932,275) of the 5,633,597 Marylanders.
Source: 2008 U.S. Census Bureau (American Community Survey)
2013, October 1-