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Journal from the Atlantic Ocean: A Remarkable Adventure to the New World

Cover Story

Theodore Julius Brohm

Theodore Julius Brohm was a member of the Saxon Emigration Society. He was a candidate of theology and the personal secretary of Martin Stephan, the pastoral leader who guided the Saxons to Missouri.

As the ship with more than 50 passengers sailed the Atlantic Ocean to America in 1838, Brohm journaled the experience. His diary preserved a rare and unique look into the daily life and experience of those who ultimately landed in present-day Perry County, Mo.

November 1

In God’s name, we left the port. Directly before us as we sailed away, the ship Amalia, which had on board 53 of our fellow believers. It vanished from our view after a half hour.

November 22

In the afternoon, small Martin (Marbach) was buried. It was the first burial at sea.

November 28

Waves as high as mountains, roaring and raging. Large waves struck the deck with astonishing noise.

December 1

It was the first day of Advent. A majestic sight is accorded by the sea with its mountain-high waves, which then sink deep and soon tower up. All of the foam that flows down from the peaks of the waves looks like a descending avalanche of snow.

December 9

At last the long desired church service could be held. A short sermon by Pastor Stephan on the question: How should we prepare ourselves for the future that stands before us?

December 15

Good east wind; very pleasantly warm, rapid sailing.

December 25

A holy Christmas festival on the sea. The weather is very warm.

December 30

Last Sunday of the year. At 10:30 a.m. church service was held. ‘Blessing on everyone…” (was sung). In the afternoon, we saw a large fish about 25 feet long that swam long rings around our ship. Its fins shown a gold-green color in the sea.

January 10

Between noon and one o’clock we see in front of us on the right, Cuba, enveloped
in mist.

January 14

In the evening, the wind became stronger and shifted to the southwest. The first American, a small bird, flew around on the ship.

January 15

In the evening, a written petition by Pastor (Otto Hermann) Walther was presented to episcopal Pastor Stephan. This petition contained the request that he accept the office and title of Bishop. Pastor Stephan accepted this petition and by so doing, laid the foundation for the Episcopalian polity of the Lutheran Church to be established in North America.

January 20

At 4 o’clock we arrive in New Orleans. Already from afar we observed a forest of ship masts.

January 21

I set foot for the first time on American soil and had a look around the city.

January 31

Depart from New Orleans in the evening.

February 8

We entered Missouri (waters).