At the age of 27, in the spring of 1854, my 3rd-great-grandfather, Francis “Frank” Gores (born Franciscus Gores), left his native homeland in the Kingdom of Prussia (or Königreich Preußen) with two of his siblings—Johann, aged 29, and Maria, aged 25. Francis was noted to be a farmer, and his brother Johann was recorded as being a butcher. They were leaving Schönecken, a small market town in Rhenish Prussia (in what is now the Rhineland-Palatinate on the western edge of Germany), home to the Gores family for many generations prior to them.
The village of Schönecken is located in the valley of the Nims river, which meanders through the hilly landscape of the Rhineland-Palatinate. The 400-million-year-old sandstone bedrock that forms the hills produces rich soils for agriculture. The population today is essentially the same as it was in 1854—about 1500 people.
I do not yet know why the three siblings decided to give up their lives in Europe and head to the United States, but one contributing factor may have been the famine that struck much of Europe due to repeated crop failures that began in 1846–1847, most notably potato rot. Land prices were also rising at a pace that exceeded the profitability of farming the land; if a farmer sold his land, however, he could easily afford to relocate his entire family to the United States.
I came across this tidbit while exploring yet another database of historical newspapers (Elephind for those who are interested). In the morning edition of The Saint Paul Daily Globe for Monday, October 27, 1890, the candidates for the state legislature were named. The candidates represented a total of four political parties (with the exception of three candidates running as independent):
Joseph Askew was listed as the Alliance candidate for representative of the 53rd State District of Minnesota. He was running against W. R. Baumbach of the Republican party and T. R. Foley of the Democratic party.
This post may give you the feeling that you’ve walked into a room and found two people arguing so vehemently about such deep-rooted issues that you can’t figure out what they’re actually so upset about. My apologies for that, but currently I’ve only discovered a brief portion of what seems to be an impassioned row between two men of widely divergent political and personal viewpoints.
On the one hand is Joseph Askew, a self-made man who believed in success through hard work and sharing the wealth with the less fortunate. He was a religious man and became a liberal politician affiliated with the Populist party; in today’s political climate he might be fairly described as a Socialist. On the other hand is Mr. L. A. Paddock, a man with a troubled past who’s cast himself as a fiscally concerned individual who feels he’s paying too much in taxes to a government he sees as fiscally irresponsible; someone who, in today’s political climate, might be best described as a Tea Party Republican.
Clearly there’s a lot more to the animosity between these two men than what is presented in these two letters to the editor from 1891. Continue reading →