National Geographic : 1947 Jun
The National Geographic Magazine From Edwin Barlow When Day Is Done, New Glarus Swiss Relax in a Village Tavern Here, after keeping up with the news in a Milwaukee German-language newspaper, they turn to their favorite card game, Yass (page 796). Ernest Thierstein, the tavern proprietor, is one of the community's most accomplished yodelers (Plate I). meet Duerst and Streiff. They reached their prescribed rendezvous on July 23, more than three months after leaving home. But in St. Louis no word was heard from either Duerst or Streiff. The colonists, stran gers in a strange land, many virtually penni less, were in dire straits. For two weeks they waited. A few got jobs and deserted. The breakup of their party was threatened. Then they appointed two of their number to search for their missing townsmen. By Mississippi River boat the pair went to Galena, Illinois, then a thriving river port, where they learned that Duerst and Streiff had gone north. They were advised to try the land office at Mineral Point. There they discovered that their emis saries had purchased land; so they set out through the bush, accompanied by a friendly fellow Swiss as guide, to find them. A few days later they rounded a bend and, to their great joy, came upon Duerst and Streiff building their cabin. Duerst immediately dropped his tools and started back for St. Louis to meet the rest of the party, which he had not expected for several weeks. He reached Galena at dusk a day later, booked passage south for the next morning, and, weary, went to bed. Next day, when he had made his way to the dock, Duerst heard by chance that a large band of emigrants had arrived the evening before. He hurriedly looked them up and found they were his fellow townsmen. On the afternoon of the same day, 18 of the impatient Swiss started for the new settlement on foot, Duerst leading the way. These men traveled all night and all the next day, finally reaching Wiota in Lafayette County, where a farmer let them sleep in his stable. The next morning they resumed their trek. Everyone they encountered fled at their ap proach, for, as the son of a pioneer later wrote: "Bearded, unkempt, and ragged as they were, carrying axes and tools of every description, and bags of flour and provisions, they at a distance more resembled a band of robbers than a party of honest emigrants." Teams were hired at Galena to bring the rest of the party, including the women and children. Within a few days the colonists were reunited, except for those who had fallen by the wayside. By August 15, 108 of the 193 had reached New Glarus safely. Some of the stragglers eventually caught up with the group and rejoined it.