The following was published in Alice Krumm's weekly column "One Decorah Woman's Views" of the Decorah Public Opinion. Date unavailable, but probably from around 1960.

Letter Tells Little Known Tales of Early Winneshiek County Life

By Alice Krumm

Those interested in the early history of Winneshiek County will enjoy reading the following letter. It is from Mrs. Amanda Krumm Swailes of Atlanta, Georgia.

"I will try to write some things that will be of interest to you and yours. I wrote Charles, (Charles Krumm of Huron, S.D., now deceased) some things in the past year that he had forgotten. Here they are:

Gottlob and Gottlieb Krumm landed at Ft. Atkinson on June 29, 1848.

Gottlob was married and had two children. Christian was past two years of age and Nannie was six months old at that time. Gottlob was then 34 years old and Gottlieb was only 20 years old.

There were only the two brothers in the family. The parents and two sisters came later. Two married sisters stayed in Germany. The aged parents are buried at Ft. Atkinson, the mother dying of homesickness. The father fell from a load of hay and was killed.

Their graves are under a small gnarled tree in the Fort Atkinson cemetery, with the date on the tombstone in the 1700ís.

As to A. R. Young being the first settler, this is not true, as he was a soldier at the Fort when the Krumms arrived. When the soldiers left the Fort he went with them in 1848.

He came back later with the Rogers family as he had married a Rogers girl and they settled south of the Fort.

The Krummís thought that they were the first real settlers but found out later that the Campbell family had settled near Castalia on June 11, 1848. Some time passed before they knew of each other.

Gottlob was a blacksmith by trade in Germany and Gottlieb had just finished learning the bakerís trade. Neither one ever followed their trade training as that was part of their school work in Germany.

Gottlieb helped to organize Winneshiek County and was always interested in politics and civic work.

Gottlieb was tax collector for many years. He traveled from house to house and collected the money in cash. (Imagine that being done now). He was offered the job as County Treasurer after the county was established but refused it.

It took too much time from the farm which he loved most.

Gottlob said repeatedly that he brought his family and "Little Brother" to America because he did not want his little brother to go through the Hell that he went through in the German Army.

As father was just through school and had finished his trade training he was due to go to the German Army then at 20 years of age.

I can tell you they were as different as two brothers could be and yet as close as two brothers could be. They just had to see each other at least once a week as long as Gottlob lived.

The only break was when Gottlob went to Germany for a visit. He planned to stay three months but on account of illness he returned in six weeks.

He said he did not want to be caught dead in that country and said, "Brother, donít ever go back there. I was so disappointed there with living conditions."

Mother did not come to the United States until May 1853. She was a niece of Gottlobís wife. Her name was Anna Marie. Gottlobís wife was Regina.

There is a town in Germany by the name of Krumm, as seen on maps. It is in southeast Germany not far from where the Krumms came.

I looked it up one day in the encyclopedia and lo and behold! There was a king called Khan Krumm in Bulgaria from the year 802 to 814. He was dethroned by wars.

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Letter Tells Little Known Tales of Early Winneshiek County Life
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Price
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