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Lieut. Francis Heimer
Lieut. Francis Heimer
I am a descendent of Francis Heimer. He and his brother Augustus came to Andes, NY from Germany in 1848 and lived there until his death sometime in the early 1900's. Both men served in the 144th NY during the Civil War. In 1894 he wrote his memoirs in a small book that has been handed down from generation to generation, ending up in my hands. I have transcribed his writings, thinking it may be of some use to others researching their history as there are several references to key names and places (i.e.: The Penets, Shavers, Balentines and the Central Hotel). - Robin Lynn

Transcribed verbatim from his original text by his great-great-great granddaughter Robin Lynn, February 16, 2000

Copyright © 2000 by Robin Lynn

Review Of Events 1828 to 1894
Written by myself in 1894 in my 67th year Dec 26th F. Heimer

As I am growing old my thoughts wander very often back to scenes of my childhood and early life and make a General Review of my past life in which the years during which I lived in Andes Del. Co. N.Y. are the most important. And for reference in the future I concluded to write down Events with Dates in this my memorantum.

I was born on Thursday the 5th day of June 1828 in the encient [ancient] city of Altenburg (Old Burg) the Capital of the Duchy Sax Altenburg and Kingdom of Saxony, Germany.

On Sunday June 22nd when I was only 17 days old I was baptized "Franz Herman" in the Bartholomay (Lutheran) Church the Church of my parents.

My Fathers name was Michael he was born on a farm 5 miles from the city and had 5 brothers 3 of them were drifty farmers one a Shoemaker and another a Maker of all Kinds of earthen Ware. My father moved to the City of Altenburg in 1826 and there married Justina Haselbard in 1827 my good Mother.

My Father being of a speculative turn bought and sold grain, also raised potatoes on a lot just outside the City for City Market. He was know as an honest man and conciensious in his dealings and was quite saving and industrious and religiously inclined, when able and not sick attended church every Sunday and I when a small boy had to go also to hear at least 2 sermons every Sunday and oh how hard work it was at times for me to sit 1 1/2 hours on the hard benches. I also remember well how much he hated any man who would use profane language. He done whatever he could to make his boys honest, industrious and saving and never let us neglect our Lessions for school, (School attendance was compulsory throughout the Kingdom of Saxony and every child had to go to school when 6 years old Boys until they were 14 and Girls 13 years old). My Father died in Altenburg in 1863 when 77 years old and I was at Folly Island S.C.

My Mother was a pious rather emotional and industrious women and loved devotiously home and fireside. She also died in 1863 in Altenburg 68 years old.

I had two brothers myself being the oldest then came Julius and then Augustus both emigrated and came to the U.S. of America Julius at 17 years old and Augustus at 16 years old. There was another brother next to me who died in his infancy.

On Easter Sunday 1842 when I was 14 years old I was confirmed and taking in as a member of the Bartholomay (Luthern) Church with about 140 of my schoolmates, it was then the custom that all boys at 14 and all girls at 13 years old after having the proper instruction in school and Catechism to be confirmed as Members of the church you might call it by Order of the State as Church and State are One. Then again according to custom we had to choose a trade or some occupation to earn our Bread and Butter; having a natural taste and talent for drawing and painting I selected painting.

Left Home
I left my native home in June 1842 for Munic the Capitol of the Kingdom of Bavaria famous for fine Art, where I had a splendit chance to learn and be a good painter. Pleasand are my recollections of the time spend in that city, young and hopeful I whiled away many day in interesting pleasand enjoyment and at the same time learnt much in drawing and painting, I had the honor of receiving the second price [prize] in Drawing at the Academy and I sometimes thought would have received first price [prize] had I been Catholic as almost all Bavaria embraces that religion.

I returned in October 1844 to Altenburg and workt at China painting at Heinecke's China works Establishment painting Pipe Bowls mostly but painted allmost every thing made of China.

Travel in South Germany
In 1846 I again started from Home to the southern part of Germany and painted in Viena, Augsburg, Stutgard and Carlsruhe [Karlsruhe]. I then set my face toward the Alps and Switzerland and finely enjoyed the gentle breezes of the Medirterranean See intending to go to Rome, but did not quite get there because I had to follow the inclination of my fellow Comrades. My traveling was done on foot with very little exeption, at least 2000 miles traveled on foot.

The Revolution
In March 1848 began a general Revolt in and throughout Germany against the crowned Heads and government Officials and I hurried back to Altenburg where I again painted China for Heinecke and the same time witnessed Secret preparations for the overthrowing of Kings and Potentates, and of course I was one of those who wanted Free Speech and Free Press and if possible a Republic. I joined a Volunteer corps, had regular meetings and military exercises. In August all came to a crisis and on Sunday morning at 8 O'clock the Singnal was given for a general alarm because our Leader Albert Erbe was to be arrested and place in a Fort for confinement. It turned out to be a failure on the part of the Government and Erbe was rescued by the people, Barricades were build across the streets and the City fortified, the defence lasted only three days; we were promised Free Speech and Free Press and all was peace again. Then Friedrich Wilhelm III then King of Prussia promised to unite Germany and make it one Empire, most Germans seem to be entirely satisfied with such a promise but I was not. I heard talk and did talk so much about a Republic and was anxious to live in one that myself and twenty of my near aquaintance came to the conclution to go where there is and was one. Neither one of us was much over twenty years old at the time.

United States of America
We left home Sept. 9th 1848 by rail for Bremen and a large escort of friends accompanied us to the depot; arrived at Bremen Haven we took passage on the sail ship "Eliza" and landed in New York Harbor on November, 2nd, at that time there was no steamboat travel between Germany and the United States. I paid 34 Thaler for my passage and 2 dollars what was called headmoney to the City of New York. 13 Cabin passengers and 216 steerage passengers were on board. While within 100 miles of New York we encountered

A Storm
and I rather think it was a Hurricane commencing about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and lasting until the next day 11 O'clock A.M. part of the time I certainly thought that our destiny would be a watery grave, we all were shut below cover fastened secure and no light to be had, the motion and realing of the ship was tremendous and we were thrown about our beds or Cojee as it was called, at times stood up straight and at times standing on our heads just as it pleased old Saturn to roll about our ship. The women and children was a crying some was praying some man was a swearing, and while the captain above was given his command through a Speeking Trumpet and the sailors tramping above us obeing orders and our trunks and tin ware rolled from side to side below, there was such danger of being injured in consequence from the loose articles rolled about. I thought of my Mother and Father who told me of the danger and was not willing for me to risk it and go. The only consolation I had was that if we did go down to the bottom of the see I would have company and not be alone, I thought so when the masts began to loosen at the bottom in their fastenings and began to squeak and squeak and it sounded as if every joint in the ship had given away, but after all we landed safely in New York City before we were allowed to land we had to go through a thorough inspection by the health officer at the Quarantine. The Custom House Officer had to have a hand in it and ransacked our trunks from top to bottom, after that we was done and felt greatly relieved and began to look around and not having seen land in 6 weeks, all around us looks like paradise the Jersey Shore and Long Island looked beautiful. My heart seem to beat louder with animation, joy and hope for the future I said to myself - this Land of Liberty shall be my future home here will I live and here will I die. And now in New York City a new obstackle presented itself: I could not speek a word of English and when I heard it spoken I lost all courage to ever learning or mastering it, for it sounded to me like a conclamoration of something but not at all as a language, for 8 days I tried to find work as a painter but the answer as a rule was "can speak no English" that settled it. My expence for board was $4 per week and my pile got low, no hope for work the following week-what is to be done? I was willing and determined to do anything to make an honest living and finely on November 15th

I Found A Job
painting window shades at only $4 per month board and lodging, the proprietors name was "Eugene Sagoin" a Frenchman who lived at 8th Avenue and 48 Street, at that time shades were painted by hand, my wages was very low but could not do any better at the that time and season of the year, at that time there were but few houses in that locality and the 42nd street reservoir stood all alone, no houses as there is now to hide it.

I stayed with Mr. Sagoine until March 1849 when one of my friends and comrades Edward Kungely indused me to leave and go with him to Brooklyn and work at house painting for a man by the name of "Baxter" 28 Atlantic Street. I did go and we both workt for Baxter. My wages was then $9 a week with board we both were perfectly satisfied for 2 months, but when we did not get our pay Saturday night as usual and was told that we get it next payday, no pay then, but we surely was to get it the third week and that week he fizzled out and we lost our pay altogether. Edward Kungely had not one cent in his pocket, I had a 20 shilling goldpiece a Guidare and a rifle, the two later articles were converted into money as quick as possible so as to help Kungely through his trouble, some people told us that we must sue Baxter we went to the courthouse and told our grievance to a policeman he told us if we give him $2 he will see that we get our money the next day and come around about one o'clock and he will be on hand, we did go there but no policeman was there and we never saw him afterward; we were worse off then before for I had to break my 20 shilling piece to pay him the $2 and no prospect of getting any work in side. We then parted for awhile and seeking work in different directions. After a while I got work in Maiden Lane to paint window shades (landscapes) at 9 shilling per doz. small pay but better then nothing. This job lasted for but a short time, and then what to do? Kungely had not anything to do, we each tried to console the other. I was perfectly disgusted with New York for every man lookt to me a cheat and made up my mind to leave the city and go in the

where I expected to find more honest and upright people and also for the purpose of learning the English Language as we would never learn it in New York among so many Germans. Walking along the Greenwich Street one day I saw an advertisement "Steamer to Albany July 4th fare 25 cents." Now says I to Kungely here is a chance to go 200 miles in the country for only 25 cents let us go, "very well" he says "we will go."

Within the time I workt in Maiden Lane my brother Julius arrived in New York City he had learnt Locksmithing and Gun Smithing and was at work the second day after arrival in a shop in New York and was lodging with 2 of my friends in Maiden Lane, with him I left my trunk, packed up a change of shirts and stockings, all my drawings and some brushes and on July 4th at 4 o'clock P.M. 1849 Kungely and myself left the city in a steamer at light marching order with a bundel only and started for Albany to better our condition. The boat stopt at every landing place along the Hutson [Hudson] River and everywhere festifities and jolly people was a making merry, I will say I did not feel as they did but had new hope of success. About 11 o'clock. I began to think why wouldn't be a good idea to get off at the next landing and go right in the dark country instead of going to Albany? It being a city there might be as many Germans in proportion as there is in New York and would not help us a bit to learn the Language. I transferred my idea to Edward Kungely who agreed with me and we resolved to get off the boat at the next landing and enter the country; about midnight the boat stopped and the landing happened to be

Kingston Point
for at that time steamers did not go to Roundout as the do now, we saw quite a number of lights and expected to find a village when in fact it proved to be only a hotel and a few outhouses we felt disappointed and was about to get back on the boat when to our amusement the boat started off and of course we had to stay wether we want to or not. There we were in a strange country at midnight all dark around us and what made it worse all dark and very little money. We discovered by chance a road leading from the Point to Roundout and Kingston we followed it and got to both places we strolled around the Streets for the purpose of finding out where there was Paint Shops in order to rush in at early morning and offer our services, within this time it go to be 2 o'clock A.M. and we found ourselves near a covered bridge and a four horse stage came rattling along and went to the bridge and through it. The thought struck me that somebody must live out there in the wilderness and I said "Let us go where that stage goes" we both agreed to do so and walkt all night and at around 7 o'clock in the morning we found ourselfs at the foot of Pine Hill at Smiths Leather Factory we found also a Tanner by name of Charles Miller a German there, who treated us very kindly, after telling him our story he rather discouraged us to find work as Painters in this wild country and I will say that the majority of houses were nothing but Loghouses along the road. He however secured a job for us hoeing potatoes for the day and we received 25 cents a piece for our days work and was kept all night in the bargain. Next morning by the advice of our German friend we started over Pine Hill to reach Margretville where he said a new store was about being build and we may find a good job painting it, well we got there and no chance for painting it in 6 weeks - disapointed but not discouraged we went further west and rather by mistake than anything else we crossed the east branch of the Delaware River near what was at that time the Tollgate, at that place we got off the Kingston and Delhi Turnpike, and here I will say that, that stage we saw going to the bridge at Kingston was the Kingston and Delhi stage starting at 2 o'clock A.M. and arriving at 9 or 10 o'clock in Delhi. Well, crossing the river we got on a road which brought us to Union Grove at that time but few houses and the to Shavertown after a long weary walk we arrived at the latter place about dark and found as it happened a German "Gotfried Teutch" by name at George R. Shavers Hotel, he kept us all night and then send us to Aaron A Shaver who, Teutch said, wanted one or two hands to work on the farm and we started for his place, sat down to rest near the Shavertown Bridge and Kungely in a discouraged mood said to me "Rello (my nickname) let's go back home to New York for we will surely starve out here in this Country, talk about we can get $1 a day for work, these log houses have not $1 in it." I told him that I was not going to New York, enyway not until I could talk English, then he said "I am a going" stretched out his hand and said "Good By" we shook hands but I didn't not for once thought that he would go, he had been my companion for many years we went to school together came across the ocean together workt in Brooklyn and New York together and was cheated out of our wages together, however his mind was made up and he started for New York and I started for Aaron A. Shaver. I will say right here that he got to New York and there was engaged by a man from Utica N.Y. as a forman in his shade factory and afterward painted portraits married a Ministers doughter about the same time when I was married in Andes. I saw him last in 1865 at Utica, he died when about 48 years old "Peace to his Ashes."

Well, got to Aaron A. Shavers about dinner time, the found the man himself in the yard and to all questions he put to me what I could do on the Farm, my answer was invariable "Yes" for I did not understand one fourth of what he ask me. I was hired at small wages but never mind that. This was on July 9th 1849.

I workt one month, I shall not tell what I done, he paid me $6 and with it I started for New York on foot to get my trunk and also to get my Brother Julius for whom I had secured employment by Alex Hawver a neighbor, for I was anxious to have him with me. We both returned to Shavertown on August 13th.

By chance H.H. Rotermund a Wagonmaker in Andes heard that a painter was WORKING in Shavertown on a farm, came to Shavertown and at his request I left the farm and painted wagon and houses in Andes. This happened on Sept. 4th 1849. I found several Germans in Andes all good Boys. I prospered with my Trade and was entirely satisfied with the change I had made. During the following winter I workt to Asa Shavers shop exclusively until March 1850. After that I set out and took jobs anywheres. I being the pioneer and only Painter in Andes Village I had I had to content, which at times was very unpleasant in many ways, the taste in painting had cultivaded from Ochre or Venetian Red mixed with the first milking of the cow the more durable but more expensive Whitelead or any other Oil paint. Money was very scarse, one dollar a day was high wages and often you could not get it after it was earned. Farmers sold their Butter at 10 to 12 cents, Hogs 5 cts. Beef 3 and 4 cents 4 feet wood at $1 a cord and potatoes at 25 cts. per bushel. These were what was called goo Democratic times Low Tariff etc. The California Goldfever was reigning and I talked of going and it was only through the influence of Henry Dorioe Esq. that I was persuated to stay in Andes and through him the farmer prospered more than ever before and Andes gained and a new Era opened for Delaware County. In the month of April 1850 while WORKING for Colon Robinson graining his new build shop I had the good fortune to be brought the first time in the company of my future wife Miss Margaret O. Penet the oldest doughter of Peter and Sarah Penet. Thanks to them and my good wife for the great and bountyful happiness I enjoyed during my married life. Her singing charmed me at that time for she had a wonderful voice and her intellect surprised me and out of her beautiful eye her inner soul spoke with great effect, in her I saw what I never before seen in any women. Her affection mingled with mine and we married with consent of her parents at their house by Rev. William Smith Pastor of the M.E. Church in Andes, on the 26th Day of Sept. 1850 in the presens of many relations and friends I being 22 and she 17 years old, she had tought public school for the last 3 years. She proved to be one of the best gifts given to mankind by our Creator for me, a helpmate in every way. We lived a most happy life for 44 years. Thanks to God for it. We were blessed with six children 5 Boys & 1 Girl.
Frank P. born June 23rd 1852
Charles A. born May 4th 1853
William D. born Sept. 18th 1855
Louie J. born Febr. 15th 1858
Julius born July 9th 1860
Olivia M. born May 2nd 1862
Little Julius died Oct. 21st 1868 he was beloved by everyone who knew him and was a wonderful singer for one so young. All have proven to be good children up to date and it would have been very strange had they not been and make an affective return for their Mothers great devotion to them, I tried to instil in them to be industrious, honest and economical, all other qualities were impregnated by their good mother.

My father in law Peter Penet died March 4th 1855, 62 years old, he was a worthy man, good citizen and a devoted Methodist, he always treated me very kindly; he was sick most of the time that I was acquainted with him, my mother in law Sarah Card Penet Hyzer lived to be 80 years old and died the 3rd day of May 1891 they had 3 children Margaret O., Fanny D. and John D. Fanny died 1890 and John D. was a captain in the army from 1862 to 1865 emigrated to Virginia and became a Minister of the gospel and died July 16th 1890 in Portsmouth he was born April 7th 1839.

Sarah Cards Father imigrated from the State of Vermont to Delaware County with his family in 1822 when Sarah was only 11 years old. She was a god wholesomed women kind and generous to all and for 40 years was a devoted member of the M.E. Church in Andes.

Peter Penet was of Frensh descent his father was born in Paris and was an Indian trader at about 1780 in Lawrence County N.Y. Peter Penet was born in Schenectady and emigrated to Del. Co. and settled in Andes 1826 to help clear up the county he was married to Sarah Card April 21st 1831.

After being married 2 months, I hired a house and set up housekeeping, then our cup of happeness was prim full and to overflowing. 18 months after I bought a house and lot, we did not occupy it long and I sold it to Duncan Ballentine and then build me a house further downstreet, this was in 1854. Time advanced and each succeeding year markt a seeming prosperity owing largely to my wifes help and my industry and economy. In 1861 the southern rebellion brook out and on the 13th day of August 1862 I

as a volunteer in the Army to help put down the wicket rebellion of this southern secessionist and left my home and family on Oct. 16th 1862 and Oct. 8th left Delhi were we were encamped for nearly a month for the seat of war in the state of Virginia.
"Let the gentle breezes blow
My country calls and I must go."
Farewell my dear family - farewell old hills of Delaware I leave you now hope to see you all again. I was chosen by my company "E" 144th Reg. N.Y. Volunteer Infantry First Sergeant was promoted February 7th 1863 at Clouds Mills Va. a 2nd Lieutenant and July 4th 1864 at Hilton Head S.C. while in command of a Gun Boat a 1st Lieutenant and was honorable discharged from service on June 25th 1865. I being at that time in command of Co. "C" of said Reg. I arrived at my

in Andes July 9th 1865 and met face to face the loved one of whose presents I had bee deprived for nearly 3 years at my own home and fireside. I feel thankful to a merciful God for his all preserving care; the chain was complete and not a link was gone-no more booming cannons or the rattle of musketry no more bugle call or rattle of drums to be heard -praise God- only the sweet voices of my dear wife and children, oh, what cheerful and pleasant sounds and ones more I was breathing the free pure air of the mountains after enjoying superbly the blessing of being home again. I again took hold of the brush and tented to business as I did before enlistment, plenty of work and good pay was prevailing during the years of 1866 to 1878 and carriage painting was very prosperous and my boys helping me much in my work, in 1866 I had sold my house and lot which is now the Central Hotel for $2000 intenting to go west to Des Moines, Iowa where my brother Julius lived at that time, but gave up the idea and bought where I now live in the lower part of the village there is where my children grew up to be man and women and all are married now and are a pleasure to me in my old age and there it is were I toiled in the shop many a day and many a year (28 years) and saved enough to keep me in my old age and since the 17th day of June 1890 a generous country gives me a pension of $12 per month. I have no concern for the future knowing that my children will not let me want.

With the exeption of my 3 years in the Army and two years in the state of Kansas where I sojourned in 1879 and established my claim on 160 acres of government land, I have now resided 45 years in Andes and never have felt sorry for leaving New York City at the time I did; and here is where I want to be buried. The people of Andes have used me well enough they have honered me with public office School Trustee and Inspector of Elections for 8 years and have been clerk of the corporation for 25 years but now I will return to

My Dear Wife
In Sept. 1892 we both visited relations in New York City and my brother Augustus in Washington and attended the Grand Army Reunion held in Washington on Sept. 20th allways vigorous before she tired very easy this were the first signs of her health failing brought to my notice she was not filled with that enthuseasm she exhibited on like former occasion, coming back to New York she did not feel inclined going out in the evening to see the beautiful illuminations to be seen on that occasion, from that time I noticed that she was not in her usual health and gratualy but surely a fatal decease had seated itself upon her and now with much grief I must and I have to relate that on the 13th of Aug. 1894 at 8:15 in the morning God took her from me to be with Him in that heavenly Home where her Father, Mother, Sister and Brother had gone before her.
"My peace is gone;
My heart is sore;
I shall find it never
Never more."
She was born Sept. 21st 1833 and was 61 years of age, a most devoted wife, she was thoroughly domestic, her whole life endered [endeared] in her Home, Husband, and children. To me she was the uplifting stimulus of the Ideal Home Life and a model for every wife and mother. She had charity for all. The mutual and moral condition of poverty stricken people was a soarse of great anxiety for her, allways encouraging and helping somebody. (Many letter of condolence and sympathy were received from her many friends.) Her Home which was not luxurious was always cozy and comfortable. She was very fond of Music and singing and herself had a most excellent voice until about 45 years old. She read much but little taste for romance; she was a charming entertainer but no gossip, and not being wealthy she never attempted to lead in fashion her dress was always plain; was an ardent admirer of what talent I had in painting.

Milton says: "For nothing lovelier can be found in women, then to stuty household good and good works in her husband to promote."

To her I consecrated all; other women seem to be without wit or charm. She was my greatest comfort on earth, there is no one who can fill her place; I cared for a good name because she cared for it. I have tried to over come my sorrow but it is no less. I am restless and looking for something I can not see, I will wait patiently for my end on this Earth to finely meet her in the world beyond.

Francis Heimer

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