Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weigant History

My grandparents, the Weigants and Spahns, came from a Volga town called Pfeifer. They lived only a few blocks away from each other. Casper Weigant and Susanna Spahn were married in Pfeifer and were among the late Russian German immigrants to the USA. They departed Pfeifer March 12, 1914, by train to Bremen, Germany, and then onto the Steamship SS Breslau. They arrived in Boston Harbor, having spent $32 for the third-class passage.
Susie and Casper were married in Russia and saved up enough money to come to America with the help of John, Casper's brother. John told them there was plenty of work in America. They left Russia with only $33 on them. Their passage across the Atlantic took three weeks. Susie said she saw mermaids in the water, but it was probably seaweed. The journey from the German colonies to an area along the Russian Volga River, and then to North America, was not an easy one. It involved numerous modes of transportation, including trains and ships. The trans-Atlantic portion could take as little as two weeks or as long as a couple of months, depending upon the weather conditions, the age of the ship, the time of year, and many other factors. The reason for such a long trips was that in the north sea, the ships did not travel at night because of the risk of hitting an ice burg. So they would stay motionless while waiting for the morning light. Susie was pregnant with son Casper, my dad, during the trip to the U.S. She gave birth to my dad in Minnesota on October 3, 1914. Soon after that they moved to Oregon with my Great Uncle John.

(Contributed by Robert Weigant.)

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