Notes for Richard (Sr.) Meschede

a/k/a - Johannes Caspar Meschede

Richard Meschede was originally named Johannes Caspar Meschede on his birth document in Callenhardt, Germany.

"The following transcript was written in 1957 by Anna Stockman"

Richard Meschede was born in Callenhardt, Westphalia, Prussia (a component province of Germany), on Good Friday April 20, 1821. He grew to manhood in and near Callenhardt. He went in search of work to Eversburg, Westphalia, and it was while working there he met and married Federicka Pittman. The wedding took place in the Catholic Church at Eversberg, August 15, 1849. Soon after their marriage they went to Callenhardt to make their home. Conditions for working men were very bad at this time in Germany, and he was often compelled to go 100 miles and more to find a job, his wife remaining at their home in Callenhardt. One of the places where he found the most profitable job was near the town of Meschede, which bore his name, and it was from this town his parents had come to live in Callenhardt.

Eleven children were born to Richard and Fredericka Pittman Meschede. Theresa, Annie, Angelica (Lena), and two sons whom died in infancy were born in Callenhardt, Westphalia, Prussia. Richard, Fredericka, and Elizabeth were born in St. Louis, Missouri. Joseph, Mary, and William were born in Saline County, Missouri.

Richard Meschede was an industrious man, but found it a most difficult task to provide for his family under conditions such as existed in Germany at that time. Two of his wifes brothers, Frederick and Joseph Pittman had gone to America, and after living there two years they wrote and encouraged him to come to America with his family, where they assured him conditions were better. They also sent money for transportaion for him and his family.

Immediately upon receipt of this letter he and his wife began preparations for making the long voyage to America. Other members of his wifes family also decided to come to America with them. These members were Charles and Elizabeth Pittman, and their two sons Frederick and Clement. Frank and Theresa Hillebrand and two small sons, Joseph and Anthony, Lena Pittman, and Mrs. Mariana Degenhardt Pittman.

Richard Meschede was at this time 37 years of age, his wife 28, Theresa the oldest child 8, Annie 5, and Angelica (Lena) 12 days old, when they left Germany to come to America. The entire group went overland to the Port of Breman from where they were to embark. It was a long hard trip for all of them. They reached the Port of Breman in the evening of March 10, 1858, and found they were to sail the next day. They had difficulty finding lodging for all their families, as the port city was filled not only with emigrants but with immigrants as well. On the morning of March 11, 1858, Richard Meschede and family with the other families in the party boarded the "John Hermann", one of the sailing vessels then in use and on which passage for them had been booked. As the ship sailed slowly out of port he and the entire group bade farewell to their native land, and set sail for America to establish a new home and where they hoped and prayed for better things in life for themselves and their children. They were compelled to sail around the northern Coast of Scotland, owing to the severe storms that were raging at that time in the English Channel. The voyage was rough, and his wife was seasick most all the way across. Their hearts were crushed and broken when Anthony the little son of Frank and Theresa Hillebrand took sick and died, and had to be buried at sea. Days and weeks passed slowly for all of them, when finally their voyage ended, for after 11 long weeks at sea they landed at New Orleans, Louisiana, May 20, 1858. Nine days later they arrived in St. Louis, Missouri aboard a river boat. Here they were met by Joseph and Frederick Pittman, who had made the coming to America possible. They had rented a small home for them and here he and his family went to live, their hearts filled with joy and gratitude. They continued to live there for 8 years, and until the close of the Civil War. The other members of the party who sailed with them to America remained in St. Louis, Missouri about two months and then migrated to Saline County, Missouri.

Having very little money he immediately sought work to provide for his family. The children were sent to parochial school and he worked wile his wife took care of their humble little home. In 1860 a daughter was born to them, whom they named Fredericka. In 1862 a son Richard was born, and in 1864 a daughter Elizabeth was born. It now kept him busy to provide for his wife and 6 children, but he was happy doing it. His was a happy family even though they had little of this worlds goods.

In the midst of their happiness tragedy befell them when in 1864 Richard Meschede came home from work one day with a raging fever and his body racked with pain. A Doctor was summoned and he diagnosed his illness Inflammatory Rheumatism, and he lay helpless confined to his bed for 22 weeks. His wife Fredericka rallied to the cause and proved herself to be an Angel of Mercy. She went to work washing for other people using a washboard to do it, and made a living for the family of eight. She provided medical care for him and food, shelter and clothing for the children. She had to leave the older children to nurse him and care for the smaller ones while she worked. They endured much during these trying times, but they never lost hope and faith. After 22 long weeks of suffering he began to improve, and while his recovery was slow yet it was sure, and finally he was able to resume work again.

Not long after he had fully recovered, they decided to migrate to Saline County, Missouri, and near the other members of the party who came to America and lived there. It was in the year 1866 that he and his family came to Saline County. They first lived on the Petit Saux plains northeast of Malte Bend, Missouri, but in April 1873 he bought a 160 acre farm in the Missouri River bottom east of Laynesville. He moved his family there, and his children grew to maturity here all except Elizabeth who died at the age of 8 years. He was active on his farm until 1899 when he lost his eyesight and was totally blind for 3 years before his death. During these 3 years that he lived in total darkness he never complained, and was always cheerful and satisfied saying to those who knew and loved him, "God knows best". He died March 15, 1902. He died as he had lived, a resigned and honorable man. His funeral was held March 17, 1902 at the Immaculate Conception Church at Shackelford, Missouri, He was buried at Mt. St. Marys Cemetery northwest of Shackelford, Missouri.

Richard Meschede was an American citizen having filed his intention papers in the Courthouse in Marshall, Missouri, October 7, 1868. A few years later he was declared a citizen of these United States of America.

Richard Meschede was a good man. One of God's nobleman. He was a devout Catholic and toiled and struggled through his lifetime for the glory of his Creator, leaving to his children and his descendants the priceless legacy of Catholic faith. Honesty and fidelity to home was sacred traits to him never to be broken. He was a kind and indulgent father, and was a faithful husband who with his wife worked hard to provide for themselves and those entrusted to their care. Honest and sincere he stood among men. He owed no man a dollar or a debt of gratitude he didn't pay. Like a massive Ock of the forest, sturdy, towering and strong, so was Richard Meschede among his fellow man. Let his life be an inspiration to each of us who can be as justly proud that we are one of his descendants.

Additional Notes: Anna Stockman, the writer of the above transcript was initially incorrect on the ship being named the Grosse Hermann, for the correct name is the John Hermann. Also, the family didn't arrive in New Orleans on May 28, 1858, they arrived on May 20, 1858. This is supported by several of the original documents, and the corrected information has already been properly entered into above transcript.

The location named Callenhardt is now known and spelled today as Kallenhardt, Germany.

1880 Census Place: Grand Pass, Saline, Missouri
Source: FHL Film 1254716 National Archives Film T9-0716 Page 358C
Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Frederika MESCHEDE Wife F M W 50 GERMANY
Occ: Keeps House Fa: --- Mo: ---
Fredericka MESCHEDE Dau F S W 20 MO
Occ: At Home Fa: --- Mo: ---
Richard MESCHEDE Son M S W 17 MO
Occ: At Home Fa: --- Mo: ---
Joseph MESCHEDE Son M S W 12 MO
Occ: At Home Fa: --- Mo: ---
Occ: At Home Fa: --- Mo: ---
William MESCHEDE Son M S W 7 MO
Occ: At Home Fa: --- Mo: ---

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