Historically, this region was Osage land. The majority of the Osage and other indigenous peoples of Missouri were forcibly relocated during the Indian Removals of the 1800s along the Trail of Tears to the Oklahoma Territory.
In George H. King's "History of Hermann", compiled in 1876 and published in The Advertiser-Courier, he described its European settlement thus:
"Hermann was settled under the auspices of the Philadelphia German Settlement Society. In 1837, a committee was appointed, who came to Missouri, and after some investigation, returned and reported to the Society. Whereupon Mr. G. F. Bayer, General Agent, came, and selected a site for settlement, that upon which Hermann now stands. His country-men not caring to engage in general farming, which would necessitate the employment of many field hands and consequently slaves, but preferring to raise fruits, and the country in all its picturesque beauty forcibly reminding him of his native land, influenced him to make this selection. [...] Bayer entered about 12,000 acres land of Government at $1.25 per acre, and after the incorporation of the town in 1840 the same, with the tracts purchased of the aforesaid residents, were transferred to the trustees of Hermann."
At the time of Bayer's visit, there were only four families present in the area: the Atkins, Hensley, Philips and Jarvis families. All but the Jarvis family were bought out, and German settlers directed by the PGSS arrived between 1837 and 1840 to establish a colony.
According to King, "At first, the little colony did not prosper, and upon several occasions, the abandonment of the settlement was seriously contemplated, but on each occasion some fortunate circumstance occurred which deterred the consummation of the project. The settlers were industrious and frugal, but sickness and the want of financial resources, were the causes which occasioned the lack of prosperity."
In 1839, every adult male in Hermann except 3 was sick with "fever and ague" that was traced to decaying debris in the creek.
In June 1844, they faced massive flooding of the Missouri River known as "The Great Overflow." King reports; "the Missouri being literally filled with floating cattle, timber and houses, the latter often-times containing chickens, household effects, &c. A tobacco barn heavily freighted was secured by some of the citizens, but slipped its moorings during the succeeding night and floated down the "Mighty Missouri"."
Hermann was made County Seat in 1842.
In 1849, a cholera epidemic broke out in Hermann, killing 128 people in three months. Cholera returned in 1850, killing 10 more, and again in 1854, killing another 30.
In 1845, the steamer 'Big Hatchie" exploded at the Hermann wharf, killing and injuring many.
The inhabitants of Hermann at first considered themselves to be German still - during the Mormon war, they returned to their homes after assembling because a "sufficient force of American volunteers" had arrived, but by the Civil war, Hermann patriotically mustered 10 companies to defend the Union.
Hermann Grapes and Wine
The first grapes were grown in Hermann in 1846 and the first wine made in 1847. The following years were described as "Grape Mania," and in 1876, the Hermann region produced about 500,000 gallons of wine annually. George Riefenstahl and Michael Poeschel were the pioneers of the wine-making industry, and Poeschel went on to establish Stone Hill Winery, which is still in operation today.
- Hermanner Wochenblatt, Deutsch, 1843 - 1854; renamed Hermanner Volksblatt, 1854 - 1928.
- Lichtfreund, Deutsch, 1843 - 1854
- "Central Missourian", Deutsch, 1866 - 1869
- "The Calumet", Deutsch, 1869 - 1873
- "Die Gasconade Zeitung", Deutsch, 1873 - 187?
- "The Gasconade County Record", English, 1873 - ?
- "Gasconade County Advertiser", English, 1874 - ?
- "The (Advertiser-)Courier", English, 1874 - present
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