My grandmother Rose’s father, Peter Uelmen, came to the U.S. when he was a boy of five. His earliest memories were probably of tearful friends and relatives coming to say good-by as his family prepared to leave their little village of Strohn, Germany in the early summer or spring of 1857.
Peter was born in 1852. His parents were Joann Adam Uelmen and Margaretha Lehnertz. Older siblings, 12 year old Katherine, 10 year old, Johann Adam and 7 year old, Nicholas were most likely on hand to greet his birth. Two older siblings had died in infancy -Johann Joseph and Anna Gertrude.
The area Peter and his family came from is now called Vulkaneifel, a part of the Eifel region of Germany known for it’s volcanic and geologic history. Characteristic of the area are the many blue, water filled volcanic crater lakes called maars. Many of the maars dotting the area also have small villages surrounding them. The one in Strohn is mostly filled in and is now a wildlife refuge. The chief industry of the area once was agriculture but now is tourism. Hiking and biking trails abound in the area, as do many wineries and places to stay. The village of Strohin, itself has about 550 inhabitants. It is also home to a volcanic museum.
The towns in the Vulkaneifel area small, you aren’t likely to find them on a map unless you consult one for that region. If you are looking at a more general map look at the area SW of Cologne and NW of Trier near the Moselle River and the Luxembourg border.
So why did the Peter’s father, at age 51, decide to take his family away from a place that today looks so calm and peaceful? Stay tuned for my next posting as I delve into the life of Peter’s parents.