Aboard the S.S. France, Franz MARX and Magdalena BECKER immigrated from Trier, Germany to New Trier, MN, 24 July 1868. Like so many of the immigrants of that time, they were seeking religious freedom from government controls, better education for their children and improved means of making a living. Franz and Magdalena had seven children: Elizabeth, Nicholas, Peter, Anna, Anton, Peter(2), and John. In the spring of 1878, Franz MARX claimed land in the new Dakota Territory of Kranzburg, SD and planted his crops.
*Below is the history of the MARX immigration from Germany as written and researched by my cousin, Louise Marx Swain*
There were many reasons which caused our ancestors to think about immigrating to North America, among them the political uprisings in Germany, the struggle of the government to control the Catholic Church and education, and parents worried about their sons with the threat of an impending war. Also, our ancestors were mostly farmers and the volcanic soil made it difficult to make a living. Church records for our families, list the deaths of many infants during those times.
Another deciding factor was word from America of the opening of the area West of the Mississippi River for settlement. Railroads and shipping companies began actively recruiting in Europe (arranging for passage, etc.) . Steam ships were replacing the old sailing ships, making for faster crossings of the Atlantic. Soon, small villages in the governmental district of Trier, such as, Ordorf, Spangdahlem, Philippsheim and Wallendorf, were left nearly deserted as many families left for America.
Wisconsin and Minnesota
There was a period of great German and Scandinavian immigration to Wisconsin about the time the territory was organized in 1836. It appears that Johann Stephan Stumpf from Adenau, Germany, his wife Elizabeth, three daughters and son John Joseph, arrived about this time, settling in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Johann died in 1845 and is buried in Marytown, Wisconsin. The family relocated to Dakota County, Minnesota and daughter Maria was born there the same year.
Minnesota became a territory in 1849 and immigrants poured into the country. Settlement was pushed by the homestead law of 1862 and the extension of the railroads. Dakota County was founded in 1849. In 1855, seven German families were living in Hampton Township, including Michael Ludwig and the Nicholas Kranz family. That same year a mission was held and it was decided to build a Catholic church. As the majority of the families were from the diocese of Trier, Germany, the settlement was given the name of New Trier. By 1866, 36 Catholic families had established themselves in the area. Early settlers included our Ludwig, Becker and Stumpf ancestors. Franz Marx, his wife Magdalena and their four children arrived at the settlement on Friday, July 24, 1868. Later, two sons were born, Anton the following year and John, born in 1873.
The population of the community in 1870 was 1,095 people in 220 families. But the community had drawbacks: no railroad went through the area, there was a lack of wood and a shortage of water. Also, the land had to be continually and economically planted with wheat or the settlement could not survive. It was clear that some of the settlers would have to move on.
Kranzburg, South Dakota
Dakota Territory was organized in 1861. land offices in St. Paul, Minnesota were papered with posters which boasted of the fertile lands of the Big Sioux Valley and offered settlers the aid of land-locators. Railroads offered reduced rates for passengers, baggage and freight, permitting families to travel on one ticket, with their household goods and livestock in an attached boxcar. Seed was given to the settlers and feed was hauled free.
News of the immense prairies of Dakota and the possibilities for agriculture in this new area struck Dakota County, Minnesota, and in particular the town of New Trier. In the spring of 1878, John and Mathias Kranz were leaders of a small group of 10 or 12 German Catholic farmers from Hampton Township who entered eastern Dakota Territory in search of land suitable for establishing a new settlement. They boarded the train in Marshall, Minnesota for a ride to the end of the line and as far into the territory as they could get. From there they traveled by horse and wagon into eastern Dakota until they came to an area in eastern Coddington County.
A site ideal for their needs was chosen in the valley of the Sioux River. There was plenty of fertile, virgin prairie and the railroad, although not yet operational, ran right through the area. The settlers returned to Marshall and purchased 11,000 acres of land form the Winona & St. Paul Railroad. They also received a promise that the railroad would build a station in the new community and start service as soon as possible. In October of 1878, Kranzburg was platted and officially named in honor of John and Mathias Kranz and their brothers Nicholas and Ferdinand. Shanties, trees and sod houses dotted the prairies in the fall of 1878 and plowed fields were ready for planting in the spring. By the fall of that same year, the railroad arrived and the town was there to stay.
Franz Marx and a couple of his sons arrived in Kranzburg in the spring of 1878, claimed land and planted it. They spent the winter. On April 1, 1879, Magdalena and the rest of the children arrived in Kranzburg.
On August 4, 1897, Barbara Ludwig, daughter of Michael and Barbara (Stumpf) Ludwig, and John Marx, son of Franz and Magdalena (Becker) Marx, were united in marriage at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kranzburg. The newlyweds moved to the 160 acre farm John had purchased from his parents the year before. Their first child, Joseph Michael Marx, was born there on Saturday, December 20, 1902. And on Sunday, January 1, 1905, a daughter Suzanne Margaret Marx was born.