Monday, March 9, 2009

Hermann MO

We just visited Hermann, Missouri, a town established in 1837 by Germans from Philadelphia to be a German Athens on the plains. Its earliest settlers blamed all their troubles on the company agent named George Bayer, who thereupon "died of a broken heart." The settlers buried him in a distant corner of the town's cemetery and decreed that no one should be buried within 75' of his grave.

Not to worry. After a lengthy inquiry, a court exonerated Bayer--in 1986. Seems that Philadelphia Germans has badly miscalculated how tough it would be to make a life in the Missouri wilderness, especially during the winter. It also seems that rehabilitating Bayer rather added to the "nice" feeling of the towns' centennial celebration.

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