The Diary of Frdr. Aug. Hihn
by Frederick Augustus Hihn
Transcribed by F. A. Hihn from his Tagebuch 1
Explanatory Notes prepared by
Stanley D. Stevens
with some “notes retained” from the original translation.
I was born2 in Altendorf3 near Holzminden4 in the Duchy of Brunswick5 on the 16th of August, 1829. I had already a sister Charlotte, born Oct. 11, 1825, a brother Wilhelm, born Mar. 12, 1827, and a brother who had died before my birth. After me were born; Carl, Mar. 26, 1831, Fritz, May 15, 1833, Emma, Oct. 7, 1844, Hugo, Nov. 19, 1838, Emil, Nov. 19, 1838, Otto, Oct. 11, 1840.6
I went to grammar school7 till I was nine years old and then to the Gymnasium8 in Holzminden until I was fifteen. Though my parents9 had to struggle hard for their existence and, consequently, all of us children had to go without many things, we had nevertheless a happy childhood, especially for the reason that we all were healthy. The friend of my childhood was Victor Hampe, the son of a lawyer from Holzminden; yet I have found also in his case that one cannot rely on friendship. After a separation of several years our friendship was entirely broken up or, to say the least, neglected, and this through no fault of mine.
At the age of fifteen I became an apprentice to the shopkeeper Hoffmann10 in Schöningen11; there I learned the business in groceries and in manufactured goods12. I remained four years there, and I do not believe or hope to feel ever as unhappy again as I did in this house. The treatment I received there was bad beyond all measure. My fellow-apprentices at Hoffmann’s were Thiemann and Scheibe.
Summer 1847 I decided to put an end to all my sufferings by leaving Hoffman. I intended to learn practical agriculture and then to go to America. Very frankly I informed by boss of this, saying it was only on account of his bad treatment. He argued with me; since he promised to give me the certificate of accomplished apprenticeship by Easter 1848, thus letting me off the fifth year of apprenticeship, I stayed on.
How glad was I when I could leave this house and go home at the end of this period. At home, I tried to be of as much help as possible, helping my father in settling accounts of old ledgers and doing a lot of gardening which was ordinarily done by hired journeymen. I also had to supervise the bleaching-yard and managed, winter 1848-49, a bleachery for cotton- and linen-yarn. Although I was of great help at home I saw clearly that the earnings were not sufficient for such a large family, and that it would be difficult for myself and my brothers and sisters to find a future in Germany. Therefore my decision was made to go to America as soon as possible; and, once there, to save up money and send it to my parents in order that several of my brothers could come after me. I believed, and I still do, that through the united effort of myself and my brothers it should be possible to take care of our younger brothers and sisters and to procure a care-free old age for our parents. My greatest difficulty consisted in obtaining the money for the trip. For this purpose I traveled to Harzgerode13 to get it from our relatives there. From them I received about 150 florins14, of which I gave 20 to my father. In possession of this money I was able to realize my dream, to emigrate to America. For my destination, however, I did not choose Wisconsin as I had intended originally, but California, whence came much news of the rich gold mines in this region.15 Since my father did not wish me to travel without someone I knew, he tried to find a companion for me. I succeeded in interesting in my plan H. F. von Lengerke16 from Dohnsen, who also intended to go to California. The latter planned to start a business in San Francisco and seemed to be interested in having with him a young man whom he knew, and who could not demand much. I met both requirements; he knew me, since his mother formerly had lived in our house, and since we two, i.e., Ferdinand and I, went together to the gymnasium in Holzminden, and, furthermore, I am not in the position of making any high demands since I have no money.
Although Lengerke did not make a binding contract with me, we had an agreement that I should sell merchandise Lengerke had taken along, and if this should prove to be profitable, I should manage a retail business which he wanted to establish. Lengerke willingly advanced me the whole sum for a cabin-passage to San Francisco, which amounted to 250 florins in gold.
On April 12, 1849 I left my Home-town and went to Bremen, where I arrived on the evening of April 13.
On April 18 I traveled to Brake17 and went on board the Reform at 11 o’clock in the morning. The 23rd of April we sailed from Brake and came into the sea on the 25th. The new experience of looking out on the ocean I could enjoy little since I got seasick.
In the afternoon of April 25 we were stopped by a Danish ship, since the river Weser was blockaded by the Danes. However, since we sailed under the Russian flag we were permitted to go on. Till April 30 there happened nothing of importance. But to-day we saw the coasts of England, later Dover and the French coast. At night we saw several beacons, and the 1st of May the Isle of Wight came into sight.
2nd of May. Today we did not see any land and shall now come to the Atlantic Ocean.
3rd of May. We are now in the Atlantic; the water is here of a nice blue color. Which was not the case in the North Sea.
From May 3 to May 23. Nothing worth mentioning happened during this time. We Observe already several big fish, especially porpoises, which sometimes are harpooned. We, however, did not succeed in getting one aboard.
May 24. This morning, a lot of noise from above awakened me. I could not explain this terrible noise since the weather was entirely calm. I therefore jumped from my berth and hurried on deck, where I saw a shark caught on a hook by the sailors. It was thrashing and tossing about violently, but was stopped soon by cutting off its tail. Several passengers had a piece of this meat cooked and ate it with great appetite.
We saw several ships and saluted one of them by hoisting the flag. The return of our salute showed us that we were dealing with a vessel from Bremen. To our great joy her captain came aboard. Since he was returning to Bremen, we gave him letters for home. The captain’s name is Lorenzen, ship “Kunigunde”. He was coming from Guayaquil and told us good news from California.18
We were today in 4° north latitude and calm.
About the 28th of May we crossed the Equator.
June 12. Today we had a sad experience which, however, ended well enough. A poodle which was a favorite with all of us fell overboard. The sails were braced so that the ship did not move, and we saw the poodle, which had entirely disappeared already, swimming toward the ship. When the dog was about 100 to 150 feet away he seemed very tired; for this reason a passenger by the name of Grimm who claimed to be a good swimmer jumped overboard against all warnings to rescue the poodle. Grimm had the log-line tied around him; but he tore it while jumping and swam without a line to the poodle, which he soon reached. Swimming back, however, was not so easy because he had to struggle against the wind and the waves; he had to abandon the poodle since he did not come closer to the ship which was still moving forward a little. The captain19 now wanted to turn the ship; but this did not work because the wind happened to blow directly from behind, so that in turning, the ship still moved forward for quite a distance, and Grimm was left so far behind that we hardly could see him and almost gave up all hope of rescuing him.
The small boat was lowered with a crew of four sailors who finally succeeded in saving Grimm when he had already given up hope. To our great joy and against all expectation the arriving boat also carried the poodle. Grimm recovered soon.
June 17. In the morning we saw the coast of Brazil, and arrived in the evening at Cape Frio where we noticed the beacon.20
Till June 21st we had bad weather, so that we were unable to find the entrance to the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. In the afternoon it is getting clearer; we are sailing under favorable wind toward the harbor, and anchor facing the harbor at 8:30 at night.
June 22. I got up early this morning to look at the Brazilian coast. It is magnificent. We are in bay.21 On both sides are hills and glens. Trees, palm-trees, etc. are everywhere, and in many places beautiful villas can be seen. In the background one sees the entrance to the harbor protected by the forts Santa Cruz and Franquia, stretching inland for about 6 miles. Circling the harbor lies Rio, and we look at the principal part of the city which lies quite in the background of the harbor. At noon the breeze from the ocean started to blow, and we arrived at fort Santa Cruz at 1:30. There we were asked questions; after having answered them, we sailed on to Fort Franquia where we anchored. Several boats with government officials arrived after that. Other boats came, and could not even go ashore in the next morning with the rest of the passengers because my things were still in the hold.
On June 23 at noon I went ashore with von Lengerke and walked about in Rio till evening. Here I saw for the first time in my life negroes and mulattos, who impressed me very strangely. Lengerke met an acquaintance, and I went to the hotel where the other passengers were lodging. There I rested up for some time in the evening, and went then with Aders22 for a walk in the streets, where they had fireworks everywhere in celebration of St. John’s fire. I went to bed at 11 o’clock.
The 24th of June. I did not sleep well last night, got up at six and took a trip to the botanical garden23 which is about 5 miles outside the city. I went with Aders, lieutenant von Muller, Jansen, and his friend Grabert, who is working in a business office here. We left at seven in the morning in a steamboat which brought us to Pota Toga, whence we walked to the botanical garden, a distance of two miles. On our arrival we ordered breakfast and then went into the garden. It was a beautiful park with many sorts of trees and plants. There were also many magnificent butterflies; I caught a number of them for the lieutenant. A negro boy served us as guide; he told us the names of the trees and plants, among which were the tea-plant, the bread-tree, the cocoanut tree, the cocoa tree, and many more.
At 12 o’clock we ate a very nice chicken pie and other delicious dishes, drinking also good wine, so that we returned very animated. Using the steamboat, we came home at seven. We had cut supper, and I slept again very badly in a kind of bed which was new to me, a so-called camping bed.
June 25. Today I took a second trip to the botanical gardens, accompanied by Aders, Neuhaus, and Rauschengerg. Again we traveled by steamboat to Pota Toga, and on the way to the botanical garden we took a cab which drove us all the way for the cheap fare of 6 vingt-uns. We ordered lunch today and went then to the garden, where we had a good time. Today we had a different negro boy who knew more about the garden, and we tasted most of the edible fruits.
After having finished out meal, we went back to Pota Toga, where we learned to our regret that the boat did not return to Rio this evening. For this reason we had to walk; but on the way we met a bus which took us to Rio. On my arrival I looked for Lengerke and spent the night with him.
June 26. Nothing of importance happened today. Again I spent the night with Lengerke.
June 27. After Lengerke had finished with his purchases we went aboard and put away the things he had bought. Afterwards we went ashore again. Since the captain had advised us to be back on board this evening, because he wanted to sail to-morrow, I intended to return aboard the same evening; but Lengerke persuaded me to stay with him ashore over night, because his laundress had not brought back his things. Since I also did not believe that the ship would sail very early in the morning, I spent the night ashore, intending to go aboard quite early in the morning.
June 28. This morning I got up at six and made ready to go on board. Our departure, however, was retarded till 9 o’clock, because Lengerke got back his laundry just at this hour. We hurried at once to the harbor only to learn that the ship had sailed but that, for our sake, was still cruising about before the harbor. Therefore we hired a boat with four negroes whose efforts we stimulated by promising them a high reward. The fellows rowed with all their strength, and since we also had a little sail, we arrived at Fort Santa Cruz after nearly half an hour whence we could see our ship cruising at a distance of about 1 mile. Suddenly we were called from the fort, but we continued rowing until a shot forced us to land. They asked us for the watchword, All this caused a delay of at least three quarters of an hour. We traveled forwards again, passing by Santa Cruz, but were not able to distinguish our ship from all the others sailing out. The negroes, however, could see it quite clearly, and in half an hour, after a trip of at least 4 miles, were we aboard the “Reform”. We were in good spirits and celebrated over a bottle of wine. Immediately on our arrival the sails were set, and we sailed away. After half an hour we encountered the “Express” which had lost two masts in a storm, and for this reason intended to go to Rio for repairing. Our captain went on board the “Express” and returned after half an hour, whereupon we sailed again. The next morning we lost view of the coast and sailed for 7 days with a rather favorable wind.
July 5. Last night we experienced the first storm. The ship rocked violently, and a heavy wave broke against the walls of my cabin so that I thought the planks had been smashed. But this was not so. The whole deck, however, was covered with water, so that most of the chickens had drowned; we killed most of them. This stormy weather lasted for about two weeks. It became cold with repeated snowing.
July 28. This morning at six we went through the straits of Le Maire and saw Staten Island and Cape Diego. We enjoyed the view of these coasts, which are about 12 miles distant from each other; the whole day we spent on deck to look at the snow-covered peaks of Fireland [Tierra de Fuego]. It became stormy a little, and we drifted somewhat eastwards.24
July 29. We lost sight of the land. The weather was gloomy; some snow was falling. Toward the evening the wind died down.
July 30. We were becalmed during the whole night and all day long.
July 31. Still no wind this morning. At 10 o’clock a.m. a breeze from the east started, and soon we could see Cape Horn, which we passed by at a distance of about 12 miles. The Cape is formed by two high, beautiful cliffs which we could observe the whole day long. It was cold, but not quite as cold as we thought, the lowest degree of the thermometer being only 9° Reaumur. When we were in line with the Cape, we had a strong current from the west. In the evening at ten we still passed by St. Diego Island. 25
August 1. The weather was cold and dreary; but we had good wind and made nine and three quarters German miles in a four hour watch. At eight, the eastern breeze became a storm; most of the sails were taken in, yet we still moved forward with great speed.
August 2. The storm increased over night and lasted till the next morning when it calmed down a little. In this way we had sailed around Cape Horn and were today one and a half degrees north of the Cape. I thanked God for helping us through this danger; how easily could we have been smashed against the rocks by an unfavorable gale.
Till August 5 the storm continued. Today we say several ships.
August 6. We have better weather today. The wind has decreased yet remained favorable for us.
The wind remains good till Valparaiso,26 which we could see on August 12 in the morning. At noon we entered this harbor; because there was no wind, our boat had to tow us in. The harbor of Valparaiso is entirely open toward the north; bare hills enclose it on all other sides. The city of Valparaiso lies in the background of the harbor; on the left one can see the snowy peaks of the Andes. There are many other ships in the harbor; not far from us is an English warship with 50 guns. The illumination of Valparaiso looks magnificent from our ship. Since the hills are covered with houses, it gives the impression of a second sky full of stars. Today there is much life in the harbor; the sounds of music can be heard from several ships. For the first time in my life I listen to the Yankee Doodle.
August 13. This morning I went ashore and I looked over the city. The lower part consists of nice houses; businessman, artisans, and well-to-do- people reside here. The streets here are well paved; there are side-walks. In the upper part one finds only miserable huts, inhabited principally by workers. Many of these people are loafing everywhere in the streets, as they are not working regularly but only occasionally. I slept over night in the city and had a good bed. I was awakened at night by the peculiar call of the night-watchman, who caused a great deal of amusement among us. We had also a lot of fun over the strange cries of the mule and oxen drivers. The most beautiful sight is a Chilian horseman with his giant spurs which are as big as a fist.
August 14. After a splendid breakfast I took a trip into the country, accompanied by Aders and Meyer; our aim was the signal-pole on the highest hill near Valparaiso, the pole which signals the arriving ships. On the way we saw many plants which also grew in Germany, but in addition to those also cacti of at least 9 feet in height and 3/4 foot in diameter. From above we had a marvelous view over the ocean and the harbor with many ships; the view into the land, however, was shut off by higher mountains. After having looked around, we returned to the city; but we passed by the light-house which is on top of a hill not far from the city. We could not climb the light-tower since it was locked. Therefore we continued
on our way and came to a coast battery with about 15 guns, from where we came back to the city. There I dined and went back on board.
August 15. I stayed on board today and tried to fish, but had no luck.
August 16. Also today I remained on board, celebrating quietly my 20th birthday. On the occasion of my 19th birthday I had not anticipated that I should celebrate the present one in Valparaiso; heaven only knows where I shall be on my next birthday. May it be God’s wish that I shall be in good circumstances at that time. Before me lies a fateful and important year. I enter the world now all alone to found a new existence for myself. Well, I am full of hope and trust in God; He will not abandon me.
We remained in the harbor until August 23. Though I went ashore several times I did not observe anything new.
August 23. Today the wind grew so strong that we drifted out of the harbor in spite of the anchor. At noon we departed with a favorable wind. The breeze kept up till September 2nd, and we had good weather during the whole time. Then, however, we were becalmed until September 4.
On the 5th we had a good breeze again; this lasted till September 18.
On September 15 we crossed the Equator. From the 18th to the 23rd no wind, except a little sometimes.
The 22nd of September we saw two sharks of which we caught the smaller one. It was 10 feet long, and by cutting it open we found 9 small sharks within it.
September 24. Today it started to get a little rougher. The weather was gloomy; this lasted till October 4.
October 5. Today we had good weather.
October 6. The weather stays good, but the wind dies down. Several sharks were near the ship today; they were bigger than any we had seen before. We cast the hook, and one of them swallowed it; but in pulling it up the chain fastened to hook and rope broke, and the shark escaped with the hook. Since we had no other hook, we harpooned a shark. The harpoon stuck deep in the fish, which made great efforts to get rid of it, in which it finally succeeded. The fish, however, sank immediately and probably died.
October 7. The weather becomes bad and the wind is against us.
October 8. The wind is better. We have much fog today; the sun came through, but only feebly, which was a nice sight.
October 10. When I got up this morning at 5:00 I looked at the coast of California, our future home. The hills were right close to the beach; some were covered with firs. The wind became a gale; therefore we could not come close to the land in order to find the entrance to the harbor of San Francisco. In the evening most of the sails were taken in, and the ship is drifting. Towards sight the wind dies down.
October 11. We have beautiful weather and search again for the harbor. About noon we see it and steer toward it. The wind, however, is not favorable, so that we approach the harbor but slowly, tacking against the wind. For the first time since Valapaiso we see ships again. A frigate, a brig, and a schooner came out of the harbor, and several other ships were tacking before the harbor, just as we did.
On land we saw a great number of horses grazing, a good sign that there is no famine in California. In the ocean there are a great number of whales and a species related to them which are called fin-fish. They were the first of their kind we had ever seen, and we had great pleasure in watching them spouting and jumping high out of the water, with their powerful tails clearly above the water. We saw at least twenty of them. A few days ago I also saw a northern whale spouting water just as the other whales, but spouting only from one hole. It was about 24 feet long. Also a sun-fish came close to the ship, a fish with a large mouth, measuring as much in width as in length. It swam near the surface and enjoyed the sun.
October 12. This morning we all got up early to look at the coast of California. There in land on both sides, bare hills; yet there seems to be enough grass since we see cattle grazing on many places. We are now close to the entrance of the harbor. There are boats and bigger vessels moving out of the harbor; we do not know why they are traveling in this direction, and we surmise that they are looking for gold, so much do we expect of California. We pass through the entrance of the harbor at noon. On one side there is an old Spanish fort which seems to be deserted. At one o’clock in the afternoon we anchor in the harbor in front of San Francisco. There are several ships, and other are coming in. Some passengers go ashore with the captain. I am staying on board till tomorrow; von Langerke came back and told me he did not intend to rent a store because the rents were too high. Therefore I decided to go to the mines with some other passengers. We stayed in San Francisco for about a week, looking the city over, which consists for the most part of shacks, and preparing for our trip to the mines. We took passage on a schooner bound to Sacramento. The schooner was heavily loaded and carried a deck-load of lumber on which we had to stay. We went by Benicia, a little place at the bay. Toward evening the ship got stuck on a sandbar,27 even though the water was quite high; we could not make it float in spite of all efforts. During the night at low tide we ran a great risk of capsizing; the next morning our captain went to San Francisco to get a launch; a part of the cargo was then removed to make the ship lighter. ###
1. Tagebuch is German for Diary or Daybook. F. A. Hihn’s original manuscript diary was a gift to the Hihn-Younger Archive, in 1993, by Jane Younger McKenzie, grand-daughter of F. A. Hihn, with the kind assistance of her son, Donald McKenzie. Mrs. Jane Younger McKenzie’s mother was Agnes Hihn Younger, youngest daughter of Frederick Augustus Hihn.
2. I rely on data supplied by our German friend, Charly Precht, from documentation compiled on 26. Mai 1988, from records at the Evang. Luth. Kirchenbuchamt, Holzminden, by Imgard Meise, Kirchenbuchführerin, Ausgezogen aus den Kirchenbüchern von Holzminden und Altendorf. He was born as Friedrich August Ludewig Hühn, on August 16, 1829; he was Baptised on September 6, 1829, at Altendorf, Holzminden, Germany.
3. Altendorf is an older part of today’s Holzminden, hardly known to residents with whom I inquired on a visit there in March 1989. A book on the history of Holzminden, which I purchased at the local newspaper, contains maps and photographs that make clear the relationship of Altendorf to Holzminden. Holzminden is about 40 miles southeast of Hannover.
4. Holzminden is a modern town of about 25,000 population, in north-central Germany. It is on the Weser river, which flows northwest to the North Sea; the Weser is also home to other important river cities: Bremen, from which F. A. Hihn sailed to California, and Bremerhaven, where the Weser meets the southern part of the North Sea.
5. Brunswick (Ger. Braunschweig), a duchy of 1,417 square miles, central Germany, in Lower Saxony, territory ruled by the Duke of Brunswick until it was annexed to the kingdom of Westphalia, 1807-1813.
6. The relationship of his brothers and sisters may be understood by reference to a full list of their names and birthdates. There are some discrepancies between Hihn’s Tagebuch dates and those shown below; my source is: Ausgezogen aus den Kirchenbüchern von Holzminden und Altendorf; Holzminden.
According to the Church records, Hugo and Emil were born on the same day. Only two brothers came to Santa Cruz, the twins, Friedrich Hugo Hermann [known as Hugo F. Hühn in Santa Cruz, and owner of the Flatiron Building (also known as the Hugo Hihn building) at the junction of Pacific and Front streets, a landmark demolished after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake]. Hugo was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in Santa Cruz on April 9, 1867. After a few months as a new citizen, Hugo returned to Europe on September 2, 1867, eventually settling in Zurich, Switzerland, where he died March 3, 1917 at the age of 79. Friederich Emil Ludewig (known as Lewis Emil Hihn in Santa Cruz). Lewis was naturalized in Santa Cruz on August 21, 1860. He remained in Santa Cruz the rest of his life, where he died on March 14, 1881, at age forty-two.
Carl Friedrich Ludewig Hühn was born March 19, 1828.
Although his Tagebuch clearly has Emma’s birth year as 1844, the Ausgezogen aus den Kirchenbüchern von Holzminden und Altendorf records the year 1834.
F. A. Hihn and His Siblings
Key to Birth/Baptismal Dates
[first set digits — 06. = day of month. second set digits — 10. = month]
(1) Charlotte Dorothee Friedrike Wilhelmine 06.10./19.10.1824
(2) 17 months Georg Friedrich Wilhelm 12.03/02.04.1826
(3) 24 months Carl Friedrich Ludewig 19.03./13.04.1828 + 1829
(4) 17 months Friedrich August Ludewig 16.08./06.09.1829
(5) 19 months Carl Julius Friedrich Wilhelm 26.03./17.04.1831
(6) 14 months Friedrich Carl Theodor 15.05./10.06.1832
(7) 29 months Emma Lisette Charlotte 13.10./19.10.1834
(8) 48 months Friedrich Hugo Hermann 17.11./23.11.1838
[known as Hugo F. Hühn in Santa Cruz] in Altendorf
(9) 48 months Friederich Emil Ludewig 17.11./22.11.1838
[known as Lewis Emil Hihn in Santa Cruz] in Altendorf
(10) 23 months Julius Otto Gustav 09.10./25.10.1840
7. Here he uses “Burgerschule - usually a town-school for the middle classes with six grades; he probably entered it when he was six years old.” Bürgerschule, (according to the Oxford-Harrap Standard German-English Dictionary, Edited by Trevor Jones, Oxford, England : Clarendon Press, 1977) is defined as a “higher-grade elementary school (for middle-class children).”
8. “A secondary school stressing the study of classics with nine years of instruction. For students wishing to go into business it was customary to quit school after 6 years, as he did.”
9. Johann Friedrich Hühn (born April 20, 1794 - died Dec 9, 1863), and Charlotte Melosine (Melusine) Wölffer.
10. This appears in the Translation typescript as “Hoffman” (one N), and elsewhere as “Hoffmann” (two NNs). The biography of Frederick A. Hihn, in E. S. Harrison’s History of Santa Cruz County, California (no doubt from information provided by Hihn) indicates that Hihn “entered the mercantile house of A. Hoffmann, of Schoeningen, as an apprentice. In his eighteenth year, having completed his apprenticeship, he engaged successfully in the business of collecting medicinal herbs and preparing them for market.” (It is important to recognize that this History uses F. A. Hihn’s portrait as its frontispiece — an acute reminder to us of F. A. Hihn’s importance in the telling of Santa Cruz County history.) [Edward Sanford Harrison. San Francisco : Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1892. pp. 266-270.]
11. Schöningen is about 70 miles northeast of Holzminden, 20 miles southeast of Braunschweig.
12. Material - und Manufactur- Geschaft; a kind of general store as such as still can be found in towns and villages in Germany.
13. (perhaps?) Osterode a. Harz, in the Harz Mountains, 35-miles Southeast of Holzminden.
14. “Rg, abbr. of Reichsgulden; it is hard to determine the exact value of this coin, there having been so many different kinds of it. A good guess would be 75 cts. for a gulden in silver, considerably more for a gold piece.”
15. Harrison, ibid p. 266, has this version: “Disliking the German form of government, and yearning for political liberty, [Hihn] was preparing to emigrate to Wisconsin, when the news of the gold discoveries in California reached Germany.”
16. While Hihn uses “Ferdinand” and “H. F. von Lengerke,” the ship Reform, on which they sailed, sent a message back on April 25, 1849, and he signed the message as “J. H. von Lengerke.” One can only speculate on the discrepancy between the initials for von Lengerke; given the fact that birth and baptismal names were more formal, and the more common names were variations thereof, von Lengerke’s middle name (whatever that might have been) may be the predominant, therefore use of the “H” in Hihn’s version. No place has been identified for Hihn’s use of “von Lengerke from Dohnsen.” [Source for the Reform list: Clifford Neal Smith’s Passenger lists (and fragments thereof) from Hamburg and Bremen to Australia and the United States, 1846-1849. McNeal, AZ. : Westland Publications, 1988. Note: The brief message is as follows: “Upon the occasion of our departure from Germany for California we extend to all our relatives and friends our fondest farewell. We wish also to thank Heydorn & Company for their friendship and helpfulness.” Hihn’s name is recorded as: F. A. HUEHN, which may be the translator’s version of Hühn, his family name.] Friedrich Gerstäcker, a celebrated adventurer in America as early as 1837, and widely read author, wrote about Hihn who was with him in the California gold fields in 1849. Gerstäcker referred to him as “Huehne.” See: Gerstaecker, Friedrich California Gold Mines Oakland, CA: Biobooks, 1946. (“first printed in Germany, then translated and issued in England in 1854”). Gerstaecker was a passenger on the Reform. Gerstaecker joined the Reform at Valparaiso, Chile, and arrived in San Francisco Bay on October 12, 1849. Shortly after arrival, Hihn and Gerstaecker, and Hihn’s good friend Ernest Kunitz, went to the gold diggins. The voyage, for Hihn, had taken almost six months, including the layovers in Rio de Janiero and Valparaiso. Please note that Hihn’s Tagebuch abruptly ends on October 12th, and after a week’s layover, they “took passage on a schooner bound to Sacramento.” It is fortunate, therefore, that Gerstaecker recorded their experiences hunting for gold, etc. We have, therefore, an almost complete timeline for Hihn’s life.
17. Brake is shipping port on the Unterweser (Weser River), about 25-miles north of Bremen.
18. This ship was the carrier for the message cited in note 16, above.
19. The Captain was “Hattendorf.” [Source: Clifford Neal Smith’s Passenger lists (and fragments thereof) from Hamburg and Bremen to Australia and the United States, 1846-1849. McNeal, AZ. : Westland Publications, 1988.
20. It is noted here that F. A. Hihn might have read , by this time since it had been published in 1847, Prince Adalbert of Prussia’s Aus meinem reisetagebuch, 1842-1843 (later translated by Sir Robert H. Schomburgk and John Edward Taylor, published in London by D. Bogue, 1849: Travels of His Royal Highness Prince Adalbert of Prussia, in the south of Europe and in Brazil, with a voyage up the Amazon and Xingu.) Adalbert describes many of the sites mentioned by Hihn, and the Prince also visited Botafogo, and the picturesque Corcovado (a 2,310-ft. peak on the south side of the city of Rio de Janeiro, which has a gigantic figure of Christ mounted at its summit), and on one of his excursions he passed by the Botanic Garden [p. 288 of the 1849 translation]; he also took great interest in the flora and fauna of Rio de Janiero and extensively described them.
21. Rio de Janeiro is situated in one of South America’s most protected bays, the Baía de Guanabara. An inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in SE Brazil; the city of Rio de Janeiro is on its SW shore; 16.5 miles long, 11 miles wide, and the entrance is about 1 mile wide.
22. Aders is listed as “F. Aelers” on the Reform passenger list.
23. The Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro (= Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden) was established in 1808 as the “Royal Botanical Garden” by the Prince Regent, Dom João VI, who later became King of Portugal and Brazil. This visit, and his visit on the following day, were of great influence on his attitude’s about gardens. It is this observer’s belief that Hihn’s German heritage led him to the botanical garden in Rio, and reaffirmed his appreciation for the formal garden. It was no surprise, therefore, that later in Santa Cruz when he built his mansion and gardens, he was personally involved in the importation of exotic shrubs and trees from abroad.
24. Le Maire Strait (le mâr´). Strait ab. 20 m. wide bet. Staten I. and SE Tierra del Fuego Il, S. Argentina.
Appears in the typescript as “Staaten.” Staten Island. Span. Isla de los Estados. Argentine island ab. 45 m. long in S. Atlantic Ocean off E tip of Tierra del Fuego.
Possibly Diego Ramirez. Chilean island group, southernmost of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, 60 m. SW of Cape Horn.
Tierra del Fuego. Archipelago off S South America comprising all islands S of Strait of Magellan; 27,600 sq. m.; separated from Antarctic Archipelago on S by Drake Passage. Its main island, Tierra del Fuego, is divided bet. Chile (W half) and Argentina (E half); of its groups of smaller islands the eastern (including Staten I.) belongs to Argentina, and the southern (including Hoste I., Navarino I., Wollaston Is., and Diego Ramirez Is.) and western (including Desolación, Santa Inés, Clarence, and Dawson) belong to Chile.
Cape Horn. Span. Cabo de Hornos; often, colloquially, the Horn. Cape, a rock 1390 ft. high, at S extremity of South America, 55°59’S, on Horn Island of Wollaston group, S Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, projecting S into Drake Passage; first sighted by Sir Francis Drake 1578; named 1615 by Dutch navigators, J. Le Maire and W. C. Schouten, after Hoorn in Holland; further explored by Nodal brothers 1619.
25. Perhaps Cape San Diego, Cape on E end of Tierra del Fuego I., S Argentina.
26. Appears in the typescript as “Valpa siso.” Valparaiso: Seaport in cen. Chile, capital of Valparaiso prov., 75 m. WNW of Santiago on the Bay of Valparaiso; most important commercial town on W coast of South America. The distance from Valparaiso to San Francisco is approximately 5300 nautical miles.
27. “The diary has here New York, an obvious slip of the pen.”
Editor’s correction: The translator is incorrect.The use of “New York” was correct. The place named by Hihn was Jonathan Drake Stevenson’s attempt at a town-site development in 1849-1850; Stevenson called it “New York of the Pacific” and it appears on the Hoffman map of 1871 as “New York.” It is situated where Pittsburg is today, on the Contra Costa County side of the Sacramento River, just up-river from Benicia.