Maier - Karl Ludwig - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

Go to content

Maier - Karl Ludwig

Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 6 October 1899

Karl Ludwig Maier, or as he is more familiarly known, “Dutch Charley,” has been a resident of Montgomery County for over thirty years, going only recently to the soldiers’ home at Danville, Ill., and those who have seen him passing on the streets or working his little farm have little dreamed of the man’s romantic history. Last Monday he was rejoined by the children whom he last saw forty six years ago, and who all their lives practically have believed him dead.

Maier was raised at Kirkheim in Wittenburg, when Wittenburg was a kingdom to herself. He was born in 1819 and was a married man with a wife and one child, Mary, in 1848, when a rebellion broke out against the king of Wittenburg. Maier joined the ranks of the insurgents and during the fruitless struggle against an unjust monarch was a loyal soldier of a losing cause. When the end came several years later, in 1853, he was forced to flee to save his life. A second child, a son called Robert, had been born during the war, and was a year old when the father bade his family farewell and left for America. He landed here with about a thousand dollars in cash and this he invested in a glue factory in Buffalo, another German putting his experience against Maier’s capital. It was the old story and Maier, left penniless, drifted about from place to place until the great Civil War broke out, when he enlisted in a New York regiment and served for four years right gallantly. He was a splendid soldier and in attestation of this he treasures two medals awarded for distinguished bravery on the field of battle. One of these is a bronze medal and the other is a silver one. The latter reached him only a short time ago. It seems that immediately after the war he was lost sight of by his old comrades and it was not until Capt. H. H. Talbot brought out his identity that the medal was bestowed. When the war was over Maier went to Minnesota and lived there for some time with the Indians, becoming one of them in fact. He got out great quantities of tan bark there, and after accumulating a little money he drifted to Crawfordsville and here he made his home. He purchased a little farm a short distance north of town, near Nicholson’s crossing, and there he led a solitary life. He gardened and proved a good citizen, thrifty and honest. He twice sent money to his wife to enable her to join him, but receiving no response he concluded that she must be dead and quit writing. A few months ago he decided that as age was coming on him he would best enter the Danville soldiers’ home, and with that end in view he came to John M. Schultz for advice as to the disposal of his property. He told his story and Mr. Schultz advised that diligent inquiry be made for the children he left so many years ago in Wittenburg. Mr. Schultz wrote therefore to Kirkheim and in due time received a letter. This informed him that some years ago a part of an estate came to Maier, and that under the law of the land when a man’s seventieth year had been reached and his whereabouts were unknown he was legally declared dead and the property reverted to his next of kin. In 1890 this legal action was taken in Maier’s case and the money had been taken by his children, who had immigrated years ago to the United States and who sent receipts for the money from Rochester, N. Y. Mr. Schultz accordingly wrote to Rochester for information and Monday afternoon there arrived here both of Maier’s children and his granddaughter, a pretty young miss of sixteen, the daughter of the son he had left in the cradle when he fled from Wittenburg so many years ago. They proceeded to the office of Mr. Schultz and there were seen by a representative of The Journal while they waited for the train for Danville.

The daughter is a widow, a Mrs. Keppler, a motherly old creature, and the son is a jolly little fellow, the picture of the father who is so well known to the citizens of Crawfordsville. Robert Maier is a prosperous baker in Rochester and he stated that he would take his father home with him. Both he and his sister were overjoyed at the thoughts of a reunion and their cup of happiness seemed full. They had both been told by their mother that their father was dead and the news that he was alive and living comparatively near to them, fairly took their breath and they came on post haste to see him. Their mother had died only ten years ago, although she never came to America, being afraid to cross the sea. Both Robert and his sister came here twenty five years ago, however, and here they married and raised their families. The party took in the sights of the street fair and left on the evening train for Danville. – thanks to S

Back to content