|Mathias, my |
3rd gr grandfather
Mathias was a member of what was known as the Republican Party, working underground to overthrow the monarchy and to establish a republic in Germany. He was willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to advance the cause of unity, justice and freedom.
In 1853, he sent his sixteen-year-old son Josef to America so he would not be forced to join the German army. In 1854 history repeats as he sends his second son, Franz. Finally, in May of 1857 he brings his entire family across the ocean in the US ship, "William Nelson". Their name was anglicized to Roesch upon arrival in the U.S. Being well-off in a financial way, they were able to purchase a farm in Potosi, Wisconsin. His grandson wrote in a letter , "Finally, the German government gained a knowledge of the Republican Party and my grandfather got out of Germany just ahead of them."
On January 28, 1887 Mathias Eugene Roesch died of pneumonia at the age of 74 years, 11 months and 10 days. He was laid to rest in Boice Creek Cemetery in Potosi, Wisconsin near his farmhouse. His life on earth had come to an end, but his dream lives on through future generations because he brought his family to America for a better life.
The "William Nelson" sailed its last voyage on June 1, 1865. On the 25th of June the ship caught fire, burned and sank with 426 German and Swiss immigrants aboard. The captain and his crew were the first off the ship leaving the rest to die in fiery misery and confusion.