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German Yankee - cover

German Yankee

Karen Schutte

Publisher: Green Spring Publishing

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Summary

GERMAN YANKEE is based on the lives of Karen’s paternal great grandparents, John and Elizabeth Westerhoff. John Westerhoff left Hamburg Germany in 1858 to avoid further service in the Prussian cavalry. He arrived in the predominately German settlement of Warsaw, Illinois, just as civil unrest was raging across the United States, particularly across the Mississippi River in Missouri. Because of the state’s strategic importance along the much-traveled Mississippi River, it was of great importance and would come to be known as the Western Front of the Civil War.  Warfare in Missouri mirrored the major military campaigns of the Civil War---North against South. Submitting to his conscience, John makes the decision to join Merrill’s Horse of the 2nd Missouri Union Cavalry. He is a farrier by trade and a valued member of the cavalry---"without horses, the men become infantry!” During an average day in the Civil War over 600 were killed; over 618,000 men died by the end of the war. A Civil war soldier’s chance of survival was 1 in 4. After serving three years and 4 months in the Great War of the Republic (Civil War), John returns to his farm and marries young Elizabeth. They struggle to find peace from the residual resentments and horrors of the war. After several years, John and Elizabeth decide to leave the unrest in Illinois behind, as they travel, by covered wagon, with their 3 children to homestead in the wilds of the rolling hills of Nebraska, north of Seward.  Here they are baptized by the promise of peace, hope, and quiet of the vast land. The other side of their decision is filled with a daily struggle with grasshoppers, drought, disease, death, brutal blizzards and much more. From page one, we again experience Schutte’s ability to draw the reader into the rhythm and drama of the story; we find ourselves pulled head-first, into the gripping reality of the life saga of the Westerhoffs.

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