Remembrances of the Ships' Voyage to America

By Ludwig M. (Lewis) Büchler (Bickler)
Lewis Bickler is the grandfather of Mary Lynn Axtman.

Electronic mail message from Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, North Dakota (

Lewis M. Büchler [Bickler] was born September 29, 1892 in Kolätts, Bessarabia and the family moved back to Russia (one of the states -- Mannheim village in the Kutschurgan District near Odessa) when he was 3 1/2 years old.

They stayed there until 1903; then moved to the United States in March. A train was taken from Odessa, Russia to Bremen, Germany. On March 10, 1903, they sailed on Passenger Liner Kronprinz Wilhelm from Bremen, Germany.

They got on the ship at 10:00 AM and left at 2:00 PM. Reached the English Channel the next morning about 9 to 10 AM. Then sailed the rough Atlantic Ocean. Lewis got seasick only a little. It was his job to get food from the kitchen for the family. The ship had rooms 40 ft. X 40 ft. where 62 people lived in each large room. Bunks lined the rooms for the 62 passengers. Lewis' was Berth No. IV 46.

They arrived in New York March 19, 1903 and had to stay at Ellis Island for two days. They then took a train west to the Dakota's.

The reason for coming to North Dakota was because the Welk relatives were their sponsors. Lewis' father, Michael Büchler, took homestead land and had to take land that was sandy, poor and left over from others. They settled 3 miles north and 2 miles east of Orrin, North Dakota in Pierce County.

We also have a copy of the ships' health inspection certificate belonging to Ludwig (Lewis) Büchler (Bickler). All immigrants and steerage passengers were required to be inspected daily by the ship's doctor or medical officer to prevent any disease or illnesses from rapidly spreading in the cramped quarters.

Information taken from the family history:

"Das Buch of Michael Büchler and Margaretha Reiter Ancestors and Descendants 1700 - 1999: Baden, Germany; Russia; North Dakota, USA" compiled by Mary Lynn Axtman, 1999.

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