Graphic: back to Janssen IndexMemories of John Janssen and Rosine Weber

Taken from JANSSENS: GERMAN FAMILIES OF HAWAII by Shirley Marie Bomke-Craddock.

By Alice Janssen McMurry, 1900-1991

Alice Janssen McMurry1883—From Germany to Hawaii—Around Cape Horn My Father, John Frederick Janssen, was born September 20, 1865. He left Bremen, Germany in 1883 at the age of 17 and came by boat around South America to Hawaii. (Germany drafted all boys at age 18 into Kaiser Wilhelm’s army.) He wanted a better life for himself. He never returned to Germany.

In those days they sent people of different nationalities to different islands so they would have something in common and not miss their homeland so much. (I know: when Mac and I lived on the island of Hawaii, there were many Scots on the sugar plantations.)

I remember him telling us he first worked in a remote place on the island of Hawaii. He and other men in his group had to bathe using buckets of water. Tiring of this lifestyle, he decided to go to Honolulu. He had no money for a ticket, so he sold his coat for $2.00. This got him deck space on the boat.

The McFarlanes Once in Honolulu he became a stable boy for the McFarlanes. Horses were the basic means of transportation. My mother also went to work for the McFarlane family. I’m not sure how old she was. She told us how the children used to laugh at her because she had a German accent and oh, how she worked on that German accent! She would get her "v" and "w" mixed now and then, but that was all. She and my father taught themselves to read and write English, and did very well. I believe the McFarlane family did a lot to help them. My parents named me after Alice McFarlane.

I remember a happy life in Koloa. We had a large place with horses, milking cows, chickens, ducks, vegetable garden, etc. Pigeons too. Sundays we would go for rides in our fancy horse-drawn carriage and go visiting. Sometimes we started out on Saturday to visit relatives in another town, and would spend the night.

graphic of hibiscus

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