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Mast, Joseph
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Mast, Joseph
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Joseph Mast was born in Forchheim, Baden, Germany, in 1811 and came to this city in 1834. He was a nephew of Michael Mast, the first German who settled in Quincy in 1829. The fact that Michael Mast was the first German pioneer in this city, soon induced other relatives and friends to make their home here. In 1838 Joseph Mast married Anna Maria Bross, they being the first German couple married in the Catholic Church in Quincy. Anna Maria Bross was born in the year 1819 in Elgesweier, Baden, and came with her parents to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1832. From there the family, consisting of a father, mother, four sons and three daughters, came overland in a prairie schooner, drawn by horses, to Quincy. When they arrived here in 1836, there was no vacant dwelling in the town, and so they camped out under a mighty tree until a log house was built. Joseph Mast for many years conducted a grocery business. He died in 1891, his wife surviving him; she departed this life in 1902. Joseph and Anna Maria (Bross) Mast had two sons, Joseph and John Mast, who for a number of years were engaged in the grocery business. Joseph Mast died twenty years ago, while John Mast is among the living. Besides there are four daughters, Mrs. Christina Sonnet, Mrs. Alfred Kurz, Mrs. William Kurz, and Miss Emilie Mast, all in Quincy. Another daughter, Mrs. Edward Meyer, died three years ago.

A letter, which Joseph Mast on July 20, 1834, wrote from Quincy to his parents, whom he had left in the fatherland, is still in existence, in the hands of his daughter, Mrs. Christina Sonnet in this city. The writer gives an interesting account of the voyage across the ocean. There were 190 passengers, all from the Grand duchy of Baden, on board of the Bolivar, a sailing vessel. They left Havre, France, April 5, 1834, and arrived at New Orleans June 2d, the trip taking fifty- eight days. The cholera raging in the city, they left New Orleans the next day after their arrival, taking a boat for the north. When they reached the mouth of the Ohio River in the night at 10 o'clock, they had to leave the boat, which was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. At the present site of Cairo they camped out over night, gathering a pile of wood and building a real campfire. The next morning they went aboard another boat for St. Louis, where they arrived June 13th, and left by boat the next day. In the following night their boat collided with another boat coming down stream, and they came near being shipwrecked, but finally reached Quincy on June 16th. The condition of things as he found them here did not seem to appeal to the writer, for he advised his parents to stay in their home in Germany.

QUINCY AND ADAMS COUNTY HISTORY AND REPRESENTATIVE MEN by David F. Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1919. pp 289-290.

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Submitted: 05/26/10

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