From Shipwrecked to Century Farms – Part One
Meet a resident of the Jenera region of Hancock County, and you may hear about “Schiffbruchsgottesdienst”. Just what is it, and why is it commemorated each September 17?
The story begins in 1831, when a group of immigrants left their native Germany bound for America aboard the Famous Dove. The passengers expected their trip to take a little over a month, and were excited about their prospects in the new country.
On the last day at sea, a strong storm blew the ship off-course and caused severe damage to the vessel. Water began to fill the ship; the threat of sinking was imminent.
To help ease their fears, passengers spent the duration of the storm in prayer and hymns. Fortunately, the storm was over the next day and they all made it to shore. The group gave thanks that no lives were lost, and they vowed to remember that day, September 17, as their shipwreck survival day. The day continues to be observed by several area churches.
Many of the families settled on Hancock County farms. Some of these farms remain in the same family to this day. In 2014, we welcomed several descendants of the shipwreck survivors into the Ohio Century Farm program.