Spring 1881 – Departure from Newark to Chicago via the Niagara Falls
The weeks went by filled with work and without any break or special events. In the meantime I had contacted a farmer living in the Far West, August Gottschalk in Bozeman, Montana Territory, on the initiative of my friend Homberg. He wrote be back very soon and encouraged me to come to the region, as he said I would find a good livelihood and at the same time I would have the opportunity to hunt all kinds of game, deer, moose, lions, bison etc. I decided to dare the long journey and scheduled my departure for the end of June of beginning of July.
Soon, my parting hour for Newark had come. On Friday, July 1st, we sat together in the Kurzenberger wine tavern drinking strawberry punch. I took the opportunity to cheer to four birthday children: my mother and two of her siblings, all in Barmen, as well as a daugther of Mr. Hornich [a friend of Otto’s father living in Newark] were celebrated. At the end, we had Champagne.
The next day was the day of my departure. After I had taken a refreshing bath in the Passaic river, I made my farewell visits to the families Hornich and Steffens [owner of a paint factory, immigrants from Wuppertal] and started my journey to Chicago in the afternoon. The city was in big agitation: President Garfield had been a victim of a gun attack, through which he was severely injured. A few months later he died from these injuries.
I left Newark at 5:23 at nice weather. The ride went first north along the right banks of the Hudson. On Sunday, 3rd of July, we passed a river early in the morning, which fell over big rocky cliffs deep underneath the tracks. We reached the Niagara Falls at 10:30. I left the train for a few hours to visit the grand Falls. On my way there, I could already sense the mist from far away, while the thundering rushing of the mass of water reached my ears. It was a sheer overwhelming view which I saw: the enourmos masses of water of the powerful river which connects the Erie-lake with the Ontario-Lake, fall down at a width of 900 meters effervescent and with numbing noise; dispersing 500 000 cbm of water per minute. After a stopover of three hours, the ride continued over canadian ground via Paris and London until Detroit, where the train of 16 wagons was transported across the Detroit river on a huge steamboat. On the 4th of July, at 10 o clock in the morning, I arrived in Chicago, the “metropolis of the West”.