Fishing Tradition "exported" to America

Elmer Kegel (1912 - 1984), son of the immigrant Albert Kegel, continued the family tradition in the USA

Ernest Walter Kegel (2nd row from the front, 2nd from left), grandson of the Calbe native Albert Kegel, lives on the 1905 homestead of Albert and his wife Bertha, whose descendans include 34 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren

In the wilderness of Washington State, traces of a once famous fishing dynasty from Calbe

Steffen Held, returning from a visit to the United States, said "I got to fulfill a longtime dream -- what a gift!"

In the 1880's, the 25 year old Calbe native Albert Friedrich Heinrich Kegel, took a leap into the unknown. And in his honor, his descendants meet every year on the last weekend in July near the town of Colville, around 300 kilometers northeast of Seattle.

"The meeting point is located in the woods along a small river, with no electricity or gas connection," explains engineer Steffen Held. Mr. Held, born in Calbe and now living in Hamburg, is proud to be a descendant of the once respected and influential families of Calbe. And not without reason - the name Kegel has been inextricably linked to the city since the 17th century. Along with other master fishing families, the Kegels belonged to the "Fishing Brotherhood of St. Nicolai", which was formed more than 575 years ago in Calbe and became an influential guild.

Unique experience

Back then, fishing was a profitable business on the river Saale. Fish was an important staple food, especially during the long, meatless period of Lent. The fishermen themselves would act charitably and against poverty alongside the sole right to fish on the Saale by the creation of a guild-like institution. Clever and stubbornly kept the fishing master families - for a long time there were only six - their brotherhood through the ages and across all provincial rulers upright. Again and again, there was controversy over the salmon and sturgeon caught in the Saale. In Calbes Salmon War 1702-1705 called the Saale city dwellers, first deliver the salmon in Calbe for sale. Early 20th century, the fish are sold to Bremen. So it was the Emperor himself, the fishermen finally their ancient privileges, which earned them a monopoly denied. Justification: The fishing fraternity is a pure acquisition cooperative, have nothing Nonprofit effected and paid in their history too little tax. After the Second World War finally succeeded with the industrial pollution of the river of the decline of the fishing fraternity, but continues to exist as to discover traditional heritage community, thanks Steffen hero or the Calbenser Oskar Werner Heinz who remember their ancestors.

Steamer "Chemnitz"

So the long-cherished desire Steffen helds finally went with the trip to America and getting to know the Kegel-clan true. "The families travel to the weekend with campers, pick-up SUV and tents," reports Held. It was eaten together, played and laughed. Even without electricity, a projector has been installed and hero as a representative of the German family branch was able to show a small presentation to the great history of the Kegel in Calbe and fishermen brotherhood. "In preparation, there was Schierker Feuerstein, tourist flyers and old postcards of Calbe" says Held. "It was all a unique experience, because about the family history before 1902 knew those present to nothing so far."

Continued tradition in USA

It was July 1902, when ancestor Albert Kegel together took all his money and his courage and traveled for 150 marks of Calbe to Bremen Haven to can embark on the steamer "Chemnitz" across the Atlantic to Baltimore on the US East Coast. The dream of owning land drove the then 25-year old well to take this step. Background: 1862 signed US President Lincoln a homestead law that allowed each person over 21 years to settle on a previously uninhabited piece of land, to stake out an approximately 64-hectare land and farming. After a period of five years the settlers was the owner.

So it was a German immigrant, the Albert Kegel surrounded by wild and rich but rough area helped in the search for suitable land with dense trees and ponds full of fish that have been used well with the year dog ertel ancient knowledge from the Saale city. 1912 came son Elmer born, the second of eight children, which should continue fishing tradition of the Kegel in the US.