Henry Ginal: Creator of the Communistic-oriented
Colony Teutonia

Adam Heinrich (Henry) Ginal was born March 10, 1802 in Augsburg, Germany. He studied theology at the University of Augsburg, and after graduation emigrated to the United States in January 1829.

He spent the next seven years as a minister at a Lutheran municipality in York County, Pennsylvania. In 1836 he was instrumental in the creation of the German Evangelist Municipality in Philadelphia, which deviated from Church doctrine in the principles of rationalistic theology. Ginal left office in 1841 but remained committed to the creation of a German colony in the United States for Germans without means.

Meanwhile the German Settlement Society he was involved with in Philadelphia looked west, to Missouri. Concerned because of the English influence on the German youth, and the loss of their German traditions and customs, the society had a grand vision of founding a city where German culture could flourish in the New World. In early Spring 1837 the settlement society sent a scouting committee to visit locations in the Midwest for their new city, which was the first planned community west of the Mississippi.

They deputized George Bayer, a teacher, to lay claim to the land that is now Hermann, Missouri, because the geography reminded them of the Rhineland in Germany. Bayer purchased over 11,300 acres at a cost of $15,600. Bayer was later appointed as General Agent for the new city at a salary of $600 a year. The first group of settlers----nine adults and 8 children----arrived in December 1837 on the last steamboat of the season from St. Charles, Missouri. By the time of Bayer's death 2 years later there were 450 people, 90 houses, 5 stores, 2 hotels and a post office.

Ginal next became active in the creation of the communistic-oriented colony Teutonia here in McKean County, which grew---and lasted---until 1845. Meanwhile Ginal (one of five trustees of Teutonia) traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to create among the numerous German immigrants there a Free-Christian municipality. This dissolved after a year, and Ginal returned to Philadelphia and found employment at the German Rationalist Municipality (which dissolved in 1855).

Ginal stayed active as a teacher and literary translator in Philadelphia. When the US Civil War broke out he enlisted as a chaplain with a Philadelphia unit. Ill-health forced retirement a year later. He died July 6, 1887 in Philadelphia.

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