Hermann Missouri is a community of hard-working and dedicated individuals. Much of the economy is based upon tourism and the residents make many efforts to welcome visitors and make their stay in the beautiful town an amazing experience.
The history of Hermann can certainly be characterized by strength. The most prominent symbol of that is the statue of Hermann the Cherusker. The characterization of his name rightly comes from his ability to annihilate 3 Roman legions at the battle of Teutoberger in 9 A.D. Even more amazing that defeating the armies was that he was 27 years old when this happened.
Hermann Was a Vision of the German Settlement Society
More than 1800 years later, George Bayer arrived in what is now known as Hermann, Missouri. Commissioned by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, George set out across the country in search for another settlement for the Germans in America. After being deputized by the committee, George surveyed the lay of the land and decided upon this settlement because of its close similarities to the Rhineland in Germany.
Despite his best efforts, George Bayer had his share of setbacks when settling this community. His plan to come with the first settlers was thwarted in 1837. He contracted an illness which kept him in Philadelphia at the beginning of the trip. Unfortunately, the first 17 settlers which consisted of 9 adults and 8 children began the trip without him.
George Bayer’s Difficult Start
This was the start of George’s troubles. Although, the settlers were eager to reach their new home, George was the only one with the authority to divide up the land and assign lots to the people. George convened with the first settlers in the Spring of 1838 with another group as well. When they reached the land, the new group asked too much from Bayer. He was placed in charge of surveying all the land, assigning the residents their new lots, and supplying and distributing food.
Through all this, the complaints of George’s actions reached the Society back in Philadelphia. Their lack of confidence moved the Society to release George from all his duties. At the age of 39, in 1839, George Bayer was laid to rest in the Hermann Cemetery. Many speculate that the demands of the people and his dashed hopes to provide a well-established community for the German settlers brought him to his grave and most believe he died of a broken heart.
New Hermann Statue to Commemorate George Bayer’s Efforts
The statue that now stands in the courtyard of the Gasconade County Historical Society is a reminder to the people of George’s hard work and efforts to found this area. While his story is tragic and some would say hopeless, in 1986, a court of inquiry was formed to revisit the case of George Bayer. He was exonerated because of the level of demands that were placed upon him. George Bayer is certainly a founding father of the community and his efforts will be remembered for generations to come.
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