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On the 9th day of January, one thousand eight hundred and three, was born in this town, and on the tenth day of the same month was baptized, Christopher Gustavus. His parents are Herr Christopher Godfrey Memminger, Quartermaster of the Prince-Elector's Battalion of Foot Jægers (or Riflemen), and Mrs. Eberhardina Elisabeth Memminger, whose maiden name was Kohler.
The sponsors of the child were his grandparents—namely, Mr. John Michael Kohler, a member of the Town Council, and by trade a tanner, and his wife, Mrs. Sabina Magdalena Kohler, together with Mrs. Sabina Gauger, wife of Mr. Gauger, a goldsmith at Stuttgart.
The foregoing is a true extract from and conformable to the Register of Baptisms. In witness whereof I have signed these presents with my
M. DUTTENHOFER, Deacon.
(Signed) Nayhingen, 16 January, 1803.
His father was stationed at the time at Heilbronn, which, he informs us, was a garrisoned town some twenty-seven miles from the home where he had left his wife, for the discharge of a soldier's duty. In anticipation of this most important social event to him, the gallant officer had obtained a furlough and was at home with his precious loves. The following letter, written by him to his sister, is so admirable an expression of the father's natural joy, that I give it place here, the only and sufficient evidence of his worth as a man which could be asked for. The letter is in the German language and in the handwriting of one who was evidently a good pensman as well as an accomplished gentleman. While the translation may not convey the elegance and force of the German language, it will express, without being too liberal, the congratulations of the good father, and plainly indicates that Godfrey Memminger was a man of education, while the tender solicitude and respectful address to his sister evidence a refinement of feeling characteristic of the gentleman every where. Indeed, it could hardly have been otherwise, since his father was an official of no mean rank in the University of Babenhausen
To MADAME GOLDSMITH GAUGER
(Maiden name Memminger), at Stuttgart:
Dear Sister, I am at present for a few days on furlough and with my dear wife, therefore I answer your kind letter received just before leaving my post.
I now have the pleasure to inform you with the agreeable news that we have born unto us on the 9th of the month, between the hours of 10 and 11 at night, a fine healthful son. He was christened in my absence by the name of Christoph Gustav) his sponsors were father and mother-in-law and yourself by proxy. . . I hope and trust that you will excuse me with the confidence I have in you and of the friendship and sister's love which you will bring to the responsible situation of sponsor.
To-morrow morning I shall return to our garrison in Heilbronn (27 miles from Nayhingen). In my next furlough I intend to ask for fourteen days and intend to see you.
We salute you and your dear husband affectionately and remain
This letter is dated at Nayhingen, January 16, 1803. It will be noticed that it is signed with the christened name of the writer; a custom, I am informed, that prevails in Germany among the military and well-born. Alas! the gallant officer of the Prince-Elector's battalion was not destined to secure another leave of absence, but met the fate of a brave soldier. Within one month from the time that he returned to his post of duty, a grave at Heilbronn became the resting place of Christopher Godfrey Memminger, and the soldier was off duty forever.
The name Memminger appears to be not only well known in the kingdom of Würtemberg, but several members of the family have at different times reached distinction there and elsewhere in the German Empire.
Johann Friedrich Memminger, the grandfather of Christopher Gustavus, was at one time an officer of rank in the University of Babenhausen.
Henri Memminger, the son of Gustavus, and the first cousin of our Mr. Memminger, appears to have achieved
considerable distinction in letters. The following notice of his death appeared in the Indépendance Belge, a newspaper published at Brussels. I find it attached to a letter from Mr. Memminger's uncle, addressed to him at Charleston, and dated at Verdun, 1st of December, 1855.
“M. Henri Memminger, I'un des directeurs du célèbre éstablissement de Seraing, est mort à Jemappes le 4 février dernier. M. Memminger né à. Mayence en 1791 habitait la Belgique depuis 1853. A cette époque, il était directeur des bâteaux à vapeur de Mayence à Cologne, les premiers qui aient été etablis sur le Rhin. C'est alors que M. Cockerille le fit venir à Liège, ou il dirigea la construction des premiers bâteaux à vapeur en Belgique.
"M. Memminger possédait toutes les langues de l'Europe et les parlait avec facilité; il pouvait ainsi diriger toute la correspondance de l'établissement sans jamais recourir à un interprète.
'Malgré see nombreuses occupations, M. Memminger trouvait encore des loisirs pour s'occuper de l'étude des beaux-arts et des lettres.. Versé dans la connaissance des auteurs anciens, il ne se contentait pas de parler les divers langues de l'Europe, il en possédait la litterature d'une manière remarquable."
M. Henri Memminger était neveu d'un de nos concitoyens, M. Memminger.
I am informed that there is a handsome monument in the city of Brussels to the memory of Mr. Henri Memminger near La Gare du Nord.
The years immediately following the death of Godfrey Memminger were eventful in Europe. Napoleon was waging his wonderful wars of conquest and carrying his victorious armies through the German States to leave in their rear the ruins of once happy homes and the wretchedness that follows the tramp of contending hosts. Thousands, who could secure the means, were leaving their fatherland and through many adversities were seeking release from their woes in the land of Washington.
Among these was John Michael Kohler, who, with his family, emigrated to America, and reached, first, the city of Charleston, then among the most prominent seaports of the
United States. Accompanying Mr. Kohler was his daughter, Eberhardina Memminger, and her only son, Christopher Gustavus. Shortly after reaching Charleston the gentle mother, worn with her long and exhausting voyage, succumbed to disease, and left her bright boy, the sole representative of his name in America, to join her gallant husband beyond the stars.
Of this mother I am not informed, except in a single sentence in a letter written to Mr. Memminger in 1837, by an aunt, the sister of his father, who speaks of her as a lovely woman. The reader will pardon me here for expressing a regret that I cannot give more information as to the history of the mother. It may be readily conjectured, however, that she possessed a decided character, transmitting by a law of heredity almost invariable in its action, her mental endowments and moral graces to her only son. Great and good men are only the offspring of great and good mothers. So well established is this fact that I apprehend it would be difficult to find in the history of the human family a marked exception to the general rule. Natural laws, ever acting to produce the evolution of man, remain the same with the human family as they are recognized to exist and to act among inferior animals. The mother of Memminger the infant, was also the mother of Memminger the man of earnest purpose, commanding ability, and a strong physical constitution.
Our higher nature-whether we are pleased to consider it the expression of intellectual endowments alone, or whether we would associate with it a "supervising deity," called the soul-is but a gem held within a casket, not alone, but so intimately associated and directly connected with the casket, that the frailty of the latter is the imperfection, the injury and ultimately the destruction of the other.
Mr. Kohler, the grandfather, does not appear to have remained long in Charleston. He removed to Philadelphia,
and his family, with the exception of his grandson Memminger, shortly after followed him there. A most important event in the history of Mr. Memminger occurred at this time an event which was even at his tender age of infancy to turn the current of his life, and to prove, in the end, the providential means of securing to him a career of great honor and usefulness, while it gave to Charleston and to South Carolina one who was to be among the worthiest of citizens. When he was but four years old, the orphan boy of Würtemberg was entered formally at the "Orphan's House" of Charleston, and there found, with noble men and women to direct his course, the initial point from which we may begin to trace his remarkable and noble career. The entry of this important event in the life of Mr. Memminger is distinctly made in the records of the institution. It is in these words:
THURSDAY, 29th January, 1807.
Present: John B. Holmes, Nathaniel Russel, Daniel Hall, John Parker (Commissioners)———
Took into consideration the application of Magdalena Kohler for the admission of her grandchild, Christopher Gustavus Memminger, aged four years, and agreed thereto.
One of the most beneficent institutions among the many that have long evidenced the spirit of the citizens of Charleston is the Asylum for Orphans, founded more than a century ago, and for all this period fostered by the genius of a noble people, who make the good city by the sea a type of Christian civilization. As a home for worthy children bereft of parents, and a place where the care and solicitudes of a father and mother are substituted by a generous Providence, there are but few the equals and none superior to the Orphans' Home of Charleston, either in Europe or America. From the tenderest age of infancy, until the youth is prepared to enter upon some useful and honorable vocation, the watchful care of excellent matrons and the tutorage of ac