Charles, Betty and Lawrence Walker visiting Germany

After my first visit to the Walker family in  Hartford City, Indiana in April 2002 the grand-sons of the the emigrated Johann Friedrich Walker, Charles and Lawrence Walker decided to come to visit Germany from Aug 26th  – September 4th, 2002. Charles’ wife Betty joined the two brothers on their trip to their roots.

I picked them up at the Munich Airport. After a snack and a small walk it was time to depart for Wannweil, where the closest relatives from the Wallker brothers,  Wilma and Osswald Hipp where waiting.  The language barrier didn’t exist to long. Everyone talked with hand and foot.  Wilma Hipp said to her cousin Lawrence Walker when she first saw him “That’s a real Walker”.To give our guest a most comprehensive overview about the home of their ancestors the Historical Society and I had prepared a full time schedule for the visit.

Helene Bader with her guests
Helene Bader with her guests

The first day was packed with sightseeing. The start was in the Historical Museum ” of Karl and Helene Bader in Jettenburg. Helene, herself, took us on a tour through the museum and showed a lot of her treasuries.  From Jettenburg we drove to Wankheim to visit my cousins, Walter Bauer’s dress museum and subsequently to the house where Johann Friedrich Walker was born. Unfortunately we could visit the house only from the outside as it was sold years before.

In the Major's office
From left: Osswald and Wilma Hipp, Lawrence, Betty and Charles Walker, Gerda Hipp-Gruner
Front: Mayor Dr. Jürgen Soltau

In the afternoon the guests were welcome by Mayor, Dr. Jügen Soltau. He explained the specialties of Kusterdingen to the visitors.  At the end of the visit in the city hall the guest were asked to sign the “Golden book of the city”.

from left: Hans Kern, Rose Schmid, Mr. Breitmaier, Monica Schmid, Lawrence, Betty and Charles Walker
from left: Hans Kern, Rose Schmid, Mr. Breitmaier, Monica Schmid, Lawrence, Betty and Charles Walker

After the visit in the city hall we met the representatives of the Historical Society in the old city hall. President Manfred Wandel and his team searched in the archives to evaluate the former house of the ancestors in Kusterdingen. Friedrich Walker did mary Maria Agnes Walker, the daughter of Caspar Walker, who had also emigrated to the U.S. with his family.  Further they could find a summary of items which were listed in a heritage document, which the guests received a copy of. As the final highlight we walked to the former house of Caspar Walker in the  Scherrgasse 27.

During the next days visits to the church in Maehringen, the castle in Sigmaringen, the Mainau Island, the seed museum in Goenningen and the Black Forrest where conducted. On Sunday the Walker’s wanted to attend the service in the church of Wankheim, where Friedrich Walker was baptized.

Unfortunately we had to say good-bye to Wankheim and return to Munich where we spend two more days together doing some sightseeing in Bavaria.

Until today the visit to Germany has remained an unforgettable experience. We still hope they will come again.

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