A Common Treasure: The Challenging First Decade of the Swiss Colony of New Glarus 1845-1855

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Wasteland Press, 2019 - 418 pages

Wisconsin's Swiss community of New Glarus is widely known today because of an enterprising brewery located there. Almost lost in that success story is the background saga of the community's beginning - a Wisconsin immigration story like no other.

Now New Glarus native Duane H. Freitag reconstructs the dramatic first ten years of what was then a colony of eastern Switzerland's Canton of Glarus. The demanding labor, the heartbreak, and the achievements of that era are told with pathos and pride. The settlement, created to provide a common home and secure economic base for those who felt compelled to leave their alpine homeland, put down strong roots in those first ten years. It still flourishes today and its ties to the Old World remain strong.

For the historian, this volume provides a comprehensive chronological account and mentions all of the early Swiss immigrants who built up the settlement, how they arrived in Wisconsin, and their impact on the community and the state. For the pleasure reader, the pioneer life of these Swiss immigrants unfolds in surprising ways.

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