The town hall and market plaza of Darmstadt, from a steel engraving by F. Abresch, circa 1840, around the time Marie Dressel and her brother Hermann traveled to America.
Children from Hesse-Darmstadt in traditional costume.
Floriculturist extraordinaire and orchid specialist, Frederick Dressel,
nephew of Marie Dressel Schuckmann.
Frederick's accomplishments were considered to be so noteworthy that he was mentioned in Carl Wilhelm Schlegel's "Americal Families of German Ancestry in the United States", published in 1918.
You can read all about Frederick's life by clicking the link in the left-hand column.
Our Dressel clan has been traced to its earliest representative so far, Gerg [Georg] Dressel, a butcher in Groß Zimmern, who may have been the son of a Gerg Dressel Senior. There were two of the same name living in Groß Zimmern. The elder died in 1693. The younger, born around 1660, was married to Anna Magdalena, surname possibly Störger, with whom he had at least six children. From Gerg Dressel descend generations of highly-skilled (and perhaps in today's terms) "gourmet-level" butchers.
One of Gerg's and Anna Magdalena's sons was Johannes Dressel, born on June 25, 1698, who married Anna Catharina Dietrich in 1737, daughter of Johann David Dietrich and Anna Catharina Störger (a variant spelling of this surname is Störcher). They had six children, the last being Heinrich Philipp, whose baptism was held at home on the day of his birth, November 3, 1747, to accommodate Johannes Dressel's failing health. Johannes died later that day.
In 1782 Heinrich Philipp Dressel married seventeen-year-old Catharina Elisabetha Künzel, and their oldest son Johann Philipp, born later that year, continued in the family trade, attaining the rank of "master-butcher" in Darmstadt. His grandchildren would recall that he managed one of the most highly-respected abattoirs in the city.
Johann Philipp Dressel and his wife Elisabetha Mass -- whose marriage was nearly derailed by Johann's father, who apparently didn't approve of his son's choice of wife -- had three sons and three daughters. Anna Marie, their eldest daughter (below left), had a portrait painted in 1827 when she was about sixteen years old. Its existence also suggest a certain level of family wealth.
Marie's younger brother Friedrich Hermann Ferdinand was known as Hermann. He spent some time in Darmstadt as an apprentice grocer, then set out for New York to pursue the trade in the new world. In the early 1840s he joined up with his sister's husband Louis Schuckmann, who had already emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina, and together they set up Schuckmann's Store on King Street. Louis' wife Marie and their children were to follow.
In the early 1840s Hermann returned to Darmstadt to arrange for Marie's ship passage so she could join Louis in Charleston, but on arrival back home was told that she and her two children had already embarked for America. Rather than continue to travel, Hermann settled in his home town and married Elisabeth Pattberg, daughter of Hilarius Pattberg and Magrethe Luise Schöhl, with whom he had seventeen children.
Seven survived to adulthood and the lure of economic opportunities persuaded four of them to come to Charleston themselves. George, Philip, Elisabeth, and Frederick Dressel emigrated between 1874 and 1882. George and Philip went into business with their cousin Elise Schuckmann Jatho's grown offspring. Elisabeth married August Sibberns and raised a family of her own in Charleston.
Frederick had further ambitions which led him to New York City. He had a background from Darmstadt and London in floriculture, and he had a yen to pursue it seriously. After establishing himself in a series of florist shops in Manhattan, he became an expert in orchids, travelling to exotic locales in South America to collect rare varieties of Cattleya and Cyprepidium orchids.
Three other Dressel sisters remained in Germany (Susanna, Maria, and Wilhelmina) but clearly the Dressel/Schuckmann/Jatho clans kept in close touch and helped each others' families find success, in both the old and new world.