The story of the first German immigrants to northern Indiana is the story of the beginnings of South Bend. The predominant immigrant group from the 1840s to the 1870s, the Germans helped build South Bend from an isolated trading post into a thriving industrial city. They also played a key role in transforming the surrounding wilderness into rich and fertile farmland.
Using first-hand personal accounts and public documents, German Settlers of South Bend illustrates the lives of these pioneer immigrants and their growing city. The material has been collected from a large number of sources on both sides of the Atlantic, including more than 200 German letters from the 1840s to the 1870s that provide glimpses into the day-to-day lives of these early settlers and their families back in Germany. Descendants of immigrants from all over the United States and Germany have come forward with genealogies, stories, and pictures, providing a far-reaching portrait of the times.