Neu-Ulm Pionier

Neu-Ulm pionier (New Ulm, Minn.) 1858-1862  Browse the title

Following the 1851 treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, white immigrants began to flood parts of Minnesota that had previously been Dakota homelands. In 1854 a German colonization association from Chicago selected a spot on the south bank of the Minnesota River near the mouth of the Cottonwood River as the site for their planned model town. This location was nine miles from the southeast border of the strip of land along the Minnesota River set aside as a reservation for the Dakota people. The first German settler-colonizers were joined in 1856 by a larger German colonization society from Cincinnati, Ohio, affiliated with the progressive Turner movement. Their town of New Ulm was incorporated in 1857; it was named for the city of Ulm in Württemberg, Germany, the home region of many of the immigrants. 

The town's first newspaper, Neu-Ulm Pionier ("New Ulm Pioneer"), was founded in January 1858. The four-page, five-column German-language weekly newspaper bore the motto "Independent in Everything and Neutral in Nothing." In August 1857 several town leaders had issued a prospectus outlining their plans to start a newspaper for the settlement in the fall, "independent of any party or clique, advocating radical advancement, disseminating knowledge in regard to the conditions of the territory, and to serve as intermediary for the members of the 'Ansiedlungsverein' [colonization association] of the Turnerbund living in New Ulm and other places." (New Ulm Review, July 31, 1912). They received enough advance subscriptions to set up a printing press and recruit Heinrich Kompe as editor and trained printers Lambert Naegele and Eugene Gerstenhauer as publishers. Publication of the first issue was delayed until January 1, 1858 due to a lack of copy paper.

In January 1859 G.W. Otto Barth took over as editor, and a publishing company was formed, comprising Naegele, Gerstenhauer, and Barth. Barth bought out his partners in late February 1861 and became sole publisher. The newspaper was reduced to four columns at this time, and the masthead changed to simply Pionier.  In June 1862 Julius Panse purchased the newspaper and assumed the role of editor and publisher, and the masthead reverted to Neu Ulm Pionier

In August 1862 justified frustrations led to the outbreak of war between the United States and the Dakota along the Minnesota River valley. Dakota forces assaulted the town of New Ulm on August 19 and again on August 23. Both Panse and Barth served in the citizen militia that formed to defend the town; Barth was wounded and later died. At the end of the second day of fighting, the defenders intentionally burned down most of what remained of the town. The office of Neu-Ulm Pionier, located on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth North streets, was destroyed. The town residents evacuated to Mankato, Minnesota, and though Panse and many others soon returned to rebuild, Neu-Ulm Pionier was not restarted. New Ulm was without a newspaper until February 1864, when the German-language New Ulm Post was founded.