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Paul Follen (also Follenius; May 5, 1799 ÔÇô October 3, 1844) was a German-American attorney and farmer, who had founded the Gie├čener Auswanderungsgesellschaft (Gie├čen Emigration Society).

He was born at Gie├čen, in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, to Christoph Follen (1759-1833) and Rosine Follen (1766ÔÇô1799). His father was a counselor-at-law and judge. He was the brother of August Ludwig Follen and Charles Follen, and the uncle of the biologist Karl Vogt. During his studies at the University of Gie├čen he became friends with Friedrich Muench and in 1825 married his sister Maria.

Naturalist Gottfried Duden, a German attorney, settled on the north side of the Missouri River along Lake Creek in 1824. He was investigating the possibilities of settlement in the area by his countrymen. In 1827 he returned to Germany, which he felt was overpopulated. There he published a glowing ÔÇťEine Reise zu den westlichen Staaten von Nordamerika (A Journey to the Western states of North America)ÔÇŁ in 1829.

The romantic description of the free life in the US motivated the Protestant minister Friedrich M├╝nch and the attorney Paul Follen to found 1833 the Gie├čener Auswanderungsgesellschaft. Both had participated in the outlawed republican and democratic movements in Germany in the wake of the French July Revolution of 1832. As there was no immediate hope for success, they intended to establish a "new and free Germany in the great North American Republic" to serve as model for a future German republic.

Already in 1834 they led 500 German settlers into Missouri. They soon realised that the plan for a separate federal state would remain an Utopia. They settled in the German populated Dutzow in Warren County, Missouri not far from the former farm of Gottfried Duden.

Follen died rather young in Dutzow. His friend Muench moved in 1859 to Augusta, Missouri, where he founded with his brother Georg the Mount Pleasant Winery. His son Dr. William Follenius (1829ÔÇô1902) married Emilie, a daughter of his friend Friedrich Muench.

His brother Karl had emigrated to the US already in 1824.

References

  • Paul Follen und Friedrich M├╝nch: Aufforderung und Erkl├Ąrung in Betreff einer Auswanderung im Gro├čen aus Teutschland in die nordamerikanischen Freistaaten.
  • Don Heinrich Tolzmann, ed., Missouri's German Heritage. Second Edition. Milford, Ohio: Little Miami Publishing Co., 2006. ISBN 10932250-22-0
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