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December 2015 – Page-2

From the Koreshan Archives:

Gustave Damkohler

Gustave Damkohler

December is the last month of the year,but for the Koreshan State Historic Site, December celebrates one of the settlers in Estero — namely, Gustave Damkohler, the man who ‘donated’ the land that Cyrus Teed saw as The New Jerusalem. Damkohler was born on December 13, 1825 in Berlin, Germany. (Another source says he was born in Blankenburg, Germany, which is southwest of Berlin). He came to America by way of Australia and eventually ended up in Missouri, where he met his wife, Alma. They eventually moved to Florida, in search of a better life. They arrived in what is now Estero, on April 3, 1882. Gustave met Cyrus Teed in January, 1894. Damkohler became interested in the Koreshan movement and offered Teed land. In exchange, he was told he would be given a place to live and that his only remaining son, Elwin, would be educated. Damkohler acted as an agent for the Koreshans and sought out other land for them as well. He evenually became disillusioned and filed suit against the Koreshans and Teed for the return of his land. He ended up with only 80 of his original 320 acres. He left Florida in May of 1899 and headed back to Missouri. He then went on to, of all places, Alaska. It was there that he died in 1905 at the age of 79. Damkohler’s wife and three of his four children are buried somewhere along the Estero River. Gustave is buried in Juneau, Alaska.

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