Immortalized in Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus“, the Statue of Liberty speaks eternally these words of compassion:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
For those who embraced her message, the Statue of Liberty represents the Golden Door, the entrance into liberty and freedom from oppression, that is the promise of America - a land, a people, a way of life. This is the story of one such family who left their native country, Luxemburg, in search of a better life in America.
The coordinates take you to the last resting place of Maria and Matthias Fritz. The Fritz family likely never saw The Statue of Liberty, dedicated in 1886, but they and many immigrants like them were the reason the statue was erected.
Matthias was born in September 1816, in Pettingen, a village of less than 200 in central Luxemburg, where he trained as a stone mason and carpenter. In 1841 he married Maria Forrett, who was born on October 26, 1818. Maria was a skilled seamstress, a trade she learned from her father who was a tailor. Between 1842 and 1854 the couple had six children.
In 1847 more than 12 percent of the population of Luxemburg were absolutely indigent. Harvests were uncertain, and a poor harvest was followed by near starvation. Although the poorest of the poor, unable to afford even the gradually decreasing rail and ocean passage of the nineteenth century, had to remain at home, the lower middle class, afflicted with poor harvests and high taxes, found the means to leave. To do so made economic sense for many: the proceeds of the sale of their land and homesteads in the Grand Duchy permitted them to buy in North America as much as ten times the amount of acreage which they possessed at home.
In 1855 the Fritz family sold most all of their worldly possessions, packed up their family and made the grueling 260 mile trip to Le Havre in north-western France. It was necessary for emigrants to make arrangements for passage directly with the captains. During the sailing season there were thus always several thousand persons waiting to leave. They could be obliged to wait for weeks, partly in lodging houses, partly outdoors.
The Fritz family was able to secure passage on the ship Radius along with 221 others. They departed on March 22, 1855, and took on the ravages of the sea. Their destination was New Orleans.
To find out more about their voyage, Matthias’ promise to God and their new life in Iowa you will have to find the cache. To find the cache, answer the following question:
How many skulls are on the back of the head stone? = A
Insert “A” in these coordinates:
N 42 (A)7.658
W 90 29.(A+4)33
[The cache is located about 6 miles from here, two miles of which are on a gravel road.]