Familie Zeller aus Martinszell  
 
Mittwoch, 27.03.2019
The Melodeon

One of my prized possessions is a melodeon located in the entrance hall of our home.  For years it was displayed prominently in the living room of my parents home here in Macon.
 
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A melodeon is similar to a small pump organ.  The legs and petals fold in and the top folds over the keys, thus it looks like a small wooden box and is easy to carry.  My mother, being the only girl in the family and a trained harpist, inherited this keepsake.  The bellows collapsed years ago, so it has not been functional, but yet an interesting conversational piece.

This melodeon was a wedding gift for my great grandmother, Frederick Louise Augusta Burk from her parents.  She was born in Germany in 1831. She met her future husband, Albert Zeller, in Munich in 1852.  Albert, along with his 8 brothers and sisters, had been orphaned in 1843 at the age of 10.  Family members took these children in and Albert was trained to be a locksmith.  But he decided to study at a seminary and left Germany in 1856 to become an evangelist in America.  He never returned to his homeland.  After settling in Milwaukee, he wrote to Mr. Burk in 1861 and asked for Augusta's hand in marriage.  Her parents realizing that she would become the wife of a traveling minister, bought the melodeon for her in Paris.  It was made by the A.W. Muller Co.

In May of 1861 Augusta left Hamburg by ship with 10 trunks-----one containing the melodeon, for her new life in America.  She arrived in NY on June 18 and arrived in Milwaukee on July 11, where she and Albert were married that very afternoon.

The Zellers and the melodeon served in Ontario, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.  They had six children----the third was my grandfather, Albert.  Augusta died in 1888 and her husband in 1921.

The melodeon in itelf is quite interesting, but when its history is intertwined with that of family members over the past 140 years, it is precious.

Harriet Zeller Fincher Comer
1999


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