Thursday, September 9, 2010

Count comes to New York to marry shopgirl

September 9, 1906

Count Hans Ferdinand of Hochberg, "playmate and companion of the German Crown prince," was married today in Ossining, New York. A nephew of Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar and a cousin of Grand Duke Michael of Saxe-Weimar, the count' wedding "revealed a remarkable romance, involving a man's supreme sense of honor, that prompted the sacrifice of name, fame and fortune to marry a poor shop girl," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

It was "duty alone" that led Count Hans Ferdinand to "marry a woman so far beneath his station in life." His bride, Luise Carow, is the daughter of workman he met when was in "daily attendance at the imperial palace." Count Hans Ferdinand served in the first regiment of the German infantry, "the Kaiser's personal bodyguard.
The "line of duty he chose" came with many obstacles. First came the disgrace, because he was engaged to marry a "princess of one of the reigning families." He was threatened with disinheritance by his father. Lastly, he was dismissed from the army.
The Count remained to determined to marry Luise. His family sent him to America, "hoping he would forget" Luise. Instead, he gave up his monthly allowance, and found himself a job as a chauffeur in Tarrytown, New York. He cabled Luise, and "begged her to come here and be his wife."
They had gone through a marriage ceremony in Germany, but his father asked the Kaiser to annul the marriage. This is what the Kaiser did. So Hans Ferdinand married Luise again today "in the presence of a little daughter that had been born to them a week ago."
The marriage ceremony took place in a boarding house in Waller Avenue, where Count Hans Ferdinand rents a small bedroom. The officiant was the Rev. Dr. McWilliams of the Ossining Presbyterian church. There was no music, "no choir, but the clatter of dishes as dinner was being laid out in the next room."

Hans Ferdinand is the son of Count Bolko von Hochberg, who owns Rohnstock castle in Silesia. His mother is the former Princess Eleanor of Schonaich-Carolath, a cousin of Crown Princess Cecilie.
Han Ferdinand's betrothal with the princess "was announced with great ceremony in the palace, and the count and his bride-to-be were both presented to the kaiser."
Shortly before he was to marry the princess, Hans Ferdinand learned that Luise was about to become a mother. He told his father about the pregnancy, and that he plans to marry Luise. This caused a great scandal. Count Bolko offered Luise a life pension in order to keep the pregnancy quiet. Instead, the news leaked out, and caused a "great commotion at court," which lead to the count's wedding being cancelled.
Hans Ferdinand's exasperated father sent him to America, and provided him with a "monthly remittance." But Hans Ferdinand could not forget Luise. He would not abandon her. He was able to find a job, "and to the astonishment of the few who knew his identity," the count succeeded in his work. He realized he could make a living here in the United States. He sent a cable to Luise, and asked her to join him New York.
She "escaped from Germany with difficulty," and when the Berlin police realized she had left country, they cabled the German consulate in New York to "prevent her landing at Ellis Island on the grounds that she was an immoral woman." The warning arrived too late. Luise Carow was already in the United States and reunited with man she loved.
The couple's daughter, Johanna Luise, was born on September 3.

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