Friedrich Trump, Sir Donald J. Trump’s grandfather, was born in the town of Kallstadt in the Palatinate, which was part of the Kingdom of Bavaria at the time, to Christian Johannes Trump and Katherina Kober (Jewish).
Kallstadt, a relatively impoverished region, was known for its viticulture since the Roman Empire.
Trump’s ancestor, Hans Drumpf, first settled in Kallstadt in 1608, and his family owned a vineyard. In 1871, Bavaria became part of the new German Empire. Trump’s son Fred later denied his German heritage, instead claiming his father had been a Swede from Karlstad.
After being sick with emphysema for ten years, Fred Trump’s father died on July 6, 1877, at the age of 48, leaving the family in debt from medical expenses. While all five of his siblings worked in the family grape fields, Trump was considered too sickly to endure hard labor.
In 1883, Trump, then aged 14, was sent to nearby Frankenthal by his mother to work as a barber’s apprentice and learn the trade. Trump worked seven days a week for two and a half years under barber Friedrich Lang.
After completing his apprenticeship, he returned to Kallstadt, but quickly discovered that there was not enough business to earn a living. He was also approaching the age when he would have to serve a mandatory three-year military service. He quickly decided to immigrate to the United States, later saying,
“I agreed with my mother that I should go to America”; years later, his family members said that he left secretly in the night and left his mother a note without consulting her.
Move to the United States
U.S. Immigration records. Line 33 mentions “Friedr. Trumpf.” age 16, born in Kallstadt, Germany.
In 1885, at age 16, Trump emigrated from Bremen, Germany, to the United States aboard the steamship S.S. Eider, departing on October 7 and arriving at the Castle Garden Emigrant Landing Depot in New York City on October 19.
U.S. immigration records list his name as “Friedrich Trumpf,” last place of residence as “Kallstadt,”country of birth as “Germany,”and his occupation as “farmer.”
He moved in with his older sister Katherine – who had emigrated in 1883 and her husband Fred Schuster.
Only a few hours after arriving, he met a German-speaking barber who was looking for an employee and began working the following day.
He worked as a barber for six years.
Trump lived with his relatives in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a neighborhood with many Kallstadt immigrants, at 76 Forsyth Street. Because the cost of operating at 76 Forsyth Street was getting expensive, they later moved to 606 East 17th Street and to 2012 2nd Avenue.
In 1891, Trump moved to Seattle, Washington. With his life savings of several hundred dollars, he bought supplies, such as tables, chairs, and a range, and purchased the Poodle Dog, which he renamed the Dairy Restaurant.
Located at 208 Washington Street, the Dairy Restaurant was in the middle of Seattle’s Red Light District; Washington Street was nicknamed “the Line”. It included an assortment of saloons, casinos, and brothels.
Blair, the biographer, called it “a hotbed of sex, booze, and money, was the indisputable center of the action in Seattle.”
The restaurant served food and liquor and was advertised to include “Rooms for Ladies,” a common euphemism for prostitution. Trump lived in Seattle until early 1893 and voted in Washington’s first presidential election in 1892. That same year he became a U.S. citizen.
In 1894, Trump moved to the mining town of Monte Cristo, Washington. Monte Cristo was expected to produce a fortune of gold and silver because evidence of mineral deposits were discovered in 1889. This led to many prospectors moving to the area in hopes of becoming rich.
With financial investment of billionaire John D. Rockefeller in the entire Everett area creating an exaggerated expectation of the area’s potential.
On February 14, Trump sold the Dairy Restaurant, and in March, he moved to Monte Cristo. Before leaving Seattle, he bought 40 acres in the Pine Lake Plateau, twelve miles east of the city, for $200, representing the first real estate purchase of the Trump family.
In Monte Cristo, Trump found a plot of land near the train station that he wanted to build a new hotel on, but could not afford the $1,000-per-acre fee to buy it. Instead, he filed a Gold placer claim on the land, which allowed him to claim exclusive mineral rights to the land without having to pay for it.
Even though the land had already been claimed by Everett resident Nicholas Rudebeck. At that time, the US Land Office was known to be corrupt and allowed such activity often. Despite the placer’s claim having given Trump no right to build any structure on the land, Trump quickly bought lumber to build a new hotel and run it similarly to the Dairy Restaurant. He never attempted to mine gold on the land. Blair described Trump as “mining the miners”, since even if they never found any gold, they still needed a place to sleep at night when they were mining.
While running the profitable hotel, Rudebeck filed to merge the land and then sent agents to collect rent in July 1894. Trump finally bought the land in December 1894.
While in Monte Cristo, Trump was elected to office, winning the 1896 election for Justice of the Peace by a 32-to-5 margin.
Years of mining had revealed that there was not nearly as much gold and silver in Monte Cristo than had once been believed, and in August 1894, Rockefeller pulled out of most of his investment in the area, creating the “Everett bubble burst.”
By the spring of 1896, most of the miners had left Monte Kristo, causing a labor shortage and less business for Trump, despite his being one of the few people to make money in Monte Cristo. Trump prepared for the bubble burst by funding two miners in the Yukon in exchange for them staking a claim for him.
In July 1897, the Klondike Gold Rush began with the arrival of boats with gold in San Francisco and Seattle, resulting in thousands of people rushing to the area to make their fortune.
Trump sold off most of his property in Monte Cristo a few weeks later and moved back to Seattle, Washington