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Hermann Bokum, 1807-1878
The Testimony of a Refugee from East Tennessee
Philadelphia: Printed for gratuitous distribution, 1863.


Hermann Bokum was born in Germany in 1807. He came to the United States in 1828 and settled in Pennsylvania, where he lived for twenty-eight years. Bokum was working as a clergyman and teacher in eastern Tennessee when the Civil War began in 1861. He refused to pledge allegiance to the Confederacy and fled to Cincinnati, Ohio after receiving threats from Confederates. His wife and children joined him in Ohio, and together they moved to Philadelphia, where Bokum became the chaplain of a hospital.

Bokum's narrative, The Testimony of a Refugee from East Tennessee, voices the frustrations he and others living in eastern Tennessee experienced while remaining loyal to the Union. Bokum blames Tennessee officials with silencing arguments against secession and mistreating anti-secessionists by imprisoning some of them in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His book was published during the war in 1863.

Work consulted: Wallace, W. Stewart, comp., A Dictionary of North American Authors Deceased before 1950, Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1951.

Harris Henderson

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