from St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Jane Henderson Mar 17, 2013:
Despite his German last name, Frank Muhm’s parents were Irish. His great-grandfather came to America in 1851 on a “coffin ship,” says the author of “Passage to 2838”. The author, now 85, started working on his autobiographical novel 20 years ago. It’s now available at a few stores, including Subterranean and All on the Same Page bookstores and Catholic Supply on Chippewa Street.
Why was it called a “coffin ship”? • Because a lot of people died on them. The passengers were prepaid, so the people who ran the ships didn’t care if they died or not.
You were born in Alton in 1927? • My mother died when I was born. I went to live with my aunt in St. Louis. We lived at 2838 Eads Street in a three-story boarding house. My siblings were placed in an orphanage because my father, Timothy Kelley, was a farmer and couldn’t care for them.
Your aunt had married a German who’d converted to Catholicism. What Irish traditions are mentioned in your book? • Drinking beer. A couple of chapters are even on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.