John Henry Thien, the founder of the hamlet that would eventually bear his name, came to this area from Saxony (now part of Germany) in 1842. Had he stayed in Saxony, he probably would have become a martyr in the failed revolution of 1848.
Thien believed that organized religious groups and the feudal system of the barons and dukes were responsible for the authoritarian oppression that gripped much of Europe at the time. He and his wife left Saxony to find a place where they could enjoy liberty and freedoms in line with the American Declaration of Independence.
While the Pomeranian settlers came to the Freistadt area in search of Freedom Of Religion, Thien settled just three miles to their east searching for Freedom From Religion.