Friedrich Schünemann was born in Hamburg. His studies in Marburg led him to leave the established church and join the free church movement in Germany. His religious and revolutionary political activities led to an accusation of high treason and lčse-majesté, but these were dropped in 1850.
In the early 1850s he was adopted by Baron Ernst von Pott, and named his partial heir.
Following the revolutions of 1848 he was forced to flee Germany and emigrated with his wife and children to the USA, settling first in Philadelphia and then in San Francisco, where he led congregations of German free churches, co-founded the Association of Free German Congregations of North America, and was vice president of the American Free Religious Association. He also published several German free-church journals: Blätter für Freies Religiöses Leben and Wecker.
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