You leave your village for some days, and when you come back … tz … My neighbour – you remember the guy in the wheelchair ? – is hospitalised and already operated, they removed some stones out of his body. And not one, but two, houses burnt down while I was away, within some hours & within sight from the bureau of mago Inc. : Things always happen while one is not there.

While I was in Hassia and busily doing mago-things I visited the parochial church – and promptly found this :


The Plaque in Total, Note the List of Surnames at the Bottom
The plaque in total, note the list of family names at the bottom


The English Text in Detail
The English Text in Detail


Those adventurous Hassians went to Australia, namely to Ballarat and Bendigo – what reminded me of dearest Princess : Darling, maybe I spent some days in the village your ancestors came from ?
The “events” mentioned in the text above are the Napoleonic wars and their aftermath. The village was since the high middle-ages in the possession of the Malteserritter, the knights of Malta (Ger., Eng.) – yep, those with the falcon.
In 1810 the Prussian state decided that it had enough from the Protestant branch of the knights, the Johanniterorden, and disbanded the group, selling their possessions to fill up the coffer, because our good friend Napoleon demanded reparations.
Land & anything that belonged to it, the whole structure, was sold to a well-financed businessman from Frankfurt/Main. He treated the whole thing as investment and – of course rightfully – did not prolong the lease contracts : The knights had leased out the land to farmers, in part for some pretty long time (basically since the 13th century), and all of a sudden this came to an end, not totally abrupt, but in the course of some years. Add some bad harvests, the political and social development of the early 19th century in rural areas – so it’s no wonder that the number of the village’s inhabitants halved from the beginning (circa 2000 souls) to the middle of the century. The church of the knights became a cowshed.
So – yippieahjeah – if there’s gold to be found in California or Australia, why not pick it up ? It can only get better, can’t it ?
The Protestant order of St. John’s hospital was re-organised in the 1850s, and shortly before the church, and what was left, was sold to be torn down, the duke of Hassia intervened, bought the ruins and presented it to the order. The knights accepted the gift and did what they could do best, re-model the old farmhouse into a hospital, which was running until the 1970s. Today there’s a kind of conference centre.

14 thoughts on “Villages

  1. That is so cool! You discovered a historical link to Princess’s area!

    Best wishes to your neighbor and those who suffered the fires.

    PS: I was in Hessen last October when my train was mistakenly routed to Rüsselsheim.

  2. While the cat’s away the mice will play. And what an unruly group of mice they are, too!

    I hope Princess gets time to read this inbetween the assorted tasks of costumerie.

  3. Immigration seems to have always had the same basis: a better life through opportunity. Some things never change. I see lx left some history, so I will too! The Hessians were here in Savannah! I hope all is well in your neighborhood now, sweetpea! xoxox

  4. Hopefully, your neighbour will be pain free now he’s lost those stones.

    And perhaps when you next go away, you should warn people that their good luck charm is away and to be extra careful.

  5. I hope it wasn’t your neighbour’s house that burnt down whilst he was in hospital?!!
    England used to just send people to Australia when it was fed up with them… so technically, a German could have come to England, done some mild pilfering, and then gained free passage to Australia!

  6. LX # 1
    I really wonder whether Princess has German ancestors.
    Hessen ist überall …

    I will Norma – perhaps they’ll have to brave an earthquake then …

    Cool new outfit IDV ! I guess Princess is lost between all those pirates and policemen …

    A year in Australia is surely a very enriching experience, dear Hoppelschaum. I only hope he will return safe. Sadly one reads now & then about people who vanish in the outback and are forced to drink their pee for survival. He should always carry a bag of soluble Proteinpulver, just in case …

    LX # 2
    Some Franconian units were there too, they came from Ansbach and were shipped via Marktbreit, on the Main river & the Rhein, to Rotterdam. But I have no clue how many men went there.

    Incredible – German auxiliar troops fighting with the English against the French, what a Kuddlemuddel … I wonder whether the Hassians left some traces in Savannah – do you drink “Äppelwoi” there ? And thank you for the interesting link Savannah, Ill read in this encyclopedia.

    LX # 3
    Aaah, the headless horseman ! Definitly a Hassian !

    I talked to him on the phone yesterday, he’s weak but allright. Next time I’ll go away I’ll put up a kind of scarecrow, dear Roses, they won’t see a difference …

    That sounds a bit like a TC Boyle plot, dearest Scarlet : Make it to England, steal a chicken, go to Australia via galley … economic, but demanding. I’d prefer 1st class.

  7. If your people had migrated to the U.S. and A., what do you think your life would have been like? If mine had not migrated from Poland, I wonder what my life would have been like.

  8. Ta – my grandfather (on my mother’s side) was born 1910. He learned a trade, a butcher, and as it was custom he travelled for two years (it’s called “auf die Waltz gehen”). He finally came to Hamburg and had the idea to travel and emigrate to the US. He had no money, but arranged to work on a passenger ship, in the twenties they seemingly still loaded living animals and eat them. As he told me this only did not work because his mother wrote him a letter and told him that she had secured a job for him in their home area. So If Alfred would have made it, things would have been very different. I think he was not yet in contact with my grandmother, think they met only afterwards, when he finally had returned home. I know that someone with my family name emigrated to the US in the 1880s.
    Me, born in the early sixties in the US – ? I have no real clue … got to think about it, a really interesting question HappyApathy !

  9. Hey, my german great aunt emigrated to NYC in the 1910s. My German momma in the 50s. I ended up being raised back and forth on both continents. You might have ended up like me, Mago .. Oh, the horror. :-)

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