Steinmauern Immigrants


The Year 1852

The previous report from the year 1851 either shocked or amused the readers.  But it gets even better.  The representative of the regional office in Rastatt did not pull any punches in his arguments with the people from Steinmauern.  If we glance through the pages of his hand-written report, then we must ask ourselves:  Did he even know any of these people from Steinmauern?

            And so it came to pass that the year, 1852, was particularly interesting.  It began on March 22nd, with the election of a new mayor.  As the replacement for Mayor Becker, the outgoing mayor, the master blacksmith Blasius Grünbacher declared his candidacy.  Although he was, as was often noted, a quiet man of some means, even if a little cranky, now comes the intellectual downfall of the candidate--he possessed very little in the way of intellectual talents.  Thus, it was clear to see that he would have difficulty dealing with the dilapidated village, even with the authority of the office of the mayor behind him.  One must wonder today why such a hard-working, but ill-equipped person would be appointed to carry out the duties of the official representative of the Grand Duke. However, things weren't quite as bad as they had been with his predecessor, Mayor Becker.  He was a farmer and a partner in the rafting business, and did not take an independent stand in carrying out his duties.

            And so the atmosphere in the village was not the best, and the people soon divided into two camps:  One on the side of Mayor Grünbacher, and the other on the side of the former mayor, Becker.  Mayor Grünbacher prevailed in the vote with a majority of one vote.  Mayor Grünbacher also appointed his candidates to the town council and advisory committee.  The cause of this division, according to the village clerk was the professional jealousy of the farmers and the manner in which the rafting business was carried out.

            But there was another reason as well:  the general standard of living had been slowly decreasing over a period of about ten years.  Reasons for the decline were because of several years of low harvest and floods, a decline in the rafting business, and in the increasing drunkenness of the residents.

            The number of village poor was given as 20 people.  A soup kitchen is giving out about 160 portions a day; the soup is nourishing and well prepared

            The emigrations increase, so that 86 people emigrated in the last 20 years, of which 81 used their own resources. 

            According to reports, larger provisions of grain, maize, and potatoes were put aside in the year, 1852, in order to prevent the shortage of the last winter.

Within the boundaries of the community were: 

Farm land                   1750 Morgen

Meadows                     150 Morgen

Gardens                         40 Morgen

Forest                           797 Morgen

Wasteland                      18 Morgen

Farmstead, House, Estate, and Business Tax Capital:  bringing in about 56,248 fl (Florentine Gulden) of which 21, 540 fl are from villagers living outside the boundaries, but do have the right to the common pastures and common (the mark).

The number of inhabitants has increased to 300 heads in the last 20 years and stays at 1658, with 4 Evangelical Protestants.

Townsmen have increased by 110 to 336 and there are 52 widows in the town.

Bee-keeping is minimal.

Taking up citizenship takes in from

a citizen from another place:                                 18 fl (florin) 32 kr (kreuzer)

Purchase price for citizenship:                             118 fl 25 kr

From each new citizen                                           1 fl

The town budget:

 Yearly expenses                                                      7,849 fl  24 kr  

 Yearly income                                                          9,020 fl   34 kr

 From outside work:

 Hauling and handy service                                     275 fl  

 Expenses                                                                 280 fl

 Expenses for the community requirements          24 fl

The community advances the school fees and is being paid back by the parents of school-aged children. 

Citizen rights consist of 184 Morgen[1] of land for all.

On donated wood:  1 Klafter[2] 50 Wellen for each citizen.  This yields an annual usage value of 23 florins and 41 kueuzer per citizen. 

The sources of income and support for the population consist of:  farming, cattle raising, and additionally, rafting, cultivation of cash crops of flax and rape (a grain).

A peek at the payroll for the town officials indicates how low the salaries were in those days.  So, received:

Bürgermeister Grünbacher                                    208 fl

Town council men, each 35 fl                                175 fl

The council secretary                                               50 fl

Town bookkeeper                                                   130 fl

Local bailiff                                                                 35 fl

Policeman                                                                125 fl

2 Nightwatchmen                                                       45 fl

Ox Tenders                                                                 15 fl

3 Forest rangers                                                      315 fl

3 Field rangers                                                        120 fl

Charitable donations:

1.  The United Holy Brotherhood and Spring Fair Funds, capital of 2,399 fl, the interest is for defraying the expenses of the church.

2.  Poor funds:  1713 fl 36 kr, the interest is to be spent on the local poor, elderly, and ill. 

The pastor is Ignaz Horth, who isn't completely a Catholic.  He tries to found pietistic sects[3] and later becomes Protestant. Members of the foundation, besides the pastor, are also Mayor Grünbacher,  Master Butcher, Valentin Ganz, Master Mason, Johann Speck, Host of the Crown Inn, Friedrich Grünbacher, Augustin Weigner.  The treasurer is Oil Miller, Anton Nold. 

The political entity, the town, owns:  the town hall and school building, watch building, and jail.  A fire engine is kept in the parsonage.  2 herds' houses.

There are 315 students in school, taught by 2 teachers--Head Master Karl Lederer and Jr. Master Elble.

They draw a salary of 335 fl, whereof 277 fl are paid by the community and 58 fl from the school funds...

The rules concerning the inventory are followed by summarizing comments regarding incidents in the community:

--begging has recently increased considerably

--due to insufficient benefits for the poor, pawning is rising

--there are a large number of poor people in the community with no prospect of

   finding work for them

--public houses/pubs and the rafting community are the main areas that get

   public matters motivated

--the main reason is, as usual, the controversial hierarchy (town council)

This is how the two different parties can be explained.  Mayor Grünbacher and his partners want to keep the hierarchy the way it was always been, so all citizens get an equal share of the rafting income, and many a father has a modest income, even though it is spent in the pub.

In order to settle these disputes, and also in response to the complaints of the citizens, since rafters don't obey the town council, there will be a meeting of the whole council which will include former members and a small assembly of citizens. 

They take the following order of ranks:

Mayor with the municipal councils and the committee of citizens:

            The elder of the municipal council

            Chairman of the committee of citizens

            Council's clerk

And, finally, at the end of this certainly eventful year, a report from May 17, 1852:

When all citizens and state-citizen inhabitants were called for the tribute, it was striking that a rather large number of boys did not show up, with the apology, that a large number of citizens of Steinmauern had gone down the Rhine on rafts as rowing helpers...

1853...the agricultural cultures are not processed well in the larger part of the municipality.

...Most fields were processed with neglect

...However, there are some fields there that were processed very well, and this produces evidence that the soil can be considered very suitable to bare fruits if processed with the necessary diligence

...The school fruit tree is in rather good condition; tree supervisor is principal teacher, Karl Lederle (who is succeeded in 1856 by Valentine Unser)

...In spite of the most weak town management, the mayor is an honorable, solid an in Steinmauern, and with the limited possibility of selection among solid, intelligent men in Steinmauern, his resignation from the duty cannot be wished at all

...The city councils, most often composed of uneducated men, are on good terms with him.

...Poor people in town number a total of 100, as long as the rafting lasts, the poor have income, they don't have this in the winter, and all poor people in the town leave the town

...The problem with the school is that the large number of pupils is too many for the two teachers, and the appointment of a third teacher is necessary.  This is on the condition that the intended emigration of several families to be paid for by the municipality, is of no consequence to a large reduction in the number of pupils.

...Apart from the municipal councils and member of the committee of citizen, mentioned above, the following people are being employed in civil service:

Town bookkeeper                Michael Maier

Forest rangers                       Sebastian Treu

                                                Joseph Fettig

                                                Johann Kölmel

Island ranger                          Joseph Schwarz

Field rangers                         Martin Fischer

                                                Heinrich Schmitt

                                                Adam Hoffarth

Nightwatchmen                      Peter Kölmel

                                                Karl Schnabel

Street Supervisors                Joseph Kölmel

Charity supervisors                Artur Nold

                                                Christoff Hoffarth

Orphan supervisor                 Georg Kölmel

Town Clerk                             Adam Weingärtner

Policeman                              Wendelin Klein

Stone-layers                           Georg Kölmel

                                                 Michael Kölmel

1854...The ranking of the raftsmen was suspended by the country government of the Grand Duke.  From now on, the steersmen can choose the crew of their rafts as they like.  The quarrels will settle soon, because, due to the rectification of the Rhine River, the number of rafts in Steinmauern will decrease significantly...thus, in the near future, a more peaceful development of life in the village can be expected. 

The main teacher, Lederle, is an unhealthy man, and has not taught for a long time.  The assistant teacher, Roth, has to do this job alone, but he is unable to prevent the progressing state of neglect that has developed during several years.  According to the inquiries at the district office in Rastatt, the school in Steinmauern is obviously the worst one of the whole district.  In this demoralized village, the main attention ought to be drawn to the improvement of the education of the pupils.  (The main teacher, Lederle, is the father of the later Professor Karl Friedrich Lederle in Rastatt, who was born in Halberstund in 1848.)

Thirty-two families with 120 people are in need of support.  Eighteen of these families, together, account for 80 people.  These people will emigrate to America during the next weeks.  Thus, only 14 families with 40 people will remain here.

The raft crew ranking order is settled anew:

1. This order finds application on rafts built and assembled in the district  of Steinmauern, provided that helmsmen for the same are determined.

2. So-called long timber rafts: The helmsmen may appoint by their own choice:

    - with a team up to 8 men: 2 men

   - for each additional 4 men: 1 man

   In regard to the rest of the crew the board raft directives apply.

3. Board rafts: The raft owners resp. the board raft helmsman may appoint by their own choic one half of the crew. The other half of the crew has to be appointed as follows:

   - up to 8 men: The raft owner resp. the board raft helmsman may appoint by their own choice: 2 men

   - with 3 additional men: 1 man

   - the rest of the crew may not be selected in this ranking order.

4. Long timber rafts as well as Board rafts: The owners, raft masters, Wahrschauer and the servants constantly employed by the owners are not counted in this ranking order.

5. Every citizen of Steinmauern is entitled to be appointed according to this raft crew ranking order and the age of his citizen's entrance. If a citizen is unsuitable for this job he must find a replacement which has to be selected from the list of suitable citizens, otherwise he becomes inelligable for this tour.

6. Each year during the first half of the month of February, the municipal counsil has to set up, after consultation with the helmsmen, a list of men suitable as raft crew members. This list has to be layed out in the town hall for public viewing.

7. The helmsman who violates this raft crew ranking order will be fined 2 Guilders for the first violation for each man he would have had to appoint and, in case of another violation, with 15 Guilders.

8. If somebody who has been appointed according to the raft crew ranking order and does not follow the orders of the helmsmen the disobedience is punishd with a fine of 1 Guilder and 30 Kreuzer and the disobedient loses the right to work on this tour.

This raft crew ranking order accept:

Blasisus Grünbacher, Mayor

together with the municipal counsils and the citizen’s committee:

Georg Kölmel

Adam Götz

Bernhard Fettig

Joseph Kölmel

Georg Kölmel, Eldest of the municipal counsil

Johann Nold, Chairman of the Citizen’s committee

Wilhelm Fettig

Bernhard Götz

Michael Trey

Nikolaus Schmitt

Xaver Kölmel

Counsil writer is August Weingärtner.

To conclude this year full of events a message of May 17, 1852: When all citizens and civil right citizens were ordered o the 'Huldigung' it was striking that a large number of young fellows stayed away. The excuse was that quite a substantial number of citizens of Steinmauern had proceeded down the Rhine river on the rafs as servants.

Die Floßbemannungsrangordnung wird neu festgelegt:

  1. Diese Ordnung findet Anwendung auf die in der Gemarkung Steinmauern gebauten und zusammengefügten Floße sofern Steuermänner für dieselben bestimmt sind.
  2. Bei sogenannten Langholzflossen darf der Steuermann bei einer Mannschaft von bis zu 8 Mann insgesamt 2, bei je weiteren 4 Mann 1 Mann weiter nach seiner eigenen Wahl bestellen; hinsichtlich der übrigen Mannschaft gelten die Richtlinien über Bordflöße.
  3.  Bei Bordflößen darf der Floßeigentümer bzw. Steuermann die Hälfte der Mannschaft nach freier Wahl bestellen, hinsichtlich der anderen Hälfte bis zu 8 Mann darf er insgesamt 2 Mann weiter nach Belieben wählen, welches Recht bei je weiteren 4 Mann um 1 Mann steigt; die übrige Mannschaft darf nicht nach der Rangordnung genommen werden.
  4. Sowohl bei Langholz als bei Bordflößen werden die Eigentümer, Floßmeister, Wahrschauer und die von den Eigentümern ständig angestellten Knechte bei der Randordnung nicht mitgerechnet.
  5. Jeder Bürger von Steinmauern ist berechtigt, nach der Ordnung und dem Alter seines Bürgerantritts zu der Floßbemannung berufen zu werden; ist ein Bürger zu diesem Geschäft untauglich, so muß er sich durch einen anderen, der aus der Liste der Tauglichen zu nehmen ist, vertreten lassen, sonst wird er bei der Tour übergangen.
  6. Der Gemeinderat hat nach Rücksprache mit den Steuermännern eine Liste der zur Floßbemannung Tauglichen aufzustellen und zwar jedes Jahr in der 1. Hälfte des Monats Februar, die Liste ist auf dem Rathaus zu jedermann Einsicht aufzulegen.
  7. Der Steuermann, der sich gegen die erlassene Rangordnung verstößt, wird im ersten Übertretungsfall mit 2 Gulden und für jeden Mann, den er der Rangordnung nach hätte nehmen sollen, und im Widerholungsfall mit 15 Gulden bestraft.
  8. Sollte jemand, der nach dem Range der Floßbemannung verwendet wird, sich den Befehlen des Steuermannes nicht fügen, so wird der Ungehorsam mit einer Strafe von 1 Gulden 30 Kreuzer belegt, derjenige verliert das Recht, in der gegenwärtigen Tour verwendet zu werden.

Diese Rangordnung nehmen an:

Bürgermeister Blasisus Grünbacher

Mit den Gemeinderäten und dem Bürgerausschuß:

Georg Kölmel

Adam Götz

Bernhard Fettig

Joseph Kölmel

Georg Kölmel, Ältester des Gemeinderates

Johann Nold, Obmann des Bürgerausschusses

Wilhelm Fettig

Bernhard Götz

Michael Trey

Nikolaus Schmitt

Xaver Kölmel

Ratsschreiber ist August Weingärtner.

Und zum Schluß dieses an Ereignissen gewiß nicht sparsamen Jahres eine Meldung vom 17.Mai 1852: Als alle Bürger und staatsbürgerlichen Einwohner zur Huldigung bestellt wurden, da war es auffallend, daß eine nicht unbeträchtliche Anzahl von Burschen dabei ausblieben. Man entschuldigte sich damit, daß eine ganz erhebliche Zahl von Bürgern Steinmauerns als Ruderknechte auf den Flößen sich rheinabwärts begeben habe...

[1] A morgan was the amount of land a farmer could plow in a morning, amounting to about 2 acres.

[2] A klafter was an old measurement for firewood.

[3] Pietism was a movement in the Catholic church in the mid-1800s in Germany.  It was fought tooth and nail, and many supporters chartered ships and came to the U. S. as congregations.

Quelle/Source: Heimatbuch Steinmauern, Heinz Bischof
published here with permission of Heinz Bischof





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