Queensland New South Wales
The ship Reihersteig set sail from Hamburg on 30 June 1856, captained by Captain J. Hamann, a ship of the Johann Cesar Godeffroy line. The shipping company responsible for transporting many German immigrants to Australia. On board that day were siblings, Johann Weis aged 33yrs, Philipp Weis aged 24 yrs, Catherine Barbara Weis aged 21, Johann Peter Weis aged 31yrs and his wife Maria Katherina (nee Schlessmann) aged 26 with their children Barbara aged 3 and Anna Barbara and infant. Also accompanying them on this voyage was Maria Eva Nuss aged 20 yrs and Sabina Barbara Horn aged 18 yrs. There is evidence that these passengers knew each other at the time of boarding as this was the only group that came from the Wertheim area of Baden in Germany and were manifested together on the ship’s passenger list. The Weis brothers were shepards from the small town of Vockenrot approx 1 Klm west of Wertheim.
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Their father Johann Nikolas Weis, and their mother Anna Dorothea had since passed on. Their eldest brother chose to stay in Germany. It is thought that the Weis brothers were in search of gold and came to Australia to join the gold rush. Maria Eva Nuss’ sister Margaretha Katharina had married Sabina Barbara Horn’s half-brother Johann Georg Horn who had immigrated earlier onboard the ‘Peru’ arriving Sydney 23 May 1855. The entire Peru’s passenger list was made up of contracted labour to establish winegrowing in NSW. There is also another family link that binds these two. Their fathers after the death of their second wives, married the same woman, Catherine Keisecker, a widow who married Sabina’s father first, outlasted him and married Maria Eva’s father next where he outlasted her. This would make both Maria Eva and Sabina Barbara step-sisters of sorts. The story goes that they were sent out to Australia to earn money to support the family in Kembach (near Wertheim) Baden in Germany. There were 21 children in this step parenting family, approximately 10 surviving children from Johann Nuss’ previous marriages and the remainder from Catharina Kiesecker’s marriages. Maria Eva Nuss was known as Eva Nuss, which was common with German naming conventions where the first name was the christened name and the second name was what the person came to be known as. Eva was the third oldest child of Johann Peter and Maria Katherina and was born in Kembach on the 6th March 1836.
The Weis siblings did not come out to Australia without some knowledge of what was in store. The Wertheim local paper, ‘The Main and Tauber’ reported back in 1856 that the Wies family were immigrating to Australia and had relations in Australia. Eva also had relations come out to Australia. There is evidence of a brother Bartholomaus Nuss and a sister Maria Margaretha Nuss having come to Australia. There is also a cousin Johann George Nuss who settled in Toowoomba and also Eva’s sister Katrina married to Johann Georg Horn. Johann George Horn’s half-brother and his wife Eva Barbara also emigrated to Australia and joined his brother in Cessnock area of NSW.
Mudgee Area Descendants
The Reihersteig berthed in Sydney on the 13 November 1856 and the passengers went off to find their fortune in the new country. John and Eva married at Prospect NSW on 25 December 1856. Johann Peter (Peter) and Philipp Weis took up selections of 80 acres and 40 acres respectively at a place called Uarbry NSW, the closest towns being Cassilis and Mudgee. It is thought they were lured here in their search for gold, as there were gold diggings in the district. There is evidence that Philipp applied to be a naturalized British subject as this was a prerequisite to taking up a selection.
Peter and Maria's children, Katherina, Anna, Maria, Philip, William, Johanna, Margaret, Nicholas, Eva and Rosina married into the McMaster, Bland, Haynes, Schiemer, Dunne, Smith, Murray and Roth families. Two daughters Maria and Rosina married sons of Adam Roth Snr., an immigrant who with two other families started the wine growing industry in Mudgee NSW. Their families were instrumental in founding what the industry is today. Peter Weis died in 1902 at Mudgee and Maria died in 1900 at Uarbry. Both are buried at Uarbry.
Philip appears to have worked his selection and sometime in 1885 moved to Toowoomba and purchased a farm. It appears that after John’s death in 1877, he helps farm John’s selection and acting as a substitute father for John’s family. Evidence of this is in the Postal Directory in 1890, where John’s sons Christy and Fred join with him as one entity in the Directory as farmers at Middle Ridge. There is no record of him marrying, and he died on 2 November 1907 dividing up his farm amongst John’s widow and sons.
Their sister Catherine Barbara Weis starts a family with Johannes Muller in 1858 in Parramatta NSW. Their first two children Mary and Katherina are registered under the surname Muller but the following children John, Christina, Sarah, Rosanna and William are registered under the surname Miller. It appears that sometime around 1864, the family chooses to be known as Miller and it is about this time they move to the Merriwa area of NSW and later to the Mudgee area. In 1891 Johannes marries Catherine under the surname Muller at the St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney. One possible reason is that he was not able to marry Catherine earlier until the death of his first wife and this supposition is made on the fact that at the time of marriage his marital status was 'Widower'. The other reason is their supposed marriage in November 1857 was not registered. It is about this time the family name is changed back to Muller. Some children opting to known as Muller. Their children married into the Box, Costa, Chant, Mason, Standen and Warner families. Johannes died in 1907 in Mudgee and Catherine died in 1915 at her daughter's place at Five Dock Sydney and is buried in Mudgee.
Toowoomba Area Descendants
It is thought that the two Horn families and John and Eva Weis decided to move to Toowoomba. When passing through Logan Station a pastoral lease covering the area of the southern part of Brisbane, Eva gave birth to their first son Johann Joseph on 3 May 1858. There is some evidence that Sabina Barbara Horn traveled with them because there is a marriage record of a Sabina Barbara Horn marrying a Leonard Bubek (Bubeck) on 13 April 1858 in Queensland. It appears that at there are a number of German settlers in Toowoomba at this time and more importantly a good percentage come from the Wertheim area. The families Horn, Diehm, Nuss, Weis, Reuter, and Flegler all came from the Tauber Valley area around Wertheim from the towns of Urphar, Bettingen, Dietenhan, Dertingen, Kembach, Niklashausen, Hohefeld, Kreuzwertheim, Sachsenhausen.
On the 17th September 1860 the Government decided to divide up the Eton Vale cattle station at Middle Ridge in Toowoomba into selections for auction to settlers who were prepared to farm these selections. The auction attracted many German immigrants because this was the first lot of affordable selections made available to the Germans. John Weis in partnership with a George and Michael Horn purchased Lot 125, and in partnership with the Horns and one other, purchase Lot 128. The Weis family finally resided on Lot 125 which is situated on Hume Street, western side, between South and Alderley Streets. Other purchasers on the day were Frederick and Jacob Bauer and Henry Wagner. John Weiss had a registered cattle brand 'J0W' certificate No 1944 for the Hume Street farm Toowoomba and this was registered with a date of 9 Sep 1872. Here they raised a family of seven, three sons and four daughters. Their children Johann, Maria, Frederick, Christian, Eva, Catherina and Elizabeth married into the Eiser, Reuter, Muller, Heuschele, Wagner and Burrows families. John died on 23 November 1877 and is buried in the Toowoomba and Drayton Cemetery and Eva died on 4 January 1924 and is buried with John.
Queensland New South Wales
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