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.
the boundaries of the community were:
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).
number of inhabitants has increased to 300 heads in the last 20 years
and stays at 1658, with 4 Evangelical Protestants.
have increased by 110 to 336 and there are 52 widows in the town.
up citizenship takes in from
citizen from another place: 18
fl (florin) 32 kr (kreuzer)
price for citizenship:
118 fl 25 kr
each new citizen 1
7,849 fl 24
and handy service 275
for the community requirements
community advances the school fees and is being paid back by the parents
of school-aged children.
rights consist of 184 Morgen
of land for all.
50 Wellen for each citizen.
This yields an annual usage value of 23 florins and 41 kueuzer
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).
peek at the payroll for the town officials indicates how low the salaries
were in those days.
council men, each 35 fl 175
Forest rangers 315
Field rangers 120
The United Holy Brotherhood and Spring Fair Funds, capital of 2,399
fl, the interest is for defraying the expenses of the church.
1713 fl 36 kr, the interest is to be spent on the local poor, elderly,
pastor is Ignaz Horth, who isn't completely a Catholic.
He tries to found pietistic sects
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.
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.
are 315 students in school, taught by 2 teachers--Head Master Karl Lederer
and Jr. Master Elble.
draw a salary of 335 fl, whereof 277 fl are paid by the community and
58 fl from the school funds...
rules concerning the inventory are followed by summarizing comments regarding
incidents in the community:
has recently increased considerably
to insufficient benefits for the poor, pawning is rising
are a large number of poor people in the community with no prospect of
finding work for them
houses/pubs and the rafting community are the main areas that get
public matters motivated
main reason is, as usual, the controversial hierarchy (town council)
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.
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.
take the following order of ranks:
with the municipal councils and the committee of citizens:
The elder of the municipal council
Chairman of the committee of citizens
finally, at the end of this certainly eventful year, a report from May
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...
agricultural cultures are not processed well in the larger part of the
fields were processed with neglect
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
school fruit tree is in rather good condition; tree supervisor is principal
teacher, Karl Lederle (who is succeeded in 1856 by Valentine Unser)
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
city councils, most often composed of uneducated men, are on good terms
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
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.
from the municipal councils and member of the committee of citizen, mentioned
above, the following people are being employed in civil service:
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.
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.)
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:
This order finds application on rafts built and assembled in the district
of Steinmauern, provided that helmsmen for the same are determined.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
raft crew ranking order accept:
with the municipal counsils and the citizen’s committee:
Kölmel, Eldest of the municipal counsil
Nold, Chairman of the Citizen’s committee
writer is August Weingärtner.
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.
Floßbemannungsrangordnung wird neu festgelegt:
Rangordnung nehmen an:
den Gemeinderäten und dem Bürgerausschuß:
Kölmel, Ältester des Gemeinderates
Nold, Obmann des Bürgerausschusses
ist August Weingärtner.
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...
 A morgan was the amount of land a farmer could plow in a morning, amounting to about 2 acres.
 A klafter was an old measurement for firewood.
 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.
Heimatbuch Steinmauern, Heinz Bischof
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