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Joannes Benedict Mühlfeld
(????-1750)



The history of the Mühlfeld family in Wahlen in the Odenwald region of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany seems to begin with Benedict Mühlfeld.

He first appears in the (Latin) records of the Catholic Church of Wald Michelbach in 1718. This is when the young man Joannes Benedict Mühlfeld was married to the widow Elisabetha Jäger of Wahlen on 15 Feb 1718. Witnesses to the event were Joannes Georg Emich of Hammelbach and Joannes Georg Müller.1

It is unknown when or where Benedict was born, or the names of his parents. Records for the Catholic Church in Wald Michelbach, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany begin in the year 1698, and from the earliest record until 1718, no other Mühlfeld records can be found.
One of Benedict's descendants, Linda Burdick Hall, has conducted extensive research into the Mühlfeld history in Wahlen, and says that according to legend, the Mühlfelds originally came from Austria.

Also from Linda's research, we should note that the Catholics did not always worship in Wald Michelbach. They attended services at the church in nearby Hammelbach beginning in 1705 due to the separation of church and state in that year, until 1739 when the church building in Hammelbach fell into ruin and then the Catholics once again returned to Wald Michelbach, to a newly built church. The church records then, including the years at Hammelbach, were housed at the church in Wald Michelbach.

Before her marriage to Benedict, Elisabetha had eight children, born from 1700 to 1716, with her first husband, Johann Philipp Jäger. They were twins Joh. Philipp and Joh. Adam; Joh. Christian; Eva Agatha; Elis. Catherine; Georg; Joh. Georg; and Catherine.

In 1720, a son was born to Elisabetha and Benedict Mühlfeld and was given the name Peter. From Peter's baptism record, we not only learn that Benedict was Catholic while his wife was Lutheran, but also that Benedict was miller in Wahlen.

The mill in the small town of Wahlen became an important part of the Mühlfeld family for generations to come, and so once again we refer to the research of Linda Burdick Hall regarding this mill. The mill in Wahlen, called the "Wasenmühle", is believed to have been built towards the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century at the same time as the Waldau castle. And while the castle of Herren von Waldau was destroyed around the end of the 14th century, the mill remained. Between 1606 and 1696, documents show a number of different owners of the mill, with Hans Schmitt purchasing it in 1696. The next mention of the mill in documents was in 1726, with Benedict Mühlfeld as owner. The mill was held in the Mühlfeld family for generations, being handed down from son to son, until it was sold in 1850 to the Emig family and then became known as the "Emigsmühle". Following are the sons who assumed ownership:
1747: Peter, son of Benedict
1774: Johann Peter, and after his death, his wife until their son was of age
1796: Johannes
Joh. Peter II
Johann Leonhard
Between 1455 and 1808, the Wasenmühle was found to "deliver among other things, 200 eggs at Easter time to the Herrschaft."
The following is a description of the estate in 1808:
The mill and residence are combined under the same roof. The house is opposite the mill stream where formerly stood a "little old cabin with a pigsty." On the right is a large cowshed. A new barn was built next to the sheep and horse stable. On the left side of the barn is a newer building with the pigsty underneath. The grounds include: 1) a small vegetable garden by the barn with a new baking oven and hut; 2) a meadow by the mill; 3) an herb garden between the millstream and path; 4) a field on Hammelberg. The total surface areas of the estate is approximately 6 1/2 acres.
The mill was taken down in 1987/1988.

Benedict was buried 17 Oct 1750 and according to his (Latin) burial record, he was both miller and mayor of Wahlen.2
Benedict's wife, Elisabetha, died in 1754.

Thanks to Linda Burdick Hall for much of the information contained on this page.

Sources:
1. LDS Family History Library, Film Number 996664: Katholische Kirche, Wald Michelbach, Taufen, Heiraten, Tote, 1698-1847, page 108.
2. LDS Family History Library, Film Number 996664: Katholische Kirche, Wald Michelbach, Taufen, Heiraten, Tote, 1698-1847, part 2, page 6 in the Deaths section.

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Muehlfeld Family Genealogy: Joannes Benedict Mühlfeld
Last updated Sunday, 14-Jan-2007 08:37:54 MST
Sandy Muehlfeld
1885 S. Beyer Rd.
Saginaw, MI 48601
email:muehlfeld@chartermi.net