(aka Thunes, aka Thonges, aka Thonies)
born circa 1663
probably at Flammersfeld, Grafschaft Sayn-Hachenburg
married 31 March 1688 at Flammersfeld
Anna Margaretha SCHNEIDER
died on or before 26 March 1731
[actual date of his burial]
Our knowledge of Anthonius AHLBACH is admittedly meager. That 'Thunes' was the son of Hans Theis AHLBACH is conclusively proven by his 1688 marriage record, which identifies him thus. Thunes' bride, Anna Margaretha SCHNEIDER, was the daughter of Hans Henrich [sic] SCHNEIDER of Flammersfeld. A younger sister of Anna Margaretha's, Anna Veronica, married 15 Feb 1702 as the daughter of the 'late Hans Henrich SCHNEIDER,' so we know that Hans Henrich died sometime between 1688 and 1702. Hans Theis AHLBACH, as noted previously, died sometime prior to 1703.
This was not an especially stable period in the history of Sayn-Hachenburg. THE WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION came precipitously close in 1703 when the Duke of Marlborough's forces captured the nearby city of Bonn - the city of Landau some miles south of Flammersfeld had been involved in fighting the previous year. Neither was the climate particularly accommodating during this time. The winter of 1709 was quite devastating in northern Europe - one of the worst on record. Europe's Atlantic coast was icebound from mid-January to mid-March. The Rhine river froze solid. Crop failures and famine were inevitable. Carla MITTELSTADT-KUBASCH happened upon this notation in the Flammersfeld church records for that year: '... So sad - the old people are going out into the snow to die, so that the younger ones will have food.'
How did the AHLBACHs respond to these challenges? By and through their strong Christian faith. We know, in fact, that Anthonius AHLBACH was one of the annual appointed church councilmen (German 'Sendschöffen,' English 'Elder' or 'Deacon') at Flammersfeld, for he is so designated on the 1718 marriage record of his son, Zacharias. Men such as Anthonius were elected by the local congregation and confirmed in office by the rector (pastor) for a specified term. The duties of the office included the investigation of the paternity of illegitimate children, as well as the administrative management of church services (food, shelter) for the poor and needy.
The Calvinist Reformed congregation at Flammersfeld took a dim view of the intrusions of Roman Catholic priests into Protestant territory. In 1714, a complaint came from Flammersfeld that priests from the neighboring village of Oberlahr (and others from the Ehrenstein cloister of the Electorate of Köln/Cologne) were performing baptisms, visiting the sick, and transporting bodies of dead parishioners to Oberlahr. This violated certain agreements dating to 1652 and 1675. Strange to say, the focus of the complaint was not so much spiritual as it was financial - the pastor at Flammersfeld being concerned about his loss of revenue!
Eva GREMMERT, whose KOFFROTH ancestors lived In Flammersfeld during this time, provides the following commentary (citing the book, '900 Years of Flammersfeld'): 'The people of Flammersfeld seemed unhappy with the choice of their pastor in those days. It was less a question of the particular person than of the way in which he was chosen, they said. Old traditions gave them the right to approve the choice of one person among three candidates. Now, [they] said, the pastor is not properly respected, since he was imposed on the people without their consent. The drinking laws were a problem with some of the parishioners, too. A special complaint was lodged in 1714 because the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited after 8:00 p.m. The complaint stated, 'When a normal, common, tax-paying subject has a drink here, he is forbidden to do so after 8 o'clock in the evening. It's the same as if we lived in a city. Severin KALTSCHMIDT in Flammersfeld was punished for serving some waggoners, who arrived after 8 o'clock. This prohibition never before existed in the parish of Flammersfeld.' Whether the request to repeal the prohibition was successful is not recorded. Along with the usual complaints about high taxes and heavy burdens, which were repeated at every hearing, people were especially unhappy with the ban on gratuitous celebrations. The ban was imposed because of [a local tendency toward] extravagant partying. It was attacked by some of the people as not conforming to old tradition. At weddings and baptisms, the ban would not permit hosts to provide their guests, such as godparents and the midwife, with a meal or to offer them a drink. Whoever was caught had to pay a painful monetary fine.'
Anthonius and his wife Anna Margaretha had eleven children whose names appear in the Flammersfeld parish church records, as follows: Johann Hermann; Johann Jacob; Anna Christina; Zacharias [aka Zachariah, probably JOHANN Zacharias although we cannot be sure]; Maria Magdalena; Henrich [probably Johann Henrich]; Johann Cornelius; Johann Wilhelm, Maria, Margaretha; and Johann Ludwig. Cornelius' and Wilhelm's names were 'Latinized' by the church scribes (rendered 'Johannes Cornelius' and 'Johannes Wilhelmus') at the time of baptism. This represents only the scribe's desire to add a formal fluorish or flair to the church book. Nothing more.
As noted above, Anthonius died on or before 26 March 1731, the date of his burial [entered in the church register as 'Thonies' AHLBACH]. His grave, today unknown, is probably sited in the Flammersfeld churchyard. Anthonius' passing marked the end of an era. Three years later, his sons Wilhelm and Zachariah made the momentous decision to emigrate with their families to the New World. Click on the link below to continue the saga in and through the person of
Zachariah I AHLBACH
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