Ambrosius SCHIMPF 1831-1870 & Anna Elisabetha BODENROEDER 1834-1858

Born in Nieder-Weisel on 7th February 1831, Ambrosius was the elder of the two sons of Ambrosius Schimpf III and his second wife Anna Elisabetha, nee Hauser. Six daughters were born before Ambrosius’s arrival and two more followed the birth of Georg, the second son. Four of the daughters failed to survive but, with a boy and a girl from the earlier marriage, there were still eight children in the crowded Schimpf household.

The family was initially shielded from the deprivations many of their neighbours suffered following the Napoleonic Wars – apart from having significant landholdings, their father had been appointed in 1837 by the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt to the position of village burgermeister. However, just a year after the birth of his thirteenth child, Ambrosius senior died suddenly, leaving his 25 year old son Johannes to handle the family’s affairs.

His mother died eight years later, when Ambrosius was in his 19th year. As conditions in the village worsened, he and his young bride, Anna Elisabetha nee Bodenroeder, decided to immigrate to Victoria, as Georg had already done. Anna Elisabetha was from a family that had farmed in the village of Nieder-Weisel for centuries; her father was Konrad Bodenroeder born 1806. The family name came from the tiny hamlet of Bodenroed, in the Taunus foothills west of the village.

The young couple left the village soon after their marriage and made their way to Liverpool where, in company with other migrants from the village, they boarded the ship “Red Jacket” for the long journey to the colony of Victoria. They sailed from Liverpool on 20th May 1856 on board the “Red Jacket”, with members of the Riegelhuth, Haub, Kissler and Bill families. Favoured by fair winds and weather, their voyage ended at Melbourne on 11th August 1856, 84 days out.

The couple, together with the Riegelhuths, Kisslers and Bills, went first to Ballarat and then further west on to the Smythes Creek diggings where many Nieder-Weisel migrants were working claims. On 26th November 1857, Anna Elisabetha gave birth to a son; he was named George, probably for his uncle, who was in the area with two Hauser cousins. This would be the only Schimpf birth ever to be registered in Victoria. Less than six months later, in May 1858, Anna Elisabetha was one of many victims who succumbed to an epidemic of typhus; she went to her last resting place in the tiny cemetery at Smythes Creek on 6th May 1858 in her 25th year.

It was fortunate that Elisabetha Kissler, the older sister of Ambrosius and Georg, had also come to the diggings with her husband and children just before George junior was born and was able to help Ambrosius cope with this sudden upheaval in his domestic life and with the rearing of his infant son.

The Kislers and Schimpfs moved back to Ballarat, where Georg and Ambrosius went into a carting business. During the 1860s Ambrosius developed the wasting disease phthisis pulmonatis, a form of tuberculosis. He was admitted to the Ballarat Base Hospital late in 1869 and died there on 22nd January 1870, several days before his 39th birthday. He was buried two days later, in the presence of his brother Georg and the Hauser cousins, in the Old Cemetery at Ballarat.

The Schimpf story in Victoria ended finally in 1893 when his son George, who had not married, died of meningitis; he was buried with Ambrosius. Georg Schimpf senior, who also remained single, returned to end in his days in Nieder-Weisel.

View Ambrosius's Family's Chart

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