Anna Elisabetha REUTER 1834-1914

Anna Elisabetha was the second daughter and third child of the farmhand Johann Georg Reuter II and Anna Margaretha nee Maas. Of two other girls and a boy born after her, only her sister Elisabetha lived. This Reuter branch held positions of authority in the church and council in earlier periods and had operated a stocking-making facility; all this had changed during the Napoleonic wars. Johann Georg died prematurely in 1839; his widow’s father Johannes Maas, the innkeeper of The Crown, helped her financially in raising her three children till he died in 1849. By then, conditions in the village were so bad that many mothers were advising their daughters to go elsewhere.

Elisabetha, then at the vulnerable age of 19, was with a dozen villagers who departed for Australia in February 1856; her cousin Juliana Heinz, niece of her mother, was part of this group. Anna Elisabetha followed 12 months later, pretending to be the wife of Jakob Hauser. With about 30 of their friends, they left Liverpool on 27th May aboard the sailing ship “Sir W F Williams” to survive a hair-raising voyage through cyclonic storms which cost the life of a crew member before the ship reached Hobart. From there, they travelled by the coastal steamer “City of Hobart” to Melbourne.

Disembarking on 31st August, the group went firstly to Ballarat for news of friends who had preceded them and thence to the newer diggings south of Castlemaine. Here, among 30,000 prospectors, Anna Elisabetha somehow found her sister, who was planning to marry. When the Lutheran pastor, Nicolaus von Thun, visited Pennyweight Flat the sisters joined in a unique triple marriage ceremony – themselves and their fiancees, and their cousin Juliana Heinz and Jakob Roth, a recent immigrant from Maibach – which took place in the Primitive Wesleyan Chapel on 30th December. The best man for each bridegroom was Martin Reinheimer, who would marry Margaretha Koch of Nieder-Weisel, a messmate of Elisabetha.

Jakob Hauser was a shoemaker and he combined this occupation with that of prospecting; he also made investments in underground mining companies, with small success. His business kept him in one place so that Anna Elisabetha was spared the continual, annoying relocations that became the bane of the lives of so many miners’ wives. This was just as well, as Anna Elisabetha produced eight children, only one of whom died, during the next 17 years – Jacob 1858-1858; Elizabeth in 1859; Theton? 1861; Jacob 1864; George 1866; Lina 1868; Frederick William 1871; John Henry 1874.

In 1876, Frederick died. Anna Elisabetha was then 42 and probably looking forward to a life free of further pregnancies, but it did not work out that way and in 1880 Edith Estelle Clara was born; the third given name was in memory of Jakob’s mother, Klara Grieb of Griedel. The bustling mining town shrank to a settlement of only a few hundreds and the children, after leaving school, moved away to Melbourne to search for work opportunities. Jakob and Anna Elisabetha moved to the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood in the mid-1880s; Jakob died there in 1891.

Several of the children married. Lina moved away to Gippsland, but John Henry and his wife settled in Carlton, and Anna Elisabetha was able to watch her grandsons growing up. Her life came to an end at her home in North Fitzroy in 1914. Her sister Elisabetha Scherer, who had also settled in North Fitzroy, predeceased her by ten years.

View Anna Elisabetha's Family Chart

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top