Anna Elisabetha BILL 1836-1866

Born on 20th February 1836, Anna Elisabetha was the eldest of the four children of Johannes Bill and his wife Katharina nee Hauser. The two younger girls in the family failed to survive. Her father, although not formally trained in the craft, turned to weaving as a means of supporting his small family; there was a great demand for linen in nearby Butzbach.

Anna Elisabetha became pregnant when she was still a teenager. She married Johann Georg Lenz on 30th July 1854. Ten weeks later she gave birth to a daughter, named Elisabetha for her sponsor Elisabetha Schimpf. Grandparents raised this child, who migrated to North America in later years, where she married Konrad Haub, a son of Philipp Haub VIII; they settled in Pittsburgh.

Anna Elisabetha and Johann Georg also migrated, but to Victoria. No record of their journey has come to light, but it is known that two of his brothers and a sister arrived in Victoria in 1857. In the first instance they went to Ballarat, as most of the new-comers did, and later moved west to the diggings at Smythesdale.

On 29th March 1859 Anna Elisabetha gave birth to twins, Philipp and Konrad. A third son, Peter, was born in 1862, and this was the extent of their family. They moved back to Ballarat some time after this and, in July 1866, Anna Elisabetha developed appendicitis. Medical treatment was too late to save her and she died of peritonitis on the last day of that month.

Anna Elisabetha was laid to rest two days later in the Old Cemetery at Ballarat; she was only 30 years of age. Johann Georg was fortunate to have a sister and two sisters-in-law to help with the rearing of his three sons. He married again when the boys were teenagers. In due course, each of Anna Elisabetha’s sons married and contributed to the next generation of Australians.

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