Anna Margaretha KOCH 1835-1900
The farm-hand Johann Georg Koch and Katharina nee Krausgrill, who were married in January 1830, had only three children – Susanna, born 27th July 1830, Anna Margaretha, 1st July 1835 and Philipp, 20th July 1842. Even though the parents were forced to wait till they were 27 years of age before being given permission to marry, this was well below the size of most families in Nieder-Weisel at that time.
Susanna had an early marriage, to Friedrich Marx, when she was only 20. When Anna Margaretha was 20 she was sent out to Victoria to shield her from a badly deteriorating moral climate in the village. She travelled with a group of thirteen, more than half of whose members were unmarried females from 16 to 20 years of age. They left Liverpool on 22nd April 1856 and their ship “Mindoro” took them to the port of Melbourne on 14th July, thirteen days after Anna Margaretha had celebrated her 21st birthday.
Friedrich Marx had gone to Victoria with the very first group from the village and should have been able to meet Anna Margaretha and her friends. She went from Ballarat to the goldfields near Castlemaine with some of her friends from “Mindoro”. In a short space of time she chose from the hundreds of German immigrants on the Fryers Creek diggings a lifetime partner, Martin Reinheimer. They were married in December 1857 and set up a home in the busy gold-mining settlement of Fryers Creek. Anna Margaretha gave birth to a daughter, Catherine in 1861 and a son, Philipp in 1865, in Chewton. They moved around the Loddon Valley region for several years and the children came at regular intervals: George Philipp in 1867; Wilhelmina in 1870; Carl in 1872 (when they were back in Castlemaine); Marie in 1874, and Anna Amelia in 1876.
Martin worked with different mining partners from time to time, and in 1863 was called as a witness at the inquest of Herman Hildebrand, who suicided by hanging himself in his tent at Forest Creek.
Anna Margaretha did not escape unscathed; just as she reached full term with Wilhelmina an epidemic swept the goldfields and claimed the lives of her eldest daughter Katharina, who was 9, and, on the following day, her infant son George.
After the birth of Anna Amelia, Martin decided to go farming and he took up a selection in Horsham, in the west of the state. Although she was almost 45, Anna Margaretha gave birth to a son, John, in her new home in 1879. Though she had to help with tasks around their farm, Anna Margaretha was glad that the periodic movement from one goldfield to another was at last over, and she could establish a permanent home. One regret was that she was now a long way from the family of her brother Philip, who had immigrated to Victoria in 1873 and settled in Daylesford.
Anna Margaretha devoted the remainder of her life to her growing family. She lived to see her last-born son reach his majority, just before she died in 1900. Some of her descendants are still living in the Horsham district.