Anna Margaretha WILHELM 1842-1913

In common with Elisabetha Wilhelmi, Elisabetha Knipper and Katharina Dern, Anna Margaretha nee Bill found the courage, after she had been widowed, to migrate to Victoria with her fatherless children, hoping no doubt to establish for them a more secure and happier future than faced them in Nieder-Weisel. Their father, Johann Georg Wilhelm, died on 3rd March 1850 when Anna Margaretha was only 8, her brother Konrad 10 and her sister Susanna 12.

Anna Margaretha’s date of birth is presumed to be 30th August 1842 although this entry is for the third child, and second daughter, of Christoph Wilhelm III and Margaretha nee Bill – these parents were also named when Anna Margaretha made her first communion on Whitmonday in 1856. As no record exists for either the marriage of this couple nor the birth of any other children to such a marriage it must be concluded that the pastor somehow made an error with the birth and baptism entry and compounded this with the confirmation entry.

To protect her from the moral dangers then rampant in their village, Susanna was sent away to Victoria when she reached the age of 16. Anna Margaretha, her mother and her brother, Konrad, followed in 1856. The group, including a Riegelhuth family and the recently married Johannes Zimmer IV and Anna Elisabetha Hauser, sailed from Liverpool on 21st October 1856 aboard “Star of the East”; she was making her third journey to Melbourne. They reached their destination on 12th January 1857 after 12 exciting weeks at sea. Anna Margaretha was able to travel in the family quarters by virtue of dropping her age by several years. From Melbourne the party went to Ballarat where Susanna was waiting to greet them.

Konrad, at 17, was old enough to work as a digger and there was no shortage of demand for domestic servants in the busy mining centre so the Wilhelms had no problems in supporting themselves. There were many young males of German origin on the diggings from amongst whom Anna Margaretha could select a partner; her choice was Konrad Mohr from Ostheim, a small village just south of Nieder-Weisel. Born in 1840, he was a hairdresser by profession although, like most newcomers, he was making his living as a miner.

Anna Margaretha and Konrad exchanged vows at Christmas-tide in 1860; being a minor, the bride needed the consent of her mother. The couple made their home in Daylesford where, in 1863, Anna Margaretha gave birth to their first son, Harry; unfortunately he was sickly and he died in February 1864.

A second son, Conrad, was born in mid-1865. The family then moved to Maldon, near Castlemaine; Anna Margaretha’s mother continued to live with the Mohrs. The couple’s first girl, Christina Elizabeth, was born in Maldon in 1867 but, in the same year, young Conrad died. The birth of another daughter in 1870 completed Anna Margaretha’s little family (although she was still only 28). They named this daughter Catherine.

Konrad and Anna Margaretha had decided that they would stay in Victoria permanently, and accordingly Konrad applied for letters of naturalisation, which were granted in 1871. This enabled him to buy property and to go into business; he set himself up as a hairdresser in Maldon and continued in this occupation for the remainder of his life. Anna Margaretha’s mother died in 1878 but her brother Konrad, who was single, continued to live with them in Maldon. Her elder sister was living in Rocky Lead at this time but she later returned to Ballarat with her husband and children.

Christina married in 1891, and Catherine in 1893; they made their homes in Maldon and Anna Margaretha was able to watch her grandchildren grow and develop. She lost her brother in 1890 and she was widowed in 1899, so that the grandchildren became the focus of her declining years. Her life came to a peaceful end in 1910 when she was 68; she was interred with her husband in the Maldon Cemetery.

View Anna Margaretha's Family Chart

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