Anna Margaretha BILL 1810-1878
Anna Margaretha arrived in Melbourne on “Star of the East” on 12th January 1857 as the 46 year old widow of Johann Georg Wilhelm of Nieder-Weisel; she was accompanied by her son Konrad, 16, and a daughter Anna Margaretha 10. After the loss of her husband on 3rd March 1850, Anna Margaretha waited until her elder daughter, Susanna, was old enough to travel unaccompanied and sent her on ahead to the colony of Victoria, following two years later. There was a third child with her group, Jacob Reuter, 10, who was quaintly described as her son-in-law!; he may have been the only child of Philipp Reuter III, who died in 1846 – though there seems to have been no blood relationship.
(In the birth/baptism entry for Anna Margaretha junior on 30th August 1842 her father is said to be Christoph Wilhelm III, but he was actually her grandfather. The same error appears in the record of her first communion in 1856).
With advice from Susanna, Anna Margaretha settled her little family in Ballarat. Konrad went mining and the girls easily found work as domestics. The purpose of her migration began to bear fruit when her younger daughter became engaged to a migrant, Henrich Mohr from Ostheim, about ten minutes walk from Nieder-Weisel; they married in 1860, only 2½ years after the Wilhelms arrived in Victoria. (If the girl had really been only 10 in 1857 when she disembarked from “Star of the East” she could not have been married in 1860. She was really 14, her age having been lowered so she could stay with her mother in the family quarters). Susanna formed a liaison with Johannes Worner from their home village, and Anna Margaretha was soon a grandmother.
Susanna and Johannes moved away from Ballarat for a while but later returned. Anna Margaretha’s son Konrad never married and it seems likely that his mother kept house for him until she died in 1878, aged 68. Anna Margaretha Wilhelm was buried on 7th February in the Old Cemetery in Ballarat; she was doubtless satisfied that her courageous decision to bring her family to Victoria had turned out to be in the best interests of her children.
View Anna Margaretha's Family Chart