Christoph HILDEBRAND 1826-? & Elisabetha HEINZ 1827-?

After producing a daughter in the year after her marriage to the farm-hand Johann Georg Hildebrand VI in 1816, Katharina Reuter had four consecutive sons. The fifth of them, born on 21st February 1826, was to be known as Christoph Hildebrand IV.

Watching the struggle their father had to support his family on the uncertain wages of a daily-paid farm worker, his three surviving sons decided to go to England seeking better opportunities. As he was liable for military service, Christoph was the first to leave. He went to the midlands town of Leicester where he married his sweetheart from Nieder-Weisel, Elisabetha Heinz, eldest daughter of the wagon-builder, Henrich Heinz, and his wife Katharina Frederich from Niederohmen. Elisabetha, born 24th March 1827, was 20 when she and Christoph exchanged their vows in St Margaret’s in Leicester on 14th October 1847.

Christoph had inherited his parents’ love of, and proficiency in, music and like many other Germans in England he became part of a band, which played at dances, concerts, and open-air recitals. This took him to Melton Mowbray, where Elisabetha gave birth in 1848 to their son Johannes. A second son born in 1850 was named Conrad. They then returned to live in Leicester Town where a daughter, Anna Margaretha, was born in 1851. A third son, whose name was not recorded, must have arrived in about 1853; he died in infancy.

At about this time Philipp Hildebrand, the eldest of the three brothers who survived, with his wife Christina nee Hauser, came to share their home in Baker Street; Philipp joined the band. The third brother, Johann Georg and his wife Elisabetha nee Hauser – not Christina’s sister – came across the next year; they brought news of the extraordinary exodus which was taking place from Nieder-Weisel. Maybe it was this account that prompted Christoph to join the prospectors in Victoria; he left with his family later that year.

No record has been found of the journey Christoph and Elisabetha and the children (probably three) made to Victoria – this may mean that Christoph signed on as a ship’s entertainer, in which case the names would not appear on the passenger list. The trip must have taken place near the end of 1856 as the family was in Melbourne early in 1857; Elisabetha gave birth to their fourth son, Henrich, on 2nd March 1857. They took him to be baptised on 22nd March by Pastor Goethe of the Melbourne Lutheran Church.

Christoph and Elisabetha remained in Victoria for only a short time and they had no more children. By 1864 they were in California – both Elisabetha and Christoph were witnesses in San Francisco in 1864 to the marriage of Johann Jakob Hauser and Anna Margaretha Krausgrill. They may have gone back to Nieder-Weisel first as Christoph’s brother Johann Georg did. Elisabetha died and Christoph returned to his village. He married Katharina Vogel; their daughter Elisabetha was born on 14th March 1872.

(Christoph’s parents Johann Georg V (1793–1858) and Katharina Reuter (1788–1857) were married on 16th February 1816;  Elisabetha’s parents Henrich (b1802) and Anna Katharina Friedrich (b1798) were married in March 1829).

View Elisabetha's Family Chart

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