Elisabetha Margaretha ZIEGLER 1826-1876
Although she married in Nieder-Weisel, Elisabetha Margaretha was a native of Steinfurt, east of the village. She was a daughter of carpenter Heinrich Ziegler and Anna Margaretha nee Rosenbecker.
Elisabetha went to Nieder-Weisel where she formed a relationship with Jakob Hauser, son of farmhand Jakob Hauser VIII and Margaretha nee Haub. Jakob and Elisabetha married in the Nieder-Weisel church on 28th November 1847; no proclamation had been made, as the bride was eight months pregnant. Though Jakob was a postilion in Butzbach, the couple lived in the village. A second child, Heinrich, was born early in 1850, but he and his father died hours apart in August that year and were buried together.
By 1856, Elisabetha had formed a liaison with one of the village tailors, Jakob Hildebrand VI, whose wife died in May that year, a few months after her seventh child was born. They left the village with their four surviving children and sailed out of Liverpool on board “Greyhound” on 14th May 1857. With them were George Ziegler and his wife; he was Elisabetha’s brother. When they reached Melbourne on 26th August, Elisabetha was heavily pregnant; she gave birth to a daughter, Caroline, several weeks later. Meantime Elisabetha and Jakob were married in the Lutheran Church in Melbourne on 7th October, with Johann Peter Heinz and Christoph Hildebrand, both of Nieder-Weisel, as witnesses.
The family lived for a time in Port Melbourne, and a son, George, was born there in 1860. Jakob later set up as a fuel merchant at 125 Exploration Lane, north of Melbourne, where three more children were born: Reinhard 1862, Elisabeth 1864-1866, and John Jakob 1866. The home was not a happy one as Jakob became alcoholic and frequently suffered from the DTs. In August 1870 he left on his rounds early one morning and never returned. His body was found floating in the Yarra two weeks later. A coronial enquiry returned the questionable verdict of Death by Drowning whilst under the influence of alcohol. Incredibly, Elisabetha testified that she had not reported his absence because it was so peaceful in the house without him!
Elisabetha herself had a drinking problem; she was said to spend whatever money she could get obtain of on alcohol. This also had tragic consequences – in June 1876 she collapsed during a drinking bout and had to be hospitalised. An autopsy revealed kidney damage caused by excessive drinking.
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