Friedrich WINTER 1807-1866

When Frederich was born on Wednesday, 18th November 1807 to Ambrosius Winter and Maria Dorothea Bodenroeder, his parents already had three sons and a daughter. Over the next thirteen years they were to have five more sons and another two daughters, all of whom lived. Fortunately, his position of master tailor to the villagers, a service that the Winters had provided for generations, enabled Ambrosius to provide more than adequately for his very large family.

Friedrich’s older brothers had priority in taking over their father’s business when he died in 1836, leaving Friedrich to earn a living as a barber. He married in 1834 and, with his wife Katharina Haub, looked forward to establishing his own family, but their union was to prove disastrous. Katharina had a daughter in mid-1835 but the child died nine months later. A second girl was born ten months after this loss and, although sickly, survived. The first son arrived in 1839 but his sister died of consumption two years later. The second son, born in 1843, lived only three months, and the third, born twelve months after his brother died, lived for the same time. In 1845 Katharina died, leaving Friedrich with Konrad, his eldest son, to raise. He married again in 1846 and his second wife, Anna Juliana nee Hildebrand, gave birth to a daughter in October of that year.

There were no more children, although Anna Juliana was still in her twenties. Friedrich was forced to accept seasonal farm work to provide for his little family in the rapidly changing social structure of the village. He suffered another bereavement when Konrad died in 1851, aged 12. This may have proved the final straw for Friedrich; he left the village in 1854, with a large group of friends who were on their way to the Victorian goldfields. At 46, the 136 days on the tiny ship “Luise” must have been a taxing experience for Friedrich, and their arrival in Port Phillip on 23rd February 1855 a great relief.

Friedrich’s younger brother, Johannes, had reached Melbourne three months earlier, and Konrad, son of the older brother Johann Georg, a month before, so he was able to take advantage of their experiences in the colony and around the goldfields. Later in that eventful year, Friedrich received news from a more recent migrant that his wife died in far-away Nieder-Weisel only twenty days after he disembarked at Melbourne. This removed any pressure for him to go back to the village, and he spent the remainder of his life in Victoria, where he died in March 1866.

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