Friedrich LENZ 1824-1902

The Lenz family had farmed in Nieder-Weisel for a very long time; their ancestor Christian Lenz was a landholder and taxpayer during the Thirty Years War and he served the village as a bürgermeister in 1639. Friedrich’s great-grandfather, Johann Jakob married into another long time farming family, the Krausgrills; he named one of his sons Friedrich, and this name appeared in each following generation. Friedrich born 17th March 1824 was sponsored by his uncle, a grandson of Johann Jakob.

The rights of the small land-holders had by then been eroded completely; Friedrich’s father, Jakob, became one of the first of the adventurous villagers to take his young family to England to try to establish a better life there. By this time Jakob’s wife Anna Margaretha Haub had given birth to two girls (one of whom died) and four boys. Whilst they were in London she had another daughter but the girl died in September 1832, just after her first birthday. Anna Margaretha started an eighth pregnancy early in 1833 but, three months before she came to term in November, her husband died. When she was able to travel again, Anna Margaretha somehow got back to Nieder-Weisel with her six surviving children. It is not surprising that four of these six chose to emigrate when they reached adulthood. Probably it is more surprising that Anna Margaretha was to live until she was almost 80.

Friedrich was the first of the boys to marry. He exchanged vows with Anna Margaretha Hauser on the third day of Christmastide in 1853. Friedrich and his wife were the first of a group of 40 migrants from Nieder-Weisel to book passages on “Sunshine” out of Liverpool on 5th November 1856. Their infant son, Conrad, was with them; in this case, infant meant younger than 12 months. There is no record of the birth of Conrad in the Nieder-Weisel Family Book, suggesting that he may have been born in England. Friedrich’s brother Johann Konrad was also on the ship, which reached Melbourne on 29th January 1857. The Nieder-Weiselerns headed for Ballarat.

The family settled in Ballarat; they lived at 29 Clayton Street in Ballarat East. Friedrich was a miner all his working life but his son became a wheelwright. Anna Margaretha died on 9th June 1891 at the age of 69; Friedrich and his son continued to occupy the Clayton Street home until Friedrich died on 31st January 1902 aged 77; his death was due to acute dysentery. Conrad arranged for Friedrich to be buried with Anna Margaretha; the burial was on 2nd February in the New Cemetery at Ballarat.

Friedrich’s death certificate, for which his son, Conrad, was the informant, states that there were two other children born to the marriage, Jacob in 1860, George in 1862. These births have not been found in Victorian records, nor has a marriage record been found for George. Jacob married Mary Schofield on 23 April 1902, and they then lived at the Clayton Street family home.

Conrad died on 2nd September 1907 and was buried with his parents; Jacob died at Ballarat on 25 February 1942, and is  buried with Mary at the New Cemetary.

View Friedrich's Family Chart

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