Jakob HAUSER 1833-1903

Jakob was the eldest of the four sons of Johann Georg Hauser and Anna Elisabetha nee Hildebrand who were to take part in the mass emigration of Nieder-Weiselerns to Victoria during the 1850s. Two sets of twins were among the births following that of Jakob but two of the little boys died. The only girl emigrated as well but she went with her husband and children to North America many years after her brothers left.

Jakob attended the church school where he was taught to read and write in both the Old German script and the Latin script adopted for the modern languages. He and his brothers got up to the usual pranks of childhood – stealing apples from the underground cellar of their three-level home with the aid of improvised skewers was a favourite pastime. In his 14th year Jakob was confirmed and schooling gave place to his training as a linen-weaver, as he had lost his right of tenure to the small holding his forefathers had farmed for generations. At about this time the internal wars raging through the region produced a legacy of maimed and slain soldiers, the sight of which strengthened the resolve of Jakob and his brothers to seek a better life elsewhere. Fortunately the conflicts had ceased by the time Jakob reached the age at which he was to begin his military service.

Jakob, Philipp and Konrad, with their cousin Georg Schimpf, planned to leave the village in 1855. The others could do so openly but Philipp had to leave without authority as he was due to be conscripted. He had not reached Liverpool when the others sailed aboard “Ocean Chief” and he had to follow them on “Marco Polo”. The 220 passengers enjoyed a fast voyage to Melbourne and were on Victorian soil by 26th January 1856.

Jakob and the others joined their many friends prospecting on the Smythesdale diggings and Jakob became a partner in a claim, which proved to have good metal values. However he had serious trouble with his eyesight and had to go to Melbourne for extensive treatment, leaving his brothers to look after his interests. Later, he became an employee of a gas-making company in the Prahran-South Yarra area.

Jakob did not marry until he was in his 40s. In 1878 he was married to Lilian Margaret Hayward, the 30 year old daughter of William Hayward and Mary Ward of Manchester. They settled in South Yarra but his wife died only six years later. Jakob married again the following year, his bride being Mary Lyons from Ireland. Mary was 41 at the time of the marriage, which also ended after six years with her premature death. In 1892, Jakob married a third time; his wife was a 37 year-old widow, Emily Hannah Brown nee Osboldstone. Jakob and Emily lived at 33 Clifton Street Prahran, near High Street, until Jakob died in December 1903. He had been naturalised the previous year.

There were no children to any of Jakob’s marriages. A badly scribbled note to his brother Johannes, written while he was partially blind in 1873, is the only real reminder of his 47 years in Victoria. Emily survived him by many years; she was resident in Camberwell when she died in 1936.

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