Jakob GEIBEL 1835-?

Jakob, born 9th August 1835, was the first of seven children of the locksmith Konrad Geibel III and Katharina Häuser. The Geibels had been master craftsmen in this art for at least 150 years, when Johann Konrad set up in business in the village in the early 1700s. Of course the changed circumstances in Nieder-Weisel no longer predetermined that Jakob, as the eldest son, would inherit the profitable family business and so be able to maintain the affluent lifestyle that his forebears had enjoyed.

So uncertain was Jakob of his future that he took the opportunity of joining the large group that was booked on the 1,500 ton vessel “Sunshine” for the long journey to Victoria. With more than 30 other villagers, he left Liverpool on 5th November 1856, with almost three months of ocean travel ahead; he was with a cousin, also Jakob Geibel, and his wife and their young daughter.

From their rallying point in Ballarat the Geibels moved with some of their companions to the fields at Smythes Creek, further to the west. There were already a number of Nieder-Weiselerns prospecting there, from whom they got advice and support and, in Jakob’s case, a friendship that blossomed into a deep romance.

Jakob and Anna Margaretha nee Hauser were married on Wednesday 16th November 1859, by the Lutheran pastor, John P Niquet, in the Lutheran Church at Smythe’s Creek, where they were living. The witnesses were Konrad Riegelhuth and Ambrosius Schimpf, both of Nieder-Weisel, and other friends from the village attended the service and the reception later. The bride was the daughter of Johann Georg Hauser and Maria Elisabetha Haub; she had turned 20 on 8th April 1859.

The couple made their home in Smythesdale where a son, Philipp, was born on 25th January 1861. Tragically the birth which the young couple had awaited with such anticipation cost the mother’s life, and she died three days later. The friends who had helped Jakob celebrate his marriage now helped him inter Anna Margaretha in the Smythesdale cemetery. When he had marked the lonely grave with an impressive monument, Jakob returned to his home village with his motherless child.

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