Johannes KISSLER 1817-1872

Johannes Kissler was born in Nieder-Weisel on 29th January 1817, the third child of Konrad Kissler II and his second wife, Anna Margaretha nee Klein. Twin sons had been born to the couple on 15th November 1815; one was stillborn, the other lived for only sixteen days. From his father’s first marriage to Anna Margaretha nee Hildebrand, Johannes had four half-sisters; the only son to this marriage had also died young.

Johannes’s mother died when he was only two, leaving Konrad to raise their five surviving children. Johannes, the only son, was apprenticed to the family trade of blacksmithing; he served his time and then worked for the required period as a journeyman. This entitled him to full citizenship and the right to work in the village as a tradesman.

On 28th March 1841, Johannes married Elisabetha Schimpf in the Evangelical Church in Nieder-Weisel. She was the firstborn child of Ambrosius Schimpf III and his wife, Anna Elisabetha nee Häuser. Because the bride was pregnant, the permission of her mother and the groom’s father was necessary for the supervising clergyman, Pastor Steinburger of Buttzbach, to be able to celebrate the marriage.

Five children were born to the couple in the next thirteen years but the two eldest sons died before reaching the age of two. During this time the remaining grandparents, Anna Elisabetha Schimpf and Konrad Kissler, died. Johannes then decided to take their family to Australia. With Elisabetha and the children, Anna Margaretha then 10, Johannes 7, and Peter 3, he left Nieder-Weisel on 9th March 1857 and travelled to England. The group left from Liverpool on 27th May on the clipper ship “Sir W F Williams”. Most of the people aboard were assisted bounty passengers bound for Hobart Town, but the Kisslers and about 30 other German emigrants paid full fares of about £20 per adult.

The journey was fast and eventful. The ship passed through two severe cyclonic disturbances, during one of which the purser was washed over-board and lost. Captain Rees sailed the vessel directly to Hobart Town; they arrived on 19th August 1857, 85 days out of Liverpool. The passengers going on to Melbourne had to stay on board till passages were arranged on the coastal steamer “City of Hobart”, which disembarked there on the last day of August.

The Kissler family settled in Invermay, north of Ballarat. They lived there for five years before moving to Scarsdale and later (in about 1865) to Ballarat. In partnership with his wife’s brother, Georg Schimpf, Johannes – now known as John Kisler – established a blacksmithing business in Main Road (then called Plank Road). He remained there until his death from a stroke on 19th July 1872. Johannes Kissler was buried in the Old Cemetery, Ballarat, on 21st July. He was survived by his wife, who lived another 37 years, their daughter, and their two sons. His house in the High Street in Nieder-Weisel was sold to help with the support of his wife.

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