Johannes HAUSER 1841-1896

Johannes was the fifth of five sons in succession born into the marriage of Johann Georg Hauser and Anna Elisabetha Hildebrand; he was born on 13th August 1841. The first son to carry the name died in the first weeks of life, but the other brothers lived to reach maturity just as the mass migration from the troubled village was gaining momentum in 1855 and they left to try their luck on the goldfields of Victoria.

Johannes was then 14 and had just been confirmed. No doubt he would have liked to join his brothers in their adventure but he was kept home to assist his father, struggling on an inadequate wage as a seasonal farm worker, in supporting his mother, a younger sister and the survivor of twin boys born in 1847. In 1861 Johannes became liable to serve fulltime in the army for 18 months. One brother, Philipp, had avoided this duty by leaving Nieder-Weisel without authority and perhaps Johannes did likewise. In applying for naturalisation in 1887, Johannes stated that he had arrived in the colony aboard “Alexandra” in 1863, but there is no record of such a ship having sailed to Melbourne in that period, suggesting that he travelled incognito on some other vessel.

By then, his three older brothers were in Smythes Creek with many other Nieder-Weiselerns and it is likely that Johannes joined them. With Conrad and Jacob he went into a mining venture, while Philipp started a grocery business in Smythesdale. Jacob, who suffered from eye problems, went to Melbourne but the other two married and settled in Smythesdale; their wives were also from Nieder-Weisel.

Johannes did not marry until 1877, when he was in his 36th year. His bride was Harriet Truscott, 25 years of age; she was a daughter of John Truscott and Mary Ann White from Devonshire. His brothers Conrad and Philipp were present when the ceremony took place on 22nd April at the home of the bride’s parents in Smythesdale, conducted by the Wesleyan circuit minister John Smith. The couple continued to live in Smythesdale for a time after they were married and three children were born there: John George in April 1878; William Joseph in September 1879 and Ernest Charles in 1881.

Shortly after the birth of the third son, Johannes took his family to Allendale, several km north of Creswick, where he and Harriet lived out the rest of their lives. Harriet produced another son, Conrad Albert, in January 1884, followed by three daughters: Mary Louisa in January 1886; Ann Elizabeth in March 1888; and Elsie May in January 1890. Finally, when she was 43 years old, Harriet had a fifth son, Thomas Edward, born 31st October 1893. Surprisingly for those times, each of their eight children escaped the perils of childhood disease.

Johannes continued to work as a miner. He appears to have been a very private individual, not very interested in his brothers or his sister, who had migrated with her husband and children to America in 1889 – she complained that she had never heard from him since they were separated in the 1860s.

Johannes died at his residence in Fitzpatrick Street Allendale in 1896 at the premature age of 55, not three years after Thomas Edward was born; perhaps thirty years of working underground had shortened his life. In distant California, his only sister, Anna Elisabetha Maas, had had premonitions of his death for several weeks before the news arrived.

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