Katharina KNIPPER 1824-?

Katharina’s family had been in Nieder-Weisel since her ancestor Michael Knipper and his wife arrived from Eberstadt in 1625. The Knippers then occupied positions of authority for nearly 200 years, until the cataclysmic events of the Napoleon era reduced many of them to lowlier ranks in the new society.

Katharina’s father Johann Georg Knipper relied on manual skills to support his wife Anna Elisabetha nee Maas and their four children – Anna Margaretha born in 1817, Anna Elisabetha 1818, Christoph 1820 and Katharina on 10th March 1824. As the youngest of the family, Katharina would have found the sudden death of her father in 1829 particularly difficult to accept. Luckily their mother’s family were able to help her with the rearing of the children.

The daughters sought security in marriage, each at an age which was young by village standards. Still in her 22nd year, Katharina married Peter Hauser VI of Nieder-Weisel. Three children were born to this marriage in the first seven years – Georg in 1847, Peter Karl in 1850 and Konrad in 1853. Peter then decided to join the gold rush to Victoria, as many were doing. Taking only Georg with them, Katharina and Peter joined a group which included Christoph Knipper (her brother) and his family, and cousins. They made the trip on “Glenmanna”, disembarking at Melbourne on 14th February 1855, 110 days out of the West England port of Liverpool. Most went to Ballarat.

In their strange new environment Katharina had the support of her sister-in-law Margaretha, and later of her widowed sister Anna Elisabetha Heinz. Peter was delighted when Katharina produced their first daughter on her 33rd birthday; appropriately, they named her Catherine. Katharina devoted her time to rearing the little girl but, as so often happened, the child died of a childhood fever less than two years later. In keeping with village custom, Georg was sent down to Melbourne in his 14th year to be confirmed; he then went to work for his father in the wood cartage firm Peter had established.

Katharina and Peter decided to settle in Victoria and they sent for their son Peter Karl to join the family. Before he arrived, tragedy overtook them – Georg was crushed to death when an unstable stack of timber collapsed on him. This misfortune caused them to change their plans; they returned to their home village, probably about 1866. Both Katharina and her husband died in Nieder-Weisel.

View Katharina's Family Chart

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