Louis Philippe WINTER 1840-1866

Ambrosius Winter was one of the Nieder-Weiselerns who looked for employment in France as conditions in the village became steadily worse. He obtained work as a mason in Paris, where he lived in a de facto relationship with Elisabetha Schmidt, of Hochelheim. They had two illegitimate children in Paris in 1836 and 1838 who both died, and a third, Louis Phillipe, two years later.

Louis Philippe was born in his parents’ home at 9 Rue de Dragon, Paris, on 18th May 1840 and baptised on the following Sunday in the Evangelist Church of the Confession in Augsbourg, Department of the Seine. His sponsor was the mason Philippe Bornsch of the same address – probably the person that Ambrosius worked for.

When he was six months old his parents took Louis Philippe to Nieder-Weisel. After proclamation had been made in the Hochelheim church (but, because of the prior cohabitation, not Nieder-Weisel) the couple were married. Ambrosius accepted parentage of the child and Louis Philippe was legitimised.

There were no more children born to the marriage. After six years of schooling, Louis Philippe made his first communion and joined those seeking work in the village. Ambrosius could find work only as a daily-paid plough-hand so he decided to try his luck on the Ballarat diggings.

Louis Philippe (oddly described as a 15 year old male spinster) reached Melbourne with his parents on “Marco Polo” on 27th February 1856 after a very fast voyage from Liverpool of only 85 days; there were about 20 other villagers on board.

Ambrosius Winter went to the Smythes Creek field, west of Ballarat, where he established a business carting goods to the mines. Louis Philippe helped his father for a while but then decided to return to Nieder-Weisel, probably because he was obliged to serve in the army for two years. He married in 1862 Elisabetha Winter, a daughter of a farm-hand in Ostheim, Konrad Winter and Anna Elisabetha nee Schmidt. Elisabetha had a daughter, Eva, eleven weeks after their marriage and a son, Karl, in 1864. In 1866, the family was resident in the Hauptstrasse. Because of his history on the Victorian diggings, he was known colloquially as ‘Gold Lips Louie’.

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