Margaretha REUTER 1832-1915

Margaretha Reuter emigrated to Victoria with her sister Katharina, as she had done most things with her sister in the twenty-two years since the younger girl was born in 1835, three years after her own birth on 14th July 1832. The deaths of the two boys and a girl born before Margaretha had left a large gap in age between the older brothers and the sisters, throwing them even closer together. After their father, Johann Georg Reuter I, died late in 1851 and their mother followed barely six months later, Margaretha and Katharina had to take stock of the future. Their elder brother Christoph had married in Scotland and later went to the Victorian goldfields. The two sisters, like other apprehensive young women in Nieder-Weisel, decided to join the swelling ranks of the emigrants. Like most, they chose to go to Victoria.

The girls did not travel with other Nieder-Weisel emigrants but with a family named Bier. They left Liverpool on 5th September 1856 on the “Arcadia” and reached Melbourne two days before the New Year revelries began; no doubt they took part in some of the celebrations before heading off to Ballarat to meet up with many of their friends.

All the mining centres offered work opportunities as domestics in hotels or private homes for young women, so the sisters should have had no problems in supporting themselves while they set about the main objective of finding marriage partners. They made their way west towards Ararat where, within a year of their arrival, Margaretha had made her choice. In May 1858 she was married to the German immigrant Johannes Maibacher. Johannes reached Victoria on “South Carolina” in July 1855 as part of a group which comprised Johann Georg Reuss and his family, and a Wilhelmina Heinz, 17 (who would die in childbirth in Ballarat in February 1858).

In early 1861 Margaretha gave birth to her first daughter, sponsored by her sister Katharina. Soon after this event they went from Ararat to Raglan, north of Beaufort. Their friend Jakob Riegelhuth was also mining here and in 1863 Johannes had the unhappy task of helping to bury Georg Riegelhuth, his 10 year old son. The next year, Margaretha gave her husband his first son, John Frederick; he was born in Waterloo. He would be the only son as Margaretha had no more children – she became a widow four years later when her husband died on 27th July 1874 at the age of only 44. Johannes, son of Philipp and Elisabetha Maibacher, was interred in the Beaufort cemetery two days later.

Margaretha was very fortunate that her sister was on hand to help her through the difficult task of raising her little family. No doubt she felt that her efforts were worthwhile when all three of her children married and settled in the district. The enduring friendship between the Maibacher and the Nothnagel families was further strengthened when Margaretha’s daughter Katherine married Valentine Nothnagel in 1878. Their son, George Philip, was the first of 22 grandchildren who would help give purpose and meaning to Margaretha’s 41 long years of widowhood.

Margaretha’s sister and lifelong companion died in 1911, and her own long and active life finished its course four years later. She died on 15th July 1915, just one day after her 83rd birthday, and she was buried with her husband the next day. She had lived in Victoria for almost 60 years.

View Margaretha's Family Chart

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