Philipp KNIPPER 1813-1871

Born on 12th April 1813, Philipp was the second child of the farmhand Konrad Knipper and his wife, Anna Juliana nee Schimpf. An elder brother, Johann Georg, was born in 1811; a younger one, Konrad, followed later in 1813. There were three daughters in the family as well and, surprisingly for those times, all of the children survived to reach adulthood.

The days when the Knippers were leading citizens, occupying administrative positions in the council and the church and the courts, had passed and the boys faced the same uncertain future as all other young men in the disorganised village. Konrad was first to make the break, taking his young wife to England in 1847; later they went out to Victoria.

Philipp married Katharina Lenz, a daughter of the butcher, Friedrich Lenz III, on 10th December 1843. In October the following year, Katharina gave birth to a son, who was given the name Philipp. A girl was born in 1850, but she died just after she had turned two. Another daughter, Elisa born in 1853, completed the little family.

Philipp, unwilling to rely on seasonal work as an uncertain source of income, had learned the trade of bricklaying, but opportunities were restricted in this area too because of the relaxation in the conditions of apprenticeship in Germany. In 1856, he decided to join the still-increasing stream of villagers heading for the goldfields of Victoria, possibly as a result of reports from Konrad. With a small group that included other married men who were prepared to risk leaving families while they went prospecting, Philipp was on board the vessel “Merrie England” when she sailed from the Mersey in 1856, for Port Phillip.

Philipp, with Martin KrausgrillPhillip Maas and others, disembarked on 16th January 1857 and went looking for their relatives and friends, many of whom now were on the diggings at Smythe’s Creek or, in the case of Konrad and Margaretha Knipper, Ararat and Stawell. There is no record of Philipp’s stay in Victoria; Konrad took his family back in about 1860 and Philipp may have gone with them. He was resident in Gamaschengasse in 1866; he died there in 1871, soon after he had been widowed.

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