Katharina Gockeler (1612-1677), One Child Survived – 52 Ancestors #369

Catharina or Katharina Gockeler was born in Schnait, Germany on October 9, 1612, to Hans Gockeler and his spouse, Katharina, whose surname is unknown.

For a while, her surname was recorded as Lenz. She did marry a Lenz man, however in a small German village, it actually wouldn’t be exceptional for the bride’s surname to be the identical since households had resided in that space for generations. Martin Goll, the native historian, found that her surname was Gockeler, not Lenz, and supplied me with up to date info. A HUGE thanks to Martin for this and all of his different analysis which he has generously shared.

Katharina’s Childhood

Picture courtesy of cousin Wolfram.

Katharina’s mother and father and godparents stood beside the minister on the baptismal font earlier than the alter in St. Wendelin Church as child Katharina was baptized.

Hans Lenz, the baker, would have been attending church that day too. He lived the place the crimson star is situated, just some ft away, throughout the market sq. from the church in Schnait.

Hans Lenz had a son, additionally named Hans Lenz, who was born on January 24, 1602. Hans the youthful would have been ten years outdated on the time and was seemingly attending church together with his mother and father. Throughout Katharina’s baptism, he was in all probability squirming and fidgeting in that tough picket pew, the way in which 10-year-old boys do, not very patiently ready for church to be over.

I’m wondering if Hans remembered being current at Katharina‘s baptism. If Hans was a standard boy, he was in all probability both irritated at having to remain late for the baptism, or distracted by a bug, leaf, or some such. Nonetheless, 23 years later, Hans Lenz would marry that child woman.

Loads would occur throughout that 23 years, although.


Schnait, proven right here in 1685, was a lovely, quaint, village, nestled between hills, only a block or two in both route.

Most residents have been vinedressers, tending the vineyards on the rolling hillsides exterior city, apart from the compulsory butcher, baker, and candlestick maker in each village, plus the minister, after all.

The Gockelers had household in neighboring Beutelsbach, as did most households in Schnait, in accordance with early data. Previous to 1570, Schnait was too small to have its personal church, so the households in Schnait worshipped in Beutelsbach and have been fairly intertwined.

The Struggle Begins

In 1618, the 30 Years‘ Struggle modified everybody‘s life – inflicting terror for the subsequent three a long time. Nothing would ever be the identical.

In fact, when the conflict started, nobody knew how lengthy it might final, or if Schnait and this a part of Germany could be immediately concerned.

Katherina would have been six years outdated. Maybe her mother and father tried, at the very least at first, to protect her from what was happening so she wouldn’t be afraid. Quickly sufficient, although, everybody knew. And everybody was afraid.

Sadly, the conflict got here to their doorstep and barged into their properties as an unwelcome visitor. Catholic and Protestant Princes confronted off towards each other, their armies battling for many years on German soil. Wurttemberg was a central battlefield of the conflict, with its inhabitants declining by 57% throughout that point.

Hunger, sickness, displacement, and the precise conflict itself, after all – all took a horrible toll.

The Plague

In 1626, a plague swept via the area, fueled by army situations, battles, troop actions, and the conduct of the troopers. Plague and sickness have been rampant within the camps, and the troopers moved from place to position, marching throughout the countryside, repeatedly.

Celebrations and rituals of normalcy would have been most welcome.


It’s seemingly that, just a few years later, Katharina attended the marriage of Hans Lenz the youthful when he married the Schnait church minister’s daughter, Agnes Eyb, about 1627. The ladies actually knew one another, though Agnes was older than Katharina by 11 years. Maybe Katharina seemed as much as Agnes because the Reverend’s daughter. They’d recognized one another all of their lives and should have been associated in a technique or one other, or many.

At 13, Katharina could have sat throughout weddings imagining herself as the attractive blushing bride, at some point marrying the love of her life.

God keen, and the conflict didn’t intervene, at some point, it might be her flip.

The conflict, and ideas of the conflict, permeated all the pieces. Even a younger woman’s daydreams.

That damned conflict.


Hans Lenz, the baker, and his bride settled up the street in Beutelsbach, whereas Katherina continued to reside in Schnait together with her mother and father.

Toddler mortality hovered round 50% throughout regular occasions when a conflict was not happening, however lack of meals, marauding troopers, pillaging, burning, and the destruction of properties and generally complete villages brought about the toddler mortality charge to rise steeply.

The conflict dragged on, with troopers coming and going, taking no matter they needed, and laying waste to extensive swaths of the countryside. Everybody was in peril, all the time, irrespective of which facet the troopers have been on.

Strain started to construct main as much as the horrific Battle of Nordlingen, arguably a very powerful battle of the conflict, fought in September of 1634 not removed from Beutelsbach, involving 58,000 troopers.

Someplace between 12,000 and 16,000 have been killed, principally Protestants, with one other 4,000 Protestant troopers taken captive. How does anybody even start to bury that many our bodies?

The Protestant troops misplaced that battle, soundly overwhelmed, routed, defeated, making the state of affairs infinitely worse for the German Protestant cities, now occupied by offended, emboldened Catholic troopers in direct, each day battle with villagers.

What may presumably go flawed in that pressure-cooker?

By 1634, troopers have been quartered in Beutelsbach. After the Battle of Nordlingen, residents and village authorities alike have been decreased to both begging or bribing troopers NOT to burn their properties – which means that usually, the pitiful residents had actually nothing of any worth left, and no meals. Troopers on each side took all the pieces.

Till that point, as a result of Hans was a baker and vintner, his property was in all probability spared as a result of the troopers loved consuming and ingesting. Armies run on their stomachs. In different phrases, Hans was helpful to them, however after Nordlingen, that wouldn’t matter anymore.


On December 6, 1634, three months after Nordlingen fell, the anger boiled over, and their best concern was realized.

Beutelsbach was torched by the troopers. Anybody who resisted was brutally killed.

Katharina would have watched from Schnait, a mile or so away, as flames rose up and licked the sky. Black smoke billowed over the panorama, for hours, and just about all the pieces, save the walled and fortified church, was consumed.

Residents in each places have been cousins in all probability tons of of the way. In different phrases, there wasn’t anybody you weren’t associated to, and sometimes, intently.

There was nothing they might do in Schnait whereas Beutelsbach burned, besides to collect as safely as attainable, in all probability within the church, pray, and put together to shelter any survivors.

God, let there be survivors.

The Schnait minister’s sister was Hans Lenz’s spouse, Agnes, residing in Beutelsbach.

Agnes was severely burned and was dropped at her brother’s residence in Schnait. Three days, later, on November ninth, she died and was buried within the Schnait churchyard the next day after her brother preached her funeral. Her brother scribed an agonizing entry within the church “E book of the Lifeless“ about his “expensive sister“ who was burned within the nice fireplace set by the troopers. His grief-stricken entry is how we all know what occurred, and when Beutelsbach burned.

Agnes left behind her husband, Hans, and doubtless younger youngsters, if any survived.

Agnes and Hans had been married about seven years, so she would have given beginning to at the very least 3 or 4 youngsters in Beutelsbach, the place they lived, though Beutelsbach church data don’t exist for this timeframe.

It’s seemingly that Hans and Agnes’s youngsters both died as infants, youngsters, or throughout that horrific fireplace.

It’s additionally attainable that one in all their youngsters outlived Agnes. Martin Goll believes that Georg Lenz (1627-1663), who turned a barber-surgeon in Beutelsbach was their baby.

If that’s the case, then when Katharina Gockler married the widower, Hans Lenz, someday about 1635, she would have raised her buddy, Agnes’s baby or maybe youngsters as effectively.

Katharina Marries Hans

As Katharina sat within the church watching Hans and Agnes trade wedding ceremony vows when she was 13 years outdated, by no means in her wildest desires would she have imagined for one minute that SHE would at some point marry Hans.

Actually, if Katharina have been dreaming about somebody as her eventual groom, it might have been some cute boy nearer to her age, sitting a pew or two over, interested by frogs, not a person a decade older at 23.

But, it might come to be. Rising from the ashes.

A number of months after the fireplace, someday about 1635, Katharina Gockler married the widower, Hans Lenz. Once more, we’ve got no church data.

Given the circumstances after they started their married life, they did surprisingly effectively. The conflict was in its seventeenth 12 months, give or take, and should have appeared “regular” in a horrible means. They’d recognized nothing else as adults, and conflict had been a truth of life for many of Katharina’s lifetime – since she was six years outdated.

Katharina moved to Beutelsbach, the place Hans was the baker and vintner, and, as a staff, they began over.

Martin believes {that a} good portion of Hans Lenz‘s wealth got here not directly from his spouse, Katherina. Throughout his lifetime, Hans constructed a brand new home at Siftstrasse 17, pictured above, which nonetheless stands as we speak. Moreover, he had at the very least eight vineyards with slightly below one hectare, or about 2.5 acres. Most households made do with about one-tenth of that, or a quarter-acre winery.


We all know that Katharina had 4 youngsters, primarily based on both data after the conflict or their church dying data as adults, the place her identify is spelled each Catharina and Katharina. Now we have no data of kids who have been born and died in the course of the conflict, besides inferences by silent, vacant areas within the too-large hole years between births of recognized youngsters, all of whom have been born and died in Beutelsbach. In the event that they died elsewhere after the conflict, we’ve got no report of them.

  • If Hans and Katherina have been married about 1635, they’d have had about 5 youngsters, each 18 months to 2 years, earlier than having the primary baby who lived. How soul-crushing for Katharina. I’m wondering if she dreaded every being pregnant, fearing the dying of one more child.

Lastly, lastly, a son was born and survived. Katharina should have been ecstatic and held her breath each day, praying for one of the best, however fearing the worst.

  • Hans Lenz, my ancestor, additionally a baker who turned a vintner, was born in 1645, in the course of the conflict, and died on January 22, 1725. He married Barbara Sing in 1669 in Beutelsbach and had 11 youngsters, 6 of which survived to maturity. Barbara was residing for the births of her first six grandchildren, which should have introduced her immense pleasure.
  • Daughter, Katharina Lenz was born on October 26, 1646, and died on October 13, 1689, outliving her mom. She was described as “easy“ within the church data. After her mother and father’ deaths, she lived together with her brother, Hans, who utilized her share of their inheritance to take care of her.
  • One other baby would have been born in 1648, the 12 months the conflict lastly ended.
  • Maria Lenz was born on January 5, 1650, and died per week later. One other small picket cross within the churchyard.
  • One other baby was in all probability born in 1652.
  • A daughter, born on March 9, 1654, was additionally named Maria. She died in 1677 on the age of 23. Martin Goll discovered no partner or youngsters for her.

By 1654, Katharina would have been 42. Her childbearing years have been over.

Solely one in all her youngsters would reside to breed. Fortunate for me!

After the Struggle

After the conflict led to 1648, Katharina and Hans did fairly effectively for themselves. By the point Hans died 19 years later, in 1667, he had gathered a major legacy to depart to his youngsters and grandchildren – a complete of 5 homes, ten vineyards, and over 15,000 liters of wine in his cellars. No, that’s not a typo.

Katharina died in Beutelsbach on October 25, 1677, outliving Hans by two months shy of a decade.

Provided that her daughter, Maria, died in the identical 12 months, though we don’t have a date, I’m wondering if the plague or pestilence, as epidemics have been then recognized, savaged Beutelsbach as soon as once more. Katharina’s granddaughter was born on July 27, 1677, and we’ve got no additional entry. I’m wondering if she died as effectively. Two further grandchildren, ages 6 and seven, died two days aside in July of 1678.

This conflict was with an unseen organism, a germ of some description. One they couldn’t see and doubtless didn’t know tips on how to struggle.

Ultimate Relaxation

Katharina would have been laid to relaxation just some ft from their residence in Beutelsbach, in all probability within the churchyard following her funeral service inside, close to her husband and youngsters. Hopefully, it was a lovely fall day.

Early graves at all times surrounded the church, however this 1825 map reveals {that a} second cemetery was in use by then, a block or so away from the church and the place Katharina Gockeler lived for greater than 40 years.

The Beutelsbach church cemetery had been in use since at the very least 1321 and doubtless since about 1080, after we know the collegiate church was fashioned. Given the early date, many common and plague burials existed within the churchyard. Have been graves being reused in Europe at the moment, or would villagers have been unwilling or superstitious about digging up plague or smallpox victims, maybe?

Was the brand new cemetery utilized as a result of the outdated one was full, or possibly there have been simply too many individuals to bury at one time in some unspecified time in the future – like presumably the 1634 fireplace?

Purple stars mark the churchyard, the house the place Hans and Katharina lived, and the cemetery. Martin Goll’s crimson border reveals the properties owned by Hans Lenz at his dying that have been inherited by his son, Hans.

The person “farms“ and backyard plots adjoining to properties are marked with tiny bushes, so it’s straightforward to overlook the delicate crosses within the cemetery should you don’t look intently. It seems that as we speak, the cemetery is expanded as wanted the place these bushes used to face.

As you possibly can see on the map above, the cemetery on the 1825 map remains to be in use. It’s unknown precisely the place Katharina rests, in that cemetery or the churchyard, however we‘re inside just a few ft, both means.

I can’t assist however have a look at these two burial places, and in my thoughts’s eye, view bits of my DNA dotting the panorama, like twinkling stars, if the DNA of these ancestors that I carry as we speak may fluoresce.

A part of me is there with them, and I carry a part of them in me as we speak.


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