Monthly Archives: November 2006

Achern Story

At the beginning of the 19th Century, German fathers were expected to arrange sons and daughters’ marriages with suitable candidates.

Having some sound credentials to negotiate upon – he was just coming off a one year term as Burgermeister and was a well-to-do shoemaker or Schuster –
Blasius Herr of Onsbach negotiated a marriage contract for son Fidelius and Maria
Anna Schmidt, one of three daughters of a well to do baker three miles down the road in Achern.

On August 10, 1801, Fidelius and Maria Anna married at the St. Nikolaus Chapel, “Klausenkirchel,”  which was built around 1300 AD and long served as a symbol of
Achern..

As part of the marriage contract, son, father-in-law Johann Nepomuk Schmidt gave Fidelius a big house and some property in the Achern Altstadt. .

In beautiful Archer Valley country of the Northern Black Forest of Baden – Wuertemburg, Achern is 18 kilometers southwest of Baden – Baden, and 19 kilometers northeast of Offenberg,

Coming down out of the Schwarzwald, the scenic Acher River flows past Oberachern through Achern from the southeast, to the left of Altstadt in the center of town, where it rushes northwesterly between the towns of Fautenbach and Grosweier south of Gamshuerst into the majestic blue Rhine River.

Achern was first mentioned in written records as “Acchara” in 1095 AD.

The town area split into Oberachern and Niederachern, the latter evolving
into “Achern.”

With the Staufenberger and Zahringer royal families leading the way, Achern became part of the German Reich in the Landevogtei of Ortenau in the High Middle Ages..

It became part of Ortenau and Baden in 1334, part of Strasbourg in1351, part of the Palatinate in 1405, Furstenberg, in 1504, and Further Austria as part of the Reich Landsvogtei Ortenau in 1551.

During the Thirty Year War in 1637, the French burned Achern down to the ground.
and it was deserted for many years before built back up from the ashes to become  a district court seat, and a city in  the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1805, Fidelius’ in – laws, Johann Nepomuk Schmidt and Maria Johanna Burger were among well established Achern families.

Maria Anna Schmidt and her two sisters, Margaretha and Katharina, grew up in
the city. .

Also a baker, Fidelius set up shop in and raised his family in Schmidt house until he sold it to a Herr Armbruster and left with his family for America in 1831. .

The Herr family life revolved around the Catholic Church and they attended mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.

In an elaborate processional of family and friends, new born children within a day of their birth were carried to the church to be baptized  and their souls cleansed of original sin  in case early infant mortality stuck.

Fidelius and his two wives had 15 children from 1802 – 1831 of which they lost 11
in infancy.

All 15 children were baptized and the 11 newborns buried out of the Alte Kirche and der Neue Kirche. .

He buried his first wife, Maria Anna Schmidt out of the St. Nikolaus
September 17, 1818.

Wasting no time, Fidelius married Maria Anna Hauser (1793 – 1868) five months
later on February 18, 1819.

Children by Maria Anna Schmidt – Karolina, Johanna, Fidel, and Maria Theresa,
and Maria Barbara by Maria Anna Hauser -grew up in Achern.

They knew every nook and cranny of the city – they walked along the river,
looked at the church and city scenes pictured in these photographs every day.

What we see is what they saw before they left for America..