GÖTTMANN RESEARCH
IN ODENWALD AREA OF GERMANY

By, Sherrie (Gettman) Stahl

sherriestahl@comcast.net
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For further information on Göttmann family research done in Germany check out the following documents received from Germany.

  • George Göttmann family who went from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1769.
  • Johan Peter Göttmann family who left Germany in 1766 for Frank, Russia (Volga area).
  • Johan Philipp Göttmann family who stayed in Brensbach, Germany.
  • Göttmann GEDLIST -- names in my databank for Gettman (note, these are all spelled with Gettman for easier sorting, even though there are variant spellings.

    My mailing address:
    Sherrie (Gettman) Stahl
    4189 NW Spoon Pl
    Portland OR 97229
    USA



    Itinerary for our trip to Odenwald area of Germany
    Thursday, March 25, 1999

    Leave early in AM from Bacharach, Follow Hwy 426 E to Reinheim
    Take Hwy 38 S to Gr-Bieberau (you will pass the exit for Wersau)

    MAP OF ODENWALD AREA

    BRENSBACH: -- MAP

    Take the exit for Brensbach (east): As you come into the town, turn left on Heidelbarger Strasse --- then you will see St. Markus church at the corner of the next instersection (right turn onto Hochester Strasse). Then make another right turn onto Berne Berg ? and there is parking several blocks down on the right possibly. You can walk back to the church and the city hall, and also to the cemetery.

    St. Markus Kirche (Evangelist) / H:ochster StraBe 1 -- Tower was built in 1503, and the long part of the church was finished 1527. Baptismal font inside is Early-gothical style from 1450, and is the only leftover from the old church of Markus. The Kuppa has 8 tips, with lion, dog and human head with a garland. Crucifix above is from 16/17th century. Also note the stone hessian "coat of arms" with year 1526 (year of the Reformation), and the initials VDMIAE (that is Verbum Domini manet in aeternum - The Word of the Lord continues until all eternity.) On the front walls of the central nave are the pictures of the 12 apostles from abt 1710. There is a memorial of the warrior done in 1919 as you ascend to the church, and around the church was the burial ground which was used until abt 1800.

    Old City Hall, H:ochster StraBe 3 -- This is the old school which started about 1609 in Brensbach, but was then sold in 1675 to a private buyer. In 1710 the area decided to sell the past school building. In 1987 it was completely restored as a community center and now houses the RTS Museum with the archealogical finds of the castle ruins located in the attic. This Museum is open each first SUNDAY of the month from 2PM-4PM, free entrance.

    There is also a Friedhof (cemetery) in the center of town....see map (with parking close by).


    NIEDER-KAINSBACH -- MAP

    Located on Hwy 38 just south of Brensbach (on east side): Take the exit off Hwy 39 E, and then turn Left at Mannheimer Landstrasse. There is Parking right after the intersection with Erbacher Strasse (Parking on left after intersection). In town there is a cemetery (located back where you made your first left as you came into town (corner of Mannheimer Landstrasse). There is also a "Spielplatz" and a Feuerwehr - see map for location. The town of Affh:ollerbach is farther out of town going east, but we don't want to go there. Go back to main road, Hwy 39 and travel South to Frankisch-Crumbach.


    FRANKISCH-CRUMBACH -- MAP

    Located on Hwy 38 to the west. This is also the way to the Rodenstein Castle. Stop in town and see if you can get a better map of the village.

    There is an Evangelical Church at Bahnhofstrausse 4 as you come into town. (street of the train station). The Church forms a group of buildings well worth being seen at the EASTERN entrance of the town, together with the Gemmingischen palace and the "cellar building". It is a romanic church, consecrated originally to Saint Laurentius. In 1485 it got a steeple and a new choir with costal arches from the master builder Konrad of Mosbach. It's rich decoration with memorials in the insdie is remarkable. At the northern wall of the Long House is the expressive epitaph of the Squire Hans III of Rodenstein, built by the master builder Hans Eseler. The Squire died on a pilgrimage to Rome on 2nd April 1500 and was buried there on the German Burial Grounds near St. Peter (the large church in Rome). The epitaphs in the choir from Hans IV of Rodenstein (died 1531) and his wife Anna Baier of Boppard (died 1560) are examples of good memorials of the renaissance. Culture-historically interesting is the "trukish drum" as well, a round table standing on 3 legs which are built by dolphins. It was taken by one of the Barons of Pretlack, which lived in Fraenkisch-Crumbach, as loot from Vienna (1683) and was donated to the church as a christening table. The "Turkish Drum" was the foundation of the legend of the victory of The Rodensteiner over the Turks.

    There is a museum at Darmstadter Strausse 3 - you will make a right onto this street. It is open Sundays from 2-4PM and is 2DM for adults. Contact: Rudhart Knodt, Tel 06164/718, Alle 4, 64407, Frankisch-Crumbach. The bldg of the Museum is part of the historical kernel inside of the town which consists of the "Aristocratic House" and the Evangelical Church. In the so called "cellar building", which has been made available by the family of the Baron Eugen of Gemmingen-Hornberg, the museum opened on 30 Nov 1980 after a renovation of the bldg. The collection consists of abt 2000 historical photos, info and objects from happeneings taking place in the town of Frankisch-Crumbach (mayor, parson, guilds, signs of crafts, street names, etc). The largest part covers the tools and machines of the various crafts and farmers, such as shoemakers, pumpmakers and carpenter toolds and a smithy. Frankisch-Crumbach began when the noble Rodenstein had his castle on the outside of town. The tombstones show 5 generations of Rodensteins. There is a book about the ghostlike entrance and exit of The Rodensteiner. The most important literary work is the prose by Werner Bergengruen, "The Book Rodenstein". There are also pamphlets called "The Rodensteins - History and Legends" & "The Choir (Chancel) of the Evangelical Church"published by the Assn. Of Friends of Rodenstein. They are available at the Museum and in bookshops.

    Bahnhofstrasse 2 - There is a relief at the "building of cellars" -- which is the Rodensteiner, created by sculptor Adam ______ (1903-1978). It is on the East wall. It is a large relief (4 X 4M).

    There is also a cemetery going out of town towards the South as if you were going to Reichelsheim (leaving city). Probably should look at this before leaving town for the castle.

    And there is the Castle Ruin of Rodenstein which is NW of the city. Sightseeing/anytime. The ruins of the Castle of Rodenstein are situated at the end of the Valley of Eberbach in the middle of the forest. When the Castle of Reichenberg was lost to Erbach towards the end of the 13th century, the Lords of Crumbach built a castle at the southeastern slope of the Rimdidim and called themselves The Lords of Rodenstein ever since. The oldest part of the construction is the four-cornered kernel-castle with the dimensions of 24 X 30 meters (26.24 X 32.8 yards). This castle was expanded in the 14th Century. The castle was considerably fortified around 1550 with the help of a new outer bailey with a strong bulwark, both to the south of the castle. The two flanking towers date of the same time. The castle stayed uninhabited since the death of Adam Rodenstein in 1635. The decay of the castle is mainly due to the inconsiderable removal of shingles and timberwork by the Captain of Kamptze of Gottau in 1640 who was co-owner of the castle. Also, when the Lords of Pretlack built their castle in Frankisch-Crumbach, they took the stones out of the castle ruins. The ruins were restored several times since 1885, the last time was 1985.

    Now head southeast toward Reichelsheim. (could be K76---Rodensteiner Strasse).


    REICHELSHEIM -- MAP

    As you come into town you enter on Rodensteiner Strasse, and there are 3 different parking places at the N end of town, but farther into the center of town you will find the RATHAUS and another Parking spot. To the west is a church and cemetery. There is also a school etc off to the east side of town. Then there is Helene Gottmann street.

    There is a path to take through town: starting at the school of Reichenberg - Hofweg - Fronhof - Crossing B47/38 - direction of Leimberg - Heidenbuckel - Hochgericht - Reichelsheim - Krautweg - Helene Gottmann street - back to parking place at the school of Reichenberg.

    Some History: Reichelsheim area is a certified climatic health resort with nearly 9000 inhabitants. During the land reform, the villages of Beerfurth, Bockenrod, Eberbach, Erzbach, Fronhofen, Gersprenz, Ober-Kainsbach, Gumpen and Klein-Gumpen, Landenau, Ober-Ostern, Rohrbach and Unter-Ostern joined together to form one community. This community of villages covers 7000 ha (2835 acres) of which 1134 acres is covered in forest and 1498.5 acres is agricultural. The town of "Richoldsheim" was first documented in the year 1303, but it's foundation is considered to be even earlier in the 9th century through the frankish nobleman Richold. There was a castle Reichenberg built 60 years earlier by the Schenken of Erbach. Soon after the Castle Reichenberg was built, the Castle Rodenstein was built. Around the market place, on the hill of the church, the first houses were built. The Evangelical Church, as we see it today, was newly built in 1716 until 1718, and replaced the old, dilapidated church, which stood on the same ground. Only the old "gothical choir" built in 1493 is still there.

    Even today, the market place is the center of the village which is dominated by the house of the administration (nowdays the museum of the region), which was built as the tax-collector-house. It is the oldest building with framework in Germany with a form of a man as "braceing figure".

    It is interesting to study the population over time - abt 1450 there were 50 people living in the town of Reichelsheim. Until the beginning of the "Thirty Year War" 160 persons lived there. This was a long terrible time for the Reichelsheimer as well, and the inhabitans had to seek protection in the castle every now and then. At that time all documents of earlier years burnt in the house of the administration. During a fire in the 5th year of the war, two thirds of the houses were burnt to ashes. But soon after the end of the war in 1648 immigrants from Switzerland began arriving and then there were 120 persons living there. Nowdays there are about 3900 in the actual town of Reichelsheim.

    During the following 50 years, in the robbing wars of Louis XIV, neither the number of inhabitants nor the wealth grew, but both grew from the beginning of the 18th Century onwards. In the year 1806, when the region fell to the Great Duke of Hessen, Reichelsheim had 832 inhabitants, which were all evangelical, apart from the jews living here.

    Even though there were years of hunger, three wars, the revolution of 1848, and emigrations, the village grew and had 1800 inhabitants in the year 1858, as much as it had in the beginning of WWII.

    Reichelsheim already had a couple of public authorities before the turn of the century, for example a post office, a customs office, a veterinary, on top of that a drugstore, two beer brewers, and Reichelsheim was connected to the train network by the Reichelsheim-Reinheim route (1887-1964).

    The terrible losses of WWI and WWII were more than equalled out by the 500 immigrants who found a new home in Reichelsheim. The immigrants helped to build what Richelsheim is today, a blossiming town with a healthy mixture of industry, mid-level companies, trade, crafts, and tourism with much modern infrastructure.

    In the beginning of the 1970's, 13 villages joined Reichelsheim. In Nov of 1986, it got the certificate as a health resort.

    Reichelsheim Museum, Rathausplatz 7-- Open Oct to April on every 2nd Sunday from 3PM-5PM; and on every Tuesday before an open Sunday from 7:30-8:30PM -free entrance. It is located in the old city hall which was built in the year 1554. Collections are on life in abt 1900's.

    LUNCH SPOT - Restaurant Treusch im Schwanen -- Rathausplatz 2, Reichelsheim, 11:30-14:00 for lunch.

    Reha-Kurklinik Gottmann - Am G:ansberg 3, Reichelsheim

    Old Post Building, Bahnhofstr 4, Corner of Helene-G:ottmann Strasse - The old post office building was built from the post-officer Friedrich Mergell in 1902. In 1975 a new post-office was built, so today it is private property and serves as a trade building. It is of the new style. It is a discontinuation of the "rural style" of building.

    Am Flutgraben 1 (corner of Helene-Gottmann Strasse) - Visible from the Old Post office there is a corner building, an old villa from the period of promoterism (Gruenderzeit) with a roof _______?. The corner of the house which is to the NW is slanting horizontally and runs into a small corner tower at the top. The form of the windows is neo-gothical. This building is again an example of the beginning of urbanization.

    Evangelical Lutheran Church, Krautweg 12 (means path of herb) -- After the introduction of the new church order in Hessen in the year 1874, an old-Lutheric community was built in Reichelsheim. This community built this church abt 1890 in a simple, neo-gothical style. On the western side there is a pointed tower with a poligonal choir.

    Chapel of the Burial Grounds of Leimburg, between Unter-Ostern and Fronhofen - NEED TEXT!!!

    Fronhofen - This hamlet near Reichelsheim consists of solitary farms which partly are built in the framework style. This hamlet was first noted in documents in the year 1307 as "Fronthoffen", 1324 as "Fronehonen", and in 1443 as "Fronhofen".

    Fronhof, Darmstaedter Strasse 80 -- A large farm built in a rectangle, which gave the hamlet nearby its name. In earlier times this farm was a nobleman's farm with a leasehold. The farm was mentioned in 1450 as nobleman's farm of the Schenken - later Counts of Erbach. The living house today, on the east end of the farm, was built in the 18th century as a two-level massive bldg. In the style of baroque with a twofold outside staircase. The Portal with a pilaster edging and a half-round roofing of sandstone, shows the coat of arms of the Counts, and the numbers 1768. Above some of the round entrances to the barns there are fine clasps in the form of "scareheads" (those are heads that look ugly or angry to fend off bad people, spirts, etc so they won't enter the barn). It has been privately owned since 1933.

    Now we need to take Hwy 38/47 east out of Reichelsheim to Frohnhofen, then south to Unter-Ostern and then East to Rohrbach. After that head back up North to Beerfurth.


    BEERFURTH -- MAP

    HISTORY: Nowdays Beerfurth is a certified health resort with abt 1340 population. There is nothing known about the founding (written or oral), but it was first documented in 1321 as "Berenforte", later as "Bernfurt". The name comes from the word "ber" in ancient German, which means boar. Through a place of low water in the Gersprenz even in the earliest times, herds of pigs were driven towards the forests of beech and oak on the Morsberg. Beerfurth lies on the border of the different territories, therefore it was not spared from the rivalries between the different neighbors. In 1454 Hans Landschad gave 1/2 of the village as mortgage to Martin Goeler of Loewenstein (lion stone). In the year 1478, the brothers Georg and Albrecht Goeler sold their part of the village to the abbey of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg. From then on, the village was cut in two, the Gesprenz was the border between.

    Around 1550 the name "Unter and Ober Beerfurth" (Lower and Upper) were introduced to distinguish between the two parts. From 1650 onwards, the two parts were named "Kirch und Pfaffen Beerfurth" (church and parson). During the land reform in Hessen, the two parts decided to overcome the age old division, and built the village of Beerfurth on 1.1.1970 to which the neighboring villages of Gersprenz and Bockenrod joined on 1.1.1971. Since 1.1.1972 Beerfurth is part of the town Reichelsheim. Beerfurth got famous through the Rodenstein songs of Viktor von Scheffel, through the gingerbread, through the cultivation of strawberries, and through the red clay, which is still sent far around even today.


    KIRCH-BEERFURTH

    - southeast of town & PFAFFEN-BEERFURTH, northwest of town.

    Several of the Gottmann's lived and died here!!!. There is also a church and a Grundschule (school).


    BETWEEN OBER-KAINSBACH & GERSPRENZ: -- MAP

    Chapel of the Burial Grounds - on the hill between Kainsbach and the Valley of Gersprenz. In the year 1618, Count Friedrich Magnus of Erbach gave leave to six stems of oak for the building of a church for the citizens of Gersprenz and Kainsbach. With that the precondition for the building of the Chapel of the Burial Ground was fulfilled, the completion of the building fell into the beginning of the 30 year war.

    In the middle of the 18th century, the chapel was so much out of repair that no one could enter it without putting themselves in danger of death. Therefore, it was decided to build a new and larger chapel. Because of the different powers in the region, no one could agree on who was to build it and who was to pay for it, and so the project was delayed for decades. In 1787 the new building was finally finished although it had been planned since 1762. The cost was 705 Gulden which was paid by the 47 families living near the region. A larger repair was made in 1853. The books of the community of Ober-Kainsbach note an enlargement of the Burial Grounds in 1865 of 850 square meters (929.5 square yards). A citizen of Boellstein delivered over 300 stones to cover the new wall of the burial ground. The entire cost of the enlargements were about 580 Gulden. The two villages of Ober-Kainsbach and Unter-Gersprenz built their own burial ground in 1955, and the left the old one as it was together.

    In 1971 the parking place and the plaster of the outside of the walls, was made and in 1977 a thorough renovation of the inside followed. At last, 1980 the chapel was covered anew, and the walls of the foundations were insulated. During the new distribution of the land in the year 1987, the whole burial ground which belonged to Ober-Gersprenz before, became a possession of Ober-Kainsbach.


    UNTER-OSTERN: -- MAP

    Description of the path: Path of H:onige to the rise - direction of Leimberg - then back to the Kreuzstrasse (street of the cross).

    The name for the town "Nidern Osterna" was first used in 1357. In other documents the names "Nydern Osternauwe" (1443) and "Vunderun Osterun" (1515) appear. It is considered certain that they had one twon court together with Ober-Ostern.

    The population was roughly 60 people in the year 1461. It grew slowly during the following years, and reached a peak of 385 in the year 1885, with the miners that lived in the town at that time. Iron was hauled in two mines.

    After the closing of those mines, the population sank rapidly and reached another peak of 324 in 1946, although 79 of those people were refugees who had been driven from their home to the city. Nowadays around 440 people live there.

    PATH: -- RESTAURANT: Zur Kreuzstrasse along the Kreisstrasse -- towards the Dachsberg, then below the Dachsberg through a small forest, on the street back to the Kreisstrasse - Kreuzstrasse.

    Grundstrasse 69: Community house of the town and former school building. The simple building of sandstone was built in 1893 and has an inscription which shows it has a special type of roofing and a gable like a swiss house.

    LEIMBERGFRIEDHOFSKAPPELLE --Chapel of the Burial Grounds of Leimburg (between Unter-Ostern & Fronhofen) -
    When you get to Unter-Ostern it would be off to the right toward Leimburg.....west.

    It was built by the communities in the region of Reichelsheim in 1592. A new building was done in the year 1722. In 1964/65 it was renovated very badly. A little massive building was the result with a strange roof ?? In front of the chapel there is a modern iron belfry with the original "Our Father Bell" of the evangelical church of Reichelsheim, which dates to 1446.

    On the outside wall there is a tombstone from the year 1775, the only older memorial preserved. The burial ground of Leimberg was the central burial ground for most of the region of Reichelsheim until the beginning of the 19th century. As the burial ground of Ober-Kainsbach, this place fascinates people because it has a wonderful position on top of a rise and away from cultivation.


    ROHRBACH -- MAP

    The oldest document which refers to Rohrbach says the village originated in the year 1321 under the name "Rorebach", and then in 1443 it was known as "Rorbach", and then in 1456 it was "In der Rorbach". It has maintained the name of Rohrbach because there is strong vegetation of pipe reeds in the valley. It was a small market town where shoemakers produced shoes and sold them at market. There was also mining done in this town.

    Then double back up to Beerfurth..............go back up North until you reach the road going EAST toward Kirch-Brombach. Looks to go over a bridge??? Langen-Brombach.....what is this??? Looks like Hwy 47 East


    KIRCH-BROMBACH: -- MAP

    Evangelisch Kirche Kirch-Brombach - Haupstrasse 2 - The church was build in the middle of the 15th century on the space of a former fortification (castle??). It belonged to the canon convent St. Alban in Mainz until the reformation. After a fire, it got renewed in the baroque style in 1714-15 and was equipped with the tower helmet, and the curb roof which can been seen today. Inside the church the original "net vaulting" above the rectangular choir, and the rib vault above the vestry have been preserved. As show-piece of the furniture the winged altar with the figures of St. Alban and two holy bishops can be seen, which was built after 1518. The big limetree in the former churchyard is a reminder of the former judging place of the region Kirch-Brombach.

    There are also 2 churches in town: Evangelical Church , Haupstrasse 13/
    Katholische Church, Eichelsweg 18


    NIEDER-KINZIG:OBER-KINZIG -- MAP 1 -- MAP 2

    It is mainly a vacation homes area....very quiet. There was once mining operations in these areas.


    BAD-K:ONIG: -- MAP

    In the heart of the forest surrounded by wonderful woodlands, it is a thermal therapeutic bath nature park. Winters are mild....and it has clean air. Has 2 lakes and a large park.

    Friedhof - Burial Ground with Chapel and Jewish Burial Ground -

    Found at the path of the burial ground (Friedhofsweg): In the Kimbacher Tal (valley of Kimbach) there is an old simple chapel on a slightly elevated area. It consists of a rectangular Long House with a rectangular choir and a late-gothical entrance hall. The portal to the hall shows the date 1514 in the lintel. After the Einhardsbasilika this chapel is considered to be the oldest sacred building of the Odenwald. A window of a single stone in the southern wall and a portal which is walled-in today suggests that the first building went back to the times of Charles the Great.. This was first documented in 1771, and a tomb of the family Lien shows a special arrangement with grating of wrought iron.

    To the south follows the small Jewish burial ground. In earlier days the jews were buried in Michelstadt. In the year 1925 the local council of Koenig made an area of nearly 500 square meters available to them. The names are Herzfeld, Ehrmann, Mannheimer, Adler, Strauss, Oppermann & Speyer.

    Evangelish Kirche, Schlossplatz 4: [#7 -]

    Heimatmuseum - Schlossplatz 3: Museum in town.

    Altes Schloss, Schlossplatz 3:
    Old Castle in Bad Koenig: The old castle goes back to a small former building which the Count Georg of Erbach had built in 1556-1561, and known as the "new building". Following the preserved bill of work it was a simple fortification which included the church of Bad Koenig. When the region Koenig fell to the family Erbach-Schoenberg in 1747, Count Georg August has let a hunting-lodge be made out of the old building. This lodge was too small, and was enlarged toward the South. In the main residence Castle Schoenberg, they ran out of burning wood, so they decided to move the court to Koenig in 1750, and to build a new corner house after that. Because space was scare and the old dilapidated Church and the school near the church tower were in the way, they pulled it down. The look nowdays is probably as it looked in 1775. The main building was raised by a level of framework, and on the northern wall, architectural paintings were covered by plain style of baroque were applied. Later those paintings were covered by plain plastering and in 1954 they were brought back to light and restored. The Castle, church, and offices close in a back yard through which one reaches the old elegant pleasure-garden. The maintenance costs were too high so the area was donated to the city in 1919. With money from the "resoration fund" the old castle was completely restored since Sep 1993.

    New School in Bad Konig: Schlossplatz 6:

    Keep driving south to Michelstadt.


    STEINBACH:

    Einhardsbasilika (The basilika of Einhard)....is this near Michelstadt???? --Einhardstrasse 12
    Open March to Oct, 10am to 12am & 1-5pm (closed Mondays). It is toward the Northern border of Steinbach before you get to Michelstadt. This is our last stop. This is an old castle from the year 815.

    You will find a small model of stone only a couple of meters to the southwest of the castle which shows the original building designed by Einhard.


    THE END

    Updated 04/2006