An Account of Polli and Randy Turner and
Family's Visit to Kleinheubach, GERMANY
Our trip to Germany was everything we hoped for and more! We had a wonderful reunion at the Youth With a Mission castle in Hurlach, and a wonderful visit with an elderly German couple in the village who have adopted our girls as grandchildren. Then we travelled and enjoyed the country thoroughly! We landed in Frankfurt where we picked up our rental car, and drove to Hurlach (about a 40 min. drive west of Munich, between Landsberg and Augsburg). It was Oct. 2, and the next day was Reunification Day, and it seemed that everyone was on the way to somewhere, as it was stop-and-go traffic most of the way! From Hurlach we took the train to Munich for the Oktoberfest one day. The next day we headed south to see some of the lovely churches on our way south. We drove through a corner of Austria and through Liechtenstein to come into Switzerland, where we spent several days in the Interlaken area. After playing in the Alps, we drove back into Bavaria to see Ludwig's two castles, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof and just enjoy the Bavarian countryside and people. We learned to love the food in local Gasthofs--even our girls became adventurous in trying new foods! Our last two days we spent driving north on the Romantische Strasse toward Frankfurt, enjoying the old cities on the way. Last of all, our last day out, we finally found Kleinheubach. It's on the south side of the Main river, between Wurzburg and Frankfurt. I have to say, after all the little villages we had just seen on the romantic road, I was disappointed to find it's a much bigger town than I expected! But we drove through the town, and finally found the old Lutheran church. If you walk down the street next to the church, you can walk out through the old city gate to the river bank. Across the river is Grossheubach. When you look back, you can see the church peeking over the old city wall. Undoubtedly this is the site of the emotional farewell DesBrisay gives his account of. We took pictures! I spoke to the pastor's secretary (he was apparently occupied, or has given her the job of dealing with all the Lunie descendants, who come fairly regularly, according to her!). I told her the name I was interested in was Morasch. She shook her head, saying that was not a Kleinheubach name! She pulled out the church book that contained the records from 1900 to the present, and ran through all the M names of the deaths, and found none. She explained that the cemetery would do me no good, as after 30 years bodies were dug up, and the graves used again. I didn't think to ask what was done with the elaborate gravestones we saw. She asked if I had the book about Nova Scotia. Which one? I asked. She went to the bookshelf and brought me a copy of Bell's "Foreign Protestants", sent to them not long ago by someone named Conrad, she explained. We seem to be the only KH descendants who come back seeking their ancestry! I continued to l look wistful, so she gave me the address of the archives in Regensburg, where the old church books were sent about two years ago. She told me that they now send all inquiries to Regensburg. But, she warned, they charge for their research, by the hour! She showed me the fiches of the books that Regensburg had made and sent to the church. So they do still have the records! But she acted as though no one in their right mind would want to take the time and trouble to go through the fiches! I certainly would have, but it was already 5 pm, and we had to find a place to spend the night in Frankfurt, so we could be at the airport at 9am the next morning. It was so hard to turn away from that! I wonder, if they have made fiche for the church, is it possible they have made copies for SLC as well? Or can we request that SLC make copies of the books or fiche? Well, she wasn't going to give me any new generations of my Morasch family, I finally decided (sigh). So we went into the church and looked around. A very small church, but very pleasant and homey, we thought. We took pictures outside and inside. Including a plaque with names of those from the parish who had died in WWI, among which I recognized some Lunie names. I also bought a folder of postcards of the church. And a flier (actually I took a stack of them!) of the history of the church, with a photo on the front. It is in German, but I have translated it. It's kind of a rough translation, but I'll be happy to share it with whoever is interested. Now, I have good photos of the church at KH, as well as some of the river bank. I would be happy to share with any who have interest. I also have the fliers about the church history, and the translation I will be happy to email to anyone who is interested. We didn't have time for several things we wanted to see, including the Matterhorn, Salzburg, and Strasbourg. I was sad to miss Strasbourg, where my Jost ancestor was born. But seeing Kleinheubach, which is still so small, convinced me that a big city like Strasbourg will hold little of interest or value for me, besides its records, which I can access through my local FHC. Someday, if we are in the area I would like to see it. But it wasn't worth the many extra hours of driving it would have added to our trip. So, that was our trip. Thanks so all those who had suggestions for me, and to all those who wished us a good trip. I can tell you what we did, but I can never communicate the warmth and richness we came home with in our hearts and minds. We are hoping and praying to go again someday in the not-too-distant future, and plan accordingly to add German to our homeschool curriculum so that I won't have to do all the translating the next time!
The History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kleinheubach
The time when man first set foot in the Heubach valley lies in the darkness of history, never to be discovered. From graves and pottery finds, however, we know with certainty that people moved, lived, and died here since about 2000 BC. All the advantages to life were here: a wide open valley with fruitful land, meadow, forest, and wildlife, as well as abundant good water. When the Franks moved (about the fifth or sixth century) from the Rhine up the Main river, they brought the Christian faith with them. The first settlement was probably on the same high hill of land on which the church now sits. According to the Frank custom and manner, a church was built as a part of the settlement. The church was dedicated to Saint Martin, the protector of the Franks, whose picture still decorates our church. The church you see here today was built between 1706 and 1710.
The building owner was Count Philipp-Ludwig von Erbach with his wife Albertine-Elisabeth princess of Waldeck/Pyrmont, and the parish pastor of the time Adolf-Friedrich Freineisen and Burgermeister Kaspar Bechtold. In the same place were likely already three, and certainly at least two other churches, each giving place to the new building. From the first church of stone remains only one bell, our "Small", the so-called Baptism Bell. It carries no inscription, and according to the form and material, it was poured in the eleventh or twelfth century. In the year 1454/1455, the church, being too small and in disrepair, was destroyed, and replaced by a new building. The tall bell tower, which was built as a part of this new building, and which still stands today, was included in the new building of 1710, and is now the oldest part of the church. From the new building of the church of 1455, was a stone with Latin script, which is now on the left corner of the tower next to the main entrance. Before one enters the church one sees on the tower the old tower clock from 1717 with five crest panels. These show from top to bottom the crests of the former sovereigns of Kleinheubach:
At the top is the crest of the prince of Löwenstein, who purchased Kleinheubach in 1721 from the Count von Erbach. He ruled here as sovereign until 1816, living in the Kleinheubach castle, until Kleinheubach , with the rest of the lower Main river area, became a part of Bavaria, in 1816.
To the right and left of the top center follow the crest of the Counts von Rieneck with the striped sign. They received Kleinheubach from the Palantine Counts and were sovereigns until 1599 in Kleinheubach. By Philipp the Older, Count von Rieneck, Kleinhuebach was brought into the "new teaching" of the "Reformation". Through the years from that time, Kleinheubach, in the middle of the surrounding Catholic communities, has remained Lutheran.
The two lowest crests are those of the Counts von Erbach, who succeeded and took over Kleinheubach after the Counts von Rieneck died out.
Over the main entrance one sees the crest of the builder of the church, the Count Philipp-Ludwig von Erbach and his wife, the princess Albertine-Elisabeth, princess of Waldeck/Pyrmont.
In the ceiling of the bell tower one recognizes the three wood pipes through which the cord ran that rang the bells, until it was replaced with a ringing system.
The frescoes in the entryway are from the old 1455 church, and were uncovered by the 1922 renovation.
On the ceiling are seen the symbols and crests of the four apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the face of Christ. Over the entryway to the church one sees the head of Jesus on the cloth of Veronika. On the left wall is the Saint Wendelin, the patron saint of farmers, and on the right wall the patron saint of the church, Saint Martin, who shared his coat with beggars. On the right next to the entry is a stone built into the wall, which came from the old Roman fort of the old city, and represents Hercules.
We now step into the inner church, with was built in the Baroque style, and the colors were completely restored in the 1977 interior renovation. To the right of the entrance is the so-called "teacher's chair, and to the left the pastor's chair. These two set-off pews were reserved for the teacher's and pastor's families. Behind the teacher's chair one sees the only remaining wall painting of the 1455 church, which represents the Last Judgment.
In the Kleinheubach church there was a specific seating order. The gallery was reserved for the men, the church itself for the women, and the children taking the front-row benches.
The baptismal of red sandstone comes from 1710 and until 1977 stood in front of the altar, after which it was placed in the center of the church. The very valuable silver baptismal utensils, the work of a master in Augsburg, were used only for baptisms.
Now to the ceiling painting; it shows the resurrection of Christ, and is the work of the Munich painter Max Talmeier.
The centerpiece of the church is the organ, along with the pulpit and altar. This masterpiece was made of wood by the master Eberhard from Sandbach in Odenwald. The inlay in the altar were made of hazel wood, and are all still intact from the original work of 1710. In the back wall and ceiling of the pulpit are the three stars from the crest of the Counts von Erbach. On the covering of the pulpit stand the four evangelists next to Moses, with the cross and serpent. The pelican, which tears its own breast to feed its young, represents the sacrifice of Jesus, who gave his life for us, and is the crowning of the pulpit covering. The painting over the altar shows the birth of Christ, a motif which is seldom found as altar paintings.
Over the altar painting is another, a smaller one, which represents the ascension of Christ. The two altar pictures were gifts of the princess Sophie-Albertine von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, a born Countess von Erbach.
The angels over the altar symbolize Worship and Praise, Sacrifice and Cross, as well as the Ten Commandments.
The seat of honor in the room around the altar were the seats for the Burgermeister and his council.
The altar was crowned by the mighty organ, with the beautifully cut and richly decorated front. The organ itself is the work of the organ maker Christian Dauphin, of 1710, ancestor of one of the Kleinheubach families. Christian Dauphin came of a Huguenot family and moved from Thüringen to Kleinheubach.
To the right of the altar in a glass case are two forged iron crowns, called "Bridal Crowns". These were used during the funeral, placed on the casket of the deceased. The narrower one was for the men, "Young man's crown", and the wider was the "maiden crown". Both crowns came from the 1455 church. From 1922 to 1976, they were used as a part of lamps in the church, and after that were protected in an archive. On Good Friday of 1994 they were returned to the church.
The Kleinheubach church owns three bells. The oldest of these is also the smallest, and comes from the first-built church. This bell carries no inscription, and supposedly was poured in the twelfth century. It was rung at the time of baptisms, and so was called the "Baptism Bell". The second, or middle bell came from the 1455 church, and is dedicated to the virgin Mary, the mother of God. It carries this inscription, "AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA COMINUS TECUM 1480". It is called the "Our Father Bell", because it was rung whenever the congregation would pray the Lord's Prayer during the service. The large bell is now rung in the morning, noon and evening, and with the other two bells to call people to services. It carries the inscription: "Jesus, allow my bell to always ring in peace, protect this town from fire and attack. In God's name I was poured, J.P. Bach in Windecken poured me in the year 1771 when the sirs J. Chr. Bechtold Antsschultheisz and J. M. Rodenhausen were both pastors (Pastoreipfleger???)"
Kleinheubach, April 1995
Source for this description is the Place and Pastoral History of Kleinheubach, done by Pastor and citizen Gottlieb Wagner.
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