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I am going to continue adding a number of ancestral stories from various areas in my family tree, providing a wider sample for those who would like to consider whether these stories are hallucinations or fabrications.
(Apr. 10, 2019) Wolfgang Schmuckli was the son of a man who was a respected member of a community. Wolfgang understood, Schmuckli had been in the community for many generations. Wolfgang understood, because of this, Schmuckl was often chosen to be one of the leaders. Wolfgang also thought that Schmuckli was intermarried with other families who provided leaders. Wolfgang was a younger son. Wolfgang had little hope of being as his elder brother. Wolfgang understood, the community began to deny younger sons land to farm. This was a necessity. The community simply did not have more land. A younger son had to leave.
Wolfgang understood, if Wolfgang left, there would be a new community. The new community would see Wolfgang as a stranger. Wolfgang would be able to represent himself as from a respected family. This might be accepted. This might not. Wolfgang had to simply risk.
Wolfgang was able to work as a miner. The community of Wolfgang had three silver mines. This made money when the ore was good. This might not make money. A miner was always risking. Wolfgang was part of the group that worked in the mine. The group worked during the winter. This was a natural time to work, because there was no farm work to do. Wolfgang preferred to be in mine, where it was not cold. The winter was not as difficult for the miners.
(Apr. 11, 2019) Wolfgang was able, after a time, to recognize that his family was a good family without being over the others. Wolfgang, after leaving, lost a position. Wolfgang saw no choice. Wolfgang had to accept the need. The village was small. The mountain was close. There was not enough land.
Wolfgang was able to go to a village that needed more miners. This was the way that Wolfgang entered. Wolfgang also expected to farm. The village did not want to give land. Wolfgang had to think that Wolfgang could not support a family unless he had land. The village did not want to lose another miner. The village gave a little bit. Wolfgang was annoyed. This was not enough for a man. The village said, if Wolfgang farmed the bit and mined, the village would give more after Wolfgang married. This had to be enough.
(Apr. 12, 2019) Wolfgang Schmuckli was able to find a wife. The woman was from a family that was not of the best. The family had an extra daughter. A man with many daughters often had to find a man who needed a wife but had little chance. This was Wolfgang. The daughter was not a bad woman. The daughter was able to bear several sons. Wolfgang was (seen to be acceptable). Wolfgang imagined that his sons would continue in the town.
(Apr. 22, 2019) Wolfgang understood, after being in his new village, that Wolfgang had an ability to help the miners. The miners were not a group. They were individuals. They worked and left. They did not have a feeling of being together. This meant that the owner of the mine did not respect their feeling. This meant that, when there was danger, the miner who fell was replaced without thinking about the warning. This meant that miners were being used and left. This meant that miners who were not killed were forced to beg. This meant that the town wanted the miners to not be near. This meant that the miners had to live near the mine. This meant that the miners began to talk together. This was the situation after Wolfgang came. Now the miners were able to think about what the mine needed. The miners did not think about asking for more money.
(May 16, 2019) Wolfgang Schmuckli did not have any discussion. There was a need. The son of Wolfgang had to be under. Wolfgang was the father. The son was not to be as a man. The son would wait. A marriage made the son a man.
(May 17, 2019) Wolfgang was unable. The son made his own way.
(May 20, 2019) Wolfgang did not think that Wolfgang would lose another son. Wolfgang understood that the community had limited land. Wolfgang had to hope that the mine would take the youngest son. Wolfgang could not offer anything else. The youngest left with a group of mercenaries and was never seen again. Wolfgang could hear the thoughts of his son. Wolfgang was unable to be heard. Wolfgang, as he died, knew that his son was still alive.
(May 31, 2019) Johann Schmuckli, father of Wolfgang, invited his ancestors identify themselves: “The father of Johann was named Stephen.” “The father of Stephen was named Jacob.” “The father of Jacob was named Wolfgang.”
(recorded December 2017)
Martin will speak. Martin was the son of Wolfgang Schmucklin, a man who was respected in his community. Wolfgang Schmucklin was a man who knew that his position in the community was tenuous, because he had (migrated) from St. Gallen Canton to central Switzerland. He was not well-established, and he didn’t expect to become well-established, because immigrants never were. He simply hoped to establish his sons in his new home town. Wolfgang Schmucklin was a man who knew that his occupation was not in great need when Wolfgang moved to Berne Canton. Wolfgang was a miner. Wolfgang knew that, if he continued to farm in Berne, eventually opportunities for miners would appear. However, Wolfgang knew that farming was a safe occupation, and Wolfgang wanted to be able to be near his family as he worked. So Wolfgang didn’t mind when he wasn’t able to work as a miner at first.
Martin knew that he wouldn’t have much opportunity in his town. He knew that, because he was the fifth of six sons, he would probably have to look for work elsewhere. He expected to work as a soldier for several years. This was common in Switzerland. Young men worked as soldiers in Germany and then had enough money to marry and start a family. Martin wanted to have a family in the town where his father had settled. Martin knew that the only way to do that would be to marry the daughter of a man who was well established. Martin hoped to be successful as a soldier and then be able to demonstrate his ability and win the hand of a woman from an established family.
SOLDIER IN BACKNANG
Martin joined a group of soldiers that was going to Wurttemberg. This group was assigned to help defend the city of Backnang. This group knew that there was an army that was threatening Backnang and the surrounding area. The soldiers expected to have to fight. Many times a soldier would serve for years and not have to fight, but this group knew that fighting was expected.
Martin wanted to not be part of this group, but it was the only group that was forming at the time. Martin joined the group without saying good-bye to his family. He knew that his absence would arouse concern and people would assume that he had joined the group of soldiers. Martin knew that, because of his decision, he wouldn’t be able to expect any support from his father. But Martin knew that his father had no ability to support him. Martin didn’t want to pressure his father for help establishing himself. Martin decided to do what he did as a way of making his own way in the world.
Martin and his group of soldiers traveled down the river and up another river to Backnang. This town was not really a city. It had artisans and it had a place to buy and sell food, but it was actually very small. However, it was in a strategic location, and the soldiers knew that this area would be a target.
Martin and his fellow soldiers wanted to be able to practice fighting. Martin knew that he had little experience, and he had to become proficient in shooting a musket. He didn’t have much opportunity, because there was little ammunition. Martin knew that, because of the lack of ammunition, his group of soldiers wouldn’t be very effective. He expected that his group would receive more ammunition, but time went by and nothing appeared. Martin thought that, if there was fighting and the group ran out of ammunition, Martin would simply run away, because there would be no way for Martin to survive without the ability to shoot his musket. Martin believed that some soldiers imagined fighting without a gun, but Martin had no interest in learning how to fight without a weapon. Martin had a knife, but he didn’t have the motivation to learn how to use a sword. Martin thought that, if there was a need for Martin to fight without a gun, he would do his best to survive without killing. Martin didn’t want to kill anybody. Martin knew that killing was part of being a soldier. Martin knew that, if the time came, he would fire his musket together with all of the other soldiers. However, after reloading once, Martin knew that the soldiers wouldn’t have any more ammunition. This meant that the soldiers would have to retreat.
Martin wanted to be able to protect himself. He thought that it might be possible for the soldiers to find more ammunition. However, he asked the wrong person. This person knew that the soldiers had little ammunition, and told his superior. When it was discovered that the soldiers had little ammunition, it was decided that the soldiers wouldn’t be paid. This meant that Martin couldn’t save money to establish himself in the town where his father lived. However, after three or four weeks, ammunition was provided and the soldiers received their pay again.
Martin wanted to be able to live well. He spent much of his time working for a man in the town. He earned very little money, but it was a way to pass the time without being bored doing nothing. And he knew that he was establishing a good work habit. He knew that, when the time came, he could describe his life as a soldier with pride, because he was constantly looking for ways to be productive.
Martin knew that, because he wanted to be a farmer and not a miner, he would have to have experience working on a farm. So he looked for the opportunity to find work on a farm. Eventually, he found a farmer who would pay a little bit more than the man in town. This gave Martin the opportunity to practice farming things to do. He wanted to be able to do everything that a good farmer had to do. This included plowing fields, taking care of cattle, building and repairing fences, and transporting the harvest to the town to sell. Martin knew that, in order to get experience doing these things, he would have to work on a farm for two or three years. His time as a soldier was six years. He had already spent one year working for the man in the town. Martin thought that, if he worked on the farm for two years, he would have enough experience to begin thinking of farming on his own. But Martin wanted to be able to live better than the average farmer. He thought that he could find out ways of doing things that others hadn’t thought of. However, he had to find ways to practice what he thought up. So this meant that he would have to work as a farmer for more than two years. Martin worked with the same farmer for three years, and then he intended to find another farmer who would pay him more, because he had experience. But that is when the fighting started.
Martin wasn’t able to participate in the fighting that took place as the enemy army moved into the Backnang area. There wasn’t a battle. There were just lots of skirmishes as small groups of soldiers on either side encountered each other as the enemy army moved around and looked for food to steal.
Martin didn’t want to participate in any of these skirmishes. He just wanted to be able to work and be a soldier when his unit was commanded to assemble with the other units. Much of the skirmishing happened by surprise, when a unit of enemy soldiers came into a town and the soldiers in the town had to fight without any plan. Martin hoped to avoid this.
But Martin was transferred to a little village outside Backnang. This village had a hillside that was covered with trees. This hillside was a good position for defense. Martin knew that the village had a lot of food, and Martin expected that the enemy army would eventually decide to send soldiers to take all the food in the village. Martin knew that, when this happened, Martin wouldn’t be able to avoid fighting. Martin wanted to be away from this situation. He was always nervous, because a group of enemy soldiers could appear at any time.
Martin wanted to be able to have peace, but the life of a soldier is not peaceful. Martin wanted to be able to live without problems, but this situation had many problems. Martin had to stay in the home of a farmer who didn’t want soldiers to be in his home. The famer was obligated to give food to the soldiers. There were three other soldiers together with Martin in the farmer’s home. Martin tried to be helpful, but the farmer didn’t want the soldiers to know anything about the farm. Martin wanted to be able to defend the farm if enemy soldiers appeared. Martin told the farmer his plan of how to defend the farm. The farmer wanted to tell Martin not to talk about this, but the farmer realized that what Martin was saying made sense. So the farmer thought about how to help the soldiers help the farmer defend the farm, if enemy soldiers came to steal the food.
Martin had a plan to make a ditch in the field that was close to the road. Martin thought this would be a good place to defend. But the farmer didn’t want Martin and the other soldiers to dig up the field, which had food growing in it. Martin decided to wait and find another plan. But then soldiers appeared.
There were six soldiers. They had a wagon. They knew that there were soldiers with the farmer. They approached and fired their guns. Then they reloaded. This had the effect of making the farm workers run away. Then the soldiers approached the farmhouse. The soldiers didn’t want to destroy the house. They wanted to search it and take away any gold or silver that they might find. The soldiers knew that Martin and other soldiers were nearby. Martin wasn’t in the house, but two of the other soldiers were. One of the soldiers fired his gun from a window, and killed one of the enemy soldiers. This made the enemy soldiers change their tactic. They decided to burn the farmhouse. But they didn’t have a fire. They started to make a fire, and Martin saw the opportunity to kill one of the soldiers. He was behind a tree and had his gun with him. He fired into the group of soldiers. He hit one soldier but didn’t kill him. This meant that the group had to take care of their soldier or abandon him. Martin then realized that wounding a soldier could be more effective than killing him. There were four soldiers left, and the wounded soldier. Martin knew that two of his fellow soldiers hadn’t fired. This meant that Martin would have a chance to reload. But the enemy soldiers knew that Martin was nearby. Martin knew that, if he tried to reload and the enemy soldiers saw him, they would probably be able to shoot him.
Martin decided to sneak away and find a safe place to reload. He thought that he could do this. But he made some noise, and the soldiers looked at him. Then he ran toward the forest on the hill. One of the enemy soldiers fired, but missed Martin. Martin was able to get into the trees. However, he had dropped his ammunition, so he couldn’t reload without going back to pick it up. Martin knew that, if he went back to get his ammunition, he would be shot at. However, he also knew that it was difficult to hit a single man. If the enemy soldiers shot at him, then they would also have to reload. This meant that Martin’s fellow soldiers would have a chance to shoot at the enemy. Martin decided to take the chance of running back to his ammunition and bringing it back to the trees. Martin got halfway there before the soldiers saw him. One of the soldiers decided to shoot, but the others said, don’t shoot. They said wait until he gets closer. When Martin got to his ammunition, he grabbed it and ran back to the trees. The enemy soldiers hadn’t shot, and now Martin was able to reload safely.
Martin now thought that another one of his fellow soldiers was in the forest. He heard noises. So he went toward the noises. But it was one of the family members. This person wasn’t willing to fight. He just wanted to hide. Martin thought that this person could help. Martin told him that he could help by letting Martin know where his fellow soldiers were. But the man refused. Martin wanted to hit the man, but he thought that he might still have to live near him. So Martin didn’t hit him. Martin wanted to find his fellow soldiers. He knew that one of them was in the house. He also knew that one of them was on the other side of the house. And he knew that the enemy soldiers were trying to start a fire to burn the house.
Martin wanted to shoot into the group of soldiers again. He had reloaded, and he knew that his fellow soldier in the house had probably reloaded, too. Martin wanted someone else to distract the enemy soldiers so he could approach and shoot again. But Martin thought that the enemy soldiers were too far away. Martin didn’t have a plan. He imagined that there were more enemy soldiers at nearby farms, and he suspected that eventually they would get together with this group. Martin wanted to be together with his fellow soldiers so they could defend each other. But Martin knew that, if he tried to go to the farmhouse, he might get trapped if it burned. So Martin waited. He thought that, sooner or later, soldiers from his group would approach. But he waited for three hours and nothing happened. The enemy soldiers didn’t leave. They were still trying to start a fire, but they were afraid of getting shot, so they had difficulty. They were able to start a little fire, but they didn’t have wood to build a big fire. They had to move away from their position to get wood. Martin thought that they might approach the trees, which would give Martin a chance to shoot again. But they decided to go back down the road.
This gave Martin the opportunity to go back to the farmhouse. He found that his fellow soldiers were all there. They had been hoping that Martin would do something to distract the soldiers so they could go outside and shoot together. But Martin didn’t have any idea of what they had been thinking. Martin and the other soldiers decided to wait outside the farmhouse, in an area that was hard to see. Martin thought that enemy soldiers might come back. But one of the other soldiers said that these soldiers were only trying to steal food. They probably went to another farm, hoping that it wouldn’t have soldiers.
Martin stayed at this farm for two more weeks. The enemy army was moving around, destroying villages and stealing all the food. Martin knew that this meant that people would starve later. Martin knew that it would be difficult for the soldiers to get food. Martin was worried that he might have to spend all the money that he had saved. He thought that, if he didn’t have any money when he returned to Switzerland, he would be seen as a failure. So he thought of finding a way to leave the group of soldiers and get back to Switzerland. But he didn’t want to do that either. He knew that, if he returned without the group, and then the group returned without him, he would not be respected. So Martin stayed with the group. Eventually, the enemy army left. Many villages had been destroyed, and many farms had lost all of their food.
DECISION TO STAY IN GERMANY
Martin will continue. There was a crisis in the military unit that Martin was part of. There was no way to buy food for the soldiers. Many soldiers had saved money, and they (faced the prospect) of using all of their money to buy food. Martin was one of those soldiers. Martin thought that, if Martin had the ability to work on a farm, he would be able to get food. But most of the farms had lost all of their food. Many of the people were going to starve, and Martin knew that he wouldn’t have a chance to find work on a farm. He thought of staying at the farm that he had helped to defend. But this farmer didn’t want any soldiers to stay with him. He knew that all of his food would be seized by the local government and it would be shared with others.
Martin didn’t have any choice. He had to use his money to buy food. He tried to eat as little as possible, but he knew that he had to maintain his strength. He was responsible to be able to fight at any time. He thought that the enemy wouldn’t come back, but he wasn’t sure. Martin knew that, because he wasn’t under any obligation to stay beyond one year, he could eventually leave and go back home on his own. However, this was always dangerous, because people might rob a man traveling on his own.
Martin knew that, because of his situation, it was unlikely that he would be able to go back to Switzerland with enough money to settled down with a wife from a respectable family. He knew that, if he wanted to have a respectable position in society, he would have to look for a way to stay in Germany. Martin didn’t want to do this. He knew that German (social) organization was different from in Switzerland. In Switzerland, people were part of communities, and the communities had very little obligation to the central government. In Germany the communities were heavily taxed. This meant that skillful farmers had very little ability to accumulate wealth. They were always worried about losing their saved up food if there was a new tax that required every barn to give half of what was inside. This meant that Martin had to choose between two bad choices. He thought that, if he stayed in Germany, he would be able to do well because he was skillful and intelligent. He also thought that, if he stayed in Germany, he would be respected because he was from Switzerland. Martin knew that Germans looked up to Switzerland, because they had more freedom. Martin thought that, if he decided to stay in Germany, he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a wife from a respectable family. He thought that, if he was able to find a suitable village, he could be one of the leaders if there were few people who were left after the enemy soldiers abandoned the village.
Martin wanted to think carefully about where he would live. He knew that, if he worked in Backnang for a year or two, he would learn about villages nearby that needed more able workers. Martin made this decision. And he found work in Backnang that gave him enough money to buy food, which allowed him to save the money that he received every week for being a soldier. He was waiting for the opportunity to learn about a village that needed workers and that would be willing to give land to a man who wanted to marry one of the local girls.
Martin found this village after two years. Martin knew that the war hadn’t ended. He decided not to go back to Switzerland, because he thought that the enemy army wouldn’t come back. He knew that he was taking a chance, but it worked out well. Martin settled in the village of Kleinaspach. He knew that this village had lost most of its people. Most of them were killed or starved to death when the enemy army arrived and took over all of the houses.
LAND AND A WIFE
Martin thought that, if he was willing to work hard, he would become one of the respected leaders in the village. He knew that he had a good way of thinking about problems. He knew that, if there was a big problem facing the entire village, he wouldn’t be able to find a solution, but he was able to solve little everyday problems as well as anyone else. Martin knew that he would have to choose a wife from the remaining villagers. There were three or four women of a suitable age, older than 20 but not much. Martin knew that he would be a desirable husband, because he knew that he was a hard worker and able to think intelligently. He was able to get along well with people, although sometimes he got irritated when people didn’t understand what he was trying to explain. Martin knew that, because he wasn’t able to work as a farmer unless he was part of the community, he would have to marry in order to be assigned farmland. Martin expected to be assigned a good amount of farmland, because there were very few people in the village. However, Martin found out that the village intended to assign farmland in the same way as before, with small plots. This would mean that most of the land wouldn’t be farmed. Martin suggested that the plots be made larger. This was a mistake. Martin found out that, if people had larger plots, then their grandchildren would not have any land. Small plots made it possible for the community to support many people.
Martin wanted to think about a way to temporarily have more land, so that the village as a whole could benefit. But there wasn’t any way to do this without changing the old custom. So Martin had to decide if he would accept a small plot. He thought that, if he had three or four sons, his family could work together on a larger area of joined plots. But the village had a policy of making sure that families didn’t do that. Martin learned that this was a way to prevent family groups from developing private interests that were opposed to the community interest.
Martin wanted to have his own way, but he realized that this was the only opportunity that was available. He decided to accept this situation and chose one of the young women to be his wife. This was a big decision. He knew that a good wife would help him be comfortable, and a good wife would help ensure that his sons would take care of him when he was old. He thought of how to choose. He thought that, if he chose incorrectly, he would be trapped in a life that was unpleasant. He knew that some women had the tendency to nag and insist on having more than they could afford. He wanted to avoid such a wife. He didn’t have a good idea about the characters of the three young women. He thought that, if he lived in the village, he would find a way to get to know them and decide among them. He decided to work for a farmer in the village, who lived at a more-or-less equal distance from each of the women. He knew that, if he decided well, he would have a successful life. But if he decided badly, his experience in the village would be that of an outsider who never gained the respect of his neighbors.
Martin chose, and his wife was not a good wife. Martin learned too late that she had been spurned by a man who was going to be one of the village leaders. This meant that Martin could never be one of the leaders as long as this man was alive. Martin knew that this wasn’t a big problem, although it was a disappointment. Martin knew that, if he wanted to be a prosperous farmer, he would have to make good relationships with other farmers. He knew that, because of his choice of a wife, some of the men in the village would be wary of interacting with Martin. However, Martin knew that he was capable and he also knew that the village had opened itself to him with the hope that he would stay. Martin decided to try to make the best of his situation. He could think about relocating to another village, but this would have been a hardship. He would have to start all over again, in a place where strangers knew that he had had problems before. So he decided to stay where he was.
Martin was unable to make a major shift in the policy of land distribution, even though there weren’t enough men to farm even half the land. The people of the village knew that, in two generations, there would be more than enough men to farm all of the land, and once again there wouldn’t be enough land for all of the men. Martin knew that this was a problem in Switzerland. It was for this reason that Martin had come to Germany, because there simply wasn’t enough land in his home village. Martin wanted to be able to grow a large crop, even if it wasn’t his own. He talked to the town about having a community crop that would be tended by all of the men who wanted to have a share. Martin offered to take the lead, with the understanding that he wouldn’t get an extra share.
Martin’s idea was discussed, and three other men wanted to work together to farm a community field. It was decided that, if these four men would give half of the harvest to the community, they would be able to share the other half. Martin thought that this was a lot of extra work for little extra benefit. However, he also thought that he would be benefitting his new community. So Martin decided to do this and see how well it worked. Martin and the three others were assigned a farm in Einod, a subdivision of the village. This area had been depopulated. Martin thought that, because there weren’t any men at all in this area, that he would be given a portion of the land for his own plot. But the village had a policy of ensuring that a farmer’s plot was away from his home. This ensured that villagers interacted with people from other areas. Martin knew that, because his community plot was near his home, that he would be able to ensure that it was well tended. However, he was concerned about his own plot. He wanted to have helpers, like he had been. However, at this time there simply weren’t enough men, so any man who wanted a plot of land could get one, even if he wasn’t married yet. For this reason, Martin had to farm his plot by himself.
Martin thought of cooperating with his neighbors. This had been common in Switzerland. However, Martin didn’t realize that his neighbors wanted Martin to be a helper and not have his own land. The neighbors wanted Martin’s plot to be temporarily divided and added to theirs. They thought that, because Martin would be getting extra food from his community plot, that he would be willing to consider this. But Martin knew that he should establish himself as an equal. So Martin declined to do as his neighbors suggested. This was not a big problem.
Martin wanted to develop good relationships with the leaders of the community. Martin knew that, after the success of the first year’s community field, more men would be interested it participating. However, Martin suspected that the community leaders were unconvinced that this was a good idea. Martin thought that the community leaders wanted harmony in the general community, and Martin’s innovation would threaten that in the long run. The leaders were concerned that, if this innovation became customary, there would be problems in the future when there were more men. So Martin made a point of talking to the community leaders about how to plan ahead and avoid such a problem.
Martin thought that this was a good effort, and the community leaders were polite. However, they decided that Martin’s idea wouldn’t be implemented the following year. The said that this might be done again, but shouldn’t be expected. Martin wasn’t surprised and, because he had talked to them at length before, wasn’t disappointed. However, he thought that it was a shame that this unused land was simply (lying fallow).
A SINGLE FATHER
Martin’s wife was the mother of a single son. She died after the boy was born. Martin never married again. He thought that he would be able to make his way in the community without having a wife. He imagined being one of the leaders. But he needed to have regular contact with the other men. This meant that Martin needed to be active in the church. Martin knew that, because he didn’t have a wife, he wouldn’t have the obligation to have sex. This meant that he could be an example of a man who was able to control himself. Martin knew that, because of this situation, he would be (celibate) for the rest of his life. Martin did not object. He did not have an uncontrollable urge like some men did. Martin knew that, because he was going to be active in the church, he would gain the respect of the community. But he knew that this would happen over a long period. Martin imagined that the children of men who respected Martin would also respect him, and these children would look up to him without thinking about it.
Martin wanted to be able to cooperate with the rest of the community. He wanted to be able to have a good reputation. He knew that, without a wife, he would depend on his in-laws for food. He thought that this wouldn’t be a problem. He expected to work for his in-laws. However, his father-in-law died soon after, and this complicated the situation. Martin couldn’t enjoy the company of his brother-in-law’s hospitality in the same way that he had been accepted by his father-in-law. Martin knew that, because he needed to make arrangements for food for himself and his son, he would need to have a family that would help him. Martin knew that, if he could find such a family, his son would be taken care of, and he would have food to eat at the end of the day, in exchange for work. Martin wanted to have this situation, but it didn’t come to pass. Martin never found a family that would help him and his son in exchange for work. He was forced to rely on his brother-in-law’s family. This was not a serious problem, but it was always uncomfortable.
Martin didn’t think that his son was a burden. He thought that his sister-in-law had enough time and energy to care for the boy. However, the boy grew and became harder to manage, as boys will. This led Martin to ask another family to care for the boy, in exchange for work. This arrangement was successful. Martin’s son had a (surrogate) mother. This was a good situation. Martin knew that his son would be part of the community. Martin had been afraid that, because of the uncomfortable relationship with his in-laws, that his son would not be well (integrated) into the community. But this wasn’t a problem.
A DEACON IN THE CHURCH
Martin will speak of the time when he was appointed a deacon. Martin had been active in the church for seven years. Martin helped the (minister) work with people. Martin was able to help people who had problems. He was patient and helped listen to discussions. Often this was sufficient to help a couple resolve their problem. But sometimes there were problems that were much more serious. For problems like this, Martin usually asked the minister to take over. This resulted in Martin having a reputation of being the community problem solver. This was good for Martin. He had no relatives in the community, and this made Martin’s role easier, because he never had to listen to problems that involved people whom he had family relationships with. Martin knew that his brother-in-law would never go to Martin to discuss a problem. But Martin knew that his brother-in-law and his sister-in-law didn’t have the kind of problem that people took to the minister.
Martin wouldn’t have become a deacon. But Martin was asked to do this. The deacon had the responsibility of collecting money from the people. The money went to support the minister, and some of the money had to be sent to the capital. This money was used to (appoint)(decorate) the cathedral in Stuttgart. Martin thought that many people wanted to keep this money. They didn’t want to help decorate the cathedral. They thought that they should have the money to live on. They thought that, because they were poor, they should keep the money. But Martin knew that it was important for the capital to have a well-decorated cathedral. This showed visitors that the capital took religion seriously. A capital with a poorly-decorated cathedral gave the impression that the duke wouldn’t be very religious. This is all Martin will say about this subject.
Martin became a deacon, because he had served in the church for seven years and had gained the respect of the church. Martin thought that he wouldn’t be a good deacon. It was difficult to go to people’s houses and ask for crops. This is what the people paid. There usually wasn’t any silver to give, so people had to give from the crops in their barn. Martin knew that, sometimes, people tried to pretend that they didn’t have enough. This meant that Martin was obligated to look inside their barn. When Martin did this, he often noticed that people didn’t use their barns efficiently. Martin would comment on how barns were arranged in Switzerland. This led one or two people to make improvements. And later it became standard when making a new barn to ask Martin how people did things in Switzerland.
Martin had three bad situations when he was a deacon. Martin will tell of one of them. The other two were similar. Martin had to collect money from a man with too many children. The man had so many children that he was afraid that he wouldn’t have enough food. Martin knew that people always worried about getting through the winter. A man with many children had to save extra food. But this man didn’t have extra land. It was the responsibility of each family to be careful and not have so many children that there wasn’t enough. Martin thought that, because this man was in such a desperate situation, the church might make an exception. But the minister insisted that there couldn’t be an exception. The man had to give part of his food to the church. Otherwise, many people would have more children and give less food to the church. Martin had to explain this to the man. Martin had hoped that the man could have an exception, and Martin had said so. This made Martin feel obligated to give some of his food to the man. Martin only had one son, so Martin always had enough food. Martin thought that, if he was careful with his food, he would be able to avoid problems. During the winter, it wasn’t uncommon for people to ask other people to help with food. This was always a problem in the spring. Many people had enough food to last through the winter, but then in the spring they were not able to get any more food. Sometimes people worked for food, but if there was very little food in the community, nobody wanted to give food in exchange for work. Martin always had enough food. He always was asked if he had any work to do. Martin never had work for others. But sometimes he knew that, because the church needed work, he could have the man do work for the church and Martin gave him some food. Martin decided to ask the man with too many children if he would be able to do some work for the church. The man said, if he had fewer children, he would have time. Martin thought that the man didn’t want to help himself. But Martin didn’t say anything. He gave some of his food to the man. He told the man that, next year, he wouldn’t do that. The man thanked Martin. And the man was always kind to Martin after that.
Martin knew that, when the community had a bad harvest, there would be a lot of suffering. Many people would die in the winter, because they got sick and weren’t strong enough to get better. Martin knew that, if he got sick, he would most likely get better, because he was naturally a very healthy person. Martin felt fortunate. If he was the kind of person who got sick frequently, then he would not have anyone to take care of him. Martin was able to not have problems asking for help. In a community, families were very important, and Martin didn’t have a family that he could depend on.
RAISING HIS SON
Martin knew that, when he got old, he would depend on his son. He knew that he only had one chance to have a comfortable old age. His son would have to grow up healthy and respectful. Martin thought that he was able to be a good father. He brought his son to help in the fields. He thought that his son would become a good farmer. Martin thought that, because he lived in a village, being a farmer was the best choice for his son. If he had lived in Backnang, he could have found a man to teach his son how to make things. But Martin was satisfied to think that his son would become a good farmer.
Martin’s son was not interested in being a farmer. He thought of being a soldier. Martin told his son about being a soldier, and his son thought that was an interesting way to live. Martin wanted to discourage his son from thinking about becoming a soldier. He explained that Swiss soldiers had a lot more (autonomy) than German soldiers. But his son still thought of becoming a soldier. Martin thought that, if his son decided to become a soldier, Martin might not be taken care of when he became old. But Martin knew that he couldn’t control what his son ended up doing. Martin knew that, if his son was able to become a soldier, he would have to serve in the army for six years. Martin thought that his son would probably survive. But Martin knew that being in the army often gave young men bad habits. Martin hoped that he son wouldn’t join the army. Martin knew that, unless his son was careful, the recruiter would find out that his son had thought of joining the army. When recruiters came to a village, they asked about young men who had talked about being in the army. Then the recruiters visited the family of men. The recruiter was an official of the government. This meant that the family was obligated to be respectful. A family that was disrespectful toward a recruiter would always be punished.
Martin knew that, if a recruiter came to visit his son, he would be with his brother-in-law. Martin thought that, if this happened, Martin’s brother-in-law would help Martin stay calm. Martin knew that he would be upset at the thought of his only son going into the army. Martin had done so, but his father had five other sons. This meant that Martin wouldn’t be his father’s only chance to have a comfortable old age.
Martin never had to meet a recruiter. His son eventually understood that the army in Wurttemberg was a very different experience than Martin’s experience as a Swiss soldier. Martin’s son eventually decided to become a farmer. And Martin knew that he would be able to expect to have a comfortable old age after his son married and had children.
Martin was another man who didn’t have a family. There were many such men in Wurttemberg. This was because there was so much death after the enemy army left, because there wasn’t enough food. So Martin didn’t feel out of place. He felt like he had made connections with his new community. He felt that he had been useful and had been a good member of the community. Martin thought that he had lived a good life, when he died after sixteen years in Kleinaspach. He wasn’t old enough to become one of the elders, but he suspected that he would have become an elder if he had lived longer. Martin wanted to live long enough to see his son marry. He thought that his son Jacob was respectful and likely to become a good farmer. But Martin didn’t have to worry. He knew that, because he had been careful with Jacob’s upbringing, Martin could rest assured that there wouldn’t be any problem with Jacob marrying and becoming a productive member of the community. This is all that Martin will say.
[Martin also said that the name Schmucklin was spelled without an umlaut in Switzerland; the umlaut was added when he settled in Germany.][Martin’s wife’s name was Carolina Kleinschmidt. Her three brothers didn’t have any sons, so the name disappeared from Kleinaspach.]
CAROLINA KLEINSCHMITT, WIFE OF MARTIN SCHMUCKLIN
(recorded December 2017)
Carolina Kleinschmitt was the daughter of Leonhard Kleinschmitt of Kleinaspach. Her father was a man whose family had been in Kleinaspach for two generations. He was accepted in the village, but Carolina thinks that he never expected to be one of the leaders. Carolina wanted to marry a man who was going to be a leader. She chose a man who was from a respected family. She tried to get him to want to talk to her, and she thought that she was being successful. But his family decided that he should marry someone else. She tried to entice him to be with her, and he was able to touch her. But he didn’t want to do more than that. She thought that, if she had enough time, eventually he would be willing to be with her as a husband, even though they weren’t married. Carolina didn’t know that his mother was carefully watching him. Carolina discovered this when his mother discovered them holding hands. This meant that Carolina couldn’t be with him anymore.
Carolina wanted him to show her that he still thought of her. She tried to get him to look at her in church. But he wouldn’t look. And then it was announced that he would marry someone else. Carolina was hurt, even though she knew that this would eventually happen. Carolina wanted to tell someone about how she felt, but there was nobody whom she trusted. Carolina wanted to be able to talk to her mother, but her mother didn’t approve of Carolina’s effort to attract the man. So Carolina didn’t talk to anyone. She just kept her feelings inside her.
Carolina’s father knew that the village wanted to accept a new man who was a soldier from Switzerland. Carolina thought that her father was thinking that he might be a good husband for Carolina. Carolina thought that, if she married a man from elsewhere, then he wouldn’t know what had happened. Carolina knew that her mother had talked about what happened. Carolina also knew that her mother regretted this, because now it was difficult for Carolina’s father to find a potential husband for her.
Carolina wanted to be able to choose a man for herself. She had tried to do this, and had succeeded, except the man’s family blocked the effort. Carolina wanted to be able to choose again. But now she realized that the only way she would find a husband was with the cooperation of her parents. So Carolina decided that the new man from Switzerland might be an acceptable husband.
Carolina wanted to be able to decide for herself. She thought that the man had moved into a house that was not far from hers, so he could think about possibly being her husband. Carolina knew that there were two other young women who also were being considered as possible wives for this man. Carolina wanted her father to choose, but Carolina knew that the man would choose. Carolina knew that her father wanted to get to know the man. She thought that her father talked to him at church, but she didn’t see who he talked to after the church service, because the women were in one part of the church, and the men were away from them.
Carolina knew that she would just have to wait. She wanted to be able to talk to the man before a decision was made. Carolina knew that, because of this situation, there was a risk that he would choose someone else. She also knew that, if he chose her without knowing the story, he would be upset when he found out. Carolina wanted to get to know him and explain what happened. This would ensure that he wasn’t surprised, even if he didn’t choose her. But there wasn’t any opportunity. She just accepted when he chose her. She didn’t talk about the situation. He found out because a man at the church told him after they were married.
Carolina didn’t want to have any relationship with the man who had married someone else. She wanted to avoid him. But when she went to church every Sunday, she knew that her husband was feeling jealous. She knew that he didn’t know how she felt. She thought that, if she was able to assure him that she didn’t want to be with the other man, he would relax. But he never did. He was always watching her closely. This made her angry, and she didn’t want to cooperate. He didn’t beat her, which is what she had been expecting. She thought that, if he beat her, she would cooperate. But because he didn’t beat her, she didn’t do what he told her to do. This made for (discord) in their home. Carolina cooked, but didn’t make an effort to cook in a way that would please her husband. She cleaned, but she didn’t clean very carefully. She wasn’t going to be a good wife, because her husband was jealous at church.
This was the situation when she got pregnant. That changed things. Carolina knew that now she would be a good wife. She thought that her husband would no longer be jealous, because she would always be taking care of his son, if the baby was a son. If the baby was a daughter, then she knew that he would want to have another baby quickly. Carolina wanted the baby to be a son, so he wouldn’t be jealous in church anymore. The baby was a son. She knew that the baby was healthy. She knew that the baby would survive after his first week. But she was sick. Carolina knew that she had the sickness that women sometimes got after having a baby. She knew that some women survived, but most women died. Carolina was unable to take care of the baby. She knew that she was getting weaker. She knew that her husband didn’t want her to die. She thought that, at the end, she behaved in a way that was appropriate. But she thought that her husband didn’t realize that. Carolina died.
Carolina was unable to be a good wife, because she was obsessed with the idea of not being commanded. Carolina was always commanded by her mother. And then she was commanded by her husband. Carolina thought that a husband shouldn’t be like a father. Carolina didn’t want to be commanded. She wanted to be requested. But her husband didn’t try to make requests. He assumed that he had the right to tell her what to do. So Carolina resisted. Carolina didn’t want to be a bad wife. But she couldn’t be a good wife unless her husband behaved in a way that men didn’t behave. That is all Carolina will say.
(recorded December 2017)
Jacob Schmücklin was born in Einod. Jacob was the son of a man who had immigrated from Switzerland. Jacob grew up without a mother. Jacob’s mother had died shortly after he was born. Jacob didn’t realize that he didn’t have a mother, until he was six years old. He then was aware that other children had mothers, but he didn’t. Jacob wanted to have a mother, but his father said that Jacob’s mother had died. Jacob then thought about what death meant. Most children didn’t think about death, but Jacob thought about death when he saw other children with their mothers.
Jacob had a woman who helped Jacob. She taught him how to read and also taught him lessons from the Bible. Jacob thought that this woman was like a mother, but she didn’t treat Jacob the same as he own son. Jacob thought that this wasn’t fair, and Jacob wanted the woman to treat him like her son. But the woman didn’t do that. Jacob had to learn that this wasn’t a correct expectation.
Jacob remembers that his childhood wasn’t difficult. He always had enough to eat. He had good company and was well cared for. His father was concerned about him, and made sure that Jacob had the things that he needed. Jacob didn’t have any idea of what it would be like in a life where people didn’t have enough. But Jacob knew that many of the adults had lived through a time when nobody had enough. This was something that Jacob heard about over and over.
Jacob was always careful not to waste food. This was the main lesson from what had happened in the past. Jacob understood that many families lost children because there wasn’t enough food. Jacob thought that, because there was now enough food, that people didn’t have to worry. But Jacob never said that. Jacob was simply careful to not waste food.
Jacob thought that, when he grew up, he would be a farmer like his father. But then Jacob learned that his father had been a soldier before coming to Einod. Jacob wanted to be a soldier. Jacob thought that soldiers got to travel, and Jacob liked the idea of traveling to different places. Jacob wanted to have a good life, and he wanted to be able to be accepted by the community. He knew that his father didn’t have relatives, and his mother’s relatives weren’t close to him. He thought that he should be able to be close to his mother’s relatives. But they didn’t have a son the same age as him. So Jacob didn’t have the opportunity to get close to his mother’s relatives until later.
Jacob wanted to be able to have a good connection with other children. He knew that other children had families with many people. Jacob just had his father. Jacob thought that, because his father was well respected, he would have an opportunity to get to know other children. But there was little opportunity. Most people stayed together with their families. And when Jacob tried to get to know other children, they didn’t have the opportunity to play with Jacob, because they had to go with their parents.
TEENAGE BIBLE TEACHER
Jacob hoped that, eventually, he would have an opportunity to get to know other children. He thought that, because other children went to church and studied, he could help them learn. Jacob knew more about the Bible than other children, because he had been learning with the woman who took care of him during the day. Jacob thought, if he was allowed to help other children learn about the Bible, he would be able to get to know the other children. So Jacob asked his father if he could do that. Jacob’s father was pleased, but he didn’t say that Jacob would be allowed to do that. Instead, he said that Jacob should wait. Jacob’s father said that, after Jacob had been confirmed, that would be a good time for Jacob to start teaching. Jacob waited, and was confirmed when he was thirteen years old. Jacob was then allowed to begin teaching.
Jacob wanted to teach children his own age. But he was assigned to teach children who were two or three years younger. This was not a problem, because when he got to know the younger children, this gave him an opportunity to get to know their older brothers. Jacob didn’t want to get to know their older sisters. At this time, boys and girls learned separately. Jacob wanted to be a good teacher, but he had trouble with children who didn’t want to pay attention. Jacob tried to encourage them, but this was often a problem. Jacob tried to be patient. Jacob wanted to know why the children didn’t want to learn. Jacob realized that their parents didn’t encourage them. This made Jacob think that his situation was unusual, because the woman who took care of him encouraged him to learn about the Bible. Jacob hoped that more parents would encourage their children to learn about the Bible. So he mentioned to his father that the children told him that their parents didn’t encourage them. Jacob’s father had the idea of asking the minister to talk about that in church. But Jacob didn’t want the minister to say anything, because Jacob was afraid that the other children would know that Jacob had talked about what they said. So Jacob’s father asked the minister to not say anything in church. Instead, Jacob’s father asked the parents of the children in Jacob’s class to ask their children questions about what they had learned. After this, many of the children paid attention better.
Jacob had the experience of being a teacher. Jacob knew that this was unusual for a boy. Jacob thought of the possibility of being a schoolmaster. But Jacob knew that schoolmasters had to deal with a lot of problems. Schoolmasters had to discipline bad children. They had to tell parents when their children misbehaved. Jacob didn’t want to have this type of problem. So he decided not to become a schoolmaster. Instead, Jacob thought that he would continue teaching about the Bible to children. He understood that children needed to know certain things in order to become confirmed. So Jacob decided to focus on those things. However, Jacob’s father encouraged Jacob to also teach the children about stories that they would find interesting. So Jacob told them about Noah and Abraham. Jacob thought that the children were confused, but Jacob explained that many things in the Bible were not the same as the way things are now. This helped Jacob stop the questions. But many children continued to think that the Bible had stories that weren’t true.
This caused Jacob to ask his father. His father said that, because some of the stories were hard to believe, Jacob could ask the minister. Jacob had one opportunity to talk to the minister about stories. The minister said, if Jacob was truly interested in understanding the meaning of the stories, then perhaps he would be interested in becoming a minister. Jacob never thought of becoming a minister. He knew that, because his father worked in the church, that the church was a place where people were expected to behave well. He knew that, when people didn’t behave well, the minister had to act in ways that hurt. This made Jacob think of his earlier thought about becoming a schoolmaster. He decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to become a minister.
TO BE A SOLDIER?
Jacob then decided that being a soldier was the best idea. He thought that, if he was a soldier for seven years, then he could become a farmer. He knew that this was almost the same as what his father had done. Jacob knew that, because his father had been a soldier, soldiers had to obey and not ask questions. Jacob always wanted to ask questions. He thought that, if he was a soldier, he would find a way to ask questions after he made his commander understand that he would always obey. Jacob knew that his father didn’t want him to become a soldier. Jacob thought that, because he had a new way of thinking, his father might think about his plan. But his father explained that, if a commander didn’t want to answer a question, he would just ignore the soldier. This made Jacob think about what commanders had to do. Jacob eventually understood that commanders were expected to tell soldiers to do dangerous things. Sometimes commanders knew that some of their soldiers would get killed. But they had to tell the soldiers to do the dangerous things. So Jacob decided that he didn’t want to be a commander. But being a soldier was different. Jacob thought that, if he wanted to be a soldier, it would be easy for him to let a recruiter know that he was thinking of being a soldier. However, his father thought that, if he let the recruiter know, the recruiter might take him. So Jacob decided to wait. He didn’t want to disrespect his father. He knew that, because his father knew about being a soldier, he should listen. So Jacob waited.
Eventually, Jacob’s father explained that Swiss soldiers were different from German soldiers. Swiss soldiers were citizens. They knew that their commanders had limited power over them. However, the Swiss soldiers had to obey the commands when they were fighting. Otherwise, they would be killed. Jacob thought that this was very harsh. Jacob’s father explained that, if soldiers didn’t obey, they would endanger the other soldiers. So soldiers had to obey without question, especially when they were fighting. Jacob knew that German soldiers weren’t citizens. They had to obey their commander at all times, or else they would be whipped. German soldiers were servants of their ruler. Jacob began to think that it was better to live in Switzerland. But Jacob knew that there was very little land in Switzerland. Jacob didn’t have the opportunity to go back to Switzerland. He thought that he would like to go and visit, but that would be expensive. Jacob thought that, if he had the opportunity, he would go to Swtizerland. But he thought that he wouldn’t be accepted, because he had been born in Germany. He decided that he would probably never try to go to Switzerland. He decided that he wouldn’t join the army. He decided to become a farmer. He knew that, because his father had been the first one to resettle Einod, he would have a privilege over his neighbors. This made him think that it would be best for him to stay in Kleinaspach. And this is what Jacob did.
FATHER’S DEATH AND CONSEQUENCES
Jacob had a new problem when turned seventeen. His father died unexpectedly. Jacob had been living with his father in the household of his father’s brother-in-law. This arrangement was acceptable as long as Jacob help his uncle’s family. Jacob was willing to do so, but Jacob thought that he was entitled to have a home of his own. Jacob hoped that his father would decide to marry again. Jacob thought that this would resolve the problem of Jacob and his father being extra people in somebody else’s home. Jacob thought that, because of this situation, there was never a way for Jacob to relax. He was always nervous. He had to be careful not to be in the way. Jacob wished that he could simply be somewhere and not be required to work for the privilege of staying.
Jacob thought that, if his father remarried, he would be able to live in his own home. Jacob knew that there were empty houses in Einod. Jacob knew that his father had chosen to live in Einod because this area wasn’t populated and his father would be the first to live there. Now Jacob wanted to return to the house that his father had chosen. Jacob didn’t have anyone to cook for him. So Jacob thought that he could make a deal with another family in Einod to eat with them in exchange for work, similar to the arrangement that Jacob and his father had with his uncle. But Jacob had to look for what was good for the community. Jacob knew that single men should not live alone. Jacob knew that, when this was allowed, single men were tempted to do things that were not good. So Jacob didn’t try to move back to the house that his father had chosen. But after his father died, Jacob’s situation was much different. He felt that he wasn’t welcome. He had to think about how to escape from this problem. He was only sixteen. He could wait until he was old enough to get married, but that meant at least five years, and probably more. Jacob hoped that he could find a way to live in another home. He thought that somebody might be willing to take in a young man or a big boy who was willing to work. Jacob thought of asking the minister for help. But Jacob knew that, if he did that, the minister would ask why Jacob didn’t want to live with his uncle. So Jacob thought of asking another man who knew many people well. Jacob thought that, if he was able to find a way to live in somebody else’s home, he would be able to get to know more people. Jacob didn’t ask the man, however. Jacob decided to just wait. Jacob thinks that, because he made that decision, he avoided the appearance that he was unwelcome with his uncle. However, Jacob always thought that his situation wasn’t fair. But Jacob had learned that many things aren’t fair to individuals, because the well-being of the community is important.
THINKING OF MARRIAGE AND COMMUNITY
Jacob wanted to have a good wife. Jacob thought that a good wife was a woman who could cook and clean the house. Jacob thought that a good wife was a woman who wouldn’t have too many demands. Jacob thought that a good wife was a woman who would be active in the community. Jacob knew that women who were active in the community generally had friends who were willing to help when there was a family problem. Jacob knew that women who were active in the community had extra help when there was sickness or a new baby. Jacob hoped that he would have a wife like this. But Jacob knew that nobody knew which young women would become active in the community. It was a mystery, and Jacob knew that he couldn’t plan on having the type of wife that he imagined.
Jacob knew that the community would decide who would be a good wife for Jacob. His father had died, and his (father’s) brother-in-law was not interested in helping Jacob find a wife. Jacob knew that different people had different talents. Jacob’s uncle was a good farmer, but he was not a sociable person. Jacob thought that he was a sociable person. Jacob hoped to have a role in the community. He knew that his father had done well as a deacon, and Jacob imagined that he would also become a deacon if he showed an interested in working with the church.
Jacob waited for someone in the community to talk about Jacob getting married. Jacob knew that, because he had no immediate family, he couldn’t start talking. So Jacob waited. Eventually a man at church asked Jacob what he thought of getting married. Jacob answered, as he had planned, that he looked forward to getting married. The man asked Jacob if anyone had talked to Jacob about getting married. Jacob said that nobody had done so. Jacob then realized that the man was thinking of a potential husband for his daughter. Jacob thought that he wasn’t a bad choice for a husband. Jacob knew that he was a good worker, and Jacob knew that he was better educated than many of the people in the community. Jacob knew that he would have the opportunity to be the leading man in Einod, if he was able to have a family. Jacob knew that the man’s daughter was not an attractive girl. He thought that she was a good girl, and he thought that she might be a good wife. But Jacob hadn’t thought of her before, and he wasn’t inclined to think of her as a good choice. Jacob knew that, because the man had asked because of his daughter and not because of Jacob, Jacob hadn’t helped his chance of being considered in discussion over who would be a good match with whom. Jacob simply didn’t have any opportunity to help such discussion. So Jacob waited.
Jacob knew that, because the man had talked to Jacob, the man would talk to his wife about the possibility of Jacob becoming his son-in-law. Jacob thought that the man would think that Jacob would be like a son, because Jacob didn’t have a father. Jacob then thought that it might be good to find a man who would be willing to think of Jacob like a son. Jacob hoped that he could find a man who would help Jacob become better (integrated) into the community. But Jacob didn’t know how to find such a man. Most men had sons and they used their time to help their sons. Jacob’s father had done so, and now Jacob didn’t have a father.
Jacob wanted to be accepted in the community. He knew that, eventually, he would have a good position. But he knew that, until he achieved that position, he would have to be quiet and accept the decisions of others. Jacob wanted to have a say in who he chose for a wife. But there was no way for Jacob to do this. Jacob knew that the man would eventually talk to him again. Jacob thought that the man would suggest that Jacob get to know his daughter. But Jacob was surprised. The man suggested that Jacob work with him in his field. Then Jacob realized that the man wanted to know if he could get along well with Jacob. Jacob knew that, if he decided to not marry the man’s daughter, he could make sure that he wasn’t well thought of by the man. But this would mean that the man would talk about Jacob in the community. Jacob didn’t want this to happen. So Jacob decided to work with the man. Jacob didn’t have any land assigned to him, because he wasn’t an adult. Jacob was big enough to do the work of a man, and usually a young man of Jacob’s age would work with his father. So Jacob knew that, if he worked with the man, he would have an opportunity to get to know other men. Jacob accepted this man’s offer, and began to work regularly with him.
WORKING AS A FARMER’S HELPER
The man did not pay Jacob. He thought that he was giving Jacob an opportunity. Jacob knew that, if he had been working with his father, his father wouldn’t pay him either. But Jacob understood that, by working with his father, Jacob would be contributing to the well-being of the family. Jacob understood that, if he married the man’s daughter, his work would be contributing to the family of his wife. But if he didn’t marry the man’s daughter, he wouldn’t be gaining anything except experience and connection with other men. Jacob worked for the man through a whole summer. When it was time for the harvest, Jacob’s uncle expected Jacob to work with him. Jacob knew that he had to do this. But the man hadn’t thought of this, and this led to a problem. Jacob explained to the man that he was required to work for his uncle in exchange for food and a place to live. The man said that Jacob should have his own place, if he was able to do a man’s work. Jacob wanted to agree with the man. But Jacob knew that he should respect his uncle. So Jacob just nodded.
Jacob helped his uncle with the harvest. He also helped the man, although not very much. Jacob thought that it was important to show the man that Jacob wanted to continue working with him. Jacob knew that, if Jacob was going to be able to interact well with other men, Jacob had to have a reputation as a hard worker. So Jacob looked for opportunities to show that he wanted to work.
LEARNING TO WEAVE
After the harvest, Jacob knew that there would be a lot of free time. It was during this period that children learned about the Bible. Jacob had been teaching for several years. He thought that he would continue teaching. But the minister said that Jacob was getting too old. The minister knew of a younger boy who also wanted to be a Bible teacher. Jacob was disappointed. He had been looking forward to continuing as a teacher. But he knew that it made sense for the teacher to be close in age to the students. Jacob then had to find something useful to do with his free time. Jacob knew that, because he wasn’t married, he had much more free time than most men. He also knew that, because he didn’t have a family, he didn’t have to do things for his parents. He just had to do work for his uncle, and this time of year was always a time of little work.
Jacob decided to do something new. He knew that there was a man in Kleinaspach who knew how to weave. Jacob thought that, if he learned how to weave, then he would have another useful skill. Jacob approached the man and asked him if he could teach Jacob. The man said, if Jacob wanted to learn how to weave, there would be a price. The man said that Jacob could work for the man. The man would teach Jacob, but Jacob would let the man have all of the cloth. Jacob thought that this was a problem. Jacob had been hoping that he could get some of the cloth for himself. Jacob asked the man if he could have enough cloth for a shirt. The man decided that this was a good (incentive), and the man agreed.
Jacob wanted to be able to weave quickly. But he soon realized that weaving was very complicated. He had to learn how to place the threads. Then he had to learn how to make the threads move in exactly the right way so that they came together. Jacob was clumsy at first. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to learn. But the man said that he had been the same way. The man encouraged Jacob not to give up. And so Jacob learned how to weave, and was able to make enough cloth for a shirt. The man said that this first cloth wouldn’t be for Jacob. The man said that this was part of the payment. Jacob would have to wait, and after he made enough cloth for five shirts, then he could have cloth for his own shirt.
HOW TO MAKE A SHIRT?
Jacob made enough cloth for five shirts. Then the man said that there had been a special request from someone in the village. The man said that he had to make a lot of cloth quickly. He said that, if Jacob was willing to help him, Jacob could then keep enough cloth for a shirt. Jacob was disappointed. He thought that the man wasn’t being fair. Jacob thought that, if the man wanted Jacob to help, he just had to ask, because Jacob wanted to continue learning how to weave. But Jacob didn’t say anything. Jacob accepted the man’s request. Jacob helped the man make enough cloth for the man in town. And after that, the man gave Jacob enough cloth for a shirt.
But Jacob didn’t know how to make a shirt. He thought of asking his aunt. He thought that maybe she could make a shirt for him. He thought that, during the winter, he could do extra work. But his uncle didn’t need extra work. So Jacob thought of finding someone in the village who needed extra work in the winter. Jacob thought that, if he found someone, then his wife could make a shirt for Jacob. Jacob thought of how to ask. He thought of who might be the correct person to tell about what he imagined. He thought that the minister was the wrong person. The minister was always busy. Jacob thought that maybe the deacon would be a good person to ask. But the deacon was not friendly. Jacob knew that the deacon did good work for the church. But the deacon couldn’t help with this problem.
Jacob eventually asked the man who had given Jacob the work in the field. Jacob was worried that the man would think that Jacob was interested in being part of the man’s family. But Jacob didn’t have any other choice. Jacob asked the man if he or anyone he knew needed extra work done in the winter. The man said, if Jacob could help bring firewood to the house, the man would have his wife make a shirt for Jacob. So that is what Jacob did. He got another shirt, and he worked a lot. This meant that he wasn’t in his uncle’s house very much. Jacob continued to work for his uncle, but he wasn’t in the house. He ate meals with the man who had Jacob help with firewood. This allowed Jacob to get to know the man’s family. Jacob knew that the man had three daughters. Jacob knew that the eldest daughter already had been planning to get married to another young man. Jacob also knew that he was too young to get married. He knew that the man was concerned, because the man didn’t have a son. So Jacob thought that the man appreciated having Jacob in his house.
Jacob didn’t want to think of marrying either of the man’s younger daughters. Neither one of them wanted to talk to him. They both laughed together when Jacob was around, and this made Jacob feel embarrassed. Jacob didn’t want to have that feeling, but the man just ignored his daughters. He didn’t talk to Jacob when Jacob was in his house. He talked to his wife, or he sat by his fire and read his Bible. Jacob hoped that the man might let Jacob read his Bible. But Jacob knew that a man’s Bible was a special possession. Jacob knew that it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask, so Jacob didn’t. Jacob just acted agreeable. Jacob knew that, eventually, Jacob would have his own Bible. And then Jacob could read the whole Bible.
Jacob wanted to work for someone else. He wondered if there was a way for Jacob to ask other men. But Jacob realized that the man was already thinking that Jacob would be his helper. The man didn’t have a son, and Jacob was a good worker. Jacob thought of asking the man for part of the harvest. But if Jacob did that, and the man disagreed, then Jacob would have to not work for him. If Jacob worked without being paid, then the man would think that Jacob was interested in being his son-in-law. Jacob wanted to have another choice. He knew that, eventually, the man would decide that Jacob would marry his second daughter. Jacob didn’t think that the second daughter was attractive. He didn’t think that she was disagreeable, but he wasn’t anxious about the thought of being her husband. He simply knew that, if this situation continued, Jacob would become the man’s son-in-law.
Jacob thought of asking his uncle if Jacob could work for him in the field. Jacob knew that his uncle didn’t need another worker. Jacob’s uncle had three sons. But Jacob thought that his uncle could give Jacob work, so Jacob wouldn’t have to work with the man. Jacob’s uncle didn’t know that Jacob was ready to work for him. Jacob’s uncle didn’t think that Jacob would be willing to work in his field. So Jacob wanted to suggest that in a way that made his uncle think of the possibility without (the pressure of a request). Jacob talked to his uncle about working in the field. Jacob asked his uncle questions about how his uncle did things. Jacob learned that his uncle had different ways of doing things than the man. Jacob wanted to learn his uncle’s way of doing things. But his uncle never suggested that Jacob accompany him to his field. Jacob’s uncle simply assumed that Jacob would continue working with the man. Jacob knew that this was the way his life (choices) were (being limited). Jacob wanted to have other choices. But Jacob knew there simply wasn’t any other choice for him.
Jacob was married to the daughter of the man whom Jacob helped in the field. After the second summer, Jacob helped the man with his harvest. Then the man asked Jacob if Jacob would like to marry his second daughter. Jacob agreed, because he knew that this was his only real chance to have a wife. He knew that, if he rejected the man’s offer, he wouldn’t be allowed to marry anyone else in Kleinaspach. He had known for a while that this was the likely result of being willing to work with the man. Jacob had only this opportunity, and he was unable to find any other way ahead in life.
Jacob married the man’s daughter. Jacob thought that, after being married, he would be independent. But Jacob discovered that his wife wanted Jacob to live together with her and her family. Jacob had never thought of this. He thought that, as the son of the man who had a right to live in Einod, he would also live in Einod. But his wife insisted, and her father agreed. Jacob had to wait until after he had a child. This was the agreement. Jacob thought that this wasn’t a bad situation. However, Jacob understood that his wife didn’t want to have a child quickly. Jacob wanted to be able to move to his house in Einod, but his wife used the (proximity) of her family to not try to have a child. Jacob thought that this was not acceptable. Jacob thought that his wife was using the agreement to ensure that Jacob never got to live in his own home. Jacob wasn’t able to resolve this problem until he talked to his father-in-law. Jacob explained that he felt that he should be able to live in his own home. His father-in-law agreed, and it was decided that Jacob and his wife would move to Jacob’s home in Einod. His wife was not happy. She didn’t want to leave her mother. She thought that Jacob should be like a son to her father, and live in her father’s house. But Jacob knew that he wanted to have his own life. Jacob wanted to be able to make his own decisions about how to arrange things. He wanted to have the feeling of being in his own space. He thought that, if his wife was unable to live in Einod, she shouldn’t have been willing to marry him. He thought that she was trying to impose her will on him, in a way that wasn’t honest. Jacob was angry many times, but he had to contain his anger. He knew that, if he was able to be patient, he would eventually get what he wanted.
IN HIS OWN HOUSE
However, after Jacob and his wife moved into Jacob’s house, Jacob discovered that his wife didn’t want to take care of the house. Jacob knew that she was being rebellious. He also knew that the appropriate thing to do was to beat her. This is what men did when their wives didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Jacob wanted to not beat his wife. He knew that he wasn’t well suited for that obligation. He wanted to have a way to avoid this necessity. But he knew that his wife wouldn’t obey otherwise. He knew that, if he didn’t make his wife take care of the house, he would never be respected. He had to ensure that she was respectful, but he didn’t have the will.
Jacob thought that he might be able to talk to her father again. But he knew that her father had felt hurt when Jacob wanted to live in his own house. Jacob thought that, if he was able to solve this problem without talking to her father, then he would not have to worry. But if it became necessary to talk to her father, then it would be an ongoing problem. So Jacob knew that the only choice was to beat his wife. He did this once, explaining that he needed her to take care of the house. He told her that the house had to be neat and orderly, like her father’s house. She said that, if Jacob beat her, she would not live with him. She said that, because he had married into a family, he should live with that family. She said that she didn’t think that he would want to live in his own house. She said that if she wasn’t allowed to be with her mother, she wouldn’t have any feeling for taking care of the house.
Jacob thought about that. He knew that women were attached to their mothers. He knew that his wife had helped with the housework. He thought that, if he allowed his wife to be with her mother while doing the housework, perhaps that would be sufficient. Jacob suggested that. But his wife didn’t want her mother to visit when the house was in a disorderly condition. Jacob then saw that his wife was being difficult on purpose. Jacob beat his wife and demanded that she clean the house.
Jacob’s wife cleaned the house. She began to do what she was supposed to do. Jacob thought that the beating had been effective. But Jacob’s wife didn’t want to try to have children. Jacob then realized that her earlier reluctance was not what she had said. She didn’t want to be a mother. She wanted to be a daughter. Jacob didn’t know how to change this situation. Jacob thought that, if he was able to have a child with her, the problem would solve itself. But he didn’t want to force himself on her. Jacob knew that if he did that, she would never be able to be considerate. So Jacob waited to ensure that she cooperated. And eventually she was willing to have a child.
CHILDREN AND DEATH
Jacob was able to see the eldest of his seven children reach his tenth birthday. Jacob’s final child was born not long afterward. Jacob knew that, because his wife had had many children quickly, she was weak after the birth of the last one. Jacob knew that he wouldn’t have any more children. He said so to his wife. She accepted what he said. She had become a good wife, but she was never close to Jacob. Jacob was sad, because he knew that sometimes husband and wives had good relationships. Jacob never knew how to make his wife feel like she wanted him to be close to her. Eventually, he gave up.
Jacob knew that, because he had a big family, he had to work hard to ensure that there was enough food, especially in the winter. Jacob was able to do this without much difficulty. Because he had learned how to weave, he was able to stay busy in the winter. He was able to use the loom of the man who had taught him. Jacob had to use it when the man didn’t want to, so Jacob sometimes had to make special arrangements with his wife to eat at unusual times. Jacob didn’t mind, and his wife didn’t seem to mind, either. However, this meant that often Jacob didn’t see much of his children. Jacob didn’t interact much with them, because men never did. But Jacob was looking forward to teaching his son how to farm. But Jacob didn’t have that opportunity. Jacob got sick in the winter, and didn’t recover. He was sick for three weeks. He got very weak, and he knew that he wasn’t strong enough to fight the sickness. He knew that, if he died when his children were so young, he wouldn’t have the opportunity to see them get married, and he would never know if he had grandchildren. When John [Schmeeckle] contacted Jacob, it was the first that he had been aware of descendants. He had existed without communication for (many, many) years. Jacob knew, when John talked to Jacob, that John was a descendant. Jacob knew, after he died, that he would be able to talk to living descendants, but only if they talked to him first. He thought of trying to contact his children. He imagined making thoughts appear in their minds. But he was never able to make them think that he was trying to talk to them, even though he observed that they thought of him when he tried. This is all that Jacob will say.
CATHERINA EICHELMANN, WIFE OF JACOB SCHMÜCKLIN
(recorded December 2017)
Catherina was the daughter of Leonhard Eichelmann. Catherina was his second daughter. Her mother was a woman who insisted that the house always be clean. Catherina had to help clean the house more than other girls, and she hated being told to clean the house again and again. She thought that, when she got married, she wouldn’t clean the house as much. She thought that, usually, a husband wasn’t concerned about the house being clean. She thought that her mother kept the house clean because friends and relatives would talk if the house wasn’t clean. Catherina didn’t want to live in any other house. She thought that, after she got married, she would continue to live in her mother’s house. She knew that her father wanted her husband to think of him like a father. She thought that her husband would stay in her father’s house. She was very surprised when her husband said that he wanted to move to his house in Einod.
Catherina wanted to stay with her parents, and she wanted to avoid having a baby. She thought that she was too young. She was sixteen, and her father said that she was old enough to marry a good man who would find another wife if she missed the opportunity. Catherina wanted to wait, but her father said that hard-working men were unusual, and she should take the opportunity. So Catherina married Jacob, and Jacob took Catherina to his house, and Catherina didn’t want to clean his house because she wanted to be with her mother.
Catherina didn’t think that her husband would actually beat her. She thought that she could make excuses and he would accept it for a while, and then she could make another excuse. But when he beat her, she stopped hoping that he would be a good husband. She never forgot that he had beaten her. She was cold to him. She did everything correctly, but she did not show any affection. She thought that, because he beat her, she had the right to not love him. She didn’t want to live like this. She wished that she could be close to her husband. But she couldn’t forget that he had beaten her. She didn’t want to think about it. But she knew that she had refused to clean the house. She knew that she had made him choose between having a dirty house and having a wife who didn’t love him. She didn’t think that he thought that she loved him before he beat her. But she hoped that he wouldn’t beat her, and then he would be a man that she could love.
But Catherina didn’t have the opportunity to eventually make life better. Her husband died. She was alone with young children. She knew that no man would marry a woman who already had seven children. She thought that, if she was able to take care of her children well, a man would help her. She hoped that, because none of her children was old enough to work in the field, a man would help her. But the church said that she had to work in the church. This way, she could have enough food. She thought that, because her husband and his father had been active in the church, the church had decided to be good to her. But later she learned that the church did this for other families, also. Catherina had to clean the church. She thought that this was a punishment from God. She had refused to clean her husband’s house. And God took him away from her and made her clean the church.
Catherina wasn’t able to be with her children while she worked in the church. She had to ask her sister to help. Her sister had her own children. And her sister didn’t want Catherina’s children to be a burden. Catherina didn’t know how to deal with this situation. She asked her mother, who wanted to help. Her mother didn’t have much energy, so she wasn’t able to take care of the children by herself. But she helped Catherina’s sister, and this made her sister accept the situation.
Catherina never remarried. She was a widow for many years. Eventually, her sons were old enough to start farming. Catherina made sure that there was a man in the parish who could help her eldest son learn how to farm. He took her son in the morning, and her son came back to the house at sunset. This arrangement was difficult for Catherina. She knew that her son wanted to be with his mother. But there was no other way for Catherina to ensure that her son learned how to farm. She knew that her husband would have taken her son to the field, but now a stranger was doing this. All of her son’s work went to the stranger. None of the food came back to Catherina.
Catherina thought that, next year, her son could find a man who needed a helper. But she thought that, because her son was not willing to work hard, it would be difficult to find another man. But her son surprised her. The following year, her son told her that another boy in the church had a father who needed more help with his field. Catherina’s son worked with this man, and worked very hard. This was a surprise, and Catherina was very pleased. Catherina knew that, because her father had tried to insist that her son work with him, he would be unhappy. Catherina didn’t want her son to work with her father because her father had never had a son. Catherina was afraid that her father would be harsh with her son, and she kept her son away from him.
Catherina wanted her son to learn to be gentle. But her son was a typical boy. Catherina hoped that, because he didn’t have a father, she would be a good influence on him. Catherina thinks that she did well enough in taking care of her children. But she was always worried that her sons had to depend on others to learn things that most men learned from their father.
Catherina wanted to be able to relax when she got older. She imagined that her sons would live near her and help support her. Her eldest son married and moved into an empty house near her house. She was pleased, but the marriage wasn’t a good one. Catherina had not played a part in choosing his wife. He had been approached by a man in the village, who proposed that he work with him. He was old enough to have his own field, but he accepted this offer, because he knew that the man had a daughter. This was the way that people made marriage arrangements. Catherina’s son could have said no, but he didn’t have any other idea about how to find a wife. He simply took the opportunity that appeared.
Catherina wanted all of her children to live near her. Her eldest daughter married a man who didn’t want to live in Einod. Instead, he moved to Kleinaspach, across the fields. This meant that Catherina only saw her daughter at church. Catherina wanted her other daughter to be able to marry someone who would live in Einod. This happened, and the marriage wasn’t a bad marriage. This was as good as anybody expected. Catherina was able to see her daughter often, and was able to help with her daughter’s first baby. Catherina wanted to be able to choose the wife for her next son. But he also was approached by a man who asked him to help in his field. Catherina didn’t disapprove, but she was concerned because she didn’t know this family. She knew that her status in the parish was not good, because she was a widow. But she also knew that her Schmucklin family was respected, because the family came from Switzerland, and her husband and his father had both been hard workers.
Catherina’s second son married the man’s daughter. And then the same thing happened that had happened to Catherina and her husband. Her son wanted to bring his wife back to an empty house in Einod. But his new wife refused to move. So he had to wait until she got pregnant. After that, she was willing to move when the baby was born. Catherina’s third son was unable to be a boy. He didn’t play like other boys. He wanted to work. He wanted to go with his older brother and learn how to farm. Catherina wanted to keep him at home, but the man said that Abraham could accompany his brother. Catherina was unable to say no. Abraham was an unusual child. He wanted to work, and he insisted on being able to do things. He knew that he could do things, even when he couldn’t. And that just made him insist on learning. Abraham got a reputation for being a hard worker. And that was very beneficial.
Catherina will continue. Catherina was unable to be a good wife. Catherina was unable to be in her husband’s house. Catherina wanted something that she shouldn’t have wanted. Catherina knew that it was her responsibility to act as a wife, not as a daughter. Catherina wanted to be able to have a good husband. But she provoked him. This made Catherina unable to be a good wife. Catherina wanted to have another chance to be a good wife. She thought, after her last son was born, that her husband would change. She knew that he knew that she shouldn’t have any more children. Catherina knew that her last son was weak, and she expected any more children to be the same way. Catherina didn’t want to have weak children. She knew that her husband wanted to have more children. But she knew that he was respectful. So she thought of finding a way to be good to him. And then he died. This is all that Catherina will say.