Families in the Parish of Bolligen in the Emmental Area of
The story bears some resemblances to a soap opera if there had been such a thing in the 17th Century. The Lehman family at Bolligen is traced to a Christian who married Verena Schmid on 29 Oct 1599. They baptized four known children at Bolligen. The first, Hans, was baptized 30 May 1602. He died in childhood. The second, Othmar, was baptized 11 Mar 1603/04.
We do not know when this family got into the gunpowder manufacturing operation at Bolligen. We do know that Hans Lehman, son of Othmar Lehmann, was baptized on 09 Aug 1646 at the church of Bolligen and it has been referred to as the powder-maker line. He grew up in the gunpowder manufacturing business. At the age of 21 he moved to Langnau.
Swiss citizenship has never been a state citizenship, but is a community citizenship. A person’s hometown, or Heimat, was responsible for the welfare of its citizens. For this reason, one could not indiscriminately change his citizenship from one town to another. This citizenship could be inherited, bought by or given to a person. The latter being a rare exception, if citizenship was not inherited it usually had to be bought. In Langnau Kirchebuch 23, p. 42, it is recorded that Johannes Lehman, "der Pulffermacher," paid a tax of four Kronen and five Batzen for the privilege of becoming a citizen of Langnau.
Here is where the plot thickens. We know that Samuel Moericker had been associated with Othmar Lehman in the gunpowder making business at Bolligen and that Samuel Moericker and Othmar Lehman were friends. Samuel Moericker had, at some point in time, left Othmar Lehman and the powder mill at Bolligen and had become a principal in a powder-mill at Langnau. Whether he had started the operation at Langnau from scratch or had acquired a previously existing operation, we do not know.
Samuel Moericker died on 05 Mar 1668 leaving a widow whose maiden name was Anna Schallenberger. Indications point to Othmar Lehman and his son, Hans, having seen the situation as an opportunity to expand their powder-making business to include the Langnau operation. Hans Lehmann came to Langnau as an apprentice powder-maker. He married Samuel Moericker’s widow, Anna Schallenberger, on 24 Jul 1668 at Langnau. Her profession was recorded as a powder-maker. It was most unusual for a woman to be listed with a profession or occupation and probably unprecedented to be a powder-maker. She was about 40; he abt. 20. His obvious motive was to marry into the Langnau powder business. For reasons that will become apparent, Anna Schellenberger’s final years of life were not ones of marital bliss, happiness and contentment.
Now, for the rest of the story. Hans Lehman, at what exact point in time we do not know, began a relationship with Catharina (Stinni) Gerber. They baptized an illegitimate child, Samuel, at Langnau on 04 Oct 1694. Gerber was not her maiden name; it possibly was Blaser as it appears at the baptism of Magdalena, their first child, born after they later married. She had earlier been married to a man whose surname was Gerber who also was a powder-maker and that marriage had produced a son, Christian Gerber. Appearances are, for reasons that are unclear, that Hans and Catherina Gerber meticulously projected the appearance of a married couple for yeas before they actually married.
Anna Schallenberger died in 1670. Hans Lehmann achieved, through his marriage to Anna Schallenberger, the title of master powder-maker and married his way into partial ownership of the powder-mill at Langnau. On 28 May 1688 he purchased the remaining interest in the powder mill from his (to be) stepson, Christen Gerber (son of Cathrin Gerber, his second wife). It appears that the stepson, Christen Gerber, was indebted to his stepfather, Hans Lehmann. Hans Lehmann thus became the sole proprietor of the Langnau powder-mill.
Hans was the father of an illegitimate child, Salome, by Anna Moericker, daughter of Isaac Moericker. Salome was baptized at Langnau on 21. Jul 1695 in the interim between the births of Hans’s first two children with Catri Gerber. It is not known what the relationship was between Anna Moericker and Anna Schellenberger’s first husband, Samuel Moericker.
Getting back to Hans’s relationship with Catharina Gerber, they baptized their first legitimate child, Magdalena, at Langnau on 09 Apr 1697. We may therefore deduce that Hans and Catri Gerber married between 04 Oct 1694 and 09 Apr 1697 but a record of that marriage has not been found in the Langnau church records or elsewhere and its venue is unknown. The marriage legitimated Samuel’s birth. Hans may have fathered a third illegitimate child by yet another woman during the same general time period, but we will stop here.
Bolligen Family 2
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