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Translation of Jean Georges dit Chambre Walter Chronicle

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Jean Georges dit Chambre Walter was a well known glass maker in the 1700s in Eastern France. He wrote a Chronicle based on local church records and family interviews. His granddaughter's husband, published it in the early 1800s. It was republished Etienne Stenger a descendant. Jean Georges called Georges in many records was my 4x Great Grandfather.

The Founding of the Glassworks of St. Louis Also Known as Munzthal, Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck This is a translation of a manuscript written in French by Georges WALTER, nicknamed Chambre-Georges, born 19.12.1741 in Meisenthal, died 20.1.1823 at Goetzenbruck

No one has written and our ancestors have not recorded the history about the forest of Bitche, therefore, I, Georges Walter, will put into writing in this brochure that which has been told to me, and I will go back to the year 1640, the year in which the glassworks was founded. Therefore, our descendants will not ignore these facts as we have.

My parents and grandparents have told us that the first glassworks in the forest of the region were very small and they were called "Stutzenhutten" (simple wooden huts). The inhabitants were very poor and the construction of these glassworks were very simple: four tree trunks forced into the ground formed the four corners. The walls and roof were made from wooden planks. In my youth I, myself, saw the remains of the structures of these glassworks, in particular at the place called Hutzenthal, close to Meisenthal. In that period there was at that location a beautiful forest of beech trees. There was an oven that was still half standing and I would often sit there while I watched the cows. It was surrounded by great beech trees. That forest was cut in 1766 and was replaced by fields and meadows. A small hut of that style is found in the valley called Glasthal (valley of glass) below the windmill, close to the long meadow (bei dem langen Triesch). Another one is found at Meisenthal at the location of the actual glassworks, another one below Soucht close to Speckbrunnen. There are many places like this, but one does not recognize anything but the remains of the location.

They always built these small glassworks in the valley where there was wood, and on the side they raised small wooden buildings. They didn't stay there longer than they could to transport the wood to heat the kilns, and then they would go on to construct another glassworks. To my knowledge, this is what happened during the years 1400 and 1500.

After that, and these are my recollections of the earliest accounts that my ancestors recounted, concerning the glassworks of Munzthal founded by the direction of Pierre WALTER, our ancestor: This Pierre WALTER made glass at Munzthal at the time of the Swedish War, a war which lasted 30 years from 1618 to 1648. Also, he worked at Munzthal toward the end of the Swedish War. He had five (5) children of which the youngest, Adam Walter, had not yet been weaned. The mother Anna STENGER lived with her infants at Soucht. At that time in history, there was a famine in the region and the villages were all uninhabited. All the inhabitants had fled France during the terrible Thirty Year War against Sweden with the exception of a few who were hidden in the forest. There was neither bread nor livestock in all the region (the potato did not exist yet on our continent), and also, we totally lacked food. The people lived from hunting and fishing, because the wild game and the fishes were in abundance in the wooded regions. That was the reason the infants could not eat this type of food as the adults could, therefore, the majority of the children and infants died from lack of bread and milk. Our elders have told me that the wife of Pierre WALTER(Anna STENGER), our great-grandmother, went to Strasbourg to buy bread. She took with her, her youngest infant, Adam WALTER, who had not yet been weaned, leaving the four others at Soucht. When she returned with the bread, her servant had left for Munzthal with the four children to see their father, who was making glass there. The mother went on ahead to Munzthal to take the bread to her children. When she arrived on the lower side of the forest that separated Soucht from Munzthal, she saw her servant arrive with her children.. The mother asked: "Where is little Anne?" The servant was crying and told her that the infant was dead, lying below a tree on the high side. One can imagine how hard the pain was for that mother in learning that news. After that first infant died, the three others died also. Only the youngest survived, Adam WALTER, from whom all the Walters of the region descend. He married, thus as I have copied by my own hand from the register of the parish of Soucht. The act was as follows: Year 1667

"The 21st of October the honest and respectable Adam WALTER, glassmaker, legitimate son of Pierre WALTER and Anna STENGER contracted marriage, and the honest and virtuous Marie, legitimate daughter of Wincenny BOTZT, glassmaker at Rosteig and Anna Dillenschneider."

The marriage was blessed by Father Augustin Weistorf in his church The witnesses were among others, Jean Maurer and Mateis Stenger

To my knowledge, after this information, the glassworks of Soucht was built about 1620, but the fact is not certain. I suppose that it was founded after the glassworks below Soucht, the glassworks which was replaced by the one at Speckbronn and constructed by the same glassworkers.

As the elders have told me, and as I have myself read about in the very old registers of the parish of Soucht, the town received the name of Soucht (SUTCHT) in the following manner: The glassworkers demanded of Seigneur DeBitche, a location in the forest to build a glassworks. They were asked what place did they want; they answered that they did not know of any. The Seigneur then told them, "Go and look," (in German: Sucht). They chose this place and they gave it the name SUCHT. Before that time the valley was named Kammerthal, a name it had received from Kammerfelsen which was found below Soucht.

The first master glassmakers whose names I found in the area of Soucht were named STENGER, ZAUTER, and KREINER. They are shown as witnesses on many documents. The first baptism written in this register is dated 1644. The wife of the master glassmaker Christoph KREINER was godmother. For the second baptism, in 1648 is the wife of the master glassmaker Jean STENGER who was godmother.

For the third, in 1650 we find the name of the father, Adam STENGER, master glassmaker of Soucht, Jean STENGER, master glassmaker at Rosteig was the godfather.

In all the registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths until 1670, we read the name Stenger, master glassmaker. The names of Kreiner and Zauter are not found for a long time. There were not many inhabitants at Soucht and most of the time they baptized their infants elsewhere. Our great-grandfather Adam WALTER, however, as written was dead in 1688. He was the last master glassmaker of Soucht. Here are the acts of the deceased as written in the records:

"The 2nd of February, 1688 was buried Adam WALTER, master glassmaker. He expired piously the 1st of February about 3 o'clock, and was buried near the "grand cross on the side of the entrance of the church." He lived in marriage for 21 years, he had 6 children: Etienne, Nicolas, Pierre, Martin (who was my grandfather), Ursule and Marguerite. At his death, his children were all still very young. The great-grandmother (Anna STENGER) continued to direct the glassworks with her children until 1700. Then the glassworks disappeared and the new glass manufactory was constructed in Meisenthal in 1702. Often I have seen that date carved on the ancient glassworks.

The glassworks of Meisenthal was constructed by the three brothers - Nicolas, Etienne and Martin WALTER (my grandfather), Etienne STENGER and Martin BURGUN (my other grandfather) and his brother Nicolas. They constructed all big homes of wood and some barns next to the houses. Of those homes, three are in existence today: That of Nicolas WALTER and that of Martin WALTER. They were later enclosed by walls by our ancestors. Each constructed a potash furnace and fabricated the potash himself. The ashes were left to burn in the forest. In effect, the wood there was in abundance and a large amount rotted. They worked hard at making the forest disappear. There where is found the glassworks, the homes, the meadows and the fields, had been a beautiful forest of beech trees.

The three WALTER brothers gave to their brother Pierre WALTER all the farm that had belonged to their parents, in particular, the family home and the property found near Sucht (Sucht = Soucht). Marguerite, one of the sisters of the four WALTER brothers was married at Rahling. There she was called "die Huttengret" = Marguerite of the glassworks. The second sister was married at Meyenthal, close to Lettenbach, where at that time was found a glassoworks. This second sister (Ursule) I knew as an older woman at Meyenthal since I was 16 years old. I spoke to her and she told me the story of her youth at Soucht and at Meisenthal with tears in her eyes. At that time she was the last of the brothers and sisters.

In 1720 my grandparents decided to again construct a glassworks for their children. They chose a place that was then called Gatterbruck. In reality there was a very dense forest crossed by the route coming from Sarreguemines, Rohrbach and the surrounding villages.

The place where that glassworks was, was humid and swampy and the forest thick. In order to cross this location with their vehicles, passing from Lorraine to Alsace, the country people had constructed a wooden bridge (in German: brucke) and later this location was named Gotterbruck (bridge of God). I do not know why later it was changed to Goetzenbruck.

Once again I saw a section of the woods from the bridge as someone had dug the foundation of the actual houses that could be found at that location. They were constructed of beech poles placed next to each other. The color of the poles was blue.

The glassworks of Goetzenbruck was installed by the three brothers, Nicolas, Etienne and Martin WALTER and Etienne STENGER - all four were from Meisenthal. Martin Burgun, my grandfather, and his brother Nicolas Burgun did not wish to take part in that enterprise. They found themselves very short of money. That is why the four brought in a fifth partner by the name of Pierre STENGER from Waldenburg close to Phalsburg. The wife of Martin WALTER of Meisenthal was a sister of Pierre STENGER (a remark made by Georges WALTER, which was a mistake in citing the wife of Etienne WALTER as being the sister of this Pierre STENGER). He received 1/6th part of the glassworks and 600 arpents of land, of which the others had the use of. After that glassworks, small wooden homes were built so they could work there. However, the first four lived in Meisenthal. Pierre STENGER lived in the glassworks until he also constructed himself a small home. Thus, they erected themselves this glassworks until their children were older. Since they had take the fabrication of glass to Meisenthal, each of the WALTER brothers sent two of their sons to Goetzenbruck. Nicolas Walter, the oldest, sent his two sons - Etienne and Casper WALTER, Etienne WALTER sent his sons, Jean and Casper WALTER (called "the langen" = long = tall). Martin WALTER, my grandfather, sent Chretien WALTER and Martin WALTER. Nicolas HILD, who married the widow of Etienne STENGER, sent a son of his wife's first marriage, by the name of Etienne STENGER and one of his own sons, Pierre HILD, who lived at Konigsberg (Mont-Royal). All were glassmakers and they all worked themselves in the glassworks, but not as it is done today (sitting on chairs), but each glassblower standing. Each glassblower had attached two large boards of two inches and attached to the side of a piece of iron. Two blowers always worked together - all were separated by a metal tube between the kiln and the Ofentrog, called Werft. My grandparents, my parents and myself have all worked in this way in my youth. During one year, I worked at Plaine-de-Walsche, and another at Harreberg, a year at Monterme close to Charleville, a year at the glassworks of Vannes near Vaucouleurs at the first kiln that, that glassworks had constructed in 1765. I also worked a few months at Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck. After that I began to travel and I spent fifteen years in Switzerland, France, Brabant in Holland. In Germany I was not far from Frankfurt on the Main and along the Rhine.

I write these things because the descendants not knowing how their ancestors worked and fabricated the glass before their time and until 1800. Then appeared the Stuhle = chairs, benches for the fabrication of glass at Meisenthal and at Goetzenbruck. Since my grandparents died dans le Seigneur, the brothers from Meisenthal and those from Goetzenbruck divided equally the succession, that is to say, all the wealth and glassworks at Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck. This happened about 1749 and 1750.

In the year 1725, our grandparents also constructed a chapel at the place where we had raised a church in 1813. Each of the inhabitants of Goetzenbruck and of Konigsberg (Mont-Royal) contributed according to their means. Before Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck were separated, they were both part of the parish of Soucht until 1802 - the year we had our first cemetery at Goetzenbruck. In 1807 we constructed the presbytery. In 1809 the inhabitants of Meisenthal and Schierestal built the first chapel at Meisenthal. According to the oldest registries of the parish Soucht, the first chapel built there was in 1659. That record tells us that the glassmakers decided unanimously to build a small chapel in the honor of God. Everyone contributed according to their fortune, and it was blessed on June 8th, the feast of the Holy Trinity, the day that the first mass and sermon took place. The chapel was placed on the outside of the village of Hoffeld, about 200 meters behind the presbytery. It is found close to the road to Kammerthal. In my youth I have often been in that chapel since I went to the school at Soucht. There was room for about 30 people.

The record continues thus: Dear and kind reader, may God be blessed forever; since the glassmakers, our dear ancestors have searched all through the forest of Bitche and have chosen this place as the location to exercise, with success, their art.. They have begun by rendering to God honor and glory, which is due him. They know well that from the benediction of God depends all wealth and all well-being and that, that benediction by effect of its immense bounty returns in great measure upon he who gives honor and due to his majesty. That is why all the people there, very pious Catholics, make an effort to do their duty in assisting piously at the Mass and to the faith. They never omitted that, which for lack of means, they were forced to do their pious duty in the proper chamber. They found consequently that did not conform to the glory of God. In effect, the places that had served on one day as a celebration of Holy Mysteries was again dishonored. That is why they decided unanimously as their goal to construct a small chapel. That was in 1659, as it has been said.

The record continues thus: In the year 1668 since our brave people were settled and multiplied by the benediction of God at the glassworks. They built with good heart as a sign of recognition an entirely new and beautiful chapel. The community celebrated for the first time on October 4 by Father Augustin Weistorf (s.j.). Near this chapel there was a little schoolhouse where I often went in my youth. In the year 1725 a long nave was built at this chapel and in 1770 the chapel, which was found in the heart of the location, was demolished. At the same time the schoolhouse and the church were enlarged. We see how our ancestors took care of their praise to God, while we actually are quite often very negligent. They said that they were in eternity, we also will be with them shortly, serving God to the end.

(Extract in the original style by Pierre Berger) Paris - January 1, 1830 This translation was made about 1930 with the help of Abbot Georges Stenger, Professor of the College of Bitche. The following is from a booklet written by Etienne Stenger, a cousin who is also related to Georges. He republished the chronicle as part of the 250th anniversary of Goetzenbruck. These sections are additional to what is above. They include part of the genealogy section that was missing from the above.

Cover: Etienne Stenger Glassworks, Glassmaker Families and Life of Glassmakers in Bitschland Since 1550 Picture Back of Cover

The picture shows the inside of the glassworks of the middle ages with glassworkers at work. In the upper right hand corner is a glassmaker with a basket on his back getting ready to travel and to sell his glassworks.

Prelude

The following script is an exact copy of the chronik I wrote for my children and grandchildren. The publication of which is a contribution to the history of our towns, especially our village Goetzenbruck for its 250th celebration of the founding of the village on September 6, 1721.

Since my youth the love for my glassmaker family steered on my interest in the origin and development of our glassworks, our founder and the collection of those documents. After searching for years, this is completed.

This is how, at my old age, this chronik came to be. Georges Walter was the example and the most important son from our home.

Georges was also called Chambre George, lived from 1741 to 1823 and he left his children a historic script of the origin of our glassworks family.

The original script does not exist anymore. I inherited a copy of the original dated 1830 through one of his grandchildren, Pierre Berger. It is my honor on this occasion to publish this important script for our memorial year. Also the translation of the same in French. This old chronik from Chambre George and the following script should be motivation for the younger generation to imitate or to be informed about the happenings of the past. November 1971 Etienne Stenger Table of Contents 1 Preface 2 Introduction 4 Glassworks in Spessart - The Order of 1406 8 Stenger As Master Glassmaker in Spessart 10 Stenger As Master Glassmaker in Swabia - North of Stuttgart 13 Master Glassmaker Stenger in Teutoburger Wald 14 Stenger As Founder Of Glassworks in America And Crystal Cutter - Crystal Painter in Our Region 16 The Former Glassworks of Nordvogesen in 16th and 17th Century - Volksberg, Kahlenburg¬Rosteig, Frohmuhl, Wackenmuhle, Hanau-Hochberg, Wingen 19 The Ludwigsthaler Glassworks at Lemberg (Palatinate) 21 The Glasworks of the Forbacher Area With Master Glassmaker Stenger 23 The Former Glassworks of the Saarburg¬Phalsburger Area, St. Quirin, Lettenbach, Donnersthal, Wolflingerthal, Soldatenthal, Courtzerode, Walderburg, Plaine-de-Walsch, Guntzwiller, Dannelburg, Dreibrunner, Eingenthal 31 Georges Walter Also Called Chambre George, His Ancestors and Descendants 37 Foundation of the Glassworks in Bitscherland, Holbach, Speckbronn, Eidenheim, Munzthal, Mattstall 43 The

Glassworks Soucht 54 The Foundation of Development of The Bitscherland Glassworks in the 18th Century ¬The Glassworks Meisenthal

72 The Crystal Works in St. Louis 80 The Crystal Works in Lorraine At Lemberg in 1925 81 The Glassmakers of Goetzenbruck

81 The Foundation of the Glassworks 85 The Name of the Founder 88 The First Chapel 89 The Death of the Tenant Poncet, A Trial With His Descendants 92 Ancestors of the Founder of the Glassworks 99 Founding and Development 100 Topographic Map of the District of the Glassworks - 1763 102 The Behavior of the Glass Workers

103 The Foundation of the District Konigsberg - Mont Royal 105 The Foundation of the District Althorn 106 Goetzenbruck Church of Soucht - 1721 - 1804

109 The Striking Wedding of the Descendants of the Founder of Goetzenbruck 119 The Berger

122 The "Obitzen" 126 The Difficulties Between the Descendants 128 The Development Towards the End of the Eighteenth Century 130 The Family Poncet Has the Right to Buy the Hereditary Lease 132 Glassworks and the Village Goetzenbruck¬Sarreinsberg Around the 1800's 135 Goetzenbruck and Its Glassworks in 1900 136 Names of the Mayors-Officers of the State-Civil of Goetzenbruck 139 Names of the Mayors-Officers of the State-Civil of Sarreinsberg-Althorn 140 Number of Residents in Goetzenbruck and Sarreinsberg-Althorn in the 19th Century

141 Copy of the Official Land Records in 1820 14- Copy of the Official Land Records in 1838 - 1850 14- Copy of the Official Land Records of Old Houses in 1838, 1850 and 1890 152 The Oldest Houses in Goetzenbruck 155 The Glassworks Goetzenbruck and Meisenthal in a Society 1825 158 Dynamic Boom of the Goetzenbruck Factories Since 1825 163 Purchase of Woods - 1837 164 New Invention of the Watch Crystals 167 Copies From A Correspondence Book - 1848 - 1853 - Prices and Yearly Production of Watch Crystals 168 The Elimination of the Society Between Goetzenbruck and Meisenthal Starting January 1, 1825

173 Allowance to Build a New Church March 7, 1861 And Completion of the Same in 1866 173 The Cemetery Chapel in Goetzenbruck 174 Nobels and People Who Had to Pay The Highest Taxes of 1865 1870 175 The War of 1870

177 The Death of the Administrator of the Glassworks, Pierre Berger 177 The Time of Walter Without Berger 178 Industrial Production in Goetzenbruck Within the 19th Century 179 180 180 Making Watch Crystals 183 Making Eye Glasses Since 1850

186 Making Sun Glasses (Coquilles) 186 Making Silver Balls 187 Working At Home 188 Glassmaker, Glassworker And Landlord in One 191 Goetzenbruck Around 1900 Until The First World War 194 Packing Watch Crystals And Office Worker in the Factory 196 Start of the 1st World War 199 Two New Personalties in Factory Management ¬Pinck and Schwaller 203 Goetzenbruck After the 1st World War

205 The Area Vallon-Humbert, 1921 - 1923 208 A New Hard And Worried Time - 1925 - 1939 208 A New Optical Factory In Brunnemattle - Mont¬Royal, 1938 210 The Second World War - 1939 - 1945 212 An Honorary Plate for the Victims of Both World Wars 216 Both Towns - Goetzenbruck and Sarreinsberg in One County (Continued) 217 Our Glassmaker Dialect 217 The Life of the Goetzenbruckers 221 The Life as Farmers

223 The Life in the Glassworks 224 Happiness and Togetherness 225 Beginning of Societies - Music, "Bombiers", 227 Founding of the Jinglings Society 228 Stories And Fairy Tales of Goetzenbruck 231 The Song of Goetzenbruck 233 Something Happened on the Schonsee 236 Ending 237 The Sources Enclosures


The Chronik of Georges Walter From 1830 In Old German Handwriting The Chronik of Georges Walter in French

Old Pictures of 1892, 1900 and 1910 of Groups of

People Including Names Other Old Pictures and Historic Documents


Preface

After searching for years in old archives, old scriptures and documents concerning our local history, it is my honor to write this cronik about the development of our oldest glassworks. This Chronik is for the two-hundred- fiftieth year celebration of our village Goetzenbruck. It is my pleasure to include photographs from this period of over one hundred persons, young and old who lived in that era. Unfortunately, only a few of these people are still alive and only approximately five hundred names were known to me of the eight hundred people in the photographs. The publication of this document is very simple and only for our local history. It includes passages about the development and the founders of the glassworks. It also talks about the connection of the families in the Saarburger area. The information concerning the Saarburger families has been given to me by the director of the glassworks in Trois-Fountaines (Three Fountains). I would like to thank him very much. I also want to thank all my friends and acquaintances who assisted me through the past years in searching for old scriptures and documents. There were several documents from the archives of Goetzenbruck which were given to me as a copy. But I also want to thank the German Democratic Republic who gave me many new friends who were able to supply me with a lot of information and documents. This information has allowed me to close the circle about my family and I want to thank my friends very much. This document is for my children, grandchildren and all other people who are interested in our local history. It is for those who want to gain deeper knowledge of our local history and happenings in our glassworks families through the past centuries. This document is also a deep thank-you for my already dead parents, grandparents, and ancestors. Goetzenbruck - month of July, 1971 - Etienne (Stephan) Stenger

Introduction

In my early youth I was an apprentice in the Goetzenbruck glass factory, Walter, Berger and Cie. A close relative of mine showed me a chronik from Georges Walter (Chambre George) printed in 1830 and asked me to keep it because it is an important historical document.

The content of this document made a deep impression on me. From this moment on my interest was on the life of my ancestors, the former glassmasters, founders of the glassmaker villages, Soucht, Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck. From then on I collected all scriptures and documents concerning the foundation of the glassworks.

I realized that the information in the Georges Walter document could give me some clues concerning the family ties and for over twenty years I wrote a document about all the scriptures I found. I included my own experiences for my children. The first document is the chronik of Georges Walter and the book of A. Marcus - The Glassworks of the Area of Bitsche ¬from 1885. This history of the glass industry in Lothringen was written by Dr. Otto Flory in Strasbourg in 1911.

I did not want to copy already existing documents, also I would have been able to add some of my own findings. Some key elements were missing in my documents, especially concerning our glassmaker ancestors from the 17th century. I was also missing family ties, names of wives, of former glassmasters and founders of glassworks and a lot more.

Georges Walter had his information from the Souchter church records which was also a clue for me to search again through those books concerning the names of the founders of the glassworks in our area.

This research only took me back to the 17th century, on the other hand, Georges Walter's chronik talks about glassworks in our area in earlier centuries. I was especially interested in my glassmaker ancestors who according to my parents and grandparents, the Stenger, came from Switzerland.

I was lucky to receive help from researchers in Germany who were also researching the history of the Stenger and Greiner in our area.

Robert Greiner from Augsburg was born at the Ludwigsthaler glassworks at Limburg.

He was able to supply me with important information and documents about the family Greiner. The information I received came from the archives in Augsburg. The documents told about the glassworks in Neuenlautern - Glaslautern in the Lowenstein area, north of Stuttgart. The Greiner and Stenger were glass masters in that area in 1603.

Karl Greiner from Stuttgart died March, 1967. He was eighty years old and supplied me with important information concerning the Stenger glass masters in Swabia, north of Stuttgart. I was able to compare names between that area and ours.

Harald Stenger, an engineer from Dortmund, now living in Wurzburg, who visited me several times over the last years, gave me a lot of documents concerning the origin of the Stenger. It was a very important book by Margarete Killing, named Glassmakers Trade in Hessen, 1927 with important notes to the former glassworks in Spessart, especially copies of a certificate from the archives of the historic club for Unterfranken by A. Amrhien, Wurzburg, 1900. The Spessart order from 1406, a glassmakers union founded by 40 glassmakers from Spessart from which six had the name Stenger.

The Spessart woods are east of Frankfurt.

This was a revelation for me since no researcher from our area told me about this book, nor that there was written documentation about the glassworks in Spessart. I believe that the Stenger from our area migrated in the 16th century from either Switzerland or Swabia.


Harald Stenger also gave me a document from Johannes Stauda entitled "The Glassworkers In And Around Spessart". I was especially happy to find hand painted coats-of-arms from Stenger from the year 1208. Through the information and documents received, there is no doubt that our Stenger ancestors migrated in the 16th century either through Spessart or through Swabia. In the Spessart order from 1406, you can also find names of other glassmasters like Fleckenstein and Lutzeler. German researchers have the opinion that the Stenger were already in the 14th century in the Spessart area only to return in the 16th century to Elsass (Alsace). Mr. A. Stenger, director of the Trois-Fountaines glassworks, sent me copies from the departmental archives in Strasbourg.

The documents and information concerning the foundation of glassworks in the former "Grafschaft" Lutzelstein said that glassmaster Stenger was part of the foundation in the 16th and 17th century. It is amazing to see how far our glassworkers ancestors were able to travel, also the work was hard in the hot and primitive glassworks. It took a long time before they settled in our area. It is also amazing to find the name "Neuhutten At Breydenstein" in the Spessart area. A glassworker called Andre Spessert worked in 1609 in Munzthal, also a Sebastian Fleckenstein in 1625. Sebastian was most likely a descendant of Henne Fleckenstein. Munzthal, which is according to a map from Goetzenbruck, dated 1763, is located between the woods around Klabach to the Perdschwenn called "Spessert".

The Glassworks in Spessart

George Walter Called Chambre George Author of the Chronik The Origin of the Glassworks in St. Louis (Also called Munzthal), Meisenthal and Goetzenbruck

I will report in the following chapters about the origin of the Bitscheland glassworks, but first I need to name the oldest author of the previous chronik, Michel Berger. He is a descendant of the founder of glassworks Meisenthal, Goetzenbruck and played a significant role in the development of the glassworks and the city of Goetzenbruck.

Pierre Berger who married a grandchild of Georges Walter, Therese Walter, published the meanwhile famous handwritten chronik in 1830. He was the first one to report about his origin and doings, as I found in the Souchte churchbooks and other documents. My impression from his chronik was that he had a great personality and was a great glassmaster and had good business sense. He was also a very faithful man.

His signature was on many church and county documents. The following biography about Chambre George, with notes about his ancestors and descendants, is a special honor to his home area.. The house he built in 1787 has unfortunately been destroyed during the war, but there is an old photograph which is included in this document.


The Ancestors of Georges Walter

He partly included this in his chronik but also made mistakes as I found during my research.

The first known ancestors were Peter Walter as named in his chronik. He was a glassmaster in the 40's of the 17th century (1640). He was married to Anna Stenger and lived in Soucht. All Walters of this area are decendants of this couple. Which means from their only surviving son, Adam Walter. This Adam Walter was the glassmaster at the glassworks at Soucht. He was born in 1646, married in 1667 to Marie Barbe Botzt (Betz) and he died in 1688.


The closing of the glassworks Soucht around 1700 forced the widow Marie Barbe Betz to move to Meisenthal with her sons. The names of these four sons were:

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1. Hans Nickel Walter, glassmaster, married to Barbara Braun. 2. Hans Martin Walter, glassmaster, married to Anna Stenger, daughter of Johann Stenger and Ursula Betz from Trois Fountaines.

2. Stephan Walter (Etienne), glassmaker, married to Margarete Schwerer, daughter of Johann Wolf Schwerer, foreman of the glassworks in Courtzerode at Phalsburg and Christine Andres.

3. For the foundation of the glassworks Meisenthal (1702 - 1704) the following people came. 4. Hans Martin Stenger, glassmaster, married to Anne Marie Feistbauer. 5. Sebastian Burgun, glassmaster, married to Anne Marie Stenger.

George Walter's father was Hans Martin Walter and his mother Anna Stenger. His grandparents were: Jacob Walter, glassmaster born 1714 in Meisenthal, died January 15, 1762. Marie Burgun, daughter of Martin Burgun and Anne Odile Feisthauer. This Martin Burgun was a son of the already mentioned Sebastian Burgun. Georges Walter the second oldest son of the already named Jacob Walter and Marie Burgun. He was born on December 19th, 1741 in Meisenthal and had eight brothers and sisters. He married on February 11, 1772, Ursula Walter, daughter of Bernhart Walter and Odile Philippi. This Ursula Walter died on September 21, 1788 at the age of 36. George Walter and Ursula Walter had six children. 1. Martin Walter born on May 5, 1775 in Meisenthal, he died June 7th,1775. 2. Ursula Walter born July 24th, 1776 in Meisenthal, she died on January 4, 1778. 3. Adam Legere Walter, born September 2, 1777 in Meisenthal, he married Marie Catherine Walter on May 9th, 1801, she was the daughter of Caspar Walter and Marie Madeleine Burgun, 19 years old from Meisenthal.


Page 32 (continued)

4. Nicolas Walter, born April 14th, 1780 in Meisenthal, he married Angelica Walter on January 18, 1803, she was also a daughter of Caspar Walter and Marie Madeleine Burgun. -33- 5. Marie Madeleine Walter, born November 30, 1781 in Goetzenbruck, she married Nicolas Pauly on May 27th, 1806. He was from Puttelange (Moselle). She died December 16, 1813 at the age of 32. She had four children from which two died shortly after birth. Her husband remarried Barbe (Bibbi) Greff and died at the age of 44.

6. Marie Anne Walter, born January 4, 1784 in Goetzenbruck,she died June 20th, 1784. Four years after the birth and death of her daughter Marie Anne Walter, Ursula Walter, wife of Georges Walter died on September 21, 1788. The oldest living child Adam Legere was 11 years old, Nicolas was 8 years and Madaleine was 7. As stated in the birth documents Georges Walter returned to Goetzenbruck from Meisenthal in 1781. He built a house which was built next to the big house called "Backer Antoine's" and later Lausecker's house. The last house was built in 1787 as I was able to prove in 1965 on hand a scripture over the mews (barn). G. W. - 1787 - U.W.

There was a fire in 1929 and the war destroyed the house almost completely in 1945. The house was completely torn down in May, 1965. The stone with the carving completely disappeared in the rubble.

The wife of Georges Walter, Ursula, unfortunately did not live very long in the new house - a few months the most. She died September 21, 1788 and left three children of the ages 7, 8 and 11 behind.

But there had to be a new wife for the big house and a mother for the children. Georges Walter remarried fifteen months later and again to a close relative ¬Barbe Heisler, daughter of Christian Heisler and Marguerite Walter.

The latter was a daughter of Caspar Walter, the long (tall) one, who was the son of Stephan Walter and Margarete Schwerer. The wedding was February 9, 1790. Georges Walter was 49 years old and his second wife, Barbe was 24.

Page 39

The Glassworks Speckbronn at Soucht

Georges Walter had mentioned this glassworks in his document but otherwise there is no other information on hand. Peter Walter and his nephew Adam Walter from Goetzenbruck built a sawmill in 1767 at this same location. In 1776 it was changed to a mill. There are no more traces left of it.

In the summer of 1968 I was able to find the same location and I even found some glass pieces. The pieces were from windows and drinking glasses and from the size of the bottom of the drinking glasses I was able to determine the size of the glasses. This was a very interesting find for me.

The Glassworks Eidenheim

At the Paulus Mill Marcus shows a sketch from the atlas of Bitsche on page 52 from 1755. On this map you will find on number 14 which shows the former location of the glassworks. The Glassworks Eidenheim in Andernheim. It was supposedly already destroyed in the fifteen century. There was also a church and a village at the location, not only a glassworks. At the location were the former Glassworks Eidenheim stood a piece of a goblet was found in 1883. Page 40 which was pictured by Marcus on page 54 and page 55. Marcus writes about it on page 55.

Two paragraphs in French

It is my opinion that this goblet was manufactured at an earlier time than the pieces that I found at Speckbronnen last year. It seems to be a somewhat more primitive making.


The Glassworks Munzthal 1585

On page 26 and 27 is a report from T.H. Alix (1594), he writes that from the Glassworks Holbach were moved in 1585 to Munzthal. Marcus writes that he's uncertain whether the Swabia colony settled there or if it was a different. But, Henry Heigel writes in his article the German Ballai (1600-1633) that Martin Greiner and Simon Stenger moved the glassworks from Holbach to Munzthal in 1585. In 1601 the glassmaster, Martin Greiner paid 80 floren for his glassworks and his eight partners (Siegwalt Steffel, Hensel Schurer, Ulrich Scheidhauer, Hans Schirer von Petersbach, Hans Greiner, Paulus Glaser, Andres Spessart and Henre Wincker). There were ten glassmakers in Munzthal in 1603.

In 1607 two of the glassmakers had to pay 12 franconia because they had a fight. In 1609 there were 14 glassmakers ¬Martin Greiner, Jean Houber (Huber, Houver, Hoover) , Adam and Gaspar Greiner, Nicolas Krebs, George Hoff and Sebastian Ehrlich. The widow of Martin Greiner was allowed to open up one of the huts in a different location. The first glassworks works from 1585 destroyed the wooded area. She was allowed to stay five to six years before she had to move. It was reported in 1613 that the glassworks from Martin Greiner was located at the end Munzthal. His son, Jean Greiner took it over in 1614.

In 1625 both masters of the glassworks, Nicolas and Leonard Greiner, employed ten workers including Martin Siegwart, Adam Greiner, Andres Stenger, Page 41 Bastien Fleckenstein, Cuntz Betz, George De La Cour, Samuel Legros. The widow Greiner planned to give up the lease for the hut because of the lack of wood. There were still eleven workers employed in the 1629 including Koch, Steffel, Contz, Andres Stenger, ----¬Sigwart, Adam Greiner, Jean Schwan. In 1632 Simon Meyer and Zintz Brenner leased the hut for 250 francs (according to Henry Heigel and his article "Glassworks in the County of Bitsche", in the Saarbrucker Magazine, 6, page 42. There are no records of the fight near Pfaffenhoffen in the summer of 1633 where the Swedish came through Bitsche and had Bitsche under seige. According to Georges Walter, Peter Walter was all our father which is also known by me through the stories of our elders. Peter Walter worked with glass during the time of the Thirty Year War, which started in 1618 and ended in 1648. Therefore, he worked in Munzthal in around 1644. In 1661 the glassworks in Munzthal were announced closed and in a report of the domain of Bitsche it reads: Sentence in French: It is believed, therefore, it was closed because of the war and plunders of the Thirty Year War. Peter Walter and his wife and the last child, Adam Walter were on the way back to Soucht where they started working at the glassworks in Soucht. In 1663 Sir Romecourt leased the land around Munzthal to the brothers Pierre and Mathieu Unteriener. They recorded a large area of land, one lake, and one durrenwald. In 1585 the glassmaker Schwerer and several helpers joined the first glassworks in Munzthal. They were searching for a new location to start a new hut. This one was named Soucht. According to documents the name Soucht came about because of the Count from Bitsche said to the glassmakers, "geht und Soucht". Before I go deeper into the development of the glassworks Soucht, I want to mention another glassworks in the closer area.

Page 42 The Glassworks Mattstall Marcus writes that the glassworks belonged to the County Fleckenstein. It was located close to the village Mattschall and the village remains today "Glashutte" (Verrerie). In the year 1585 the glassworks master, Greiner, received the hereditary leasehold. They manufactured regular window glass, drinking glasses, and before the Revolution in 1793 it belonged to Jacob Seiler from Petites Pierre Lutzelstein and Joseph Burgun from Meisenthal. It was closed down in 1788 and both moved to St. Louis in Munzthal where Jacob Seiler became director. I will talk about this name later concerning the crystal company in St. Louis. I received some more information concerning the glassworks through an article called "Bulletin de la Societe Niederbronnonise d'Histoire et d'Archeologie: Le Village de Mattstall", from F.R. Traubmann. The founder was named Ulrich Greiner according to a letter from 1556 which says, I, Ulrich Greiner certify that Mr. Heinrich from Fleckenstein, Count and master to me and my descendants built at the glassworks and allowed us to work the Buchwald of Mattstall. In the chronik from Georges Walter the first baptism of a child happened in Soucht during the siege of the Swedish War in the year 1644. The name of the child is not known. Robert Greiner of Augsburg wrote to me in 1958 that Christoph Greiner used to be the master of the glassworks in Mattstall. He was the son of Balthasar Greiner, glaser at Neuenlautern (Wurttenberg). Neuenlautern was founded in 1505 or 1507 by Melchior and Peter Greiner. Therefore, both Greiners from Mattstall and Holbach came from Neuenlautern Glaslautern. I visited the glassworks at Mattstall two years ago. Comte Pourtales and his wife who is English, now are the owners. Above the entrance of the house I found a stone plate with the following inscriptions: God Bless my entrance and exit from now to eternity. On the left side it says: I, Johann Peter Greiner, glassworks master lived here in 1663. Page 43 On the right side Sibilla Catharina Greiner from Speier the year of 1663. Robert Greiner also mentioned other names. Johann Jacob Greiner, glassworks master married the daughter of Ebert Heinrich, glaser at Mattstall on August 14, 1659. They both returned to Mattstall. Johann Jacob Greiner was the son of Christoph Greiner, glassworks master at Mattstall. Another son, Caspar Greiner also a glaser married a girl from Landau. So much concerning the glassworks Mattstall which you can attribute to the land of the Bitscheland. The glassworks in Mattstall was operating approximately 100 years longer than the glassworks in Soucht. It was closed in 1788. The Glassworks Soucht After forty years of the already existing glassworks they had to travel farther to get wood. According to a report from Georges Walter the Munzthal Huttmaster working on the Count von Bitsche, asked the Count for permission to build a new hut. The Count supposedly told him "geht und soucht" ¬meaning "go out and search". This is how Chambre George tells it in his chronik. According to our elders and what I have read in our oldest Soucht church book, the name Soucht came about the following way: The glaser under the Bitscher reign had the following wish - to build a new hut on a different place and when they were asked where they want to have it, they're answer was "we don't know yet". The Count then replied "geht und soucht". They went to search for a new place and gave it the name Soucht. Before the valley was called Kammerthal. This name came from a piece of rock about Soucht. The first Huttmasters in the Soucht church book and in many other documents are Stenger, Zauter (Walter?), Kreiner (Greiner). Marcus writes in his book, "Les Verreries du Comte de Bitche", that the glassworks in Soucht was built in 1629. The founder had the first name Leonhardt (full name was Leonhardt Greiner), former huttmaster in Munzthal. There were also other glasers like Martin, Johann, Paul, Adam and Stenger - for example the already mentioned Andre Stenger and Bastien Fleckenstein and others.

Page 44 It was not always possible to live in peace for the glasers during that time period due to wars and rival Counts. The already mentioned huts in Hutzenthal, Glasthal, Speckbronn and Eidenheim were victims of such wars. The new glassworks in Soucht weren't meant to be any luckier. Four years after the founding the Swedish entered the country. The Lothringer lost the battle on August 13, 1633 - the battlefield was in Pfaffenhoffen. As soon as the Soucht glassmakers were comfortable in their new Kammerthal home, they were surprised by this new war. The historian called Parisot writes, "Our land sees a lot of sorrows through the war. People are ruined, villages are burned down, and the surviving people have to face the hardest times of their lives. They kill their pets, their harvest and industry is ruined. A priest of that time writes... no tongue can speak, no feather can write, no ear canhear what we have seen. Everywhere there is hunger and death. The dead are without funerals. The few that are still alive live from acorns, roots, straw, lizards, dead animals and human flesh. Pestilence plagued the country during that time too. No one is safe from the hunger. All these are dramatic reports and if you read the book from J. Florange entitled "La guerre de Trente Ans en Lorraine", 1935, it will give you the chills. The Lothringer people did not only have to suffer through the Swedish War but also from the French troops. What happened during those horrible years from 1633 to 1638 in Kammerthal is not known. We suppose that they moved into the woods and stayed safe while the other villages of the Bitscheland were destroyed. Only God knows how many tears, how much fear and sorrow the people of the villages had to endure.





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