The “Custos” Anthon Dietrich Peithmann died in Wathlingen 1686


Some bearers of the name Peit(h)mann, whose origin has not (yet) been completely determined, lived in the vicinity of Hannover during the 17th century. It seems natural to assume that they are relatives or descendants of the Peit(h)mann branch “C” in that city on the river Leine. Among those was the schoolmaster Anthon Dietrich Peithman in Wathlingen, district of Cell.


The church registers of Wathlingen record that Anthon Dietrich Peithman died on March 20, 1686. In the registers of baptisms, weddings and deaths, which date as far back as 1630, there are No further dates mentioned of him or of other bearers of the name Peit(h)mann. So we Do not know his age, marital state, or whether he had children. Little light is shed on the circumstances under which Anthon Dietrich started his services in Wathlingen.


The post of “schoolservant” in Wathlingen had probably been established around the times of the Thirty Years War (Pröve, 1925). During the General Visitation of the churches in the Principality of Lüneburg (1667-1669) it was found “that there is hardly an elementary school system worthy of the name. Most schoolteachers were not only sextons, but also at the same time innkeepers, tailors, cabinetmakers, glaziers and tillers of the fields. Therefore most of them left the teaching to their children or their wives” (Fischer, 1898).


In the framework of this visitation the Head Superintendent Hildebrandt also came to Wathlingen, where the local pastor Johann Behnen described “his crisis with the school” to him. The “Generalissimus” explained “that such efforts for the schools were not reputable for the pastor”. The school should be “run by a special schoolmaster (if only the funds were available) or by a sexton, if he is found to be able enough” (Pröve, 1925).


Soon after that, in 1668, Anthon Dietrich Peithman started in his office as church- and schoolservant in Wathlingen. He is the fourth schoolmaster or sexton there whose name we know. Nothing is known of his previous activities.


There are no details known of the work of Anthon Dietrich Peithman in Wathlingen. In the entry of his death in the church register he is called: “Custos” (=sexton). This name was typical for teachers who not only taught, but also had to render numerous services to their village’s church and parish. “As sexton, the teacher must be helpful and willing to do what the pastor requires for his ecclesiastical and official functions, such as baptisms, funerals, weddings, the holy communion, etc.. The sexton must hand the pastor the usual things and also sing, pray, and help with other ceremonies. – A village sexton had often learnt the necessary things from his father who had had the same profession. “From him he learnt how to read, write, and do the 4 sorts of arithmetic, the catechism and the church hymns by ear” (Fischer, 1898).


During his 16 years of service in Wathlingen, Anthon Dietrich Peithman served under three different ministers. Until 1672, the aforementioned “Johan Behnius” was minister. After him followed his son, Friedrich Behnen, from 1672 until 1679 and after 1679 Michael Zimmermann, son of a rector from Lüneburg.


Anthon Dietrich Peithman exercised his office as schoolmaster until 1684 – about 2 years before his death. But even before that another son of Johann Behnen had taken his office as sexton of the village. He also became Anthon Dietrich’s successor as schoolmaster, so that from then on both offices were once again united in one person (Pröve, 1925).


Mr. Walter Pohlsander (Salt Lake City, USA) referred me to the schoolmaster Anthon Dietrich Peithman in Wathlingen.


Unprinted Sources

Church registers of Wathlingen (Celle)



see German text





From the Life of the Army Chaplain, Pastor and Consistorial Councillor: Ludwig Peithmann (1662-1731)


In Ludwig Peithmann we are confronted by a minister who led an unusually active and eventful life for his times, at the turn of the 17th to the 18th century. As young clergyman, he witnessed the struggles between the Christian Europeans and the Islamic Turks over the Occident. Later he took an active part in the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in the Prince-bishopric of Osnabrück after the Thirty Years War. From the numerous documents that have come down to us we can trace the life of a personality who remained faithful to his own beliefs even in difficult times, but always acted upon good reflection, adroitly, steadfastly, and courageously. All 10 sons and sons-in-law of Ludwig held honourable offices and presented him with at least 56 grandchildren.


Ludwig Peithmann was born in Bückeburg presumably as the youngest child of the rector Master Ludwig Peithmann (died in 1683), who was later pastor in Altenhagen, and he was christened there on April 13, 1662. His mother, Catharina Sophia Prange, was the daughter of the pastor and superintendent Johann Prange (1588-1654) in Bückeburg. Ludwig was the first member of the Peit(h)mann family to study at the University of Jena. He enrolled there on May 13, 1681 (Jauernig and Steiger, 1977).


Participation in the War against the Turks


It is likely that Ludwig Peithmann joined the Volunteer Army of Brunswick and Lüneburg shortly after he had finished his studies. This army had joined the Republic of Venice in its fight against the Turks in Greece. After their defeat in the battle at the Kalenberg (near Vienna) in 1683, the Muslim armies, which had advanced to Central Europe, retreated to the Balkans. Venice exploited this weakening of the enemy troops to reconquer its former Greek possessions in 1684. Duke Ernst August I of Brunswick and Lüneburg, who ruled in Hannover for 1680 until 1698, belonged to those European sovereigns who “rented” mercenaries to the rich Republic of Venice, which was short of men.


The fight against the Turks may have been a territorial war for the Venetians, but for the other Europeans, its primary purpose was the defence of the Christian faith against the attacking Mohammedans (Röhring, 1975). This must have been the reason for the young and probably eager theologian Ludwig Peithmann to join in the battles in Greece.


We know a good deal about the course of the military campaign thanks to the diary of Sergeant Joachim Dietrich Zehe. It bears the title “Description of the March of the Princely Hannover Troops to Morea (=Peloponnesia) and of the Curious Occurrences There during the Three Campaigns of 1685, 1686 and 1687” (Röhrig, 1975). In his notes, Zehe mentions the military chaplain Peithmann three times.


We can gather from an entry in the church register of (Bad) Essen (see p. 79) that was made after his return from Greece that Ludwig Peithmann was not among the first three Hannoverian Infantry Regiments to go to Greece. These had left Hannover with about 2500 men in January 1685, and had fought the first Levantine campaign in August and September with heavy casualties. He was probably among the 1700-man reinforcement that started for Venice in the spring of 1686 under the command of Count Karl Ludwig of the Palatinate (1658 – 1688) in accordance with the treaty of January 13, 1686, between Ernst August I and the Republic of Venice. They joined the remaining 1500 men of the first campaign on the Greek island of Leukas. The Venetian land troops under the command of the former Swedish Field Marshal Count Otto Wilhelm of Königsmarck conquered the harbours Navarino and Modon in the south as well as Napoli de Romania (=Nauplia) in the east on September 3 during the Levantine campaign. The names of the cities are first mentioned in the same order by Ludwig Peithmann.


The winter quarters of the Hannoverians under the command of count Karl Ludwig were set up partly in Napoli and partly in Zante. Here Zehe reports about Ludwig Peithmann for the first time:


“Zante, February 1687

21st: Death of Colonel Schütze after his prolonged illness and on the following day

22nd: burial in a Greek church towards evening. 10 sergeants carried him, and 4 lieutenants accompanied them and bore the corners of the shroud, decorated with long black crepe. Next to the corpse went 12 petty officers, each of whom carried two wax torches bound together by black crepe. The corpse was followed by the Count and all the officers of our troops. The Prince’s Regiment marched in separate platoons in front of and behind the corpse; the ten flags of the Regiment were furled and bound in black crepe and were carried by a standard-bearer. As the corpse was brought into the church, the whole regiment sat down in the square in front of the church. The Master Peitman held a beautiful funeral address, and when the corpse was then lowered into the earth, the regiment shot three salutes. In the evening, all the officers were invited to the funeral meal and were well treated.”


Schnath (1938) writes about the lamentable state of the Hannover troops in the winter 1686/1687: “This time, too, the losses due to the infectious diseases were a lot heavier than the actual casualties. When they moved into their winter quarters, hardly 500 men of the Hannover soldiers were still able to do duty; 1300, among them 58 officers, had been killed during the campaign, the survivors were in the saddest situation and in discontented spirits. They were used by the Venetians in the most reckless way as cannon fodder, were deceived and were told lies...”


In July 1687, a new Hannover Regiment arrived. The aim was the definite conquest of the peninsula Morea. “Having landed on July 22nd near Patras, Morosini and Königsmarck blew up a Turkish corps, took the fortresses of Rion and Antirrhion at the narrow entry to the Gulf of Lepanto (the so-called small Dardanelles) and moved forward, cutting off Peloponnesia , over the Isthmus of Corinth to Athens, whose Acropolis was defended by 600 Turks. The city and the fort were taken at the end of September. Thus the campaign of 1687 ended. It had caused fewer casualties than the previous one, for the Hannover troops only lost about 479 men” (Schnath, 1938).


About Athens we read in the diary of Sergeant Zehe among other things:


Athens, October 1687

8th: There are 5 Turkish mosques, and in Athens as well as around it there are 200 Greek churches. In 150 of them the holy mass is read daily. In this place lives the Archbishop, who is a man of great reputation. Upon the request of Field Marshal Königsmarck, we were granted the right to use a Turkish mosque for our church services. We then cleaned it, an altar was set up, and on October 6th, when the gospel reading concerned the royal weeding, we celebrated our first church service there. There were so many officers and soldiers, also Greek and Italians, that not a single person more could have found standing room. People were crowded in the doorways and all around the church. Mr. Peithmann, the field chaplain of the Count’s, Regiment, gave a marvellous sermon, in which he spoke of the dedication of the church first, and that the best ceremonies for this purpose were true worship and to follow God’s unaltered own words. We thanked God that He had driven out the Mohammedan abomination from that place and shown us His great Grace by allowing us to proclaim the Holy Gospel in there. After the sermon, we sang the Te deum laudamus, and concluded with the benediction.


Athens, November 1687

27th,: Today after the sermon a small Negro was baptised who belongs to the Field Marshal, and the Field Marshal himself, Major General Ohr, Colonel Cordon and Lieutenant Colonel Goer as well as the wives of the Field Marshal, of one of the colonels and of a captain all stood as his godparents. The boy was interrogated by Master Peitmann in Italian as to all points of faith, all of which he could answer well and was then baptised and called Carl Gustaf.


In the spring of 1688, the survivors of the Levantine regiments from Hannover returned to their homeland via Venice. For the 730 miles from Venice to Hannover, the group of soldiers that Zehe was in took from April 18th until May 12th, which means that they did 30.4 miles a day not counting a day of rest. Of the total of 6500 Hannover soldiers, who had fought as mercenaries for the Republic of Venice from 1685 until 1688, only little more than half returned to their homes. Among those men was Ludwig Peithmann.


Assignment of the Parish in (Bad) Essen


After the strain of the war, winter quarters and return march Ludwig Peithmann did not have time to rest. His sovereign, Duke Ernst August I, appointed him on May 21st, 1688, in a document of that same day (see figure 1) as pastor in (Bad) Essen in the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück. Following the death of the Osnabrück Bishop and Cardinal Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg in 1661, Ernst August of Brunswick and Lüneburg had assumed the regency over the Prince Bishopric of Osnabrück. In the peace of Westphalia of 1648, it had been agreed for this important jurisdiction that both confessions should have equal rights and that the bishops should alternate, i. e. rotate between a Catholic and a Protestant bishop. The Protestant prince-bishops were to be drawn from the Brunswick-Lüneburg dynasty (Smechula, n. d.). In a “collation” (=transferral) letter of May 21st, 1688, to the consistorial councillors the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück, Duke Ernst August gives the reasons for transferring the parish of Essen to Ludwig Peithmann, and lists the rights and obligations related to this office (StA Osnabrück, Rep. 701 I, nr. 600):


To the worthy, honourable and learned councillors who have been called to my consistory in Osnabrück, and to all and sundry of my faithful subjects. We, Ernst August, by the Grace of God, do hereby proclaim that after the death of our former pastor to Essen, A. Wittlage, in our Diocese of Osnabrück, this office, which has been provisionally held by Master Gerhard Mormann, is, by our Grace and by the power vested in us to transfer and install clergy, hereby conferred upon the military chaplain Ludewigh Peitmann who has come back with our troops from Greece and who has a reputation of credibility, good talents and pious life. We confirm herewith and decree that he shall henceforth be our rightful minister and pastor in our parish of Essen. He shall preach and teach according to the Holy Bible, to the unchanged Augsburg confessions and the relevant symbolic scriptures. He shall administer the Holy Sacraments according to their institution by Christ and he shall do everything that a true preacher and pastor should do and according to his responsibility to God Almighty and Us as his country’s ruler. To this effect, we confer on him by Our Grace, the appurtenances, income, privileges and responsibilities which other pastors have enjoyed before him, old and new and nothing left out... In documentation whereof, we have signed this collation letter personally and have sealed it with our princely seal.

Signed: in our residential city of Hannover the 21st May 1688 Ernst Augusts


After taking charge of this assigned congregation in (Bad) Essen, Ludwig Peithmann wrote in the local church register: “In 1688 at Pentecost, I, Ludwig Peithmann, born in Bückeburg, was brought hither by the Superintendent General from Hannover, Mr. Hermann Barckaus, and introduced as theol. licent.. after having just returned from Morea, Greece, where, in my third year as military chaplain, I had witnessed the conquest of the fortresses Navarino, Modon, Napoli die Romania, Patras, Lepanto, Corinth, Athens, etc., and had had the good fortune to teach in person there, where the Holy Apostles Andrew, Paul, etc. had preached.”

Ludwig Peithmann married Catharina Margarethe Sickmann (born in Osnabrück around 1672, died in Essen April 22nd, 1729) on February 9th, 1690, in St. Catherine’s Church in Osnabrück. She was the daughter of the Osnabrück merchant and town councillor Bernhard Sickmann (died in Osnabrück July 29th, 1705) and his second wife A. Sara von Lengerke (born in Osnabrück August 16th, 1648, and died there January 8th, 1713).


Consistorial Councillor in Osnabrück


It was probably his personal contact with Ernst August I from the war against the Turks, in addition to his functions as pastor in Essen, that brought Ludwig Peithmann an office in the church leadership. The Duke, since 1692 also an Imperial Elector, appointed him as Ecclesiastical Councillor in the Protestant Consistory of Osnabrück. In this, Ludwig succeeded Pastor Johannes Niekamp from Melle, whom Ernst August had appointed as court chaplain in Wolfenbüttel. Consistories were commissions instituted by princes or magistrates after the Lutheran Church Constitution had assigned to them the management and administration of the church. consistories, in the name of the cities or rulers, were the highest administrative and representative bodies in church affairs and exercised supreme jurisdiction in matters of ecclesiastical law. Around the turn of the eighteenth century, there were two ecclesiastical members of the Osnabrück territorial consistory. – In the description of the events pertaining to the consistory, we follow the dissertation of Smechula (n. d.):


When Ludwig Peithmann took office in the consistory, the disputes between the Catholic cathedral chapter on the one hand, and the Protestant knights belonging to the cathedral’s foundation, along with the Protestant territorial consistory, on the other hand, about the so-called right of the equivaleny, had been going on for decades. The struggle dates back to the arrangements set in the Peace of Westphalia (1648) for an alternating succession of bishops. In spite of the provision that a Catholic bishop was not to meddle in the religious affairs of the Protestants, the Protestant knights of the foundation feared possible infringements by the Catholics. Therefore, as early as 16478, they had demanded – with the support of Sweden and the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg – a consistory as an ecclesiastical administrative body to protect the interest of the Protestants. the Catholics made their agreement dependant on being granted the right of equivaleny and further set conditions which for the most part seemed unacceptable for the Protestants, for example the “stabilisation” of the Jesuits in Osnabrück, the foundation of a new monastery and the transfer of a Protestant church to the Catholics.


The dispute, which was fought adamantly by both sides and in which Ludwig Peithmann was involved, seems most strange in view of today’s ecumenical efforts.


When in 1697 the Protestants made another attempt at a solution, Ludwig participated for the first time in the commission which had been set up for the purpose. The Protestant Knighthood feared Ernst Augusts’s sudden death, before the consistory could be fully instituted and recognized. The Catholic chapter only went so far as to recognize this commission, but continued to ignore the proposals of the Protestants, such as “properly” establishing the consistory, dividing ecclesiastical possessions in communities with a mixed population of Protestants and Catholics, and addressing the complaints of Protestant subjects.


When Ernst August died on February 2nd, 1698, the consistory had not been finally instituted, nor had the problem of equivalency been solved. the Catholic cathedral chapter assumed the responsibilities of government until a new Catholic bishop could be elected. Now a time for “many vexations" followed for Ludwig Peithmann. The cathedral chapter summarily dissolved the consistory, dividing the church possessions in the parishes with a mixed population and took control of all files and seals.


With a protest submitted four days later, the consistory succeeded in maintaining the ecclesiastical councillors Ludwig Peithmann form Essen and Jodocus Braun from Fürstenau in their positions. On February 18th, the Cathedral Chapter ordered Peithmann and Braun to appear in the living quarters of the Catholic Cathedral Senior von Korff together with their consistorial secretary, threatening them with dismissal if they failed to appear. Korff pointed out that the Cathedral chapter, as heir and owner of the cathedral foundation, was fully empowered to install, remove, and reconfirm members of the consistory in their office. He demanded that Peithmann and Braun recognized the Cathedral chapter “in politics, spiritualibus, et ecclesiasticis” – i. e.., as head of the worldly, spiritual, and ecclesiastical spheres – and to swear an oath of allegiance to him as Cathedral Senior. In vain Peithmann and Braun asked for fourteen days to consider the matter and seek the counsel of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the Cathedral Knighthood. In vain they referred to the provisions of 1648 which stated that a Catholic bishop had no right to interfere with the affairs of the Protestants. After massive threats the consistorial councillors saw no other option than to recognize the chapter “in politics”; they could not, however, bring themselves to recognize its sovereignty “in spiritualibus et ecclesiaticis.” when the Cathedral Senior, on behalf of the chapter, promised to comply with the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia, concerning the religious denominations in the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück, Peithmann and Braun were wise enough to give in to force and they swore the oath of allegiance. In this way they succeeded in being confirmed by the chapter in their positions on February 19th-


The new bishop, elected in April 1698, Charles of Lorraine, resided mainly in Vienna, so that the Cathedral chapter was able to further consolidate its power in Osnabrück,  and the consistory lost more and more of its importance. For Ludwig Peithmann, the senior of the town consistorial councillors and therefore bearer for the most responsibility for the Protestant church in the Principality of Osnabrück after the sovereign, this was “a time of distress”. In a letter dated January 3rd, 1704, he complains to the patron of the church in Essen, Baron von dem Bussche auf Hünnefeld, about the lack of resources:


“The Jesuits build palaces in Osnabrück and they receive rich tribute from all sides, yet we do not even know where to find a patch four our rags; nevertheless, I am ready to preach in a sheepfold or sub divo (=under the open skies), as I have done before, if my listeners might thereby be saved from sinful difficulties; we would send a collector to Hamburg or to other rich cities if only we had an explicit recommendation and if beggary was not so universal” (Dökel 1919).


In 1716, Ernst August II, the youngest son of Ernst August I, who had been born in 1674, took over the episcopate in Osnabrück, which then reverted to the Protestants. The consistory regained its importance and continued its dispute with the cathedral chapter over the right of equivalency (Smechula, n. d. ).


For 35 years Ludwig Peithmann exercised his functions as an advisor to the bishop. His inspection marks can be seen in many of the church registers of the former Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück that have come down to us from those times. When he died in 1731, he had installed all the Protestant ministers of the land in their congregations (Dökel, 1919).




Every Day Life of a Pastor


The State Archives of  Lower Saxony in Osnabrück maintain numerous files which give us some insight into the official and private life of the pastor Ludwig Peithmann in (Bad) Essen. In addition to the most important events, examples of the events in the everyday life of a pastor three hundred years ago should not be omitted.


Figure 3: Ludwig Peithmann’s seal (copy)


On October 2nd, 1688, Ludwig Peithmann gave the Bailiff von dem Bussche-Ippenburg his written assurance that he would continue to preach in his noble home, which was situated in the parish of Essen, and to dispense the sacraments until an ordained private preacher could be appointed. (Dep. 40 b, nr. 1421).  In a letter addressed to Duke Ernst August I Ludwig reported that a new organ by Master Hinrich Clausing from Herford had been installed in the church in Essen and that it was tested n the second Sunday of Advent, 1692. (Rep. 701 I, nr. 26). – On September 24th, 1694, the council and mayor of the city of Osnabrück acknowledged having received from Essens’s pastor, Ludwig Peithmann, a loan of five hundred Thalers in “good, convertible Mark coins (the Thaler calculated at 21 Osnabrück Shillings)”; twenty Thalers were paid in interest (Dep. 3a 1, XI, nr. 273). This sum was probably part of his wife’s inheritance. – In October 1967, Ludwig had a notary public protest for him against a fine of five Marks (“Mahlbrüchte”), for having allegedly cut five cartloads of firewood without permission. The fine had been assessed in the Hölting, a special court for wood-related matters, by the timer warden, who owned the exclusive right to cut trees in the March of Essen. Peithmann cited the testimony of seven witnesses regarding the traditional right of the pastor in Essen to freely cut firewood (Rep. 701 I, nr. 496).


The following letter of Ludwig Peithmann to Bishop Ernst August II of July 1716 (StA Osnabrück, Dep. 24, Rep. I, Fach 5 nr. 5) originated from a dispute between the minister and the patron of the church. It sows the long-standing consistorial councillor dared by that time to tell the young sovereign in polite but clear words that he expected him to make the decision in accordance with Peithmann’s wishes.


Most Honourable and Serene Duke,

Most Gracious Lord!

May it please Your Royal Highness to be humbly informed today, this Thursday morning, at 8 o’clock, Dame von dem Bussche auff Hunefelt sent four carpenters to the church of Essen, with which I have been entrusted, and without my knowledge undertook on her own authority to transfer the pulpit to another location. As such action can hardly find Your approbation, I must humbly bid Your Royal Highness firmly to forbid such violence and, should these workers continue with the translocation in the meantime, to sovereignly ordain the restitution of the pulpit before next Sunday, for I cannot ver well set foot tin the transferred pulpit without making a fool of myself in front of the congregation. Confident of Your most gracious granting of my request, I remain in all subjection


The most humble servant and suppliant

of Your Royal Highness,

my Gracious Lord,

L. Peithman


On September 10th, 1727, Ludwig Peithmann asked his sovereign for “real assistance in my duties of imminent old age and diminishing strength.” He proposed as an assistant his son-in-law, Otto Henrich Marmelstein, the private minister of the family von dem Bussche auf Hünnefeld (Rep. 701 I, nr. 600). The latter wrote subsequently: “On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, 1727, the Honourable Councillor and Pastor Ludewich Peithmann himself introduced me to the local congregation, and I was thereafter invested by Archdeacon Völkers” (Dökel, 1919).


Figure 4: Title page of the letter written by Ludwig Peithmann on September 10th,

               1727, to Bishop Ernst August II with the request for assistance in his duties.

               Ernst August’s brother was King George I of England, therefore Ludwig

               used the address “Royal  Highness (=Königliche Hoheit)”


During the last two years of his life, Ludwig Peithmann suffered from gout, so that he could no longer perform his duties in the congregation. After his death in 1731 his son-in-law and successor, Otto Henrich Marmelstein, made this entry in the church register of Essen: “On April 30th, Consistorial Councillor and Pastor Peithman died here in Essen in his 70th year of age, the same who was consistorial councillor for 35 years, pastor for 42 years in this parish and whom I assisted for four years as pastor in Essen.”





Eleven children were born in (Bad ) Essen from the marriage of Ludwig Peithmann to Catharina Margarethe née Sickmann (the spelling of their names is as recorded in their baptismal entries in the church register):


Anna Eleonora, Sophia Margaretha, Berend Ludwig, Eberhard Ludwig, Sabina Engel, Maria Anna, Clamor Albert, Wilhelm Ludwig, Johann Ludwig, Christoff Bernhard Ludwig and Wilhelmina Sophia.


There will be separate articles on the six sons in this chronicle. Berend Ludwig (born August 9th, 1694) became senior civil servant, courtier and chamberlain in Altdorf (near Speyer),

Eberhard Ludwig (born around May 9th, 1697, died in Hoyel, near Melle, in 1739), pastor in Barenaue (near Bersenbrück), Enger (near Herford), and Hoyel,

Clamor Albert (born July 6th, 1705, died June 9th, 1770, in Gehrde, near Bersenbrück), pastor in Gehrde,

Wilhelm Ludwig (born about September 1st, 1707, died 1766), senior civil servant in Frankfurt and senior bailiff at Stauffeneck in Wurttemberg.

Johann Ludwig (born about September 16th, died in Essen September 1st, 1782), steward in Gesmold, Streithorst, Sondermühlen and Hünnefeld (today all in the district of Osnabrück), and

Christoff Ludwig Bernhard (born December 22nd, 1711, died in Stadthagen March 25th, 1784), pastor in Heuerssen (near Stadthagen) and Steinhude, church superintendent in Bückeburg and senior preacher in Stadthagen.

The youngest daughter Wilhelmina Sophia (born March 31st, 1714) died at the age of three months and was buried on June 23rd, 1714.


The eldest daughter Anna Eleonora (born in Essen February 18th, 1691, died June 5th, 1759) married the Land Commissioner and subsequently Commission Councillor, Daniel Julius, Weissich – Weissing – (buried in Stadthagen on June 6th, 1734), on September 6th, 1712, in Essen. The father Ludwig Peithmann married this couple and later the other daughters as well. Daniel Julius Weissich had been previously married to Anna Maria Armgart Campe in his first marriage. She had paid citizenship fees in 1701 (as wife of the city clerk Weissig) in Stadthagen (Burchard 1927, p. 441). The couple and later the widow alone lived in house nr. 23 – today Obernstr. 18 – (Weiland 1974), They had at least 8 children who were born in Stadthagen:


Ignatius Ludewig Hermann (born around June 9th, 1714), later lawyer and notary public, since 1744 citizen of Stadthagen (Burchard p. 92)

Johan Daniel Wilhelm (born around January 16th, 1715)

Ludolph Reinhard (born around March 30th, 1717)

Sophia Juliane (born around August 26th, 1718,), married in Hamburg

Sabina Anna (born around December 1st, 1719)

Johanna Bernhardina (born around November 4th, 1722), married to Krüger, steward in Ippenburg Castle

Louyse Regine (born around June 20th, 1726), married to Ficken in Osnabrück, and

Christoph Traugott (born around January 9th, 1733), army captain in Walsrode.


Sophia Margareta (born around October 7th, 1692, buried in Stadthagen February 17th, 1732) married Hermann Wilhelm Wippermann on June 26th, 1714, in Essen. Wippermann (born in Petzen in February 1677, buried in Stadthagen on September 9th, 1745) was the son of the count’s steward “zur Brandenburg”, Karl Heinrich Wippermann and of Anna Esther Peitmann (see table 9). At the time, Hermann Wilhelm held his fathers position as steward “zur Brandenburg” in Schaumburg-Lippe; later he became an official and land commissioner in Stadthagen. In 1714, he paid citizenship fees in Stadthagen, and his wife did so in 1715 (Burchard p. 85; Mitt. lipp. Gesch. Landeskunde 254, p.226 – 233). They lived since 1717 in house Nr. 55 – today  Klosterstr. 36 – but also owned the neighbouring house Nr. 37 (Weiland 1974). The tombstone for both spouses is in the old cemetery in Stadthagen. They had 9 children:


Carl Ludwig Daniel (born January 18th, 1716)

Hermann Ludwig David,

Ester Margarete, married to Anton Ludwig Merkel, superintendent in Sachsenhagen,

Leonora Maria (born in Stadthagen about December 20th , 1720)

Lieborius Christian (born around February 11th, 1728)

Anna Friederica (born around September 1st, 1724, in Stadthagen, buried December 29th, 1759)

Eberhard Anton Wilhelm (born around February 11th, 1728)

Albrecht Friedrich (born in Stadthagen around August 2nd, 1730), and

Georg Conrad Wilhelm (born around January 30th, 1732, in Stadthagen)


Sabina Engel (born in Essen September 13th, 1799) married on July 5th, 1718, in Essen the future consistorial councillor Georg Christian Brockhusen (born 1689 in the state of Hannover, died in Quakenbrück February 26th, 1759). In 1716 he was minister in Iburg, and from 1717 until 1732 second minister and from 1732 until 1759 first minister in Quakenbrück (Meyer 1941 and 1942). The death of Sabina Engel is not registered in the church register of Quakenbrück. The couple had at least 11 children who were all born in Quakenbrück (Pohlsander in a letter):


Georg Ludwig (born around May 16th, 1719, buried in Quakenbrück August 8th, 1725)

Johann Daniel Ludwig (born around March 12th, 1721, buried in Quakenbrück May 7th, 1726)

Margarethe Sabine (born around February 1st, 1723), buried in Quakenbrück January 11th,  1724)

(E)Leonore Sophie (born around October 30th, 1724), married in Quakenbrück October 1st, 1744, to pastor Johann Ziegler

Sophia Elisabeth Maria (born around September 12th, 1726, buried in Quakenbrück September 13th, 1726)

Wilhelmina Ludovica (born around December 12th, 1727), married in Quakenbrück in November 20th, 1748, to Dr. iur. Johann Friedrich Christian Cassius, city clerk in Quakenbrück

Johann Christian (born around December 9th, 1729, buried in Quakenbrück May 21st, 1731)

Christiana Sabina (born 1732), presumably the same “Sabina Albertina” who married the Royal War Councillor von Lengering from Emden in Quakenbrück on June 6th, 1753

Johanna Albertina (born around February 28th, 1733), married to Pastor Dannemann in Wagenfeld near Diepholz

Maria Diederica (born around September 28th, 1736, buried in Quakenbrück April

                 12th, 1742), and

11.Gebeta Christina (born around February 18th, 1740)


Maria Anna (born in Essen April 27th, 1703, died in Essen August 10th, 1751) got married December 7th, 1722, in Essen to Otto Henrich Marmelstein (born around 1690 in Kirchlengern near Herford, died in Essen November 14th, 1759), son of Pastor Bernhard Adrian Marmelstein and his second wife Regina Anna Sicken from Quakenbrück. Otto’s great-grandfather Sebastian had been the “first assistant pastor in Levern after the Lutheran Reformation”, and his grandfather had been the second preacher after the Reformation “in Lennigern in the Principality of Minden” (de Jong in a letter, Schlichthaber 1752). Otto Henrich Marmelstein had served since 1717 as private minister on the neighbouring Manor of Hünnefeld. After having served as assistant to this father-in-law, he took over the position of pastor in Essen, which he had held until death. The married couple had nine children who were baptized in Essen:


Anna Sophia Margreth (born around January 14th, 1726)

Friedrich Ludwig (born around June 20th, 1727

Clamor Christian Bernhard (born about the Feast of Invocation 1729)

Eleonora Sophia Maria (born October 31st, 1730), married in Essen to Hermann Henrich Rodtbert, pastor in Ippenburg

Sabina Margaretha Henrietta (born March 25th, 1733), married in Essen on October 24th, 1753, to Anton Neddermann, merchant and tradesman in Hunteburg

Henrietta Dorothea Johanna (born August 8th, 1736)

Ludewig Leberecht Gottlieb (born August 8th, 1736)

Johann Fridrich Otto (born December 11th, 1737), married in 1774 to Anna Cath. Maria Greven from Buer, pastor in Neuenkirchen, near Melle, and

Karl Ludewich (born August 7th, 1740), pastor in Vörden.







I thank Mrs. Marianne Peithmann (Bad Essen-Wimmer) and Mr. Herbert Peithmann (Espelkamp-Frotheim) for their collaboration in looking though the church registers, Dr. Chr. Battenberg, presently in Hannover, G.E. d Jong (Bussum, Netherlands), H. Lochmann (Cologne), and W. Pohlsander (Salt Lake City, USA) who put additional data and archival copies at my disposal.


Unprinted sources:


 1.Church registers in Bückeburg and Stadthagen (county Schaumburg) as well as Bad

    Essen, Quakenbrück and Neuenkirchen, near Melle (county Osnabrück)

2. Files in the State Archives of Lower Saxony in Osnabrück

    a) Protestant Consistory (Rep. 701 I):

        nr. 26: documents concerning the construction of the organ in Essen

        nr. 496: documents concerning the free firewood for the pastor in Essen

        nr. 600: documents concerning the different pastors of Essen

    b) v. d. Bussche-Hünnefeld (Dep. 24), Rep. I, case 5, nr. 5

    c) v. d. Bussche-Hünnefeld (Dep. 40 Betr.:), nr. 1421

    d) City of Osnabrück (dep. 3a 1), XI, nr. 273




see list in German









The Master Bookbinder August Peitmann (1850 – 1938) in

Stadthagen and his Family



What is today the Harten bookstore, owned by Mrs. Käte Beinsen, in Stadthagen, Obernstr. 58 was in the possession of the Peitmann family for 75 years. Sources for this article include several essays and articles published in local newspaper supplements about the bookstore founder, the master bookbinder August Peitmann, as well as on his artistically talented son Friedel (see bibliography at the end of this article). The personal data were taken from Dr. Heiner Peitmann’s genealogical card file.


Year as an Apprentice and Years of Travel


August Louis Peitmann was born in Stadthagen on September 29th, 1850, as the next-to-last of seven children of the Stadthagen baker and city senator Dietrich Wilhelm Peitmann (1810 – 1866) and his wife Johanne Marie Elisabeth Ehlerding. While his brothers Daniel Ludwig Wilhelm (1838 – 1902) and Ludwig Heinrich (1843 – 1922) became bakers – the elder one inherited the bakery in Niedernstr. 35 – August turned to the bookbinding art, hitherto unkown in the family. He was apprenticed to the master bookbinder Heinrich Heine in Niedernstr. 32. During this time – 2 years after August had left school – his father died on September 5th, 1866.


August Peitmann was among the last of the Stadthagen master craftsmen to have been a journeyman. In what was usually a three year period of travelling, the young journeyman was supposed to expand his practical and commercial experience from competent masters of the craft at home and abroad. When the new commercial regulations were introduced in 1869, the obligation to travel after the apprenticeship was abolished in Germany.


Figure 1: August Peitmann in his early years


Figure 2: the August Peitmann bookstore in the house Obernstr. nr. 58 in Stadthagen


Very detailed diaries have been preserved from the bookbinder journeyman August Peitmann. “He reports in detail and captivatingly, with an eye for the important and the unusual. The good, fluent German which he writes makes it a pleasure to read his diaries” (Bernstdorf, 1954). In the following excerpt August Peitmann begins by describing the start of his journey which had been delayed by the outbreak of the war against France:


“Stadthagen, July 27th, 1870

The day on which I was supposed to travel to unknown places for the first time had been set for July 19th as early as three weeks before that date. On July 7th, 8th and 10th, I had participated enthusiastically in the festival in Stadthagen featuring shooting matches, and thought seriously about the preparations for my departure, when sudden and unexpected obstacles came in my way. On July 13th Mr. Heine asked me to wait another eight days because work had not been finished on account of the Festival. At first this was not at all to my liking, but then I decided it was not important after all whether I started eight days earlier or later, and so I promised to stay. On the following day my brother Heinrich came from Hannover and ordered me to postpone my departure until he would have found employment for me. – I was at this point that the war started like a bolt from the blue.”


August Peitmann continues to report on the mobilisation in Stadthagen and on the further events of the war, as far as he had knowledge of them. Three months later he continues his entries:


Hannover, October 27th, 1870:

Of course, I could not have gone to foreign parts, in such circumstances, for where might I have hoped to find employment? Everywhere trade, commerce and crafts had come to a standstill. The war had disturbed the peace and happiness of many thousands. –


I, too, hoped that the war would soon come to an end, for my work went badly, and I earned 10 sgr (=silver coins) less than before the war. But my hope was not realized. Then suddenly, on Saturday, August 27th, I received a letter from my brother Heinrich, who wrote that he had found employment for me in Hannover.


Heinrich had been working in Hannover for quite some time and since the beginning of the war he had been drafted there a garrison baker. After I had received the letter, I made its contents known to Mr. Heine and received his permission to leave the next day, although I should have given 14 days notice. The essentials for my journey were procured as quickly as possible, and on Sunday afternoon, August 18th, at 5:30 I left Stadthagen. By 7 o’clock I was at the train station in Hannover, my first time in a larger city. As it would soon be dark and was furthermore raining, I went right away to the home of Mr. Osterwald. s Mr. Osterwald was not at home, I wanted to go find my brother, but I had to hire someone to take me to the garrison bakery where my brother worked, who left me there.


My brother was not at work just then, but in his quarters, and I had to ask directions many times in order to get to Kreuzstraße. Here I found him at home when I arrived at 9 o’clock that evening. He was delighted to see me. I stayed with him for the night, and on the following morning I stepped into another workshop for the first time. After I had received “condition” (=work, position, employment) from Mr. Osterwald, I went to see the master in charge of the journeymen and the doctor in order to become a member of the health insurance organization. At 1:00 P.M. work started for me. Apart from myself there were 6 journeymen and 2 apprentices. The machines and iron presses that I saw here for the first time were cardboard scissors, a cutting machine, a mechanical press, a roller and a press for gilt edging. At first, the wok consisted of various calendars, which were made for bookshops. About 1000 pocket and desk calendars were being made when I started to work there. They were bound wholly in “alleur”, the covers were pressed and gilded. Later, several thousand working calendars were made.”


From Hannover August Peitmann went to Goslar with another journeyman via Brunswick and Wolfenbüttel. “They planned to continue to Saxony’s lovely capital, Dresden. But the two men were not in a hurry. Everything beautiful and worth knowing was taken in along the way, and therefore they started by looking deeply into the Harz Mountains” (Bernstorf, 1955):


”September 16th, 1872

We had left Harzburg with the intention to climb the Brocken and after two hours’ march we had already reached the level of the clouds. Around 4: 00 that afternoon we came to a lonesome farm, Molkenhaus (“Whey House”), in which there was a dairy. We asked for sour milk, and when we had received and drunk it, the owner of Molkenhaus showed us the continuation of the footpath. After about a quarter hour’s walking on a level path we reached a rather deep ravine, through which the River Radau flowed over rock debris; a steep path led down to a crude bridge over the Radau, made form branches.


From then on we had to climb constantly; the air between the dark pine trees was dank and dreary, for the trees were so close to each other that hardly a sunbeam penetrated them. The ground was so slippery that one had to take care not to fall on the damp moss. Following the instructions of the owner of Molkenhaus we had always followed the path that looked most used, and therefore we had missed a turn which had seemed to us less used. Now the path seemed to get ever more lost in the moss so that it was hardly recognizable until it finally ended, hardly wider than a foot, at a highway.


We met the landlord in the foyer. He showed us to the coachmen’s quarters after he heard that we were artisans. Here, in the lights of the kitchen lamp were four or five coachmen at the table with the house servant, telling of the journeys and drinking assiduously from their beer bottles, which stood in front of them. We had supper in their company, and after the coachmen had fed their horses they went to bed at 10 o’clock. Straw mattresses were rolled out on the floor for us and were covered with woollen blankets, on which we soon found our rest, hoping that the coming day would show us the glory of a beautiful sunrise.


And the morning came, -but not the sun. Impenetrable fog surrounded the vicinity so that we could not see the house any longer twenty steps away looking for heather blossoms. With our bouquets we returned to our room, freezing and with fingers stiff from the cold, and we were very happy when we got the opportunity to take an omnibus to Wernigerode, all the more so as we were told that the sun was not expected to come through that day.


The omnibus left at about 10:00 A.M.. One gentlemen had rented the wagon alone. Although the coachman had told him nothing of our joining him on this journey, he soon agreed to it upon the condition that we would join him on his little side trips. This was most agreeable to us, for we, too, wanted to see the most beautiful spots of the Harz Mountains. After 1 1/2hours of driving along a slightly bumpy road, on the sides of which there had been charcoal burning places with smouldering heaps of wood,  the wagon stopped at the foot of a gigantic cliff, the so-called Ilsenstein (=Ilse’s Rock). This cliff was climbed by making a small detour and we had a wonderful view from there over the small town of Ilsenburg in the Ilse Valley, for the fog had diminished. On the highest point of the cliff was an iron cross (probably erected to commemorate some event).


After a short stop we followed a steep, almost vertical path down the cliff and to the wagon, which soon reached the town of Ilsenburg. During the midday rest there, we had the opportunity to look at the interior of an iron-rolling mill nearby. After that we continued on a nice, wide highway through a pleasant landscape, blessed with the finest weather. The tops of the mountains which we had just left were still covered with a few clouds and thus presented an imposing sight.


At about 2:00 P.M. we reached the friendly little town of Wernigerode.”


The two journeymen travelled on from Halberstadt to Dresden by train, and arrived there on September 20th, 1872:


“The landscape had changed. Instead of seeing fertile fields of grain all around a before, we had vineyards on our left, planted on the flanks of fairly high hills, and the towers of Dresden came into view on our right. Having arrived at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we first looked for lodging and then for work. By the following morning we had already both found “condition” (=work), and at 1 o’clock in the afternoon we stood ready at our workbenches, dressed in smocks and aprons. My friend Wilhelm worked for Mr. Köhle, Palmstraße 20, and I for Mr. Hilsebein, Große Brüdergasse. This we had reached our first great destination after eight days of journey.”


Figure 3: August Peitmann with his daughter Margret


Master Bookbinder and Bookseller


Upon his return and after passing the examination to become a master bookbinder, August Peitmann bought house nr. 58 on Obernstraße (formerly house nr. 73) from the master painter Louis Brunstermann, in order to start his own business. The commercial register of the city magistrate shows that the bookbinding store of August Peitmann was registered on September 26th, 1877. This step took some courage, as there were already two older bookbinding shops in Stadthagen.


On October 23rd, 1880, in Stadthagen August Peitman married Karolina (Lina) Helene Dorothea Hachmeister (born Pohle, near Apelern, on March 17th, 1932), daughter of the tax-collector Karl Adolf Friedrich Hachmeister. Until her marriage she had been selling hats for women and children together with Ida Wollenweber in Obernstraße, house nr. 48. After her marriage she moved the shop to her husband’s home and continued the business by herself.


On the development of the Peitmann bookstore we can cite a contemporary with a vivid and clear description (Wehling, 1937):


“In the beginning the bookbinding shop and the stationary shop had been the main thing as was the case in the other bookbinding shops of the city, too, but the stock of books kept growing year by year. Peitmann did not only sell schoolbooks, but also other literature for youth. A lending library was set up which has not existed anymore for two decades. The bookstore gradually grew bigger and bigger. Under the date o February 5th, 1887, we find in the commercial register of the city magistrate the entry: “August Peitmann: Books, Lending Library.” In 1905 the hat shop had to be given up since the space was needed for the steadily growing book and stationary store and the bookbindery.


The years from the foundation of the business until World War I were years of growth and prosperity; they were golden years. The name Peitmann became known in the city and the countryside, the bookstore developed into a business well-known even outside of Stadthagen for paper, stationary,  schoolbooks, youth publications, belles-lettres, and scientific works. So many townspeople and farmers from the surrounding country side bought their pens and exercise books, their songbooks and their science books at Peitmann’s when they went to school decades ago. So many boys from the boys’ grammar school were always in and out of the Peitmann shop before or after school hours or even at recess. A rich circle of customers grew, and the little Peitmann served them all with the same amount of attention and often humour. Industrious and eager, he worked in his shop day in and day out and executed with great care and dedication all of the tasks assigned to him. He found faithful helpers in his wife and also, over the years, in his children, who stood at his side in the shop.”


In his essay for the 60th anniversary of the bookshop Wehling (1937)writes about the personality of August Peitmann:


“Who does not know the little master bookbinder on Stadthagen’s Obernstraße. His stature is not great, but his nature and his will were tough and unbending, and his diligence was always great. He turned 87 on September 29th of this year. And up to the last years he used to bind books from time to time in the little room at the back of the shop. The real workshop is at the side of the house next to the yard. It has seen a lot of painstaking attention to detail and effort, many days of work and industrious, busy hours during the long years.” – “As in many traditional middle-class families in Stadthagen the life of Aug. Peitmann shows the rigorous, often stubborn Stadthagen civil pride, which will energetically represent its own standpoint.”


Hardly ever did August Peitmann fail to go to church on Sundays. He always took his accustomed seat under the pulpit made by von Oheimb in St. Martin’s Church. About one and a half years after their golden wedding anniversary, his wife died. After that his own physical and mental abilities diminished visibly. On May 2nd, 938, he passed away at the age of 88 years. The local newspaper reported on the funeral ceremony:


“The cupboards and shelves full of books in the small shop were hung dark and solemnly, where the coffin stood between wreaths and laurel trees, on the spot where the deceased had stood so often during his long life, serving his customers from town and country. From this place of his long-lasting work, from his small and well-loved little house, where he had stood by his loved ones for better or for worse, he started his last journey to God’s acre.”


The couple August Peitmann and Karoline née Hachmeister had three children: Friedel, Johanne und Margret.


Figure 4: August Peitmann with his daughter Johanne


Son Friedel


The son Wilhelm Georg Friedrich (nicknamed Friedel) was born in Stadthagen on March 17th, 1883. After attending elementary school from 1893 until 1896, he went to high school in Stadthagen. His teachers noticed Friedel’s artistic gift. His inclinations led to his wish to become an art teacher. Yet, as the only son he was supposed to take over the parental business. Thus he learnt bookbinding in the paternal workshop.


Friedel Peitmann is described as a cheerful, sociable and humorous young man but also as modest and quiet, and always well liked as a guest. His talents for the arts were visible in the way he handled the pencil and the writing quill as well as in his love for music. He played the cello, violin, guitar and clarinet and founded a small orchestra for home music and for hiking songs.


Friedel Peitmann’s artistic work should not and cannot be properly appreciated here. That may be left to art experts. We only wish to give a short survey of his works.


Figure 5: Friedel Peitmann


Friedel Peitmann found his subjects close to home, mainly in turn-of-the-century Stadthagen and the surrounding countryside and its inhabitants. He observed the then quiet life of the citizens in his home town with open eyes and discovered its many little human shortcomings. The excesses at festivities and the boisterous tricks of the youths did not escape his attention. It is not surprising that caricatures play an important role in his artistic work and that satire composes  large part of his literary work.


Many pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours depict views of Stadthagen, for instance the portrayals in the series “Stadthagen in the Snow”. These drawings, showing the daily life in the city and countryside are also historical documents, for example, “Farmer’s Living Room”, “End of Work”, “High School Student” and “Martenjautmann”.


Under the pseudonym “Ölste” (=the oldest) Friedel Peitmann published poems and essays of humorous, contemplative, and local interest regularly in the local papers, and he did so in low German (=Plattdeutsch) as well. Some of his tales such as “Martenjautmann”, “May Trees” and “Hirzeböcke” have cultural-historical importance as well; they tell us about old customs in Stadthagen.


Friedel was allegedly in contact with Wilhelm Busch (a well-known German writer and artist), whose influence can be recognised in many of his portrayals. It is also said that the then well-known satirical review “Simplicissimus” and other weekly publications took note of his imaginative and humorous sketches and texts. Furthermore, Friedel produced witty drawings for advertisements.


In 1901 Friedel Peitmann exhibited his drawings in the so-called “Workers and Amateurs Exhibition” in Berlin and in 1912 at an arts exhibition in Bückeburg. In the summer of 1914 he showed some of his best drawings at the “Burga-Book and Graphics Exhibition” in Leipzig. The drawings were not returned to him because Friedel was drafted right after the outbreak of World War I and was sent to the French front immediately as sergeant of the 2nd Infantry Reserve Corps nr. 15. As early as September 17th, 1914, he lost his life in a battle near Reims as one of the first men from Stadthagen. He found his last resting place along the banks of the River Marne.


After Friedel’s parents had learnt the terrible news of the death of their son in December, they tried in vain to recover Friedel’s drawings from the Leipzig exhibition. These, however, were irretrievably lost.


Figure 6: “Mausoleum and the old Latin School in Stadthagen”, a pen-and-ink

               drawing by Friedel Peitmann


One of the special displays at the “Old Stadthagen” exhibition in October 1938 was dedicated to the “Works of Friedel Peitmann”. Karl Ludwig Harten, a grandson of August Peitmann’s sister Friederike Johanne Luise, intended to edit a small collection of poems before World War II. Because Harten was drafted and killed in action on the eastern front, however, the publication never took place. A large part of the remaining drawings and watercolours as well as the manuscripts of poems and stories had come into the hands of Friedel’s niece Ursula Grahl, and they are still in private hands in Stadthagen. The fulfilment of Ursula Grahl’s express wish, a permanent exhibition of he pictures ad writings of Friedel Peitmann at an appropriate place in his home town, is planned.


W. Weiland in Stadthagen made the works of Friedel Peitmann available to the public in a series of essays of the Stadthagen division of the Schaumburg-Lippischer Heimatverein e. V.. They were published under the headings of “Poems, Tales and Drawings of Friedel Peitmann”, “Watercolours, Pen-and-Ink Drawings and Sketches of Friedel Peitmann” and “Hercules – the Story of a Rascal in Words and Pictures”. Postcards showing the town according to pen-and-ink drawings by Friedel Peitmann can still be bought in Stadthagen bookstores, just as they had been on sale in his father’s business even before World War I.


Figure 7: “Children on Martenjautmann’s Day in the Obernstr. in Stadthagen”, pen-

               and-ink drawing by Friedel Peitmann



Selection of Friedel Peitmann’s Poems


The beautiful Days


These are the beautiful days,

When everything seems like in a dream,

When Mother Nature goes to rest

Contented and uncomplaining.


Why do you stand there, suffering,

And dreaming of the lost youth?

Is not the leaf in its golden garment

Much prettier than on a spring day?


The young springtide wakens it again,

Each leaf to new being.

Thus life billows up and down,

Resting only for its Sunday.


And this Sunday is no death:

A day of rest in the course of the world..

Should your happiness break into a thousand shards,

Life would build it up again.




           So it is!


            Such are people,

            At least fifty in three score:

They will warmly press your hands

And think: “You idiot!”

And if you were the mayor

And went walking down the streets,

The children would stand still

And take off their caps.

But once you had passed them,

They would laugh at you

And stick out their noses at you

And stick out their tongues at you.-

They will show you an owl

And will tell you that it is a crow;

And it does not matter at all

Who you are and what you are.-

Friends, when you arrive, will say:

“Welcome a thousand times!”

And when you leave, then they will think:

“The Devil with him!”




My Homeland’s Hills


My homeland’s hills are beautiful

Still woods on heights so far away

With Nordic oaks at signing springs

Though which the huntsman stalks his prey.


Such mighty forests have I seen

That there eternal twilight glows

Defiant cliffs in evening gold

Ravines, though which the wild creek rolls.


My homeland’s hills are fairer still

With youthful dreams and fairy tales

For sagas, poems, and the like

Can be born only their vales.



Transcript of the German hand-written text in the cartoon on p. 67:


Der bestechliche Posten


Vor “Vater Philipp” auf und ab

geht der Gefreite Zappenschlap.


Da raucht wohl einer, wie es scheint

Sofort gemerkt! Warte, Freund!


Der raucht ja-------Ei freilich!

Da ist die Sache schon verzeihlich.



Als er plötzlich seine Schritte hemmt

Ein Duft, der aus der Zelle kömmt.


Jedoch.....ein tüchtiger Soldat

Erweist sich auch als Kamerad


Und der Gefreite Zappenschlap

Geht rüstig auf und ab.





The Corruptible Guard


Before the jail walks back and forth

the valiant sergeant Pheebleworth.


There’s someone smoking there, I think.

My friend, you must desist that stink!


He’s smoking-------big deal!

The sergeant’s pardon is for real.





When suddenly outside the cell

His steps are halted by a smell.


And yet a soldier, brave and true,

Shows that he is a comrade, too.


Contented, Sergeant Pheebleworth

Continues to walk back and forth.


Figure 8: “The corruptible guard” by Friedel Peitmann



The Daughters


The elder daughter Johanne (born in Stadthagen February 8th, 1885, died there April 30th, 1960) remained unmarried. She helped her father, particularly after the end of World War I when his savings fell victim to the hyperinflation of 1923. On January 1st, 1925, Johanne took over the parental bookstore, although her father continued up to a ripe old age to bind books and to sell them. After she had managed the business for 28 years, she handed it over to Heinz Harten in 1953.


August Peitmann’s younger daughter Margret (born in Stadthagen February 26th, 1887, died there July 3rd, 1944) got married on September 7th, 1912, to the businessman Johann Grahl (born in Dresden February 5th, 1886, died April 6th, 1931), who was active in Stadthagen and in Berlin. They had two children: Ursula and Friedel. Ursula (born September 11th, 1913, died November 8th, 1980) did not get married and was active in remedial education in Clent Grove (West Midlands) in England. Friedel (born October 16th, 1919) was killed in action on October 24th, 1941, in Russia.




I thank Dr. Anne-Liese Maass-Peitmann and the municipal archivist, Mr. Friedrich Bartels, (both Stadthagen) for his information on the present-day whereabouts of Friedel Peitmann’s works.


Unprinted Sources:


Dr. Heiner Peitmann’s genealogical card index


            Literature: See German text


The first two generations of Peithmann Farmers

in the 19th Century in Unterlübbe


In the early 19th century an event of great importance for the Peithmann families of the main branch ”B” took place: Friedrich David Peithmann (1778 – 1850), son of a family with a rich tradition of theologians, became a farmer and the ancestor of 6 widespread rural family branches. The abolition of feudal obligations, the construction of a new farmhouse and the emigration of the first members of the family to the USA were also parts of the farm and family history of the previous century.


The Farm Owners


Friedrich David Peithmann was born in Frille as the fifth of 10 children of the pastor Eberhard David Peithmann (1743 – 1814) and his wife Anna Rebecca née Stohlmann, and he was baptised here on September 3rd, 1778. His father’s sphere of activity was ecclesiastically part of the county or principality Schaumburg-Lippe, where his ancestors had lived; politically it was part of the Prussian county of Minden. Frille is therefore the first station of the family history in Westphalia.


There is no information on the youth of  Friedrich David. In the entry documenting his marriage in 1807 he is mentioned as manager of Wietersheim Manor, situated west of Frille. We can only conjecture how he came to this position. Wietersheim had been an administrative unit for the Order of St. John of Jerusalem until the end of the 18th century. Until the end of 1796, the administrator of the Order had been Friedrich David Peithmann’s godfather, Major Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Kleist.


It is likely that there were personal contacts between the pastor Eberhard David Peithman and the administrator of the manor which was situated within the parish of Frille. And von Kleist may have assigned tasks in the management of the manor to his grown-up godchild. Obviously Friedrich David remained in the service of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem after von Kleist had died and General von Knobelsdorf had taken over Wietersheim in the beginning of February 1797. After his death at the end of 1799 the manor was secularised and sold to the head of the political administration of Minden County: Georg Philipp von Cronberg.


No details are known concerning the service of Friedrich David Peithmann in Wietersheim; the respective documents seem to be missing in the State Archives in Münster form the files of the Order and subsequent manor.


When the possibility of marrying into a farming family arose, Friedrich David gave up his management post. According to oral tradition a miller – probably the owner of the windmill of Rothenufflen near Unterlübbe – is said to have arranged the marriage. The 28-year-old Friedrich David Peithmann married the 40-year-old Caroline Sophie née Hahne, widow of Colon Johann Hermann (Ober-)Rodekopf on January 16th, 1807, on the farm at Unterlübbe nr. 16 in the Köhlterholz plat.


Johann Hermann Rodekopf (whose name had been Johann Hermann Peper until he changed his name to the name of his wife because she was the owner of the farm) from Hilverdingsen (par of Unterlübbe) had been married three times and had dies on April 20th, 1803, at the age of 62. He had 4 sons from his marriage on January 28th, 1759, to A. Marie Elis. Rodekopf, the heiress to the farm. The sons are mentioned in the church register as “at the present time all absent”. They were therefore not considered potential heirs to the farm. The second wife Anne Margrethe Vieland, whom he had married October 13th, 1796, had apparently remained childless. His daughter Caroline Wilhelmine Luise (born in Unterlübbe February 2nd, 1802), born from his third marriage on June 26th, 1800, to Caroline Sophie Hahne, had already died on January 29th, 1805.


Caroline Sophie Hahne was from Hamlin. She was the daughter of Anne Marie Elisabeth Lemke (born in Hamlin in 1722, died in Unterlübbe July 5th, 1804) and her third husband Johann Heinrich Andr. Hahne (died in Rothenufflen March 11th, 1793). A daughter from her first marriage to the citizen and brewer Wilhelm Bollmann in Hamlin had married the windmill operator Timm in Rothenufflen. It is to be supposed that the unusual marriage between the daughter of a middle class family from Hamlin, Caroline Sophie Hahne, and the farmer from Unterlübbe, Johann Hermann Rodekopf, had been arranged by Timm.


Figure 1; The married couple Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann and Marie Louise née Peper in Unterlübbe


Friedrich David Peithmann and Caroline Sophie née Hahne were married at home “because the bride was ill” and she expected to deliver very soon. The couple had 2 children, who were born in Unterlübbe: Caroline Regine Sophie and Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb.


Both siblings married half-siblings on October 16th, 1825. Caroline Regine Sophie (born in Unterlübbe February 7th, 1807, died in Hilverdingsen February 12th, 1887)married Hermann Ernst Heinrich Peper (born in Hilverdingsen April 30th, 1800, dies there 1844), son and heir of the farmer Joh. Ernst Heinrich Peper and his first wife An. Mar. Elis. née Wiethop in Hilverdingsen (Unterlübbe nr. 9). At least 4 children were born from that marriage:


1. Hermann Reinhard Dietrich Wilhelm (born November 20th, 1826),

2. Friederike Wilhelmine Louise (born February 22nd, 1830, died February 1844),

3. Karoline Wilhelmine (born February 2nd, 1833, died June 13th, 1894) married name Huck,

4. Wilhelmine Friederice (born March 26th, 1837).


Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann (born in Unterlübbe February 5th, 1809, died there January 5th, 1882)k, who was then only 16 years old and the prospective heir of the farm, married Marie Louise Peper (born in Hilverdingsen December 4th, 1808, died in Unterlübbe September 26th, 1889), also 16 years old and daughter of the farmer Joh. Ernst Heinrich Peper and his second wife Christine Luise Charlotte née Siebe in Hilverdingsen. Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb’s mother Caroline Sophie née Hahne had died June 4th, 1824 (according to an entry of her own in the church register of Bergkirchen). As Friedrich David did not marry again, the early marriage of his son brought a woman to the farm. The law court in Minden gave Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb permission to marry (venia actatis”). From 1827 the couple had 13 children (p. 108). Between April and August of 1847 “Rodekopf nr. 16” was supervisor (=mayor) in Unterlübbe. This can only have been Friedrich David Peithmann. We do not know the reasons for his short term of office. It is possible that the 69-year-old had to resign because of old age or illness. Two and a half years later he died. His son Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb exercised the office of supervisor from November 1861 until May 1867 (according to the registers of the public administration in Hille).





Dissolution of Manorial Privileges


Through his marriage, Friedrich David had become a Colon (=tenant farmer) in Unterlübbe in the same year that Napoleon’s brother Jérome Bonaparte started his transitory rule in the newly formed Kingdom of Westphalia. A royal decree of 1808 gave personal freedom to the peasant farmers, but the landlords retained their feudal rights over the land itself.


The occupants of the Rodekopf farm at Unterlübbe nr. 16 had to pay tax to Benkhausen Manor, northeast of Alswede Parish in the former district of Lübbecke. At the time of Friedrich David’s wedding in 1807, Philipp Klamor v. d. Bussche, called Münch, and after his death in 1808, his son, the “Imperial Russian Lieutenant Colonel” Georg Wilhelm v. d. Bussche, called Münch, appear as owners of the manor. In 1814, the colonel sold Benkhausen to his brother Karl, who was also district administrator of Lübbecke from 1813 until 1838 (v. d. Horst 1894-98). These two brothers were the negotiating partners of Friedrich David and Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb for 42 years until the farm was redeemed.


Sometimes there were differences of opinion about the yearly rent payments to the landlord by the tenant (=Colon), as the following record (from 1812 at the Benkhausen Manor) shows (State Archives Münster, Benkhausen Dep. nr. 7341):


The following persons were present 1. Colonus Friedrich Rodkop (= Friedrich David  Peithmann) nr. 16 in Unterlübbe and declared:

I possess 6.6 acres of land located  in Ufflen Woods for  which must be paid yearly to Benkhausen Manor 7 Reichthtalers 10 Groschen and 8 Pfennigs (see note, p. 105) or 30 Francs 38 Centimes in pure gold. So far I have always paid this amount in gold, but  I believe myself to only be obligated to pay in paper money, and I reserve my rights. Moreover, 2 Groschen 8 Pfennigs or 39 Centimes were refunded to me each time to pay for my meals.

Read aloud, approved and signed

signed Rodekopf


Obviously Friedrich David Peithmann’s petition had no success with Georg Wilhelm v. d. Bussche-Münch, for in the subsequent years the payments were always marked “gold” in the registers.


In 1821 Friedrich David made an attempt to buy out his obligations to Benkhausen Manor. He sought the aid of his brother-in-law, Pastor Röscher in Lübbecke, who was married to his younger sister Caroline Friederike Wilhelmine. Certainly Friedrich David believed that the mediation by a respected person, who was more neutral in this matter and probably better known to the landlord, would help to get his agreement. Pastor Röscher wrote this letter to Karl v. d. Bussche-Münch (State Archives Münster, Benkhausen Dep. nr. 7341):


Most Worthy Baron,

Highly-Honoured District Administrator,

Gracious Lord!

A relative of mine, the Colon Rothekopf nr. 16 at Uffeln, is obliged to pay a yearly canon (=rent) of 7 Reichsthalers 12 Groschen in gold from his land to your noble estate of Benckhausen. He wishes to buy out this canon, and he ahas asked me to inquire of your worthiness whether you will grant his wishes, and how much capital he would have to pay in this case? Requesting your esteemed reply, I remain respectfully

The most obedient servant of Your Worthiness, Roescher


Lübbecke, November 18th, 1821


(note by Baron v. d. Bussche-Münch:)

Pastor Röscher is to be informed that the sum for the letter of release for Colon Rothkopf is fixed at 186 Reichsthalers 4 Groschen in gold.

B, 2. 12. 21


This request seems to have remained without success. Only 31 years later was the farm at Unterlübbe nr. 16 exempted from the payments in the framework of a general reform of feudal obligations. Friedrich David Peithmann did not live to see that day, as he had died two years earlier, on February 6th, 1850.


Following an edict from 1811 a so-called General Commission was set up as a specialised administrative body for the “regulation of relations between landlords and peasants”. It was responsible for compensation former landlords for the loss of the feudal dues which the peasants owed as well as for the enclosure of common ground. a “special commissar”, often a specialist or civil servant from the local administration, carried out the process on the local level. According to a law of 1825 the general commissions – the one in Münster was responsible for Unterlübbe – set up district mediation authorities, consisting of the district administrator and two representatives from the district assembly, one each representing the landlords and the peasants. These authorities were charged with determining the appropriate compensation for the former landlords.


On August 19th, 1852, the Royal General Commission for Westphalia in Münster confirmed the redemption contract which had been signed on September 16th of the previous year between Baron v. d. Bussche-Münch and Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann, the relevant parts of which are cited here (State Archives in Münster, Benkhausen, Dep. 2341):


Between Baron von dem Bussche-Münch as the owner o Benkhausen Manor and the Colon Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann nr. 16 at Unterlübbe, holder of the so-called Rodekopf-Colonat, the following settlement has been concluded:


§ 1. On St. Michael’s Day (September 29th) of each year the Colon Peithmann was required to pay 7

       Reichsthalers 13 silver Groschen 4 Pfennigs in gold or 8 Reichsthalers 13 silver Groschen 1

       Pfennig in currency to the respective owners of Benkhausen Manor, and, in return, was entitled to

       receive 2 silver – Groschen and 4 Pfennigs for meals.

§ 2. the aforementioned payments and repayments are herewith cancelled.

§ 3. The value of the payments is higher than the value of the counterpayments, and a reduction of the

       compensation payment on the basis of § 63 of the Compensation Law of March 2nd, 1850, is not

      requested. The remaining value of the payments after deduction of the value of the counter-

      payments or the full rent is shown in column 5 of the summary in § 4. The tenant discharges all

      obligations toward the full rent that is shown there by paying 18 times that amount in cash, and the

      landlord has made claim to his legal authorisation to ask for bonds in the amount of 20 times the

      annual rent.

§ 4. The following summary chart shows the amount which the tenant has to pay as compensation

      capital and amounts, in bonds, and in cash from the Rentenbank Münster, to which the landlord is


1.       nr. 1

2.       Name of tenant: Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann nr. 16 – Unterlübbe

3.       Description of the encumbered property:

       of the farm and homestead: nr. 16 Unterlübbe

       of the specially encumbered parcels: all properties of the farm

4.       Volume and page of the mortgage register: Vol. I page 47

5.       Amount of rent: 8 Reichsthalers 9 silver Groschen 9 Pfennigs

6.       Redemption sum of 18 times this amount: 149 Reichsthalers 25 silver Groschen 6 Pfennigs

7.       Date on which the capital must be paid: April 1st or October 1st following the publication of the confirmed contract

8.       Of the compensation capital 148 ½ Reichsthalers will be paid to the state fund for the repayment of debts

9.       The Rentenbank receives a yearly revenue from the state fund / 5% of item: 8/4 ½ percent of item: 10 / 7 Reichsthalers 12 silver Groschen 9 Pfennigs

The landlord receives:

10.   in bonds: 165 Reichsthalers

11.   the remainder in cash of: 1 Reichsthaler 10 silver Groschen 6 Pfennigs

12.   Landlord: Baron von dem Bussche-Münch at Benkhausen near Lübbecke

§ 5.  The rent cancelled by § 1 will be paid for the last time this year on St.Michael’s Day in the 

         traditional way. From that date on until the payment of the compensation capital the   Colon

         Peithmann will have to pay that proportion of the full rent mentioned in § 4 item 5 which is due for

         that time directly to the landlord. And he will pay the sum mentioned in § 4 item 6 to the State

         Cashier in Minden on April 1st or October 1st (whichever comes first) after the date of the

         publication of the confirmed contract. At the same time the landlord will receive the sum

         mentioned in items 10. and 11. of § 4 as compensation. The Royal Government is expressly

         authorised by the landlord to force payment of the compensation capital in case of deferred

         payment, including interest, through its commission.

§ 6.   The interested parties request and consent that the payments mentioned in § 1 shall be deleted

         in the property and mortgage registers for the property concerned following the receipt by the

         State Cashier as soon as the compensation capital has been paid.

§ 7.   The costs of this contract shall be born by the landlord for one half and by the tenant for one

          half…The parties present request that a certified copy of this document be given to landlord and

          tenant, and they have approved this contract after it has been read aloud and they sign as



1. Baron von dem Bussche Münch at Benkhausen


2. Colon Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann nr. 16: Unterlübbe


a. u. s. signed Cunitz

Member of Econ. Comm.


The details of how Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann managed to pay the high compensation sum are not known. In general the farmers received a loan from banks that had been set up especially for this purpose. The compensation sums went into the till of the Prussian government.



Economic History


Property registers used for tax assessment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including those for the Peithmann homestead at Unterlübbe nr. 16, are kept in the State Archives of Detmold. From them, we can get an idea of the size of the farm, the location of the different parcels  of land,  the way in which they were used as well as their value, and thereby gain insight into the economic history of the farm. These registers were kept up to date and thus allow us a chronological ordering of all changes which took place.


On April 4th, 1831, “Friedrich Rodekopf nr. 16, residing at Unterlübbe” confirmed receipt of the following registers of the “Royal Land Registry Commission” of the administrative district of Minden (State Archives in Detmold, M5C, nr. 491):








Table 1:

plots and size of the buildings


nr.    name of the plot           type       size      class              taxable net yield

                                                            (acres)                   (Thalers/Groschen/Pfennig)

1.      Unterlübberberg           brush              3.393    2       3   6    9

2.    Neue Feld             field     0.934 1            7  26   7                       

       same                     field     0.467 2            3    7   7

3.    same                     field     3.086 1            26   2   1

4.    Neben Rodekops field     5.556 1            46  28  1


5.    Unter Rodekops  field     1.193 1            10   2   6


6.    same                     field     0.637 1            5   11  7

7.    same                     field     2.095 1            17  20  11

8.    Unter Mansen Hofe        field  1.391     1 36   7    3

9.    same                     field     0.349 1            5   29   5

10.                               same    field  4.290     1 36   7    3

       same                     field     0.857 2            5   29   5

11.                               Stallbrink     field       1.863    1       15  22   1

       same                     field     0.372 2            2   17  11

12.                               Köhlterholz  pasture  1.330    4       1     7  11

13.                               same    garden            1.133    2       9   17   4

14.                               same    farm-               0.541    1       4   17   4


15.                               same    orchard           0.353    1       2    29   8

16.                               same    wood 0.376     1        25   1

17.                               same    pasture            2.519    3       9    17   4

18.                               Ritterbruch  peat       3.525    1       6    21   1

19.                               Köhlterbruch              pasture 2.260 2       14    9    8

20.                               Am Pattwegen            field     0.684 1       5    23   6

21.                               Diek Kämpen             field     2.038 1       17     6   5


total                                                  41.242       268  19  10


Classification of the buildings according to their rental value

Köhlterholz nr. 16, house, taxable net yield: 9 Thalers





1 acre = 1.584 Prussian Morgen

1Thaler = 30 silver Groschen = 360 Pfennigs (Prussia 1821)

The “taxable net yield” for a parcel of land was calculated on the basis of the “Rates for taxable Plat Yields” (State Archives in Detmold, M5C, nr. 497). These rates depended on the way in which the land was used and on the (quality) classes 1 – 5. For instance, the taxable yield for one Prussian Morgen of field class 1 was estimated at 5 Thalers 10 silver Groschen and for a field of the lowest quality (class 5) at 1 Thaler.  First class pasture was estimated at 4 Thalers and first class woods at 1 Thaler 12 silver Groschen.


In the property register of 1866 (State Archives in Detmold,M5C, nr. 497) 32 parcels of land with a total size of 51.203 American acres and a “taxable net yield” of “333 Thalers 72/100” are mentioned (for the Peithmann/Rodekopf farm). The parcel under nr. 1 in the chart of 1831 is missing, but 11 pasture parcels in the Lübberholz plat are mentioned for the first time. These plots were probably added to the farm after the common grounds had been split up into private property.


In the year 1908 the local government in Minden approved a plat reform for the following years in Unterlübbe, among other places. This so-called coupling was aimed at having the mostly small fields regrouped near the farms to which they belonged. At the end of this procedure Wilhelm Peithmann (1841 – 1919), son of Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb and heir of the farm, received the new land registration document on April 4th, 1915. While the amount of  land remained the same, the number of plots had been reduced to 11 (State Archives Detmold, M5C, nr. 2954):


Table 2:

Excerpt from the property register

Owner: Peithmann, Wilhelm, Colon, Unterlübbe house nr. 16

nr.     name of the plot          type        size                        net yield

                                                            (acres)                    (Thalers 1/100)

1.      Köhlter Bruch             pasture    3.742                       9   58

2.      Unter Mansen Hofe    field        20.47                      99  77

3.      same                            field        22.83                     106  24

4.      Köhlterholz                 pasture    2.88                         9   12

5.      same                            yard        3.282                       .     .

6.      same                            garden    0.9789                     .     .

7.      same                            field        1.997                       7   78


8.      same                            field        2.46                        7   99

9.      Köhlterholzwiesen      pasture    5.089                     18  19

10.    Oben den                    field        14.52                       50  15   


11.    Ritterbruch                  pasture    5.77                         2   23


total                                                     84.03                     311  32


annual property tax: 89 Marks 75Pfennigs


Figure 2shows the old Rodekopf Farmhouse which Friedrich David Peithmann took over at his marriage. This old two-storey house must have had dimensions of 18 m by 22 m judging from the number of uprights. After members of the Peithmann families lived and worked in it for almost 7 decades, in only served as a barn. It must have been in very bad shape. But after the enlargement of the farm and the improvement of farming methods, it was no longer sufficient to serve as a storage place for grain, straw, hay, etc. and there were not enough stables for the animals. The new for-storey farmhouse (see figure 3) is 20 m wide and 40 m long. The inscription in the lintel reads:




NR. 16 BUILT IN 1876





Family Name – Farm Name


In the 19th century the name that was used for the members of the family on the farm Unterlübbe nr. 16 was usually not the family name Peithmann, but the farm’s name Rodekopf, which is still alive today. Keeping the name of the farm even after the family name has changed by marriage is an old custom of the Minden-Ravensberg area. Therefore Friedrich David’s predecessor on the Unterlübbe farm, Johann Hermann Peper, took the name of his wife A. Marie Elis. Rodekopf upon their wedding in 1759. In the same way Friedrich David Peithmann is called “Rodekopf” or “Rodekopf né Peithmann” in the church registers and in the documents of the State Archives, although in this case his wife had a different maiden name and no blood relation existed with the “Rodekopfs”. The people around them simply continued to use the traditional farm name according to the old, unwritten rules.


Only in 1928 did a decree by the then Senior President of Westphalia, Ludwig Freiherr von Vincke, bring a legal regulation. It provided the right for those who married into farms to add the name of the farm to their own names which had to be kept. The purchaser of a farm did not have this right, however. At the latest, by the middle of the last century, the name used for the Unterlübbe farm owners in all official files (e. g. property register, contracts with public authorities, etc.) is exclusively the name Peithmann. In the church registers, though, the name Rodekopf is mentioned next to the entries concerning Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann and next to the birth entries for his children. The father mentioned here is “Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Ober Rodekopf, Colon, also called Peithmann”.


Figure 2: The old Rodekopf farmhouse in Unterlübbe nr. 16


Figure 3: The house built in 1876 on the farm Unterlübbe nr. 16. In front are Eberhard        

                Peithmann’s son Wilhelm and his wife Karoline née Folle (third and second from

                the left) with their children Wilhelm (left), Friederike (fourth from the left),

                Karoline, Ludwig, Hermann, Fritz and Heinrich.





Eberhard Peithmann’s Children


Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann and Marie Luise Peper had 13 children:


1.   Friederike Wilhelmine  K a r o l i n e (born September 27th, 1827), see below

2.   Ernst Heinrich  F r i e d r i c h  Eberhard (born May 28th, 1830), see below

3.   Karoline  L o u i s e  Wilhelmine (born March 13th, 1833), see below

4.   Friederike  W i l h e l m i n e  Christine (born January 29th, 1835), see below

5.   E r n s t  Ludwig Andreas (born November 2nd, 1836, died April 16th, 1916), married to Caroline Regine Wilhelmine Rieher on the farm at Südhemmern nr. 21 on July 1st, 1864 (see Part I of this Chronicle, pp. 29 – 49),

6.   Eberhard Friedrich  H e r m a n n  (born December 27th, 1838, die May 19th, 1920) emigrated to Hoyleton, Illinois (USA) and married Luisa Schnake on May 19th, 1869

7.   daughter, stillborn September 9th, 1840,

8.   August Heinrich  W i l h e l m (born August 29th, 1841) inherited the farm (see p. 113)

9.   Eberhard  H e i n r i c h  Ludwig (born April 29th, 1844, died April 23rd, 1897), married Sophie Charlotte Weber née Siebe on September 21st, 1872, on the  farm nr. 16 at Frotheim (former district of Lübbecke),

10.  F r i e d e r i k e  Luise Regine (born March 26th, 1846), see below

11.  Wilhelm  L u d w i g  Eberhard (born May 18th, 1848, died February 21st, 1920);

12.  C h r i s t i a n  Friedrich Ludwig (born March 22nd, 1850, died April 22nd, 1856);

13.  Eberhard Christian  F r i e d r i c h, “Frederick” (born January 24th, 1853, died January 30th, 1934), emigrated to the USA (see Part I, pp. 51 – 60).


All sons and sons-in-law of Eberhard Peithmann became farmers in either Germany or the USA. Further articles are to be written in this chronicle on Hermann, Heinrich and Ludwig and their descendants.


Karoline (born September 27th, 1827), on December 3rd, 1843, was married in Bergkirchen to Johann  H e r m a n n  Friedrich Wessel (born November 24th, 1821, died August 14th, 1865) from Hilverdingsen (Unterlübbe nr. 15), son and heir of the late Colon Friedrich Wilhelm Wessel né Krughoff and his late wife Ag. Mar. Ilsab. Wessel. It is not known how many children were born during the first five years of their marriage. On April 7th, 1869, their daughter, who had been born on September 29th, 1845, married the Colon Friedrich Wilhelm Kasten from the neighbouring farm at Eickhorst nr. 9. In the church registers of Bergkirchen the births of the following children are registered in the years 1849 until 1851:

Friedrich Wilhelm August Eberhard (born September 27th, 1849, died April 4th, 1933),

Ernst Friedrich Hermann (born July 24th, 1851, died March 15th, 1852),

Friederice Marie Louise (born September 22nd, 1853, die June 6th, 1854),

Hermann Andreas Heinrich (born October 1st, 1855, died August 4th, 1859),

Caroline Marie  L o u i s e  (born September 6th, 1857) and

Regine Friederike Caroline (born March 29th, 1861).


When Hermann Wessel died of tuberculosis at the age of 44 he left his wife and 7 children not yet of age.


The eldest son Friedrich (born May 28th, 1830) was the first member of the family to emigrate to the USA. He joined a family by the name of Brink and followed them to the State of Illinois. Until his premature death on October 16th, 1851, he lived with the Brinks on their farm northeast of Nashville. There are contradictory reports on the cause of his death. Friedrich’s nephew Edgar Frederick Peithmann (1902  1980, see Part I, pa. 59) described an accident in a letter addressed to Irvin Peithmann (1904 – 1981) in Chester, Illinois, in 1978: “Did you know that my father Frederick P. was named after his older brother, who died here in Illinois before my father was born? It is said that he was exceptionally strong. When he was working for a mill one day he took on a stag, which had approached him full of curiosity. As it did not know men, Frederick Peithmann was able to grab it by its antlers and to wrestle it to the ground. During this wrestle there was no way to let it go without being gored. Frederick’s companion did not have the courage to kill the animal during this time. Frederick suffered internal injuries and died a few days later.” He was buried on the Waldo Brink Farm in Hoyleton Township (North Prairie) where the Brinks also found their last resting place. The three graves are still there today.


Figure 4: The married couple Louis Huck and Louise née Peithmann in Hoyleton (Illinois,



Louise (born March 13th, 1833, died May 27th, 1873) married Louis Huck (born in Rothenuffeln May 14th, 1827, died July 21st, 1885) in Bergkirchen on March 22nd, 1849. Louis was the second son of Colon Heinrich Christian Huck and Sophie Marie Elisabeth née Meyer. Next to the wedding entry in the church register is the remark that the couple intended to emigrate to the USA after the wedding. The couple settled in Hoyleton Township (Washington County) in the State of Illinois as well. Here in the North Prairie they started farming. In 1853 they received a land grant, signed by President Pierce. Until about 1880 they purchased more and more farmland. They bought the plots from neighbouring farms as well as from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. The price varied from 4 to 36 US-$ per acre. They borrowed part of the money at 8 – 10 % interest. – The couple had 9 children who were born in Hoyleton Township:


1.  Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig (born March 15th, 1852, died October 2nd, 1853),

2.  Friedrich Henry  L o u i s (born January 10th, 1855, died June 3rd, 1943) married to Regina Herseman,

3.  John  H e n r y  (born February 24th, 1857, died August 1st, 1940) married to Wilhelmina Elizabeth Hake,

4.  Elisabeth (born March 8th, 1859, died May 30th, 1943) married to Henry F. Dueker

5.  John (born June 13th, 1861, died September 20th, 1943) married Emilie Nickles,

6.  Maria Luise (born November 17th, 1863, died January 1st, 1865),

7.  Anna Carolina (born January 11th, 1866, died August 23rd, 1867),

8.  Lydia (born June 18th, 1868, died August 31st, 1927) married Henry J. Kleeman,

9.  Emma Martha (born November 8th, 1870, died October 31st, 1872).


When Louis Huck died in 1885 he owned about 600 acres of farmland. The farm was split among the five children Louis, Henry, Elisabeth, John and Lydia in such a way that each one inherited about 120 acres. To this day, two of the farms still belong to descendants of Luis Huck and Louise née Peithmann.


5 years after Louise’ emigration Wilhelmine (born January 29th, 1835, died July 6th, 1910) followed her sister’s example in 1854. On August 9th, 1855, she married Friedrich W. Krughoff (born November 23rd, 1929, died January 1st, 1910) who originated from Rothenufflen and who had come to the United States as early as 1847/1848. Up to January 11th, 1857, the young couple lived with Friedrich’s parents. Then they moved into a blockhouse in Hoyleton Township, which was later replaced by a brick house. Here they spent all their further lives,  and they bought almost 900 acres of farmland in pieces of 16 and 32 acres. The growth of wheat rendered the greatest output. Oats, corn and grass served as fodder for the horses, the cattle and the pigs. It was only after the introduction of modern methods of farming that beans and corn grew sufficiently well on the poor acid ground. – Friedrich Krughoff and Wilhelmine née Peithmann had 10 children:


1.  Mary Martha (1856 – 1928), married Henry E. Hoffmann,

2.  Elizabeth (1858 – 1918), married Charles L. Brink,

3.  Frederick W. (1861 – 1911), married Anna Bartelsmeyer and Martha Hake

4.  Anna W. (1863 – 1918), married William Elmers,

5.  Wilhelma Maria (1865 – 1951), married Louis Bernreuter,

6.  Louis Edward (1968 – 1936), married Anna Schlinger,

7.  Edward Henry (1871 – 1939), married Lydia Hake,

8.  Lydia Martha (1873 – 1963), married Frank Hake,

9.  Julius Henry (1878 – 1967), married Sarah Hake, and

10.  Albert Carl (1880 – 1953), married Millie Brink.


Figure 5: The couple Friedrich W. Krughoff and Wilhelmine née Peithmann in Hoyleton

                (Illinois, USA)


Friederike ( born March 26th, 1846, died July 1st, 1881) married the heir Christian Heinrich Wittemeier on October 4th, 1867, on the farm nr. 48 in Wittloge, part of Hille. The properties comprised about 60 Morgen of fields and pasture. The couple had 6 children:


1.  Caroline Marie (born February 5th, 1868, died October 25th, 1869),

2.  Marie Wilhelmine Sophie (born November 11th, 1870, died November 28th, 1870),

3.  Caroline Wilhelmine Friederike (born December 4th, 1871),

4.  Caroline Marie Luise (born May 24th, 1874)

5.  Christian Heinrich (born August, 22nd, 1876),

6.  Caroline Marie Sophie (born February 23rd, 1879).




I thank the following relatives for their information, notes and photos: Debra Bartelsmeyer, Edward Huck and Irvin F. Krughoff (all USA) as well as Alwine Meyer (Enger), Lieselotte Peithmann (Hille-Unterlübbe), Heinrich Peithmann (Rostock), Hermann Peithmann sen. and jun. (Hille-Südhemmern) and Dr. Ludolf Peithmann (Hagen).
















The Descendants of Colon Wilhelm Peithmann

1841 – 1919 in Unterlübbe


August Heinrich Wilhelm Peithmann was born on August 8th, 1841, in Unterlübbe, as the eighth of 13 children of the Colon Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann (1809 – 1882) and his wife Marie Luise Peper (1808 – 1889). He inherited the parental farm nr. 16 in Unterlübbe.


On January 28th, 1870, Wilhelm Peithmann married Marie Droste (born in Eickhorst June 28th, 1850, died January 12th, 1875). Two children were born in this marriage: Wilhelm (I.) and Marie. On November 9th, 1877, he remarried, this time with Marie Karoline Wilhelmine Folle (born in Rothenufflen February 2nd, 1856, died May 25th, 1942), daughter of Colon Wilhelm Folle and his wife Marie Luise née Meyer. Wilhelm Peithmann had 8 children with her: Wilhelm (II.), Fritz, Karoline, Heinrich, Ludwig, Hermann, Friederike and August.


Figure 1: The couple Wilhelm Peithmann and Karoline née Folle with daughter Marie and son

               Wilhelm about 1880


Wilhelm was described by his children as a strict but basically rather good-natured and understanding father. The sons, daughters, and later the grandchildren, were allowed to use the meadow adjacent to the farmhouse as their playground on Sundays, together with boys and girls from the neighbourhood and from related families. In those times this concession to the children was certainly an exception for the economically minded farmer. His sense of family also found expression in his will. In it he decreed that any of the children who, through no fault of their own, should fall upon hard times would be able to return to the parental farm.


Figure 2: Wilhelm Peithmann and Karoline née Folle with their children; from left: Marie

               (seated), Heinrich, Ludwig, Karoline, Fritz, Hermann, Wilhelm and Friederike



Wilhelm’s children often told of an event, which bears witness to his and his father Eberhard’s strong will. Wilhelm had been nominated as president of his church congregation. When the pastor heard of this he said: “I knew his father. Whatever he did not want, he did not do. I have no use for this man.”


Wilhelm died in Unterlübbe at the age of 78 on November 27th, 1919. His second wife Karoline survived him by 23 years. She was an energetic, practical woman, who remained a tough person in her old age. Her grandchildren knew her as a resolute grandmother who had a strong influence on their upbringing. She knew many rules of life, and her advice was always appreciated on the farm by the members of the family as well as farmhands.


Wilhelm (I.)

born August 22nd, 1870, died December 30th, 1870



born October 3rd, 1871, died February 6th, 1924


Marie, the only surviving child from Wilhelm Peithmann’s marriage to Marie Droste, married August Wiese (born December 28th, 1861, died February 6th, 1936), heir to a farm, on February 6th, 1891, in Südhemmern nr. 15 in the Minden district. He owned a farm with an area of 35 acres. The couple had 9 children:

  1. Luise (born September 13th, 1891, died June 7th, 1974) married to Christian Volkmann,
  2. Marie (born February 1st, 1894, died March 2nd, 1972) married to Christian Schekelmann,
  3. Karoline (born May 27th, 1896, died May 2nd, 1973) married to Ludwig Meier,
  4. Heinrich (born October 10th, 1898), heir to the farm, married to Sophie Röthemeier,
  5. Sophie (born May 11th, 1901) married to August Peper,
  6. Friederike (born October 28th, 1903) married to Heinrich Siebeking,
  7. August (born May 9th, 1906) municipal architect in Minden, married to Erna Finke,
  8. Frieda (born March 7th, 1910, died April 3rd, 1938) married to Wilhelm Pries, and
  9. Minna (born February 12th, 1913) married to Wilhelm Brinkmann.


Wilhelm (II.)

born July 29th, 1879, died May 6th, 1968


Wilhelm was the eldest son from the second marriage of Wilhelm Peithmann, with Karoline née Folle. After having attended elementary school in Unterlübbe, he started to work on the parental farm. From 1897 until the end of 1899 he served in the “4th Driving Battery of the 2nd Westphalian Field Artillery Regiment nr. 22” in Minden. He used to enjoy showing a plaque later with the inscription “The Last Reserve of the 19th Century”, which he and his comrades had received upon being discharged from the military.


Figure 3: Tilling the fields on the Peithmann farm during World War I, when all 5 sons of Wilhelm had been drafted, from the left: one of the two French prisoners of war, Friederike Peithmann and August Wessel, grandson of Wilhelm’s eldest sister Karoline (see p. 108), who helped on his great-uncle’s farm for one year before being drafted in 1917. In the background the Rodekopf farmhouse can be seen, which was torn down in 1922.


Figure 4: The couple August Wiese and Marie née Peithmann in Südhemmern


On December 8th, 1907, Wilhelm married Karoline  W i l h e l m i n e  Friederike Münnich (born in Rothenuffeln August 20th, 1889, died in Wimmer, March 24th, 1971), daughter of the new farmer Friedrich Münnich and his wife Wilhelmine Rüter in Unterlübbe. At that time, it was possible for the sons of farmers who were not entitled to inherit the farm to acquire  homestead in what was then the Prussian province of Posen. Wilhelm and Wilhelmine Peithmann made use of this provision and took over a farm of 35 acres in Gontsch, district of Znin, on January 1st, 1908. Only young farmers from Westphalia had settled in this village.


Wilhelm participated in World War I from the beginning on he Eastern as well as on the Western Front. For 18 months he was dispatched to an economic unit; in 1916 he became a non-commissioned officer and in 1918 he became sergeant. In 1917 he received the Iron Cross 2nd Class. Agribusiness in Posen was mainly in the hands of German agricultural c-operatives. Until April, 1926, Wilhelm was a member of the board of  directors of the local dairy co-operative, the German Grain Storage Co-operative, and the livestock marketing co-operative of Janowitz. When he retired, these enterprises acknowledged the faithful fulfilment of the co-operative duties and the exemplary conduct in positions of honour by the “extremely efficient farmer”.


After the war, the Allies determined in the Treaty of Versailles on June 28th, 1918, that Germany had to cede the province of Posen to the newly created Polish state. Only settlers who had moved into the province before 1908 were able to obtain Polish citizenship. Wilhelm was therefore now considered as a German in Poland, and he was not allowed to own or purchase land. After his farm had been expropriated in March, 1926, he lived with a neighbour and friend for three months before mowing in with his brother Hermann on the parental farm in Unterlübbe in July of 1926. – The children Wilhelmine, Wilhelm, Ludwig, Marie, Frieda and Hermann had been born in Gontsch. Herbert was born later in Silesia.


Wilhelm now looked for a new farm in Germany. Plans to take over the Hüffe Estate in the former district of Lübbecke, or a property in Schleswig-Holstein, failed. Thus, with financial support from his brother Hermann, he purchased land in the settlement of Grenzvorwerk in the district of Militsch, about 35 miles north of Breslau, in Silesia.


However, when in March 1927 the family took over the farm with about 46 acres they discovered great deficiencies in the buildings, the fields and the pasture – just as the other settlers did on their farms. Without the energetic help of his four adult children, the new start in Silesia would not have been possible. In vain he attempted to have the settlers’ co-operative remedy the bad conditions. The settlers in Grenzvorwerk elected Wilhelm Peithmann to be their spokesperson, and with the support of the local association of farmers they now tried to inform the public through articles in the newspapers of all political tendencies. They also drew the attention of the district administration and of the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, to the grave deficiencies. Thereupon, governmental commissions, representatives of the churches, as well as members of parliament from various parties, travelled to the settlement Grenzvorwerk. The problems of the new settlers were even mentioned in a speech given in parliament. But only in 1935/36 did the authorities reduce the purchase price of the farms from 43.500 to 34.000 Marks. Additionally, the buildings were refurbished.


Figure 6: The so-called “Heimatschein” (=certificate of citizenship) of the couple Wilhelm

                Peithmann and Wilhelmine Peithmann née Münnich, issued in Minden in 1922 by

                the regional administrator for their residency in Gontsch (district of Znin), which

                had become Polish


Wilhelm Peithmann grew mainly grain in Grenzvorwerk; on 7 to 10 acres of fields he grew starch potatoes. He sold the grain to the main agricultural co-operative in neighbouring Trachenberg and the potatoes to a flake factory.


World War II put an end to this period of a successful new start. In January 1945 Wilhelm Peithmann with his family had to leave what had become their third home. He described his flight in details in a diary, from which we are citing excerpts here:


January 21st (Sunday): At half past seven in the morning, a convoy started the flight from the Russian army with 9 wagons from Grenzvorwerk. On the first day it covered about 27 miles to Wahlau.


January 22nd: We continued to Parchwitz, via Leubis, about 10 miles northeast of Liegnitz.


January 23rd: We got as far as Koischwitz near Liegnitz, where we stopped for 3 days, for men and animals were exhausted, since it was a hard winter with snow and ice.


January 26th: We separated from the rest of the wagon train together with our daughter Frieda an her 3 children in order to seek shelter on the arm of our daughter-in-law Gerda in Herzogswaldau (about 3 miles south-east of Jauer), for we hoped that the Russians would be stopped at the river Oder. We stayed with our daughter-in-law until February 13th, when we were overrun by the Russians in the morning. The events of the following days among the Russians cannot be described.


February 15th: In the early morning we were liberated by a reconnaissance division of German tanks, we continued our flight quickly in the direction of Hirschberg (Sudeten Mountains). On this day we got as far as Ketschdorf.


February 16th: The young women and children were transported by freight train to Hirschberg. We (=Wilhelm and his wife) stayed alone.


February 20th: We had to sell our horses and wagon, because we could not find any fodder; the wagon no longer had brakes, and the horses needed horseshoes.


February 21st: Soldiers took us to Hirschberg in their trucks


February 22nd: We got to Polaun on a special train.


February 23rd: We rode to Taunwald near Dux (Erzgebirge). Here we shipped our luggage to brother Hermann at Unterlübbe (it never arrived).


February 24th: We continued by train to Hof in Bavaria, via Komotau. On


February 25th: we continued via Plauen, Reichenbach, Leipzig to Halle (Saale) and on


February 26th: via Dessau, Zerbst, Magdeburg and Hannover to Minden.


February 27th: At half past three in the morning our flight ended at brother Hermann’s at Unterlübbe.


At first, Wilhelm and Wilhelmine Peithmann found shelter with the brother on the parental farm at Unterlübbe. In the winter of 1962 the couple moved to Wimmer near Bad Essen, where the families of their sons Hermann and Ludwig had settled. Here they lived off their pension paid by the system of financial compensation for losses suffered during World War II (financed by home owners in the western part of Germany). During these years Wilhelm liked to read from many books. Above all he devoted himself to his favourite literature, books about Frederick the Great and the works of Fritz Reuter.


For many occasions and circumstances Wilhelm Peithmann knew fitting remarks, marginalia, poems and Biblical quotations. One of the apt and dryly satirical poems from his rural days went:


He who sells his good milk

and drinks the bad with his children,

he who sells butter

and eats margarine himself,

he who buys expensive fodder from abroad

and loves to complain afterwards,

that he does not get a decent price for his grain-

 is a stupid cow with no horns.


In 1967 the married couple could celebrate the rare “diamond anniversary” (= 60 years of marriage). Wilhelm had suffered a stroke on December 28th, 1966, but he did not survive a second stroke on May 6th, 1968. His wife Wilhelmine followed him to the grave on March 24th, 1971. Both were buried on the cemetery in Lintorf near Bad Essen.


Wilhelm Peithmann’s eldest daughter Wilhelmine (born June 6th, 1908) spent her first six years with her grandparents at Unterlübbe. On April 28th, 1933, she married the then farmer Artur Scholz (born August 3rd, 1905, died in Langendamm October 16th, 1978) in Deutscheich (district of Militsch, Silesia). In 1945 the family fled from there to Gadesbünden near Nienburg via Sudeten Mountains. From 1951 she lived in Nienburg and in 1971 she moved to the house that she had purchased in Langendamm, a part of Nienburg. 4 children were born from her marriage.


1. Eleonore (born October 19th, 1933) married to Walter Mesenbrink in Nienburg,

2. Werner (born May 13th, 1937) custodian in Nienburg, married to Almuth Ulrich,

3. Siegfried (born June 27th, 1942, died in Deutscheich July 11th, 1942) and

4. Hubertus (born October 20th, 1943) senior inspector at the Labour Office in Nienburg,

    married to Renate Brauer.


Wilhelm (born June 18th, 1909) went into business and worked in a shop selling musical instruments and radios in Herrnstadt (district of Guhrau, Silesia). He married Ruth Scholz from Herrnstadt in 1940. They had no children. Wilhelm has been missing in action since 1944 on the central zone of the front in Russia near Tcherkassy. His wife died in Bamberg in 1946.


Ludwig (born January 24th, 1912 died in Wimmer January 21st, 1980) became a farmer and worked with his father on the settler’s farm in Grenzvorwerk. At the outbreak of World War II he was drafted as a soldier. On December 26th, 1941, he was married to Gerda Scholz (born in Herzogswaldau May 30th, 1919) in Herzogswaldau (district of Jauer). His wife worked on her farm together with her two sisters. After his return from captivity Ludwig came to Unterlübbe, and he had his wife and daughter Renate (born July 2nd, 1943) join him there. Until 1953 the family lived in Frotheim (former district of Lübbecke), where Ludwig learnt the trace of masonry. Together with his brother Hermann, he built a house in Wimmer, where he lived until his death. Ludwig liked to play the piano, the accordion, and later the organ during his free time.


Marie (born October 17th, 1913) at first helped her parents on their farm in Grenzvorwerk. On July 2nd, 1936, she married a technical inspector of the Imperial Railway, Herbert Stamke (born in Trachenberg August 23rd, 1911, die in Löhne May 11th, 1948). The family lived in Gellendorf-Stroppen (Silesia) from 1936 until 1938 and in Obernigk in the Cat Mountains  until 1945. She fled to Westphalia in January 1945 and has been living in Löhne (district of Herford) since September 1945. The couple had 3 children.


1. Ingrid (born February 6th, 1939) married to Ingo Dupke, ship’s captain in Kappel (Schlei),

2. Karin (born July 1st, 1941) married Manfred Vogt, tax consultant in Herford,

3. Heidrun (born May 24th, 1943) married to Heinz Drescher, designer in Munich.


Frieda (born September 30th, 1920) also worked on the parental farm in Grenzvorwerk until her marriage. On October 26th, 1940, she wed the police chief Andreas Guggenberger (born in Unteraltenbernheim September 21st, 1915) in Korsenz (district of Militsch), and they lived in Rawitsch until 1945, about 2 miles from Grenzvorwerk, east of the Polish-German border. She fled from there together with her brother Ludwig’s wife and her sisters first to the Sudeten Mountains, where they were expelled by the Czechs and transported back to Herzogswaldau. About the middle of August 1945 Frieda and her children reached Unterlübbe, from where she moved to Bielefeld in September. In 1963 the family moved into their own house here. Andreas Guggenberger and Frieda Peithmann had 3 children.


1. Warmund (born in Trachenberg November 27th, 1941), police chief in Braunschweig,

     married first to Lieselotte Dülker and later to Carola Poppe,

2. Manfred (born in Trachenberg October 18th, 1943, died in Bielefeld September  29th, 1946)

3. Heidemarie (born in Bielefeld December 17th, 1949) married first to Manfred Abel and

    later to Walter Müller, businessman in Lemgo.


Hermann (born November 22nd, 1921) spent his youth on the farm in Grenzvorwerk and took part in World War II in several European countries after June 1940. He was injured three times, and he was decorated with the Iron Cross. On July 10th, 1947, he married Marianne Welcke (born March 14th, 1922) in Wimmer (former district of Wittlage), who was heir to a farm. She took a very active part in the genealogical research concerning the Peithmann families, especially in the Osnabrück area. Hermann holds official posts in addition to working on the farm. Among other things he was juror at the court in Osnabrück for four years and since 1976 he has been township trustee of the consolidated community of Bad Essen. – On August 10th, 1948, their daughter Heidrun was born. She married the high school teacher Helmut Spieker (born September 29th, 1946) on November 8th, 1968, and on October 31st, 1980, in a second marriage the archivist Dr. Christoph Battenberg (born in Erbach in Odenwald, September 2nd, 1947). She has a son, Stefan (born in Osnabrück June 6th, 1969).


Wilhelm’s youngest son Herbert (born June 9th, 1928, died September 9th, 1929) died as an infant in Grenzvorwerk.




( born August 27th, 1881, died 1914)


Fritz followed the example of his elder brother Wilhelm and also took over a homestead near Gontsch in the district of Znin in the Prussian province of Posen. He was married to Marie Burmeister and had one daughter, Erna, who was born in 1914. Fritz has been missing in action in the East since 1914. His daughter visited the farm of her grandparents in Unterlübbe about 1940; but after that there is no trace of her or her mother in her place of birth, which had become Polish.



born August 3rd, 1883, died September 9th, 1964


After leaving school Karoline worked in agriculture. She married the farm owner Heinrich Bekemeyer (born February 7th, 1881, died May 29th, 1950) in Unterlübbe nr. 13 in the district of Minden on May 23rd, 1913. The latter served with the “2nd Guard Regiment on Foot” in Berlin. When Heinrich took part in World War I from 1914 until 1918, Karoline managed the farm by herself. The couple had 5 children.


1. Rudolf (born April 3rd, 1914, die February 6th, 1937), sailor

2. Hermann (born July 25th, 1918), industrial manager in Oberlübbe, married to Anneliese


3. Heinrich (born May 11th, 1920, died March 28th, 1967), livestock dealer, married to

    Hildegard Schmidt

4. Lina (born March 13th, 1922,), inherited the farm, married to Erich Heidenreich, and

5. Alwine (born September 10th, 1923), banker, married to Karl-Heinz Lenger.






Figure 10: The Peithmann family in Unterlübbe on the occasion of a furlough of their

                  son-in-law Bekemeyer in 1915; from the left, standing: Friederike Peithmann,

                  Lina Peithmann née Ostermeier and Heinrich Bekemeyer; sitting: Karoline

                  Peithmann née Folle, Wilhelm Peithmann and Karoline Bekemeyer née Peith-

                  mann with son Rudolf



born June 16th, 1885, died March 8th, 1958


Heinrich became a farmer. On July 2oth, 1920, he married Sophie Quade (born May 15th, 1888, died March 19th, 1945) on the farm nr. 24 in Frotheim in the former district of Lübbecke. 58 acres belonged to the Quade farm. His crippled wife found a devoted husband in Heinrich Peithmann. He actively supported his younger brother Ludwig in the Ludendorff movement. The couple had two daughters : Lina and Elfriede.


Lina (born November 16th, 1924) married Kurt Twiehoff (born November 16th, 1924) on June 29th, 1946, in Gelsenkirchen. The couple has two sons:


1. Reimund (born in Frotheim July 29th, 1946) surveying engineer, married to Renate Gursky,

2. Helmut (born in Gelsenkirchen March 28th, 1949) salesman, married to Marion Möller.


Elfriede (born July 9th, 1926) inherited her parents’ farm. She married Wilhelm Beckschewe (born August 2nd, 1933) on May 27th, 1955 and had 3 children:


1. Ortwin (born December 10th, 1955), mechanical engineer,

2. Dagmar (born January 5th, 1957), employee, and

3. Detlef (born April 11th, 1962), apprentice businessman.



born August 21st, 1887, died May 13th, 1960


The only one of Wilhelm Peithmann’s sons who did not become a farmer was Ludwig (“Louis”). After he had excelled with very good grades during elementary school, his parents sent him to a preparatory school and to the teacher’s training college in Petershagen near Minden. During this time he devoted himself especially to scientific studies. Thus h started a large collection of insects, which he later donated to the college.


From 1910 until 1911 Ludwig served with the second marine battalion in Kiel. In Flanders he participated in the fights around Ypern an in the positional combats in the Yser-area. In 1915 he became a reserve lieutenant, and the same year he received the Iron Cross 2nd Class, and in 1918 the Iron Cross 1st Class.


Following his education and his military service, Ludwig held the position of second teacher in Blasheim, in the former district of Lübbecke. When the new school in Blasheim-Masch was inaugurated in April 1914, he was doted with that post. In addition to his professional activities, Ludwig participated in the creation of a purchasing and selling co-operative in Blasheim and furthered the development of German black-and-white cattle breeding in the Westphalian breeding book society.


In 1922 Ludwig asked the district government of Minden to grant him sabbatical leave to enable him to take a lease together with a Mr. Schubert on the estate of General von Mutius in Gellenau near Bad Kudowa in Silesia. In 1924 he took over the management of the estates of the Count of  Dohna in Sagan (Silesia) and lived on the Dohna estate in Johnsdorf.


When in 1926 his sabbatical leave as a teacher had come to an end Ludwig returned to his school service in view of the very uncertain economic situation at the time, so that he would not have to renounce his acquired rights as a civil servant. Ludwig became a teacher in the one-room school in Seelenfeld near Loccum. Ludwig enjoyed life in this village. The farmers trusted him because he was always there to give them advice or a helping had as well as because he provided practical training for their children after they completed their schooling. He also had a close relationship to those Seelenfelders who went to sea on the fish trawlers and on herring luggers and whose cosmopolitan attitudes he valued.


During his time in Seelenfeld Ludwig became a member of the “Tannenberg Alliance”, a philosophical-ideological movement, which had been initiated by General Ludendorff ad his wife Mathilde. Ludwig participated enthusiastically in the “Tannenberg Alliance” as a speaker at their meetings and as leader of educational seminars in all parts of Germany. The tragic death of a friend of his, a practising Catholic and father of 6 children, had raised doubts in him concerning the existence of a personal God. although he had been a very faithful Christian in the beginning. As he refused to teach scripture in his one-room school, he was transferred by the Minden government – against the express will of the Seelenfelders – to a bigger grade school in  Enger (district of Herford).


The Third Reich did not met with his approval. Therefore, he was forced to retire as early as 1935. Following this, together with a Mr. Dahl, whom he had met on one of his many series of lectures, he founded a company for the production of measuring instruments. The outbreak of World War II put an end to the expansion of this firm. In 1941 he began producing armament components, and after the end of the war he manufactured household appliances for the Dr. Oetker company in Bielefeld. He managed the “Ludwig Peithmann KG”, which moved into its own production facilities in 1953, until his death in 1960.


Ludwig Peithmann was popular both with his pupils as well as later with his workers. He was a politically and ideologically dedicated personality, who consciously broke with many traditional customs and habits and who had not only a great number of like-minded friends, but understandably bitter opponents as well.


In Ennigloh, on June 19th, 1915, Ludwig married Lina Ostermeier (born July 2nd, 1893, died September 24th, 1938), daughter of the future grocer Hermann Ostermeier  in Spradow and his wife Ilsabein Ebmeier. Two sons, Ludolf and Ortwin, were born t the couple. On August 20th, 1955, he married Paula Kipp (born in Ennigloh Aril 22nd, 1899, died July 11th, 1980), a cousin of his first wife. She had been working in the household of the family as early as during their stay in Silesia. Ludwig was laid to rest in the ancestral cemetery for followers of Ludendorff in Seelenfeld, which he and like-minded friends in Seelenfeld had founded.


Figure 12: Ludwig Peithmann and Lina née Ostermeier and their sons Ortwin (left) and

                 Ludolf in Seelenfeld


The eldest son Ludolf (born in Spradow December 31st, 1916) graduated from high school in Bünde. At that time it was necessary to do labour service in order to be allowed into university. After his compulsory military service from 1936 to 1938 and an additional year as reserve officer cadet, World War II broke out. Ludolf participated in the battles in the West as well as in the East – finally as commander or a battalion. Before he was wounded and taken prisoner in Holland, he had been chief of a training corps in Denmark, following his first wound in the East. Ludolf studied mechanical engineering from 1947 until 1951 at the Technical College in Hannover. Subsequently he was assistant lecturer at the local Institute of Machine Tools. In 1955 he received a doctorate of engineering with distinction in Hannover; his thesis was titled “Contributions to the shaping of die milling cutters for milling drop forges”. In that same year he started in a leading function with Schmiedag AG in Hagen. He declined an offer to become a university professor, and in 1959 he became the technical director of Demag GmbH in Wetter/Ruhr, and from 1975 until 1978 he was General Manager of Mannesmann Demag Fördertechnik, a company with 9.000 workers. Ludolf is considered to be one of the fathers of modern warehouse technology, in which world-renowned automatic transport vehicles move between shelves. – On March 20th, 1943, Ludolf married Erna Siekmann (born in Mennighüffen in the district of Herford, January 17th, 1922), daughter of the furniture producer August Siekmann in Löhne. The couple had three children: Gudrun, Ortwin and Ute.


Gudrun (born in Hävern October 28th, 1944)studied law from 1964 until 1970 at the universities of Munich, Berlin and Marburg and took an international course on European integration in Amsterdam. She was attachée at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and is now working as a lawyer for a bank in Cologne. On October 12th, 1973, she married the electrical engineer Hellmut Wilde (born in Honau near Reutlingen December 26th, 1944), manager of an American measuring company in Munich. Their two sons Max Philipp and Andreas were born in Bergisch Gladbach, where the family lives, on July 2nd, 1978, and August 7th, 1980.


Ortwin (born in Valdorf June 4th, 1946) studied mechanical engineering in Hannover from 1968 until 1969 and then regional planning in Dortmund from 1969 until 1973. He is a regional planning assistant in the Ministry of the Interior of Lower Saxony in Hannover. On July 23rd, 1971, he married the pharmacist Barbara Schmidt (born in Hagen April 3rd, 1948). The couple has two adopted children: Marcel (born in Bremerhaven March 26th, 1975) and Nanette (born in Hamburg February 10th, 1976). They live in Hannover.


Ute (born in Hannover December 9th, 1952) studied business administration in Aachen and Mannheim from 1971 until 1977. Today she is the marketing director and proprietor of the “Ludwig Peithmann KG”. On November 28th, 1980, she married Günter Koch, MBA (born in Herford November 12th, 1951), comptroller for the European subsidiaries of “Nixdorf Computers AG” in Paderborn. Their son Lutz was born in Herford on January 13th, 1983.


Ludwig Peithmann’s younger son Ortwin (born in Blasheim May 27th, 1919, died January 24th, 1944) intended to become a flight captain after graduating from Bünde High School in 1938. Following his labour service he volunteered for the air force and took a course for pilots in 1940 and 1941. During World War II he lost his life as a pilot on the Eastern front. His plane had been taken into the workshop for repairs after he had participated in a flight against the enemy over the Black Sea as an escort for a bomber formation. During the subsequent test flight he crashed from low eight about 5 miles east of Odessa-Dalnik airfield.


Figure 13: Ortwin Peithmann










born June 18th, 1890, died September 26th, 1972


Wilhelm’s youngest son Hermann inherited the farm in Unterlübbe nr. 16. Immediately after graduating from school, he began helping his father with the farm. In World War I he took part in the French Campaign.


His regimental comrade from the “58ers” in Minden, the Head Master of the blacksmiths’ guild, Heinrich Langenkämper, handed down this episode from World War I, in which Hermann Peithmann showed quickwittedness and unshakeable humour:


“After the fall of Liège we had to rush to the aid of the Commanding General of the Cavalry, von Kluck, in fast marches. With this army he had advanced to the area close to Paris, but had been beaten back, and needed help. Although we were moving at a forced march the main road to Paris was overflowing with troops, and we came to a halt quite often. I sat next to the cavalryman Peithmann on the swank (a two-wheel cart from which the guns were hung). Suddenly a major general and his staff showed up next to us. As his horse could not trot in this crowd he called to one of our drivers: “Move over to the side!” That was impossible since infantry was also mowing forward at a cracking pace in the ditches. On both sides of the road there were big trees. On the right side of the road there was artillery and on the left side were various cavalry men trotting along. In reaction to the general’s order to move over to the side (which was simply impossible because of the trees) our cavalry man Peithmann said: “That is not possible, Mr. General, Sir!” –The General: “If you do not move farther to the side, I shall shoot you off your horse!” Hermann Peithmann: “And if Mr. General shoots me from my horse, I can still not move farther to the side!” A furious look was the answer from the general; he spurred his horse and jumped over the carriage. His staff had to follow him in like manner.”


Figure 14: Hermann Peithmann and Friederike née Riechmann in Unterlübbe on their golden

                 wedding anniversary


On April 15th, 120, Hermann married Friederike Riechmann (born February 18th, 1896), daughter of the Colon Christian Riechmann and his wife Karoline von Behren in Südhemmern. Hermann’s father had died the previous year. Both spouses invested a lot of love for agriculture into the farm which they increased to about 68 acres by buying additional land. Hermann is one of the founders of the savings bank in Unterlübbe. Until old age he was a well-respected man in the village whom people often asked for advice. He died at the age of 82 years in the family of his daughter in Enger, where he had gone to live during the last weeks of his life because of severe heart trouble.


Six children were born to Hermann Peithmann and Friederike née Riechmann: Rudolf, Alwine, Hermann, Erna, Ludwig and Willi. But the family happiness was soon overcast by shadows of illness and war.


Hermann’s eldest son Rudolf (born April 15th, died December 12th, 1943) graduated from high school in Minden in April 1939 – the last graduation in peacetime. His intention to study forestry was foiled. First he had to do labour service and participated in the erection of the so-called Siegfried Line (West Wall) near Zweibrücken. Subsequently he was drafted into the army. When World War II broke out he took part in the French Campaign; later he was sent to West Prussia. At the age of 22 he fell near Vitebsk on the Volga.


Figure 15: Rudolf Peithmann


Figure 16: Rudolf Peithmann’s grave near Vitebsk on the Volga


Alwine (born May 4th, 1922) worked in her father’s household and farm until her 29th year. During the absence of her two brothers at the time of World War II, she was the only help for her parents. On July 22nd, 1951, she married the physician Roland Meyer (born January 8th, 1914) in Enger, son of Dr. Paul Meyer and his wife Helene née Thomin. The couple had four children:


1. Ulrike (born June 29th, 1952), physician at the University of Kiel,

2. Gernot (born May 21st, 1954) physician at the Medical School in Aachen,

3. Dietrich (born August 26th, 1955), law student in Kiel, and

4. Holger (born September 20th, 1964) about to graduate from high school.


Hermann (born January 6th, 1924, died December 30th, 1968), as the youngest son, inherited the paternal farm in Unterlübbe nr. 16. Immediately after graduating from school  in Minden at the top of his class he was drafted for his military service. Towards the end of the war he was taken prisoner of war by the Russians near Königsberg. Until late 1948 he spent cruel years of captivity in Siberia, which destroyed his health and led to his early death.


On October 28t, 1955, Hermann married Lieselotte Meyer (born October 10th, 1934), daughter of the farmer Ludwig Meyer and his wife née Bruning from the farm Unterlübbe nr. 2. Four children came out of this marriage:


1. Rudolf (born May 27th, 1956), police officer in Cologne,

2. Eberhard (born January 7th, 1958), student of German and history in Bielefeld,

3. Gudrun (born May 17th, 1960), medical student in Kiel, and

4. Anke (born October13th, 1962), medical student in Cologne.


Hermann invested all his remaining energy in his family and farm. During his free time he devoted himself to the nature of his homeland, especially the birds. While still in grade school, his teacher had called him “the natural scientist Herman Peithmann”. He became an expert on birds of prey and the birds in the Bastau marshes. Hermann died at the age of 44, leaving behind his wife and children, as well as his parents.


Erna (born September 3rd, 1925, died June 16th, 1943) and Ludwig (born May 25th, 1927, died September 13th, 1935) died of effects of polio. Willi (born July 9th, 1929, died February 21st, 1930) died as an infant.





born December 20th, 1892, died November 28th, 1965


Friederike grew up as the baby of the family among many brothers and sisters. She was unable to realise her wish to become a teacher. When her brothers went to World War I she had to take care of the parental farm. On April 3rd, 1918, she married the then deputy officer August Adam (born in Lieme/Lippe March 13th, 1889, died August 20th, 1968). The couple had met through Friederike’s brother Hermann, who did his military service with August Adam in the field artillery regiment nr. 58 in the Minden barracks. After World War I in the family lived in Minden and Höxter, where August Dam worked in the financial and city administration. In June 1928 he got a post with the financial administration in Bielefeld; in this city the family built their own home in 1929. In the thirties August Adam was a follower of the Ludendorff movement, to which his wife adhered as well. – During World War II Friederike proved her courage when she extinguished many firebombs in their house in Fröbelstr., which otherwise would have gone up in flames. – August Adam and Friederike Peithmann had two sons: Herbert and Wilfried. Herbert (born in Minden August 25th, 1929), student of law in Göttingen, was killed in action on August 19th, 1943 as a lieutenant and pilot in Russia. Wilfried (born in Höxter September 15th, 1925) married to Christina Blaauw form Warnsveld in Holland, continues to run the realty business that his father started after World War II in Bielefeld.


Figure 18: August Adam and Friederike née Peithmann in Bielefeld




born November 5th, 1896, died December 2nd, 1896




I thank the following ladies and gentlemen for their contributions and information: Wilfried Adam (Bielefeld), Elfriede Beckschewe (Espelkamp-Frotheim), Lina Heidenreich (Hille-Oberlübbe), Alwine Meyer (Enger), Hermann Peithmann (Bad Essen-Wimmer), Dr. Ludolf Peithmann (Hagen), Wilhelmine Scholz (Nienburg), Marie Stamke (Löhne) and Lina Twiehoff (Essen).


Unprinted Sources:

Church registers of Bergkirchen, district of Minden-Lübbecke

Peithmann, H. (1979): Nachfahrenliste von August Heinrich Wilhelm Peithmann. Rostock



see German text


The Farmer Ernst Ludwig Andreas Peithmann

1836 – 1916 in Südhemmern and his Descendants


Of the 13 children of Eberhard Friedrich Gottlieb Peithmann (1809 – 1882), farmer in nr. 16 Unterlübbe in the Minden region, and his wife Marie Louise Peper (1808 – 1889) from Hilverdingsen, 6 sons were the founders of the so-called Westphalian family branches:


E r n s t  Ludwig Andreas (1836 – 1916) “Südhemmern” branch,

Eberhard Richard  H e r m a n n  (1838 – 1919) „Hoyleton“ (USA) branch,

August Heinrich  W i l h e l m  (1841 – 1919) „Unterlübbe“ branch,

Eberhard   H e i n r i c h  Ludwig (1844 – 1897) „Frotheim“ branch,

Wilhelm  L u d w i g  Eberhard (1848 – 1920) “Wulferdingsen” branch, and

F r i e d r i c h , „Frederick“, (1853 – 1934) „Sedalia“ (USA) branch.


Ernst Ludwig Andreas was born the fifth child on November 2nd, 1836. When he left school he first worked on his parents’ farm, where he was the eldest remaining son.


On July 1st, 1864, Ernst married Caroline Wilhelmine Regine Rieher (born September 22nd, 1844, died April 19th, 1920) who was to inherit the farm nr. 21 Südhemmern in the Minden region. She was the daughter of the farmer Carl Andreas Rieher and his wife Marie Ilsabein née Fabri, widowed Wiese.


The engagement agreement of 1864 has survived; it is as follows:


“The following contract has been discussed and drawn up between Farmer Eberhard Peithmann, nr. 16 Unterlübbe and Farmer Rieher, nr. 21 Südhemmern:


The son of Farmer Peithmann, Ernst Peithmann, and the daughter of Farmer Rieher, Wilhelmine Caroline Regine Rieher, have become engaged with their parents’ consent and intend to marry in church within a short time. In the case of this marriage the father of the bridegroom Farmer Eberhard Peithmann is to pay the sum of 3.200 Thalers Corant  (i.e. fully valued money) at Christmas this year to Farmer Rieher the bride’s father as his son Ernst Peithmann’s share of the inheritance. At the same time as putting money into the property as is the custom in this district. The bridal carriage is to be delivered in the autumn of this year and the money at the time of the engagement.

Both parties are bound to honour this agreement once it is signed. As acknowledgement of this, having read the agreement, the signatures follow.

Südhemmern, the 3rd of June 1864

Carl Rieher nr. 21 Südhemmern

Er. Peper as witness.“


As well as the agreed sum of 3.200 Thalers Ernst Peithmann brought from his parents’ farm in Südhemmern a further 800 Thalers. For this reason Carl Rieher handed over his property t his son-in-law on his daughter’s marriage.


The farm had 56 morgens of arable land and grassland (1 morgen equals about 2 acres). The still existent door the timbered house which was demolished in 1976 has this inscription with the name of the farm’s owner and builder:





The thatched farm house had a perpendicular gable at the front. The entrance lay back under it and afforded a protection from rain when unharnessing the horses. As was often the case in the Minden region the living quarters were under the overhanging eaves. A postcard of the year 1912 shows this south gable in a pen-and-ink sketch by G. Wedepohl from Bünde (see figure 3). The stork’s nest was occupied until 1950.


Ernst Peithmann had to work hard on his newly acquired farm. He managed to do well by his children and to hand on the property of 38 morgens free of debts. His grandchildren say of him that he was always concerned for honesty in business and never erred from this honesty. The inhabitants of Südhemmern entrusted him with responsibility in the community. At that time it was unusual that Ernst, who married into a farm, should have been a member of the Parochial Council from 1890 – 1903. In addition he was a member of Südhemmern’s school committee from 1886 – 1903. Ernst never missed going to church on Sunday. He died on the April 16th, 1916.


Ernst Ludwig Andreas Peithmann and Caroline Wilhelmine Regine Rieher had twelve children: Louise, Christian, Sophie, Heinrich, August, Karoline, Friedrich, Marie, August Ludwig, Hermann, Wilhelmine, and Friederike.



born July 1st, 1866, died February 17th, 1943


On December 30th, 1886, the eldest daughter Louise married Friedrich (Fred) Krüger (born October 19th, 1858, died September 7th, 1936) who owned a farm of 18 morgens in Hille. But this small farm could hardly feed a family. Just 18 years after their marriage the couple emigrated to the USA with their eight children all of whom had been born in Hille.


Friedrich Krüger’s eldest brother Heinrich had already emigrated to Gilead, Nebraska in 1899 to prepare for the settling of the family. He was supported in this by Friedrich’s eldest son who followed Heinrich. The family sold the farm in Hille and left Germany in 1904. The ship left Bremerhaven on May 6th only about a month before the youngest daughter Louise had been born. In Gilead Friedrich Krüger bought a farm with 160 acres of land. The family also erected a church on their property.


In the following years other brothers and sisters of Louise followed her example and attempted a new start in the USA. Two of them returned to Germany.


Fred Krüger and Louise Peithmann had 5 sons and 3 daughters: Farmer Fred (born December 1st, 1887, died in Denver, Colorado August 11th, 1975); Pastor Christian Friedrich Hermann (born February 27th, 1892, died in Jacksonville, Florida March 16th, 1970); Louise Sophie Fangmeier (born December 23rd, 1893, died in Gilead, Nebraska November 20th, 1978); Dr. med. Fred William (born October 17th, 1896, died in Jacksonville July 5th, 1948); Farmer Christian August (born August 17th, 1900); Marie Louise Fangmeier (born November 17th, 1901, died in Hebron, Nebraska July 10th, 1978); and Louise Hellbusch (born April 2nd, 1904, died in Gilead, Nebraska July 24th, 1961).


Ernst Christian Heinrich

born May 3rd, 1868, died 1943


Christian carried on the century long theology tradition of the Peit(h)manns. Before him his great-great-grandfather Eberhard David Peithmann (1743 – 1814) had been pastor in Frille. After his study Christian turned to gnostic beliefs which he later influenced. In 1887 he passed his final school exams with good marks at the Stiftische Grammar School in Gütersloh and studied theology in Greifswald (1887 – 1888), Leipzig (1888 – 1889) and Bonn (1889 – 1890). He passed the first theological exam in Münster in 1890. After that Christian worked as a teacher in the Rektoratsschule in Petershagen near Minden. He passed the second theological exam in 1892, again in Münster. The theme of his written work was “In What are the Origins of Rationalism?”


Christian was an officer cadet for one year from April 1892 onwards, although he was not considered suitable for service. There arose in the obviously very sensitive young theologian a strong dislike of the strict and rough service in his barracks. After this he was qualified to work in a parish. On August 1st, 1894 he informed the Konsistorium in Münster that he intended to travel to America to look for work there. At the same time he asked them to continue considering him as a candidate. He and his younger brother August Ludwig are listed amongst the Minden region’s emigrants for the year 1898 (Müller 1981).


The same year Ernst Christian Peithmann received his doctorate at the University of Minnesota as a theologian specialising in philosophy with the theme “Investigations of Kant’s Conception of Experience”. In Webster, North Dakota Christian was given a living. Apparently this work was connected with his application for church wok in the Diaspora abroad.


In a “Greeting to the German Women’s Club in Hardwick, Minnesota, on the occasion of its 5th anniversary, October 3rd, 1913”, Christian encourages the German emigrants to go their way as Christians in the New World. Three of the verses are as follows:


As Jesus once sent out his disciples

So has he put you here,

In order that the light, which shone in him,

Should lighten the dark world still today.

You have taken upon you the duty

Of binding the bleeding wounds,

In a world, which is burdened by sin,

You have done your work of love.


And God has blessed your work

Has led you along the right path.

Consolation has come from heaven

When the way was dark for you.

God has accepted in grace

What you gave to his kingdom-

The songs you sang in the choir

Have come to God.


Now continue to god’s glory

In love and unity.

Add stones to the sanctuary

For time and eternity.

And may the number of members,

Which has more than tripled,

Be doubled again at the next celebration,

That is my wish, prayer and council.


Christian returned to Südhemmern for his parents’ golden wedding anniversary in 1914. Because of the outbreak of World War I he had to stay in German until 1916. During this time he published “The German Sword; War Poems of the Years 1914-1915-1916”. In the meantime the USA had entered the war and the publication of the poetry book caused Christian difficulties.


The subject matter of his examination thesis are inclinations of the philosophical inclination of the theologian Christian Peithmann. He thought of himself as a gnostic and starting in 1901 published. besides 36 essays, numerous works of which the following titles are known:


Ancient Greek Philosophers (Bitterfeld and Leipzig1901 – 1902)

  1. Heraclitus
  2. Parmenides
  3. Empedocles
  4. Anaxagoras
  5. Democritus


Socrates’ Philosophy of Nature


Gnostic Fathers (Bitterfeld and Leipzig 1903 – 1904)

  1. The Naassens
  2. The Perates and Settians
  3. The Doctrine of Creation
  4. Justinus and Simon Magus
  5. The Valentinians
  6. The Valentinians
  7. Mark
  8. Basilides
  9. The Marosians


The Metaphysical Interpretation of the Bible (Bitterfeld and Leipzig 1903)


The Gnostic Communities in Ancient and Modern Times (Schmiedeberg and Leipzig)


Gnostic Catechism (Bitterfeld and Leipzig 1904)


  1. The Most Holy and the Holy
  2. The Outer court. The Secrets of the Third Proceeding. The Spheres of Fate. Our World. The Demons. The Outer Darkness


Secret Christian Teaching of the First Two Centuries (Schmiedeberg 1905 – 1906)

      3.    What is Man?

      4.    The nether Jesus

             (nr. 3 and 4 of the Gnostic Catechism)


Secret Conversations between Jesus and his Disciples (Schmiedeberg 1909)

1.        Jesus’ Transfiguration and Ascension


In the appendix to several of his works Christian mentioned further works for which there were already manuscripts. It is known whether they were printed. In “Socrates Philosophy of Nature” which was written in 1898 and published in 1902 in the respected “Archive for the History of Philosophy” the title of professor accompanies his name. With “Dr. Peithmann’s Works for Educated and Thinking People” his publications were advertised and offered by his publishing firm. The work “The Metaphysical Interpretation of the Bible” is an example of Christian’s philosophical interpretation of biblical contexts. In it he distinguishes between the “literal” explanation of the Bible, which is founded in the historical data of biblical accounts, and the “spiritual” or symbolic explanation, in which the historical happenings are just symbols for the “eternal deeds in the higher world”. “These spiritual people represent...the true invisible church.”


In “Gnostic Catechism” Christian seeks to make religious thought of late antiquity fitting to his own time. It is not possible here to go further into the content of his other publications, the process of his thinking, and his contact with other gnostics; for one thing as in his case little investigated undercurrents of German history of philosophy cross each other (H. Möller in a letter).


On March 29th, 1878 Christian married Luise Pagemann, who was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Mecklenburg parents. Some years after their marriage the couple moved to Germany and from June 25th, 1927 lived in Südhemmern nr. 4. Here he founded a gnostic society and received like-minded believers from many countries of the earth. Soon after the National Socialists seized power Christian had to leave Germany quickly on March 10th, 1933. He did not return from the USA where he died childless at the age of 75 in 1943.


Sophie Caroline Wilhelmine

born February 24th, 1870, died September 6th, 1941


On October 31st, 1891 Sophie married the teacher Christian Friedrich Heinrich (called Engelkemeier) Becker (born September 10th, 1858, died December 2nd, 1933) who was born in Holsen near Schnathorst. He had attended the preparatory courses and teachers’ training college in Petershagen. Christian taught in Nammen, Eickhorst, and Wasserstraße in the Minden district as well as in Bielefeld. He acquired three houses in Minden where the family lived after his early retirement. There were five children: Martha Schultes (born in Eickhorst October 1st, 1892, died April 2nd, 1978); Elisabeth (born Schlüsselburg-Wasserstraße June 25th, 1894, died December 13th, 1959); Johannes Martin Walter (born Schlüsselburg-Wasserstraße April 2nd, 1896, died in Bremen December 6th, 1947); Martin Christian Karl (born Schlüsselburg-Wasserstraße December 3rd, 1899, died Minden January 2nd, 1968); and Paul (born in Bielefeld February 6th, 1907, died August 1st, 1974).



born February 20th, 1872, died July 1st, 1963


Ernst Peithmann’s second eldest son Heinrich became heir to the farm in Südhemmern nr. 21. On July 1st, 1902 he married Luise Röthemeier (born August 26th, 1873, died November 29th, 1951), daughter of the farmer Cord Heinrich Christian Röthemeier and his wife Caroline Marie Luise Tiemann in the Specken district of Südhemmern.


From 1893 – 1895 Heinrich served in the “4th Infantry Guard Regiment” in Berlin and was the first syclist in the Imperial Army. As of March 1915he took part in World War I; he spent 2 years until November 1917 on the Beresina in Russia.


As the income from the farm was not enough to support the family, Heinrich earned extra money. In the period from about 1896 – 1900 he worked  when farming allowed – in the food store of the Minden barracks. Here he worked daily ten hours for 2 Marks. He walked the distance of 20 km there and back. He gave up this irksome additional work when Hille Dairy gave the transport of milk cans to the Südhemmern farmers. Heinrich applied asking 1,40 Marks a day and was given additional money. He did this with his cart and team of horses until 1902.


Heinrich had no labourers and had to do all the work himself. Every year he mowed all the cereal produce alone with a scythe. As a beekeeper he had up to 40 colonies of bees. In addition he had bought rights to hunt in Südhemmern. While hunting in 1925 he lost an eye from a stray bullet.


From 1925 until the National Socialists seized power in 1933 Heinrich was Mayor of Südhemmern after he had been elected to the Parochial Council the year before. In this office he concerned himself chiefly with the building of roads. Amongst other things he had a 2 km long link road built between the village and the district of Grefte.


Heinrich Peithmann and Luise Röthemeier had two sons: Heinrich and Hermann.


The eldest son Eberhard Karl Ernst Christian Heinrich (born June 14thm 1903, die in Bünde August 3rd, 1073) became a pastor. In 1923 he passed the final exams at the humanistic grammar school in Minden. It was a time of economic depression then and he sent the following eighteen months in financial administration. He studied theology at the universities of Münster (192 4– 1925 and 1927 – 1928) and Tübingen (1925 -  1927).