Jackie Bergstrom visits Maehringen and Jettenburg

from left: Jackie Dubois, Rüdiger Kemmler, Monika Schmid
from left: Jackie Dubois, Rüdiger Kemmler, Monika Schmid

In August 2001 the first visit of a distant US relative took place.  Jackie Dubois and her husband, Daryl Bergstrom, came visiting us for a few days. Jackie’s ancestors were  Johannes Keinath from Maehringen and  Johann Heinrich Durr from Jettenburg.  Johannes Keinath married Caroline Durr, the daughter of Johann Heinrich Durr, who was already born in the USA.  Both emigrants finally settled in Edon/Edgerton in Williams Co., OH. The mother of Johannes Keinath, Louisa Oberreuther emigrated as well after the death of her husband in  1860 to the U.S. and lived with her son. An important milestone on the schedule was as visit of the Stephans church in Maehringen.  Monika Schmid the secretary of the parish in Wankheim had everything with her counterpart in Maehringen,  Karl Haerter. So we could visit the church as well as the bell tower.   It was my first visit of any bell tower in the area. Karl enriched the way to the top with a lot of stories about his youth and their tasks in the tower when they have been young.

We were totally surprised,  when Karl told us that to of the bells were originating from the 13th and 15th century. Our timing was really perfect because we arrived on the top shortly before the bells were ringing at 11:00 pm. Although it was very loud it was an ultimate experience.

When we were back in the chord of the church I noticed that Jackie was in a quite different mood as before and I was anxious she couldn’t feel well. When I asked her whether she is doing well, she said that she would need a few minutes to recover as she was emotionally hit by the fact that she was standing in the church of her ancestors, to see the stone where Johannes very likely was baptized and finally to hear the bells her ancestors have heard as well, when they have been on the fields and the bells called them home for their small lunch or dinner.

Jackie’s answer deeply impressed me because she had made me aware of a fact I didn’t realize when I was on the tower. These bells are something unique. With her sound they connect the history with the present on a special way. We can hear the same sound of the bells as our ancestors have heard it.  Very likely very little things have survived such a long time, but the bells did.  To hear the bells sound please click on the link in the heading.

Bell from the 13th century

Bell from the 13th century
Bell from the 13th century

That’s the oldest bell in the county. It was made in the first part of the 13th century by an unknown bell master.

The inscription is:

Ivcas macvs mathevs iohannes

Bell from the 15th century

Bell from the 15th century
Bell from the 15th century

This bell emanates from the 15th century and was made by Hans Eger from Reutlingen. It is possible, that it was made around 1455 after the end of the hostilities with Hans v. Rechberg and some other Swabian Cities. During the hostilities Maehringen was under heavy attacks.

The inscription is:

S LVCAS S MARCVS S MATHEVS S IOHANNES

Bell from the 20th century

Bell from the 20th century
Bell from the 20th century

In 1958 this bell was added, to the two bells to improve the sound of the bell ringing. It took three attempts to get the proper harmony.

The inscription is:

DES HERRN WORT BLEIBT IN EWIGKEIT

(The word of the Lord lasts for ever)

After the visit of the Haerten cities we drove up to the Schwaebische Alb to Onstmettingen where the Keinath originally came from.