Chapter 2: In the new homelands

The joy of the colonists on the arrival is soon vanished, because no building materials for the construction of solid houses is found. Instead of this they are forced to camp in earth holes, which is no sweet bread at the rough, cold and wet climate in the north and with natives in the back, whose language they do not understand. But they understand at least one thing, namely that on this terrible, god-dammed soil nothing eatable will ever grow.

In the year 1760 an inspector reports:

„The colonists are working in their gardens. Draught animals they don’t possess. Their hovels are build of peat. Some have already died, others are laying up with illness. The walls and the floors should be at least fitted with planks."

Card Schleswig-HolsteinHowever, in the year 1760 the first mutinies happen. Colonists resist the takeover of their land and demand to get better claims. Otherwise they will go home again. Others are already on the way to better regions. The project of colonization threatens to fail.

As a prompt measure the arrival of more colonists to the north-west of Denmark is stopped. The new waste lands in the duchy Schleswig are released as compensation for the colonization.

The region is called GEEST, poor and dry, sometimes with moor, in the middle of Schleswig-Holstein, north of Rendsburg.

Still today a lot of names remind of the foundations in those days. These names are all combined with the names of Danish kings, like Friedrichsfeld, Christiansholm, Königsmoor, Friedrichsheide, Christianshoffnung, Friedrichsanbau, etc.

power politics

The power-politic background of the colonization period

In the Nordic War (1700-1721) the great powers Sweden and Russia fight for the predominance in the region of the Baltic sea.

The Danish king Frederic IV stands on the Russian side, while his namesake duke Frederic IV of Gottorf/Schleswig is allied with Sweden. The bad luck of the latter: in a battle in Poland he dies the heroic death with the result, that his son lo2ses the family castle and all properties in Schleswig.

These are cashed by Denmark, which in wise foresight has staked on the triumphanting Russia. 1725 the exiled son Karl Frederic breathes revenges and marries the daughter of tsar Peter the Great. But his accession to the throne is counteracted. At least his son Karl Peter Ulrich succeeds and in 1742 becomes nominated as the official candidate, who will climb one day to the Russian throne.

From now on there is a lot of panic at the Danish court in Copenhagen, because they fear the revenge of the successor to the throne. The Danish army, which has 1740 only a force of 6.500 men, will be reinforced in the next 20 years to 36.000 men.

1756 the decisive battle approaches. On the one side Russia, Austria and France, on the other side Prussia and England. That means for the people in the middle of Europe: seven years of murdering, plundering and sacking by marauding armies.

Moreover, because of the war between England and France, no overseas emigration is possible. On the other hand it is relatively peaceful in the north of Europe at this time.

At the 5th of January 1762 the tsarina dies and the great-prince from Gottorf/Schleswig ascends as tsar Peter III the Russian throne. In order to gain back his ex-territories he expends an army to Schleswig-Holstein. From the east this army breaks in in Mecklenburg, while from west a Danish army is approaching.

Both armies are coming very close, as a wonder happens - from the Danish point of view. Tsar Peter III. is murdered and his wife, who takes over as Catherine II the Russian throne, has no interest contenting the war. By this way it happens, that 1763 the peace-treaty of Hubertusburg is signed.

The invoice is presented

But totally unshorn the Danish subjects will not escape. The great armaments at land and at sea have increased the depts of the state to gigantic 19,5 Million Taler. In order to diminish the indebtedness an additional poll-tax is introduced. Every subject of more than 16 years is forced to pay an extra tax of yearly one Reichstaler (= ca. 30 $ or EURO).

Also the colonists shall be cupped, although they have been promised to be free from all taxes for 20 years. But you can’t get money from the pockets of a naked man. Therefore in this case the money is taken by a backdoor, that means by cutting the benefits of the colonists.

Jubilee at Schleswig

The 24th of June 1761 is a great day in the annals of the waste land colonization in the duchy Schleswig. 388 colonist (adult males only!) are lined up in front of the royal windows on the castle-yard at Gottorf by Schleswig.

Before the ceremony begins, the speakers of the colonist advance two prayers to the authorities:
1. not to be too niggardly with the distribution of the land;
2. to care for the education of the children and the practice of divine service.
Both is graciously promised.

Then the bailiff (=Amtmann) von Plessen makes a long oration about the duties and the rights of a citizen and about the generosity and salomonian wisdom of their ruler, King Frederic V. of Denmark.

After that the colonists speak a long oath to God and to Her Majesty, the most illustrious Highness, etc. etc.

Three cheers and disposition by lot

The jubilation shouts are overwhelming. The participants are on the verge of tears and the commander of the castle underlines the patriotic and fraternal feelings with 27 cannon-shots and with drums beating and trumpets sounding.

Now the thriller reaches the climax. The drawing of lots is taken through. 250 colonist-places are distributed to their expectant holders.



Closing with dance and music

At the end of this memorable day the people are brought back to their quarters, being refreshed with drinking and cold plates and amused with dancing.

Reservists on the look-out

Empty-handed candidates are entered in a waiting-list, with the chance to move after, when places will become vacant. This happens very often, because many families are not strong enough to stand the hardship of cultivating the waste land and must give up.

Also the family Adam Reble is registered in a waiting-list; dated on the 5th of August 1763: Office (Amt) Flensburg, Nr.146 from 338. But for the present it means wait and hope.

Reorganization in Neubehrend

At the 8th November 1764 the family Reble has it’s turn. At the gates of Schleswig, in Neubehrend, parish Nuebel, a small farm can be taken over (effective address: Neuberend, Klosterreihe 115). The economic result is more or less meager. Son Johann has already braken off to Friedrichsanbau.

Anyway, the rest of the family goes 1772 to Koenigshuegel, 20 km south-west of Schleswig. They take over the Stolberg farm (effective address: Königshügel, Dorfstr.16). They run it until 1776, probably till the end of a live of hard work, struggle and privations. The youngest son Adam dies 1775 in Koenigshuegel in the age of 14. What the other children are doing, we don’t know.

Lets follow up the trace of son Johann. It leads to the parish Kropp in the middle of the distance between Rendsburg and Schleswig.

The 12th of January 1765 the inspector Kamphövener reports of his district Friedrichsanbau:

„There are living 15 families and the land consists of heath and moor. Another lack is, that there is no meadow-land. This colony does have no advantages at all (...). Nr.4 - Georg Huber’s widow: is good in managing house and agriculture; keeps a day-laborer; two horses, one cow (...)."

The day-laborer is probably the later son-in-law Johann Reble, who will officially take over the farm 1774 (effective address: Klein-Bennebek, Friedrichsanbauer Str.11).

The live-stock of the family Huber/Reble is normal, i.e. basic equipment they have received from the authorities: 2 oxen or horses, 1 cow, 2 sheep. 10 years later the average stock per place is 1,5 horses and 3 cows. This level continues up to 1883.

Three cows per family is not very much. You must realize, the cows of those days don’t give much milk. Today 30 liters are normal, but 250 years ago less than 20 % of this level could be expected.

Rye, buckwheat and potatoes ... ... are in the maintenance the vegetables of the colonists. For the sowing of rye ca. 150 kg is needed per homestead. The output is meager: often only two-times, generally three-times. Returns of 300 kg rye means ca. 80 rye-breads per year. That is not much for a family of 5 persons ore more.

Moreover 200 kg buckwheat are harvested, which is adopted from the natives and which plays a dominant role in the nourishment. Until the beginning of the 20th century the normal evening meal in a farm of the middle of Schleswig-Holstein was buckwheat-groats with milk. In addition 250 kg potatoes in the average are gathered in, the „bread" of the small people. And in this case the natives are learning from the colonists.

From the chronicle of the 5th colony Friedrichsanbau, Parish of Kropp, Post Schleswig

  • 1761-1766: Three of the original occupants of the homestead Fuchskuhle are exhausted and have to give up after a short time; or were taken over („cashed") by the authorities; that is, were told to leave because of unsuccessful results.
  • 10.04.1766: Taken over by Eva Catharina Huber (nee Reisig), born 1725 in Gemmingen/Baden, dies 1805 in Friedrichsau (living with her son Michael Huber); widow of George Huber of Adelshofen/Baden (1720-1761). 
  • 12.09.1774: Transferred to son-in-law Johann Reble, born 1745 in Durlach/Baden, died 1814 in Friedrichsanbau; since 1765 married to Catharina Loise Huber, born 1750 in Adelshofen/Baden, died 1823 in Friedrichsanbau; 9 children; 6 are living. 
  • 04.04.1805: Bought the neighboring homestead „Jungfern Ort" at open auction for 415 Danish Reichstaler. 
  • 1807: Taken over by son Johann Jürgen Reble, born 1774, married in 1811 to Christine Rott from Jagel (1778-1842); one daughter, married to Tetenhusen. 
  • 1823: Taken over by brother Johannes Reble, born 1789 in Friedrichsanbau, died 1874 in Kropp; married 1824 to Anna Catharina Hansen from Lottorf (1803-1893) 
  • 1842: Sold homestead and settled in Kropp/Schleswig.

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