My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HOMETOWN TUESDAY: Forst, Baden, Germany

Apollonia Weinschenk, my 3rd great-Grandmother, was born on March 9, 1829, in the town of Forst, Baden, Germany. Her parents (my 4th great-grandparents) were Matthew Weinschenk and Maria Barbara Biebel (b. June 4, 1787), both from Forst. Apollonia was the youngest of fourteen children. Church records show that she was baptized at the Catholic church in Forst, on March 10, 1829. Family history has it that her parents died around 1842-43. It was after this that she and several of her young siblings immigrated to America; she would have been about 14 at the time. She settled in Mobile, Alabama, along with older sisters Margaret (1816-UNK) and Catherine (1822-UNK).

Apollonia Weinschenk Horst
ca.. 1907
On December 15, 1846, at the age of 17, Apollonia married Tobias Berg (1819-1853), a native of Zonsweir, Baden, Germany. Together they had four children, two son who each died soon after their births, and two daughters. Apollonia and Tobias owned and operated the City Exchange Saloon in Mobile. After Tobias death at the age of 34, Apollonia met and soon married Martin Horst (1830-1878),  from Ober-Ohmen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. They were wed December 28, 1854 at Mobile's Cathedral. Martin is my 3rd great-Grandfather.

Apollonia and Martin had eight children of their own, six living to adulthood. Their oldest, Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912) is my great-great-Grandfather. Martin continued to run the saloon, through the Civil War and Yankee takeover of Mobile. Martin and Apollonia built the Horst House (now a Mobile landmark) and raised their large family, two blocks from the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where Apollonia provided flowers for the services from her garden. Martin became the first elected Mayor of Mobile after reconstruction, in 1871-72. He died in 1878 from Bright's Disease, a disease of the kidneys. Apollonia lived thirty years longer.

Her sons took over the saloon and the running of the family's liquor dealership. Later in life, Apollonia took on borders, including many German immigrants. She died on April 24, 1908, at the age of 79, from "paralysis" (a stroke). She and Martin are buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile.

Forst an der Weinstrasse, Germany
Forst, Baden, Germany
Forst an der Weinstraße (or Forst an der Weinstrasse) is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bad Dürkheim district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It was known as Forst when our ancestors lived here.

The municipality lies at the hilly western edge of the Upper Rhine Plain in the Eastern Palatinate (Vorderpfalz). As its name suggests, it is also on the German Wine Route (Deutsche Weinstraße) in the Palatinate wine region.

The German Wine Route was established in 1933. There was a record harvest in 1934, and another one was foreseen for 1935, so it was decided to establish a road that connects all vintners' villages to boost the wine sales. The German Wine Route was officially opened on 19 October 1935. Existing local roads along the route were renamed to incorporate "Weinstraße" into their names and local municipalities were told to add "an der Weinstraße" to their names. The German Wine Route is marked by numerous open-air wine festivals, held annually from March to October, that make it a major tourist attraction. Bicycling the wine-route has become a favorite activity of the region.
The town's website describes it like this:

"The extraordinarily high fertility of our fields prompted the Romans here in our fruit trees, such as almonds, peaches, plums, but in particular to introduce the wine.The wines arrived here early on to world fame. The village itself is a "village street", ie the main part backed by a single road with a length of about 1,200 meters. We currently have about 850 inhabitants. The work is dominated by viticulture, (and) increasingly from tourism. "
Kirsche St. Barbara
St. Barbara's Catholic Church, or Kirsche St. Barbara, is at the center of the town.
Apollonia's family name 'Weinschenk' is a German occupational name meaning 'innkeeper'; literally translated it means 'wine giver'.

Johann I, Emperor Heinrich IV's nephew, and the Prince-Bishop of Speyer, gave his personal holdings in 1100, among which was Deidesheim, as a donation to the Bishopric of Speyer.  The vast woodlands north of Deidesheim, also known as Vorst or Forst (cognate with English forest and meaning the same) was excluded from this arrangement and was reserved as the Prince-Bishop’s hunting ground. In this forest lie the village’s beginnings, and of course its namesake.

When the French Revolution spread to the German lands on the Rhine’s left bank, Forst temporarily became part of France’s territory. In 1816, what had once been Electoral Palatinate territory on the left bank was named the Rheinkreis, and later Rheinpfalz, and annexed to the Kingdom of Bavaria; the Palatinate remained Bavarian until the end of the Second World War.

1 comment:

  1. Hi= I also have been tracing my family tree and have been to Forst. Some of the names in your family line I also have. I have been to Forst and have almost the same photo you do. But Forst on the Weinstrasse is in the German State of Rheinland-Pfaltz not Baden. The Forst in Baden is a different place as it is a different state of Germany. I have not put my Forst stuff yet up on the web. Geraldine Knatz