THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Jakob was the posthumous son of Jakob Bill II, who died, at the age of 3O, in June 1839 three months before his wife Anna Margaretha nee Kissler gave birth to their fifth child. Their only other son was Christoph born 1836.
Whereas a man with children who was widowed would usually re-marry quickly, widows were less likely to do so. Maybe Anna Margaretha thought she would be able to look for help from her father, master-blacksmith Konrad Kissler, but he died only three years after her husband, and she was left to cope as best she could with her young family.
It is hardly surprising that both sons emigrated. Christoph was married in England and he probably took his bride to North America. Jakob decided on Australia, but it is not known when he arrived in Victoria, probably between 1855 and 1858. Family lore holds that he went mining on the Wesley Hill line of lode near Castlemaine before going to the Rocky Lead district. He was resident here when he married, on 16th March 1865, Anna Elisabetha Muller (whose father, Konrad, brought five children from Nieder-Weisel in 1858 soon after his wife died). Not quite 19 years of age, the bride required the written consent of her father to marry. The rites were performed in the Methodist Church at Smith's Creek, near the bride's home.
The pair returned to Rocky Lead where their son, Ludwig, was born in 1866. Jakob disliked working underground and he bought land at Italian Hill in 1867 and settled there. During the next 24 years, Anna Elisabetha increased their family to eleven, with six boys, including twins, and four girls. A daughter born when the mother was 44 years of age was the only one not to live to adulthood. Jakob lost his second son, Jacob, to a typhoid epidemic in 1892. Some of his other children were to live well into their 8Os and 9Os, but Jakob's life was not a very long one. After making the property at Italian Hill productive he took up a selection at Hopetoun in north-western Victoria in 1895, where he intended to resettle his family. Taking Albino and Margaret with him to help get things started, he began to build a homestead. However, he became ill and had to return to his home in Smiths Creek where, after a further illness, he died on 19th June 1898.
Jakob Bill was buried in the Daylesford cemetery, three months short of his 59th birthday. He left a widow who would live to experience as a citizen of her adopted country the first depressing years of World War II, but who would enjoy freedom from want as a result of the arduous labour Jakob had invested in improving the property he bequeathed to his family.