THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Jakob Muller was a son of Philipp Reinhardt Muller and Elisabetha Hauser, nee Haub, who were married, each for a second time, in Nieder-Weisel on 10th September 1843. Jakob, born on 24th September 1845, was the first of the seven children of this marriage.
Philipp left Nieder-Weisel in 1858 and went to the Victorian goldfields; Jakob and a younger brother, Konrad, followed. Jakob was with three other young men from the village who embarked at Liverpool on "Empire of Peace" on 27th June 1861. As was customary his age was understated by several years to avoid the payment of a full fare. It was a slow journey to Melbourne and it was not until 4th October 1858 that they reached Hobsons Bay.
Jakob joined his father in Ballarat initially but, following Philipp Reinhardt's death in 1864, he took a job carting provisions and other goods to nearby goldmining communities. He worked for Geilhofer & Hauser, one of the enterprises started by Philipp Hauser of Nieder-Weisel, resident in Smythesdale, which serviced the area south of Ballarat.
Jakob's adventure in the colony lasted only 3½ years. On 17th May 1865, he was driving a two-horse spring cart down the steep, rain-soaked approach to the Rokewood Junction when the harness broke. Trying to regain control of the pair, Jakob was jerked from his seat into the path of the cartwheels, one of which passed over him and broke his spine. Bystanders took him to a nearby hotel where he died within minutes. A coronial enquiry decided that Jakob's death was from misadventure. The band that broke was almost new and normally should not have failed.
Philipp Hauser took Jakob back to Smythesdale, and he was buried in the Lutheran section of the newly opened cemetery there. Before returning to Nieder- Weisel his brother Konrad erected over the grave a very impressive head-stone which, 135 years later, still clearly marks Jakob's lonely resting place.