THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
On board "Glenmanna" out of Liverpool 28th October 1854 when she arrived in Port Philipp on Wednesday, 14th February 1855 was an unusually large group of migrants from Nieder-Weisel. These thirty travellers included a female child, 'Margt Schimpf' - child meant 14 or younger in this case. There was no indication as to whom she was travelling with but she was shown on the same ticket as Margaretha Knipper nee Schimpf. This Margaretha was a daughter of a baker in Nieder-Weisel, Konrad Schimpf; her elder brother Johann Jakob (b 22/3/1816) was the younger Margaretha's father, who had married Elisabetha nee Krausgrill (1817 - 1862) on 28th May 1837. Margaretha was their first child, born 13th October 1837 and sponsored at her baptism the following Friday by her aunt Margaretha.
Johann Jakob Schimpf carried on the family bakery until the organisational changes in Nieder-Weisel forced him into queuing up with other men hoping to get part-time work on the consolidated leases. Margaretha had three sisters and a brother; there was often not enough food to go round.
When the Knippers decided to join the group which was planning to go to the Victorian goldfields it was decided that Margaretha Schimpf would go with them. Her age was dropped from 17 to 13 to enable her to travel with the Knippers as a child - this also reduced the fare payable by half.
After meeting up with other villagers in Ballarat the Knippers moved further west to Smythes Creek, but Margaretha elected to go to the northern gold fields around Beechworth. Here, Margaretha met up with a migrant from Hanover - Hendrick Friederick Bloom Mesenbrenck, son of a publican. The couple were married on 12th September 1857 at the residence of a Wesleyan minister in Beechworth. Each gave Spring Creek as the normal residential address - this is where a group of Nieder-Weiselerns, including the Reuss brothers and several members of the Jung and Haub families had congregated. There is no record that any children were born to this marriage, and no further entry under the name of Mesenbrenck in any of the Victorian statistics.
Some of the villagers who prospected in or around Beechworth went into New South Wales; others went on to North America and settled in San Francisco. It could be that the Mesenbrencks did likewise or returned to Hanover. Another possibility is that Margaretha and her husband separated - a Margaret Schimpf who cannot be identified from the Nieder-Weisel parish records gave birth to a son - named James Conrad Schimpf - in Redcliffs in 1864.
(Margaretha's father Johann Jakob Schimpf was one of the group of 18 men who purchased the properties of the Order of St John for 250,000 florins).