THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Anna Elisabetha was born on 24th June 1811 to a farm hand, Wilhelm Schmidt, and his wife Anna Christina Weihmann in the village of Hochelheim, about 15 km north of Nieder-Weisel.
She met Ambrosius Winter when he was carrying out the journeyman part of his trade training and she was persuaded to go with him to Paris in 1837. He obtained accommodation with a fellow stonemason, Bornsch, in the Rue du Dragon; here they lived as man and wife.
Anna Elisabetha gave birth to a son, Louis Joseph on 30th May 1838 but the little boy only lived till just past his first birthday. Anna Elisabetha was pregnant again within a few weeks and another son was born on 18th May 1840. They had him baptised in the Ev. Church of the Confession, in the parish of Augsbourg, the following Sunday. Their neighbours stood as sponsors and the child received the name Philippe, to which they added Louis, in memory of his little brother.
Shortly after this, Ambrose took his wife and son to Nieder-Weisel where he married Anna Elisabetha on 29th November 1840. The banns were proclaimed in Anna Elisabetha's parish church at Hochelheim, but not from the Nieder-Weisel pulpit as Pastor Fabricius was aware of their prior cohabitation and refused to do so. The mothers of both the bride and groom attended the ceremony and gave their blessings.
Anna Elisabetha had no more children; she devoted her energies to raising her son. Ambrosius could not find work other than as a farmhand on a daily hire basis and, when the exodus to the goldfields of Victoria gained momentum, he joined in. "Marco Polo", one of the fastest sailing vessels on the Victorian run, left Liverpool on 5th December 1855 with the three Winters amongst a group of 25 emigrants from Nieder-Weisel; they reached Melbourne at the end of a smart run of only 12 weeks.
Ambrosius tried prospecting at Smythes Creek near Ballarat, where Anna Elisabetha had contacts with many Nieder-Weiselerns. To her disappointment her son went back to Germany in 1860, while Ambrosius decided to become naturalised. Just as this took place, in October 1862, Anna Elisabetha died. She was buried in Smythesdale Cemetery, aged only 51.
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