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Konrad WILHELM
1840-1890

Konrad Wilhelm could follow his proud ancestry to the Christophel Ernst Wilhelm who as Mayor of the village in the late 1600s exercised power of life and death over the villagers as the First Citizen in Nieder-Weisel. All that his great-great-great-great-grandson could expect to control was a yoke around the neck of the ox he would guide across a field owned by an absentee landholder some day.

Konrad's future became even more obscure when his father, Johann Georg Wilhelm III, died in 1850 soon after Konrad's tenth birthday. His mother, Anna Margaretha nee Bill, bravely decided that she would take her son and two girls to the New World in the hope that they would find a happier life there than their crumbling village offered. The older daughter, Susanna, was sent on ahead via Hamburg. Konrad and his younger sister, Anna Margaretha, followed later with their mother via Liverpool. They booked on the "Star of the East". There were two other couples from the village among the 282 passengers and two boys of Konrad's age who would help the children pass away the 12 long weeks at sea.

"Star of the East" reached Port Phillip twelve days into 1857 and the dozen weary but excited Nieder-Weiselerns went to Ballarat, to begin their lives as migrants in Victoria. Susanna was living there and she was able to help her mother and the other children settle in. Konrad was old enough to look for a man's work to support his mother while Anna Margaretha, at 15, had little difficulty finding a job as a domestic servant in a community short of female labour.

Each of Konrad's sisters married and moved out of Ballarat with their husbands. Anna Margaretha and her family eventually settled at Maldon, west of Castlemaine. Konrad, who never married, also went to Maldon; he probably lived with Anna Margaretha and her husband Konrad Mohr. He died in this town in 1890 at the early age of 50.

View Konrad's Family Chart or return to the top.