THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Though he served an apprenticeship in tailoring, Johannes had no chance of inheriting his father's business as there were already seven sons when he was born on 24th March 1820, the last of the eleven children borne by his mother Maria Dorothea Bodenroeder to his father Ambrosius, master tailor.
Johannes lost his father in 1836 and was orphaned six years later. On 2nd June 1844 he was married to Elisabetha Richter, a daughter of the local brick manufacturer. After a son, Jakob, arrived in 1845 they migrated to Bolton, Lancashire, and Johannes found suitable work. A second son, Ambrosius, was born there in 1847. In 1849 they went back to the village, where Johannes worked as a barber. Their first daughter, born in 1851, died and Elisabetha produced another daughter Juliana the following year.
Philipp Winter, the eldest brother, took his wife to North America in 1853 shortly after they were married, and Johannes also decided to migrate. The exciting news from the colony of Victoria of gold strikes around Ballarat influenced Johannes to go out there rather than to North America. They left Liverpool with their three children on 5th October 1854 aboard "Fulwood". Their party also included Alice and Margaret Winter - but these 'daughters' could not have been part of any Winter family in Nieder-Weisel. A second group of Winters included Johann Georg, the next elder brother, with his family of four, and also Elisabetha's brother Philipp. They comprised the largest group from Nieder-Weisel to arrive at Melbourne up until that time.
Disembarking after a very slow and boring journey of nineteen weeks, the Winters went about settling into their new homeland but they were to have a disastrous introduction: in May, the 3 year old Juliana died of a childhood fever, and in August Jakob followed his sister to a tiny grave.
Many of the Nieder-Weisel immigrants were working on the fields at Smythes Creek, west of Ballarat. These included another brother, Friedrich Winter, and Johannes also moved there, in order that his wife could share the companionship of others from their village while he was away working. However, ill fortune followed them. Elisabetha miss-carried her fifth child after losing Juliana. She went to full term in 1859 with Katharina Elisabetha, only to see her die before the year was out.
Disheartened, Johannes and Elisabetha returned to Nieder-Weisel with Ambrosius, their one surviving child. They watched him grow to near manhood, and then he died on 9th August 1867 in his twentieth year, cutting the last link to their family life in the antipodes. However, Elisabetha did give birth on 15th August 1862 to a third son, Philipp, who no doubt brightened the family home in the Domgasse.
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