Our trip to Germany was everything
we hoped for and more! We had a wonderful reunion at the Youth
With a Mission castle in Hurlach, and a wonderful visit with
an elderly German couple in the village who have adopted our
girls as grandchildren. Then we travelled and enjoyed the country
We landed in Frankfurt where
we picked up our rental car, and drove to Hurlach (about a
40 min. drive west of Munich, between Landsberg and Augsburg).
It was Oct. 2, and the next day was Reunification Day, and it
seemed that everyone was on the way to somewhere, as it was stop-and-go
traffic most of the way! From Hurlach we took the train to Munich
for the Oktoberfest one day. The next day we headed south to
see some of the lovely churches on our way south. We drove through
a corner of Austria and through Liechtenstein to come into Switzerland,
where we spent several days in the Interlaken area. After playing
in the Alps, we drove back into Bavaria to see Ludwig's two castles,
Neuschwanstein and Linderhof and just enjoy the Bavarian countryside
and people. We learned to love the food in local Gasthofs--even
our girls became adventurous in trying new foods! Our last two
days we spent driving north on the Romantische Strasse toward
Frankfurt, enjoying the old cities on the way.
Last of all, our last day out, we finally
found Kleinheubach. It's on the south side of the Main river,
between Wurzburg and Frankfurt. I have to say, after all the
little villages we had just seen on the romantic road, I was
disappointed to find it's a much bigger town than I expected!
But we drove through the town, and finally found the old Lutheran
church. If you walk down the street next to the church, you can
walk out through the old city gate to the river bank. Across
the river is Grossheubach. When you look back, you can see the
church peeking over the old city wall. Undoubtedly this is the
site of the emotional farewell DesBrisay gives his account of.
We took pictures!
I spoke to the pastor's secretary (he
was apparently occupied, or has given her the job of dealing
with all the Lunie descendants, who come fairly regularly, according
to her!). I told her the name I was interested in was Morasch.
She shook her head, saying that was not a Kleinheubach name!
She pulled out the church book that contained the records from
1900 to the present, and ran through all the M names of the deaths,
and found none. She explained that the cemetery would do me
no good, as after 30 years bodies were dug up, and the graves
used again. I didn't think to ask what was done with the elaborate
gravestones we saw.
She asked if I had the book about Nova
Scotia. "Which one?" I asked. She went to the bookshelf and
brought me a copy of Bell's "Foreign
Protestants", sent to them
not long ago by someone named Conrad, she explained. Seems
we're not the first KH descendants to come back seeking their
I continued to l look wistful, so she
gave me the address of the archives in Regensburg, where the
old church books were sent about two years ago. She told me that
they now send all inquiries to Regensburg. But, she warned, they
charge for their research, by the hour! She
showed me the fiches of the books that Regensburg had made
and sent to the church. So they do still have the records! But
she acted as though no one in their right mind would want to
take the time and trouble to go through the fiches! I certainly
would have, but it was already 5 pm, and we had to find a place
to spend the night in Frankfurt, so we could be at the airport
at 9am the next morning.
It was so hard to turn away from that!
I wonder, if they have made fiche for the church, is it possible
they have made copies for SLC as well? Or can we request that
SLC make copies of the books or fiche?
Well, she wasn't going to give
me any new generations of my Morasch family, I finally decided
(sigh). So we went into the church and looked around. A very
small church, but very pleasant and homey, we thought. We took
pictures outside and inside, including a plaque with names of
those from the parish who had died in WWI, among which I recognized
some Lunie names. I also bought a folder of postcards of the
church. We found leaflets of
the history of the church, with a photo on the front. It is in
German, but I have translated it, and it can be seen below:
The History of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Kleinheubach
The time when man first set foot in
the Heubach valley lies in the darkness of history, never to
be discovered. From graves and pottery finds, however, we know
with certainty that people moved, lived, and died here since
about 2000 BC. All the advantages to life were here: a wide open
valley with fruitful land, meadow, forest, and wildlife, as well
as abundant good water. When the Franks moved (about the fifth
or sixth century) from the Rhine up the Main river, they brought
the Christian faith with them. The first settlement was probably
on the same high hill of land on which the church now sits. According
to the Frank custom and manner, a church was built as a part
of the settlement. The church was dedicated to Saint Martin,
the protector of the Franks, whose picture still decorates our
church. The church you see here today was built between 1706
The building owner was Count Philipp-Ludwig
von Erbach with his wife Albertine-Elisabeth princess of Waldeck/Pyrmont,
and the parish pastor of the time Adolf-Friedrich Freineisen
and Burgermeister Kaspar Bechtold. In the same place were likely
already three, and certainly at least two other churches, each
giving place to the new building. From the first church of stone
remains only one bell, our "Small",
the so-called Baptism Bell. It carries no inscription, and according
to the form and material, it was poured in the eleventh or twelfth
century. In the year 1454/1455, the church, being too small and
in disrepair, was destroyed, and replaced by a new building.
The tall bell tower, which was built as a part of this new building,
and which still stands today, was included in the new building
of 1710, and is now the oldest part of the church. From the new
building of the church of 1455, was a stone with Latin script,
which is now on the left corner of the tower next to the main
entrance. Before one enters the church one sees on the tower
the old tower clock from 1717 with five crest panels. These show
from top to bottom the crests of the former sovereigns of Kleinheubach:
At the top is the crest of the prince
of Löwenstein, who purchased
Kleinheubach in 1721 from the Count von Erbach. He ruled here
as sovereign until 1816, living in the Kleinheubach castle,
until Kleinheubach , with the rest of the lower Main river
area, became a part of Bavaria, in 1816.
To the right and left of the top center
follow the crest of the Counts von Rieneck with the striped
sign. They received Kleinheubach from the Palantine Counts and
were sovereigns until 1599 in Kleinheubach. By Philipp the Older,
Count von Rieneck, Kleinhuebach was brought into the "new
teaching" of the "Reformation".
Through the years from that time, Kleinheubach, in the middle
of the surrounding Catholic communities, has remained Lutheran.
The two lowest crests are those of
the Counts von Erbach, who succeeded and took over Kleinheubach
after the Counts von Rieneck died out.
Over the main entrance one sees the
crest of the builder of the church, the Count Philipp-Ludwig
von Erbach and his wife, the princess Albertine-Elisabeth, princess
In the ceiling of the bell tower one
recognizes the three wood pipes through which the cord ran that
rang the bells, until it was replaced with a ringing system.
The frescoes in the entryway are from
the old 1455 church, and were uncovered by the 1922 renovation.
On the ceiling are seen the symbols
and crests of the four apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
and the face of Christ. Over the entryway to the church one sees
the head of Jesus on the cloth of Veronika. On the left wall
is the Saint Wendelin, the patron saint of farmers, and on the
right wall the patron saint of the church, Saint Martin, who
shared his coat with beggars. On the right next to the entry
is a stone built into the wall, which came from the old Roman
fort of the old city, and represents Hercules.
We now step into the inner church,
with was built in the Baroque style, and the colors were completely
restored in the 1977 interior renovation. To the right of the
entrance is the so-called "teacher's
chair, and to the left the pastor's chair. These two set-off
pews were reserved for the teacher's and pastor's families. Behind
the teacher's chair one sees the only remaining wall painting
of the 1455 church, which represents the Last Judgment.
In the Kleinheubach church there was
a specific seating order. The gallery was reserved for the men,
the church itself for the women, and the children taking the
The baptismal of red sandstone comes
from 1710 and until 1977 stood in front of the altar, after which
it was placed in the center of the church. The very valuable
silver baptismal utensils, the work of a master in Augsburg,
were used only for baptisms.
Now to the ceiling painting; it shows
the resurrection of Christ, and is the work of the Munich painter
The centerpiece of the church is the
organ, along with the pulpit and altar. This masterpiece was
made of wood by the master Eberhard from Sandbach in Odenwald.
The inlay in the altar were made of hazel wood, and are all still
intact from the original work of 1710. In the back wall and ceiling
of the pulpit are the three stars from the crest of the Counts
von Erbach. On the covering of the pulpit stand the four evangelists
next to Moses, with the cross and serpent. The pelican, which
tears its own breast to feed its young, represents the sacrifice
of Jesus, who gave his life for us, and is the crowning of the
pulpit covering. The painting over the altar shows the birth
of Christ, a motif which is seldom found as altar paintings.
Over the altar painting is another,
a smaller one, which represents the ascension of Christ. The
two altar pictures were gifts of the princess Sophie-Albertine
von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, a born Countess von Erbach.
The angels over the altar symbolize
Worship and Praise, Sacrifice and Cross, as well as the Ten Commandments.
The seat of honor in the room around
the altar were the seats for the Burgermeister and his council.
The altar was crowned by the mighty
organ, with the beautifully cut and richly decorated front. The
organ itself is the work of the organ maker Christian Dauphin,
of 1710, ancestor of one of the Kleinheubach families. Christian
Dauphin came of a Huguenot family and moved from Thüringen
To the right of the altar in a glass
case are two forged iron crowns, called "Bridal Crowns".
These were used during the funeral, placed on the casket of
the deceased. The narrower one was for the men, "Young
man's crown", and the wider was the "maiden
crown". Both crowns came from the 1455 church. From 1922
to 1976, they were used as a part of lamps in the church, and
after that were protected in an archive. On Good Friday of 1994
they were returned to the church.
The Kleinheubach church owns three
bells. The oldest of these is also the smallest, and comes from
the first-built church. This bell carries no inscription, and
supposedly was poured in the twelfth century. It was rung at
the time of baptisms, and so was called the "Baptism
Bell". The second, or middle bell came from the 1455 church,
and is dedicated to the virgin Mary, the mother of God. It carries
this inscription, "AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA COMINUS TECUM
It is called the "Our Father Bell", because it was
rung whenever the congregation would pray the Lord's Prayer during
the service. The large bell is now rung in the morning, noon
and evening, and with the other two bells to call people to services.
It carries the inscription: "Jesus, allow my bell to always
ring in peace, protect this town from fire and attack. In God's
name I was poured, J.P. Bach in Windecken poured me in the year
1771 when the sirs J. Chr. Bechtold Antsschultheisz and J. M.
Rodenhausen were both pastors (Pastoreipfleger???)"
Kleinheubach, April 1995
Source for this description is the
Place and Pastoral History of Kleinheubach, done by Pastor and
citizen Gottlieb Wagner.