Rudolph Muller’s Blacksmith Shop in Grossheppach

Just when you thought we were finished with Rudolph Muller and his wife, Margretha, in Grossheppach, we’re not😊

Cousin Wolfram, using the 1832 cadastral maps, made an important discovery and has been kind enough to share. THANK YOU!!!

Blacksmith and Ferrier

If you recall, in the Grossheppach records for Johann Rudolph Muller and his wife, Margretha, we discovered that Rudolph was noted as a blacksmith and ferrier in different records.

I asked Wolfram if he thought that perhaps Rudolph’s blacksmith shop was at the castle, given that horses were rare and that Margretha was listed as either a chambermaid or “waiting maid.” Both of those professions suggested that they worked for someone who had enough money to pay for non-essential items like horses and services like maids.

Wolfram had mentioned that he had not been able to determine, previously, the location of the blacksmith shop – but that has all changed now.

Make yourself a cup of tea, or beverage of your choice, because we’re going along with Wolfram on an adventure to find the elusive blacksmith shop!

Wolfram’s Discovery

I LOVE emails from Wolfram!

Here is something more which might be quite interesting.

One entire word about the job of a blacksmith in Großheppach. You need to know, horses were really rare. I have seen this in the inventory lists of mid/end 18th century. There is absolutely rarely a horse. Maybe only the mill, the castle and the Lamm Inn had horses. There was no need for it and the space of the valley did not allow to plant food for the horses. Even my mother told, there was only one house who had horses. Also oxes were not available, my mother told. They carried the carts either by hand (smaller ones) or with milk cows. I was also asking if it was difficult having cows for the carts. But she mentioned they had very calm cows. They were able to do everything. So for a blacksmith the job were not so much horseshoes (yes, sometimes for troups who came along). Mainly they were surely doing all kind of metal work. Tools for work, for the carts and for buildings.

Now, where the family was located in Großheppach. I did not know where he lived. But now I analyzed the facts:

I have following facts:

I have the cadastre of 1832. There are three smith’s named:

  1. Joseph Friedrich Löffler, Schmied
  2. Christoph Ellwanger, Schmied
  3. Johannes Lutz, Schlosser together with Johannes Pfund, Nagelschmied (= Nailsmith?)

Wolfram provided a document which included the following information based on the cadastral map of 1832.

Location #1

Urnummerkarte 095, Grunbacher Straße ca. Nr. 20

Hauptstraße 34, today Grunbacherstraße (number. 20 is no longer there)

Consisting of:

Area square rods [QR]
House and barn 12,8
Wooden hut 3,2
Courtyard space 9,9
Total 25,9
in sqm 212,6

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2015]

Owner:

1832:

Joseph Friedrich Löffler, Schmied (blacksmith)

Here the explanation for the above location:

Ground of no.1 is named as a living house and barn, a wooden cabin and a courtyard. It does not look like a fix installed blacksmith. But it is located close to the castle (to the right) and close to the Lamm inn (to the left).

Location #2

Urnummerkarte 105, Brückenstraße 1

Mühlweg 1, steht nicht mehr, heute Brückenstraße 1. War Gasthaus zum Schlüssel. Dieses Gasthaus hatte den größten Saal im Ort, so dass hier de facto alle Hochzeiten gefeiert wurden. Auf älteren Gruppenbildern ist meist der Eingang, flankiert von zwei aufgestellten  Bäumen, abgebildet.

Deepl translation of above:

Mühlweg 1, no longer stands, today Brückenstraße 1. Was Gasthaus zum Schlüssel. This inn had the largest hall in the village, so de facto all weddings were celebrated here. Older group pictures usually show the entrance flanked by two upright trees.

Consisting of:

Fläche Quadratruten [QR]
Residential house 18,1
Staffeln (Seasons) 0,7
Scheuer [b] 8,0
Forge [a] 2,4
Oven the garden 0,4
Courtyard space 16,4
Total 46,0
in sqm 377,6

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2015]

Owner:

1832:

Christoph Ellwanger, Schmied

Ground of no2 is named as living house, stairs (even there it is flat ???), barn, blacksmith, baking oven in the garden and courtyard. The blacksmith workshop itself is the small building right at the edge of the crossing.

Location 3

Urnummerkarte 170, Brückenstraße 5

Mühlweg 3 und 5, today Brückenstraße 5

Consisting of:

Fläche Quadratruten [QR]
Residential house 5,8
5,8
Courtyard space 5,4
Total 17,0
in sqm 139,5

[Quelle: Urnummernkarte NO 2922, Jg 1832]    [Quelle: Google Maps, 2017]

Owner:

1832:

Johannes Lutz, locksmith and

Johannes Pfund, Nailsmith, joint

Ground of no3 is neighbor of no. 2 and next to the mill. Owner of this building is Johannes Lutz, locksmith and Johannes Pfund, nailer [= nailsmith?]

Wolfram’s Analysis

Only no. 2 is named as a blacksmith workshop. Therefore I think this was the original place. It is a good strategic place, by the way, because this was on the old street from east to west, it was on the way to the bridge over the Rems to reach Beutelsbach, Endersbach, Schnait or on the way to the south and finally, it was located next to the mill.

This place became a restaurant, I think in the 20th century (but I am not 100% sure), called “Zum Goldenen Schlüssel” (The golden key) and was THE RESTAURANT for all kind of events because they had the biggest room for celebrations (wedding, funeral feast…)

Also, my parents married there and my grandparents, and…

Basically, all old wedding pictures from Großheppach have this motive you can see an example in the picture below.

Now looking backwards. For sure I have a list of blacksmiths.

The inventory files from mid/end 18th century I have not analyzed fully. But I had a look in some records of the Barchet family (also blacksmith). There is saying, the house was standing “in the middle of the village, touching at the one side to the common entrance street, and on the other to Matthäus Lösch and Jerg Leonhard Stock.”

As Matthäus Lösch was a cooper in mid-1750s and the two houses east of the smith along the old roman main street were also owned from coopers in 1820, It seem that the Barchet owned this blacksmith in mid 1750s. But further backwards I actually cannot go.

 Finally, it is sure, that the place of a blacksmith was at that particular corner also in mid-1800s. And the probability is high, that 100 years before the blacksmith was at the same place as there was not so much movement those days in houses/jobs etc. And I am quite sure, Rudolph Müller owned this blacksmith at this particular corner or even founded it.

By the way, at the corner is today the butcher “Klass.”

Still today they have the golden key in their logo which is coming from the former restaurant “Zum Goldenen Schlüssel”. And it looks logic, that the real root of the key-logo is laying in the old blacksmith. I really have to ask the owner who is my friend 🙂

Bingo!!

So, there you have it. Wolfram has been able to identify the location of Rudolph’s blacksmith shop which is of course where the family lived too. Comparatively speaking, their home seemed quite large. Did Rudolph build this home, and the forge, or did he purchase the property from an earlier blacksmith, perhaps from the heirs of one who had perished during the Thirty Years War?

Is there any hint of the blacksmith shop, or bricks from the oven, perhaps, still recognizable or to be found on the property, today?

This “corner lot” would have been a prime piece of real estate, passed by all travelers because it was directly on the road to the bridge and the mill, locations frequented by everyone.

I wonder if Rudolph knew the history of this road, that it was, in fact, the old Roman road.

That legions of men in boots had marched around the corner and past his blacksmith shop for hundreds, if not thousands of years. That battles had been fought here, and on the bridge nearby.

Some lucky men rode horses and those horses needed shoes. Perhaps Rudolph had some wine on hand too for thirsty riders as well as water for thirsty horses. At least men who owned horses had enough money to pay for his services and perhaps some discretionary purchases too.

Local farmers bringing their grain to the mill might have needed the axle on their cart or wagon fixed, or a tool or something else repaired. Rudolph was right nearby, literally next door, within sight.

Even people not needing a blacksmith’s services might have been lured by the smells of whatever was baking in that outdoor oven. Maybe the blacksmith’s shop became the corner gathering place where vineyards were discussed and the quality of fermenting wine along with the weather. Or if the visitors were women, who was courting whom, and later, who was “expecting.” Or maybe even more scandalous when that order was reversed.

I’ve noted the two blacksmith locations that were located very closely adjacent in 1832, 140 years or about 4 generations after Rudolph’s death, on the current map, above. The arrow at left is, of course, the blacksmith shop where Rudolph is believed to have lived, although the blacksmith shop is incorporated into the larger “residential” building which has been significantly expanded, and the garden oven is gone. It’s still quite recognizable 189 years after the cadastral map was drawn and would likely have been recognizable if a map had been drawn in Rudolph’s lifetime as well.

The arrow at right points to the location that was, in 1832 the locksmith and “nailsmith.”

The large building to the far right, in the corner, is the old mill, both then and now.

The long corner building appears to be where Rudolph and Margretha would have lived, with the blacksmith workshop right on the corner and a baking oven in the courtyard. Grain was readily available at the mill next door. This large oven and oversized residential building suggest that maybe Rudolph provided more than blacksmith services and wine to his visitors. Were he and Margretha also proprietors of a food establishment of some sort – maybe the equivalent “fast food” of the 1600s? Grab a glass of wine and a pastry, “to go,” or while you wait for your repair to be completed?

Was “waiting maid” perhaps a way of conveying that Margretha waited on customers, a waitress or server in today’s vernacular? Was this the actual beginning of what would evolve into the Golden Key restaurant? The location was certainly ideal!

Connections

Now it makes sense why the local miller at the time, Jerg Leonhard Herman and his wife Magdalena stood up as godparents for all but one of Rudolph and Margretha’s children. Jerg Leonhard was born in 1630, so the couple would have been the same age as Rudolph and Margretha Muller. They were not only neighbors, but the families along this stretch, the blacksmith, the miller, and the cooper were all tradesmen essential to life in a German village.

And now, of course, I wonder who Jerg Leonard Hermann’s wife, Margaretha, was. Were these couples related? Perhaps there is yet another chapter to this story and even more than meets the eye.

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8 thoughts on “Rudolph Muller’s Blacksmith Shop in Grossheppach

  1. I love your stories of this German village. I am wondering if you or Wolfram have any proof that Rudolf was a blacksmith. My research tells me that Schmied means smith but a blacksmith is a Hufschmied. It is unlikely that Rudolph was a silversmith or whitesmith but it is an outside possibility.

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