Anna Elisabetha Scherer (1741-1784,) Innkeeper’s Daughter…and Wife – 52 Ancestors #352

How many inns would an innkeeper keep if an innkeeper could keep inns?

Apparently, innkeeping is a family affair. Naming your inn something regal like “The Lion” seems to be popular too. Anna Elisabetha Scherer can tell you all about that!

Anna Elisabetha Scherer was born on March 3, 1741 in Heuchelheim bei Frankenthal, Germany to Johann Philipp Scherer and Anna Margaretha whose surname is unknown.

Her baptismal record spanned two pages in the local Lutheran church book.

Elisabetha was baptized two days after her birth with her Godparents, Johann Nicolaus Dewald, master baker from here and his wife, Anna Margaretha standing up with her.

In Anna Elisabetha`s baptism record, her father is listed as the innkeeper of the Lion Inn (>Löwenwirt<). This means they probably lived close to the church and the town hall – all central locations that townspeople people frequented.

You can see photos of the church, here and here, along with some other historical buildings, including an old castle that looks nothing at all like my idea of a castle..

We know that Anna Elisabetha lived in an active village that was growing and expanding, because a home at Karolinenstrasse 6 includes an archway dated 1758 with letters L. R. T. above the archway.

Perhaps even more interesting is the building at 7 Hauptstrasse with a lion coat of arms painted over the doorway, along with grapevines suggesting wine. This building looks large enough to be an inn and is very centrally located.

In fact, it’s perfectly located at the intersection of the main street with the street leading to the church.

I’d say there is a good possibility that this is the location of The Lion Inn where Anna Elisabetha was born and lived as a child. At least until tragedy struck.

The Heuchelheim church was originally built in 1566 at the same location as a previous grave slab from the 1100s. The church was subsequently rebuilt in 1738 as it exists today. This causes me to wonder if at least part of the village was spared during the Thirty Years War, or there would have been no church left, at all. We know at least one burial crypt was preserved from 1605, plus the grave slab with its cross, now part of the south exterior wall.

Anna Elisabetha’s baptism would have taken place in the beautiful new church.

Pieces of the older church were incorporated into the corners and walls of the new church. What happened to the older church? Was it just old, or had the ravages of war taken their toll?

Elisabetha would have entered through these church doors every Sunday to worship, holding her parent’s hand.

She probably attended school in the Lutheran church, or perhaps in the minister’s home nearby.

Remnants of the 12th-century church, peeking out of the walls.

Originally, a cemetery surrounded the church but is now a green space with an ornamental fountain.

Today, the church is nestled in trees in the surrounding tranquil garden.

This church was only three years old when Anna Elisabetha was born, so she was baptized in the new church that her father may have helped to build, or at least kept the workers well-fed and watered at The Lion Inn.

This map from the 1840s shows the location of the church and surrounding cemetery, near the edge of town. The location I believe to be The Lion Inn is shown with the first red arrow at the bend of the main road where it intersects with Church Street.

I wonder if those double black dots represent a protective wall. If so, it didn’t close on the south, at least not in the 1800s. A wall would make sense, especially since the large building standing alone towards the right appears to be the old castle which at one time would have been surrounded by a protective wall. Most medieval villages were, with residents taking refuge in the church or inside the village walls should intruders arrive. Intruders and warring soldiers arrived all too often.

Elisabetha’s last name is also recorded in some places as Schererin, where the ending -in designates a female’s birth surname. Her father’s surname would have been Scherer which translates in English to scissors or clippers.

Growing up in Heuchelheim bei Frankenthal

Elisabetha was the second youngest of 8 children. Of course, we don’t know if all of the children lived to adulthood, but we know for sure that two did.

Elisabetha’s oldest sister, or at least the oldest one we know about, married on a crisp winter day in 1750 to Johann Jacob Mueller. Elisabetha would have been VERY excited at 8 years of age. Perhaps she was allowed to participate and maybe a new dress was made for her, or at least a new-to-her one handed down.

Elisabetha would have watched her sister, the radiant bride, with her adoring groom standing at this altar as the minister conferred their vows, perhaps dreaming of standing there one day herself.

But, that wasn’t to be.

Five years later, in the spring of 1755, just after Elisabetha’s 14th birthday, her father died. He was only 53 years old. Perhaps his death was unexpected.

What does an innkeeper’s wife do in a German village after her husband dies? We don’t know.

Fast Forward to Ellerstadt

The next information we find is Anna Elisabetha’s marriage 7 years later in Ellerstadt on June 29, 1762. Her marriage entry in the church suggests strongly that her mother had passed away too.

How did Anna Elisabetha come to live in Ellerstadt from Heuchelheim after her father’s death, and perhaps after her mother’s as well? Heuchelheim bei Frankenthal is 12 miles and 3 villages away. Not exactly next door. Maybe Elisabetha’s godparents lived in Ellerstadt. A child’s Godparents vowed to raise that child in the church if the parents perish before the child is an adult.

Did Elisabetha’s mother, Anna Margaretha, continue to work somehow as an innkeeper, or maybe in an inn providing services such as cooking and cleaning, at least as long as she could?

Sometime between the age of 14 when her father died and 21 when she married, her mother passed away too. She lost both parents before she was old enough to marry.

Anna Elisabetha married an older man who was also an innkeeper and whose inn was also named The Lion. Did her future husband help her mother after her father died? Or maybe Anna Elisabetha herself found work at Johann Peter Koehler’s inn in Ellerstadt after her parents died.

That’s a possibility!

Immediate Family

Anna Elisabeth married the widower, Peter Koehler, at 21 and inherited a ready-made family. Peter, then 38, already had 8 children. Their baby was just a year and two days old when his wife, Charlotta, died in March. He married Anna Elisabetha Scherer just three months later.

Marriage: 29 June 1762

The local innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn), Peter KÖHLER, widower with Anna Elisabetha SCHER(IN), the late Philipp SCHER(N) from Heuchelheim, surviving legitimate daughter were married after the reading of the three proclamation of the banns.

If the bans were read three times, a week apart, that means Peter would have married Elisabetha a month earlier if he could. Clearly, they knew each other and both were ready for a marriage, even if it probably wasn’t a romantic courtship in the way we think of falling in love today in our contemporary society. Perhaps it was more of an agreement.

Marriage meant survival. Peter was an innkeeper widower with a passel of kids and Elisabetha was an orphan, the daughter of innkeeper parents. She knew the drill. Marriage was a great solution for both people. Perhaps a bright spot in a bleak time. A new life and fresh start for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, the only part of the original Ellerstadt church remaining is the tower.

Anna Elisabetha married in the quaint church in the middle of wine country. Ellerstadt still celebrates its vintner heritage today. It wasn’t beer being served at the inn.

Anna Elisabetha immediately became a mother to 7 girls and their older brother. I wonder if she was more like a sister to the older children, being only 5 years older than her step-son.

Of course, she was the only mother the younger children, especially the baby, ever knew.

It’s possible that Elisabetha inherited even more children. Charlotta Braun was already a widow when Peter had married her. She could have already had children that remained with Peter after Charlotta’s death.

This 1840s map shows about 100 houses, maybe a few more, but a map of 1722 showed many fewer – just 60 or so, and the list of residents of 1761 indicated about 90 households.

When Elisabetha lived there, perhaps there were 80 houses or so. I can’t help but wonder how many people she was related to. Was she living among cousins or perhaps even aunts and uncles or siblings?

Upon her marriage, Elisabetha would have taken up residence with him at “The Lion,” the local inn where Peter was the innkeeper. Innkeepers and their families lived at the inn.

The original building no longer exists, but present-day 9 Ratstrasse in Ellerstadt where the Lion Inn was located can be seen with the little red dot on the map above from the 1840s.

You can see a rather large building in the rear, plus fields stretching further beyond.

The church was located just around the corner. This 1840s map had changed a bit from the 1700s when there was an alley or path of sorts about 3 houses to the west of the inn that led to the church.

The original church was rebuilt and enlarged in the 1890s. You can see that the footprint is quite different on the two maps and the new church was likely built over many of the older graves.

The Stork Visits

Anna Elisabetha’s own children began arriving in November of 1763. Thanks much to cousin Tom and my friend Chris for locating and translating these church records.

The new mother, father, the godparents and all of the children would have walked together along the path that fall day for the joyful baptism of the 4-day-old baby boy.

Baptism: 9 November 1763

On the 5th of the same (month, November), here a son was born at midday at 11 am. and on the 9th thereafter was baptized.  The father is Peter KÖHLER; the mother is Anna Elisabetha nee SCHER(IN). Godparents were: Johann Georg Hirtel from the Mutterstadt and Christina Barbara Hirtel(in) from Dannstadt, both of unmarried standing. The child received the name: Johann Georg.

This record is actually quite interesting and led me right down a rabbit hole. In 1763, these two Godparents, both with the Hoertel (or similar spelling, Hortel, Hartel) surname are noted as unmarried. However, on January 24, 1764, they were married to each other in Dannstadt.

They were actually first cousins, sharing one set of grandparents, Johann Georg Hoertel (1673-1749) and Maria Sibylla Renner (1686-1764).

Ironically, I’m related to both of these Godparents through several lines. People with capitalized names are my ancestors. I’m also related to the Renner family, but I don’t know who Maria Sibylla Renner’s parents are to connect her with the Renner family line.

Death: 22 November 1764

On the 22nd of the same (November) 1764 in the evening at 8 p.m. died Johann Georg and on the 24th of the same was buried in a Christian manner. He is the youngest son of the local Löwenwirth (innkeeper at the Lion Inn), Peter KÖHLER. Age 1 year, 2 weeks, 3 days.

How incredibly sad. Elisabetha’s first baby died and was assuredly buried in the churchyard.

Baptism: 10 March 1765

On the 7th of March 1765 in the afternoon at 2 p.m. was born a daughter and on the 10th of the same was baptized. The father is Peter KÖHLER, local innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn) from her. The mother is Anna Elisabetha nee SCHER(IN). Godparents were: Tobias KÖHLER, citizen and resident of Zeiskem (Zeiskam) and his wife, Anna Margaretha, from who she received the name: Anna Margaretha.

Peter’s brother and his wife stood as godparents.

Baptism: 20 December 1767

On the 16th of December 1767 a son was born in the afternoon between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. here and of the 20th of the same was baptized: The father is Peter KÖHLER local innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn) here, the mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: the brother-in-law, Philipp Jacob WERNS, master miller in St. Grethen and his wife, Louise—from whom (the male) the child was baptized and received the name: Philipp Jacob.

Obviously, Louise was either Peter or Elisabetha’s sister. Sure enough, Louisa Barbara Koehler married Philip Jacob Werns in 1758.

Baptism: 3 June 1770

On the 31st of May in the morning between the hours of 5 and 6 a.m. was born here a daughter and on the 3rd of June 1770 was baptized: The father is Peter KOEHLER innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: Jacob Wilhelm Renner, innkeeper at the Crown Inn in Danstatt and his wife, Maria Barbara, from whom the child received the name: Maria Barbara.

Jacob Wilhelm Renner married Maria Barbara Koehler. Jacob too was an innkeeper.

Baptism: 1 May 1772

On the 30th of April 1772 at midday between the hours of 11 and 12 a.m. was born here a daughter who was weak and on the 1st of May baptized. The father is Peter KOEHLER, innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: Johann Jacob Müller, master miller in Heuchelheim and his wife, Anna Margaretha, from whom the child received the baptismal name of Marg(aretha) Elisa(betha).

Of course, this would be the child I would have expected to perish, but she didn’t and became my ancestor. It’s unusual that the child was named differently from the godmother.

Elisabetha’s oldest sister came for this baptism. Looks like we know how the Muller family received their surname.

Baptism: 25 February 1774

On the 23rd of February 1774 in the morning at about 1 a.m. was born here a daughter and on the 25th of the same was baptized. The father is Peter KÖHLER innkeeper at the Löwenwirth (Lion’s Inn) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: the local Evangelical Lutheran schoolmaster, H(err) Conrad Vigelius and his wife, Maria Eva from whom the child received the baptismal name of Maria Eva.

These families are intermingled, because in 1767, a Susanna Maria Vigelius married Johann Wilhelm Kirsch from Fussgoenheim and they lived out their lives in Ellerstadt.

Baptism: 25 September 1776

On the 23rd of September 1776 around 10 a.m. a daughter was born and on the 25th of the same was baptized. The father is Peter KOEHLER, lawyer (one who checks contracts for the village) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: Henrich Adam Meinhardt, citizen, resident here, and his wife, Anna Barbara from who the child received the baptismal name: Anna (Catharina penciled in later) Barbara.

Peter’s occupation has changed from innkeeper to lawyer which does not mean he gave up one to do the other. It likely means he added an occupation of a higher social status.

Death: 27 December 1777

On the 27th of December 1777 in the afternoon at 1 p.m. died here and on the 28th was buried, Anna Catharina Barbara, youngest daughter of Peter KOEHLER, anwalt (lawyer, one who checks contracts for the village). Age 1 year, 3 months, and 3 days.

This was the second child Elisabetha lost at about this age. She must have been very anxious about the 14-15 month threshold from then on.

Baptism: 25 December 1778

On the 21st of December 1778 in the afternoon between 1 and 2 p.m. a son was born and on the 25th of the same was baptized. The father is Peter KOEHLER, lawyer (one who checks contracts for the village) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: Joh(ann) Martin Ullshöffer, innkeeper at the Oxen Inn in Brühl and his wife. The child received the baptismal name Johann Martin (to honor the godparent).

This record makes me gleeful. Johann Koehler’s mother was Anna Elisabetha Ulzhofer, also spelled Jllehofer and apparently also Ullshoffer. I don’t have a list of her siblings. Johann Martin Ullshoffer could be Peter’s uncle, or a cousin. Another innkeeper as well.

This baby was baptized on Christmas Day. The church was probably beautifully decorated with candles flickering and Christmas songs filling the air. Families would have exchanged gifts and celebrated the day before, on Christmas Eve, as is the German tradition.

The name Johann Martin, then simply Martin descended in both the Kirsch and Koehler families after they immigrated to Indiana. The traditional German Christmas celebration survived to my generation.

Peter and Elisabetha probably had no idea that the name Johann Martin originated sometime in the early 1700s, or earlier, on the right bank of the Rhine River, in Bruehl. In reality, by 1778, the name had likely been drifting downstream in the family since Martin Luther’s day (1483-1546.)

Baptism: 1 November 1781

On the 30th of October 1781 between the hours of 6 and 7 p.m. was born here a daughter and on the 1st of November was baptized: Margaretha Elisabetha. The father is Peter KOEHLER, lawyer (one who checks contracts for the village) here. The mother is Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were: H(err) Johannes Koehler, innkeeper in Rehhute legitimate wife, Margaretha Elisabetha.

Johannes Koehler is the half-brother of Peter Koehler. He lived and died in Rehutte and probably took over the innkeeper function from his father.

I realize that this is the second child named Margaretha Elisabetha, and that the first child did not die. She was confirmed in the church in 1785. I have no explanation for this dual occurrence of this same child’s name for the same parents.

Baptism: 11 January 1784

Maria Barbara Koehler was born in the afternoon at 3 o’clock. Godparents Johann Jacob Renner, citizen in Dannstadt and proprietor of the “Crone” (Crown) and his wife Maria Barbara Kohlerin.

Yet another innkeeper. Apparently, the profession was lucrative and probably required some type of apprenticeship.

Apparently, the first child named Maria Barbara who was born in May of 1770 had died. The godparents were the same people for this child’s birth.

Eleven days after Maria Barbara was born, her brother died.

Death: 22 January 1784

On the 22nd of the same (January) 1784 at 1 p.m. in the afternoon died and on the 24th of the same was buried, Johann Martin KÖHLER. Age 5 years, 1 month and 4 days. His father Peter, the anwalt (lawyer one who checks contracts for the village), here. His mother, Anna Elisabetha nee SCHEER(IN).

Death was not done with this family and remained lurking in the shadows, striking again 6 months later.

Death: 21 July 1784

On the 21st of July at 6 a.m. ………stroke and on the 23rd of the same was buried. Anna Elisabetha KÖHLER(IN), her husband is Peter KÖHLER, anwalt (lawyer, one who checks contracts for the village) and village mayor. Age 43 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days.

Von Oliver Orschiedt – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Sadly, Anna Elisabeth died young, only age 43.

Her family would have walked the few houses down the village street, turned to the right, and filed into the church where Elisabetha’s children, step-children, step-grandchildren, and husband would have said their final goodbyes. Her baby girl, just six months old, not only would never know her mother, she wouldn’t even remember her.

Elisabetha’s long-lost grave remains someplace on the church property, either in the greenspace, beneath the fountain, or perhaps even beneath the new church.

Ironically, Elisabetha raised Charlotta’s children, and now someone else would raise hers. While typically the godparents raised orphaned children, these children still had a father. Perhaps his children from his first marriage that Elisabetha raised would have helped to raise their younger half-siblings.

Three years later, in July of 1785, Peter would marry once again to a widow, Anna Maria Volcker from Assenheim who may have had children of her own. Those families would have blended. My ancestor, Margaretha Elisabetha born in 1772 would have been raised as a teen by her step-mother, or maybe by her elder siblings.

We know that daughter Margaretha Elisabetha remained in Ellerstadt where church records show that she was confirmed in 1785. Her godparents lived in Heuchelheim.

Just a few years later, Anna Elisabetha Scherer’s older children began marrying. Her absence would have been pronounced, especially painful on days like this.

Marriage: 29 June 1789

On the 29th of the same (June) 1789 was married

Philipp Jacob KÖHLER, son of the Herr Peter KÖHLER, village mayor here and Anna Elisabetha nee SCHER(IN), legitimate begotten, unmarried son with Maria Catharina, legitimate begotten, unmarried daughter of Martin MERCK, citizen here and Maria Catharina nee HÜBER(IN).

Now, Peter was also the village mayor.

Unfortunately, Peter Koehler also died before his children were raised.

Death: 11 August 1791

On the 11th of August in the afternoon at 2 p.m. died and on the 13th was buried, Herr Johann Peter KÖHLER, village mayor, and löwenwirth (innkeeper at the Lion Inn) here.  Age: 67 years less 1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days.

When Peter died, his youngest child would have been just 6 years old.

Two years later, in the marriage record for Maria Eva Kohler, the reverend noted about Peter and Elisabetha, “both are no more.”

Marriage: 13 August 1793

Philipp Jacob RHODT, citizen in Feudenheim, widower with Maria Eva KÖHLER(IN), legitimate begotten, unmarried surviving daughter of the late Peter KÖHLER, former village mayor here and Anna Elisabetha nee SCHER(IN), both are no more.

Altogether, Anna Elisabetha had birthed or mothered at least 20 children, 12 that were born of her body. That on top of being an innkeeper’s daughter and then an innkeeper’s wife. It seemed like Elisabetha could do or survive just about anything, yet, she was suddenly gone – “no more” – all too soon. Taken suddenly by a stroke in her 43rd year.

Anna Elisabetha had joined her ancestors, but there just might be more information about life in Ellerstadt coming soon.


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3 thoughts on “Anna Elisabetha Scherer (1741-1784,) Innkeeper’s Daughter…and Wife – 52 Ancestors #352

  1. My husband’s ancestor, Anna Elisabetha Rasp was born in Heuchelheim in 1806. Surnames in her ancestry are Rasp, Schreiber, Ritter, Ungefehr, Selter, Herckelrath, Walther, and Stahlheber. Anna “Elisabetha” married Johann “Philipp” Rupprecht in 1835 in Kriegsheim. Their only child immigrated to the USA.

  2. Roberta, I checked FTDNA matches and do not find that you match my husband’s mother or uncle, but there are some matches with Estes ancestry. Please message me privately and let me know if these could be descendants of your Heuchelheim ancestors.

    • Hi Cindy. I will message you, but the Heuchelheim line is on my mother’s side, not the Estes side. My mother’s DNA is also at FTDNA, along with some known cousins. Look for a Ferverda, Kirsch or Koehler match.

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