Franz Sebastian Muller, SV/PROG

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Franz Sebastian Muller, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Sebastian"
Birthplace: Altheim, Biberach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death: Died in Stutterheim, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Place of Burial: Stutterheim, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Franz Sebastian Muller and Anna Maria Muller
Husband of Maria Anna Cornelia Muller, SM
Father of Anton Michael Muller; Maria Anna Muller; Carl Joseph Muller; Sebastian Muller; Eva Margaretha Heidtmann and 3 others

Occupation: Farmer
Managed by: Greg Marshall
Last Updated:

About Franz Sebastian Muller, SV/PROG

The family immigrated to South Africa in 1858 under the British Immigration Scheme (Agricultural settlers) to British Kaffraria. Boarding the "La Rochelle" at Hamburg and sailing for South Africa on the 31 May 1858, arriving at (Panmure) East London on the 28 August 1858 and the family took up their allotted 35 acres of land at Ohlsen, near Stutterheim, in the Eastern Cape.

The La Rochelle (named after the French city from which the Huguenot Godeffroy family had fled to Berlin before settling in Hamburg in 1737) was a 3-masted, square-rigged ship, built by Godeffroy at Reiherstieg, Hamburg; Bielbrief 21 May 1855 350 Commerzlasten/738 net register tons; 52,44 x 9,22 x 6,35 meters (length x beam x depth of hold).

From: Altheim, Baden, Germany

The family immigrated to South Africa in 1858 under the British Immigration Scheme to British Kaffraria. Boarding the "La Rochelle" at Hamburg and sailing for South Africa on the 31 May 1858, arriving at East London on the 28 August 1858 and the family took up their allotted 35 acres of land at Ohlsen, near Stutterheim, in the eastern Cape.

Introduction adapted from "A Story of the MULLERS A SETTLER FAMILY FROM ALTHEIM now WALDURN-ALTHEIM, BADEN - by Mrs Sylvia Warwick

The children were in their glory thinking of the adventure in front of them.

They boarded the "La Rochelle" at Hamburg, Germany, on the 31 May 1958, together with many other settlers. The children were excited but soon became tired of it. For weeks they saw nothing but sea and sky. They shared a cabin with many others and everything was covered in lice. The food mostly peas and meat did not agree with their mother and she was ill and spent most of the time in bed.

They arrived at Panmure, now East London, on the 28 August 1858 and were pleased to have reached their destination. The children shouted, "look at all the baking ovens" and were told that these were not baking ovens but kaffir huts. They were glad to be off the ship thinking that they would have a good future.

At the harbour, Franz together with the other men made a beeline for the canteen. When Franz returned to his family he was happy and said "with happiness the journey into the new country will begin!" They decided to go to Stutterheim and climbed into the wagon going that way. Maria Anna asked Franz how much money he had left and said that after being to the canteen he wouldn't have thirteen pounds left. He felt in his pocket and became anxious and exclaimed that he must have left his wallet in the canteen. He jumped off the wagon and ran back to the canteen but couldn't find it. He returned to the wagon very upset. Maria Anna covered her face and wept. To such a start in a new country without money. She told him that he had been very careless.

At last the wagon moved, the children exclaimed what funny houses they were, all made of clay and wondered if they would be provided with one like that too. They said "how bare everything was and how much nicer it was at home". Their mother said "look there runs a black child".

According to prevailing conditions relating to the immigration scheme, the family were allotted 35 acres of virgin ground, near Ohlsen, district Stutterheim, with a view to commence farming. Payment of the ground to the British Government had to be made within eight years of arrival.

They arrived at Ohlsen, possessing no more than the clothes they stood in to find there was no house to live in and no building material as promised. To add to their distress there was barely anything to eat. A kind soldier, out of pity, gave them a welcome shelter in part of his small house. A complaint to the magistrate at King Williams Town didn't help, the only help they were given was that each adult was given a pound of meat and bread per day, otherwise they would have starved.

Lured to a strange country by false hopes, they were like homeless exiles without a home or government to whom they could appeal in their predicament. There was no protection for homeless people and they had to see and take care of themselves as best they could, In order to survive they had to create an existance out of nothing, or perish.

Franz found work on the road and earned a few shillings. One of his sons became groom to Captain Schneider. There was often nothing to eat and he was often weak from hunger. In the evenings after work, Franz and his family tried to cultivate the ground . As they were too poor to buy oxen and a plough they had to pull out weeds and grass with their bare hands and turn over the ground with a spade. They planted mealies and vegetables the best way they could. The next few years was a time of poverty, stress and tears. They consumed nothing they did not produce themselves.

At last with the help of a good neighbour they managed to put up a small house with a thatched roof. In the rainy season the roof leaked and it was very cold and damp. Marianna had a persistent cough.

With the little money they saved up they could now afford to buy a plough and oxen which made ploughing easier. When the men were out working in the day the women handled the plough. Eva helped her mother and often cheered her up, she always laughed when her mother made her dresses out of wornout material. The Mullers were better off than many other settlers who ran about in bags.

Mariana said to a neighbour that up till then she had been happy but there was still something missing - there was no church. The next Sunday the neighbour took them to the Lutheran Mission Church and although they where Roman Catholics were very glad when the church door opened to them again after such a long time, only the road to the church was far, the sun hot, and the road stony.

They managed to build a wagon the wheels of which were slices of wood from the trunk of a tree. The wagon was lopsided and the English called it the "German Spider."

They were now able to transport their farm produce to town to sell. They also cut wood from a nearby forest and transported it to town to sell and were able to earn more money. They didn't have to burn cow dung any longer but could use fire wood to warm up the little house in winter. With the money they made they were able to buy more livestock. They also bartered with the blacks.

Slowly things began to look up, but the family received a hard blow. Marianna contracted haemorrhage of the lungs and slowly her strength ebbed. She died at her husband's house on the 27 July 1863, five years after her arrival. Two years later, Franz died at his house near Ohlsen, on the 14 March 1865, seven years after his arrival.

From the time of their arrival till Franz' death, the family built a house with outbuildings on their land. They had acquired, 2 oxen; 1 cow, 1 calf, 14 sheep and 22 goats. They had various farming implements as well as furniture, bedding, crockery and cutlery in their home.

The land belonged according to the conditions of the German Settlers as follows:

Sebastian a Mariana Muller 20 acres (10 acres each) Anton 5 acres Carl 2 acres Franz 2 acres Margaretha (Eva) 2 acres Theodor 2 acres Alois 2 acres

Total 35 acres

Mariana and Franz Muller are buried in a little graveyard at Ohlsen near Stutterheim. The only reminder of their suffering their tombstones weathered now, but still legible.

Franz and Elaria Anna's descendants are scattered and earn their living in different parts of the Republic, many of them still in and around Stutterheim and district.

Sources : Cape Archives Beate Gerigh born Miiller, descendant living in Waldurn-Altheim Genealogist in Germany Kaffrarian Museum, King Williams Town Ohlsen Cemetery, near Stutterheim Museum, East London St Valentin, Katholisches, Pfarramt, Waldurn-Altheim Mrs Sylvia Warwick Small parts adapted from an Article in the COELACANTH Vol. 21 No 2.

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Franz Sebastian Muller, SV/PROG's Timeline

March 12, 1809
Biberach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Age 31
December 13, 1842
Age 33
October 15, 1844
Age 35
November 15, 1847
Age 38
August 8, 1849
Age 40
December 10, 1850
Age 41
January 8, 1854
Age 44
Baden, Germany
January 8, 1854
Age 44