Those Places Thursday - Grossbockenheim, Germany

First, can we just acknowledge how awesome the name Grossbockenheim is? It sounds like something you might exclaim emphatically to express great displeasure. Or maybe great delight. Who knows? All I know is it looks even better when spelled the German way - Großbockenheim.


Anyway, this is the town from whence my Stutzmann ancestors hail and where they apparently lived for hundreds of years before good ole' Friedrich decided to come to New York in 1871. The town, which actually doesn't exist anymore as itself, is in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany (or Rheinpfalz, as it is sometimes referred to in German). The Stutzmanns are also said to be from Bavaria, and since a part of Bavaria was incorporated into the Rheinpfalz, that would also be correct. Interesting aside: It took me forever to find Friedrich in a passenger list manifest because whoever transcribed his entry listed his ethnicity as being "Italian," because his recorded place of origin, Pfalz, was incorrectly read by the transcriber as Italy. Those kinds of mistakes happen a lot on, I've found.

Okay, so this is what Wikipedia says about Grossbockenheim today: Known today as "Bockenheim an der Weinstraße" which means "Bockenheim on the Wine Route," or just Bockenheim for short (not to be confused with Bockenheim district in Frankfurt am Main), the town lies at the north end of the 85 km-long German Wine Route, which connects all the vintner villages in the area. (Being located in wine country, it's no wonder then that Schlegel's describes Friedrich's father Peter Stutzmann as owning a vineyard. Continuing...) "Bockenheim is made up of two smaller centres called Großbockenheim and Kleinbockenheim (groß means “great” and klein “little”), which were merged in 1956. The two places arose from small settlements that themselves had grown out of Frankish estates after the Franks took the land about 500. In 770, Bockenheim had its first documentary mention in the Lorsch codex. In April 1525, in the Palatine Peasants’ War – part of the German Peasants' War – the Bockenheimer Haufen (“Bockenheim Cohort”) was formed, a rabble of peasants who joined the uprising. The village’s appearance is characterized by many old homesteads, of which ever more are being restored. From the 11th century comes the tower at the Romanesque Saint Martin’s Church (Martinskirche), which once stood next to the Emichsburg, a castle belonging to the Counts of Leiningen, after which today’s community centre is named. The castle, after being destroyed many times, was eventually converted into a residential castle, which itself was also destroyed. Its remnants have been incorporated into a winery, which bears the name Schlossgut (“Castle Estate”) in memory of the now mostly vanished complex."

The Stutzmanns were good German Lutherans and in addition to helping his father operate a vineyard, Friedrich Stutzmann, who was educated in the local school, was also a farmer.

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