Gaertner Town History


Gaertner Family
Town Histories


Neuhof, Kreis Fulda, Hesse, Germany

Magdlos, Kreis Fulda, Hesse, Germany


The area of Neuhof has been inhabited since at least 1,000 B.C. Excavations in the area have found graves from the Bronze Age. An early "pre-history" travel route passed through Neuhof, on the path from the settlements now known as Fulda and Flieden.

In 806 A.D., the Flieden region was mentioned in an official document for the first time. The document concerned donations to the cloister of Fulda. At this time, Neuhof was part of the Flieden region.

In 1239 A.D., Neuhof was mentioned in a document for the first time. According to the document, the brothers Albert and Heinrich von Neuhof sold goods in the town of Harmerz to the "Probst of Johannesberg". Harmerz and Johannesberg were towns near Flieden. It is thought that Albert and Heinrich lived in a castle of the prince-abbot of Fulda. During the thirteenth century, the town name is variously spelled as 'Nuenhove', 'Nuenhov', Nuwenhof', 'Nuwehof', 'Nüwenhoffe', 'Neuenhof' and 'Newenhof'. Construction of a castle in Neuhof began in 1250, under the direction of Prince Heinrich IV of Fulda.

Records exist of the transfer of the land between various families of minor royalty, over the next several centuries.

In 1326, the hamlet of Opperz was mentioned for the first time. Opperz is now an urban district incorporated in Neuhof. Similarly in 1396 Engelsburg was mentioned for the first time. In modern times, a farm in the north east part of Neuhof is known as Engelsburg. Erlenhof was first mentioned in 1450, and Ellers was first mentioned in 1486. Both are also now sections of the town of Neuhof. All of these village names can be found in the local church's birth and marriage records.

In 1490, St. Michael's Church was built in the Opperz district of Neuhof. The church parish was separated from Flieden in 1515. St. Michael's Church still stands.

In 1519, the tower in the south west of the castle was built. In 1544, Neuhof became a "center of the administration of justice" where law courts and jails functioned. The nearby town of Flieden lost its similar functions at this time. Records from this time identify the many villages in the area that were included in the Neuhof administrative district.

In 1597, Neuhof became a refuge from the plague in Fulda, as some governmental functions were moved to Neuhof.

The town of Neuhof next appeared in the records when it was linked in 1616 to the postal system established by the princes of Thurn and Taxis. In 1629, Albrecht von Wallenstein, from Friedland, marched through Neuhof with his army.

In 1674, the Catholic parish of Neuhof counted 934 adult members. In 1686, the Catholic Church in Neuhof began to keep separate birth, marriage and death records of its parishioners. Records show that the Neuhof parish counted 1,919 adults and 503 children as members in 1770.

In 1702, the city hall was constructed by Dientzenhofer, the architect of the Cathedral in Fulda. In 1712, Dientzenhofer also built a bridge in Neuhof. Both still stand.

In 1773, Opperz had 44 houses and 49 families with 320 people. Neuhof (then sometimes called 'Neustadt') included 40 houses and 44 families with 248 people. Ellers had 63 houses and 80 families with 458 people. Of course, these three hamlets have been combined in modern Neuhof.

In 1767, Fulda's Prince-Bishop Heinrich von Bibra ordered the rebuilding of the castle in Neuhof. However, after a battle in Würzburg in 1796, withdrawing French soldiers plundered the Neuhof castle. The losses included a small collection of paintings at the castle.

On December 29, 1800, a bloody battle took place in the land between Flieden and Neuhof. French soldiers under Brigadegeneral Dessaix fought against Hessian troops under the Baron of Mainz, Franz Josef Albini. In 1806, the Fulda region was under French administration.

In 1812, the army of Napoleon marched through Flieden and Neuhof on its way to Russia. Napoleon stopped in Neuhof for breakfast on April 25, 1813. On October 25,1813, the army of Napoleon retreated through Neuhof. Just two days later, on October 27, 1813, the Cossacks under Russian General Tschernitschew marched through Neuhof in pursuit of Napoleon. The Tsar Alexander of Russia passed through Neuhof, and stayed for one night in the castle.

The inhabitants of Neuhof temporarily fled before the advancing troops in October 1813, and the town was plundered by the French and Russian armies. As a result of the plundering of the town, 393 people died in Neuhof the following winter through hunger and diseases.

In 1815, Prussia assumed control of the region. In 1816, the Fulda region became part of the electorate Hesse-Kassel. In 1866, Prussia again assumed control of the Fulda area, and the region was then incorporated in the province of Hesse-Nassau until 1945.

In 1827, a new schoolhouse was built in Opperz. In 1829, Opperz had 50 houses and 467 residents. Neuhof counted 49 houses and 409 people, and Ellers had 79 houses and 679 people. The entire Neuhof "justice administrative district" counted a total of 9,691 citizens.

In 1850, the schoolteacher Schuster began to keep a chronicle of the school and its students. The same year saw the quartering of part of the Bavarian Army in Neuhof.

In 1867, the railway between Hanau and Bebra was completed. A station was built in Neuhof. In 1871, two residents of Neuhof died in the Franco-Prussian War, while serving in the Prussian Army.

One prominent citizen was born in 1882 in Opperz. Aloys Ruppel was born on June 21, 1882. He went on to become a Professor in Mainz and Director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz.

Notwithstanding the heavy emigration to the United States during the nineteenth century, the population of the Neuhof group of villages remained fairly stable in size. In 1895, Opperz counted 517 citizens. Neuhof had 382 residents and Ellers counted 684 inhabitants.

In 1899, exploration of potash deposits began in Giesel and Neuhof. By 1906, potash mines and processing works were founded.

Neuhof was the site of further economic and cultural development in the next two decades. In 1892, a community bank was founded. A volunteer fire department was founded in 1907. Also in 1907, the first water treatment facility was built. Choral groups and other social organizations were founded in 1907 and 1908 as well.

In 1917, all church bells but one were removed for use of the metal in weapons for World War One. Four new bells were installed in St. Michael's Church in 1922.

On April 1, 1928, the three villages of Opperz, Neuhof and Ellers were consolidated into the larger new community of Neuhof. The newly consolidated town numbered about 2,600 citizens.

On Kristallnacht in 1938, the Jewish synagogue in Neuhof was burned. Before the war, 48 Jewish people had resided in Neuhof. In May 1942, the remaining Jewish residents were taken away.

On January 13, 1941, the first bomb hit the Neuhof area. American troops first occupied the Neuhof area at Easter time in 1945.

During the First World War, Neuhof counted 52 fallen and 10 missing soldiers. In the Second World War, 147 soldiers from Neuhof died and another 63 soldiers were counted as missing in action. 22 additional residents of Neuhof were lost in bombing raids. Neuhof then became the new home of about 600 Germans expelled from other areas, including primarily Sudeten-Germans, and Germans from the Egerland. These new settlers swelled the population to 3,658.

The chronology of Neuhof from the 1950s through the 1970s records the construction and renovation of churches, schools, a hospital and cultural organizations. In 1965, Neuhof counted 4,797 inhabitants. Within the Fulda region, only the town of Petersberg was larger, outside the city of Fulda itself.

As a result of a governmental reorganization that took effect on January 1, 1972, Neuhof was named the principal town of a larger district including Giesel, Dorfborn, Tiefengruben and Kauppen. The census of the town of Neuhof as of January 1, 1982 counted 4,996 residents, categorized as 2,404 male, 2,592 female, 4,165 catholic and 732 protestant.

Many thanks to Harald Auth for his assistance with the translation of this history from the original German.


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In 1981, the town of Flieden celebrated its 1,175 year anniversary. In commemoration of this event, a ninety page history of Flieden was written. The Flieden history includes a very brief section on the history of Magdlos. In similar style, in 1986 Magdlos celebrated its 600 year anniversary. The residents of Magdlos published a ninety-four page history of their town, with citations to older historical studies. Special thanks to Hanna Traebert Gaertner for her efforts in 1997 to summarize and translate the 1986 history of Magdlos. An edited version of Mrs. Gaertner's efforts is set forth in the following.

The history of Magdlos seems to start with the hamlet of Langenau, which is near the site of present day Magdlos. Langenau is first mentioned in 1012 in a document written by King Heinrich II of Fulda, concerning hunting rights. The hamlet of "Machdolffs" is first mentioned in a deed dated August 29, 1386. By 1553, the town is identified as "Machtlos" under the jurisdiction of Neuhof. A census in 1560 listed 23 property owners, while a tax registry from 1605 contains 31 names from "Mathles". The same tax registry in 1605 identified 8 more names in total from Langenau, Fuldish Hof and Kautz.

In 1641, a witches court was held in Neuhof. However, the citizens of Magdlos and Langenau did not make any accusations. Another witches court appears in the records in Neuhof on May 8, 1737. Fourteen residents of Magdlos participated in the jury, but the mayor of Magdlos had no accusations to make.

The tax registry for 1646 shows 42 farms, along with properties owned by Jörg Resch the miller and Henn Hack, a general store shopkeeper. However, just ten years later, Magdlos and the adjoining hamlet of Federwisch had just 12 households. The hamlets of Langenau, Heydt (Haid) and Sandborn were uninhabited in 1656.

The records from 1712 contain the following property descriptions: 1 large whole farm, 2 ¾ farms, 13 ½ farms, 5 ¼ farms, 1 mill and 14 cottages for a total of 36 property owners. The 1712 property records are considered to be a major accomplishment throughout the area. The 1712 records were the culmination of a five year compilation of all properties of all villages in the Fulda area, ordered by the Prince-Abbot of Fulda.

The 1712 Salbuch also contains laws and regulations that governed the life of the villagers. Topics include inheritance taxes, conscription and the provision of free labor to the Prince-Abbot. Anyone moving into or out of the area was required to pay a small amount of tax. The book identifies an amount of wood that was required to be sent to Flieden each year. Also, the book specifies the amounts of farm products that each farm owner was required give each year to the priest and schoolmaster, as well as the fees for baptism and burial of achild, payable to the priest. The book has many other details, including road maintenance, path identification, and obligations of shepherds to assist with wolf hunts.

In 1789, the official spelling of "Magdlos" was adopted. As a result of secularization in 1802, Magdlos passed through a series of rulers. In 1806, the French took control. The Grand Dukedom of Frankfurt owned the town as of 1810. In 1813, Austria ruled the town. In 1816, Magdlos passed to the control of Hesse. In 1866, the Prussians marched through the area and took control. Magdlos passed back into the control of Hesse in 1946.

In 1819, the communities of Magdlos and Stork petitioned the Bishop of Fulda to build a church, but nothing came of it. In 1848, during a period of political unrest in Europe, Magdlos formed a militia to maintain order. It consisted of twenty-six men between the ages of 21-35, and thirty-six men between the ages of 36-49. They were armed with lances and muskets. The militia was disbanded in 1851, without firing a shot.

By 1868, rail service was begun on a route from Bebra-Fulda-Hanau and Frankfurt. A railroad stop was established in Flieden. This created opportunities for local townsfolk to travel to Fulda and Frankfurt to seek work.

In 1893, the community of Magdlos consisted of sixteen farmers, twenty-nine cottagers and thirty-seven other households, for a total of eighty-two households. The adjoining community of Federwisch was inhabited by ninety-six people in 1895. Federwisch suffered four fires in 1895.

In July 16, 1897, the Catholic Bishop Georg Ignatius Komp traveled to Magdlos to examine plans for the construction of a church. On Palm Sunday, April 8, 1900, the Catholic priest in Flieden blessed the first church structure in Magdlos, and it officially opened.

Magdlos, along with the nearby towns of Stork and Buchenrod, were connected to a telephone system on November 9, 1905. In 1907, the town purchased land containing a water spring, and constructed a water line. In 1910, Magdlos established its own cemetery, as all burials previously took place in Flieden.

The Catholic parish of Magdlos/Stork opened a new church structure in 1919, under the leadership of Burgermeister Karl Gärtner. The church still stands in the center of town. A new altar was consecrated in the Church in 1969. Recent painting and renovations have been very expertly done.

In 1920, the sports association "Teutonia" was founded in Magdlos. The first electric lights were turned on in the local homes in 1922. Electric street lights did not follow until 1937. 1924 saw some further economic development in the town. A savings and loan bank was founded that year, and continued to operate until it was acquired in 1960 by the Raiffeisenbank of Flieden.

In 1933 a volunteer fire department was established. Previously, service in the fire department was obligatory for all young men in the town. In order to create jobs, the government conducted some road building projects in the area in 1934.

During the First World War, fourteen men from Magdlos were killed in action. During the Second World War, seventy two citizens from Magdlos died, either as soldiers or bombing victims. A war memorial was consecrated in 1954, and it has been located in the town cemetery since 1962. Following the Second World War, approximately one thousand refugees and displaced persons found new homes in the greater Magdlos area, including the nearby hamlets.

In 1972, Magdlos relinquished its communal independence due to governmental reforms and consolidation. As a result, Magdlos along with Buchenrod, Höf und Haid, Rückers, Schweben and Stork become part of the political subdivision simply identified as Flieden, although the villages remain distinct geographical entities separated from each other largely by rolling farmland. In 1973, the school in Magdlos was closed. Since that time, the children have been transported by bus to the grammar school in Flieden. The former schoolhouse was renovated for use in community functions.

Modern Magdlos, like many of its neighboring communities, is a charming, extremely well maintained and friendly village nestled in rolling hills and meadows. Many of its residents will say that the location is ideal, as it is close enough to the cities of Fulda and Frankfurt to take advantage of everything those cities have to offer. However, it is far enough from the main transportation routes to preserve a wonderful sense of quiet and peacefulness.

Old homesteads in Magdlos have by and large been replaced by modern structures with a traditional look, through extensive renovation or complete rebuilding. A sense of culture and community have been maintained through the continuing vitality and support of local organizations, including the Magdlos Brass Band, the Singer's Club, the Shooting Club, the Sportsclub, the Carrier Pigeon Club, the Youth Dance Group and the Hiking Club. In 1985, Magdlos hosted the 3rd International Hiking Tour with 2,826 participants representing 68 hiking clubs.

Magdlos continues to develop its infrastructure. For example, a new water treatment facility has been built to serve the town. A new kindergarten also serves the town. An extension of an autobahn is underway through a nearby village which will improve the village's accessibility, and a train station can be found in Flieden just five kilometers distant. In the meantime, old traditions endure. Quite a bit of farming continues, as the wheat fields between Magdlos and Flieden can attest. Also, the sausage on the local tables comes from the neighboring farms. However, farming for the most part has become a secondary source of income for many households.

A 1982 census for Magdlos reveals the following. Magdlos (including the Federwisch district of town) claimed 729 residents. Only one percent were not German citizens. About 94% of the citizenry were Catholic. 381 of the citizens were married, and 362 were employed

The Magdlos history prepared in 1986 contains ancient lists of property owners. A few of interest include the following:

House number 5: Paul Resch
House number 11: Kilian Jahn
House number 12: Henn Aud
House number 16: Heintz Gaul
House number 17: Hans Firler

House number 2: Henn Grob and Clas Moller
House number 3: Velten Dietrich and Hans Resch
House number 4: Christin Resch
House number 10: Heintz and Henn Kress
House number 13: Melchior Resch
House number 18: Caspar Schopner
House number 20: Peter Foller
House number 27: Hans Firling

The house numbers prior to 1700 do not necessarily identify the same properties from one census to the next. However, property lists from 1712 and the mid 1800s are traceable by property. A few of the more interesting property owners include the following:
House number 4: 1712-Erasmus Hack; 1842-Peter Schadel
House number 7: 1712-Johann Otz; 1856-Georg Gartner
House number 8: Konrad Hack; 1857-Bonifaz Schafer
House number 15: 1712-Valentin Hack; 1839-Nikolaus Firle
House number 16: 1712-Johannes Hack; 1850-Josef Auth
House number 21: 1712-Johann Heinrich Krahe; 1834-Christoff Firle
House number 26: 1712-Valentin Resch; 1835-Konstantin Goldbach
House number 34: 1712-Han Schoppner; 1864: Seraphim Hack
House number 35: 1712-Balzer Auth; 1864-Benedikt Auth
House number 42 (a mill in Federwisch): 1712-Valentin Diehl; 1830: Johann Andreas Wiegand


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