Die Märkerin
Die Märkerin

Louise Catharina Märker

Louise Catharina Märker
b. 2.10.1718 Essen
d. 15.3.1795 at HARKORT near Hagen
Interment  19.3.1795
m. 23.7.1748 at HARKORT
Johann Caspar Harkort III b. 24.3.1716 Hagen, d. 10.2.1761 at HARKORT

Ancestry of Louise Catharina Märker Harkort:

Parents: Dr. Johannes Christopher Mercker (b. 1688); m. 1716 Charlotte
Louise Reinermann (1690-1738)
s/o Dr. Johann Christoph Mercker (1641/1645 -1714)
s/o Johann Bertram Mercker (1611-1678)
s/o Hermann Mercker (1583-1630)
s/o Conrad Fröhlingh or Mercker (1557-1634)
s/o Johann Froelich or Maercker (b. 1527)
s/o Arndt Froelich or Maerker (b. 1498)
s/o Henrich Froelyng (1475-1562)

Children of Louise Catharina Märker and Johann Caspar Harkort:
Johann Caspar Harkort b. 9.2.1749 d. Feb. 1749
Louise  Harkort b. 22.4.1750    d. Mar. 1752
Anna Caroline Friederika Harkort  b. 1.3.1752 d.  4.4. 1832
Johann Caspar IV Harkort b. 18.10.1753 d. 10.5.1818
Peter Nikolaus Harkort b. 14.10.1755 d. 2.10.1817
Louise Henriette Harkort b. 10.6.1757 d. 1.11.1798
Helene Christina Harkort b. 14.11.1759 d. after 1787

Louise Catharina, daughter of Johannes Christopher Mercker (later written
as Märcker), the "Medizinaldirektor (director of the clinic/hospital?), was
born in Essen. Her father was the princely personal physician of the
princess-abbess in Essen. Therefore she was also raised in the cathedral
complex in the home of the princess-abbess. She had an excellent education
as well as a self-confident and proud appearance. She was extremely
beautiful. In face and form she was so beautiful that every time she
attended church on Sunday in Essen the men formed an honor guard around

In 1748 she married Johann Caspar Harkot III and had seven children by
him, of whom two died young. Until 1752 she raised a daughter from her
husband's first marriage. She lived at Harkot, an estate near Hagen. To the estate
belonged extensive fields, meadows, and woodland; it was by far one of the
largest estates.

In addition a large commercial enterprise was part of the Harkort estate.
They dealt in meats and vegetables, in iron and steel items, especially
with scythes, but also ordinary materials such as nails, wire, and tools were
manufactured. In marriage she learned about business.

In 1753 she acquired half of the Schede estate.
In 1756 she built with her husband a manor house at Harkot.
Her husband died on Feb. 10, 1761.

She said:
   It is impossible for me to describe my feelings and my pain which filled
the house the evening of Feb. 10, 1761. Providence tore from me and my
five minor children the best husband and dearest father, Johann Caspar Harkort
III at the age of only forty-four, after only twelve years of marriage and
a long period of frailty.

His early death was a great loss; she now stood completely alone with five
small children.

After the death of her husband, as Mrs. Märcker she took over the management
of all the businesses with prudence and energy; she was competent and
sociable and continued independently the business of her late husband. She
had great entrepreneurial abilities. Although the times were harsh (the
Seven Years' War (1756-1763) raged), she understood how to consolidate the
business further with the help of her family and many connections.

Through a protective letter from Marshall Soubise she was able to preserve
all the buildings at Harkort. The French troops were forbidden under the
threat of death from plundering the manor house and the estates. Thanks to
this she could conduct business unhindered in these difficult times.

In 1763 her grandfather Reinermann's bequest allowed her to complete the
acquisition of the Schede estate at Wetter and the joining/addition of a
considerable agricultural property.
The trade in scythes continued to grow and grow so that they were sold in
the great cities on the Baltic. Competitive products from Austria were
better though so that Louise decided to manufacture better scythes.

In 1774 at the Harkort estate she built a forge. Eight thousand scythes were made
yearly at the two furnaces which were sold as far as Russia.

In 1780 she had her own four hammer mills and five scythe mills:
        Schöpplenberger: Iron rod mill with two furnaces
        Hasperbach: Iron rod mill with one furnace
        Schöntaler: Raw steel mill with 1, later 3, furnaces
        Diecker: Stretching-iron mill with 2, later 4, furnaces
        Harkort: Scythe mill with 2 furnaces
        Half of the Stennert scythe mill with 1 furnace
        Hasper: Scythe mill "im Kampe" (in a field? in the country?) with 2 furnaces
        Heubinger: Scythe mill with 2 furnaces
        Hasslinghauser: Scythe mill with 2 furnaces
        Erley: 1 leased scythe furnace.

The two eldest sons supported her in her work.

She was interested in everything; participated in coal mines and iron
smelting. When the Ruhr river was made navigable, she immediately bought a
barge with a three man crew. She transported thus herself and on her own
account coal, raw iron, and other highly valuable goods on the Ruhr to
Duisburg. Thereby she saved transportation time and avoided road tolls.
She was independent and  saved at lot of money that way.

Also in order not to be dependent on the carters (wagon drivers), she
bought her own wagon. Thus she was very active in every business affair.

She was active for about 10 years and died Mar. 15, 1795 at the Harkort

She understood not only how to manage the legacy of her husband, but
thanks to her intelligence, energy,  skill, and drive, she knew how enlarge it
considerably, to build an even greater enterprise, and to leave her
children a very large inheritance.

Written by Ullrich Märker
Translation by Sam Andrusko