The History of 8 Families
The Bender Family History
from c.1675 on
The earliest member of my Bender family is Matthais Bender, c.1675-->1711, born in Rëttigheim, Baden. His exact date of birth is unknown. Matthais Bender's wife was Maria Elizabeth Linenfels, 1679-->1711, born in Obergrombach, Baden, Germany.
Rëttigheim is a small remote village in the District of Ortstl, with the zip code of D6909. The closest railroad stop is in the village of Malsch, some miles away. Rëttigheim is fifteen miles south of Heidelberg in the county of Heidelberg, state of Baden.
According to Rëttigheim's St. Nickolas parish book the main reasons for mass emigration in the late 1840's were:
Matthais Bender, c.1675-->1711, and Maria Elizabeth Linenfels, 1679-->1711, were married on 2-17-1702, in the small Baden village of Malsch. Matthais was about 27 and Maria was 23 at the time of the wedding. Maria Elizabeth Linenfels' birth place is Obergrombach, a very small village about 10 miles southeast of Mühlhausen, Baden. Mühlhausen is a small village near the town of Speyer. In historical times Speyer was the meeting place for all the European Knights that were going off to fight in the Crusades in the Middle East.
Malsch is in the new county of Heidelberg, the parent parish is Langenbrücken-Malsch. Catholic Church records go back to 1583. Mühlhausen is also in the new county of Heidelberg.
Traveling from Germany to America, never having seen the ocean could be quite a thrill for our ancestors.
The migration path of the paternal Bender family line was from the village of Rettigheim, Baden to the village of Mühlhausen, Baden to America to St. Louis Co., Mo. and Jefferson Co., Mo. (most likely Arnold, Mo.), to Mascoutah and O'Fallon, Illinois.
Rettigheim, Malsch and Mühlhausen are small villages in the present day state of Baden-Wüerttenberg in the southwestern half of Germany. All three villages are just south of Heidelberg. The Neckar River runs through all three towns.
Heidelberg is a classic small city in Germany. Traditionally it has been one of Germany's great academic centers. The oldest university in Germany is in Heidelberg. Also, the town has the traditional castle high up on the mountain overlooking the town. In 1990, it had a population of 122,000. It is situated in a narrow valley, on the south bank of the River Neckar.
Heidelberg and the surrounding area is first mentioned in German records in 1196. The Heidelberg area was invaded by the French in 1589, and again in 1693. During the last French invasion the entire area was destroyed. In 1689, the cities of Mainz, Wörms, Mannheim, Speyer and Heidelberg were destroyed by fire and burned to the ground.
The second French invasion in 1693 took place when Matthais Bender, c.1675-->1711, was 18 years old. Most likely, he was in the middle of all this fighting. It would be only one of many wars between the Germans and the French.
Heidelberg, Mühlhausen, Malsch and Rettigheim suffered from the troubles to which the southwestern corner of Germany was exposed during the 18th and 19th centuries. The area entered a peaceful era only after the great Napoleonic wars ended in 1815.
My great great Grandmother, Maria Elizabetha Bender, nee Herrmann, 1805--1870, would have been a widow for about ten years. She had at least eight children to raise. The 1840's, in Germany were very difficult. Times may have become so difficult that after the death of her 17 year old daughter Sophia, in 1848, Maria Elizabeth decided to emigrate to America with her children. Maria Elizabetha Bender's father, Georg Joseph Herrmann, 1777--1850, died at 73 years of age on November 24, 1850. He had been a widower for 16 years.
Maria Elizabeth Bender, nee Herrmann gets the persistence award. Of all our ancestors it appears she had the most difficult time emigrating. There are about 30 pages of legal court papers dealing with her many attempts to leave Germany and come to America. It took her about 4 years to pay off her debts, satisfy the German officials and send her children to America.
It is not known why she wanted to leave Germany. It may have been a number of things that motivated her to leave. Her husband had died some 14 years before. She then went immediately into debt and still owed a large part of that debt. Her daughter had died in 1948, her father in 1850 and her oldest son had emigrated in 1847. Germany was really having some tough times. That could have been enough to make anyone want to make a new start giving into the American dream.
The emigration papers state that Maria Elizabeth and her family were from the agricultural class and they wanted to emigrate to Missouri, to the town of Schulserspring. This is most likely the town of Sulphur Springs, located in Rock Township in Jefferson Co., Mo. Sulphur Springs is 23 miles south of St. Louis, Mo. on the Mississippi River just south of Kimmswick, Mo. It is situated at the mouth of Glaize Creek. Population is 110 today. Maria Elizabeth's brother, Franz Herrmann built a house in Kimmswick in the later part of the 1800's.
The Jefferson County, Mo. census for 1860 list Theresia Blaies, nee Bender and her family living in Rock Township.
Our Bender family line, most likely, settled or migrated to five different locations in the last half of the 1800's.
A possible 6th location is Marianne David's line that settled in Nokomis, IL.
In the 1920's, Anne Fries, nee Blaies, 1879--1948, had visited cousins named Bender in O'Fallon, Ill. Most likely, they were descendents of Wendell Bender.
The below Benders are not connected to my family as yet but may provide information for others looking for Bender information.
The 1852 St. Louis Directory list a Bender and Ferry as grocers in Carondelet. The store was located between Miller and Woods St. A Charles Bender of Bender and Ferry resided on the south side of Park Ave. between Carondelet Ave. and 7th St.
There are many Bender's that have been buried in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Arnold, Mo. They are:
The below Bender's are buried in St. John's Luthern Cemetery and are most likely not related to my Bender family line.
If the Bender family came through New York they would have entered at Castle Garden rather than Ellis Island. Ellis Island did not open until 1892.
St. Cecilia's Catholic is the only church in Muhlhausen in 1991. St. Nikolaus' Catholic Church is the only church in the village of Rettigheim. Both of these small churches have been combined into one parish sometime before 1991.
As of 1991, the below Benders are still living in the villages of Mühlhausen and Rëttigheim. There are several more Bender's in Mühlhausen than are listed below.
Additional Bender names from the Mühlhausen area taken from the St. Cecillia parish book in Rëttigheim.
The below Bender's names are taken from the WW II church monument at the parish of St. Nickolas in Rëttigheim.
The 60 page Bender family history.
The 60 page Blaies family history.
If you think you are connected to this Bender family please let me know and I will send you a copy of the 40 page Bender history.
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Last updated 5/14/96 MPM