Tobias Ambre Ohmer, my ggg grandfather, left Neupotz, Germany in 1851 for unknown reasons. The following timeline is presented in hopes of providing some clues toward finding out just why he migrated to the U.S.
1846-1849: Economic depression was spread throughout Europe. It was marked by rising food prices after a poor harvest and the recession that followed the industrial expansionin the early 1840s.
February 22, 1848: One of many banquets to protest the government’s inflexibility was planned, but he government banned it. Crowds began to gather in the streets and minor skirmishes with police erupted. Workers who could have never afforded tickets to the banquet constructed barricades. The revolution had begun.
February 24, 1848: After the National Guard refused to cheer for their king, Louis Phillipe, he abdicated to his grandson. The Second Republic was declared from the Hotel de Ville. The cabinet was confirmed by a crowd outside the hotel.
March 3, 1848: Lajos Kossuth called for a representative government in front of the Hungarian Diet.
March 3, 1848: Revolution broke out in the Rhineland.
March 12, 1848: Revolution broke out in Vienna.
March 15, 1848: Revolution broke out in Berlin.
March 18, 1848: Revolution broke out in Milan. The papal states were given a constitution and the Milanese defeated the Austrians.
March 22, 1848: Revolution broke out in Venice and the Venetian Republic was reestablished. All of these revolutions followed the same pattern: The news of revolution in France would attract excited crowds, groups of men (mostly journalists, lawyers, and students) met to discuss the rumors. The government, in fear of revolution, would call out the army, which would begin to skirmish with the citizenry. Barricades would come up and mob action would ensue. It is important to note that these revolutions took place in one city and that not all of the countries involved declared a republic, only their capitals did.
March, 1848: 600 delegates meet in Frankfurt in a preparliamentary assembly and called for a universal manhood suffrage electio to form a national assembly to govern a unified Germany.
May, 1848: 830 delegates met in Frankfurt, mostly from the small states in the liberal West. Began to form a democratic constitution that gave the assembly itself executive control over a unified Germany.
May, 1848: As Hungary began to gain autonmy, Austrians began to demand a representative government. Metternich resigned and universal manhood suffrage was granted.
May, 1848: As unwilling parts of the Hungarian Republic, the Croats, Czechs, and Rumanians begin to demand a similar autonmy as that granted to Hungary.
May, 1848: Piedmont declared war on Austria with a papl blessing and his troops, but Pius IX soon pulled out saying he could not fight a Catholic Austria. The Piedmontese seemed overwhelmed, but had managed to win a battle by the end of May.
June 24-26, 1848: after the government dissolved the national workshops, the lower class revolted and were crushed by republican troops. Over a thousand people were killed in three days and thousands more were sent to prison or exile. This conflict between classes is known as June Days and was the evidence that proved to Karl Marx that democracy couldn’t work.
June, 1848: The pan-Slav congress met in Prague after the Czechs refused to send representatives to the Frankfurt Assembly felling that Slavs should not be subject to the will of Germans.
July, 1848: Austrians attack Piedmont and overwhelmingly defeat it. Troops march into Milan.
September, 1848: Riots erupt in Frankfurt. The Assembly is forced to call for Prussian and Austrian aid to resore peace.
October, 1848: Austrians use Croatian sentiments for autonomy to march into Vienna and beat it into submission.
November, 1848: Appointed Prime Minister of the Papal States Pelligrino Rossi is assassinated and the pope flees to Genoa. The Romans take this opportunity to declare the Roman Republic.
December, 1848: Nation-wide elections in france give Louis Napoleon Bonaparte 70% of the popular vote.
December, 1848: Prince Felix con Schwarzenberg fills Metternich’s post and convinces Ferdinand I to abdicate to his 18 year old son Francis Joseph I.
January, 1849: Austria invades Hungary, is pushed back.
March, 1849: Piedmont declares war on Austria. A strong Austrian victory places Italy firmly back into Austria’s hands.
March, 1849: The Frankfurt Assembly finally completes the German constitution and elects Frederick William IV of Prussia as German emperor. When he refuses to rule the revolutionary state, the Assembly dissolves. New revolutions arise in the Rhineland, Saxony, and Bavaria.
May, 1849: Neopolitan armies retake all of Sicily. The Roman Republic bows to Frnch troops and is restored to the pope.
June, 1849: With the aid of Prussian troops, Austria quashes the revolutions in the Rhineland, Saxony, and Bavaria.
June, 1849: Russians intervene and seal the fate of the Hungarian Republic, which is plagued by constant onslaught from the Austrians and dissentions from the Croats, Slavs, and Romanians.
August, 1849: The Venetian Republic falls to Cholera and starvation.
The arms are a combination of the lion of the Pfalz, the wheel of Mainz and the cross of Trier. The major part of the present State belonged to either the Pfalz or the bishops of Trier or Mainz.
The lion of the Pfalz is the lion of the Staufen family, who used the lion in their arms for the Pfalz. The family ruled the County (later Principality) of the Pfalz from the 11th century until 1214. In 1214 Ludwig I of Bayern (Bavaria) came into possession of the Pfalz. He adapted the lion as the symbol for the Pfalz and the lion still forms part of the arms of Bayern. The lion is crowned, to symbolise the special rights of the Princes of the Pfalz as chairman of the council that decided on the appointment of the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The lion can also be seen in many civic arms from towns in the Pfalz.
Trier was a major city in the area. In the 3rd century a Bishop of Trier was appointed, who in the 8th century became an Archbishop. The diocese had many possessions between the Saar area and the Rhine, mainly along the Mosel river and in the Eifel mountains. The State of Trier existed until 1803 when all wordly possessions of the church were abolished. The patron saint of Trier is St. Peter (see also the arms ofthe city of Trier), and the old seals of the State show the keys as his symbol. The cross first appears on seals of Archbishop Heinrich von Finstingen in 1273. Later archbishops all used the cross, sometimes combined with the keys. The colors were first mentioned in the Codex Balduini Trevirensis, dating from around 1340. The cross of Trier can also be seen in many civic arms from the area.
The history for the wheel of Mainz is similar to the cross of Trier. Mainz became a bishopric in 550 and an archbishopric around 800. The archbishops of Mainz also played a major role in the appointment of the new emperor. The bishops owned large possessions in the present states of Rheinland-Pfalz, Hessen and Bayern. The State of Mainz also existed until 1803. The arms with the two wheels combined with a cross, appear at the end of the 13th century in the seal of Bishop Sigfried III. The Zürich Roll of Arms from 1335 shows for the bishops of Mainz a banner with a white cross, with in each upper corner a white wheel.
From 1340 onwards the arms show a single wheel on a red shield. In the 13th century a Bishop’s hat was added, but it was later removed. The origin of the wheel is not qute known, it has been explained as the wheel of the carriage of God in the prophecy of Ezechiel, or as a germanic solar wheel.
Literature : Stadler, K. : Deutsche Wappen – Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Angelsachsen Verlag, 1964-1971, 8 volumes.
The present arms were officially installed on June 5, 1950.
The arms are a combination of : the lion of the Pfalz, representing the area of the Oberpfalz ; the arms of Franken (Franconia); the panther of the Counts of Ortenburg in Niederbayern; the three lions of the Dukes of Schwaben and the escutcheon with the arms of the Wittelsbach family (the longtime ruling family in Bayern)
The arms of Wittelsbach were taken from the arms of the counts of Bogen, who became extinct in 1242. The Wittelsbach family was related to the counts of Bogen and inherited their possessions along the Danube between Regensburg and Deggendorf. The first members of the family to use the arms were Ludwig and Heinrich, sons of Duke Otto, who used the arms in their seals around 1240. (see fig.) The arms have ever since been the arms of the family and thus appear in numerous arms in Bavaria, but also in surrounding States and even abroad (f.e. in Nieuw-Beijerland in Holland, a possession of Jacoba of Bavaria). The number of fields was already in the 15th century fixed as 21, but in 1806 the number was increased to 42 to symbolise the larger Kingdom of Bavaria at that time. The colors are also already known and unchanged since 1330.
The arms were augmented with the lion of the Pfalz (see Rheinland-Pfalz) when Ludwig I and Otto II were appointed as Counts of the Pfalz in the early 13th century. They appear on the seals of Otto in 1229. The lion was sometimes placed in separate arms in the seals of the Dukes.
The panther is the old arms of the Dynasty of Spanheim, who had large possessions in present Austria and Bavaria. The Bavarian branches named themselves after their possessions as Von Kraiburg and Von Ortenburg. The counts von Ortenburg became counts of the Pfalz in 1209, but became extinct in the same century. In the Pfalz the Wittelsbach family had already succeeded them . They also inherited and bought the possessions in Niederbayern in 1248 and 1259. The panther was added in the arms of the family in 1260 and used until 1390. The colors of the present panther are taken from the arms of Ingolstadt.
The arms of Franken and the lions of Staufen represent areas that became Bavarian possessions in the 19th century. The arms of Franken are known since 1350 for several towns in the possessions of the bishops of Würzburg. In 1410 they also appear in the arms of the bishops themselves. Their origin is unknown, but besides the banner of Würzburg they became known as the arms of Franken. In 1804 the newly created Duchy of Franken adapted the old arms as its symbol. The colors have always been red and white.
The lions of Staufen are the arms of the Hohenstaufen family since 1216. They are taken as a symbol for the former areas of the Hohenstaufen, which now belong to Bavaria. See also Baden-Württemberg.
The oldest arms for Bavaria were identical to the Wittelsbach arms. In the 15th century the arms were used as shown above; a quartered shield with an orb in an escutcheon. The orb was a symbol of power and influence. The crests are from Bavaria and the Pfalz, the head is the head of the Counts of the Pfalz. The arms were used as such until the 18th century.
In 1777 Prince Karl Theodor used new arms, that showed all possessions of the family grouped around the old arms. The fields show : Kleve, Jülich, Berg, Moers, Bergen op Zoom, Mark, Veldenz, and Ravensberg. Below the shield the chains of the Order Of the Golden Fleece, the Order of St. Hubertus, the Order of St. George and the Order of the lion of the Pfalz are shown (see below)
In the early 19th century the family increased their possessions and the original arms of the family were now surrounded by 16 smaller shields. These arms were for personal use and were not used by the Kingdom. The arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria were much more simplified; showing the old Wittelsbach arms with an escutcheon. The escutcheon showed the Royal regalia, scepter, sword and crown. As supporters two lions were used and the arms were placed on a royal mantle of ermine.
As in 1835 the official title of the king was : King of Bavaria, Count of the Rhein-Pfalz, Duke of Bavaria Franken and Schwaben, it was necessary to enlarge the arms with the territories mentioned. This resulted in the arms shown below, with Pfalz, Franken, Burgau (for Schwaben, the area of the Staufen family) and Veldenz. The arms could also be placed on the royal mantle.
When the Kingdom was dismantled new arms were devised for the State of Bayern, and in 1923 the old Wittelsbach arms were officially used. At the end of the last century O. Hopp devised new arms for the state, which showed a quartered shield with Wittelsbach, Pfalz, Staufen and Franken (see below). The arms were never used. In 1950 the arms of 1835 were changed according to Hupp’s suggestions.
Literature : Stadler, K. : Deutsche Wappen – Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Angelsachsen Verlag, 1964-1971, 8 volumes; Kolb, A. and Putz, M. : Wappen im Landkreis Unterallgäu. Landkreis Unterallgäu, 1992; Kalckhoff, A. : Fürsten-. Länder-, Bürgerwappen: Heraldik aus neun Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart, 1984.
Charlemagne, in Latin Carolus Magnus (Charles the Great) (742-814), king of the Franks (768-814) and Emperor of the Romans (800-14), who led his Frankish armies to victory over numerous other peoples and established his rule in most of western and central Europe. He was the best-known and most influential king in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Charlemagne was born probably in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), on April 2, 742, the son of the Frankish king Pepin the Short and the grandson of Charles Martel. In 751 Pepin dethroned the last Merovingian king and assumed the royal title himself. He was crowned by Pope Stephen II in 754. Besides anointing Pepin, Pope Stephen anointed both Charlemagne and his younger brother Carloman.
Within the year Pepin invaded Italy to protect the pope against the Lombards, and in 756 he again had to rush to the pope’s aid. From 760 on, Pepin’s main military efforts went into the conquest of Aquitaine, the lands south of the Loire River. Charlemagne accompanied his father on most of these expeditions.
“Charlemagne,” Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 All rights reserved.
THE LIFE OF THE EMPEROR CHARLES
1. The Merovingian Family
The Merovingian family, from which the Franks used to choose their kings, is commonly said to have lasted until the time of Childeric [III, 743-752] who was deposed, shaved, and thrust into the cloister by command of the Roman Pontiff Stephen [II (or III) 752-757]. But although, to all outward appearance, it ended with him, it had long since been devoid of vital strength, and conspicuous only from bearing the empty epithet Royal; the real power and authority in the kingdom lay in the hands of the chief officer of the court, the so-called Mayor of the Palace, and he was at the head of affairs. There was nothing left the King to do but to be content with his name of King, his flowing hair, and long beard, to sit on his throne and play the ruler, to give ear to the ambassadors that came from all quarters, and to dismiss them, as if on his own responsibility, in words that were, in fact, suggested to him, or even imposed upon him. He had nothing that he could call his own beyond this vain title of King and the precarious support allowed by the Mayor of the Palace in his discretion, except a single country seat, that brought him but a very small income. There was a dwelling house upon this, and a small number of servants attached to it, sufficient to perform the necessary offices. When he had to go abroad, he used to ride in a cart, drawn by a yoke of oxen driven, peasant-fashion, by a Ploughman; he rode in this way to the palace and to the general assembly of the people, that met once a year for the welfare of the kingdom, and he returned him in like manner. The Mayor of the Palace took charge of the government and of everything that had to be planned or executed at home or abroad.
2. Charlemagne’s Ancestors
At the time of Childeric’s deposition, Pepin, the father of King Charles, held this office of Mayor of the Palace, one might almost say, by hereditary right; for Pepin’s father, Charles [Martel 715-41], had received it at the hands of his father, Pepin, and filled it with distinction. It was this Charles that crushed the tyrants who claimed to rule the whole Frank land as their own, and that utterly routed the Saracens, when they attempted the conquest of Gaul, in – -two great battles-one in Aquitania, near the town of Poitiers , and the other on the River Berre, near Narbonne-and compelled them to return to Spain. This honor was usually conferred by the people only upon men eminent from their illustrious birth and ample wealth. For some years, ostensibly under King the father of King Charles, Childeric, Pepin, shared the duties inherited from his father and grandfather most amicably with his brother, Carloman. The latter, then, for reasons unknown, renounced the heavy cares of an earthly crown and retired to Rome . Here he exchanged his worldly garb for a cowl, and built a monastery on Mt. Oreste, near the Church of St. Sylvester, where he enjoyed for several years the seclusion that he desired, in company with certain others who had the same object in view. But so many distinguished Franks made the pilgrimage to Rome to fulfill their vows, and insisted upon paying their respects to him, as their former lord, on the way, that the repose which he so much loved was broken by these frequent visits, and he was driven to change his abode. Accordingly when he found that his plans were frustrated by his many visitors, he abandoned the mountain, and withdrew to the Monastery of St. Benedict, on Monte Cassino, in the province of Samnium [in 754], and passed the rest there in the exercise of religion.
3. Charlemagne’s Accession
Pepin, however, was raised by decree of the Roman pontiff, from the rank of Mayor of the Palace to that of King, and ruled alone over the Franks for fifteen years or more [752-768]. He died of dropsy [Sept. 24, 768] in Paris at the close of the Aquitanian War, which he had waged with William, Duke of Aquitania, for nine successive years, and left his two sons, Charles and Carloman, upon whim, by the grace of God, the succession devolved.
The Franks, in a general assembly of the people, made them both kings [Oct 9, 786] on condition that they should divide the whole kingdom equally between them, Charles to take and rule the part that had to belonged to their father, Pepin, and Carloman the part which their uncle, Carloman had governed. The conditions were accepted, and each entered into the possession of the share of the kingdom that fell to him by this arrangement; but peace was only maintained between them with the greatest difficulty, because many of Carloman’s party kept trying to disturb their good understanding, and there were some even who plotted to involve them in a war with each other. The event, however, which showed the danger to have been rather imaginary than real, for at Carloman’s death his widow [Gerberga] fled to Italy with her sons and her principal adherents, and without reason, despite her husband’s brother put herself and her children under the protection of Desiderius, King of the Lombards. Carloman had succumbed to disease after ruling two years [in fact more than three] in common with his brother and at his death Charles was unanimously elected King of the Franks.
4. Plan of This Work
It would be folly, I think, to write a word concerning Charles’ birth and infancy, or even his boyhood, for nothing has ever been written on the subject, and there is no one alive now who can give information on it. Accordingly, I determined to pass that by as unknown, and to proceed at once to treat of his character, his deed, and such other facts of his life as are worth telling and setting forth, and shall first give an account of his deed at home and abroad, then of his character and pursuits, and lastly of his administration and death, omitting nothing worth knowing or necessary to know.
5. Aquitanian War
His first undertaking in a military way was the Aquitanian War, begun by his father but not brought to a close; and because he thought that it could be readily carried through, he took it up while his brother was yet alive, calling upon him to render aid. The campaign once opened, he conducted it with the greatest vigor, notwithstanding his broth withheld the assistance that he had promised, and did not desist or shrink from his self-imposed task until, by his patience and firmness, he had completely gained his ends. He compelled Hunold, who had attempted to seize Aquitania after Waifar’s death, and renew the war then almost concluded, to abandon Aquitania and flee to Gascony. Even here he gave him no rest, but crossed the River Garonne, built the castle of Fronsac, and sent ambassadors to Lupus, Duke of Gascony, to demand the surrender of the fugitive, threatening to take him by force unless he were promptly given up to him. Thereupon Lupus chose the wiser course, and not only gave Hunold up, but submitted himself, with the province which he ruled, to the King.
6. Lombard War
After bringing this war to an end and settling matters in Aquitania (his associate in authority had meantime departed this life), he was induced [in 773], by the prayers and entreaties of Hadrian [I, 772-795], Bishop of the city of Rome, to wage war on the Lombards. His father before him had undertaken this task at the request of Pope Stephen [II or III, 752-757], but under great difficulties, for certain leading Franks, of whom he usually took counsel, had so vehemently opposed his design as to declare openly that they would leave the King and go home. Nevertheless, the war against the Lombard King Astolf had been taken up and very quickly concluded . Now, although Charles seems to have had similar, or rather just the same grounds for declaring war that his father had, the war itself differed from the preceding one alike in its difficulties and its issue. Pepin, to be sure, after besieging King Astolf a few days in Pavia, had compelled him to give hostages, to restore to the Romans the cities and castles that he had taken, and to make oath that he would not attempt to seize them again: but Charles did not cease, after declaring war, until he had exhausted King Desiderius by a long siege , and forced him to surrender at discretion; driven his son Adalgis, the last hope of the Lombards, not only -from his kingdom, but from all Italy ; restored to the Romans all that they had lost; subdued Hruodgaus, Duke of Friuli , who was plotting revolution; reduced all Italy to his power, and set his son Pepin as king over it. 
At this point I should describe Charles’ difficult passage over the Alps into Italy, and the hardships that the Franks endured in climbing the trackless mountain ridges, the heaven-aspiring cliffs and ragged peaks, if it were not my
purpose in this work to record the manner of his life rather than the incidents of the wars that he waged. Suffice it to say that this war ended with the subjection of Italy, the banishment of King Desiderius for life, the expulsion of his son Adalgis from Italy, and the restoration of the conquests of the Lombard kings to Hadrian, the head of the Roman Church.
7. Saxon War
At the conclusion of this struggle, the Saxon war, that seems to have been only laid aside for the time , was taken up again. No war ever undertaken by the Frank nation was carried on with such persistence and bitterness, or cost so much labor, because the Saxons, like almost all the tribes of Germany, were a fierce people, given to the worship of devils, and hostile to our religion, and did not consider it dishonorable to transgress and violate all law, human and divine. Then there were peculiar circumstances that tended to cause a breach of peace every day. Except in a few places, where large forests or mountain ridges intervened and made the bounds certain, the line between ourselves and the Saxons passed almost in its whole extent through an open country, so that there was no end to the murders thefts and arsons on both sides. In this way the Franks became so embittered that they at last resolved to make reprisals no longer, but to come to open war with the Saxons . Accordingly war was begun against them, and was waged for thirty-three successive years with great fury; more, however, to the disadvantage of the Saxons than of the Franks. It could doubtless have been brought to an end sooner, had it not been for the faithlessness of the Saxons. It is hard to say how often they were conquered, and, humbly submitting to the King, promised to do what was enjoined upon them, without hesitation the required hostages, gave and received the officers sent them from the King. They were sometimes so much weakened and reduced that they promised to renounce the worship of devils, and to adopt Christianity, but they were no less ready to violate these terms than prompt to accept them, so that it is impossible to tell which came easier to them to do; scarcely a year passed from the beginning of the war without such changes on their part. But the King did not suffer his high purpose and steadfastness – firm alike in good and evil fortune – to be wearied by any fickleness on their part, or to be turned from the task that he had undertaken, on the contrary, he never allowed their faithless behavior to go unpunished, but either took the field against them in person, or sent his counts with an army to wreak vengeance and exact righteous satisfaction. At last, after conquering and subduing all who had offered resistance, he took ten thousand of those that lived on the banks of the Elbe, and settled them, with their wives and children, in many different bodies here and there in Gaul and Germany . The war that had lasted so many years was at length ended by their acceding to the terms offered by the King; which were renunciation of their national religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance of the sacraments of the Christian faith and religion, and union with the Franks to form one people.
Charles himself fought but two pitched battles in this war, although it was long protracted one on Mount Osning , at the place called Detmold, and again on the bank of the river Hase, both in the space of little more than a month. The enemy were so routed and overthrown in these two battles that they never afterwards ventured to take the offensive or to resist the attacks of the King, unless they were protected by a strong position. A great many of the Frank as well as of the Saxon nobility, men occupying the highest posts of honor, perished in this war, which only came to an end after the lapse of thirty-two years . So many and grievous were the wars that were declared against the Franks in the meantime, and skillfully conducted by the King, that one may reasonably question whether his fortitude or his good fortune is to be more admired. The Saxon war began two years  before the Italian war ; but although it went on without interruption, business elsewhere was not neglected, nor was t ere any shrinking from other equally arduous contests. The King, who excelled all the princes of his time in wisdom and greatness of soul, did not suffer difficulty to deter him or danger to daunt him from anything that had to be taken up or carried through, for he-had trained himself to bear and endure whatever came, without yielding in adversity, or trusting to the deceitful favors of fortune in prosperity.
8. Spanish Expedition
In the midst of this vigorous and almost uninterrupted struggle with the Saxons, he covered the frontier by garrisons at the proper points, and marched over the Pyrenees into Spain at the head of all the forces that he could muster. All the towns and castles that he attacked surrendered. and up to the time of his homeward march he sustained no loss whatever; but on his return through the Pyrenees he had cause to rue the treachery of the Gascons. That region is well adapted for ambuscades by reason of the thick forests that cover it; and as the army was advancing in the long line of march necessitated by the narrowness of the road, the Gascons, who lay in ambush  on the top of a very high mountain, attacked the rear of the baggage train and the rear guard in charge of it, and hurled them down to the very bottom of the valley [at Roncevalles, later celebrated in the Song of Roland]. In the struggle that ensued they cut them off to a man; they then plundered the baggage, and dispersed with all speed in every direction under cover of approaching night. The lightness of their armor and the nature of the battle ground stood the Gascons in good stead on this occasion, whereas the Franks fought at a disadvantage in every respect, because of the weight of their armor and the unevenness of the ground. Eggihard, the King’s steward; Anselm, Count Palatine; and Roland, Governor of the March of Brittany, with very many others, fell in this engagement. This ill turn could not be avenged for the nonce, because the enemy scattered so widely after carrying out their plan that not the least clue could be had to their whereabouts.
9. Submission of the Bretons and Beneventans
Charles also subdued the Bretons , who live on the sea coast, in the extreme western part of Gaul. When they refused to obey him, he sent an army against them, and compelled them to give hostages, and to promise to do his bidding. He afterwards entered Italy in person with his army , and passed through Rome to Capua, a city in Campania, where he pitched his camp and threatened the Beneventans with hostilities unless they should submit themselves to him. Their duke, Aragis, escaped the danger by sending his two sons, Rumold and Grimold, with a great sum of money to meet the King, begging him to accept them as hostages, and promising for himself and his people compliance with all the King’s commands, on the single condition that his personal attendance should not be required. The King took the welfare of the people into account rather than the stubborn disposition of the Duke, accepted the proffered hostages, and released him from the obligation to appear before him in consideration of his handsome gift. He retained the younger son only as hostage, and sent the elder back to his father, and returned to Rome, leaving commissioners with Aragis to exact the oath of allegiance, and administer it to the Beneventans. He stayed in Rome several days in order to pay his devotions at the holy places, and then came back to Gaul .
10. Tassilo and the Bavarian Campaign
At this time, on a sudden, the Bavarian war broke out, but came to a speedy end. It was due to the arrogance and folly of Duke Tassilo. His wife [Liutberga], a daughter of King Desiderius, was desirous of avenging her father’s banishment through the agency of her husband, and accordingly induced him to make a treaty with the Huns, the neighbors of the Bavarians on the east, and not only to leave the King’s commands unfulfilled, but to challenge him to war. Charles’ high spirit could not brook Tassilo’s insubordination, for it seemed to him to pass all bounds; accordingly he straightway summoned his troops from all sides for a campaign against Bavaria and appeared in person with a great army on the river Lech , which forms the boundary between the Bavarians and the Alemanni. After Pitching his camp upon its banks, he determined to put the Duke’s disposition to the test by an embassy before entering the province. Tassilo did not think that it was for his own or his people’s good to persist, so he surrendered himself to the King, gave the hostages demanded, among them his own son Theodo, and promised by oath not to give ear to any one who should attempt to turn him from his allegiance; so this war, which bade fair to be very grievous, came very quickly to an end. Tassilo, however, was afterward summoned to the King’s presence , and not suffered to depart, and the government of the province that he had had in charge was no longer intrusted to a duke, but to counts.
11. Slavic War
After these uprisings had been thus quelled, war was declared against the Slavs who are commonly known among us as Wilzi, but properly, that is to say in their own tongue, are called Welatabians. The Saxons served in this campaign as auxiliaries among the tribes that followed the King’s standard at his summons, but their obedience lacked sincerity and devotion. War was declared because the Slavs kept harassing the Abodriti, old allies of the Franks, by continual raids, in spite of all commands to the contrary. A gulf [ie the Baltic Sea] of unknown length, but nowhere more than a hundred miles wide, and in many parts narrower, stretches off towards the east from the Western Ocean. Many tribes have settlements on its shores; the Danes and Swedes, whom we call Northmen, on the northern shore and all the adjacent islands; but the southern shore is inhabited by the Slava and the Aïsti [from whom derive the modern name of “Estonia”]; and various other tribes. The Welatabians, against whom the King now made war, were the chief of these; but in a single campaign , which he conducted in person, he so crushed and subdued them that they did not think it advisable thereafter to refuse obedience to his commands.
12. War with the Huns
The war against the Avars, or Huns, followed , and, except the Saxon war, was the greatest that he waged; he took it up with more spirit than any of his other wars, and made far greater preparations for it. He conducted one campaign in person in Pannonia, of which the Huns then had possession. He entrusted all subsequent operations to his son, Pepin, and the governors of the provinces, to counts even, and lieutenants. Although they most vigorously prosecuted the war, it only came to a conclusion after a seven years’ struggle. The utter depopulation of Pannonia, and the site of the Khan’s palace, now a desert, where not a trace of human habitation is visible bear witness how many battles were fought in those years, and how much blood was shed. The entire body of the Hun nobility perished in this contest, and all its glory with it. All the money and treasure that had been years amassing was seized, and no war in which the Franks have ever engaged within the memory of man brought them such riches and such booty. Up to that time the Huns had passed for, a poor people, but so much gold and silver was found in the Khan’s palace, and so much valuable spoil taken in battle, that one may well think that the Franks took justly from the Huns what the Huns had formerly taken unjustly from other nations. Only two of the chief men of the Franks fell in this war – Eric, Duke of Friuli, who was killed in Tarsatch , a town on the coast of Liburnia by the treachery of the inhabitants; and Gerold,Governor of Bavaria, who met his death in Pannonia, slain , with two men that were accompanying him, by an unknown hand while he was marshaling his forces for battle against the Huns, and riding up and down the line encouraging his men. This war was otherwise almost a bloodless one so far as the Franks were concerned, and ended most satisfactorily, although by reason of its magnitude it was long protracted.
13. Danish War
The Saxon war next came to an end as successful as the struggle had been long. The Bohemian [805-806] and Linonian  wars that next broke out could not last long; both were quickly carried through under the leadership of the younger Charles. The last of these wars was the one declared against the Northmen called Danes. They began their career as pirates, but afterward took to laying waste the coasts of Gaul and Germany with their large fleet. Their King Godfred was so puffed with vain aspirations that he counted on gaining empire overall Germany, and looked upon Saxony and Frisia as his provinces. He had already subdued his neighbors the Abodriti, and made them tributary, and boasted that he would shortly appear with a great army before Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen – Charlemagn’s capital], where the King held his court. Some faith was put in his words, empty as they sound, and it is supposed that he would have attempted something of the sort if he had not been prevented by a premature death. He was murdered  by one of his own bodyguard, and so ended at once his life and the war that he had begun.
14. Extent of Charlemagne’s Conquests
Such are the wars, most skillfully planned and successfully fought, which this most powerful king waged during the forty-seven years of his reign. He so largely increased the Frank kingdom, which was already great and strong when he received it at his father’s hands, that more than double its former territory was added to it. The authority of the Franks was formerly confined to that part of Gaul included between the Rhine and the Loire, the Ocean and the Balearic Sea; to that part of Germany which is inhabited by the so-called Eastern Franks, and is bounded by Saxony and the Danube, the Rhine and the Saale-this stream separates the Thuringians from the Sorabians; and to the country of the Alemanni and Bavarians. By the wars above mentioned he first made tributary Aquitania, Gascony, and the whole of the region of the Pyrenees as far as the River Ebro, which rises in the land of the Navarrese, flows through the most fertile districts of Spain, and empties into the Balearic Sea, beneath the walls of the city of Tortosa. He next reduced and made tributary all Italy from Aosta to Lower Calabria, where the boundary line runs between the Beneventans and the Greeks, a territory more than a thousand miles” long; then Saxony, which constitutes no small part of Germany, and is reckoned to be twice as wide as the country inhabited by the Franks, while about equal to it in length; in addition, both Pannonias, Dacia beyond the Danube, and Istria, Liburnia, and Dalmatia, except the cities on the coast, which he left to the Greek Emperor for friendship’s sake, and because of the treaty that he had made with him. In fine, he vanquished and made tributary all the wild and barbarous tribes dwelling in Germany between the Rhine and the Vistula, the Ocean and the Danube, all of which speak very much the same language, but differ widely from one another in customs and dress. The chief among them are the Welatabians, the Sorabians, the Abodriti, and the Bohemians, and he had to make war upon these; but the rest, by far the larger number, submitted to him of their own accord.
15. Foreign Relations
H added to the glory of his reign by gaining the good will of several kings and nations; so close, indeed, was the alliance that he contracted with Alfonso [II 791-842] King of Galicia and Asturias, that the latter, when sending letters or ambassadors to Charles, invariably styled himself his man. His munificence won the kings of the Scots also to pay such deference to his wishes that they never gave him any other title than lord or themselves than subjects and slaves: there are letters from them extant in which these feelings in his regard are expressed. His relations with Aaron [ie Harun Al-Rashid, 786-809], King of the Persians, who ruled over almost the whole of the East, India excepted, were so friendly that this prince preferred his favor to that of all the kings and potentates of the earth, and considered that to him alone marks of honor and munificence were due. Accordingly, when the ambassadors sent by Charles to visit the most holy sepulcher and place of resurrection of our Lord and Savior presented themselves before him with gifts, and made known their master’s wishes, he not only granted what was asked, but gave possession of that holy and blessed spot. When they returned, he dispatched his ambassadors with them, and sent magnificent gifts, besides stuffs, perfumes, and other rich products of the Eastern lands.. A few years before this, Charles had asked him for an elephant, and he sent the only one that he had. The Emperors of Constantinople, Nicephorus [I 802-811], Michael [I, 811-813], and Leo [V, 813-820], made advances to Charles, and sought friendship and alliance with him by several embassies; and even when the Greeks suspected him of designing to wrest the empire from them, because of his assumption of the title Emperor, they made a close alliance with him, that he might have no cause of offense. In fact, the power of the Franks was always viewed by the Greeks and Romans with a jealous eye, whence the Greek proverb “Have the Frank for your friend, but not for your neighbor.”
16. Public Works
This King, who showed himself so great in extending his empire and subduing foreign nations, and was constantly occupied with plans to that end, undertook also very many works calculated to adorn and benefit his kingdom, and brought several of them to completion. Among these, the most deserving of mention are the basilica of the Holy Mother of God at Aix-la-Chapelle, built in the most admirable manner, and a bridge over the Rhine at Mayence, half a mile long, the breadth of the river at this point. This bridge was destroyed by fire [May, 813] the year before Charles died, but, owing to his death so soon after, could not be repaired, although he had intended to rebuild it in stone. He began two palaces of beautiful workmanship – one near his manor called Ingelheim, not far from Mayence; the other at Nimeguen, on the Waal, the stream that washes the south side of the island of the Batavians. But, above all, sacred edifices were the object of his care throughout his whole kingdom; and whenever he found them falling to ruin from age, he commanded the priests and fathers who had charge of them to repair them , and made sure by commissioners that his instructions were obeyed. He also fitted out a fleet for the war with the Northmen; the vessels required for this purpose were built on the rivers that flow from Gaul and Germany into the Northern Ocean. Moreover, since the Northmen continually overran and laid waste the Gallic and German coasts, he caused watch and ward to be kept in all the harbors, and at the mouths of rivers large enough to admit the entrance of vessels, to prevent the enemy from disembarking; and in the South, in Narbonensis and Septimania, and along the whole coast of Italy as far as Rome, he took the same precautions against the Moors, who had recently begun their piratical practices. Hence, Italy suffered no great harm in his time at the hands of the Moors, nor Gaul and Germany from the Northmen, save that the Moors got possession of the Etruscan town of Civita Vecchia by treachery, and sacked it, and the Northmen harried some of the islands in Frisia off the German coast.
17. Private Life
Thus did Charles defend and increase as well, as beautify his, kingdom, as is well known; and here let me express my admiration of his great qualities and his extraordinary constancy alike in good and evil fortune. I will now forthwith proceed to give the details of his private and family life.
After his father’s death, while sharing the kingdom with his brother, he bore his unfriendliness and jealousy most patiently, and, to the wonder of all, could not be provoked to be angry with him. Later he married a daughter of of Desiderius, King of the Lombards, at the instance of his mother; but he repudiated her at the end of a year for some reason unknown, and married Hildegard, a woman of high birth, of Suabian origin. He had three sons by her – Charles, Pepin and Louis -and as many daughters – Hruodrud, Bertha, and and Gisela. He had three other daughters besides these- Theoderada, Hiltrud, and Ruodhaid – two by his third wife, Fastrada, a woman of East Frankish (that is to say, of German) origin, and the third by a concubine, whose name for the moment escapes me. At the death of Fastrada , he married Liutgard, an Alemannic woman, who bore him no children. After her death [Jun4 4, 800] he had three concubines – Gersuinda, a Saxon by whom he had Adaltrud; Regina, who was the mother of Drogo and Hugh; and Ethelind, by whom he lead Theodoric. Charles’ mother, Berthrada, passed her old age with him in great honor; he entertained the greatest veneration for her; and there was never any disagreement between them except when he divorced the daughter of King Desiderius, whom he had married to please her. She died soon after Hildegard, after living to three grandsons and as many granddaughters in her son’s house, and he buried her with great pomp in the Basilica of St. Denis, where his father lay. He had an only sister, Gisela, who had consecrated herself to a religious life from girlhood, and he cherished as much affection for her as for his mother. She also died a few years before him in the nunnery where she passed her life.
18. Charles and the Education of His Children
The plan that he adopted for his children’s education was, first of all, to have both boys and girls instructed in the liberal arts, to which he also turned his own attention. As soon as their years admitted, in accordance with the custom of the Franks, the boys had to learn horsemanship, and to practise war and the chase, and the girls to familiarize themselves with cloth-making, and to handle distaff and spindle, that they might not grow indolent through idleness, and he fostered in them every virtuous sentiment. He only lost three of all his children before his death, two sons and one daughter, Charles, who was the eldest, Pepin, whom he had made King of Italy, and Hruodrud, his oldest daughter. whom he had betrothed to Constantine [VI, 780-802], Emperor of the Greeks. Pepin left one son, named Bernard, and five daughters, Adelaide, Atula, Guntrada, Berthaid and Theoderada. The King gave a striking proof of his fatherly affection at the time of Pepin’s death : he appointed the grandson to succeed Pepin, and had the granddaughters brought up with his own daughters. When his sons and his daughter died, he was not so calm as might have been expected from his remarkably strong mind, for his affections were no less strong, and moved him to tears. Again, when he was told of the death of Hadrian , the Roman Pontiff, whom he had loved most of all his friends, he wept as much as if he had lost a brother, or a very dear son. He was by nature most ready to contract friendships, and not only made friends easily, but clung to them persistently, and cherished most fondly those with whom he had formed such ties. He was so careful of the training of his sons and daughters that he never took his meals without them when he was at home, and never made a journey without them; his sons would ride at his side, and his daughters follow him, while a number of his body-guard, detailed for their protection, brought up the rear. Strange to say, although they were very handsome women, and he loved them very dearly, he was never willing to marry any of them to a man of their own nation or to a foreigner, but kept them all at home until his death, saying that he could not dispense with their society. Hence, though other-wise happy, he experienced the malignity of fortune as far as they were concerned; yet he concealed his knowledge of the rumors current in regard to them, and of the suspicions entertained of their honor.
19. Conspiracies Against Charlemagne
By one of his concubines he had a son, handsome in face, but hunchbacked, named Pepin, whom I omitted to mention in the list of his children. When Charles was at war with the Huns, and was wintering in Bavaria , this Pepin shammed sickness, and plotted against his father in company with some of the leading Franks, who seduced him with vain promises of the royal authority. When his deceit was discovered, and the conspirators were punished, his head was shaved, and he was suffered, in accordance with his wishes, to devote himself to a religious life in the monastery of Prüm. A formidable conspiracy against Charles had previously been set on foot in Germany, but all the traitors were banished, some of them without mutilation, others after their eyes had been put out. Three of them only lost their lives; they drew their swords and resisted arrest, and, after killing several men, were cut down, because they could not be otherwise overpowered. It is supposed that the cruelty of Queen Fastrada was the primary cause of these plots, and they were both due to Charles’ apparent acquiescence in his wife’s cruel conduct, and deviation from the usual kindness and gentleness of his disposition. All the rest of his life he was regarded by everyone with the utmost love and affection, so much so that not the least accusation of unjust rigor was ever made against him.
20. Charlemagne’s Treatment of Foriegners
He liked foreigners, and was at great pains to take them under his protection. There were often so many of them, both in the palace and the kingdom, that they might reasonably have been considered a nuisance; but he, with his broad humanity, was very little disturbed by such annoyances, because he felt himself compensated for these great inconveniences by the praises of his generosity and the reward of high renown.
21. Personal Appearance
Charles was large and strong, and of lofty stature, though not disproportionately tall (his height is well known to have been seven times the length of his foot); the upper part of his head was round, his eyes very large and animated, nose a little long, hair fair, and face laughing and merry. Thus his appearance was always stately and dignified, whether he was standing or sitting; although his neck was thick and somewhat short, and his belly rather prominent; but the symmetry of the rest of his body concealed these defects. His gait was firm, his whole carriage manly, and his voice clear, but not so strong as his size led one to expect. His health was excellent, except during the four years preceding his death, when he was subject to frequent fevers; at the last he even limped a little with one foot. Even in those years he consulted rather his own inclinations than the advice of physicians, who were almost hateful to him, because they wanted him to give up roasts, to which he was accustomed, and to eat boiled meat instead. In accordance with the national custom, he took frequent exercise on horseback and in the chase, accomplishments in which scarcely any people in the world can equal the Franks. He enjoyed the exhalations from natural warm springs, and often practised swimming, in which he was such an adept that none could surpass him; and hence it was that he built his palace at Aixla-Chapelle, and lived there constantly during his latter years until his death. He used not only to invite his sons to his bath, but his nobles and friends, and now and then a troop of his retinue or body guard, so that a hundred or more persons sometimes bathed with him.
He used to wear the national, that is to say, the Frank, dress-next his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches, and above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened by bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet, and he protected his shoulders and chest in winter by a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins. Over all he flung a blue cloak, and he always had a sword girt about him, usually one with a gold or silver hilt and belt; he sometimes carried a jewelled sword, but only on great feast-days or at the reception of ambassadors from foreign nations. He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned the Roman tunic, chlamys, and shoes; the first time at the request of Pope Hadrian, the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian’s successor. On great feast-days he made use of embroidered clothes, and shoes bedecked with precious stones; his cloak was fastened by a golden buckle, and he appeared crowned with a diadem of gold and gems: but on other days his dress varied little from the common dress of the people.
Charles was temperate in eating, and particularly so in drinking, for he abominated drunkenness in anybody, much more in himself and those of his household; but he could not easily abstain from food, and often complained that fasts injured his health. He very rarely gave entertainments, only on great feast-days, and then to large numbers of people. His meals ordinarily consisted of four courses, not counting the roast, which his huntsmen used to bring in on the spit; he was more fond of this than of any other dish. While at table, he listened to reading or music. The subjects of the readings were the stories and deeds of olden time: he was fond, too, of St. Augustine’s books, and especially of the one entitled “The City of God.”
He was so moderate in the use of wine and all sorts of drink that he rarely allowed himself more than three cups in the course of a meal. In summer after the midday meal, he would eat some fruit, drain a single cup, put off his clothes and shoes, just as he did for the night, and rest for two or three hours. He was in the habit of awaking and rising from bed four or five times during the night. While he was dressing and putting on his shoes, he not only gave audience to his friends, but if the Count of the Palace told him of any suit in which his judgment was necessary, he had the parties brought before him forthwith, took cognizance of the case, and gave his decision, just as if he were sitting on the Judgment-seat. This was not the only business that he transacted at this time, but he performed any duty of the day whatever, whether he had to attend to the matter himself, or to give commands concerning it to his officers.
Charles had the gift of ready and fluent speech, and could express whatever he had to say with the utmost clearness. He was not satisfied with command of his native language merely, but gave attention to the study of foreign ones, and in particular was such a master of Latin that he could speak it as well as his native tongue; but he could understand Greek better than he could speak it. He was so eloquent, indeed, that he might have passed for a teacher of eloquence. He most zealously cultivated the liberal arts, held those who taught them in great esteem, and conferred great honors upon them. He took lessons in grammar of the deacon Peter of Pisa, at that time an aged man. Another deacon, Albin of Britain, surnamed Alcuin, a man of Saxon extraction, who was the greatest scholar of the day, was his teacher in other branches of learning. The King spent much time and labour with him studying rhetoric, dialectics, and especially astronomy; he learned to reckon, and used to investigate the motions of the heavenly bodies most curiously, with an intelligent scrutiny. He also tried to write, and used to keep tablets and blanks in bed under his pillow, that at leisure hours he might accustom his hand to form the letters; however, as he did not begin his efforts in due season, but late in life, they met with ill success.
He cherished with the greatest fervor and devotion the principles of the Christian religion, which had been instilled into him from infancy. Hence it was that he built the beautiful basilica at Aix-la-Chapelle, which he adorned with gold and silver and lamps, and with rails and doors of solid brass. He had the columns and marbles for this structure brought from Rome and Ravenna, for he could not find such as were suitable elsewhere. He was a constant worshipper at this church as long as his health permitted, going morning and evening, even after nightfall, besides attending mass; and he took care that all the services there conducted should be administered with the utmost possible propriety, very often warning the sextons not to let any improper or unclean thing be brought into the building or remain in it. He provided it with a great number of sacred vessels of gold and silver and with such a quantity of clerical robes that not even the doorkeepers who fill the humblest office in the church were obliged to wear their everyday clothes when in the exercise of their duties. He was at great pains to improve the church reading and psalmody, for he was well skilled in both although he neither read in public nor sang, except in a low tone and with others.
26. Generosity [Charles and the Roman Church]
He was very forward in succoring the poor, and in that gratuitous generosity which the Greeks call alms, so much so that he not only made a point of giving in his own country and his own kingdom, but when he discovered that there were Christians living in poverty in Syria, Egypt, and Africa, at Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage, he had compassion on their wants, and used to send money over the seas to them. The reason that he zealously strove to make friends with the kings beyond seas was that he might get help and relief to the Christians living under their rule.
He cherished the Church of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome above all other holy and sacred places, and heaped its treasury with a vast wealth of gold, silver, and precious stones. He sent great and countless gifts to the popes; and throughout his whole reign the wish that he had nearest at heart was to re-establish the ancient authority of the city of Rome under his care and by his influence, and to defend and protect the Church of St. Peter, and to beautify and enrich it out of his own store above all other churches. Although he held it in such veneration, he only repaired to Rome to pay his vows and make his supplications four times during the whole forty-seven years that he reigned.
27. Charlemagne Crowned Emperor
When he made his last journey thither, he also had other ends in view. The Romans had inflicted many injuries upon the Pontiff Leo, tearing out his eyes and cutting out his tongue, so that he had been comp lied to call upon the King for help [Nov 24, 800]. Charles accordingly went to Rome, to set in order the affairs of the Church, which were in great confusion, and passed the whole winter there. It was then that he received the titles of Emperor and Augustus [Dec 25, 800], to which he at first had such an aversion that he declared that he would not have set foot in the Church the day that they were conferred, although it was a great feast-day, if he could have foreseen the design of the Pope. He bore very patiently with the jealousy which the Roman emperors showed upon his assuming these titles, for they took this step very ill; and by dint of frequent embassies and letters, in which he addressed them as brothers, he made their haughtiness yield to his magnanimity, a quality in which he was unquestionably much their superior.
It was after he had received the imperial name that, finding the laws of his people very defective (the Franks have two sets of laws, very different in many particulars), he determined to add what was wanting, to reconcile the discrepancies, and to correct what was vicious and wrongly cited in them. However, he went no further in this matter than to supplement the laws by a few capitularies, and those imperfect ones; but he caused the unwritten laws of all the tribes that came under his rule to be compiled and reduced to writing . He also had the old rude songs that celeate the deeds and wars of the ancient kings written out for transmission to posterity. He began a grammar of his native language. He gave the months names in his own tongue, in place of the Latin and barbarous names by which they were formerly known among the Franks. He likewise designated the winds by twelve appropriate names; there were hardly more than four distinctive ones in use before. He called January, Wintarmanoth; February, Hornung; March, Lentzinmanoth; April, Ostarmanoth; May, Winnemanoth; June, Brachmanoth; July, Heuvimanoth; August, Aranmanoth; September, Witumanoth; October, Windumemanoth; Novemher, Herbistmanoth; December, Heilagmanoth. He styled the winds as follows; Subsolanus, Ostroniwint; Eurus, Ostsundroni-, Euroauster, Sundostroni; Auster, Sundroni; Austro-Africus, Sundwestroni; Africus, Westsundroni; Zephyrus, Westroni; Caurus, Westnordroni; Circius, Nordwestroni; Septentrio, Nordroni; Aquilo, Nordostroni; Vulturnus, Ostnordroni.
29. Coronation of Louis – Charlemagne’s Death
Toward the close of his life , when he was broken by ill-health and old age, he summoned Louis, Kigi of Aquitania, his onlv surviving son by Hildegard, and gathered together all the chief men of the whole kingdom of the Franks in a solemn assembly. He appointed Louis, with their unanimous consent, to rule with himself over the whole kingdom and constituted him heir to the imperial name; then, placing the diadem upon his son’s head, he bade him be proclaimed Emperor and is step was hailed by all present favor, for it really seemed as if God had prompted him to it for the kingdom’s good; it increased the King’s dignity, and struck no little terror into foreign nations. After sending his son son back to Aquitania, although weak from age he set out to hunt, as usual, near his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle, and passed the rest of the autumn in the chase, returning thither about the first of November . While wintering there, he was seized, in the month of January, with a high fever Jan 22 814], and took to his bed. As soon as he was taken sick, he prescribed for himself abstinence from food, as he always used to do in case of fever, thinking that the disease could be driven off , or at least mitigated, by fasting. Besides the fever, he suffered from a pain in the side, which the Greeks call pleurisy; but he still persisted in fasting, and in keeping up his strength only by draughts taken at very long intervals. He died January twenty-eighth, the seventh day from the time that he took to his bed, at nine o’clock in the morning, after partaking of the holy communion, in the seventy-second year of his age and the forty-seventh of his reign [Jan 28, 814].
His body was washed and cared for in the usual manner, and was then carried to the church, and interred amid the greatest lamentations of all the people. There was some question at first where to lay him, because in his lifetime he had given no directions as to his burial; but at length all agreed that he could nowhere be more honorably entombed than in the very basilica that he had built in the town at his own expense, for love of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of the Holy and Eternal Virgin, His Mother. He was buried there the same day that he died, and a gilded arch was erected above his tomb with his image and an inscription. The words of the inscription were as follows: “In this tomb lies the body of Charles, the Great and Orthodox Emperor, who gloriously extended the kingdom of the Franks, and reigned prosperously for forty-seven years. He died at the age of seventy, in the year of our Lord 814, the 7th Indiction, on the 28th day of January.”
31. Omens of Death
Very many omens had portended his approaching end, a fact that he had recognized as well as others. Eclipses both of the sun and moon were very frequent during the last three years of his life, and a black spot was visible on the sun for the space of seven days. The gallery between the basilica and the palace, which he had built at great pains and labor, fell in sudden ruin to the ground on the day of the Ascension of our Lord. The wooden bridge over the Rhine at Mayence, which he had caused to be constructed with admirable skill, at the cost of ten years’ hard work, so that it seemed as if it might last forever, was so completely consumed in three hours by an accidental fire that not a single splinter of it was left, except what was under water. Moreover, one day in his last campaign into Saxony against Godfred, King of the Danes, Charles himself saw a ball of fire fall suddenly from the heavens with a great light, just as he was leaving camp before sunrise to set out on the march. It rushed across the clear sky from right to left, and everybody was wondering what was the meaning of the sign, when the horse which he was riding gave a sudden plunge, head foremost, and fell, and threw him to the ground so heavily that his cloak buckle was broken and his sword belt shattered; and after his servants had hastened to him and relieved him of his arms, he could not rise without their assistance. He happened to have a javelin in his hand when he was thrown, and this was struck from his grasp with such force that it was found lying at a distance of twenty feet or more from the spot. Again, the palace at Aix-la-Chapelle frequently trembled, the roofs of whatever buildings he tarried in kept up a continual crackling noise, the basilica in which he was afterwards buried was struck by lightning, and the gilded ball that adorned the pinnacle of the roof was shattered by the thunderbolt and hurled upon the bishop’s house adjoining. In this same basilica, on the margin of the cornice that ran around the interior, between the upper and lower tiers of arches, a legend was inscribed in red letters, stating who was the builder of the temple, the last words of which were Karolus Princeps. The year that he died it was remarked by some, a few months before his decease, that the letters of the word Princeps were so effaced as to be no longer decipherable. But Charles despised, or affected to despise, all these omens, as having no reference whatever to him.
It had been his intention to make a will, that he might give some share in the inheritance to his daughters and the children of his concubines; but it was begun too late and could not be finished. Three years before his death, however, he made a division of his treasures, money, clothes, and other movable goods in the presence of his friends and servants, and called them to witness it, that their voices might insure the ratification of the disposition thus made. He had a summary drawn up of his wishes regarding this distribution o his property, the terms and text of which are as follows:
“In the name of the Lord God, the Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is the inventory and division dictated by the most glorious and most pious Lord Charles, Emperor Augustus, in the 811th year of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the 43d year of his reign in France and 37th in Italy, the 11th of his empire, and the 4th Indiction, which considerations of piety and prudence have determined him, and the favor of God enabled him, to make of his treasures and money ascertained this day to be in his treasure chamber. In this division he is especially desirous to provide not only that the largess of alms which Christians usually make of their possessions shall be made for himself in due course and order out of his wealth, but also that his heirs shall be free from all doubt, and know clearly what belongs to them, and be able to share their property by suitable partition without litigation or strife. With this intention and to this end he has first divided all his substance and movable goods ascertained to be in his treasure chamber on the day aforesaid in gold, silver, precious stones, and royal ornaments into three lots and has subdivided and set off two of the said lots into twenty-one parts, keeping the third entire. The first two lots have been thus subdivided into twenty one parts because there are in his kingdom twenty-one” recognized metropolitan cities, and in order that each archbishopric may receive by way of alms, at the hands of his heirs and friends, one of the said parts, and that the archbishop who shall then administer its affairs shall take the part given to it, and share the same with his suffragans in such manner that one third shall go to the Church, and the remaining two thirds be divided among the suffragans. The twenty-one parts into which the first two lots are to be distributed, according to the number of recognized metropolitan cities, have been set apart one from another, and each has been put aside by itself in a box labeled with the name of the city for which it is destined. The names of the cities to which this alms or largess is to be sent are as follows: Rome, Ravenna, Milan, Friuli, Grado, Cologne, Mayence, Salzburg, Treves, Sens, Besançon, Lyons, Rouen, Rheims, Arles, Vienne, Moutiers-en-Tarantaise, Embrun, Bordeaux, Tours, and Bourges. The third lot, which he wishes to be kept entire, is to be bestowed as follows: While the first two lots are to be divided into the parts aforesaid, and set aside under seal, the third lot shall be employed for the owner’s daily needs, as property which he shall be under no obligation to part with in order to the fulfillment of any vow, and this as long as he shall be in the flesh, or consider it necessary for his use. But upon his death, or voluntary-renunciation of the affairs of this world, this said lot shall be divided into four parts, and one thereof shall be added to the aforesaid twenty-one parts; the second shall be assigned to his sons and daughters, and to the sons and daughters of his sons, to be distributed among them in just and equal partition; the third, in accordance with the custom common among Christians, shall be devoted to the poor; and the fourth shall go to the support of the men servants and maid servants on duty in the palace. It is his wish that to this said third lot of the whole amount, which consists, as well as the rest, of gold and silver shall be added all the vessels and utensils of brass iron and other metals together with the arms, clothing, and other movable goods, costly and cheap, adapted to divers uses, as hangings, coverlets, carpets, woolen stuffs leathern articles, pack-saddles, and whatsoever shall be found in his treasure chamber and wardrobe at that time, in order that thus the parts of the said lot may be augmented, and the alms distributed reach more persons. He ordains that his chapel-that is to say, its church property, as well that which he has provided and collected as that which came to him by inheritance from his father shall remain entire, and not be dissevered by any partition whatever. If, however, any vessels, books or other articles be found therein which are certainly known not to have been given by him to the said chapel, whoever wants them shall have them on paying their value at a fair estimation. He likewise commands that the books which he has collected in his library in great numbers shall be sold for fair prices to such as want them, and the money received therefrom given to the poor. it is well known that among his other property and treasures are three silver tables, and one very large and massive golden one. He directs and commands that the square silver table, upon which there is a representation of the city of Constantinople, shall be sent to the Basilica of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome, with the other gifts destined therefor; that the round one, adorned with a delineation of the city of Rome, shall be given to the Episcopal Church at Ravenna; that the third, which far surpasses the other two in weight and in beauty of workmanship, and is made in three circles, showing the plan of the whole universe, drawn with skill and delicacy, shall go, together with the golden table, fourthly above mentioned, to increase that lot which is to be devoted to his heirs and to alms.
This deed, and the dispositions thereof, he has made and appointed in the presence of the bishops, abbots, and counts able to be present, whose names are hereto subscribed: Bishops – Hildebald, Ricolf, Arno, Wolfar, Bernoin, Laidrad, John, Theodulf, Jesse, Heito, Waltgaud. Abbots – Fredugis, Adalung, Angilbert, Irmino. Counts Walacho, Meginher, Otulf, Stephen, Unruoch Burchard Meginhard, Hatto, Rihwin, Edo, Ercangar, Gerold, Bero, Hildiger, Rocculf.”
Charles’ son Louis who by the grace of God succeeded him, after examining this summary, took pains to fulfill all its conditions most religiously as soon as possible after his father’s death.
Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne, translated by Samuel Epes Turner, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1880) [in 1960 the University of Michigan Press reprinted this translation, with a copyrighted forward by Sidney Painter]
[heading subtitle=””] History of Assumption Parish [/heading]
This material was taken from the Inventory of the Parish Archives of Louisiana, No. 4 Assumption Parish (Napoleonville), prepared by the Louisiana Historical Records Survey, Service Division, Works Projects Administration, sponsored by The Department of Archives, L.S.U., Dr. Edwin A. Davis, Archivist, and co-sponsored by the Assumption Parish Police Jury. It was published in March 1942, and has been condensed from the original and annotated by Audrey B. Westerman. (Taken from Terrebonne Life Lines, Volume 18, No. 2, Summer 1999. Published on the Internet in September 1999 with the permission of Audrey B. Westerman and the Terrebonne Genealogical Society.)
First Residents, the Indians.
When French explorers, about the beginning of the eighteenth century ventured into the Bayou Lafourche region they are believed to have found there, Washa, Chawasha, and Chitimacha Indians, the latter composed of four powerful bands which roved from the bayou west. The Chitimacha groups made up one of the six leading tribes in Louisiana in 1700. The tribe during the first decade of white exploration gained considerable notoriety and punishment for the murder of a Catholic priest, Father Jean ST. COSME, and three Canadian companions. In reprisal Governor BIENVILLE induced other Indians to attack the Chitimacha and they were driven westward from Bayou Lafourche. Attempts were made later by rival tribes to enslave the Chitimacha and warfare continued intermittently until 1718 when BIENVILLE demanded peace to which the Indians agreed.
Before its present name was applied, Bayou Lafourche was called by the French “the river of the Chitimacha.” “The people altogether red” was a description given by members to themselves. They possessed a culture apparently somewhat higher than neighboring aborigines. The women were expert basket makers and weavers of cane mats. Rigid caste lines were maintained. Chiefs and leaders were nobles, forbidden, on pain of losing station, to marry commoners. Mounds on Lake Verret are believed to have been Chitimacha burial places. In these have been found a bust of a man sculptured in stone, human bones, burnt clay, and white stones shaped as lance or arrow heads. By 1850, although there were some wandering Indians in Assumption Parish, the Chitimacha had all departed. Note 1 At an even earlier date ranks of the tribe were becoming thinned; there were only about one hundred in the entire territory at the time of the Louisiana Purchase. Little of the history of the Washa and Chawasha Indians has been preserved. The former had villages all along Bayou Lafourche. Their principal settlement is believed to have been located near Labadieville, where in 1721 there were some fifty warriors. The Chawasha unit was even smaller. In 1870 three red men were reported as Assumption residents. Note 2 Ten years later there was only one, and Federal enumerations since 1880 fail to disclose any representatives of the race in the parish.
Arrival of the Europeans.
Prior to 1750, the French, proceeding south along Bayou Lafourche from where that stream forks with the Mississippi, settled on both sides of “the river of the Chitimacha.” They were followed by the Spanish who penetrated as far as Napoleonville which, by the time the exiled Acadians arrived in the 1760’s, had become a prosperous little colony. Note 3 Upon acquisition of the territory by the United States in 1803, English speaking landseekers came and at Napoleonville, named by a soldier who had served under the Little Colonel, they found a thriving market place. Note 4 Yet another group, the Canary Islanders or Islenos, added to the nationalities entering the area. The Islenos were sent in 1779 and 1780 by Governor Bernardo de GALVEZ to the locality near Plattenville called Valenzuela Post. The post was about at the site of Belle Alliance, where today stands a plantation home bearing the latter name and built in 1846 by Charles KOCK. Nearby are ruins of Belle Alliance Sugarhouse, once one of the most important west of the Mississippi River, and around which a Negro community has grown. South of the parish seat, the area around Labadieville was taken up by French and Spanish, joined by Acadians and a sprinkling of Germans from the Cote des Allemands or German Coast to the east on the Mississippi River. This was during the two decades after 1750. Labadieville takes its name from a pioneer resident, Jean Louis LABADIE.
Descendants of these settlers comprise a very considerable part of Assumption’s present population. Upon the cession to Spain in the 1760’s the first commandant was Nicolas VERRET. Note 5 He was succeeded by VILLANEUVA. The story is told that the transfer to the Spanish did not meet the approval of all Assumption men. One, DASPIT ST. AMANT, loudly opposed the new government and his arrest was ordered. ST. AMANT placed a keg of gunpowder in the door of his home and defied officers; the latter retreated on his threat to explode the powder. Friends of ST. AMANT met them during the withdrawal and persuaded the officers that the belligerent citizen should be left strictly alone, which was apparently done.
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the first Lafourche County Judge appointed by Governor W. C. C. CLAIBORNE was James MATHER. He ws succeeded by Bela HUBBARD who in turn ws made Parish Judge, and followed by COURVOISIER, Wincelas PICHOT (who was killed in a duel), and lastly Alexander COVILLIER.
Other early residents included Isaac HEBERT, Nicolas HEBERT, L’Abbe BOURG LATINISTE, Auguste VERRET, and a man of mystery named MOREAU. The latter for some thirty years lived alone on Lake Verret at a time when that body of water was known only to a few white hunters. Note 6 By 1823 John FOLEY, D. M. WILLIAMSON, and Thomas and Augustin PUGH had moved in from English speaking states. Dr. Joseph MARTIN, Joseph LA LANDE, GUILLOT, and TOURNILLION were prominent French residents of the time. One hundred years ago plantations owned by members of the PUGH family dotted both sides of Bayou Lafourche. Still standing on the stream’s left (descending) bank across from Napoleonville is Madewood, plantation home of Colonel Thomas PUGH, completed in 1848. It was 8 years in the building. Timber was cut on the site, and bricks were made by slave labor. Decorative woodwork, exterior and interior, was turned on the plantation, hence the name. It is thought that Assumption Parish’s first courthouse stood on Madewood Plantation site. Note 7 Nearby is Woodlawn, now in disrepair. Note 8 Here in the family cemetery is a stone inscribed, “Our little Louis perished during the storm at Last Island August 10,1856.” W. W. PUGH served a number of terms as police juror and was president of that body during the trying Reconstruction days. Residing today in Napoleonville is Dr. Thomas B. PUGH, son of W. W. PUGH. Note 9 He is reputedly the oldest practicing physician in the state. Dr. PUGH is said to be the only survivor of the Last Island disaster. As a child he accompanied members of his family to the Gulf resort, and was one of the few who escaped. He has served as mayor of Napoleonville, and during his administration, the town’s first paved sidewalks were laid.
Assumption Post Office was the name given to the Napoleonville community in the 1850’s by the postal authorities, and all mail was so addressed. Mail was carried down Bayou Lafourche (by boat). That for the west went by pirogue or skiff through the Attakapas Canal to Lake Verret. In 1857 Charles A. BESSE was postmaster. After incorporation (in 1878) the Federal designation was changed to Napoleonville, and Mrs. J. W. R. PINTADO was first postmaster. Fires in 1884 and 1894 destroyed practically all of the existing town. The fire consumed even the fire hall, located on the courthouse yard. Fire fighters in the second conflagration were handicapped because a drought had left wells dry, and it was necessary to form bucket brigades from Bayou Lafourche. The fire of 1884 took one life, that of Judge WHITTINGDON who was burned to death in a hotel.
Among the older communities of the parish is Paincourtville. It was founded by the Spanish. Legend says an early traveler, unable to buy a single loaf of bread there, facetiously called the place “short of bread town,” which is just what the translation is.
Plattenville apparently was a center prior to 1793, for residents there had unsuccessfully petitioned for the erection of a church several times before one was built in that year. Note 10
At Labadieville in October 1864, Federal and Confederate forces fought a pitched battle.
Other communities, all small, reflect the cultural heritage of the French-Acadians.
Transportation and Communication.
Lafourche is the French word for “the fork,” applied by early comers to the bayou that bears that name, because of the forklike shape of this outlet from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. These pioneers, confronted by the coastal marshes and thick undergrowth covering Assumption lands, had no transportation avenues other that the lakes and waterways, Bayou Lafourche being chief of these. Plying their courses successively were pirogues of the explorers, larger craft bearing Spanish garrisons, keel boats taking out produce of the first plantations to Lafourche Settlement (now Donaldsonville) and returning with supplies, and finally steamboats and mail packets. Bayou Lafourche because of its thickly populated banks has been called “the longest street in the world.” It still has a share of commerce (in 1942), but the progress of other transportation means has reduced its importance.
Leading to the west a number of smaller bayous provided the trappers and landseekers with ingress to areas around Lake Verret, Lake Palourde, and along Grand River. Canals augmented this waterway system. As early as 1807 the community that later became Napoleonville was known as “Canal.” This would indicate the likelihood of the existence at that time of a water route known in the 1850’s as the Attakapas Canal, through which keel boats traveled to the Teche Country. It was closed by 1890. This canal extended west from Napoleonville to Lake Verret. The legislature in 1904 conveyed title of its site within Napoleonville to the municipality, and it has been partially filled in. (Note: today is has been totally filled in.) Another canal is the Cancienne, leading east from Lake Verret to Bayou Lafourche near Labadieville. It was constructed in 1905.
In all of the southern parishes of Louisiana tow-paths developed along the bayous leading gradually to route called “cordelle roads.” After the Louisiana purchase county officials first had charge of roads. The police juries were given this duty in 1813. Assumption Parish was included in the general road law of 1818 which made mandatory the construction of roads along waterways and of bridges and their maintenance under supervision of the police jury.
The first telephone reached Napoleonville in 1884. Service was to Donaldsonville and was perhaps unique in that the caller wrote out his message which was transmitted by the operator. The operator was Louis CORDE. CORDE was long in public service, as a postal employee, alderman, and mayor. Under his administration as municipal chief a water works and the bridge at the parish seat were built. He was also one of the organizers of Napoleonville’s first bank.
Population and Growth
Free Persons of Color
Descendants of these settlers comprise a very considerable part of Assumption’s present population. Upon the cession to Spain in the 1760’s the first commandant was Nicolas VERRET. Note 5 He was succeeded by VILLANEUVA. The story is told that the transfer to the Spanish did not meet the approval of all Assumption men. One, DASPIT ST. AMANT, loudly opposed the new government and his arrest was ordered. ST. AMANT placed a keg of gunpowder in the door of his home and defied officers; the latter retreated on his threat to explode the powder. Friends of ST. AMANT met them during the withdrawal and persuaded the officers that the belligerent citizen should be left strictly alone, which was apparently done.
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the first Lafourche County Judge appointed by Governor W. C. C. CLAIBORNE was James MATHER. He ws succeeded by Bela HUBBARD who in turn ws made Parish Judge, and followed by COURVOISIER, Wincelas PICHOT (who was killed in a duel), and lastly Alexander COVILLIER.
Products and Resources.
Diversified agriculture has assumed an important part in the economic picture of the parish. In addition to sugar and rice, the crops include corn, hay, oats, and vegetables. There were 21 manufacturing plants located in the parish in 1940, and lumber production totaled 2,571,000 board feet. A unique industry is the picking, baling and shipping of Spanish moss. The moss forms the basis of a hundred-thousand-dollar year industry for the Assumption gatherers. About 100 cars (railroad), approximately 2 million pounds, are sent north chiefly to furniture factories. Picking of this air plant, which hangs in abundant festoons from trees, especially in the heavily watered areas, begins in November and continues through April. Moss prices range from slightly better than 1¢ per pound for the low, green grade, to 3¢ for the top variety. A good picker can average, it is claimed, about 500 pounds a day. The price of the ginned product averages about $9 per 100 pounds. Three gins operate in the parish.
In the lake and bayou sections to the west, centering around Pierre Part community, fishing and trapping in season add to the means of livelihood followed in Assumption. Shipments of crawfish run through May, June, and July. Also, turtle meat and turtle egg shipments are made from this area, as are other consignments of fish.
Little is known of the early schools in Assumption Parish. By an act of 1819 the legislature required police juries to organize and administer a school system. In 1821 administration passed to a board of five trustees, appointed annually by the police jury. What action, if any, jurors took under these laws have not been established. However, some sort of organization seems to have been effected by 1825, for in that year the legislature empowered the Assumption trustees to dispose of a school house on the plantation of L. FROMENTAL. At the same time permission was given the board to donate funds “to an institution that will undertake the education of young ladies in the parish.” It was also about this period that Bishop William DUBOURG suggested a boys’ boarding school and seminary adjoining the Church of the Assumption at Plattenville. These plans do not seem to have materialized, however. The Sisters of Loretto nearby were instructing “a few schoolgirls” in 1826. A Catholic diocesan seminary was established in 1838 near the Plattenville Church, on ground donated by Father DEVA. It operated until 1855, when it was destroyed by fire. One of the seminary students was Adrien ROUQUETTE, poet-priest and Indian missionary.
By 1868 there were 10 public schools in the parish. The teachers were paid $1 a month per pupil. In 1889 there were 19 white and 18 colored free schools. An Assumption planter, Col. W. W. PUGH, served as the state’s first superintendent of schools after reorganization of the educational system in 1847.
Like most other parishes of south Louisiana, especially those where the population is largely of French extraction, Assumption Parish is predominantly Roman Catholic. Early colonials were ministered by a priest from Donaldsonville. After settlers near Valenzuela Post had petitioned Commandant VERRET and Governor MIRO for permission to erect a church, a small wooden structure was completed in 1793. Father Bernardo DE DEVA was assigned there and opened the registers April 20 of that year. The church was not incorporated until 17 April 1811, when it legally took the name of the Church of the Assumption. Father DEVA retired in 1817, but on 20 December 1819, he blessed a new church which replaced the first shack-like house of worship. It was he who performed the first baptism in Assumption Church, that of Ambrosio DUGAS, son of Ambrosio and Magdalena DUGAS, on 24 April 1793.
On a plot donated by Miss Elizabeth DUGAS, St. Elizabeth’s Church at Paincourtville was built in 1840. The congregation was chartered March 27 of that year. Parishioners promptly rebuilt their church after a fire in 1854. In 1903 a third structure, the present one, was completed. Nearby of a special steel scaffolding is the church bell, too large for either of the church’s two towers. It was brought from France and was a gift of the Xavier DUGAS family.
St. Philomena’s at Labadieville dates from 1848 as an organized parish. It was in 1843 that a mission was established at what was then Brulee Labadie, and the first Mass was said in the home of Widow Zacharie BOUDREAUX. The first building was occupied in 1847.
A chapel was built in 1858 at Pierre Part. This was the beginning of St. Joseph’s Parish. The first church burned, and subsequent buildings were destroyed by storms in 1909 and 1915.Attached to this parish at present is a floating chapel, Our Lady Star of the Sea, dedicated in 1936. Note 11 This craft, powered by a launch, and its appurtenances including sleeping quarters for the priest, plies all of the Bayou country to the west as far as Lake Verret. Records of Our Lady Star of the Sea show for its first year of operation 6,531 attendances at Mass, 2,151 communions, 25 baptisms, and 7 marriages.
Another of the older groups is St. Anne’s at Napoleonville. By 1850, residents had asked the diocese heads to establish a church. Lazarists Fathers at Plattenville who were serving Lafourche missions at the time opposed it, and it was not until 1874 that a church, built on land given by the FOLEY family, was placed under the invocation of St. Napoleon. When a new building was begun in 1907 the parish name was changed to St. Anne. St. Anne’s Church was completed in 1909.
Other Catholic centers included Immaculate Conception Church, near Napoleonville; St. Jules, at Belle Alliance; St. Martin’s, near Belle Rose; St. Augustin’s, at Klotzville; and St. Benedict the Moor Church, at Bertrandville. The last two are for colored communicants.
Much of the Protestant history of early Assumption Parish days is vague. Lorenzo DOW, a somewhat eccentric Methodist preacher who also sold “Dow’s Family Medicine,” possibly touched Assumption, for his journal relates that on November 4, 1804, he “crossed into Louisiana” from Natchez, is known to have penetrated the southern parishes area as far as the Attakapas Country, and has been placed by one authority at points along Bayou Lafourche. He was followed there by early circuit riders, for September 1850 places at Napoleonville, “a Protestant Church, built in 1837.” Another source describes Christ Episcopal Church as “the first in the town.”
On the outskirts of Napoleonville is Christ Episcopal Church, picturesque edifice in the Gothic Style; around its ivy-covered walls cling many historic facts. The congregation was established in 1852 and for a time worshipped in the courthouse and in the library of Dr. E. E. KITTREDGE at Elm Hall Plantation. During the ministry of the Rev. J. F. YOUNG, Dr. KITTREDGE donated a site on Elm Hall for a church. The red brick structure with a steeply pointed roof was built by Frank WILLS of New York and was consecrated by Bishop Leonidas POLK in 1853. During the War between the States, Federal troops stabled their horses in the church. Also it was claimed that the invaders used the stained glass windows above the altar as a target during pistol practice. Years afterward the glass was sent to New York and repaired so expertly that the damage could not be detected. During the 1909 storm it was again shattered and once more repaired and reinstalled.
Note 1 – The 1860 census of Assumption Parish listed one Indian named Josephine age 15, living between the Solar and Pererra families, in the area of Brule St. Vincent, Ward 9, p. 87.
Note 2 – This was actually one family living in Ward 10 of Assumption Parish: House 112 Family 130 – John Combella age 30, Indian born LA; Marie Combella age 20 Indian born LA, and Mariel Combella age 3, Indian born LA. Also in their house was Marceline Sulia age 15, given as white, born LA. A Solar family lived nearby. There is a record of baptism of a John William Campela (son of John Campela and Celestine Derydar) born 10 Sept. 1871, bt. 23 Dec. 1871 at St. Elizabeth Church. Sponsors were Perique Sanchez and Marie Alleman (BRDA 12-119) A John Compellon, age ca. 25, was buried 10 Mar. 1872 from St. Elizabeth Church Records (BRDA 12-148).
Note 3 – The Acadians who settled in the area of Bayou Lafourche below the church at Plattenville actually were those who came to LA in 1785 on the ships from France. The settlement of the 1760’s is a misstatement copied by many historians and is incorrect.
Note 4 – Louis Monginot in 1832 purchased the tract where Napoleonville now stands and had it platted in lots.
Note 5 – The first Nicolas Verret served as Lt. Governor, then as Commandant and Judge of the First Acadian Coast from 1770 until his death. He took over the office after his brother-in-law Louis Judice became Commandant and Judge at Lafourche des Chetimachas (now the area of Donaldsonville) on the Second Acadian Coast. The first Nicolas was living in St. James Parish, the original Cabahanoce Post until his death. It was his son, Nicolas Verret (II) who was Commandant at Valenzuela from 30 Sept. 1786 until 15 Feb. 1798. Auguste Verret (son of Nicolas I, and brother of Nicolas II) served as Commandant at Valenzuela from 16 Feb. 1798 to 27 Nov. 1799.
Note 6 – This information was taken from De Bow’s Review, Sept. 1850, p. 288. In 1810 Maxile BOURG lived on the Attakapas Canal near Lake Verret and on 10 April 1811 he sold his right to operate the ferry from the Lafourche Canal to the Attakapas which had been granted by the State Legislature. If MOREAU lived there for 30 years, it must have been before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Note 7 – At the time when the site was owned by George MATHER. See also Madewood Plantation: http://www.assumption.k12.la.us/madewood/pointsof.htm
Note 8 – Woodlawn was torn down years ago. Only a couple of markers still survive in the little family graveyard, which is on the side of Hwy. 308.
Note 9 – He is buried in Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery, Napoleonville LA, with dates born 8 May 1853, died 4 May 1952. His wife was Nannie Mosely Jones, also buried there.
Note 10 – See The Church of the Assumption Through the Years by Mrs. Celine B. Verret (published 1995) for a complete history.
Note 11 – Harnett T. Kane, “Floating Chapel Celebrates Its Second Anniversary in the Bayous,” New Orleans Item-Tribune, 17 April 1938.
Note 12 – The research for this map was done by Kenneth Toups and was published in Audrey B. Westerman’s “1860 Census Assumption Parish, Louisiana”, Second Printing 1987. A scanned image from that document was obtained by permission of Audrey B. Westerman. The above map, based on Kenneth Toups map, was recreated by Joel Ohmer in 1999.
On the hillsides overlooking the city of Dayton are the southeastern neighborhoods of Linden Heights and Walnut Hills. Once a rural landscape of farms, orchards and a large stone quarry, the area took on a more urban character at the turn of the century as city dwellers followed the streetcar lines out to build new, modern homes on the edge. The appeal of these neighborhoods increased with the 1913 flood which gave prospective residents a deep appreciation for the high and dry home sites to be found in these growing residential sections.
The growth of Walnut Hills, named for its many walnut trees, focused on Wayne Avenue which offered convenient streetcar service to neighborhood residents. The area west of Wayne Avenue was first known as Stewart Hills, while the eastern section of the neighborhood was known as Ohmer Park. The latter was named by noted Dayton businessman and horticulturist Nicholas Ohmer, who platted his land for urban development in the late nineteenth century. Bounded by Wayne, Highland, Wyoming and Pursell, Ohmer Park still retains a strong sense of identity among residents and older Daytonians. Linden Heights was first known as Mount Anthony after the area’s main anchor, St. Anthony Catholic Church. The neighborhood later became known as Linden Heights, taking its name from a small area platted in 1909 in the northern part of the neighborhood.
These southern neighborhoods became home to workers at NCR, Delco and Frigidaire, as well as other members of the Dayton community. Served by many mom and pop businesses and connected to downtown by several streetcar lines, residents enjoyed a close-knit community life. Churches such as St. Anthony Catholic Church and Ohmer Park Methodist Episcopal Church met the spiritual needs of many neighborhood residents, while Walnut Hills Park, Cleveland Park and The Commons (later Highland Park) met their recreational needs.
Although Dayton’s population began to decrease in the 1960’s, the population of Linden Heights and Walnut Hills remained stable. Like many neighborhoods, however, they faced their share of challenges. In those years, Walnut Hills residents organized to deal with the challenges posed by the increasing numbers of multifamily rental properties. Successful in achieving the passage of single family zoning, residents formed the Walnut Hills Civic Association, which later came to include the residents of Ohmer Park and Stewart Hills. Linden Heights Community Council organized in response to the construction of U.S. 35 which cut through the East End, dividing neighborhoods and erasing familiar landmarks.
In the 1980’s, these two neighborhood associations came together to successfully oppose the proposed extension of the Hamilton-Wyoming Connector, now Steve Whalen Boulevard. In December 1988, the Linden Heights Community Council decided to change the negative impression presented by the six-lane, quarter mile strip of 55 mph concrete highway and took the lead in working with five adjoining neighborhoods and the City of Dayton to introduce a multi-phase project to convert it to a proper gateway for the neighborhoods. As a result, the Connector has been transformed into a 35 mph, landscaped boulevard named as a tribute to slain Dayton police officer Steve Whalen.
Today, Walnut Hills and Linden Heights continue to draw on their rich community history to retain their strong traditions of stable family living.
Points of Interest in Linden Heights and Walnut Hills
MICHAEL OHMER HOUSE, 1421 Phillips Street, was built from 1858 to 1863. It was originally home to Michael Ohmer, owner of a cabinetmaking company in Dayton. Much of his expert cabinet work is seen throughout the home.
NICHOLAS OHMER HOUSE, 1350 Creighton Avenue. This elegant Victorian home was built in 1864 by leading Dayton businessman, civic leader and horticulturist Nicholas Ohmer. The area surrounding the house was subdivided for residential development in 1889 and called Ohmer Park Ohmer descendants continued to occupy the house until 1990 when it was purchased by Robert and Lola Signom, who restored this elegant city landmark to its original grandeur. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
OHMER PARK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 1357 Arbor Avenue, grew out of a small neighborhood group which began to meet in 1911. Their first official meeting place was a building on Wayne between Arbor and Carlisle Avenues, which was built as a saloon, but never opened due to neighborhood opposition. In 1912, the newly formed congregation became the Ohmer Park Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1914, their first church building was dedicated at the corner of Arbor and Clarence streets. The congregation continued to grow, necessitating construction of the present larger building, which was dedicated on February 27, 1927.
CLEVELAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS, 1102 Pursell Avenue, began as Ohmer Park School in 1903. The present building, erected in 1917 after the first frame building burned, was named for President Grover Cleveland. Today, Cleveland is the largest elementary school in Dayton.
SCHLIENTZ & MOORE FUNERAL HOME, 1632 Wayne Avenue. This beautiful Victorian home was built by Samuel Edgar in the 1860’s for his daughter, Marianna. Gertrude Moore and her children moved to Dayton in 1914 following the death of her husband, a cabinet and coffin maker. The first woman to graduate from embalming school, Gertrude and her second husband, Fred Schlientz, opened Schlientz & Moore Funeral Home in 1921 at 2600 Wayne Avenue, relocating to the former Edgar home in 1936. It is still operated by the founders’ descendants.
WESTBROCK FUNERAL HOME, 1712 Wayne Avenue. This elegant homestead was built in 1866 by Samuel Edgar as a wedding present for his daughter, Margaret. In 1922, it became the first funeral home in Dayton. Before the 1920’s, undertakers operated out of storefronts and wakes were held in the homes of the deceased. Ben Westbrock, following a new national trend, transformed the old home into a full-service funeral facility. Westbrock began as an assistant to undertaker Peter Meyers before opening his own business in 1892. Today, the business is operated by the third and fourth generations of the Westbrock family. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
ESTHER PRICE CANDY & GIFTS, 1709 Wayne Avenue, grew from a fudge recipe learned in Home Economics at Schiller School (later Lincoln School) to one of Dayton’s most cherished businesses. Esther Rose Rohman, born in 1904, first began making fudge as a girl in her home at Dover and Wyoming Streets. After her marriage to Ralph Price in 1924 and the birth of twins in 1926, Esther supplemented the family income by selling her candy to downtown businesses and department stores from their house on Fauver Avenue. The superior quality of her candy was immediately recognized and her home business grew rapidly. In 1952, she moved her business to the present location on Wayne Avenue. In 1976, James Day and Ralph Schmidt bought the business and continue Esther Price’s tradition of excellence.
COLORADO AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH, 101 Heaton Avenue. In 1903, the Baptist Union purchased a lot in Walnut Hills. Three years later, when the Third Street Baptist Church moved to a new building, the old edifice was dismantled and moved to this empty lot at Colorado and Heaton Avenues. The building was used for a Sunday school mission of the Linden Avenue Baptist Church until 1913 when the congregation organized as the Colorado Avenue Baptist Church. The present building was erected in 1916.
FIRST UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 321 Edgar Avenue, was the product of a 1930 union of the First Christian Church (established in 1828) and the Walnut Hills Christian Church (established in 1907). The resulting First Congregational Church located in the Edgar Avenue church building, which had been erected by the Walnut Hills congregation in 1924. When the United Church of Christ was formed nationally in 1957, First Congregational was one of the first churches in Dayton to adopt the new denomination, becoming the First United Church of Christ in 1959. The congregation formally dissolved in 1996, and the building was sold to the Kettering Assembly of God who uses it as a children’s mission.
WALNUT HILLS PARK, between Wayne and Buchanan Avenues, was established in 1926 as a municipal park by the City of Dayton. It offers a spectacular view of Dayton and the surrounding area from a recently constructed viewing platform and stage.
ST. ANTHONY CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SCHOOL
ST. ANTHONY CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SCHOOL, 820 Bowen Avenue. St. Anthony Parish was established in September 1913 in response to the rapid growth of southeast Dayton after the 1913 flood. The first church, a small frame building, was completed by December of that year, and the school opened in the fall of 1914. The congregation quickly outgrew the small frame building, and from 1924 until the present building was completed in late 1954, they worshipped in the auditorium of the expanded parish school. The present church was dedicated on May 8, 1955.
By Gerard E. Ohmer – from his OHMER Genealogy book
What does the OHMER name mean?
from an agent derivative of Middle High German ?ame, ?ome ‘standard measure’, hence an occupational name for someone who checked and sealed weights and measures.
(Öhmer): topographic name (mostly Swiss), for someone who lived or owned a farm in a wider, flat part of a valley, a variant of Ebner.
status or occupational name from Middle High German ebenære ‘arbitrator’, ‘judge’.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
Is there a basis for the OHMER name? The information is neither definitive nor satisfactory. Quite understandably my contacts have frequently asked concerning the origin or meaning of the OHMER name. Neither the origin nor meaning of the name has been determined. I believe the name is unique because it is without meaning and was the creation of various notaries using phonetics as their basis. Also, I believe it was originally “AUMER” and from the immediate area of Munich, Bavaria (München, Bayern).
The earlier form of “Aumer” would have no meaning in the German language. The difference between “Ohmer” and “Omer” is only old high and old low, German. The form “Omer” appears in the area near Belgium. AUMER does appear in parts of the Bavarian Alps. A similar name, ALMER, in Switzerland is described as a dairy farmer from high pasture. In French, Aumer would mean “From (or to) the sea.” This makes no sense for a name in the Rhine Valley. Further research through 1998 leads me to assume that prior to about 1650 the name was AUMER or AUMEIER. There may have been no difference in the pronunciation. Of necessity, I must resort to speculation. One unlikely theory has to do with the name OHMER being the occupation of the noun “ohmen” where an obscure meaning is an oaken beer barrel with a capacity of 159 liters. From this, an OHMER would be a man who calibrated such barrels. One reason this interpretation might have occurred is that AMER can have the meaning “to measure” or “to gauge.”
One AUMER from the immediate area of Munich suggested it had the meaning of a broad, high meadow near a river. This could be a valid since AU (and similar words such as awa, ouwa, and ouwe) originally meant water or stream and later wetlands. I must choose the judgment of two multilingual persons from Alsace, the area where the name seems to have first occurred. By multilingual I mean individuals who are fluent in German, French, Latin and English. It is complicated and the name must be deconstructed.
The name starts with two elements. “AU” meaning a meadow and “MEIER” meaning the head of a farm, that is the supervisor or manager of a farm or farmland depending on situation or location of the farm property. AU combined with MEIER can have the meaning of “manager of the meadow property.” AU phonetically became OH in the Pfalz. MEIER was contracted to MER. Thus the name became OHMER in the Pfalz and Lorraine.
My multilingual contacts agree that OHMER, AHMEIER, AUMER, AUMAYER, AUMEYER and similar surnames are all derived from AU and MEIER. There is no reason to believe that persons with these names are related; only that their names were derived from the same occupation some 300 years ago. Ins Strasbourg, one reference book on names in the genealogy library mentions a Laurent AUMEIER from about 1300.
The United States of America
State of Louisiana – Assumption Parish
Before me, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared Tobias Ohmar, to me well-known, who upon oath declared and said = I am over twenty-one years of age complete, having been born in Bavaria, Germany, in the year 1831; I came to the United States of America in the year 1850, landing at New Orleans, La.; I have been living and residing in the Parish of Assumption, La., for more than ten years without interruption, it is my bona fide intention to become a citizen of the United States of America, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatever, and particularly to William II Emperor of
Germany, of whom I am now a subject. So help me God.
Tobias Ohmer (signature)
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 8th day of March, A.D. 1892. Witness my hand and seal of office, at Napoleonville, La., March 8, 1892.
Oscar Dugas (signature)
Dy Clerk of the 20th Judicial District
Court of Louisiana, in and for Assumption Parish
(Written on outside of papers when folded up)
State of Louisiana
20th Judicial Dist. Court
Parish of Assumption
Ohmar of his intention
to become a citizen
of the United States
GIVEN BEFORE THE MEMBERS OF THE HISTORICAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
Hon. N. H. Albaugh Unanimously Elected to Succeed to the Presidency With Mr. F. W. Ritter as Vice President
The Montgomery County Horticultural society held its regular monthly meeting Wednesday March 4, at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. May, 22 Locust street, Riverdale. The day being pleasant, there was a large attendance, and Mr. and Mrs. May proved to be hospitable entertainers. After the usual sumptuous dinner Vice President Albaugh took the chair. Referring to the death of President Ohmer, he stated that a committee had been named to prepare a suitable expression of the feeling of the society and called on the secretary to read the paper. The paper as follows:
PRESIDENT, NICHOLAS OHMER, IN MEMORIAM Members of the Horticultural Society
Two days ago the grave closed over the mortal remains of our beloved friend and leader, the president of our society, Mr. Nicholas Ohmer. Today, so soon after his departure from among us, we meet together under a sense of bereavement that touches and saddens every heart. During a period of so many years his presence with us at our monthly meetings has been the central source of cheer and animation. That presence has gone out from us forever so far as relates to this world. We shall meet him again, not indeed to discuss fruits and flowers such as grow in our earthly gardens, but in the gardens of Paradise above, there by the side of the River of Life, and under the shade of the Tree of Life, which bears twelve manners of fruits, yielding her fruit every month, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.
Its is most fit that today we should pause for a little while to think and speak of the man whom we have ever delighted to honor, and who, through so many years has taken pleasure in rendering to the cause of horticulture and to this society in particular, such unremitting and invaluable service.
Some forty years ago Mr. Ohmer removed from the city to a farm on the adjacent hills for the purpose of engaging in fruit and berry growing, and finding his business both pleasant and profitable he desired to encourage others in the same form of enterprise. And is the greater success could best be achieved through organized association for the discussion of methods and general interchange of ideas, he proposed the formation of a horticultural society. Other gentlemen of progressive spirit joined with him, and the Montgomery County Horticultural society was formed. As we all know, the society thus launched has had a unique history, having never missed a monthly meeting from its beginning until now. What its success has been in attaining the objects it has sought to accomplish it would not be easy to estimate. During all these years no one has ever thought of disputing with Mr. Ohmer the perfect right to remain as its directing head. His singular good judgment, his unflinching enthusiasm, and his ready adaptation to the requirements of any emergency marked him always as the man to guide the deliberations of the society and enabled him also to render the most efficient service to the interest of horticulture, not only in our county, but widely through the state and also in other states. While holding at times responsible relation in other associated enterprises, nothing else so thoroughly enlisted his interest as the cause of horticulture.
But at last his useful career has come to a close. With the ample allotment of four score busy years he has gone to his final earthly rest and to his eternal reward, leaving behind him an honorable record as a citizen and a worthy example as a member of the church with which he was connected. We shall long remember his genial, kindly manner, his hearty, open greetings and his urbane and suave bearing in presiding over our meetings. We shall long miss his presence among us and feel most deeply the loss we sustain. And yet more keenly will he be missed and more keenly will he be missed and more deeply will his loss be felt in the narrow circle of his family, his children, of whom he took so much pleasure in speaking, and yet most deeply of all by the invalid and now widowed wife to whom he was devoted with a tenderness and constancy that knew no bounds. To here especially as a member of our society we extend our sincerest sympathy, with a prayer that our Heavenly Father may greatly sustain her in this day of her deep bereavement.
D. BERGER N. H. ALBAUGH
After the reading of this paper, the secretary read also the following stanzas from the pen of Mr. John Collins:
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF NICHOLAS OHMER (By John Collins)
With deepest grief our hearts are stirred;
He fills no more his place.
Oh, how we miss the kindly word,
The quiet, modest face.
The smile sincere that ever beamed
From earnest, truthful eyes;
For still through care and grief it seemed
That cheerful smile would rise.
True friends he had on every hand,
Who saw, with growing pride,
How fruits and flowers, throughout the land,
He scattered far and wide.
No garlands rare, that love profound
Has laid upon his bier,
Could match the ones he strewed around
His footsteps, year by year.
No words that loving lips may say
Can go beyond the fact;
He lived a sermon, day by day,
In manner, word and act.
And who of us can take his place
With heart as brave and strong?
Who fill the chair with equal grace—
Bavaria (German Bayern), a state in southeastern Germany, is bounded on the north by the states of Thuringia and Saxony, on the northeast by the Czech Republic, on the southeast and south by Austria, and on the west by the states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Munich is the capital and largest city. Other important cities are Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Regensburg. Bavaria is the largest state of Germany. It is drained by the Main River in the northwest and by the Danube River and two of its tributaries, the Inn and Isar rivers, in the southern and central regions. North of the Danube the land is a rolling upland. Along the border with the Czech Republic is the Bavarian Forest, which reaches an elevation of 1457 m (4780 ft). South of the Danube the land is a rising upland cut by numerous river valleys. In the extreme southern part of the state are the Bavarian Alps, the highest mountains in Germany. Area, 70,546 sq km (27,238 sq mi); population (1990 estimate) 11,448,800.
Bavaria was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and resettled by Germanic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries. It became a possession of Charlemagne in 787 and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until the 10th century. In 1180 it passed to the Bavarian family of Wittelsbach. During the Reformation Bavaria remained staunchly Roman Catholic and was consequently ravaged by Protestant forces during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The fertile soil and strategic position of the region made it a highly prized possession, and it was frequently invaded by foreign armies in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The War of the Bavarian Succession, (1778-79), conflict was caused by the opposing claims that arose to various parts of the kingdom of Bavaria on the death of Maximilian Joseph, elector of Bavaria (1727-77). With his death the electoral house became extinct, and the legal heir to Bavaria became Charles Theodore, head of the elder branch of the house of Wittelsbach. Austria, then ruled jointly by Maria Theresa and her son, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, had an old claim to Lower Bavaria and part of the Upper Palatinate, together constituting about one-third of the electorate. Charles Theodore wished his illegitimate issue accepted as princes of the Holy Roman Empire; to induce Joseph II to do so, he recognized the Austrian territorial claims. In 1778 Austrian troops occupied the territories.
Frederick the Great of Prussia, however, would not accept any move that would strengthen Austria’s power and influence in southern Germany; particularly, he feared that a strong Austria would interfere with his intention of uniting with Prussia the margravates of Ansbach and Bayreuth. Accordingly, he induced the next in line for the Bavarian succession, Duke Charles of Zweibrücken, to protest the elimination from his future kingdom of one-third of its territory; and, likewise at Frederick’s request, the elector of Saxony Frederick Augustus III (later king of Saxony as Frederick Augustus I), who had another claim to part of Bavaria, also protested the partition arranged by Charles Theodore.
Austria refused to withdraw from Bavaria despite these protests, and in July 1778, Frederick the Great and Henry, prince of Saxony, invaded the Habsburg kingdom of Bohemia; the Austrian forces under Joseph II held strong positions along the boundary between Silesia and Austrian lands. The war was of short duration; as neither side wished to risk a battle, it consisted largely of brief skirmishes. It was settled by personal correspondence between Frederick and Maria Theresa and mediation by Russia and France.
Because of the hostile attitude of Russia toward Austria during the negotiations, the latter country made most of the concessions in the Treaty of Teschen (1779) that ended the war. The treaty provided that Austria return to Bavaria all the territory it had acquired in the previous year except a small district on the east side of the Inn River; that Austria agree to the future union of Prussia with Ansbach and Bayreuth; and that the elector of Saxony was to receive a money indemnity in lieu of his claims to Bavarian territory.
Because the opposing forces had concentrated on trying to cut off each other’s supplies, the conflict was humorously called the Kartoffelkrieg (“Potato War”).
During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), Bavaria was made a kingdom by Napoleon. In the 19th century, Bavaria tended to support Austria against Prussia. After being defeated with Austria in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866), however, Bavaria sided with Prussia and in 1871 joined the new German Empire. After World War I (1914-1918) a Communist-led group belonging to the Independent Socialist party seized power, but troops of the central government assisted by Bavarian volunteers crushed the rebellion. In the 1920s Bavaria was able to retain a large degree of autonomy, which it lost in the 1930s with the rise of Adolf Hitler. Munich became the headquarters of the National Socialist (Nazi) party during the Hitler regime.
After World War II (1939-1945) Bavaria was included in the United States Zone of Occupation. A new constitution was drawn up in 1946, and in 1949 Bavaria became a constituent state of West Germany. In 1990, West and East Germany united and became the Federal Republic of Germany.