Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Meng Houses and Land in Hohen-Sülzen

The Meng Houses  and Land in Hohen-Sülzen

In the Hohen-Sülzen parish records it appears that Johann Stephan Meng was leasing land off the church as he is one of the names in a list from the 1760s.  Since then the Meng family has leased and owned land in the village.

There is a two page document from the archives in Worms which lists the land that the Meng family owned or leased.  It is dated 1886 and includes Reichard Meng and other Meng relations.  The word "Flur" is on the document and is still used today.  It describes where the field is exactly situated.  Flur 1 always describes places inside the village, Flur 2, 3, 4 and so on are outside the village. Reichard owned or leased many pieces of land inside and outside of the village.  The document is complicated and hard to translate into modern day figures but it basically states how many fields each person owned or leased (the fields were usually small) and the figures can also include gardens and cellars.  Sometimes the properties were sold or changed with neighbours or split when parents died and so on.  Germans had the measurements metres, square-metres, acres and hectares but also had a measurement called "Morgen."  This is translated to mean “morning” and was the size of a field, which a horse could work on, in half a day (in a morning). The Meng family owned pigs, rabbits and chickens but had no cows or oxen.  They did have one horse though to help plough the fields which was mentioned in the Meng letter from 1864.  At our place there happened nothing important, only our grey horse was ill, we thought it could die (give up the ghost). That would have been fatal, because we would not sell the guy for 500fl., to some persons we would not sell it for any price. It was something like a colic, but even such a grey horse animal has threat to fly away  and does it only if it must.”

During the "French period" from 1792 to 1814, all documents relating to Hohen-Sülzen were written in French and all the streets had funny French names with houses having a number in the village.  Members of the Meng family lived in house numbers 18, 22, 74, 31 1/4  and 26.  Three of the houses still exist. 

House number 31 3/4 (now Wormestrasse, 38)  -  On this house is a stone plaque with “bez. Joh u Cha Meng 1833” written in it.  It means Johannes and wife built the house in 1833. This was Johannes Meng and Katharina Barth.  Johannes Meng was the son of Johann Christian Meng (1762  -  1838).

House number 74 (now Kirchstrasse, 17)  -  Reichard Meng’s family lived in a very tiny house.  In 1881 they built a larger house in Kirchstrasse, the plans of which still exist.  Friedrich Meng (born 1855), son of Reichard Meng and brother to Karl Philipp Meng, had his name on the plans.  The last Meng in Hohen-Sülzen was Richard  Meng, living in Kirchstrasse in the 1970s. He was likely to be the grandson of Friedrich Meng, brother to Karl Philipp Meng who came to New Zealand. 

House number 18 (now  Hauptstrasse 25)  -  Members of the  Meng family also lived in this house at some stage but we don’t know which members of the family exactly. 

House number 22 (now Hauptstrasse 33)  -  This house was demolished in 1969.  A photo of the house taken before 1930 below shows the Rathaus and the Meng house down the end of the street.  It apparently had a big garden behind and then a dead end road.  The house was demolished and the road now goes right through where the house was.  We don’t know which members of the family lived there exactly.

House Number 26 (now Wormerstrasse 34 and 35)  -  This house no longer exists and on the site now stands the barn of Wormerstrasse 35.  It was lived in by a Christian Meng around 1810.  This is probably Johann Christian Meng (1762  - 1838) who was the son of Johann Stephan Meng.  In the French documents they call him “Chrestien”.

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