Jim Herman Family WEB Site
Large wet snow flakes descended from invisible clouds in the gloomy gray night. October was supposed to be harvest time, yet it was snowing. Yesterday it rained. The day before yesterday was filled with rain and snow. Before these past few days, nothing better or less, just more of the same.
Johannes Wilhelm Herrmann lowered his head as he sloshed onward up the narrow muddy road leading to his home. The gooey swill of ice and mud clung to his leather shoes and leg wraps like candle tallow. He no longer loved this motherland. It was no good. All of the fertile top soil had washed away to the basins that drain to the Rhine, Main and Fulda rivers. There was so much mud his pigs no longer liked it. Perhaps Catherine, his wife, would understand there is more to life than mud and misery. An option for betterment or death had been decided earlier this same night; either one of the two would be an improvement over this devastation which was taking away his farm land. He would find out Catherine’s reaction to his choice momentarily since the faint firelight flickering from the front window of his home lay straight ahead.
Johannes Wilhelm Herrmann was not normally a risk taker. Every decision he made was calculated carefully, even to the very last insignificant detail. During the twenty-nine years since he arrived on this earth in the year 1736, he not only endured through hardships and setbacks, but celebrated success as well. This was the existence of a Deutscher Landwirt, and he acknowledged and accepted the certainty of his life and environment. Physically Herrmann was of average height, about 5’ 9” tall with a muscular build, and he appeared similar to most any other Hessian male. Working his fields of grain, potatoes, turnips and cabbage; keeping farm animals fed; cutting timber and tending his grape vines, amounted to more than hard work, it gave him gratification. Activity in the German Reformed Church--Deutsch Hat Kirche Reformiert--supplied his weekly entertainment. The one day of worship each week provided a time for learning and strengthening his faith while socializing with his large family and circle of friends. He treasured his farm, wife Catherine and his two young sons Wilhelm Jr. and George. His land was the motherland, the giver of life and hope, or had been until this year. Now she was a thief without remorse, taking all that he had worked to accomplish for self and family; all taken away in a year of incessant floods from excessive rain and snow. The land would never be productive again.
Patiently waiting for her husband to remove his thick lamb’s wool cloak as he entered the stone and wooden house, Maria Catherine Motz Herrmann gently took hold of his hand and led him toward the warmth near the rock fireplace.
Maria Catherine Motz Herrmann resembled a typical Hessian female. Strong willed in personality matched her physical stature to a tee. Two years older than her husband, the past five years, at her current age of thirty-one, had been more rewarding than she could have ever envisioned. Johannes, who was called Wilhelm by everyone except her, was a perfect mate and father. He provided not only an abundance of food and income for his family, but for friends and relatives as well. She contributed extra income from weaving which her family line, Motz, was known for. Everyone knew, including Catherine, their family way of life during these first five years of marriage had been above average.
Following the ever present custom of praise to God before each mealtime, the steaming hot turnip soup and cold bread were slowly consumed. Eating hot foodstuff at the nightly mealtime was unusual. More often than not, following the tradition most Hessian families observe, Catherine usually prepared a hot meal at mid-day, with cold bread and cheese for the evening meal. Due to the bitterly cold snowy evening, she anticipated her husband would be chilled and hungry from the lengthy walk back from his meeting at the church more than a kilometer away, and would need hot food to shed the chill. Stealing a glance from across the heavy wooden table, she noticed that Johannes was staring intensely at the cracking, popping flames in the stone fireplace.
“Tell me about the gathering Johannes,” Catherine requested while removing the pewter plates and left over bread.
Catherine walked around the wooden table with her open hands and outstretched arms, wrapping them around his stout muscular body, squeezing tightly. “We will go to America Johannes, and we will all go together to build a new wonderful life. We will go to America--Wir werden nach Amerika fahren.”
NOTE: For complete Herrmann Ancestry-Follow this link>>>> Herman Ancestry Index