Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Part 4: Herxheim bei Landau

John Christian Burgess's grandmother (father's mother), Anna Margaretha Starck and her family came from Herxheim which is 85 miles south of Frankfurt. Herxheim was a agricultural area and is still wine producing. Herxheim was known for making linen cloth and later for making cigars. A museum handout states that "nearly every house had a loom." There was a large linen weaving mill in Herxheim. In the late 1800s tobacco replaced flax as the main industry in the town 
When John Christian Burgess joined the North Providence militia he lists his occupation as a weaver. This may be a direct result of his grandmother coming from Herxheim.

Herxheim Coat of Arms

Part four of Reed Slack's ancestral journey:

I drove straight to Herxheim (the “x” makes an “s” sound). It was a beautiful drive all along the way. South of Frankfurt, the land is gently rolling and very fertile. Herxheim is much larger than the other villages in the mountains and is a town proper.

The farmland around the town is just beautiful, and they have vineyards. I tried to take a few pictures from the car, but they didn’t turn out very well.

The day was drawing to a close as I got into town, but I stopped at the main church. It was closed as well, but I took several pictures.

I began walking further up the street from the church and came across the Herxheim Museum. It is a complex with 3 or 4 buildings, with the original building (a flax/linen mill I think) to the front and newer ones behind. It was really interesting. The first exhibits addressed German history, including the Nazis. I was impressed that they addressed it directly, at least from what I could gather, but I was much more interested in history of Herxheim.

All the exhibits were in German, but I did get one page in English explaining the museum. I took a picture of it to include. Herxheim was known for making linen cloth and for making cigars. Both are a testament to the fertile farm lands surrounding the town.

They also had numerous exhibits of more ancient inhabitants of the area, with pottery and skeletal remains on display. If I understood correctly, the skeletal remains were found in the area, perhaps even where the museum is located if I guessed correctly from the exhibits. The two young women who were staffing the museum spoke no English, which is too bad. I would have loved to know more of the details of the history.

Artifacts from stone age settlement excavated near Herxheim:


So, that pretty much covers my visits today. It was a wonderful feeling to make it back home to where the Borges/Burgess line originated. Fischbach did not take much to imagine as it was back then, but the other places are just so beautiful as well. I have always liked being in Frankfurt, even before [he learned] that the Borges’ came from the area, but I feel a much deeper connection and appreciation after today. --- I feel a little guilty being able to come visit the Borges’ home when I did none of the work to find them. I am very grateful for the work that --- others have done on the line, and I am especially grateful to have been able to visit the family villages today.


Thank you Reed for sharing with us. Click below to see his visits to the other villages:




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