OHRNBACH, BAVARIA, GERMANY
 
Ohrnbach Topographic Map
 
1848 Survey of Ohrnbach
 
John Anthony Fertig and his family lived in the village of Ohrnbach, formerly known as Ohrenbach, in the state of Bavaria, Germany (Bayern, Deutschland).  Ohrnbach is located in the quiet and peaceful Ohrn Brook valley of the Odenwald mountains of Germany1.  The village is located approximately six miles west of Miltenberg in the district of Miltenberg, province of Unterfranken, in the northwestern corner of the state of Bavaria.  Ohrnbach is incorporated into the town of Weilbach1, which is located approximately four miles to the southeast.
 
The word Ohrnbach is translated as "Ear Brook" in the English language.  Several designations have been given to the village: "Der zerstreut liegende Ort", "Der verschwundene Ort" and "Der arme Ort", which translate as "The absent-minded lying place", "The disappeared or lost place" and "The poor or pauper place"2.  The village of Ohrnbach was spelled various ways throughout history:  Arnbach, Arenbach, Aranbach, Ohrenbach, Ornbach, Orenbach and Ohrnbach2.
 
The village is located adjacent to the Ohrn Creek at an approximate elevation of 755 feet.  The adjacent rugged mountains rise up to approximately 1,570 feet for a total height of 815 feet above the valley.  The mountains are comprised of woodlands mixed with coniferous and deciduous trees.  The topographic map of the region indicates an area named Fertigsgrund, located approximately 0.7 miles to the northeast of Ohrnbach.  This area, translated as "Fertig's Ground", was likely property once owned by a relative of John Anthony Fertig.
 
Ohrnbach was comprised of approximately 15 residents, 4 houses and a hotel, as of the year 20033.  The town held nearly 300 residents in the past2, however, today most of the old village has been converted to fields and woodlands3.
 
The village has over 700 years of historical documentation1.  The following is a summary of the significant historical events of Ohrnbach:
Year     Event
1266     Village first mentioned under the name Arenbach1.
1468     Counts von Wertheim in possession of the fishery rights of the valley2.
1535-1648 Village completely devastated and deserted due to the Swedish and French War2.  Village residents were killed or driven from their homes2.
1656     Resettlement of Ohrnbach2,3.
1660     50 cows, 28 pigs and 300 sheep recorded2.
1720     Village chapel recorded3.
1724     Teachers named and lessons performed in farmer's houses1.
1776     Catholic chapel constructed1.
1838-40 Many inhabitants of Ohrnbach sold their land and relocated elsewhere2.
1857     Schoolhouse located near the chapel1.
1873     Schoolhouse located in a farmer's house today called "prince-house"1.
1880     Ohrnbach community dissolved1.  The Prince of Leiningen purchased a portion of the village1.  Many families left the village and moved two miles southeast to Weckbach3. Ohrnbach was incorporated into Weckbach1
1895     Chapel torn down1.  The door and lintel were moved to the Weckbach church1.  The stones from the chapel were also used to expand the church in Weckbach3.
1947     Temporary school located in the house of forest until 19501.
1959     The Gasthof Ohrnbachtal (Ohrnbach Valley Hotel) opened in the center of the village by Karl and Ernestine Schäfer4.
1965     Electricity first introduced in the village4.
1997     Memorial stone at the former place of the chapel erected by the home village association1.  The stone is located 0.6 miles from Ohrnbach3.
2003     Most of the old village covered by forest and field2.
The following is a historical record of the inhabitants of Ohrnbach2:
Year     Inhabitants
1496     52
1668     37
1700     72
1710     81
1720     83
1730     71
1740     64
1750     75
1760     96
1770     89
1780     91
1790     102
1800     72
1820     167
1826     196
1834     284
1840     284
1862     180
1897     22
1950     30
2003     15
John Anthony Fertig and his family attended the Catholic chapel in Ohrnbach, which was part of the Catholic parish of Weilbach.  Several of John Anthony's children were baptized in the Weilbach church called “St. Johannes”, after the apostle John5.  The church has been documented historically back to around 14505.  The church has a classical style pulpit, which was placed in 1789 and has two gothic wood figures, which originate from the fifteenth century5.
 
John Anthony Fertig took his family and fled from Ohrnbach, Bavaria in 1837, during the reign of Bayerisch King Ludwig I6.  In 1825, Ludwig I succeeded the throne of his father, King Maximilian I6.  King Ludwig I was in power until the Revolution of 1848, which caused his abdication in favor of his son, King Maximilian II6.  This royal Wittelsbach family had reigned the Bayerisch region since they came to power in 11406.
 
It was recorded that the Prince of Leiningen purchased a significant portion of land in the surrounding region of Ohrnbach between 1838 to 18402.  It is possible that John Anthony Fertig sold his land to the prince and used the proceeds to fund the relocation of his family to America. 
 
REFERENCES:
1. History of Ohrnbach.
http://www.weilbach.de/html/static/html/ueber_weilbach/geschichte_ohrnbach.htm
Retrieved information on October 22, 2003
 
2. Weilbach Und Seine Ortsteile, Geschichte Unserer Heimat, Band I, II and III.
Weilbach And Its Local Parts, History Of Our Homeland, Volumes I, II and III
 
3. History of Ohrnbach.
E-mail correspondence with N.S., Ohrnbach/Weckbach area resident on October 24, 2003 and October 25, 2003
 
4. History of the Gasthof Ohrnbachtal (Ohrnbach Valley Hotel).
http://www.gasthof-ohrnbachtal.de/gesch.html
Retrieved information on October 22, 2003
 
5. History of Weilbach and Weckbach Churches.
http://www.weilbach.de/html/static/html/ueber_weilbach/kirchen_1.htm
http://www.weilbach.de/html/static/html/ueber_weilbach/kirchen_2.htm
Retrieved information on October 22, 2003
 
6. History of Bayerisch Kings.
http://members.surfeu.fi/thaapanen/s823.html
http://enigma.cs.ucla.edu/games/falkenstein/hall.htm
http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/kade/springer/Ch1/figure_1.html
Retrieved information on July 25, 2002
 
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