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The Sound of Music In Holland

The Life of the German Family Wetzstein In Holland

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.


Jorg & Anna Catharina Dillis Wetzstein

The history of the family Wetzstein/Wettstein can be traced back to the 1600's and early 1700's and beyond, when Wetzstein family members Joerg & Anna Catharina (Dilli/Dillus) were born in Baden, Germany. Joerg was born in 1674 in Sigmaringen, Wurremburg, Germany, the son of Heinrich Wetzstein born: 1650 in Germany and Barbara Shaffer/Shaver born:1655. Anna Catharina Wetzstein born 05 OCT 1692, was the daughter of Stephen Dilli, born: 1588 in Sontheim,Offenburg, Baden, Germany and Christine Rapp born 1592 in Mosbach, Baden, Germany.

The parents of Stephen Dillis were Hans Dillis and Eva Bork, who married in Kehl,Offenburg,Baden-Württemberg,Germany in 1577. The Dilles were Quakers who immigrated to Virginia, and their descendants lived throughout Virginia, in the early 1600's-1800's. They also lived in Maryland.

Anna Catharina was the daughter of Stephen Dilles/Dillus and Christina Rapp, daughter of Hans Rapp. The Rapps were related to the reformer Johannes Rapp. Jorg Wetzstein was born in 1674, the son of Heinrich Wetzstein, and Barbara Shaver, born 1655,in Germany. Anna Catharina was born in Mosbach, Baden, Germany.

The name Palatainate is derived from the ancient and medieval office of count palatine, a nobleman who held judical powers and had charge of the various imperial castles where Holy Roman emperors stayed while traveling; hence the term became associated with the districts where the counts palatine were sovereign representatives.

Stretching from the Main River in the northeast across the lower Neckar valley and along the right bank of the Rhine to Lake Constance (Bodensee), the former state of Baden bordered on France and the Rhenish Palatinate in the west, Switzerland in the south, Hesse in the north, and Bavaria and Württemberg in the east. It came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subsequently split into different lines, which were unified in 1771.

In the northern and western parts of the Palatinate, or PFALZ, the terrain is mostly gently rolling hills, and it is valuable farming land. To the east there is the Rhine valley (very fertile land), and to the south you have the large Palatine Forest, with only small agricultural spots around the villages. The Palatinate is now called Pfalz. The present state of Rheinland-Pfalz consists of the Palatinate, parts of the former Prussian Rhine province (Rhineland), plus some smaller territories including Hohenzollern.

The Black Forest, known as "Schwarzwald", and the main mountain range of the state, rises east of the Rhine valley. Just east of the Black Forest, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, lies the town of Sigmaringen, Germany where Peter Wetzstein was born. Located on the upper right bank of the Danube, it is situated in the Danube valley, surrounded by wooded hills in the south of the Swabian Alb, a plateau region in southern Baden-Württemberg. Limestone outcroppings appear on valley walls. The Thirty Years' War, 1618 through 1648, ended with the final separation of the Rhine headwaters and delta area from Germany. This territory would later become Holland.

In Germany the year the family fled had been a particularly difficult year, and history records that cows froze in their stalls, and in the valleys the grapevines were destroyed from the freeze. Either the family made it to the Netherlands prior to 1732 and lived and worked here to earn their passage, or they fled, with a good deal of hardship along the way, since money would have been hard to come by, unless providencially saved ahead of time, and with the economic situation, this would have been hard to do.

Europe during this era was experiencing a tremendously violent upheaval as the axis of power shifted the nation from the vice grip of religious control which for centuries held the nation within the iron fist of religious suppression. Zwingli and his disciples became the first to renounce allegiance to Rome in 1520, and within 50 years 40 percent of the inhabitants of Europe observed a "Reformed Theology." The Swiss Confederation embraced the new faith, and the cantons of Zurich, Berne, Basel and Shaffhausen were Protestant. But the Catholic church exercized resistance, with the 30 Years War a tumultuous and difficult era for the Palatinate region, and other areas vitally impacted by it. The war was primarily a religious war, which included the witch hunts from 1622-28. Witches were said to communicate with the devil and were blamed for many of the hardships and illnesses.

In 1688, King Louis XV of France sent troops into the Palatinate to secure it for France. The Palatinate or German Pfalz, was the land of the Count Palatine, a title held by a leading secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Again in 1702 the people of the Palatinate endured the hardship of war, with thoughts of abandoning homes and farms in the Palatinate looming largely as their major hope for the future, as the war dragged on. During winter of 1708-1709 people huddled around their fires to keep warm, with frequent discussions of immigration. Difficult questions were asked: What about the travel documents? Which family members would go? What month to leave in? How would they obtain the necessary finances? What possessions would they take with them? What ship would they travel on? As they faced the difficulties, and formulated travel plans, France's King Louis XIV invaded their land, ravaging especially the towns in the Lower Palatinate, forcing them to flee in their small boats, called scows on the Rhine River, to Rotterdam. The trip to Holland was not an easy journey, but took on an average between four to six weeks.

Embarking on their journey, Palatine refugees ran the risk of being discovered by the authorities, who demanded bribes to allow them to pass unhindered or threatened to force their return. If they encountered a sympathizer, they may be given food, clothing and money. Upon reaching Holland, the family encamped outside the city of Rotterdam in a reed covered shack.

The Wetzstein/Wettstein family fled the German Palatinates, due to severe religious persecution. Jorg Wetzstein was born in 1674, in Sigmaringen, Wurttemburg, Germany, the son of Heinrich Wetzstein, born: 1650 in Germany and Barbara Shaver, born:1655 in Germany. He died in Funkstown, Maryland. Jorg Wetzstein married Anna Catharine Dilli/Dilles on 5 Oct. 1692, in Mosbach, Baden, Germany. Anna Catharina was the daughter of Stephen Dilli and Christine Rapp, and she was born in Evangelisch Mosbach, Baden, Germany. The couple had 3 children: