1. Joannis (Heb) HAPP
Notes for Joannis HEB (Happ) .....-1765:
At the former Benedictine Abby in Prüm, Germany there is record of two Monks who in their travels in 893 came upon a Mill on today’s Oozbach (Ooz River or Stream.) This record is the earliest written record of the little village of Müllenborn. (Mühle und Born = mill and spring) Müllenborn is located in the German Eifel about forty miles north of Trier, Germany. The Eifel is a plateau, green and wooded, extending west from the Rhine River and bounded by the Mosel River, France, Luxemburg and Belgium. The area had experienced centuries of growth while under the rule of the Romans. Then came the early Dark Ages, Charlemagne, Castles and Serfs, and then the Thirty Years’ War. Then followed decades of feuds and wars, diseases, death, and sadness. It was during one of these periods of sadness when we see the first known record of the John Happ family. Joannis and CHRISTINA (BETZLER) Heb of Müllenborn had a daughter, Anna Maria Heb, in the year 1762. Another child, Matthias (Heep), is born from this marriage in 1766. (FHL#530316) Matthias is the father of John Happ who immigrated to America with his family in 1843.
The following is an excerpt from "A Short trip to the Eifel’s History" as written by Herr Heinz-Josef Wagner son of Cousin Anna Maria (Haepp) Wagner of Stadtkyll, Germany. It covers the times and the existing conditions in the area leading up to the time John and Gertrud Happ decide to immigrate to America.
The Eifel has experienced an eventful history. There was Homo Sapient life in the area as early as the Paleolithic period. In the so called ”Buchenloch“ or caves near Gerolstein there is evidence of Neanderthal life. Around 700 B.C. the Celts were there and started the processing of iron. The Eifel offered the water power and all the raw materials necessary to make this processing successful..
Surely a golden period for the Eifel was the period of Roman occupation. The inclusion of the Eifel into the highly developed Roman Empire was a profitable boon to the Eifel. Iron-, lead-, stone- and clay-industries were built-up and extended. The people learned to build stone-houses, grow grapes, fruits, and mine coal. The origins of Christianity in the Eifel is traced back to the Romans.
An other period of boom is the Carolingian (700-900). It is the period of Charlemagne, the Eifel moves into the middle-point of the Franco Empire. Aachen becomes the favorite residence and almost permanent seat of the government of Charlemagne. The following centuries are characterized by a big territorial dispersal of the Eifel. So a lot of diminutive territories prosper in the Eifel. From the 11th till the 13th century 140 castles are established. The iron-industry stays the determinant element. Their iron-products find their way into the whole of middle-Europe.
In the time of the big feuds and wars, 16th till 18th century, the Eifel suffered from contribution, plundering and destruction fearfully. In the Thirty Years’ War (from 1618 till 1648) burning and plundering armies again and again march through the Eifel. In this war and in the following wars of the 17th century the people had to bear sorrow. During the Thirty Years’ War my native place Stadtkyll was burned completely in 1632. And in the year 1678 Stadtkyll was burned by the French again. Our area near Gerolstein and Prüm especially is haunted by the French, the Swedes and the imperialists lasting for decades. Germany lost 50% of its people in this time. But not only by war but hunger and epidemic diseases snatched away the people in the 17th century. In the 2nd half of the 17th century the plague in particular raged in the area around Müllenborn/Gönnersdorf. In 1817 there was an extreme famine and thousands were stricken and died. In 1843 the situation was not much better. A period of inclement weather made the situation even worse. Hunger and fear of surviving gave many cause to emigrate.
Iron processing above all was the most important sector of the economy in the Eifel. Müllenborn is a traditional ironworks village. It was a tradition in the Eifel, that handicraft continued from generation to generation. My ancestors were owners of a mill and made carriages (Wagner) for many years. [End quote]
The family can take pride in the fact our roots stem from such a historic and event-filled area with it’s undaunted citizenry.
Gerard E. Happ
Notes for Christina BETZLER ...-1769:
The whereabouts of Christina’s husband Joannis Heb (Heep) before 1762 is unknown. The Haepps of Stadtkyll in their recording of the family history refer to this custom. “To settle down a journeyman had to have several years of wandering working for various Master Blacksmiths.” (Anna Schmitz, Stadtkyll) So his trade could possibly have brought him to the “House of Schmetten” in Müllenborn.
There are many Betzlers in the record books for Müllenborn. In researching this family we find many of the same peculiarities in the records as we do for the Happs.. There are many different spellings of the name and often times the female spouses name is shown as the family sur name. Their family records precede the time in which we first see Heb. Our early 1820’s land map of Müllenborn shows the Betzlers as property owners and neighboring the Mathias Heep property .
Although some documents are lacking or not available those which are available suggest Joannis Heb died in 1765 or January of 1766. Within a matter of months or days, after her husbands death., Christina married Joannis Schmetten. This is supported by the fact Joannis Schmetten is shown as being married to Christina Betzler on Matthias Happ’s “Taufschein” or baptismal record. Both men were from the House of Schmetten in Müllenborn and this would suggest either a working or family relationship or perhaps both. It should be pointed out this area of Germany, known as the EIFEL, was in turmoil many times in the course of history. "Napoleon and his army, on the march, looted and burned villages resulting in the loss of many of the early village records." (Mrs. Gertrud Wirp, Village Historian, Müllenborn, Germany, 1995).
Christina Betzler died 14 March, 1769 a month after her first child with Joannis Schmetten was born. Son Hubertus died at childbirth on the 13th of February, 1769. Joannis Schmetten then married Maria Kesseler from Willerath, Germany on 20 May, 1769 in Roth and they had children. The last date Joannis Schmetten’s name is found in the records is February 11, 1789. (FHL#530316)
We have records for two children from this HEB/BETZLER marriage:
Anna Maria HEB…….1762-……
G. E. Happ
2. Anna Maria (Heb) HAPP
Notes for Anna Maria HEB (Happ) 1762-..... :
No further record could be found for Anna Maria. This birth of Anna Maria is the earliest record we have of the Heb or Heep family in Müllenborn. There are later records where we find the many variations of Heb: Heeb, Hepp, Heep, Häpp, Haepp, and Happ. This was the time when in many areas people were first starting to use last names. With all these variations we can see the people evidently placed little importance on their spelling. Another reason would have been the high rate of illiteracy. Even on Anna Maria’s baptismal certificate we see her Godfather’s last name spelled Hieb. In our own family we see the name Clasen change to Klasen or Klassen. To add to this not all couples used the husband’s last name for their family name after they married. In our family we had Joannis Gerardi and spouse Susanna Betzler use Betzler for their last name for years.
Anna Maria’s godmother is shown as Anna Maria Schmetten. Since we are missing records these godparents of Matthias Heib and Anna Maria Schmetten would give further support to our belief these parents of Anna Maria Heb are also the parents of Matthias Heep. (See notes for Christina Betzler on missing documents)
G. E. Happ