Ingeborg Brigitte Gastel

My Life Story
by George Johann Wolfhardt
(from the Duehren Soulbook)

-my 2nd cousin 11 times removed-

I, Schoolmaster Georg Johann Wolfhardt, at present minister to the noble Venningen estate, was born into this world at Nuertingen, in the highly commendable principality of Wuerttemberg on 15 December 1601, a little before six o'clock in the morning. 

My much loved late father was the venerable and well-learned Schoolmaster, Alexander Wolfhardt, born in the little town of Waiblingen, who for 48 years was a truly zealous teacher and minister--four years pastor at Strumpffelbach not far from Schorndorff, 26 years at Nuertingen, 14 years advisor to the principality of Wuerttemberg and Abbot at the
Alpirsbach Monastery in the Black Forest, dying there in his 73rd year; and the Almighty God, on the day of rejoicing will awaken him with all who believe, to eternal everlasting heavenly joy. 

My well-beloved mother was the esteemed and virtuous Eleanora Wolffhartin, nee Renzin, legitimate daughter of the venerable and well-learned Heinrich Renz, who for 33 years was advisor to the principality of Wuerttemberg and Abbot at St. Georgen Monastery in the Black Forest. 

My grandmother was the highly virtuous Frau Maria Renzinn, nee Graettersin, daughter of the very esteemed and highly educated Herr Ulrich (Kasper) Graeter. For many years Herr Ulrich and Christoph Hertzogen were court ministers to his highness the Prince of Wuerttemberg. 

Through God's grace, I was born to my worthy Christian parents. Since no human birth in this world, however pure it is, can bring one to Salvation, I was forthwith presented for Holy Baptism in the names of their highnesses, the Prince and Frau Ursula Herzogen of Wuerttemberg; since at the time Her Grace was unwell, I was held at Holy Baptism by the very noble young woman Elisabetha von Karpffen, at that time a court maiden to their highnesses, and also by the honorable and most respected Herr Balthasar Muttschelin, at that time in the service to their graces as overseer at Nuertingen. In Holy Baptism, the name Georg Hans was given to me because Her Highness' late father, the Palatine count of Lautterreckh, as well as her brother, who was staying then in Nuertingen, was so named. 

From childhood I was kept in school by my aforesaid Christian parents. At Alpirsbach, my beloved late father had a private school for us children. I was sent to Nuertingen in 1612, to Canstatt in 1614, to the elementary school; and then, in 1616, to the high school at Tuebingen; that same year I received a scholarship. In 1619, I graduated. In 1621, I became a schoomaster; that same year I began to study Theology. In 1625, I went to the Kraichgau and accepted a teaching position with Junker George Philipp von Venningen of Euchtersheim as a tutor to his son, Friedrich Rheinhart, to inform him in manners and studies. In 1626, I was promoted to the Euchtersheim Parish and on St. Andrew's Day was presented to the Christian Community, and ordained in the presence of the Reverend and well-learned Herr M. Johann Schweitzers, pastor at Michelfeld, M. Lazari Zieglers, pastor at Neydenstein, and M. Martini Zimmerman, pastor at Duehren. And after I performed the pastoral duties there for seven and a half years, I was transferred by Junker von Venningen in 1636, to Neydenstein, and from there in 1637 to Duehren. Through the long, ruinous, highly troublesome war (Thirty Years War), since no pastor at hand in the entire neighborhood, except the pastor at Ravensberg, Johan Wolffgang Rabus, my true, highly trusted brother in Christ (who died in 1662 at Sultzfeld), I was sometimes at Steinberg, and sometimes at Sinsheim, in which places I held services; following those villages, I was to Neydenstein, Dassbach, Eschelbronn, Euchtersheim, Eschelbach, Darmbach, Hofen, Michelfeld, Steinsberg and Ittlingen. Many Sundays I had to travel four or five hours to bring the services to them. For many meals I had to partake of a good drink of water because no drop of wine could be brought to the villages. It happened several times that of all priests and Bavarian Clergy who heard confession, I alone remained in the vicinity, and with the consent of the mayor and the honorable advisors, I had to baptize several children at Sinsheim. 

Since through the Almighty God, the God of Peace, Christ Jesus, our dear Fatherland, after many tribulations at great cost, enjoyed peace, and the villages in the area again were restored and grew stronger, I took my leave little by little of one parish and another. 

First, I bid farewell to the parishes of Neydenstein, Eschelbronn, and Dassbach on the 8th Sunday of Trinity, 1650. Since I had overseen the parish at Neydenstein 17 years, at Eschelbronn 16 years, and Dassbach ten years, I gave up these three parishes, not without great sorrow, pain and anguish, to the Reverend and well-learned Herr Petro Ursino of Speyr. 

I released the Hofen parish after I had likewise overseen the same parish from Steinsberg, Sinsheim, and Duehren for 13 years, and I entrusted it to the Reverend and well-learned Herr M. Johan Christophors Widen, minister at Helmstadt, my true and constant friend until his death. 

I left Michelfeld on September 15, 1654 and I entrusted the parish to the Reverend and well-educated Herr Adolpho Roselio. Also in the same year I left the parish of Euchtersheim and turned it over to Herr Roselio on October 22. 

From 1650, with the consent of the ruling family, I also looked after the Angeloch Parish from Duehren, until Jubilate Sunday, 1658, when the community had become strengthened and should have its own minister who would also oversee the school. I took my leave and in my place a pastor was ordained and the Reverend and well-educated Herr Michael
Troje was presented to the community. 

Since the religious services at Eschelbach stopped after the death of Herr M. Johan Caroli, the Monk of Hirschorn forbade all religious services from 1636 until 1647. But finally, after humbly and imploringly beseeching the ruling family many times, through God's grace the church again reopened and public religious services were again permitted; and I was requested by the neighboring community to preach for the first time the fourth Sunday after Trinity in 1647. The Almighty God will still moreover preserve this same Christian Community by his rich Word and Holy Sacrements until the coming of the Last Judgement. Amen. 

As the religious services were forbidden at Eschelbach by the Monk of Hirschorn after the death of Herr Carolus, in 1636, I was requested by the then Mayor of Darmbach, Dietrich Kaltman, in the name of that community, I was sometimes gone from my house in Neidenstein three or four weeks at a time. 

Concerning my married state:

After I was promoted to the Euchtersheim parish by my very gracious Junker von Venningen, I entered into Holy Matimony, according to God's ordinance, and first I was married to the honorable and virtuous young lady, Anna Allgaierin, legitimate daughter of the late and Honorable and respected Hans Allgaier, citizen of Entweihingen on 11 February 1627, and lived in blessed matrimony for ten years, five months, and one day, with her through God's blessing begat six children. 

After the death of my beloved wife, I was married again, to the honorable and virtuous young lady, Anna Burckhartin from Kochendorff, legitimate daughter of the esteemed late Veit Burckhardt and Margaretha, her beloved mother. The marriage was held at Ravensberg 22 February 1638, and was performed by Johann Wolffgang Rabus, pastor there. And through God's blessing with this my beloved wife, I have had six children. 

The Itinerant Pastor
from the Duehren Soulbook

Pastor Georg Johann Wolfhardt, born 15 December 1601 in Nuertingen, died April 11, 1670 in Duehren, was the son of Alexander Wolfhardt, pastor and senior minister of Nuertingen and later the Abbot and ducal advisor at the Alpirsbach Monastery, and Eleanora, daughter of Heinrich Renz, the princely advisor and Abbot of St. Georgen. In 1616, he received a scholarship or grant from the Ficklerschen Foundation to the University of Tuebingen, where he graduated in 1619, and in 1621, became schoolmaster. In 1625, the ruling von Vennigen family hired him as tutor, and a year later as pastor to Eichtersheim. From 1633 to 1637, he had to look at Neidenstein along with Eschelbronn, Duehren, and Dassbach. 

From 1637 to 1670, he was the pastor in Duehren. After the occupation on the Palatine villages throughout Bavaria, he remained the only Lutheran pastor on the upper course of the Elsenz, and he looked after the small ruined villages of Dassbach, Eichtersheim, Eschelbronn, Eschelbach, Hoffenheim, Ittlingen, Michelfeld, Neidenstein, and Tairnbach. He lived partly in Duehren, partly at the Steinberg Castle, or in Sinsheim where he found refuge from the bands of roaming soldiers behind the fortress walls. 

With the communion utensils in his bag, he made his way to the few groups of parishes which remained in the villages, in constant danger because of the always wild-roving soldiers of the war-leading factions, and the pestilence, which as the sword of the scourge of war, exterminated more of the population. Thus he came by the nickname, "The Traveling Schoolmaster" or the "Itinerant Pastor of Duehren."