- Born: Abt 1557, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
- Died: 1852, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany about age 295
Das Tote Dorf
Allscheid - The Dead Village
(The fateful end of this village)
Re-constructed from the findings of the Register of the Council of Steinigen, and Register
By W . Nohn, Mayor, in Gillenfeld, May 15, 1958
(Translated from the German by Ary J . Scheffer and Elsa Krauch)
The stony heights give us a wide view . If one looks from here over Steinigen and
the Alfbachtal (Alfbach valley) in the direction of Darscheid, the eye falls on a small,
shimmery white building in the midst of the landscape, which is easily recognized as a
small chapel . This chapel is sanctified to St . Erasmus, whose name it bears . It is visited
by people from far and near . Bareheaded and praying, the people find their way inside,
and ask St . Erasmus for healing of their children's rash and scurvy . The wanderer who
rests at this spot today does not realize any more that this silent little chapel is the last
sign of a village that once stood here . Here stood the 18 houses of the village of
Allscheid, which, until the year 1852, belonged to the political village of Steinigen.
Allscheid lived only in the memory of the older generations of the village of Steinigen
and the surrounding villages, and even these memories would have been blotted out
completely in time had not Klaus Mark of Brockscheid in the year 1952 brought the
vanished Allscheid to life again in his folk drama "The Dead Village".
Our home narrator succeeded admirably in conjuring up for us on the stage the
harsh fate of these people as they grappled with poverty, the sorrowful battling of
simple, industrious Eifel people for their- ancestral homeland from which merciless
necessity banished them . On the basis of the oral tradition and the historical proven facts,
Klaus Mark transformed the tragic fate of the one-time little village of Allscheid into a
layman's drama for the village stage . With the recollection of the dead village and its
trial-tested population, a memorial has been created in honor of love of home . The work
has the advantage that the material is not constructed, but is historically true.
This work brings to life again the endless time of need in which a stranger tells of
the idea of wandering that came to the remote people of Allscheid . It tells of the
discussions of the deputies and the tragic struggle of the responsible men, accompanied
by the fearful worries of the women and children as to what the decision would be . We
were interested, therefore, in the way Klaus Mark brought out these themes, so let him
tell it :
"The interest in the sunken village of Allscheid was awakened in my earliest
youth by the blind organ-grinder, Johann Sadler, of Steineberg . He was born in 1850 in
Allscheid of a family that had not decided to emigrate from the locality . I still see the
blind organ-grinder before me, as he was guided by his wife who led him by the arm as
he wandered from village to village, eliciting melodies of the old folk songs on his little
hand organ. In my home village of Brockscheid, the two little old people were always
gladly received . The little gifts that they received from door to door were gladly given,
like little gifts from God, for the fate that made the poor man blind in the first days of his
life was hard and tragic.
"Sometimes the blind music man and his good wife spent the night in my home
village . When I heard of this, I regularly betook myself to the little house at the edge of
the village by the church . In the twilight I listened quietly in the room when the old man,
who was always very talkative, told of Allscheid, which he himself had never really seen
indeed, but whose picture he carried in his soul, as his mother in many stories had told
him from his infancy on . He painted for me the bitter poverty of the times ; he spoke of
the undying love of home of the Allscheid people, and drew me a living picture of the
inhuman tragedy that was bound up in the emigration of 100-odd years ago . No wonder
that the words of this organ grinder made such a deep impression on my youthful mind.
A deep sympathy awakened in me when, after such an evening, the blind man and his
wife started on to the next village . In the hesitating, uncertain fate which, in past days,
had banished the Allscheid village families from their old ancestral home . It was as if the
restless blind man were seeking his lost home, his dead village of Allscheid, which has
been wiped out so long ago, like the light in his dead eyes ."
"Allscheid in the Eifel - 100 years ago a village stood here" . Under this heading
the southwest broadcast began its verbal report of the history of the vanished Eifel
village . The broadcast did not have as its purpose the vague discussion of all things
which have vanished, but instead the hard and difficult fate of an entire village whose soil
was no longer able to nourish its people . They emigrated in closed rank, and the
neighbors in Steinigen could only get possession with the specific injunction that they
would never settle there again . What the document said about this, and what the
grandchildren of these one-time neighbors who were able to report, could be learned from
the broadcast on October 19, 1952, from the studio at Mainz . Even if what is
remembered today does not give us much latitude, nevertheless it must be considered
worth while to call to life again the old village from the annals of the administration for
the village chronicle . While this register of resolutions of the council of villages of
Steinigen and Allscheid gave us only scant information with the exception of the decisive
resolution of May 22, 1852, the registry of the administrative records of Gillenfeld made
it possible to reconstruct the families of Allscheid again . The archives of the land
registry office of Daun yielded a village plan and gave us - albeit only fragmentary -
information about the property rights . It was a laborious detailed task, but the outcome of
which could make it worth while in the interest of our local history.
The "Register of the Resolutions of the Council of Steinigen - Allscheid", begun
in 1846, still remains in its original form at the Administration of Gillenfeld . It expresses
the opinion at every opportunity that "the residents of the village of Allscheid were
without means". In 1847 that portion of the firewood which fell to the inhabitants of
Allscheid was sold at auction in favor of the village treasury because they were unable to
raise the money to buy it . "Furthermore they were absolved from the annual firewood
and live stock taxes (on cattle and goats) ." April 4, 1847 "the council recognized it to be
its duty to come to the aid of its fellow citizens and proposes herewith : that 100 bushels
of rye are to be consigned to the inhabitants of Steinigen - Allscheid" . February 29,
1848 " . . .according to which for the building of a parish house in Darscheid 22-6-10 and
for the covering of a deficit in the church treasury in Darsheid 8-10-4 Taler ."
30-16-2 Total was to have been up in 1848 . As it seemed absolutely impossible
for the poverty-stricken people of Allscheid to raise this amount, the village council
wished to express an opinion about this . After closer consultations of the matter at hand,
one is of the unanimous opinion that the assessment is an impossibility, because the
inhabitants of Allscheid are utterly insolvent and are poverty-stricken.
The decisive conclusion of May 22, 1852, reads as follows : Minutes at Steinigen
on May 22, 1852, present were the Council members:
1. Johann Adam Michels
2. Johann Adam Schuler
3. Matthias Lehnerz
4. Johann Josef Thelen
5. Nikolaus Schafer
6. Peter Demerath of Allscheid
7. Matthias Josef Roden
In today's regular council meeting, which under the chairmanship of the undersigned
village manager, Johann Adam Michels, the undersigned council members were present,
the council took under consideration the already completed actions in connection with the
inhabitants of Allscheid because of the taking over of their last remaining woods and the
sale of their private property, and concludes following mature consideration
commensurate with the importance of the matter of the existing taxation of the woods by
the municipal head forester, Mr . Muller of Daun, regarding the taxation of the private
ownership by the committee appointed for this purpose consisting of three members
1. Johann Adam Schuler
2. Matthias Lehnerz
3. Johann Adam Michels, all members of the council,
and taking into consideration of this fact, that the buying out of the inhabitants of
Allscheid is most urgently ordered, to requisition in the interest of the latter, as well as
the woods in question and also the private property of the individual inhabitants . And
with the conclusion of the business the council delegates
1. Village Manager - Johann Adam Michels
2. Member of the Council - Johann Adam Schuler,
and declares the following terms for this business:
1 . The price for the forest is fixed at the sum of 3000 Taler which sum is to be used primarily and exclusively for the defrayal of the travel expenses of the emigrants and the expense of re-settling for the three families who did not emigrate . That share of the money apportioned to the three families who settled in Steinigen, on the other hand, is to be paid to the latter themselves after their re-settling has been completed.
2 . The price for the private properties is also established on the basis of the former taxation with the individual private owners of Allscheid under the proviso of the ratification of the provisionally concluded bills of sale and indeed for the total landed real property of the 19 different sellers for 2200 Taler . The buying
community of Steinigen takes possession and use immediately after the completed
ratification of the imperial government . The stipulated buying price shall then be
paid to the sellers provided they are not burdened with mortgages or other
encumbrances and not until 15 days after the transcription of the deed in question,
the mortgage debt should, above all, be paid out of the buying price to the
respective claimants . The council concludes in order to make further colonization
impossible that immediately following the completion of this private selling
contract and the ratification of the whole business by the imperial government that
all of the structures which constitute the village of Allscheid are to be torn down
at the expense of the community . With regard to the raising of the funds:
i. Capital for the forest - 3000 Taler
ii. Same for private property - 2200 Taler
iii . For razing of the buildings - 150 Taler
iv. For expenses - 200 Taler
This capital should be raised in the following manner according to the agreement between the village of Steinigen and the property owner', Nikolaus Holzer of Daun, the latter agrees to advance the preceding amount where redemption plus the current taxes are to be affected in the following manner:
1. The purchased private property is to be sold back to the community with the proviso that the buyer shall be pledged under threat of penalty for breach of contract in the sum of 300 Taler and the denial of a right to re-buy - and to be pledged not to re-build dwellings here . The proceeds shall be collected by Holzer himself, which was formerly stated in Article 2.
In the same manner, under Article 1, the procedure regarding payment for felled
oak trees is to be collected by Holzer under established conditions or else to be paid to
him from the village treasury . With regard to the remaining portion there is to be
transferred to Mr. Holzer, in accordance with Article 2 in the frequently referred-to
agreement, the cord wood of the stand of beech trees in the village forest depending upon
the amount which in the opinion of the village officials and forestry officials may be cut -
at a price of 3 Taler per cord, and after satisfactory proof be deducted from capital and
interest. The borrowed capital is to yield interest of 5-1/2 per cent in view of the great
amount of trouble and difficulty entailed in this matter whereby the village guarantees to
Mr. Holzer the rightful and unhindered access to the redemption of the private properties
which are to be sold . If however, this loan cannot, contrary to all expectations, be
covered, then the village of Steinigen would have to petition for a loan at the deposit
fund, for the present, for re-payment of the eventual residue, and be prepared to
reimburse this loan through the sale of village properties, and if necessary through
assessment . All of these contracts are subject to the ratification of the government.
Finally the village council respectfully petitions the government to ratify these
Actum ut supra The Village Council
Signed : Michels, Schuler, Thelen, Schafer, Roden Matth
Josef Lehnerz, Demerath
- - - - - - - - - -
Thus for the Decree.
And so, on a summer's day in 1852, the inhabitants of the quiet little village of
Allscheid emigrated . Some of them voluntarily because that era of great emigration
awakened the desire for adventure, but most of them because they were forced to go . All
of them left their homes amid hot tears and bleeding hearts . The property owner Holzer
referred to in the foregoing resolution of the village council brought the emigrants
together with their belongings to Rotterdam per wagons from where they were put on
board ship for North America . With last kerchief waving's the last bridge to home and
fatherland was forever severed.
The families that stayed behind remained in Allscheid until their re-settlement in
the Spring of 1853 . Three families then went to Steinigen : the families of Henn, Heinz
and Demerath. Through marriage, the family Weber also remained in Steinigen . The
Heinz house was rebuilt in Steinigen exactly as it had stood in Allscheid . The doors and
windows were taken from Allscheid . The family Maus/Sadler remained in Steineberg.
Of the large family of Burghard, one family remained in Demerath, another family in
Gillenfeld . The family Braun moved to Mehren . On the 12th of January 1929, the last
remaining woman from Allscheid died in Steinigen . She was the widow Helen Jungen,
nee Henn, born November 22, 1852, in Allscheid . The last surviving man had been born
in Allscheid December 16, 1850, He was Johann Sadler, son of Michel Sadler and Eva,
nee Maus . He was the blind organ grinder who was referred to by Klaus Mark He died,
almost 85 years old, on October 16,1935, in Steineberg.
- - - - - - - - - -
The quiet little village of Allscheid, the houses and cottages with root and branch
were torn down in the Spring of 1853 . No stone remained upon stone . Rubbish of
lumber, stones, and beams were hauled away, garden fences and hedges were laid low . A
short time thereafter plows made their furrows through the very places where formerly
had been houses, barns, granaries and roads . Only the little church was spared from
destruction . About the church bell a quarrel arose between the village of Steinigen and
the parish of Darscheid, which in 1855 was settled in favor of the village of Steinigen . In
the year 1867 the little church once again became the object of a quarrel between the two
parties. The parish of Darscheid was represented by the Pastor Ludowici and the village
of Steinigen was represented through the head of the council Demerath and by Mayor
Zillgen of Gillenfeld . In the judgment of the communal architect Bruck of Wittlich, the
building was declared to be in a state of decay . There was talk of a "pathetic sight,
because following the emigration of the Allscheiders nothing more had been done" . One
of the inhabitants of Steinigen declared himself ready to restore the little old church into a
house of worship in order to end the quarrel . The little chapel and a cellar arch along the
wayside is today the last landmark of the vanished village of Allscheid.
During the radio report in Steinigen, it was stated that nothing had been heard
from the Allscheiders after their emigration . But this was contradicted by Matthias Josef
Hab. He declared that he knew positively that descendants of an Allscheider family had
come on a visit . He also had knowledge of a letter in which it had been told that the
family had made their fortune in America. After a long search the letter in question has
been relocated. Its text has been attached as an appendix.
Recently a descendant of the Dreis family has given us word of his arrival in
Germany. Just at the time when these lines are being written the visit materializes . Mr.
Leslie M . Dreis, 3131 East Broadway, Long Beach 3, California, with his son who at the
present time is stationed in Lembach near Kaiserslautern are looking in upon us . With
great interest they examine the results of the investigation, and they are able to inspect the
entries of the old register of births for themselves . The bridge spans a full century!
Was it due to the old folk songs of the blind organ grinder which inspired Klaus
Mark to write his folk-play "The Dead Village", or was it the spark of the deeply rooted
love of home which was re-kindled again in German hearts over there after many years,
or was it perhaps our present calling across the wide spaces which re-built this bridge
after 100 years?
Perhaps fate is beckoning to us that we should so shape our short sojourn on this
earth that we not only work and amass, but that we should also cherish what our
beneficent Creator has placed in our cradle as a precious gift : Love of home and
fatherland, inspired union with Nature and humanity and worthy consideration of
tradition! In this manner we present to you this little contribution of our chronicle of
From a document provided Ur, William J. Giesen of St. Paul MN (a Dreis family descendant, and
therefore an Allscheid village descendant) in 1970 to his cousin, Carole Beach of Minneapolis MN.
Note that the village of "Steinigen" is spelled "Steiningen" on modern maps.
Allscheid - The Dead Village a PDF Document
Allscheid History by Alois Mayer web site
Allscheid History by Alois Mayer (a Google Translation) web site
German Emigration of the 1800's Web Site.
Map of Allscheid, Germany from Google Maps
An Allscheid Genealogy by Albert Emmerich web site
Tourism in the Eifel Region where Allscheid was located.
The Eifel Region Today, where Allscheid was located a Tourism Web Site
Eifel Region Tourism (German Version) a Web Site.
Eifel Region Tourism (English Version) a Web Site.
The Eifel Region Today, where Allscheid was located a Tourism Web Site
>Emigration in the 1800's web site.
>Port of Embarkation: Hamburg web site.
>Port of Embarkation: Bremer web site.
Ancestry.de web site.
Eifel Germany Research web site.
1885 Wisconsin Census web site.
German Birth & Marriage Records web site.
Noted events in his life were:
• Map: of Allscheid, Abt 1804, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
• Map: of Allscheid, Abt 1845, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
• Map: Allscheid Housing Map, Abt 1852, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. According to the Village of Daun official that I visited in 2008 the Meyer Family resided in building #1 with the Willems.
• Emigration: Petition to Emigrate, May 24, 1852, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Allscheid Citizen Petition to Emigrate PDF Document
• Photo: Allscheid Chapel from Tower (White Spot Center of Photo), Sep 10, 2008, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
• Photo: Allscheid Chapel from Tower (White Spot Center of Photo) b, Sep 10, 2008.
• Photo: Allscheid Memorial Chapel, Sep 2008, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.
• Property: I used my GPS unit to capture the coordinates when I visited in 2008, Oct 14, 2008, Allscheid, Vulkaneifel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. Have a look at the satellite or street map of Allscheid today.
Allscheid Google Map