The source of the following documents and correspondence appear in the publication:  German Village Life in Hungary by Rudolph Hartmann.  I provide my own personal translation.


  Count von Dory’s recruiting agent in Bieberach, Franz Felbinger had the following handbill published and distributed throughout the area.  There is no date attached to it.  It gives us a glimpse into why the first phase of the Schwabenzug was very much like a land rush down the Danube.


  “Everyone who comes to Hungary will feast his eyes on a fruitful land with forests and wells:  30 Joch of land, meadows and vineyards.  You will receive a lot to build a house and a large garden plot, 18 Klafter (arm span) wide and 45 Klafter long.  There will be wood and timber to build a house and your outbuildings at no cost and wood for burning at a reasonable rate.  For the first three years you will not be required to provide any kind of Robot (free labour).  Wine will be available from Michaelmass to Christmas.  Meadow and pasture enough for twenty to twenty-five head of cattle, not including sheep and swine.


  For all of this each settler will give 50 Florins, half at the time of settlement and the remainder at the end of two years.  In place of three years of freedom from paying taxes, each settler will pay 5 Florins twice a year, provide nine days of labour by hand, wagon and plough.  For every twenty pigs he will give one to the landlord.


  An individual can also take only a half or quarter session of land as above and the rates will be adjusted in the same manner…”



  Because of the overwhelming response on the part of countless families to opportunities in Hungary the local officials and nobles in Hesse attempted to stop the flow of would-be settlers and established rules and regulations which included an emigration fee.  The    would-be settler had to be interviewed in order to obtain permission to leave.  The following is the interrogation record of one of them who also happens to be one of my ancestors.  It helps us understand why there were others who left illegally.


  The Interrogation Report on Johann Georg Frischkorn prepared by Anton Schlemmer an official of the Princely Government in Hanau given this 8th day of February, 1749 in Steinau-an-der-Strasse.


  Johann Georg Frischkorn a day labourer from Bellings reported and applied for emigration to Hungary with his wife and children as they desired to leave and were   willing to pay their release fee of 10 Pfennigs.  The following is the report on the examination that took place.


  What is your name and age?


  His name is Johann Georg Frischkorn and he is 47 years old.


  Was he married and did he have any children?


  He has a wife and four children:  Eva Catharina, Anna Margareta, Catharina and Leonhardt.


  Where were he and his wife born?


  Both he and his wife were born and raised in Bellings.


  What religion did he and his wife profess?


  Both were Reformed.


  How had he made a living?


  As a farm labourer.


  Why did he want to leave his native land and emigrate to Hungary?


  He was unable to provide adequately for his wife and children and the feudal Robot was too much and took too much of his labour and left little time to provide bread for the family.


  Did he not have other options besides emigrating?


  Not really, if he could have earned his bread here he would not leave his homeland where he desired to live.


  What goods and property did he possess?


  He had a house and shire and a garden and rights to two wagons of hay and one acre of land in three sections in and around Bellings, which along with a cow he sold to his brother-in-law Leonhardt Homman for 536 Reichstaler.  He possessed nothing else and could only take along some linen, clothes and bedding for which he had paid the appropriate taxes for taking them out of the country.


  What debts did he have?


  He owed about 20 Reichstaler.


  He was informed that his emigration would have to be reported to the government.


  (He left that spring and first settled in Nagyszekely in Tolna County.)

  This next document is the transcript of an interview with the son of Anton Ernst who left for Hungary illegally or secretly whichever you prefer.


  This interview was conducted and is being reported by Johann Fleischhut an official at Friedewald in Oberhessen on April 24, 1772.


  Question:  Did your father and stepmother ever discuss or inform you of their plans to leave?


  Answer:  Not really.  Only three days before his father left he had added the yard and some land of his mother’s inheritance to his son’s estate as his debtors wanted their share of what he owed them.  The debts had been incurred in the second marriage.


  Question:  When did they actually leave?


  Answer:  At night around 11:00 in the evening his father hitched up the wagon and his stepmother and the children were seated on the bedding loaded on it and then drove off.


  Question:  Why did he not report this to the authorities or call the neighbours to have prevented their leaving?


  Answer:  He claimed he was not aware that emigrating was forbidden.  To all intents and purposes it was done openly as far as the neighbourhood was concerned.  And all of the neighbours saw them leave.  As a single young man he was all upset about their leaving so suddenly and leaving him without a family.


  Question:  Did your father not indicate in some way as to where he planned to head?


  Answer:  Yes.  In response to my question he said they wanted to go to Hungary and seek a better future.


  Question:  What kind of reasons did he give for leaving?


  Answer:  He said his many debts and the bad times they had lived through formed his decision to leave.


  Question:  Did your father not give any prior indication of his planning or thinking?


  Answer:  He was not aware of anything until the hour of their departure.  The stepmother and stepbrothers and sisters had always harboured animosity towards him in the past and for that reason kept everything secret from him.


  The authorities ordered the apprehension and arrest of the émigrés.



  The following letter was written in 1771 by a settler, Georg Adolf Schäffer to his brother and sister-in-law back home in Hesse. 


  “Greetings in God’s Name:  A friendly greeting to my dear brother and sister-in-law and your dear children.


  It is our hope and joy that my short letter arrives as you are all enjoying good health.  At present, we are all healthy and well.  Thank God we arrived in Hungary in the best of health.  But for myself personally I was only well for the first ten days before I came down with the Hungarian sickness (Translator:  he is referring to swamp fever) and was bedridden for eight weeks.  But thank God I am well and in the best of health.


  We are all very happy here and like it very much.  And we thank our dear God thousands of times for leading us to this land and we wonder why we had waited so long to leave home and the starvation we endured there.  My wife and children are quite happy and content that we immigrated to this land.  Whoever works in this land will have ample and abundant meat and bread.  It suits us quite well.  As soon as I’ve done a piece of work the wage is already there.  When my wife and daughter go out to work as daily wage earners they both receive six Groschen.  In the harvest they each earn nine measures of produce that they reap.  One says that money is scarce in Hungary but there is plenty of money in our pockets here in this area.  The crops bring in good prices as well and people prosper.


  And so now I ask you dear brother and sister-in-law to be so kind as to send your oldest daughter to us to marry our friend’s youngest son.  I am writing you the honest truth about his good qualities.  But if that doesn’t suit you for some reason then send the daughter of your choice.  People say that the land is already settled and occupied but that is not true.  The land is available to anyone.  We live only 60 miles below Vienna.  One can travel on water as far as Fadd which is four miles from us on the Danube.


  One more time I ask you, dear brother and sister-in-law to be so good as to share my greetings with all friends and neighbours.  Whoever has the desire and would love to come and join us can come if he wants to.  I remain your faithful brother until death.”



  The following letter is dated May 18, 1787 and is written by Johann Conrad Weber and addresses a domestic issue that sounds even vaguely familiar to contemporary ears.



  “…herewith I send you this letter for forwarding because I have sent three letters to my wife and received no reply from her.  I don’t know what the problem is.  Is she no longer alive or is she no longer living in Lützelhausen?  Or do I have no friend or acquaintance that is willing to answer my inquiries?  One letter was written on December 20, 1786, the second on January 16, 1787 and the third on February 20, 1787 all addressed to my dear wife, Anna Margareta Weber.  I want to know what the situation is whether things are bad or good for her.  If things are well with her she should stay where she is.  But things must be better for her than they were when I was with her.  But she is welcome to come and join me if she wants to.  I am not farther away than 140 miles.


  I send next to hundreds of thousands of greetings to all my friends and even my enemies.  I will be faithful unto death.”



  This last letter is from Maria Fröhlich writing home from Hungary in the hope that her mother can come and join them.  It is only dated 1787.


  “My mother should leave for here as soon as she can.  She should only take enough money from my brother that she will need to get here.  I will repay him.  She can get her pass on the way and should travel via Würzburg, Nürnberg, Regensburg, Vienna, Pressburg and follow instructions of my friends who will accompany her.”

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