All previous attempts at settlement at the site of the future Mucsfa since the dawn of Hungarian history were wiped out during and after the Turkish occupation.  The area around the future Mucsfa was part of the Domain of the Counts Zinzendorf after 1687.  In 1722, the “Little King” of Tolna County, Count Claudius von Mercy took title to the village and later in 1773 it became part of the land holdings of Count Apponyi.


  Prior to 1720 there were no inhabitants living on the site, since the Conscription Lists of 1715 to 1720 make no mention of any.  The German Lutherans who came from the Odenwald and settled in Mucsfa had first resided in Bonyhádvarasd.  This settlement was on the road to Bonyhád and Högyesz so that the nobles could make use of their peasants more readily to fulfill their feudal obligations on their own nearby estates and manors.


  Count Zinzendorf appears to have planned to develop what would become Mucsfa but it was Count von Mercy who actually carried it out and expanded it.  Settlers arrived in 1722 but the major group of colonists arrived in 1724.


  These colonists referred to themselves as Oldenwalders.  Their dialect, costume and customs reflect that origin.  The church records that were begun in 1728 give no clues to their specific places of origin in the Odenwald located in Hesse.  These records were part of the church records in Kismányok, the Mother Church and were recorded by Pastor Johann Rudolph Walter.


  The colonists had a Patent from the Emperor and a decree from the Hungarian State Chancellery to allow them to settle in Hungary and had been recruited for that purpose and were not squatters and carpetbaggers as their later detractors would claim.  The   initial payment they made for the land they contracted with their landlord easily demonstrates that.  The von Mercys allowed them to withhold some of the payments until their first crops were in to cover the costs of their transportation and withheld support to build a Bethaus and call a pastor and teacher to serve them.  For that reason they were served by the pastor over in Izmény and later the one in Kismányok.


  Like the other Evangelical Lutheran settlements in the area, Muscfa chose one of their own, a man who loved to sing and had a good background in the Bible to act as their “emergency teacher”.  Many of these men who served in this way also maintained their former occupation as well whether as a farmer or tradesman.  Later, in many cases they were also the village notary who dealt with officials and authorities on behalf of the villagers.  In the future, they also took over bell ringing and other tasks that cropped up in terms of the life of the church, school and community.


  The first of these teachers was Johann Thoma, already identified as such in 1734 when his daughter married.  He died in 1736.  Only some of his successors are known by name.  Johann Michael Baumann who had received some theological training was commissioned at the Levite Lehrer by the Dean of the Tolna Church District, George Barany and served in Muscfa from 1738-1749.  He fulfilled all of the functions of a schoolmaster as well as that of a pastor with the exception of the celebration of Holy Communion.  The pastor of the Mother Church came to celebrate the sacrament.  Baumann first arrived in Paks-on-the-Danube and first served in Keszöhidegkút in 1733 and would later move on to Gyönk.


  In 1744 Pastor Stephen Barany serving in Izmény was forced to leave his congregations under pressure from the Roman Catholic bishop of Pécs.  Immediately the congregations in Izmény and Mucsfa declared themselves to be filials of Kismányok.  It was in this year that Baumann was officially commissioned to the position he had been fulfilling for some time and he began the church records.  He was apparently guilty of some irregularities in marrying some couples outside of his jurisdiction and this was reported to Count von Mercy.  The Count, who was a Roman Catholic did not want to have any conflicts with the Roman Catholic officials of the County and therefore allowed Baumann only to baptize and bury.  Shortly afterwards Baumann simply disappeared from the scene.


  Gustav Johann Wolff would serve in Mucsfa from 1749-1769.  He was the son of the teacher who had accompanied Pastor Tonsor and colonists who had founded Kistormás in 1724.  During his first year as the teacher in Mucsfa he was commissioned as the Levite Lehrer.  He had to face an examination by the Roman Catholic bishop Berénye of Pécs to prove his suitability to hold office.  This was a common practice throughout Hungary for all Protestant pastors and teachers to be examined with regard to dogma by representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.


  No sooner had Wolff taken over his position than an argument broke out over finances between the Mucsfa congregation and Mother Church.  Count von Mercy was called upon to intervene in the dispute.  He pointed out that the problem’s origin had been with Baumann and advocated a compromise that was accepted and peace reigned.


  Shortly afterwards the Count would have to come to the aid of his Lutheran subjects.  On the orders of the Roman Catholic bishop Klimó of Pécs, the Roman Catholic priests in Cikó and Pári led an attack against the Lutheran filial congregations in Batáapáti, Izmény and Mucsfa.  The pastor of the Mother Church in Kismányok, Johann Weiss was forbidden to set foot in the three other communities.  In order for them to carry out the plan it required the approval and support of their landlord that they knew was not all that certain.  The danger they faced was obvious to the congregations and they sent a deputation to Högyesz where the young Count von Mercy resided.  They were granted an audience on June 16, 1764 and asked for his support and assistance.  Without the protecting hand of the von Mercys, the vast majority of the Evangelical Lutheran congregations could not have withstood the pressures and the difficulties imposed upon them by the County and State officials and would have perished.  The Count sided with his Lutheran subjects and restored the pastor’s privileges to serve his filials.


  Following the death of Wolff, his successor was Samuel von Ratkoczy from 1769-1784.  The struggle between the Evangelical Lutheran congregations and the County continued.  In 1767, Anton von Mercy the adoptive son of Claudius von Mercy died.  He was serving in the Austrian Imperial Army and was often out of the country and was not present to protect his Lutheran subjects as well as his adoptive father had.  In his absence the anti-Protestant forces launched a frontal attack.


  The inhabitants of Mucsfa were obligated to pay a fee to the Roman Catholic priest in Apar for every service they received from Ratkoczy, i.e. baptism.  The authorities demanded this on the basis of the rights of the Roman Catholic Church, that even though the Protestants were heretics they were still under the jurisdiction of Rome.  On this basis they attempted to use their power over non-catholic congregations and broaden their control over them.  Mucsfa was defiant and resistant.


  A long drawn out struggle now began.  The dispute was to be handled by the Imperial Chamber in Vienna.  George Bayer went to Vienna on behalf of the congregation to plead their cause.  In response to his complaints he received comforting and sympathetic words but that was his only success.


  On his journey back from Vienna he became ill at Pressburg and simply disappeared.  He was hardly the only common coarse peasant who made a pilgrimage to the Royal Court on behalf of his fellow believers who suffered this kind of fate.  The Lutherans in Mucsfa were ordered to pay the fees to the priest in Apar in 1772 and Ratkoczy was forbidden to carry out any churchly functions.


  But the people of Mucsfa had not yet drained the last drop of the bitter cup of suffering ahead of them.  On August 18th of that year the County Administration took over the simple wooden Bethaus the settlers had erected in the first decade of their arrival for use as a school and a place of worship.  On locking up the building the officials informed the populace that the holding of out of door services would result in further legal punishment.  The master blacksmith in the village, Johann Rothermel called a meeting of the believers in front of the Bethaus and proceeded to hold a service.  News of this naturally spread everywhere and the authorities moved to correct this monstrous affront to them.  After sealing up the doors of the Bethaus they placed Rothermel in chains and dragged him to imprisonment in the dungeons of the County prison in Simontornya where the County Administration was located.  In response to what had happened, Ratkoczy began holding services in the Bethaus again.


  The fees and tithes that Mucsfa was forced to pay to the Apar parish were increased.  In 1776 they had to furnish the rectory in Apar and along with the Lutherans in Bonyhád they had to donate labour and money to building a new Roman Catholic Church in the town.  They were forced to provide the lumber and other building supplies.


  These were some of the hindrances and difficulties with which the Lutherans in Mucsfa had to endure until the Edict of Toleration of Joseph II went into effect.  Even though it was decreed in the fall of 1781, it had no affect on their church life until 1783 after much investigating and complaining on the part of the Lutherans to implement the royal decree in their County.  In Mucsfa it would only take effect in 1784.


  On February 29th of every year the congregation of Mucsfa celebrated the joyous occasion of their hour of freedom.  On that day their Bethaus was returned to them.  In 1785 the paying of tithes and fees to the parish of Apar was ended.


  After sixty years the congregation had been strengthened in faith and in numbers.  The community prospered materially so that they became a self supporting congregation, called their own pastor and built their new church that stands to this day.


  The first settlers in Muscfa from 1728-1742 included the following heads of households or single persons:


  Bauer, Eva Rosina

  Bauer, Maria Magdalena

  Baumach, Andreas and his wife Anna Margaret

  Baumann, Johann Michael the teacher and Levite Lehrer

  Bayer, Johann Michael and his wife and sons, Valentine and Johann George

  Spatz, Johann Philip and his wife Elisabeth Weber

  Schaffner, Johann Michael and his wife

  Schäfer, Michael

  Schlossmann, Maria Katharina

  Schmidt, Anna Maria

  Schmidt, Anna Katharina

  Schön, Anna Katharina

  Schwarz, Andreas and his wife Anna Maria Sauerwein

  Schwer, Johann and his wife Kahtarina

  Schwer, Michael and his wife

  Treydel, Johann Adam

  Treydel, Anna Maria

  Volk, Martin and his wife Anna Appollonia Naum

  Wagner, Elisabeth

  Weber, Magdalena

  Weber, Hans Peter and his wife Anna Margaret Christ

  Weber, Johann Peter and his wife Anna Maria Löwell

  Weber, Johann Kaspar

  Weber, Peter

  Weicker, Maria Katharina

  Weiler, Johann and his wife Maria Katharina

  Winterberger, Johann

  Winterberger, Nikolaus

  Wolff, Eva Maria

  Zardt, Johannes Valentine and his wife Anna Eva

  Zardt, Konrad and his wife Anna Elisabeth

  Zardt, Michael


  (Zardt is also spelled Zarth and Zahrt in other church records.)

One Response to “ Mucsfa in the Tolna ”

  1. werner hahner says:

    looking for info on mother born in Mucsfa elizabeth Rippert

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