Ochsenbach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Ochsenbach, a town in the Güglingen district of Württemberg, Germany. Not far from the mother community of Ochsenbach and the daughter community of Spielberg, the Anabaptists found a good hiding place at Bromberg. The local pastor reported in 1574 that the Anabaptist Simon Kress had come frequently from Moravia to Ochsenbach as a deceiver and was lodged by his cousin Klaus Eysenbrei. The latter had a son and a daughter in Moravia, and had also kept the pastor's little daughter without the father's knowledge for two weeks and led her astray, though he must have "felt and heard my displeasure in my diligent seeking and inquiring." The "leading astray" of the parson's daughter obviously consisted in keeping her concealed and indoctrinating her in Anabaptist teachings while the worried father missed his child for two weeks—certainly an unusual, but reliably recorded incident. In 1575 a case of an inheritance came up before the church council in Stuttgart that had its roots in Ochsenbach; a member of the community wished to acquire several vineyards that were left by Anabaptist relatives who immigrated to Moravia. The council wished to sell the vineyards to the relatives, but the proceeds of the sale were to go into the church treasury on account of the heavy expense of keeping the Anabaptists imprisoned. This is surprising, for it was generally known that the Anabaptists had to pay for their detention in prison by working, or if they were released, by payment of cash. It is known that Duke Friedrich appropriated the Anabaptist properties, and that after his death (1608) the guardian of these properties was held accountable for them (TA Württemberg, p. XIII).
In 1577 the dean of the region reported to Stuttgart that the miller of the Schöppen Mill, which was part of the Ochsenbach parish, had refused to render the customary oath of submission, and that his three children, the oldest of whom was nine years old, were not yet baptized. In the same year it was reported that the Baron of Bromberg employed Anabaptists in the Schöppen Mill as servants—not an isolated instance among the nobility, and a testimonial for the diligence and faithfulness of these workers in the house and the fields. In 1583 two thirds of an Anabaptist home near the church was given to the Ochsenbach community free of charge to be used as a school; the third they were to buy from the owner with community funds and have it repaired. In January 1589 an order was issued from Stuttgart to the magistrate of Güglingen to bring Friedrich, the Schöppen miller, who had been arrested, to Stuttgart under custody and to report where his unbaptized ten-year-old child was. In August 1589 the magistrate was informed that the Anabaptist Friedrich Miller of the Ochsenbach parish had promised to leave the principality, and had moved away. Eberhard of Weitershausen had put another into the mill, by the name of Dionysius Reitboldt, who was even worse than the former miller. For when the pastor of Ochsenbach summoned him to give an account of his faith, he uttered terrible and frightening blasphemies against "our" religion with defiance. The magistrate was to arrest the blasphemous Anabaptist (was he really an Anabaptist?) Dionysius and bring him to Stuttgart. The two weeks' concealment of the pastor's little daughter in 1574 had some consequences after all. In 1604 it is reported: "At Ochsenbach two little children of the former pastor Stephan Schultheiss (in Ochsenbach 1558-78), Anna 28 years ago, and Timotheus 12 years ago have left the country and become Anabaptists, leaving an estate of 700 gilders, welcome to the treasurer." In 1610 there was a case of illegal confiscation of alleged Anabaptist property by the procurator in favor of the duke, who was in need of money. The government recognized the claim for repayment; 255 gilders had to be paid the heirs, not by the duke, but from the income of the Anabaptist property in the Güglingen district. In 1616 the pastor, mayor, and judge of Ochsenbach asked to keep two estates of the inheritance of the two daughters of Veit Schuhmacher who had gone to Moravia, to be given the manager of the church treasury, to pay 10 Talers to the schoolmaster and sexton, and repair the tower clock, the bell, and windows in the very dilapidated little church. Numerous cases are known of the application of funds confiscated from Anabaptists to the erection and repair of Lutheran churches and schools, which is of course better than for personal enrichment. The government did not give away the property in question, but sold it for a small price to the community.
Bossert, Gustav. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer I. Band, Herzogtum Württemberg. Leipzig: M. Heinsius, 1930: XIII, 1181, under "Ochsenbach"; on page 912 also the literature on the management of Anabaptist property in Württemberg.
Teufel, E. "Die Beschlagnahme und Verwaltung des Taufergutes durch den Fiscus im Herzogtum Wurttemberg . . . ." Theologische Zeitschrift VIII (1952): 296-304.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon., 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 290 f.
Cite This Article
Teufel, Eberhard. "Ochsenbach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Jan 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ochsenbach_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=59744.
Teufel, Eberhard. (1959). Ochsenbach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 January 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ochsenbach_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=59744.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 16-17. All rights reserved.
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