Anna Marie Schwebler’s Life

In the small village of Bairertal, Baden, Germany, Anna Marie Schwebler was born on 20 January 1855 to Peter Schwebler and Friederike Liecht.[1]  Baiertal is a village in the district of Heidelburg in Baden (now Baden-Wurttemburg) in Southwest Germany.  Baden-Wurttemburg contains Germany’s largest continuous forest area, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), which spreads westward to the banks of the Rhine River.[2]  This is where Anna was baptized Lutheran on 29 January 1855,[3] and where she grew up, married, and her first two children were born.  Anna was 22 years old when she married Johann Konrad Reinhardt on 26 April 1877 in Baiertal.[4]  Nine months later their first child, Eva Friederike Reinhardt, was born on 14 February 1878.[5]  A year and a half later their son, Johann Konrad Reinhardt, was born on 9 August 1879[6] (the birth record says Johann was born on 9 August 1879, but in all other documents he is listed as being born on the 10th.)  Shortly after Johann was born Anna and her husband left for America.  First, they traveled 284 miles through Germany to Antwerp, Belgium.[7]  Today it is a 5-hour trip,[8] but in 1879 it was much longer. It is unknown what form of transportation they used from Baiertal to Antwerp.  The Reinhardt’s probably left Antwerp somewhere between 19 November 1879 and 25 November 1879 on the ship Belgenland I (1878 Red Star Line).[9] The ship was 403’ x 40’ and went 14 knots,[10] and it was placed in Antwerp to New York service in 1879.[11]  The trip from Antwerp to New York was 3,827 nautical miles.[12]  If the ship went an average of 10 knots the trip would take about 16 days, and if it went top speed of 14 knots all the way it would take 10 days.[13]  The Reinhardt’s arrived in New York on December 5, 1879.[14]  At that time, they would have been processed through Castle Garden Immigration Center.[15]  Seventeen days later, on 22 December 1879 they arrived in Amana, Iowa.[16] Amana was the home of Johann’s aunt, Elizabeth Schuh.[17]

“The Amana Colonies are seven villages on 26,000 acres located in Iowa County in east-central Iowa.  The seven villages consist of Amana (or Main Amana), East AmanaHigh AmanaMiddle AmanaSouth AmanaWest Amana, and HomesteadIn 1714 in Southwestern Germany two men started a religious movement which later became known as the Community of True Inspiration.  A group of people from this movement came to the United States in 1842 settling in the vicinity of Buffalo, New York.  They built four villages known as Middle Ebenezer, Upper Ebenezer, Lower Ebenezer, and New Ebenezer in New York State.  They also built two villages in Canada.  The Buffalo area was becoming quickly urbanized so the group sought land to west, and in 1854 purchased the sight of the present-day Amana Colonies in Iowa.”[18]

“After arrival in this county, the group adopted a religious-communal way of life, with all property held in common and with all church and secular decisions being made by the same leadership.  The communal way of life lasted nearly a century until the people voted separation of church and state in 1932 adopting the free enterprise way of life that surrounded them.”[19]

“Mother and baby stayed home until the child was two and went to Kinderschule.  The child would be in school from 8AM to 11AM and then would be home for lunch with the mother, not the communal kitchen. After lunch Children went back to Kinderschule. The Children went to Kinderschule until age seven.” [20]

The Reinhardt’s settled in South Amana.[21]  Johann Americanized his name and went by Conrad.  Conrad worked as a shoemaker in Amana.[22]  Anna would have been at home and not working in the communal kitchen because she had two children under two.  On 10 February 1881, Anna gave birth to another daughter, Elizabeth, born in Amana.[23] Reinhardt’s decided that Amana was not for them and left there in April 1883.[24]  In 1885 they settle in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois and joined the Zion Evangelical Church in Ottawa.[25]

At this time, it is not known where they may have lived between 1883 and 1885.  In 1886 another daughter, Emma, is born in Ottawa Illinois,[26] followed by a son, Frederick, born in 1887,[27] Anna born in 1889,[28] and Agnes, 1891.[29]  Anna spent the rest of her life in Ottawa raising her children and keeping house.  My grandmother often visited her grandparent’s in Ottawa, but she didn’t tell us many stories about her grandparents.  Although, there were not many stories handed down about Anna and Conrad Reinhardt, there were traditions that were handed down.  I visited Amana, Iowa and ate at one of the many restaurants.  The food is served family style and when I took a bite, it was like being back in Grandma’s kitchen.  Apparently, Grandma learned to cook from her mother and grandmother.  In the museum, there were quilt’s just like the ones handed down to me that were made by my great-grandmother.  

Quilt made by my Great-Grandmother Eva Reinhardt

The family referred to their daughter Annie as being slow.  No one elaborated more than to say she was slow.  Anna Marie had a nervous breakdown sometime between 1900 and her death in 1910.  There is a gap in children between 1881 – 1886 so I wonder if she lost one or two in that time period.  It probably wasn’t easy in those days to have a mentally challenged child, and the possibility that she may have lost one or two children may have contributed to her nervous breakdown.  Plus, we will never know what else was going on in her life at that time that may have contributed to it.   

Anna Marie passed away on 11 June 1910[30] at age 55 years, 4 months, and 22 days.  She is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[31] A long way from Baiertal, Baden, Heidelburg, Germany. She shares her birthday January 20 with her 4th great granddaughter.

Other Ancestors born in January

George Manfroid – 1 January 1892

Arthur Manfroid – 5 January 1901

Charles Bowers – 7 January 1784

Johann Friedrich Reinhardt 10 January 1814

Mary Bowers – 13 January 1792

Sarah Bowers –13 January 1792

John Bowers – 22 January 1786

Hugo Kaiser – 26 January 1899

Augusta Gabbi – 28 January 1859

Copyright © 2021 Gail Grunst


[1] Baden, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1502-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data:Mikrofilm Sammlung. Originale: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1502-1985.



[4]  Germany Marriages, 1558 – 1929,  LDS Library, Salt Lake Ciry, Utah, microfilm # 1272787.

[5]  Baden Germany Lutheran Baptism, 1502 – 1985[database on-line]. Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data:  Mikrofilm Sammlung.

[6] Baden, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1502-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data: Mikrofilm Sammlung. Originale: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1502-1985.

[7]Maps, Google. “Google Maps Heidelburg to Antwerp.” Google Maps, Google, 2021,,+Belgium/Heidelberg,+Germany/@50.2921341,4.2755556,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x47c3f68ebfc3887d:0x3eaf448482a88ab8!2m2!1d4.4024643!2d51.2194475!1m5!1m1!1s0x4797c1050eccdccd:0xefe6ea0044243ad7!2m2!1d8.6724335!2d49.3987524.

[8] Ibid.

[9]  Germans to America(Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[10] Smith, Eugene W. Passenger Ships of the World: Past and Present. George H. Dean, 1978.

[11] Smith, Eugene W. Passenger Ships of the World: Past and Present. George H. Dean, 1978.

[12] “Port of Antwerp, Belgium to Port of New York, United States Sea Route and Distance.”,      antwerp,belgium/port-of-new-york,united-states/.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Germans to America (Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[15] “Castle Garden”. Castlegarden.Org, 2021,

[16] Amana Church Membership Records, in archive collection of the Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[17] Amana, Iowa,  Amana Heritage Museum, Anderson Cards, the Koch Verzeichnis

[18] Bourret, Joan Liffring-Zub and John Zug, Amanas yesterday: a religious communal society: a story of seven villages in Iowa: historic photographs 1900 – 1932. IA City, IA: Penfield Press, 2003

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Year: 1880; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: 345; Family History Film: 1254345; Page: 146D; Enumeration District: 201; Image: 0155.  1880 United States Federal Census. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Iowa, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:  “Iowa Births and Christenings, 1830–1950.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

[24] Amana Church Membership Records, in archive collection of the Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[25] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois,Vol XXXII no. 291, 13 June 1910, Pg 4.

[26] Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch ( : 16 March 2018), Emma L Mataway, 18 Aug 1956; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .

[27] “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 12 December 2014), Fred Reinhardt, 1917-1918; citing La Salle County no 1, Illinois, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,614,034.

[28] Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940,” database, FamilySearch( : 12 December 2014), Anna Reinhardt, 28 Apr 1889; Birth, citing Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,710,998.

[29] Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File.  Source Information: U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[30] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

[31] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

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