George Newinger

Chapter 1 (pages 1-2)

From the tenth century, Alsace-Lorraine formed part of the German Empire until a part of it was ceded to France at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and by the Peace of Repuwick. In 1697 the cession of the whole was ratified. German never ceased to be the chief language of the people and all newspapers were, during the whole period of the French possession, printed in both languages. In 1871, after the Franco Prussian War, Alsace and German Lorraine, were, by the treaty of Frankfort, incorporated in the new German Empire. The great mass were against the change and 160,000 elected to be French although only 50,000 went into actual exile, refusing to become German subjects. To France she gave the bravest of her sons; Kellerman, Kleber, and other heroes.

Strasbourg, capital of Alsace-Lorraine, Fr. First heard the “Marseillaise” and Lorrainers have faithfully represented their country’s love of La Patrie. Of late it was claimed by the Germans that the situation had slowly but steadily changed in their favor. In 1913 occurred the “Zabern” incident, in which, as a result of an assault committed by an officer on a civilian cripple violent anti-Prussian riots broke out. It had been said that the pet aversion of all Alsatians is a Prussian. Bitter feeling had not subsided when the First World War began.

Alsace-Lorraine, as a French province was divided into Lower Alsace, Upper Alsace and Lorraine. The French speaking people were to be found mainly in the larger towns of Lorraine. Its boundaries were west by France, east by Baden, north by Germany and south by Switzerland and the sentiment was wholly French.

This interesting little country produces much grain, wine, wood, silk, cotton, glass, chemicals and paper. It is rich in iron and wool. 48½% of its entire area is arable, 11.6 meadow and pasture and 30.8 under wood. The important city of Strasbourg had a pop. of 193,119 (1936) and the country’s total population was 1,915,627, ten percent of whom were French speaking and the balance German and bilingual. The religious faith of a million and a half of its people was Roman Catholic, 400,000 Protestant and 28,000 Jews.

Thus we learn something of the French ruled province from which our ancestors immigrated to America.

“Oberkutzenhausen”, the village home of our progenitors, its literally translated as “over to the Kutzen House” which probably was the village inn.

We have learned that our ancestors often visited in Mulhausen and Strasbourg, the capitol city. Undoubtedly they were present on that eventful day when the great national anthem of France, the Marseillaise, was first heard at a public gathering.

George (1) Newinger b. 7-4-1777 Oberkutzenhausen and died Interment Dodge Corners, Tp. Lancaster, N.Y. Nothing is known of his marriage. It is assumed that his wife b. 1780, had died prior to his coming to America with his daughter Salome, then a young married woman, and with whom he lived and died. George Newinger’s parents owned their own home and both he and his son Michael were taught the carpenter trade as only the Germans knew it. Often they visited, or at times lived in Mulhausen and Strasbourg. They, as well as their children, were taught in the French schools. The family were Lutherans but those in America were persuaded to the Evangelical faith through the influence of the Rev. Michael Pfitzinger, an evangelist and missionary, whose mother had been acquaintance of the Newinger family in Oberkutzenhausen. The Evangelical Association purchased a house and moved it near the townline on the property presently owned by Stuart Nevinger on Route 20-A, in 1853. The building is now used as a barn on the Reed Williams farm, known to many as the Charles New farm. A new church was erected in 1865 on the present site. The records show that a camp meeting was held about 1870 in Michael (2) Nevinger’s woods north of Halls Corners. This confirms the idea that the family worshipped with this congregation.

The Newinger family was opposed to the years of compulsory military training required in Europe. They wanted better conditions for their sons. It is no secret that this wish was responsible for the fact that they did not participate in the Civil War for it was permissible to hire a substitute. The only known lad to enlist, Martin Snyder, died while in the service of his country. This served to make their convictions more firm than ever.

George (1) Nevinger was the father of three children: Salome, Michael and George.
Reference: Nevingers in America,
A Genealogical History of the Descendants of George Newinger
by Iva Waite Nevinger, Warsaw, New York, 1954

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