Pokud se vám stránky nezobrazují správně, zkuste použít jiný internetový prohlížeč.

Solomon Haliță (1859–1926) 

Obrázek1

Image source: here.

Maxim Haliță (1826–1893) came from a border guards family in Sângeorz Băi (Sângeorzul Român, Oláhszentgyörgy). He started as a village teacher during the 1840s, then served in the 17th (2nd Romanian) Border Guards Regiment during the Revolution of 18481849. After the military border system in the area was decommissioned he started a career in local administration: village notary (1851–1872), clerk to the district sheriff’s office (1873–1873), district sheriff (1873–1875), royal head-postman (1875–1889). In 1852 he married Ileana Ciocan (adopted by the family Isipoaie), and fathered four children: Elisabeta (1853–1915), Axente (1856–1865), Solomon (1859–1926) and Alexandru (1862–1933). (more, here)

His children were part of the first generation of young people who benefited from financial support for their studies, provided by the Border Guards’ Funds, an institution created following the decommission of the military border. 

Elisabeta studied at the girls’ school in Năsăud (Naszód), then in Bistrița (Bistritz, Beszterce) and married Grigore Marica, a priest from Coșna – a nearby village. In 1879, her husband died after being accidentally wounded by her brother, Solomon Haliță (20 years old at the time), while returning from a hunting trip. As a consequence, Solomon vowed not to marry and have children, but to raise his three orphaned nephews, which he did, supporting them throughout their life. (more, here)

The youngest son, Alexander, studied Greek-Catholic Theology at Gherla (Szamosújvár) (1884–1888) and Letters at the Francis Joseph University in Cluj (Kolozsvár) (1888–1893). He was a teacher at the Highschool in Năsăud (1891–1911, 1920–1928), as well as parish priest of Năsăud and curate of Rodna (1911–1920). (more, here)

The best-known member of the family, however, was to become Solomon Haliță. He studied at the Highschool in Năsăud, where he distinguished himself and was also actively involved in the school’s literary societies (both the authorized and the secret ones). These societies were at the time a hotbed of Romanian nationalism and some of Haliță’s colleagues (Ioan Macavei (18591894), Corneliu Pop Păcurariu (18581904)) would later become journalists of the radical nationalist political newspaper “Tribuna”, and would spend time in prison for their articles. Haliță went on to study History and Philosophy, and Pedagogy at the University in Vienna, where he joined the Romanian Students’ Society “România Jună”, but also a smaller literary club called “Arborele” (The Tree), of only 17 members. The main objective of this club was to spread the cultural ideas from the Old Kingdom of Romania (in particular those of the “Junimea” Society) among the Romanians in Transylvania. (more, here) It is worth noting that more than half of its members later became public figures in the Romanian cultural and political milieu, and at least one of them (Septimiu Albini) linked up with Haliță’s former high school mates in the editorial office of “Tribuna”, and later also served time for press offences. (more, here)

After completing his studies in 1883, Haliță had difficulties finding a tenured teaching position back home, although, truth be told, he did not seem to have the patience to wait for an opening, as he emigrated very soon to Romania. In 1890 he renounced his Hungarian citizenship and became a citizen of the Kingdom of Romania. Between 1883 and 1919 he worked as a secondary school teacher in various towns, while at the same time building a bureaucratic career in the field of Public Education: 1889–1891, member of the General [i.e., National] Council of Instruction; 1896–1899, 1901–1904, 1907–1911, and 1914–1919 General Inspector of Schools. Much of his success was owed to the good relationship he developed with Spiru Haret, an important liberal reformer of education in early 20th century Romania. (more, here)

During the First World War, and especially during the retreat of the Romanian political authorities to Iași (1916–1918) Haliță developed even closer ties with representatives of the National Liberal Party, and in particular with Prime Minister, Ion I.C. Brătianu. Thus, he slowly shifted from being just an efficient and well-regarded bureaucrat in the field of Education to handling more sensitive political issues. In October 1918, he played the role of intercessor between the Romanian delegates from Transylvania and the Romanian government. He was then sent back to Transylvania to accompany Brătianu’s messages of political and military support and took part, in this capacity, at the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia on 1 December 1918. (more, here) This privileged position explains his temporary appointment as prefect of Iași in 1919. (more, here)

Between 1920 and 1922 Haliță returned to Transylvania as General (i.e., Regional) Inspector of Schools. In 1922 he was appointed prefect of his home county, Năsăud (Bistrița-Năsăud after 1925), an office he held until the fall of the Liberal government in April 1926. It was the peak of his career, something nobody would have envisioned forty years earlier, when he had left the same county as an émigré due to not finding a tenured teaching position. He died a few months later, on 1 December 1926.

Solomon Haliță’s career highlights the opportunities for social mobility opened up by the financial support for education in the former Austrian military border area, due to the transformation of regimental funds into educational and scholarship funds. It also illustrates the constant migration of Romanian university graduates from Austria-Hungary to Romania, which populated the civil service of the latter with highly qualified personnel, at all levels and in all branches of activity. Last but not least, it shows how the combination between professionalism and personal relationships (also built along professional lines), helped maintain a high bureaucratic position despite the changes in government, and how political support helped the leap from the ministerial bureaucracy to the administrative and political elite.

 

Literature

Septimiu Albini, Direcția nouă în Ardeal. Constatări și amintiri, in vol. Lui Ion Bianu amintire. Din partea foștilor și actualilor funcționari ai Academiei Române la împlinirea a șasezeci de ani, București, 1916. (here)

Alexandru Dărăban, Maxim Haliță – locuitor de frunte din Sângeorgiul Român, în „Arhiva Someșană”, XV, 2017. (here)

Alexandru Dărăban (ed.), Solomon Haliță, om al epocii sale, Cluj–Napoca, Mega, 2015. (here)

Ironim Marţian, Figuri de dascăli năsăudeni şi bistriţeni, Editura Napoca Star, Cluj–Napoca, 2002.

Adrian Onofreiu, Ana Maria Băndean, Prefecții județului Bistrița–Năsăud (1919–1950; 1990–2014). Ipostaze, imagini, mărturii, Bistrița, Charmides, 2014.

Grigore Pletosu, Moarte prin puşcă, în „Telegraful Român”, XXVII, 1879, nr. 91, 7 august, p. 359. (here)

Mara Lőrinc of Felsőszálláspatak/Sălașu de Sus was born in 1823 in Székelyföldvár/ Războieni-Cetate (by then in the Székely seat of Aranyos/Arieș, Transylvania). 

Mara

His grandfather, bearing the same name, was assessor at the Royal Judicial Court of Transylvania. An uncle bearing the same name was officer during the Napoleonic Wars. His father, József, was provincial commissioner and later on royal judge of the respective seat, but the family also held land properties in Hunyad/Hunedoara county. He had seven children: six boys (Miklós, Lőrinc, Károly, Gábor, Sándor and György) and one girl (Ágnes, married to baron Kemény István)

Mara Lőrinc followed a military career, he graduated from the Imperial and Royal Technical Military Academy (k.u.k. Technische Militärakademie, further reading here) and served as Junior Lieutenant in the Székely Border Guards Regiment from Csíkszereda/Miercurea Ciuc. During the 1848–1849 Revolution he served as captain in the Hungarian Honvéd Army, together with other members of the extended family (e.g., here), for which he was initially sentenced to death, but later pardoned after four years of imprisonment at Olomouc/Olmütz. In the 1860s he entered political life, as district sheriff (szolgabíró) and county commissioner (alispán). As a follower of Tisza Kálmán’s (1830–1902) party, and after two unsuccessful candidacies he finally managed to obtain a parliamentary seat in 1875, in the constituency of Hátszeg/Hațeg (in which the family estates were situated), after his party’s coming to power. He represented the constituency between 1875 and 1886 (see here), and died in 1893.

 

Mara Lőrinc was an epitome of Tisza Kálmán’s “mamelukes” – as the supporters of the Hungarian Liberal Party were called at the time – and the literary works of Mikszáth Kálmán (1847–1910) shed some light on the intricacies of his relationship with the voters, most of them Romanian villagers. Mikszáth recounts that, when one of the opposition’s candidates Kaas Ivor (1842–1910) and his supporters (some local Armenian merchants and the family of the ex-Prime Minister Lónyay Menyhért (1822–1884) tried to bribe the voters by means of bank checks instead of the usual cash in hand, Mara’s electoral agents redeemed to the villagers the bank checks’ value in cash and with this, he won the elections by making use mostly of his opponent’s money and supported by the supposedly nationally entrenched Romanians. At the time (1881), the story made its way in the regional and central newspapers, which might be the original source of Mikszáth’s story. Three years later, on the eve of a new election, a delegation of Romanian voters came to see their representative. He greeted them and asked about their wishes and requests for the upcoming elections, only to find out that they were humbly asking him to provide… a counter-candidate. When the mesmerized deputy asked for the purpose of such a request, the villagers’ leader replied: “…well, to have some joy in the district.” The trope of the voters asking for a counter-candidate mainly for the purpose of raising the stake of the electoral bribe is rather frequent in the time’s literature and press, here however it was used for underlining the connection between a local patron and his pool of voters. In Mikszáth’s story, Mara granted them this wish too. Historical sources show that Mara went on for another mandate, with the counter-candidate (Kemény Miklós) only getting seven votes.

 

As all literary sources, Mikszáth’s story was probably built around a grain of truth, despite the author’s inevitable fictional contribution. The story sheds some light not only on the voting practices of the time, but also on the voters’ expectations (i.e. the electoral campaign as a moment of feast and joy) and on the paternalistic relations enhanced by political needs.

One of his sons, also bearing the name Lőrinc, was an architect. He was married to Berta Zalandak.

Another son, László Mara, was Lord Lieutenant of Hunyad County during the First World War. In this capacity, he intervened for the liberation of a Romanian lawyer and reserve officer named Gheorghe Dubleșiu, who was imprisoned due to his nationalist rhetoric. A few years later, under the Romanian rule, Gheorghe Dubleșiu would become Prefect (i.e., Lord Lieutenant) of the Hunyad County in 1920 and between 19221926.

 

Sources:

Press

“A Hon”, XIX, 1881, 6 July, no. 184.

“Magyar Polgár”, XV, 1881, 5 July, no. 150, p. 1;

 

Literature

Mikszáth Kálmán, “Összes műve. Cikkek és karcolatok (51–86. kötet). 1883 Parlamenti karcolatok (68. kötet). A t. házból [márc. 9.]. IV. A Mara Lőrinc emberei”, electronic edition on https://www.arcanum.hu; 

Lajos Kelemen, A felsőszálláspataki Marák családi krónikája, Genealógiai Füzetek, 1912, pp. 97-10;

József Szinnyei, “Magyar írók élete és munkái”, electronic edition on https://www.arcanum.hu.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

At the end of the 18th century, this was not an unusual sight. On 27 July 1796 in a church in the South Bohemian town of Kdyně, the then thirty-seven-year-old Regional Commissioner Franz Merkl (1759–1829) and the eighteen-year-old daughter of an estate inspector Theresie Dalquen (1778–1868) stood side by side. Franz was not getting married for the first time, he was a widower, but apparently had no children from his first marriage. As a well-placed civil servant, he certainly made an interesting match for unmarried ladies and their parents. But the marriage of Franz and Therese was, after all, rather exceptional for its time. It produced ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood and most of whom died at a ripe old age. This was quite rare at a time when, on average, a quarter of the children born did not live to see their first birthday. Equally unusual was that nine out of the ten children were sons. Franz’s career also developed very promisingly, later he rose from a Regional Commissioner to Governor’s Councillor, and in 1811 he was knighted, a title which was subsequently also used by his sons. Franz died in Mladá Boleslav in 1829, his wife surviving him by almost 40 years.

Franz Merkl’s career was inextricably linked to the pre-March administrative system, in which Franz, the son of a Viennese tailor, achieved an extraordinary social rise. He was undoubtedly aware of the importance of a proper education in terms of social status, which was also reflected in the upbringing of his children. As many as four of his sons achieved important positions as senior civil servants, serving as District Administrators or District Captains. His fifth son advanced even further in his career, becoming the Land President of Silesia.

Like his father, the firstborn son Bernard (1797–1857), born on 29 June 1797 in Kout in Šumava, embarked on a successful career path by starting his career as a civil servant. At the age of 21, he started to work as a Trainee Official in the regional office in Mladá Boleslav and after 11 years he obtained the position of Supernumerary Regional Commissioner. Attaining this position provided him with sufficient means to look for a bride. On 16 August 1830 he married Agnes Römisch (1804–1855), daughter of the owner of the Malá Skála estate. Their marriage produced three children – the elder daughter and son unfortunately died in infancy, but the youngest, Jan Merkl (1847–1922), became chief engineer at the Vítkovice ironworks. In the following years Bernard rose up on the career ladder and achieved his first career peak in 1846 as a Regional Commissioner of Ist class. Unlike his father, who worked in various places, this phase of Bernard’s career was firmly tied to Mladá Boleslav. And it might well have remained so if it had not been for the revolution of 1848 and the associated changes in various spheres of life of the Austrian Monarchy. One of these changes consisted in the transformation of the political administration. In 1849, Bernard became a District Captain in Chotěboř, where after six years he reached the post of District Administrator. He died in office in 1857.   

The second-born son of Franz Merkl and his wife Theresie was also named Franz (1799–1878). He was born in his father’s following place of work – the town of Slaný.  We do not have much information about his life. He joined the army, where he attained the rank of captain, and died unmarried in Prague at the age of 79.

Their third son, Karel (1800–1870) was again born in Kout in Šumava. Like his brother Franz, he embarked on a career as a soldier and became a colonel in the Austrian army.  Karel also did not marry and died in Prague in 1870.

After the birth of their first three children, the Merkl family moved again to Slaný, where on 11 December 1801 the twins Edmund and Heinrich were born. Not only did the boys survive their birth, which in itself was a small miracle, but in adulthood they both became senior civil servants like their father. Heinrich Merkl (1801–1874), after studying law at the University of Vienna and Prague, obtained a post as a Trainee Official in the town of Jičín. Like his father, he held several different offices, but twenty years later it was again in Jičín that he became a Regional Commissioner. He reached the peak of his career in 1855 as district chief in Hradec Králové. Unlike his father, however, he did not marry and died before his sixty-first birthday in Prague.

Unlike Heinrich, his brother Edmund (1801–1862) married no less than four times. At the age of 22 he joined the regional office in České Budějovice as a Trainee Official. He did not even wait to be promoted before getting married for the first time – in 1831 he married Antonie Stulíková (1806–1835), the daughter of an innkeeper. However, four years later, Edmund became widowed. More than six years after he got married a second time, in 1842, to Vilemína Křepinská (1823–1945), the daughter of a postmaster. But even his second marriage did not last very long, as Vilemína died after three years. This time Edmund did not mourn for too long and the very next year he married for the third time, Amalie Pazourková (1826–1851), the daughter of a “Justiziar” from Plzeň, i.e. an official with legal education. The third marriage lasted for five years, until Amalie’s death in 1851. Eight years later, Edmund entered into his last marriage. The bride, Matilda Křepinská (1828–1868) was not only 26 years younger than her groom, she was also the younger sister of Edmund’s second wife, Vilemína. It is also not without interest that another of the sisters, Klementina Křepinská (*1831), married Alois Josef Mascha (1816–1888), who also served first as a district chief and in the 1870s held the post of District Captain in Chrudim. Merkel’s fourth marriage lasted the longest – ten years. However, neither Matilda survived her husband, dying six years before him, so Edmund died a four-time widower.   

Let us also look at the fate of Edmund’s other siblings.  On 10 March 1804, the Merkls had their sixth child, their only daughter Katerina (1804–1824). Of all her siblings, she died at the youngest age,  when she was only twenty, so she did not even have time to marry.

Her brother, August Merkl (1807–1883), was born on 14 May 1807 in another of his father’s places of work, the town of Mladá Boleslav. Like his father and some of his brothers, he embarked on a civil servant career, attaining the post of Land President in Silesia. He  married Adelheid (1818–1882) from the noble family of von Sturm zu Hirschfeld. They married in what is now Kolomyja, Ukraine, which in the 19th century was part of the Habsburg monarchy along with the whole of Galicia. The marriage produced two children, who were already born in Lvov. Daughter Therese (1838–1880) married Josef von Mensshengen (1830–1891), a Silesian Governmental Councillor, and son Bohuslav (1835–1904) became a military officer. He eventually died in Hvar, Croatia. As for August himself, at the end of his life he first lived in Vienna, but died in Innsbruck.

The eighth son, Friedrich (1808–1886), was born in Mladá Boleslav on 29 June 1808. The army became his destiny, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Military Cross of Merit for his achievements. He too never married and died in Prague in 1886.

It was also in Mladá Boleslav where a year later – exactly on 5 November 1809 – another son of the Merkls, Albrecht (1809–1860), was born. He attained the rank of colonel in the General staff, but unlike his other brothers, he managed to combine military service with family life. He married Karoline Baumgärtner (1820–1891) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their daughter Matylda (1848–1937) married Karl Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1838–1897), a historian who was professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the son of the famous composer. Compared to his brothers Albrecht died quite young – he died in Prague at the age of fifty.

The last child the Merkls had was Wilhelm (1815–1892), born on 1 October 1815 in Mladá Boleslav. Wilhelm also chose a career as a civil servant and worked his way up to become a District Captain in Jasło, a town in the southeast of present-day Poland. In the 19th century, however, the town was under the administration of the Austrian Empire, along with the whole of Galicia. Wilhelm found a bride among the Polish nobility and in 1848 he married Josefina Gruszczynska (1825–1878). Their sons also achieved important positions within the Austrian administration. Wilhelm died in 1892.

The story of the Merkl family is very interesting both demographically and socially. Their unusually favourable mortality condition applied not only in childhood; five of Franz Merkl‘s nine sons died after they had reached the age of seventy, which was also unusual at that time. At the same time, mostly all of the Merkl siblings had successful professional careers. Interestingly, they only took two paths – either they became civil servants like their father or they joined the army. Although Franz Merkl had acquired a noble title, he did not possess a family fortune from which at least one of his sons could live. Therefore, his descendants had to provide for their own financial needs. The family history of the Merkls also shows the immense size of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century. Looking at today’s map, it would appear that the brothers were active in four different countries – the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Ukraine – but in fact all the time they were on the territory of the Austrian Empire.

In the second half of the 19th century, Georg Adolf Streer von Streeruwitz, the postmaster of the town of Stříbro (Mies) in West Bohemia, became one of the longest serving members of the Bohemian Diet. Although he boasted a knighthood, he did not belong among the many representatives of the newly ennobled clerical or military nobility; the Streeruwitzs traced their origins to the descendants of one of the participants in the crusade against the Hussites, dispersed during the Battle of Tachov. Their ancestral seat was at the fortress, and later castle, of Kopetzen, near Prostiboř in the Tachov region. The line from which Georg Adolf descended was linked to the nearby mining town of Stříbro. The deputy’s grandfather ended his successful career in the civil service as a court counsellor at the unified Czech-Austrian Chancellery in Vienna. As for his father Anton (1787–1855), he spent his youth in the early 19th century as an officer in various armies fighting against Napoleon, later took part in the fighting in Latin America under the leadership of Simon Bolívar and even joined the Greek uprising against the Ottoman Empire. In his old age he returned to his home town of Stříbro, where he took over the local hereditary post office. 

streeruwitzadolf

Picture from Wikipedia.

Postmasters belonged among traditional local notables. Although their profession was slowly dying out since, as the postal network developed, hereditary or contract postmasters in smaller settlements were replaced by state post offices, including postal employees at the level of civil servants, this was a relatively slow-going process, which affected Stříbro only at the very end of the 19th century. Until then, the local post office had been run by the Streeruwitz family as local burghers who received an exactly agreed amount from the state as remuneration for providing their neighbours with a connection to the world. After he returned from his journeys around the world, Anton married in 1815, but given his other adventures it seems likely that the first child that can be traced in the Stříbro parish registers was indeed the first child of that marriage, even though it was born only in 1820, five years after the wedding. After his first wife died in 1826, Anton married three more times; his son Georg Adolf, the future deputy, was born into his third marriage in 1828.

Eventually, children from three different marriages grew up side by side, since Anton’s second marriage lasted only a short time and the only son born into it died soon after birth. At least two of Anton’s sons followed in his footsteps and chose a military career: Johann Karl (1831–1903) embarked on the career of an artillery officer, reached the rank of colonel and in the end died unmarried in his hometown. Anton Emil’s (b. 1837) career was much more tortuous and he can safely be described as the black sheep of the family: after he was convicted of embezzling military funds, he was demoted and dismissed from the army. He wandered around Lower Austria as a beggar and appeared several times before the Vienna Regional Court accused of various thefts, which the newspapers did not fail to point out in connection with his publicly known brother, the deputy.

Two other sons of Anton’s were involved in mining, which had a long tradition in their native region, and, incidentally, one of their father’s wives was the daughter of a local mining official. Robert (b. 1835)  is listed in the Prague police application register as a mine administrator and editor of a specialist mining newspaper, while his brother Wilhelm Heinrich (1833–1916) seems to have inherited his father’s adventurous nature and decided to move to the United States after studying at the technical university in Prague. He first worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania and in 1876 moved to Texas. Although he became a respected geologist and a member of numerous professional societies, he died in Houston in 1916 without funds and probably without descendants.

As for the other brothers, we have no documents about their fates, and it is therefore possible that the only successor of the family, who also took over the hereditary postmaster’s office, was Georg Adolf. The fact that he was respected and recognized in the town and its surroundings is evidenced not only by his repeated election as a member of the provincial assembly and later also of the Imperial Council, but also by the fact that for many years he held the office of mayor of the town of Stříbro as well as that of the district mayor of the entire self-governing district. Within a few decades, Adolf Streer von Streeruwitz had thus concentrated in his hands all the key administrative and representative offices in the city and the district. He had considerable influence on local affairs and through this combination of offices and functions he was clearly able to gain numerous advantages for his town, including the establishment of a state grammar school.

The father’s influence was also reflected in the careers and destinies of his children. Adolf’s eldest son Johann Alfred (b. 1856) took over the hereditary post office and became the mayor of Stříbro at the beginning of the 20th century, while his daughter Zdenka married a local politician and medical doctor Viktor Michl (1865–1927), who after the introduction of universal suffrage became member of the Austrian Imperial Council as a deputy for the German-speaking districts of West Bohemia. Adolf’s other sons, Ottokar Johann (1859–1927) and Ernest Joseph (1874–1952), chose a military career. Both became officers in the Austro-Hungarian army, but Ernest had to leave his promising military career due to a serious illness. It was only with the outbreak of the First World War that he voluntarily returned to the army and worked as a clerk at the Ministry of War. After the world conflict ended, he opted for (German)Austrian citizenship and remained in Vienna. Thanks to his involvement in industrial organisations, he was elected a member of the Austrian National Council for the Christian Social Party and in 1929 for a few months he even became Federal Chancellor of the interwar Austrian Republic.

The name Streeruwitz was associated with Stříbro until the end of the Second World War, when the memory of the former local elite vanished with the population that left. Today, only a grave by the wall of the cemetery in Stříbro commemorates them.

Lothar HÖBELT, Ernst von Streeruwitz 1874–1952. Ein österreichischer Bundeskanzler aus (West-)Böhmen, in: Bohemia Occidentalis Historica 3, 2017, 15–29. (https://dspace5.zcu.cz/bitstream/11025/34424/1/Hobelt.pdf)

Ernst von STREERUWITZ, Wie es war. Erinnerungen und Erlebnisse eines alten Österreichers, Wien 1934.

https://www.muzeum-stribro.cz/stare-stribro/rodaci-a-obcane-/streer-adolf-von-streeruwitz-134cs.html (accessed on 18 November 2022)

Elie Dăianu was a prominent member of the Romanian elite in Transylvania in the first half of the 20th century. Although he had a rich ecclesiastical, publishing, cultural and political activity, he received little attention from historians, remaining somewhat in an undeserved shadow. Elie Dăianu was born on 9 March 1868 in the village of Cut, Alba county. His parents, Iosif Dăianu and Ana Dăianu née Munteanu, were wealthy peasants (his father was a mayor).

Elie_Daianu_img7Elie Dăianu

Elie_Daianu_protopope Daianu his parents and his sister 1890

Dianu, his parents and his sister, 1890

Elie Dăianu began his studies at the village school, then continued them in Sibiu and Blaj, where he took his baccalaureate in 1888. Among his teachers in Blaj were famous Romanian scholars like Timotei Cipariu (1805–1887) and Ioan Micu Moldovan (1833–1915). Elie Dăianu then went to university in Graz and Budapest, graduating in Theology and Letters; he also obtained his doctorate in Budapest, also in Letters. Elie Dăianu was the only one of his brothers to pursue an intellectual career (he had three sisters and two brothers who remained peasants).

In 1897 Elie Dăianu married Ana Totoianu who came from a family of priests from Micești, Alba county, with whom he had two children, Ioachim Leo and Lucia Monica. Unfortunately, his wife died in 1900, shortly after the birth of his daughter (later, his son Ioachim Dăianu was to make a career as a diplomat, working in various places such as chargé d’affaires at the Romanian embassy in Riga, counsellor at the Romanian embassy in Moscow, Romanian consul general in Tirana etc.).

Elie Dăianu began his cultural and political carreer as a student. While in Budapest as a doctoral student in 1893, Dăianu was elected president of the “Petru Maior” Society, together with Iuliu Maniu (1873–1953) vice-president, Aurel Vlad (1875–1953), Octavian Beju, Octavian Vassu (1873–1935), Axente Banciu (1875–1959). In April 1894, together with Valer Moldovan (1875–1954), Ilie Cristea (1868–1939) (future Orthodox patriarch), Iuliu Maniu and Aurel Vlad, he participated in the Student Congress in Constanța, about which he wrote in the newspaper “Dreptatea”, under the pseudonym Edda; in May of the same year he was part of the press office of the Memorandum process, led by Dr. Vasile Lucaciu (1852–1922) and Septimiu Albini (1861–1919).

After finishing his studies, Elie Dăianu worked for a year (1895) as an editor at the newspaper Dreptatea in Timișoara, then, assigned by Ioan Rațiu (1828–1902), he became director of the “Tribuna” in Sibiu, which he directed between 1896 and 1900. For the next two years, until the summer of 1902, Elie Dăianu was professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology in Blaj. In August 1902 he was appointed priest and protopope of Cluj, a position he held until his retirement in 1930. At the same time, he carried out an intense cultural and political activity. In addition to articles on important current issues, he published writings and translations of literature, history, philosophy and poetry in numerous newspapers from Bucharest, Budapest, Cluj, Sibiu, Arad, Brașov etc; in 1903 he founded a new magazine in Cluj, “Răvașul”.

Elie Dăianu was an important member of the Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and Culture (ASTRA), founded in 1861 in Sibiu as the first central cultural institution of the Romanians of Transylvania, which played an important role in the cultural and political emancipation of the Romanian nation in Transylvania. Elie Dăianu was first a scholarship holder of ASTRA while he was a student in Blaj; later, he became involved in ASTRA’s activities, wrote educational brochures and books, held popular conferences, and even became a member of its Central Committee.

Before 1918, when Transylvania was still part of Hungary, the ideas expressed by Elie Dăianu in newspapers were considered provocative by the Hungarian authorities who sentenced him to one year in prison in Cluj and then to deportation to Sopron in Hungary. The end of the war and the union of Transylvania with Romania brought an end to Elie Dăianu’s exile.

He participated in the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia as a delegate of the Cluj diocese; at the same time, he was the president of one of the electoral circles in Cluj that appointed delegates to this assembly. Later he joined the People’s Party, together with Octavian Goga (1888–1938) and Vasile Goldiș (1862–1934), being elected deputy in the Romanian Parliament in 1920 and vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies; the president was Duiliu Zamfirescu (1858–1922), former collaborator of his magazine “Răvașul” from Cluj. He was involved in politics until 1926, serving several terms as deputy and senator. At the same time, from 1921 to 1938, Elie Dăianu was a member of the Historical Monuments Commission - Section for Transylvania, which had the task of cataloguing and monitoring architectural and artistic monuments.

After his retirement, Elie Dăianu continued to publish articles on literature, history, theology, etc. In the last part of his life, he suffered material hardship due to the withdrawal of his pension by the communist regime on the pretext that he was a forest owner. In his later years he was supported by his son Ioachim, who was also living modestly after his diplomatic career was ended by the communist regime.

 

Sources:

 

Literature:

Valentin Orga, Din zile de detenție. Însemnările lui Elie Dăianu din anii 1917–1918, in “Revista Bistriţei”, XVII, 2003, P· 247–265.

Ilie Moise, Ilie Dăianu şi spiritul Blajului, in “Transilvania”, 5/2010, p. 73–78.

Gheorghe Naghi, Din însemnările inedite ale dr. Elie Dăianu (1917–1918), in “Ziridava”, XI, 1979, p. 1089–1097.

Robert Marcel Hart, Raluca Maria Viman, Un mare cărturar și publicist ardelean: Elie Dăianu (1868–1956), in “Caiete de Antropologie Istorică”, 2018, p. 42–50.

 

Press :

“Gazeta Transilvaniei” no 180/18 August 1902.

“Răvașul” no. 4/23 ianuarie 1904.

Mara Lőrinc of Felsőszálláspatak/Sălașu de Sus was born in 1823 in Székelyföldvár/ Războieni-Cetate (by then in the Székely seat of Aranyos/Arieș, Transylvania). 

Mara

His grandfather, bearing the same name, was assessor at the Royal Judicial Court of Transylvania. An uncle bearing the same name was officer during the Napoleonic Wars. His father, József, was provincial commissioner and later on royal judge of the respective seat, but the family also held land properties in Hunyad/Hunedoara county. He had seven children: six boys (Miklós, Lőrinc, Károly, Gábor, Sándor and György) and one girl (Ágnes, married to baron Kemény István)

Mara Lőrinc followed a military career, he graduated from the Imperial and Royal Technical Military Academy (k.u.k. Technische Militärakademie, further reading here) and served as Junior Lieutenant in the Székely Border Guards Regiment from Csíkszereda/Miercurea Ciuc. During the 1848–1849 Revolution he served as captain in the Hungarian Honvéd Army, together with other members of the extended family (e.g., here), for which he was initially sentenced to death, but later pardoned after four years of imprisonment at Olomouc/Olmütz. In the 1860s he entered political life, as district sheriff (szolgabíró) and county commissioner (alispán). As a follower of Tisza Kálmán’s (1830–1902) party, and after two unsuccessful candidacies he finally managed to obtain a parliamentary seat in 1875, in the constituency of Hátszeg/Hațeg (in which the family estates were situated), after his party’s coming to power. He represented the constituency between 1875 and 1886 (see here), and died in 1893.

 

Mara Lőrinc was an epitome of Tisza Kálmán’s “mamelukes” – as the supporters of the Hungarian Liberal Party were called at the time – and the literary works of Mikszáth Kálmán (1847–1910) shed some light on the intricacies of his relationship with the voters, most of them Romanian villagers. Mikszáth recounts that, when one of the opposition’s candidates Kaas Ivor (1842–1910) and his supporters (some local Armenian merchants and the family of the ex-Prime Minister Lónyay Menyhért (1822–1884) tried to bribe the voters by means of bank checks instead of the usual cash in hand, Mara’s electoral agents redeemed to the villagers the bank checks’ value in cash and with this, he won the elections by making use mostly of his opponent’s money and supported by the supposedly nationally entrenched Romanians. At the time (1881), the story made its way in the regional and central newspapers, which might be the original source of Mikszáth’s story. Three years later, on the eve of a new election, a delegation of Romanian voters came to see their representative. He greeted them and asked about their wishes and requests for the upcoming elections, only to find out that they were humbly asking him to provide… a counter-candidate. When the mesmerized deputy asked for the purpose of such a request, the villagers’ leader replied: “…well, to have some joy in the district.” The trope of the voters asking for a counter-candidate mainly for the purpose of raising the stake of the electoral bribe is rather frequent in the time’s literature and press, here however it was used for underlining the connection between a local patron and his pool of voters. In Mikszáth’s story, Mara granted them this wish too. Historical sources show that Mara went on for another mandate, with the counter-candidate (Kemény Miklós) only getting seven votes.

 

As all literary sources, Mikszáth’s story was probably built around a grain of truth, despite the author’s inevitable fictional contribution. The story sheds some light not only on the voting practices of the time, but also on the voters’ expectations (i.e. the electoral campaign as a moment of feast and joy) and on the paternalistic relations enhanced by political needs.

One of his sons, also bearing the name Lőrinc, was an architect. He was married to Berta Zalandak.

Another son, László Mara, was Lord Lieutenant of Hunyad County during the First World War. In this capacity, he intervened for the liberation of a Romanian lawyer and reserve officer named Gheorghe Dubleșiu, who was imprisoned due to his nationalist rhetoric. A few years later, under the Romanian rule, Gheorghe Dubleșiu would become Prefect (i.e., Lord Lieutenant) of the Hunyad County in 1920 and between 19221926.

 

Sources:

Press

“A Hon”, XIX, 1881, 6 July, no. 184.

“Magyar Polgár”, XV, 1881, 5 July, no. 150, p. 1;

 

Literature

Mikszáth Kálmán, “Összes műve. Cikkek és karcolatok (51–86. kötet). 1883 Parlamenti karcolatok (68. kötet). A t. házból [márc. 9.]. IV. A Mara Lőrinc emberei”, electronic edition on https://www.arcanum.hu; 

Lajos Kelemen, A felsőszálláspataki Marák családi krónikája, Genealógiai Füzetek, 1912, pp. 97-10;

József Szinnyei, “Magyar írók élete és munkái”, electronic edition on https://www.arcanum.hu.