Remembering Our Ancestors: Ursula Mühlenhauser and the “Grüner Baum” Inn

This week Tuesday 247 years ago, our 9th (and 10th) great-grandmother Ursula Mühlenhauser passed away.  She died on the same date as one of her sons, our 9th (and 10th) great-uncle Johann Michael Pfautz, and they both died in the New World, but he died three years earlier than she did.

Ursula Mühlenhauser was born in 1682 in the village of Mosbach in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where she also met and married Hans Michael Pfautz on 10 February 1702.  The two quickly moved to Rohrbach (which is a part of Sinsheim in south-western Germany, in the Rhine Neckar Area of the state Baden-Württemberg halfway between Heidelbergand Heilbronn), where Hans Michael’s family lived and ran an inn.  Mosbach lies roughly twenty miles east of Rohrbach, and our featured image shows a chalcography of Sinsheim in the 17th century.

The village of Rohrbach was first named in a document on 1099.  It was located on the main road from Paris to Prague, a favorable trading route, and still today online mapping software will send you through Sinsheim if you search for a travelling route between the two cities.  So at one point before the 17th century, there were six inns in the village!  But the good position as a trading route was also a passage way for military forces.  Therefore, Rohrbach was heavily impacted by the multiple wars that raged in the area over the centuries.  During the Thirty Year War (1618-1648), Rohrbach was so war-ravaged that the town was unlivable for 18 years.

The inn the family owned in Rohrbach was named “Grüner Baum”, or possibly “Zum Grünen Baum”, and Ursula and Hans Michael, who had 14 children while they lived in Rohrbach, ran it together with his father Johann Michael for a while.  It appears that Johann’s grandfather Hans had first bought or built it and then passed it on to his son, and thus it continued for two more generations.  But when Ursula and Hans Michael were both 45 years old, they decided to sell the inn, take their many children and even grandchildren, and immigrate to America.  In 1727, they landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the spelling of their last name quickly morphed from Pfautz to Fouts, and even Ursula’s maiden name was changed into Millhouse.  They settled in Lancaster County, PA.

Ursula lived to be 90 years old.  She died on 14 May 1772 in Strasburg, Lancaster County, PA.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Fouts.

Hans Michael’s father Johann Michael did not immigrate with his son, for he was still in Rohrbach in 1730.  He actually was the mayor of the little town at one point.  At an official hearing concerning the state of the town after the Thirty Year War on 2 October 1730, Johann Michael Pfautz recounted “that in this time grass was grown in the rooms and houses”, but after 1648, the families returned and rebuilt their village.

There were at least five Pfautz generations (technically six) who lived in Rohrbach while they owned the “Grüner Baum“ Inn.

1) Hans Pfautz (1587 – ?), appears to have been among those who rebuilt the village after 1648, the earliest Pfautz ancestor we have record of at this time,
2) Ludwig Pfautz (1612–1672), who appears to have taken over the inn around 1657,
3) Johann Michael Pfautz (1660 – 1741), inn owner and at one point mayor of Rohrbach,
4) Hans Michael Pfautz Sr. (1682–1741), inn owner who sold the inn to pay the passage for his family to America in 1727, and
5) Hans Michael Pfautz Jr. (1709–1767).  He and his family went to America with his father in 1727.  His son Jacob Michael Pfautz, technically the 6th generation, was only 3 years old when they left Rohrbach.



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