Meaning of the surname, Lehrer
The surname Lehrer is topographical and derives from the pre 7th-century Germanic word Lehr which is akin to the English Leah, and as such describes an enclosure suitable for agriculture or possibly a water meadow, one which was flooded in winter but dried out for summer grazing. There are several places in Southern Germany and Austria called Lehr.
One of the early recordings of the term as a surname is that of Johannes Lehr which appears in the 1695 charter of the town of Ennetach, not far from the town of Saulgau whose local rulers included Ennetach among their holdings.
The first historical reference to the ancient Celtic settlement of Saulgau itself dates back to 819. Due to the hot springs there, it had been named by the Celts after their spring-goddess, Sulis. In 1299 Saulgau became a possession of the House of Habsburg and thus part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Napoleonic Era, Saulgau was given to the Kingdom of Wirtemberg [Württemberg in present-day German]. As such, the region around Saulgau in the Kingdom of Wirtemberg is the most probable place where the progenitors of the Lehrer Family, Johannes Lehrer and his wife Katherine, originated.
The Kingdom of Wirtemberg: birthplace of Johannes Lehrer
The Kingdom of Wirtemberg during the early 19th Century
On January 1, 1806 Duke Frederick II of the Duchy of Wirtemberg assumed the title of king. As King Frederick I, he abolished the constitution, and united all of the lands in his possession. Subsequently Frederick placed the property of the Lutheran Church under the control of the state. In the same year he joined the Confederation of the Rhine and received further additions of territory containing 160,000 inhabitants; a little later, through concessions made at Peace of Vienna in October 1809, about 110,000 more persons came under Frederick’s rule. In return for these favors Frederick joined Napoleon Bonaparte in his campaigns against Prussia, Austria and Russia, but of 16,000 of his subjects who marched to Moscow, only a few hundred returned. Then, after the Battle of Leipzig (October 1813), King Frederick deserted the waning fortunes of the French emperor, and by a treaty made with Prince Metternich at Fulda in November 1813, he secured the confirmation of his royal title and of his recent acquisitions of territory, while his troops marched with those of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor into France. In 1815 the king joined the German Confederation, the Congress of Vienna making no changes in the extent of Duke Frederick’s lands. In the same year he laid before the representatives of his people the outline of a new constitution, but they rejected this, and in the midst of the commotion Frederick died (October 30, 1816).
At once the new king, William I (reigned 1816-1864) took up the constitutional question, and after much discussion granted a new constitution in September 1819. A period of quietness now set in, and the condition of the kingdom, its education, its agriculture, its trade, and its manufactures, began to receive earnest attention, while by frugality, both in public and in private matters, King William I helped to repair the shattered finances of the country. But the desire for greater political freedom did not entirely fade away under the constitution of 1819, and after 1830 a certain amount of unrest occurred. And it was during this period (between 1839 and 1841) that Johannes Lehrer, his wife Katharine, and their baby Catharine emigrated from the Kingdom of Wirtemberg to Philadelphia, PA.
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