Oltman Behrend Onnen, remains an unsolved mystery in my quest for family history. I do know that he was born about 1738 near Uttel, Germany, that he married Hille Catherine Badberg and that they had a least one child, Gralf Onnen who was born in 1819. At this point only his letter remains. The letter must have been a very special memento of my great grandmothers. My Father tells me that she kept the letter hidden in a small hole near the kitchen stove pipe. When she died, my grandfather retrieved the letter and it was later given to my Uncle, for safe keeping and now his sons are left to safeguard the only remaining record of this young man, who once fought against Napoleon.
And now the conclusion of the letter:
Early July 2, 1814
“The Frenchmen had blown up the bridges so we had to find some other way. The artillery fire lasted until late that night and on the 4rd the capitulated and all fighting stopped. The 4th, 5th and the 6th we stayed in our camp and on the 7th we had church services to thank the Lord that he so tenderly protected us. The theme of the sermon was: What would it prosper the people if they conquer the world and lost their soul. We sang the hymn: Praise and Thanks to God.
“We camped on the outskirts of Paris until the 10th, then we marched through Paris and beyond it, we ran into a little fort. We surrounded it from the 11th to the 15th when they flew the white flag and surrendered.
“That evening we remained in a little village between Paris and the fort. All the people had left their homes and we took quarters in them. We got plenty to eat and we lived as well as at home in Ostfriesland. Some say we are going to march toward the border of Holland or even to Ostfriesland, may God grant this to be so.
“Well, this is all I know to report now, and you dear parents, brothers and sisters and all friends and acquaintances, stay well.
“May the Lord protect you. I remain with high esteem, Your obedient son until death.
Oltman Behrend Onnen”
Oltman Behrend Onnen”
For most of us geneaholics it only takes that one look into the past to spark an interest in genealogy and the history of our families. This letter certainly provided that spark for me and continues to fuel the flame.