The Happs – innkeepers in Dorfprozelten


Translation: If you would like to read this post in a different language you can click here.

For my own interest I’m summarising the inn-keeping genealogy of the Happ family in Dorfprozelten. The approximate time frame of direct descendancy is c1740-1940s.

Generation 1: Adam Happ c1690

Generation 2: (Johann) Martin Happ (Fass) and Johann Happ (Anker) c1740-1770s

Generation 3: Johann Martin Happ II (Fass) and Nikolaus Happ (Anker)

Generation 4: Eva Catharina Happ/Ulrich/Kunkel (Fass) and Michael Happ (Fröhlichkeit) 1830s-1860s

Generation 5: Jakob August Ulrich (Fass) (step-brother to my George Kunkel who emigrated to Australia) and Maria Antonia Happ/Staab (Fröhlichkeit) (three siblings, Anna, Raimund and Julius emigrated to USA) c1860-

Generation 6:  Sophie Staab/Bohlig (Fröhlichkeit) c1900 – c1940s

While the Fass continued in other hands, the Happ family’s management of it came to an end with multiple deaths due to Lungensucht in 1868. I can find no translation for the word but it seems to be a highly infectious lung disease. Jakob August Ulrich was the first to die on 19 June 1868, followed by son Karl on 1 July 1869, wife Elisabeth on 20 August 1868 and finally his mother, Eva Catharina Kunkel, on 15 October 1868. There were children who survived: Josephina (b 1852), Maria Augusta (b 1856), Lothar Jacob (b 1858), Bertha (b 1860), Ernestina Veronika (b 1863) and Georg Jacob (b 1865). All except Maria Augusta and Ernestina Veronika emigrated to the United States in the 1880s. Who took care of them in the intervening period is unknown. I wrote about their lives here and here.

A sad end to the long association of the Happs and Das Goldene Fass guesthouse in Dorfprozelten. What tragic news it must all have been to my ancestor George Kunkel when the news finally made it across the world to him. 

The Fass guesthouse was sold on 1 October 1967 to the Raiffeisenbank and the old building was demolished. In autumn 1971 a new bank was built on the site. The Anker and the Fröhlichkeit are still part of the village’s built heritage.

In Georg Veh’s book on Dorfprozelten is this poem[i], written by Agnes Bohlig, the wife, and co-innkeeper, of 7th generation Happ innkeeper, Philipp.

In der “Krone” da is gut wohne        In the Krone is a nice place to stay

Im “Stern” da sitze nur die Herrn     In the Star only the men sit (a reference to its table for the seamen’s union?)

Im “Anker” hocke die Kranke            In the Anchor the sick sit/crouch

Im “Fass” da is mers zu nass           In the Barrel it is….too wet (defeats me this one)

And nuff “die Fröhlichkeit”                  And in the Happiness

Is mer der Weg zu Weit.                 the road is too far.

I’m quite sure my translation is not accurate and there are vernacular expressions here, … even my huge German dictionary and Reverso are defeated. Feel free to jump in and correct me…it would help make sense of it all.

I am indebted to Georg Veh and the published local history for providing me with so much background information on my family in Dorfprozelten, and being generous with access to it.

[i] Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II. Veh, G, Benedict Press, 2002. Page 216.

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