The Langmann family in Mecklenburg, and how they survived.....

In the Aftermath of the 30-Year War


(Drawings by Daniel Hopfer)

A few short years after the end of the Thirty-Year War died Bartholomaus Langmann’s first wife and a few months later he married 16-year-old Maria Horn. The war had laid waste to Germany by fire and by the sword and had been particularly hard on the northern lands where Swedish landsknechts still held sway, leaving only women and old men the survivors. So serious was the situation that a law had been passed allowing for polygamy, a statute that remained on the books for nearly another 100 years. Any man throughout the realm was allowed to marry up to 10 women, the only stipulation being that he ‘treat them all well’. Thus, Bartholomaus, who already had fathered eight children, added three more young ones to the family.

Young Maria was out of the Swedish noble family Horn of Kankas and therefore related to field marshall Gustaf Horn who had fought with distinction against the imperial armies under Albrecht Wallenstein and Johann Claes Tilly.

Sweden had annexed Mecklenburg and parts of Pommern, and in the southwest, in the Rhineland and Bavaria, the French freebooter armies had scourged the countryside, leaving the civil population to perish from hunger, bitter cold winters and the pestilence war had brought along. The greater part of the German empire lay in ruins, and even large parts of the kingdom of Denmark were not spared during the Swedish wars that continued into the 1650s and the 1660s. When relative peace finally arrived, a stalemate had been reached between the Catholic emperor in Vienna and the Protestant rulers of France, Sweden, Denmark and a number of small northern German principalities.

Bartholomaus graduated in 1624 with a doctorate from the University of Koenigsberg. He had also attended the universities at Rostock and Greifswald. His paternal grandfather had been a school superintendant at Wismar in Mecklenburg and from that city other branches of the family spread out to Lubeck, Wittenburg, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. Others went to Sweden and the northeastern Baltic provinces and as far north as Finland. Many individual members of the family were churchmen and teachers, while others were shipwrights, merchants and senators (city councilors) and a few, like Barthol's son Christoph, were military men.

During the two centuries that followed this harrowing war living conditions in the Baltic provinces did not improve all that much and it is interesting to note the number of emigrants--entire extended families--leaving for the 'Land of the Free' during the mid 19th century.

About the family More about the family Still more about the family The Horns of Furstensee The Horns of Kankas

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