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History of the
Klinger Family

Curt R. Vincentz
Formerly from Hanover, Germany

Printed by
Oliver C. Klinger,
descendant John Philip Klinger
1217 Hudson Boulevard, Bayonne, N.J. and
Klingertown, Pa.

July 1948 Page Link  -  PDF File

Merged Pages

History of the Klinger Family
By Curt R. Vincentz, Printed by Oliver C. Klinger (1948)
Rough translation by Robert Klinger

   The Klinger family has its origin in the Odenwald, and has borne its name since the time when, around the year 1420, family names became fixed.  At that time, present day surnames were agreed upon in place of the old Christian names and forenames.  It has now been discovered how the name Klinger originated.  In the judgement of former German speech theory, it was considered to be from "Klinge" for the small brook which ripples in the ravine.  In the olden language a person would say:  "The water 'clinget' loudly - it ripples."  From this originated the names Klingenbrunn, Klingenbach, Klingfurth, Klingenthal, Klingebeck.  Newer investigations of names have prove, however, that the family name, Klinger, has another origin.  The name began because the forefathers of the family used to be blademakers, therefore a weaponsmith, which means the art of forging a good sword, a "Klinge".  This is also established from the old weaponmark of the Klingers.

   The act of forging good swords was very ancient in Germany.  It was already practiced in the time when Germans themselves fell under the Roman tyranny in the year 9 BC and were conquered by the General Quintic Varus in "Teutoburger Walde".  In those days sword making was located where iron ore was found.

   About 900 AD an old document of Charlemagne reports that the price of a Page Link  -  PDF File  
2 good sword was two oxen or a good horse.  In the oldest now extant writings it is said:  "The swordblades therefore sang", and in another place:  "Let the swordblades sing thereby".  That is to say in the case of a good sword one must hear a regular tune of the good metal.  Therefore the historical origin of the name, Klinger, becomes clear.  It may be mentioned that the bladesmiths in other regions, however not in South Germany, often maintained swordsmithing and also sword sharpening.

   Bladesmiths kept their art of smithing hard weapons as a secret.  This secret was passed down from father to son.  Thus the swordmakers quite early formed a special Guild, as it is called in an old Germanic song:  "Helper of Heroes".

   That is why the act of swordsmity is held in great esteem by the Germans.  This is further attested in the very ancient stories of Edda and the Niebelungen which have been handed down to us from the old heathen times.  The warlike past of the Germans and their continuous battles with the tribes which they would subjugate brought along with it (the fact) that Page Link  -  PDF File  
3 the blademaker stands in such high esteem that often the king himself came into their workshops to have made for him a good blade which could pierce a breastplate.

   In the old deeds, property parchments and feudal tenure books entries demonstrate that the name, Klinger, is entered as weapon-makers.

   These swordmakers, or Klingers, belonged to the free class and therefore not like most peasants of that time who were in the fief or bondsmen classes.  The master of the art of making a good blade was sought out from afar to make good swords for the princes and knights.  It was therefore natural that the oldest son would wander for some years to many places in order to work first for one master swordsman and then another so as to enrich his own art, especially to improve his steel or to learn to embellish the blades with imagery or "bloodsentences".

   Therefore it came about that it was firmly believed in olden times that the blade maker knew may mystical things, especially how to give a sword great strength and also to banish wounds through the saying of charms.

   Under the old master insignia of the armorers which have continued to be preserved in a few instances in South Germany, I have also discovered the old coat-of-arms family insignias. Page Link  -  PDF File  
4 These very ancient insignias of the Klingers are a characteristic of their profession and it is composed of Runic - the old form of the beginning of the Germanic alphabet.  Such Runes were used up to 1690 by some guilds as secrets of their ancient origins.

Image of the Klinger Coat of Arms

Klinger Coat of Arms

For the benefit of the Klinger family, I am printing herewith the Klinger Coat of Arms, which you will note is dated 1524.  I have the original in my possession, which is printed on old glass.  I obtained this from a friend, Kurt Vincentz, of Hanover, Germany.  He obtained it in Heidelberg, near the birthplace of Johann Philip Klinger, who came from Paffenbeerfurth, and who arrived in this country in 1749, and settled near Klingerstown, Pa. Page Link  -  PDF File  
5    The first letter is the so-called "Kun" runic "Y"; the second is the so-called "seig" runic "S"; the combination would also indicate that the old master wished to be recognized and identified, by the combination of the double rune.  The marks were struck on the blades, also placed over the houses ands proved effectual for the possessor as tokens for happiness and defense.  They were hereditary, remaining for many centuries only in one family and would frequently be utilized as a heraldic motif in the family shield.  By this the Princes knew the famous masters since the blades would be carried for great distances.

   In no other country can one see so many of the distinguished works of the art of the old blademakers as in Germany.  A great number of museums exhibit for us even today magnificent examples of this old art.  The German Masters surpass all the Italian pieces in their work as one can see in the Germanic Museum in Munich.  How does it happen that the Klingers practiced the art of swordforging so long while most other people often changed their vocation in the olden days?  The answer to this question is particularly important in the history of the Klinger family.

   The Kings, Princes, Courts, Lords, Knights, and Generals of Nobility demanded not only good blades, they developed a great extravagance which brought in much gold for the armorers.  The nobility wished namely to have the blades embellished with small figures, battle Page Link  -  PDF File  
6 sayings, beautiful Gothic arabesques, frequently even worked in gold.  The armorer therefore supplied the artistic craftsmanship-pomp pieces for the purchaser as marks of their weapon-presumptuousness.  While most other trades exchanged their wares for grain, cattle, and cloth, the armorers were supported, first profession, by silver as repayment for their swords.

   The locality in which the ancestors of the Klingers lived lies in South Germany.  The name "Klinger" can be found in the old lists of freemen and the registers in ??? different south German places.  The first armorers in Passau by Regensburg and in other places in the Odenwald.  IN the Odenwald they prospered in their properties.

   Odenwald lies between Darmstadt, Heidelberg and Miltenberg.  It is a range of wooded hills with hundreds of small mountains, from 400 to 1600 feet in height.  Klingers have remained residents in these Odenwalden places.  There are in the region very old iron works, especially in the area around Michelstadt, Erbach, Steinbach adn Lindenfels.  Iron smelters have been of special importance around Steinbach, the neighborhood of the old town of Lindenfels, not far from Pfaffenberfurth and Reichelsheim, the Klingers had their properties -:

   1.  The Klinger Manor, with land and workshop Page Link  -  PDF File  
7    2.  The old Klinger mill which was handed down from fathers to sons.
   3.  The new Klinger mill, which indeed has remained standing since the year 1610.

   Sons of the Klingers later settled in Reichelsheim as farmers and handcrafters.  One of the brothers started a lapidary works in the region.  The area around Lindenfels had large quarries, since olden times, where a clear sandstone was quarried.

   Also some of the various Klingers became landlords, as it was a custom to rely on nail forging during the wintertime.  This happened especially at the rainrod, on the Nidda, and at Eichelsdorf.  Other sons of the Klingers were soldiers, one of whom went to Frankfort where the poet, Maximilian Klinger, friend of Goethe, was born, later became Lieutenant General in Russia and married one of the daughters of the Empress Katherine. 

   In the Odenwald Klinger he also had in some places forge and the armories was operated in large.note  

   In the period of 1500-1600 was a big arms trade in the good town of Miltenberg. The lies near the Odenwald. This ancient city has still  note Page Link  -  PDF File  
8 for travelers in which the King and Princes lived while on their journeys.  This inn could take care of 120 horses in its stables.  Here the great weapon fair took place, too.  The buying of swords and halberds for the use by the soldiers or knights.  The Klingers came there all year around to display their wares to the Princes.

   Therefore, whenever a Klinger visits Germany, he must above all visit this old time and utterly beautiful state, and live there in the "Haus zum Riesen".   It is one of the most beautiful and well preserved little states in the woodlands and it remains unforgettable for everyone who comes there.  Many painters also go there every year in order to see and paint the old houses.  Also in the neighborhood is the small town of Klingenberg which, too, is very famous.  It was very important industrially on account of which Prince William III of Hess brought it into his possession around the year 1500.

   Around this time there was frequent war in the region between the princes who wanted to get the same counties, villages, and hills for their hands.  And when evil happened to all the people then would the armorer be treated with consideration and be courted by the princes. Page Link  -  PDF File  
9    Especially was this true around the time when Dr. Martin Luther started the Reformation and the Lord of the Odenwald, the Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous of Hesse led the Reformation in the whole county.  After that there began again a time of abundant work for the Klinger when the great Swabian Peasant War started which also had many battles in the Hessen lands as a consequence.

   The Landgrave abolished the Catholic religion and the adoration for holy pictures.  He destroyed the power of the many monasteries.  These monasteries had many monks in every part of the country who had led a luxuriant life and possessed much real estate without work.  They formed a powerful opposition.  The Catholic Party, and the Schmalkaldishen War came about.  For this the Landgrave raised a stately host of his people and bought many weapons.  Then the Klingers had to work for a long time from early morning until late in the night, to enlargen their workshops, and they took in much gold and goods.  The Landgrave, however, was taken prisoner by Emperor Charles V and taken from his lands.  With that, war began anew.  The Counts of Saxony, of Bradenburg-Kulmbach and other Lords for that reason declared war on the Emperor and raised their great multitude near Klausen in the Tyro., whereby a great booty, may rare treasures and golden chain fell into the hands of the Hessen and Odewalen Knights.  Then , also, the Emperor had to give back the Page Link  -  PDF File  
10 Klingers his freedom and lands.

   This leader restored trade and traffic in the land, promulgated wise laws, granted good Church ordinance, and gave security to industry.  His citizens could thank him for lower taxes and freedom.

   It must now be told that the old places and houses of the Klingers were like.  The odenwald is well known through many stories and songs, especially those of the poet Viktor Von Scheffel.  These have been sung from then to the present day by students.

   It is this Odenwald an area with many small farms and villages, often with ancient places of tiny smallness. An area in the big battles took place, where the inhabitants have often been robbed. The great trade routes lead to an even further distance over, so that the Odenwald peasants and artisans had there a good sale fürihre products.note

    It is now to report some of the life and bustle of the Klinger as their belongings increased as wrong with the count, also of their rights and many loads of good and bad days. In but one could write a whole book.
note Page Link  -  PDF File  
-  Page numbers refer to the German Version at Ancestry
-  Most of the English translation comes from the rough translation by Robert Klinger
-  The text in italics was translated by Google Translate - the original text was missing from the document I received from Aunt Wilma.

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Source Citation

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S1 Vincentz, Curt R. History of the Klinger Family. Printed by O.C. Klinger, 1948. Book Link  (German Version)  
S2 Klinger, Robert B and Ruth A Klinger. The Klinger Family. Klinger, 1986. Bk3325

Table of Contents:
History of the Klinger Family, Curt R. Vincentz - Page 1
The Methods of Numbering - Page 5
The additions of this work - Page 5
The ancestry in Germany and the immigrant relatives - Page 6
Arrivals of early Klingers in America - Page 9
1. John Peter Klinger and descendants - Page 10
2. Johan Philip Klinger and his descendants - Page 11
23. John George Klinger and descendants - Pages 12, 18-20
25. John Philip Klinger, Jr. and descendants - Pages 18, 21-23
26. Alexander Klinger and descendants - Pages 23-26
27. Peter Klinger and descendants - Pages 26-28
3. Alexander Klinger and descendants - Pages 29-32
Children of Alexander, summarized - Pages 31, 81
33 George Henry Klinger and descendants - Pages 31, 81
31. Johannes Klinger and descendants - Pages 32-59
32. Eva Elizabeth Klinger and descendants - Pages 60-80
34. George Adam Klinger and descendants - Pages 82-84
Maps of Sugar Loaf and environs - Pages 82A-B
4. Johannes Klinger and descendants - Pages 85-89
Miscellaneous Klingers in Hocking County, Ohio - Page 89
The Blake Chart of ancestors of researchers in U.S. & Germany - Page 90

S3 Wilma Haas Lucas, ID0379.  The two works were part of her papers that I received.    


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