Place:Simmern, Hessen-Nassau, Preußen, Germany

Coordinates49.983°N 7.517°E
Located inHessen-Nassau, Preußen, Germany
Also located inRhein-Hunsrück, Coblenz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany    
Contained Places
Nieder Kostenz
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Simmern (; officially Simmern/Hunsrück) is a town of roughly 7,600 inhabitants (2013) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, the district seat of the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis, and the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Simmern-Rheinböllen. In the Rhineland-Palatinate state development plan, it is set out as a middle centre.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

In 1072, Simmern had its first documentary mention. The place where the town now stands, however, was already settled in Roman times. There are seemingly mentions before the 11th century, but these cannot be definitively linked to the town, or most likely refer to the Simmerbach, the local river. Simmern lay on the important Bingen-to-Trier army road. It belonged at first to the Counts of the Nahegau, later passing to the Raugraves, who were enfeoffed with Simmern by the Electorate of Trier sometime between 1323 and 1330. Presumably with Archbishop Baldwin's help, Simmern was granted town rights in 1330 by Emperor Louis the Bavarian. The weekly and yearly markets were soon drawing dealers throughout the Hunsrück to town, leading to flourishing trade and business. Along with town rights came the town's right to fortify itself, and this it did with a formidable double wall, complete with a series of towers and gates. Before the 14th century was over, Simmern passed to the Counts Palatine of the House of Wittelsbach.

The Palatine Wittelsbachs were, beginning in 1356, Electors, and after Elector Palatine and King of the Romans (German King) Ruprecht III's death, they split into several lines, among which was the Palatinate-Simmern line, which kept its residence in the town. Worthy of mention are the Dukes Stefan of Palatinate-Simmern-Zweibrücken, Friedrich I of Palatinate-Simmern, Johann I and, above all, Johann II. He ruled in Simmern from 1509 to 1557, was humanistically and artistically trained, had the first printshop in the town built and promoted the arts, particularly sculpture. He also introduced the Reformation into his duchy, which led to tension with the neighbouring Archbishoprics of Trier and Mainz. He was followed by Friedrich III, called “the Pious”, who converted to Calvinism in 1563 and played a leading role in Imperial politics. In 1559, the Palatinate-Simmern line succeeded the now extinct main line of the Palatinate in the Elector's capacity in Heidelberg. Friedrich III's brothers Georg and Reichard formed the short-lived line of the counts palatine of Simmern-Sponheim, whose holdings passed back to the Electorate under Friedrich IV on Reichard's death in 1598.

Wars in the Palatinate

Friedrich IV's son, Friedrich V was elected King of Bohemia – Bohemia was an elective monarchy – but soon ran afoul of the forces arrayed against him, notably the Catholic League and the Holy Roman Emperor himself, and not only was he forced to flee Bohemia in the face of these forces after only a year on the Bohemian throne (earning himself the derisive nickname “Winter King”), but he also saw to it that the Electorate of the Palatinate, too, was gripped in the throes of the Thirty Years' War. The Emperor also declared all Friedrich's holdings within the Holy Roman Emperor forfeit. His holdings in the Rhenish Palatinate were meanwhile once again partitioned with the founding of the younger line of Palatinate-Simmern by his brother Ludwig Philipp in 1611, though even this passed with Ludwig Philipp's son, Ludwig Heinrich's death in 1673 back to the main line under Karl I Ludwig, who won back the Electoral title in the Peace of Westphalia. Thanks to his fortifying the town, it came through the wars relatively unscathed. When Karl's son, Karl II died in 1685, though, there was further upheaval, for with him the Palatine line of the Wittelsbachs had died out, and France was now declaring rights of possession. Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine (known as Liselotte of the Palatinate), Karl II's sister, and in France's eyes the rightful heir, was married to Duke Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, King Louis XIV's brother. Since the Palatinate-Neuburg line of the Wittelsbachs also maintained a claim to the Simmern inheritance, the Nine Years' War (known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Succession) broke out in 1688, during which the French laid waste to broad swathes of the Palatinate.

By 1685, the Duchy of Simmern had passed to the Palatinate-Neuburg line. This noble house reintroduced the Catholic faith and called on the Boppard Carmelites to minister to the Catholics in the town of Simmern and the like-named Oberamt. With the family Schenk von Schmidtburg's help, the Carmelites founded a presence in town, and together with the Kreuznach Capuchins, took over pastoral duties in the Oberamt. They built Saint Joseph’s Church. Not long before this, the town of Simmern itself had been flooded with a great many Huguenots who had fled religious persecution in France. On 17 September 1689, French troops overwhelmed the town, leaving almost all of it in rubble. The palatial residence was razed, just like the one in Heidelberg. All that was left standing after this catastrophe was Saint Stephen’s Church, the Pulverturm (“Powder Tower”, later to be known as the “Schinderhannes Tower”) and a handful of houses. Nevertheless, the Wittelsbachs won out and remained the Palatinate's rulers under the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick. In the 18th century, however, Simmern was nothing more than the seat of a Palatine Oberamt, as the electors chose to keep their residence at Mannheim.

18th to 20th century

After the French Revolution, the French once again conquered the Palatinate, which they annexed to their country along with the rest of the Rhine's left bank. Simmern became a canton in the Department of Rhin-et-Moselle. It was by the regular patrols of the newly founded National Gendarmerie that Johannes Bückler, later a well known robber and often called “Schinderhannes”, was caught, although at this time he was nothing more than a small-time livestock thief in the Hunsrück and the northern Palatinate. In 1799 he spent half a year locked up in the tower that now bears his nickname, the Schinderhannesturm, in Simmern, from which he managed to escape. In 1804, Emperor Napoleon I spent some time in the town, which in the meantime had acquired a municipal administration run according to French law. In 1815 Simmern was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Congress of Vienna.

The town's situation in the 19th century, outside the centres of industrialization, was not easy, and much the less so as of 1845 with the potato blight outbreak and the attendant bad harvests, which drove many inhabitants to seek a better life in the New World.

In the First World War, Simmern was an important support base for troops marching to the Western Front. In Weimar times, when the town was also occupied once again by the French, Simmern suffered under the dire economic situation of the time. In the Second World War, there was yet more destruction. In March 1945, Simmern was occupied by American troops, but was later assigned along with the rest of the Palatinate to the French zone of occupation. Since 1946, Simmern has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The town has borne the name element “Hunsrück” since 1 June 1980. On 15 April 1999, Simmern concluded a territorial swap with the municipality of Mutterschied, whereby several inhabitants found themselves living in a different municipality.

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