Compiled and prepared by Franz Eduard Knapp (1871-1947)
The events of the years after the World War from 1914 to 1918, with their political, economic, and social upheavals, have caused many a person to turn back the pages of the chronicles of history and to search out whether, in the development of their own people, or a foreign people, like or similar destinies have appeared, and how the solution of the same has taken place. From these comparisons means and ways will be learned through which the condition of the Fatherland might be better shaped; from the present stately condition hopes may be drawn or at least comforts found.
It is likewise charming to cut out from the broad frame of the history of a people the destinies of a smaller community, yes, even of a family, and then make the same observations from the standpoint of a member of a family as they have been indicated above. The comparison of one's own living conditions with those of his ancestors will clear up many a wrong, and bring many comforts and hopes, and also solve many a puzzle of special characteristics or talents.
Naturally much that is new and perhaps also much that is seemingly uncomfortable to be known will come to light as we reach back into the family history. In order, however, to come to no wrong conclusions in any case it is unavoidable to trace the life of one's ancestors strictly in the fame of their time, in external and internal connection with their contemporary world, with the natural, historical, and social conditions which form the bases for their existance and growth.
From this point of view in the following pages the ancestors of the family Moninger are to be considered and accordingly the first historical retrospect is to be made toward the place in which, by means of documents through long centuries, the life of the family has, in the main, taken place.
Local History of Unterschneidheim
The home of the Moninger family was for at least three to four centuries the Catholic community numbering about one thousand souls of Unterschneidheim and Oberschneidheim in the Wurttemberg district Ellwanger, close to the Bavarian frontier. The whole place there is known under the name "Ries".
The place lies pleasantly embedded in the valley of the Sechta on both sides of the little stream. The only curiosities it offers are the church and the old castle. The church, which is dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul, lies on the left of the Sechta, and originates in its main portions from the middle of the fifteenth century. The many-colored choir loft, supported by pillars and terminating in a beautiful vault of lace-work, is especially to be mentioned. The chapel built in between the choir loft and the tower shows the same architecture. In the latter a large late Gothic and ecellently carved Madonna with a child is much admired. The tower terminates in a cupola. Like the church, so also the castle which is now privately owned has been built by the German Order. It, together with the bases of the fortifications which run around about (a wall and moat), are still well preserved. A stone bridge with the statue of the Saint nepomuk of 1731 leads up to it.
The whole terrain is very rich with water. Almost every house has its own well. Corresponding to the natural position of the place the means of industry of its inhabitants are: agriculture, and cattle raising, expecially the raising of swine and geese (Riesganse). The raising of corn is especially productive, while the raising of fruit is very strongly influenced by the deep misty location of the place in the valley of the Sechta. On account of the great distance from the larger places of industry and domains for the sale of goods (Ellwangen 20 kilometers, Bopfingen 10 kilometers) the property is less than average, and other opportunities for service are rare.
Formerly the Romans had recognized and utilized the favorable military situation of the place. Here they erected a main blockade by the erection of three small castles, while, a league further up in Thannhausen, they blockaded the rise of the Sechta valley by a mere earth wall or hill (Burgstall). Besides, they erected also in Unterschneidheim itself three such earth walls which, like the castle, stood in close connection with the Roman forts which were one and one-half leagues distant. Upon the one earth wall which was especially favorably situated and provided with moats and surrounded on two sides by the Sechta the above mentioned castle was erected later by the rulers of the German Order.
(this is REALLY boring ...)