the 3rd.family-letter

FamBrief3 copy

Dear relatives,

Dear namesakes,

Dear friends of the Sterling families!

After a one-year’s break, you have finally received the 3rd family letter. It will not have reached you in time for Christmas, but nevertheless I would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year in this way.

With the 3rd family letter, I have sent you the extracts of a report on the region of upper Austria – where one of our earliest ancestors: Davit Stöllinger came from. This report was published by Mr Alois Leeb in the magazine ”Heimat” (homeland) about the town of Kallham in 1963.

A copy of the baptismal register in which his son’s (Daniel) christening dated 17 November 1625 was noted is also the first document on this ancestor.

Entry in the Baptismal Register

In the first baptismal register of the church in Kallham, which was started in 1625, the following entry was found on the second page:


GebLehen copy

The above-standing text says: Davitt Stöllinger’s child was baptized Daniel; gaffer is Wolf Purchstaller in Sämething.


Insight into the history of Kallham

By Alois Leeb

Historical records on the smaller towns in the country of upper Austria were not kept before implementation of Christendom and were scarce in the beginning. The Bavarians, who were residents of this region at that time, adopted Christendom in the last years of the 7th century. It was the bishop of Worms who first came to Bavaria in 696 and perhaps also to upper Austria in order to spread the Christian religion.

However, we can assume that Kallham was populated much earlier already – perhaps already in times of the Roman Empire, as the road the Romans had built from Eferding to Braunau was near by.

The town of Kallham was first mentioned in a document in 1120, after that in 1140 and again in 1160. Kallham, however, was mentioned under the name of Chalwenheim in these documents. Kallham gained in historical importance because a so-called ”Ministerialengeschlecht” (lower house of gentry) of the archiepiscopal church of Salzburg had its ancestral seat there. It was called ”de Chalheim”. As the first member of this house, Adalram de Chalewenheim was mentioned in 1120. In 1290, this house was mentioned for the last time, as they settled near Salzburg.

In the year of 1380, there was already mentioned a ”Kalichhaymerpharr”. In a land register from the times of Earl Georg von Schaunberg, around 1500, it was mentioned that there were a residence and a vicarage located in Kallham. The priests of Kallham were aristocratic capitulars and suffragan bishops for centuries.

Already in 1120, Schilddorf, a village near Kallham, was mentioned for the first time. In a document of the convent St. Nicola in Passau, Liutwinus de Schiltdorf was stated as an evidence. In 1130, Aribo de Scildorf was mentioned. Pehring, which is also a village near Kallham, was mentioned in 1140 for the first time. In 1140, the aristocrat Edler von Odechalcus donated his manor ”Perigen” (Pehring) to the convent. In 1120, Rodprecht de Suomotingen was mentioned, another village near Kallham. In 1347, Gertrud, Abbess of Traunkirchen, donated to Elsbeth von Wasen a manor in Wechling (Wachling near Kallham). In 1371’s land register of Schaunberg, the villages Wechling (Wachling), Usting, Panczingen (Penzing) and Weydach (Weiret) were mentioned. In 1421, the ”Tannreiterhof” (name of a manor) was mentioned for the first time. It was an independent property, i. e. not ruled by a lord of the manor.

In 1446, Earl Johann von Schaunberg sold the ”Aschpant” (Aspet) to the publican Leonhard from Kallham. Pawczenberg is called Pauzenberg today, Kainzing, which is near Kallham, was called Khuenzing at that time. In 1455, The ”Riemergut” and ”Vaterheimergut” (two manors) in Khunzing were mentioned in an inheritance contract with King Lasla. In 1493, Hanns Vatersheimer donated the ”Kallhamer-Benefizium”. The Vatersheimers were a lower house of gentry. As their ancestral seat, the village of Vatersheim near Taufkirchen was mentioned. Their armorial bearings showed three rings in a buckler. The last descendant of this house was buried in the St Wolfgang’s church in Kallham.

In 1228, the church of Kallham was mentioned for the first time. That year, the convent St. Nicola donated a manor in Chaluviham to its administrator called Heinrich. This Heinrich was the vicar of the church in Kallham. According to the churchly sectioning, Kallham was part of the diaconate of Lambach and the church of Kallham was a subsidiary church of Taufkirchen. However, it had its own cemetery. When on 28 February 1598, Johann Grimelius, who was episcopal counsellor of Passau, provost of Ilzstadt, canon of Aschaffenburg and Regensburg, was appointed priest of Taufkirchen, he moved to Kallham. Thus, Kallham became the mother church and Taufkirchen a subsidiary. In addition to Kimpling, also Neumarkt and Pötting were part of the Kallham parish. Pötting was declared an independent parish in 1763, Neumarkt in 1786.

Priest Grimelius, whose portrait is still kept in the archives of the parish, rendered outstanding services to Kallham. As there wasn’t any documentation when he came, he compiled land registers for Kallham, Wendling and Taufkirchen. He was buried behind the high altar of the church in Kallham. His gravestone was unfortunately used as a floor plate later, the inscription was not deciphered before approximately 1920. It says: Hic situs est admodum reverendus nobilis et clarissimus dominus Johann Grimelius patria Aschaffenburgensis serenissimi ac reverendissimi principis Leopoldi, archiducis Austriae, episcopi Argentinennensis et Passaviensis consiliarrius, praepositus Illicensis et huius ecclesia ennis XIIX pastor vigilantissimus natus anno MDLXXII, pie vero in Christo defunctus MDCXVI.

Translated, this means approximately the following: This is the grave of the noble and famous reverend, Mr Johann Grimelius from Aschaffenburg, of the noble sovereign Leopold, archduke of Austria, bishop of Strasbourg and Passau, counsellor, provost of Ilzstadt, who was a watchful priest in this church for 18 years. He was born in the year of 1572, led a devotional life and died in 1616.

Grimelius himself had also had a memorial stone erected in the church of Taufkirchen by the river Trattnach, which had the following inscription: ”Dieß Epitaphium zue Andechtiger und christlicher Gedechtnuß hat ihme in Lebzeiten machen und zurichten lassen der Ehrwürdige, edle und Wohlgelehrte Herr Grimelius von Aschaffenburg, Kirchherr zu Taufkirchen und Kalham, der Erste, so Anno 1598 die Catholische römisch Religion bei diesem Gottehaus widerumb aufgerichtet. Deme samt allen christgläubigen Seelen Gott ein fröhliches Auferstehung am Jüngsten Tage verleihen Welle. Amen. 1607”. (approximate translation: This memorial stone was manufactured and erected by order of the dignified, noble and adept Grimelius from Aschaffenburg, the first priest of Taufkirchen and Kallham, who re-established in 1598 the roman-catholic church in these villages. May God grant resurrection on doomsday to him and to all people who believe in Jesus Christ. Amen. 1607)

In the neighbourhood of Kallham, there was a nice moated castle, which was also the domicile of the district court: Schloss Erlach. It was cleared away in the 19th century as it was damaged substantially during the fightings of 1809. Erlach is very old. Schloss Erlach was already mentioned in a document dated 1094 for the first time. In old documents it is also called Erlaha. Until 1158, proprietor was the Earl of Formbach, then it was owned by the gentlemen Julbach near Braunau, who called themselves ”Schaunburger” after the Schaunburg (another castle) had been built in 1161. They were followed by the Earls of Ortenburg, in 1572 by the Starhembergs, in 1581 by the Jörger von Tollet, in 1730 by the Earls of Weißenwolf, in 1812 by Baron Josef Peckenzell, then Earl Revertera, who partitioned the property in 1862 and tore the already ramshackle castle down.

Erlach had two offices, the upper and lower office. The corresponding leading official in each department bore the title curator, reeve or leading curator. These offices existed until 8 June, 1850; after that, Kallham was assigned to the district court of Raab. The only thing that remains of the time when Erlach was an important centre for this region are old names associated with occupations that were practiced around the castle, like ”Schloßbauer”, ”Hofwirt” or ”Teichbauer”. The Mairhof, a farm the major part of which was constructed with wood and which had three different proprietors, burnt down about 30 years ago. The prison was in the Grubers’ house in Erlach; it has also been converted into apartments more than 30 years ago already. In and around Erlach, some interesting but also sad episodes happened over the years. One example is the Spanish war of succession in 1704. In the chronicle, this story is told as follows: When the Bavarians attacked Kallham and Neumarkt on 8 February, 1704, in dense fog, they massacred defenceless people and burnt down Kallham, Neumarkt and many other villages and towns. Many inhabitants fled to the nearby Erlach castle, which was strongly barricaded and surrounded by palisades. Füger, the captain of the border, had his cantonment in Erlach. Desperately, the farmers called at him that, in case he was a courageous man, he ought to come out in order to attack the enemies. Accompanied by few sharpshooters and brave farmers, he hurried into the nearby village of Schilddorf, rushed into the lines of the enemy and was killed by two shots. In commemoration of this courageous captain, his family emblem was affixed to Schilddorf’s memorial for soldiers.

During the 1704 attacks, 200 people were killed. The entire community of Kallham went up in flames, including the church. From 1713 to 1718, the church was reconstructed under the construction management of Jacob Pawanger, master builder from Passau. The costs of the construction amounted to 26 361 fl 10 kr. The porch was constructed in 1715 by Bartholiomäus Steinbacher, who was a stonecutter in Passau. The magnificent high altar was erected 1715 – 1720. The pictures on the high altar were painted in 1717 by the famous painter Johann Kendlbacher from Munich, just as the frescoes of the church. The marbling and stucco work was done by Ignatz Profiser in 1715. The organ was manufactured by Ignatz Egeldacher from Passau. The side altars of the side chapel, choir stalls, the organ and the wooden statues of St. Donatus and St. Florian were purchased 1720 – 1730. The beautiful lectern with its Evangelist statues is baroque-style. In 1736, on the third Sunday after epiphany, the church and the six altars were consecrated by Josef Dominikus, earl of Lamberg and bishop of Passau; additionally, at this opportunity, the sacrament of confirmation was administered to 1010 confirmands.

The church has largely been conserved in the original condition, except from the ceiling paintings on the arches of the nave. Those were destroyed by a lightning stroke and fire in the year of 1891. The organ, however, could be saved. The western tower, which is 74 meters high, wasn’t destroyed neither in 1704 nor in 1891.

Karl Kajetan, the earl of Gaisruck, visited every house, even the most run-down shack. He treated all people very well, according to what was passed down about him. He was suffragan bishop of Passau and priest of Kallham from 1801 to 1818.

During the Napoleonic war, also the region of Kallham became theatre of war, and acres and meadows were destroyed. The priest was deeply moved by the misery of the community. Several times, he dispensed with his tithe and gave a lot of his own provisions to his parishioners. When he went away, the people from Kallham mourned.

The memorial for soldiers especially commemorates the bloody battle on 1st May 1809, during which the victorious Frenchmen were held back in the regions of Abensberg, Eckmühl and Regensburg, so that the military equipment of the fleeing Austrians could be transported over the rivers Traun and Enns. Thus, the victory over Napoleon, who had been undefeated up to this date, was achieved near Aspern on 22 May. The region around Kallham and especially Schilddorf is probably among the most blood-soaked regions of Austria.

In a document, it is said about bishop Gaisruck that he finally became archbishop of the Metropolitan church of Milan in Lombardy after having been bishop of Derbe and the archbishop’s suffragan of the cathedral of Passau. He went away from Kallham on 13 May, 1818, as last higher catholic dignitary. He disposed by will of a state bond ”Ob der Ennsischen” at the amount of 1000 florins to the school of Kallham for the handling of tasks for which no means were stipulated by law.

Before the earl of Gaisruck came to Kallham, among others, Johann Steiner, suffragan bishop of Passau and Leopold Graf von Thun, suffragan bishop of Passau, chose to be priests in Kallham. Andreas Mair, who was priest of Kalllham from 1833 to 1848, donated 600 florins to the school of Kallham and Kimpling for the distribution of clothes and school equipment to children from poor families. Just as the earl of Gaisruck, Mair was dignified in the annals of the school.


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