Köhl Peter (1652-†1713) - Caretaker of the guardianship of St. Martin

Peter Köhl was born in the house of the Köhl family at Obere Gasse 10 in Chur. Since all the sons born before him to Bernhard Köhl had died, Peter was the eldest son of Bernhard Köhl and also his progenitor. He received the name of his grandfather, gatekeeper Peter Köhl (1595-†1674). His father was 28 years old and already a successful entrepreneur and respected citizen of the city of Chur. However, he not only ran a flourishing business, but also rose in the city administration, became Seckelmeister in 1660 and was elected head guild master in 1666. Peter thus grew up in a sheltered, well-off household and received the best education. He worked in his father's business from an early age.

When he was 20 years old, his father noted in his will: "Of the sons, the eldest, Peter, is not subject to any vice, but is a pious, obedient child who serves his father in the store. This because he is somewhat weak in understanding complex relationships and has a poor memory, so I do not recommend him to be used for difficult tasks, but only to work as a salesman in the store. Should he take on larger tasks, he should be assisted or otherwise given help. He has difficulty with difficult tasks, however, from time to time, with caution and care, he can try new things and take on tasks, which he considers good, because memory can improve when God gives his due."[16]

The strict father showed himself lenient with Peter and tried to promote him according to his abilities. That he behaved decently and honestly is also shown in the city archives: there were no entries in the minutes of the courts and councils.

Wife: Madlena Bernet, Ursula Schwarz, Anna Maria Schwarz
Children: 5
Occupation: Merchant
Guild: Shoemaker's guild

The mysterious marriage with Madlena Bernet

Only in 1678 there is another trace. Peter becomes father of a son. As mother a Madlena Bernett is registered. Since there is no record of a marriage of the two in Chur, this probably took place outside of Chur.

Child of Peter Köhl with Madlena Bernett:

  1. Köhl Antoni (1678-†1748), tanner with Gärbi Araschgen. Married Anna Schett of Malix and had 7 children with her.

At the birth of Antoni, Peter's siblings, Gertrud and Martha, were present as baptismal witnesses. However, Antoni and his mother are not mentioned anywhere in the will of Bernhard Köhl. No further information could be found about Madlena Bernett. Possibly she died after the birth of the child or the couple divorced.
While Peter worked in his father's business, his 3 brothers studied. Bernhard studied theology and was admitted to the synod in 1683, brother Andreas died during his studies of medicine, which the third brother, Joseph, was to complete successfully in 1687.

A new marriage and the letter of nobility

1684 was an important year in Peter's life. In his second marriage he married Ursula Schwarz, daughter of the pastor Georg Schwarz, who was pastor of the St. Regula church in Chur from 1670 and pastor in Haldenstein for one year in 1678. In the same year the first daughter of the couple, Gertrud, was born.

And his father Bernhard was raised to the nobility. This event, which was very important for the family, moved the father to give his son an important task in his will: "The original letter of nobility shall be given in safekeeping to the eldest son Peter, provided he is alive, but that a quite authentic copy shall be handed over to the other sons and because this letter of nobility is received from me and through me, as only to me and the dear children, male and female, and if God will command about my beloved son Peter, then the original letter of nobility shall be given and thus handed over to the other eldest sons, as well as to him. "

Peter, despite the influence of his father, did not hold any important offices in the city administration. Only from 1886-92 Peter was the bailiff for the poor of St. Martin. He examined requests for assistance and approved them.

2 more sons were born: Bernhard and Geörg. The latter was baptized in Chur.

In 1695, Peter was now 43 years old, his father mentioned him again in his will. The aged father was pleased with Peter because his marriage to the daughter of the priest Georg Schwarz was a happy one and blessed with three children. Peter served in the plot for a certain salary, received, like all married siblings, a dowry of 1000 florins, in addition "he shall enjoy his share of the inheritance of his time and what he has cost in foreign countries or schools, no deduction shall be made, as also against the other brothers, if he has cost less, he shall have no advantage. In case of the residential house he is obliged to stand by with other brothers in benefit and damage, also to serve and assist other sisters and co-heirs without remuneration. The house on the square he enjoys according to the prescribed contract."[16]

Peter thus lived with his family in the Rych house on Martinsplatz, in which the family's sales store was also located. His father mentions the three children Gertrud (11), Geörg (7) and Bernhard (5). Antoni (17) may also still have lived with his father.

Children of Peter Köhl with Ursula Schwarz:

  1. Köhl Gertrud (1684-†1720), married Martin von Bavier, scion of the noble von Bavier family and grandson of Mayor Johann von Bavier. The couple had a daughter named Ursula. She seems to have had no other children and died at only 36 years of age.
  2. Köhl Bernhard (1686-†1714), chancellor. He married Anna Christina von Reidt, of good family, and had 4 children with her. None of them seem to have reached adulthood. He also died early at only 28 years of age.
  3. Köhl Geörg (1688-†1736), member of the Rebläute guild. He too died before the age of 50. He does not seem to have married, nothing is known about descendants.

Peter's Third Marriage

In 1697 Peter becomes a father again at the age of 45: daughter Anna Maria is born in Chur. Mother is Anna Maria Schwarz. He seemed to have separated from his wife Ursula in the meantime. Various relatives were present at the baptism: his youngest sister Anna Katharina Köhl, Seraina Schwartz, Margrit Pestalozzi née Schost, Sereina Schwartz née Pizzardi.

Child of Peter Köhl with Anna Maria Schwarz:

  • Anna Maria Köhl (1697-†1748), married Jakob Walser, guild master of the Rebläute guild, also descended from a well-known Chur family. The couple had 7 children.

In 1700 the first grandson was born: Madlena Köhl, daughter of tanner Köhl Antoni and Anna Schett. Anna came from Malix/Araschgen, where Antoni ran a tannery as a tanner.

Peter died in Chur in the winter of 1713 at the age of 60. He had 5 children with 3 different wives, all of whom were still alive at his death. The descendants of his son Antoni were to be active in Chur as tanners (Die Köhl'sche Gerbe) for a long time to come. The story of one of these tanners is described here: Isaak Köhl-Killias (1805-†1876) . Descendants of a scion of this family, Peter Köhl (1842-†1890), still live in the USA.

Although Peter was of noble origin and many of his siblings and their descendants called themselves von Köhl and Rogister, this name has never been used by Peter, nor by his descendants.


23: Testament des Bernhard Köhl, Bernhard Köhl, 1690, StAGR B2125/3

Impressum und rechtliche Hinweise