Sebastian von Köhl, (1793-†1857) - colonel and town bailiff

Son of the councilor Johann Jakob von Köhl (1763-†1826). Sebastian grew up in the house at Casinoplatz 1, where his father had bought several apartments from 1797.

Sebastian von Köhl chose a military career at an early age. In 1813 he was a lieutenant in the Imperial Royal Austrian Regiment of Archduke Charles, took part in the campaign against France, joined the Swiss Regiment No. 31 of Colonel Jacob von Sprecher as a first lieutenant in 1813 and 1814 to 1815, was already a captain in 1818 and resigned from the service in 1824 with the rank of colonel. For his services he received a lifelong pension.

After completing his military career, Sebastian married Elisabeth Margred Mathis (1799-†1825), a citizen of Chur, in 1824, who died shortly after the birth of their son Johann Jakob Köhl. The following year his father, Johann Jakob von Köhl, also died. Sebastian, as the eldest son, inherited a large part of the family fortune. His sisters were already married and had been compensated with a dowry.

After the death of his father in 1826, Sebastian was now the last living male and legitimate descendant of Bernhard von Köhl (1624-†1700), who had been pronounced noble in 1684 - mayor and federal president. Sebastian not only proudly wore his noble title "von", on various documents you can additionally find the appendix "von Rogister". Colonel Sebastian von Köhl belonged to the wealthy upper class of Chur, had a melodious name, was of noble origin and very well connected. Johann Samuel Coaz, with whom he had already served in Regiment No. 31, married a distant relative of Sebastian, Salome von Köhl, in the same year. Her sister, Hortenisa von Köhl, had married the envoy von Planta to Fürstenau and resided with her family in Fürstenau Castle. The von Köhls were connected by marriage to several other influential Churian families: the Wassali, the von Cleric, the Reidt, Bavier, Fiffel and many others. Sebastian took advantage of this network and started a career as a civil servant in Chur, becoming guild master and head guild master of blacksmiths.

Sebastian married for the second time in 1829 to Anna Margaretha Grass (1808-†1835), daughter of the wealthy dean Bartholomé Grass. She gave birth to 1 child, who died shortly after birth. The family lived in the residential house at Casinoplatz 1, a property he had inherited in 1827. In 1832 Sebastian was elected for the first time as a councilman and at the same time he was also a member of the Economical Commission. In 1834 Jsrael Fifel, the husband of Anna Elisabeth Köhl (Sebastian's sister) sued Sebastian for irregularities in the distribution of the inheritance from Johann Jakob Köhl.

In 1835 his wife inherited a considerable property from her mother, widow Anna Margaretha Grass[77]. This included a residential house on the upper Reichsgasse, vineyards, fields and meadows worth 13000 gulden. In addition, there were assets which he had inherited in the meantime from his first wife.

A few years later he should lose his wife again. Margaretha died of maternal cramps at the birth of her second child at the age of only 25. His son Johann Jakob (10) now also lost his stepmother. In 1838 Sebastian married for the third time, Margaretha Zinsli (1816-†1880) of Untervaz, who was only 22 years old.[3] This marriage would then produce 5 sons and 3 daughters.

While new children were now being added to the Köhl household, his son Johann Jakob may have received a first-class education at a boarding school, as was customary in wealthy Chur families at the time. From 1840 to 1843 Sebastian served as town bailiff and was a member of the militia commission from 1845 to 1850. In 1948/49, he was also elected town judge (Gerichtsherroder).[3]

While his influence, wealth and family continued to grow, the eldest son, Johann Jabob, caused his father great concern. Great expectations weighed on the eldest son. Like his father and his ancestors, the eldest son should strive for high offices and titles, show himself glorious on the battlefields of Europe and further increase the fortune of the family. Johann Jabob lived with his parents and attended the Protestant cantonal school in Chur, but was addicted to vice, drank heavily and was violent. Thus he resigned from the cantonal school in July 1846[81] without having completed it. In 1849, Johann Jakob was finally placed under the care of a bailiff and sent to reformatories several times.

Wife: Elisabeth Margred Mathis, Anna Margaretha Graß, Margaretha Zinsli
Children: 1
Occupation: Colonel and town bailiff
Guild: Blacksmith guild

The copy of the letter of arms from 1846

In 1846 Sebastian commissioned another copy of the armorial letter. The document on 9.8.1846 signed by the Government Chancellery of the Canton of Graubünden, by Chancellery Director Johann Baptist von Tscharner. The document was mounted on a backing and hung up in the town hall of Chur. Finally, the document was handed over to the city archives of Chur where it can still be found today.

1846-08-09 Wappenbrief.jpg

Copy of the coat of arms letter from 1846 (StAC, G I/1.0004.207)


Coat of arms at casino square 1

In 1852, Sebastian had another status symbol of his noble origins affixed to his home on Casinoplatz: The family coat of arms. This is still attached there today

Wappen am Wohnhaus der Köhl's am Casinoplatz 1 Chur

Coat of arms Casinoplatz (picture archive Markus Köhl)


The family of Sebastian von Köhl

Sebastian married for the first time in 1824 with the Chur citizen Elisabeth Margred Mathis (1799-†1825) who died shortly after the birth of their son Johann Jakob Köhl. For the second time Sebastian married in 1829 with Anna Margaretha Graß (1808-†1835), daughter of the wealthy dean Bartholomé Graß. She gave birth to 1 child, who died shortly after birth. Margaretha died of maternal cramps at the birth of the second child when she was only 25 years old. He married his third wife, Margaretha Zinsli (1816-†1880) of Untervaz, in 1838.[3] This marriage then produced 5 sons and 3 daughters.

Son I. Marriage:

  1. Köhl Johann Jakob (1825-†1904). Married in 1857 to Anna Catherina Camenisch (1829-†1878).

Children II marriage:

  1. Koehl Menga Antonia, (1830, died after 2 months).
  2. Unknown (1835, died at birth).

Sons III marriage:

  1. Köhl Sebastian (1838-†1871). Farmer, lieutenant, and sharpshooter. Married in 1860 to Anna Catherina Plattner (1849-†1880) of Serneus. The two had one son, Köhl Sebastian (1861-†1882). Sebastian served as council supleant in 1864/65, but otherwise held no other higher offices in the city of Chur. He emigrated with his family to America on 4.3.1871. The family returned to Switzerland shortly thereafter, but Sebastian died on the return trip from America. Anna Catherina died of tuberculosis in 1880. Son Sebastian died shortly thereafter at only 21 in Worms (D), childless.
  2. Köhl Arnold Bernhard Köhl (1842-†1843 ), died shortly after birth
  3. Köhl Arnold Bernhard Simeon (1844-†1891). Farmer/Captain. Grew up in the Köhl house at Casinoplatz 1. Married in 1872 in Walenstadt to Hulda Leuch (1848†~1938). The couple took over the Köhl's Plessurgut from 1873-1885. He and his wife were members of the Chur Historical-Antiquarian Society in 1888. Since Arnold had no descendants, he liked to refer to himself as Captain Köhl von Rogister, the last of his tribe.[79] After his death, his widow Hulda lived in Casinoplatz until her passing.
  4. Köhl Gustav Johann Luzius (1846†1866). He died of cancer at the age of only 20, childless.
  5. Köhl Georg Adolf (1852-†1859), also died very early at the age of 7.

Daughters III marriage:

  1. Köhl Menga Margareth, (1840-†1846), died at only 6 years of age.
  2. Köhl Menga Margareth (1848-†1875), heiress to Köhl's book, married Major Eduard Gamser in 1872. She died at the birth of their first child at the age of only 27. The two were buried together in the Daleu Cemetery.
  3. Köhl Katherina Elisabeth (1854-†1900), childless

Katherina Elisabeth Köhl sold the house No. 281A at Majorangasse 2 in Chur to the bookseller Hans Bernhard on 27.02.1882. In 1942, the last part of the property owned by Köhl was sold by the heirs of Arnold Bernhard Simeon. The property was thus in the possession of the Köhl family for 145 years. The former also owned a meadow of 20,258 m2 in Grossbruggen which was auctioned off after their deaths.[80]

Although Sebastian von Köhl fathered 11 children with three wives, he had to bury 6 of his children during his lifetime. 3 of his children gave him 5 grandchildren and only 1 great-grandchild. His eldest son, Johann Jabob, probably broke down due to a lack of motherly love or his father's high expectations and spent most of his life in reformatories. His children suffered from their sick father, and both sons emigrated. In 1968, Jacob Georg Köhl jr. died in San Diego, and in 1976 Katharina Kratzer was the last descendant from the line of Sebastian von Köhl. With Jacob Georg Köh also died after almost 300 years the last legitimate heir of Bernhard von Köhl and von Rogister, who had been pronounced noble.

The struggle for his heritage

This began at the beginning of 1857, when Sebastian drew up a will in which he specified the division of his assets. This might not have been to the advantage of his eldest son, which is why he contested his father's will.

In particular, the wife of Johann Jakob, Anna Catherina Camenisch, was of the opinion that her recently married husband was fully entitled to his mother's inheritance. It was a question of vineyards in Malans and Chur, especially the interest earned from them in the amount of 1045 guilders - a considerable sum. The plaintiff then offered to give the family a part of the income (300.-- gulden) [StAC B II2.0045.1466].

Shortly before Sebastian's demise, he had to redraft his will[79]. His eldest son was to receive the inherited assets of his mother, the rest went to his wife and minor children for usufruct. However, the assets were to be administered by the guardianship authority.

Katherina Elisabeth Köhl sold the house No. 281A at Majorangasse 2 in Chur to the bookseller Hans Bernhard on 27.02.1882. In 1942, the last part of the property owned by Köhl was sold by the heirs of Arnold Bernhard Simeon. The property was thus in the possession of the Köhl family for 145 years. The former also owned a meadow of 20,258 m2 in Grossbruggen which was auctioned off after their deaths.[80]

Although Sebastian von Köhl fathered 11 children with three wives, he had to bury 6 of his children during his lifetime. 3 of his children gave him 5 grandchildren and only 1 great-grandchild. His eldest son, Johann Jabob, probably broke down due to a lack of motherly love and his father's high expectations and spent most of his life in reformatories. His children suffered from their sick father, and both sons emigrated.In 1968, Jacob Georg Köhl jr. died in San Diego, the last progenitor, and in 1976 Katharina Kratzer the last descendants from the line of Sebastian von Köhl. With Jacob Georg Köh also died after almost 300 years the last legitimate heir of the noble pronounced city mayor and federal president Bernhard von Köhl and von Rogister.

Sources:

1: Protokolle Stadtgericht StAC, AB III G08 02 S152

2: Urkunden, StAGR QR 2/II B1712/3

3: Sammlung Rätischer Geschlechter, Sprecher von Bernegg, Anton Hercules, 1847

4: Urkunden StAC B II2.0045.1466

77: Erbgang 1834 Grass-Köhl, Erbgang 1858 Köhl-Grass, Stadtarchiv, 1834, StAC, Stadt Chur,

78: Benzin- und lippenstiftfreie Wanderung durch Graubünden, G. Bener, 1943, StAC, Bischofberger & Co Chur, 50

79: Testament des Sebastian von Köhl, Stadtarchiv, 1875, StAC B II/2.0045.4532

80: 1871 – 1900 Schriften aus Chur, Diverse

81: Martikel evangelische Kantonsschule, 1839-1850, StAGR CB III/479.B2 118