(Johann) Nicolaus Gütlich (1790-1872)

Johann Nicolaus is Hermann‘s father and very successful in business as a spice merchant. He has a shop [1] (see -1-) which is located in the center of Darmstadt, next to the Town Hall and with a view of the central market square and the castle of the local ruler, the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.

1- 1849 – Market Square Darmstadt with spice trade by Johann Nicolaus Gütlich [2]

 His trading activities are visible as far as Paris where his shis mentioned in Didot-Bottin’s European trade almanac of 1862.

-2- 1862 – Mention of N. Gütlich from Darmstadt   [3]

Political career

He was elected as a member of the city council around 1830 and in 1833 selected by lot as one of the honorary citizens of the city of Darmstadt at the festivities on the occasion of the wedding of the future Grand Duke Ludwig III von Hesse and Princess Mathilde von Bayern. As an honorary escort on horseback, he rides next to the carriage of the newlyweds. He then had the honor of cheering the newlyweds in front of the people of Darmstadt with the words: “Long live Ludwig and Mathilde!”.

-3- 1832 – Honor guard J.N. Gütlich at wedding festivities  [4]

As a gift for his wife Mathilde, Ludwig III had a country house built in 1833 and called it the “Mathildenhöhe” [5]. On the occasion of the construction, a parchment [6] is drawn up in which the members of the then city council, including Johann Nicolaus, are listed (see -5-). In 1880, however, the building had to make way for the construction of a water pipe, after which the current artists’ village and cultural monument “Mathildenhöhe” was created in 1901 on the same spot.

-4- 1833 –Country house Mathildenhöhe
5- 1833 – Parchment at 1st stone laying Mathildenhöhe – Johann Nicolaus Gütlich – detail

As a result of the “February Revolution” in France in 1848, in which the reform of the suffrage is central, a revolution is raging through Europe. In the Netherlands, this leads to the drafting of a constitution by Thorbecke. In Germany, however, there is no central power but a patchwork of rulers who each determine for their own territory what the concessions are to the so-called “Revolutionaries”.

Johann Nicolaus is still part of the City Council in 1848 when the revolution reaches Darmstadt. Together with a number of other councillors, he fights for more democracy [7]. The “Darmstädter Demokraten” receive help from an unexpected source in their struggle because Ludwig III von Hessen, as heir to the throne for Hesse-Darmstadt, presents himself as an opponent of the absolutist and strict popish tendencies that manifest themselves under his father’s rule. His appointment on March 5, 1848 as co-regent in the year of the revolution was therefore greeted with applause. After the death of his father Ludwig II on June 16, 1848, he was appointed Grand Duke. In the end, however, as in many other European countries, from 1852 the acquired freedoms are gradually partly reversed.

Family life

Between 1823 and 1838 the sons Georg (1823), Johann Hermann (1836) and Carl Ludwig (1838) were born. Things are going well with the family, until in 1838 Georg dies suddenly in Waldmichelbach as a result of cramps after lung paralysis at the age of fourteen.

1861 is a catastrophic year for the family. On May 30, at the age of twenty-three, the youngest son Carl Ludwig, a budding merchant who wants to enter the spice trade of the family, dies. The third son, Johann Hermann, lives in Mainz and works in the wine trade of his cousin Johann Georg Wetterhahn, but dies on December 25, at the age of twenty-five.

After prolonged suffering, as a result of emphysema, Johann Nicolaus dies on October 12, 1872, a few days before his eighty-second birthday. Johann Nicolaus is the last in the male bloodline of this family branch “Gütlich” after which this family branch dies out.

-6- 13-10-1872: Obituary Johann Nicolaus Gütlich [8]

The son Johann Ludwig/Louis, adopted by Johann Nicolaus and the only surviving son, takes over the spice trade from his father together with his mother. His mother Elisabeth dies in 1882 and Louis is then the last remaining family member and therefore the sole heir to the family possessions. After the death of his mother, Louis sells the spice trade and retires. When he dies on November 11, 1889, he bequeaths his possessions to his housekeeper, who receives the usufruct from this [9] and the history of the family branch “Gütlich” in Darmstadt, which moved from Groß-Gerau, ends.

Family Gütlich-Müller

To the top.

[1] Due to the bombing during the Second World War, a large part of the inner city of Darmstadt was bombed. The house of Johann Nicolaus is also hit. After the war, a new building in modern style was erected on the same site. Nowadays a supermarket is established there.

[2] 1849 – Darmstadt_21 Das Grossherzogthum Hessen in malerischen Original Ansichten, 1. Band Starkenburg & Rheinhessen. Druck und Verlag von Gustav Georg Lange, Darmstadt 1849, Abb. 19

[3] 1862 Annuaire-Almanach du Commerce – Didot-Bottin – Darmstadt – N. Gütlich – P. 2669

[4] Chronik der Feierlichkeiten, welche auf Veranlassung der holM. Vermählung Seiner Hoheit des Erbgroßherzogs Ludwig von Hessen mit Ihrer Königl. Hoheit der Prinzessin Mathilde von Bayern in Bayern und Hessen stattfanden; Darmstadt, 1834. Verlag von Friedrich Metz.

[5] https://www.darmstadt-stadtlexikon.de/m/mathildenhoehe.html

[6] Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt – Bestand A1 – Nr. 37/71

[7] Für Freiheit und Recht! – Der Kampf der Darmstädter Demokraten im Vormärz (1815-1848) – Erich Zimmermann, Hessische Historische Kommission – 1987 Darmstadt

[8] Darmstädter Zeitung, 13-10-1872

[9] Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt G 28 Darmstadt Nr. F 2812/3 – STAY, Margaretha, Haushälterin des Rentners Louis Gütlich: Vormundschaft – Verwaltung und Nießnutz des Vermögens des Rentners Louis Gütlich – 1890