Hermann Gütlich goes to visit his older cousin Georg Wetterhahn in Mainz during the autumn holidays of 1853. In order to get a good picture of the role of the Wetterhahn family in Hermann’s life, the various family members will be reviewed one after the other.
Hermann’s uncle and aunt
The family of his aunt Susanne (Elisabeth) Gütlich (1796-1835) has a special place in Hermann’s life. Her husband, and thus Hermann’s uncle, Johann Wetterhahn (1788-1850), is Hermann’s godfather and in that role has been involved in the ins and outs of Hermann’s life from birth. Johann is a prominent authority figure with a military background. His career starts in Darmstadt where he starts as an Unter-leutnant in the Landdragonerkorps. In 1821 the family moves from Darmstadt to Mainz, where Johann is appointed Oberleutnant, in 1825 promoted to Gendarmeriekommandant and in 1835 even to Gendarmerie-Rittmeister of the entire Rheinhessen province and is therefore ultimately responsible for the gendarmerie commands of the area. His uncle and aunt, unlike their sons Gustav and Georg, do not play a part in Hermann’s travelogue from 1853 because they are both already deceased.
Cousin (Johann Nicolaus) Gustav Wetterhahn (1818-1868)
The reason for the trip to Milan is the purchase of two horses by Hermann’s cousin Gustav Wetterhahn; in 1853 a senior soldier in the Austrian army and from that position he was stationed in the northern Italian Lodi. Like his father Johann, Gustav aspires to a military career that takes him successively from Ulaan (1835) until his retirement to Feldmarschall-Leutnant. On his death in 1868 in Mainz he is even mentioned as a decorated Major in the Imperial Austrian Army. Gustav started his military career before Hermann was born and was often stationed abroad, including in Vienna, Hungary and later in Italy. It is therefore unlikely that Hermann and Gustav had intensive contact with each other. In his travel story Hermann tells that he would like to meet his cousin Gustav and eventually he goes to the barracks in the Italian city of Lodi to realize this.
Cousin Johann Georg Eduard Wetterhahn (1826-1880)
Hermann’s other cousin Georg Wetterhahn is only 10 years older than him. From the beginning of the travel story it appears that they have a good relationship with each other. Hermann therefore goes to Georg in Mainz during the autumn holidays of 1853 and if Hermann wants to make the trip to Milan, Georg is fine with that and is prepared to advance him the travel costs. Georg is known to have married the Englishwoman Caroline Griffin (1828-1905), their marriage having been celebrated on May 30, 1850 in Saint Luke’s Church, Chelsea, London. Hermann’s cover for the trip to Milan is that he will accompany Caroline Griffin’s brother to Paris; a lie to convince his parents to provide him with a travel passport, which indeed works.
Georg is a wholesaler of national and international wines. In order to keep the quality high and reliable, in 1876 he presents the invention of a wine-cleaning device that is officially patented for the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The aim of this invention is to discover whether, in French red wines in particular, sugar is artificially added to the wine must instead of being part of the natural fermentation process. When Georg dies in 1880, the wine trade is continued by his wife Caroline. It is known that his son Georg (1856-1932) was also active in the family wine trade in 1890.
The Wetterhahn-Gütlich family line: