The History of the Citizen Families of Engi (GL) and their Development

Public lectures by Martin Baumgartner : The Baumgartners

The History of the Citizen Families of Engi and their Development
[Zur Geschichte der bürgerlichen Geschlechter von Engi und ihre Entwicklung]

Public lectures by Martin Baumgartner, teacher in Engi.
Self-published by the author, Glarner Newsprint Shop, Rud. Tschudy, 1923.

Translated by Steven Schoenig, SJ, and Sue Wolf

III. The Baumgartners. [pp. 26-33]

If we wished to treat the citizen families of Engi according to the number of citizens living in our commune and enjoying the benefit of Tagwen** rights, then the Baumgartners belonged before the Blumers. Today the Baumgartners are represented in Engi by 68 Tagwen rights, in comparison with which the Blumers are presented by only 38, and the Martis by 86. According to the strength of their family tree, however, the Blumers take the lead over the Baumgartners, since the former show 370 families and the latter only 335 families. The Baumgartners have quite obviously remained more home-loving and more loyal to the native soil than most of the other families. Only 30% of them have emigrated (even only 29% of the Hämmerlis).

**[Translator's Note: Tagwen – an ancient term, from at least the 6th century A.D., which is still used today in Canton Glarus to denote the commune of the citizens, i.e. those who have inherited or purchased the Tagwen rights (this may only partially coincide with the political commune). It is derived from Tage Wann, meaning the work someone could perform in one day in the commonly-held fields, pastures and forests. Over the years the number of Tagwen in the canton has varied considerably, with the present-day number being 29. Also its duties have changed – from jointly working on and enjoying the benefits of its common property, to administering all the commune’s public interests, to (today) administering and enjoying the benefits of its common property. ]**

On the beginnings of the Baumgartners in Engi, G. Heer has held his own rather in detail. With him, however, not everything corresponds to the facts. But one must bear in mind that Heer was not able to write on the basis of a constructed family tree, but rather was instructed only as a result of the beginnings of the baptismal book.


The actual ancestor of all Baumgartners of Engi, and so those of Schwändi, Bilten, and Zürich-Egg, is Hans Baumgartner "the Old" of Gams in the Rhine valley, a commune that certainly did not belong to the rule of Werdenberg, but likewise was under the supreme authority of the Glarners, i.e. of the Glarners and Swiss jointly. Since the neighboring communes of Grabs, Sevelen, and Trübbach were Reformed, while Gams however remained Catholic, it is very probable that this Hans Baumgartner came into our land drawn for the sake of his faith. He bought the Glarner cantonal citizenship in 1595 for 100 Gulden and became a citizen in Engi. But he doubtlessly had to have already been here a few years before. He married Anna Bäbi (not Bäbler—probably that is the original family name of the Bäblers; the Elm baptismal book also has "Bäbi" entered around 1615). This "Old" Hans Baumgartner had three sons, Jakob, Martin, and Hans.

The first son, Jakob Baumgartner, married a Magdalena Bäbler and had a son baptized in 1595, of whom, however, one hears nothing more afterwards. Nothing at all further of this family is known than that the husband died in 1619 and the wife already in 1614.

The second son, Martin Baumgartner, married a Barbara Jenny and had seven children. But no son of his continued the family tree. Of the whole family nothing further is known than that it dwelt in Mitlödi, where the father also purchased citizenship, and that a daughter, Sibilla Baumgartner, 1613-1646, married the already- mentioned Tagwen official Hilarius Gensig, son of cantonal official Hilarius and Barbara Blumer of Matt, and became the ancestor of the Mitlödi Ginsigs, which of course we have already referred to under the Blumers.

Only the third son, Hans Baumgartner, called the "Young Hans," who achieved the high position of a councillor and church steward, comes into consideration for the preservation of the Baumgartner family tree. He had married two wives—in 1608 Ursula Brunner of Glarus, who died in 1642, and in 1643 Anna Iselin of Glarus. From the first marriage came seven children; but again only a single son, Hans, 1614-1691 (#6 on the family tree), became a family heir. He too received the last name "the Young" and likewise became a councillor and a Tagwen official of Engi. Only with him do the Baumgartners begin to develop extensively. For from his marriage with Barbara Schneider of Elm came ten children, and among these five family heirs: Jakob, Martin, Hans, Jost, and Marx Baumgartner, whose families altogether had 32 children, of whom 17 sons continued the Baumgartner stock.

The second youngest of the above five sons of councillor Young Hans Baumgartner was Jost, 1657-1715 (#10 on the family tree). His oldest son Hans, called the "Great" (1698-1759), moved to Schwändi, purchased citizenship there, and became the ancestor of the Baumgartner line of Schwändi and Bilten. From the Schwändi line come, among others, Professor Andreas Baumgartner in Zürich, who is still living today, and his brother, president, cantonal councillor, and district judge Johannes Baumgartner-Spörri in Neuhaus-Hinteregg, president of the political commune of Egg-Esslingen in the Zürich highlands. His last son, Alwin Baumgartner-Kubli, is the school president in Egg and is son-in-law of the revered J.J. Kubli-Müller.

This Hans Baumgartner, who purchased rights in Schwändi, had eleven children. Of them two sons, Joachim and Hans, came back to Engi, and their descendants have remained Engelers. The first, Joachim, had two family heirs. One was Johannes Baumgartner, 1767-1801 (#65 on the family tree), who on February 21, 1788 purchased for himself the Tagwen rights of Eschen Tagwen, and whose descendants are the brothers Kaspar (master tailor and school president) and Fridolin Baumgartner, living today in Nidfurn. The other family heir was Captain Joh. Heinrich Baumgartner, 1771-1827 (#76), father of schoolmaster Joachim and grandfather of wine merchant Joh. Christof Baumgartner in Glarus, of the old communal councillor Mathias Baumgartner im Wintergen, and of the old innkeeper of "The Ox", Joh. Heinrich Baumgartner, still living.

The other two family heirs of the aforementioned Hans Baumgartner in Schwändi, Jost, 1730-1795, and treasury official Christof, 1745-1800, remained in Schwändi, and as citizens of Schwändi they and their descendants don't come into consideration any more for our family tree, but rather form their own Schwändi line.

Thus the Baumgartners in Engi at the beginning, namely before 1700, developed only rather sparsely. Until 1700 there were barely eleven families. Since, however, they had children-rich households, they soon made an improvement. By 1750 they grew to 34 families; by 1800 to 77 families, and by 1850 (exactly doubled) to 154 families. In 1880 there were already 220 families, in 1900 272, and now 335 families.

The Baumgartners are the children-richest family of Engi. In all there are 1801 children, even more than among the Blumers, who show only 1787. Among the Baumgartners, therefore, it comes to 5.4 children per family, among the Blumers, only 4.5. Fewer, on average, than the Blumers are the Gigers (4.38) and the Altmanns (3.88).


In reference to emigration among the Baumgartners, we have already stressed that it was slight among them in proportion to that of the other families. Of the total of 650 emigrated Baumgartners, 186 (28.6%) migrated to North America; 49 (7.6%) to Brazil; 206 (31.4%) into other cantons {mostly to Chur, where Johannes Baumgartner, born in 1828 (#157), deceased in 1906, a brother of Felix Baumgartner im Boden, had a family of 20 children; then to Thun, where Jakob Baumgartner, 1842-1897, and into the Berner Juras, where Martin Baumgartner, still living, (both brothers of Mathias Baumgartner, a guard) had large families}; 161 persons (24.8%) settled in other communes. Besides these, mainly Glarus and Mollis come into consideration (see chart in back! [Statistics]).


Of the 24 councillors the Baumgartners produced five of them, two of whom we have gotten acquainted with at the beginning of the history of the Baumgartner family:

1. Church steward Hans Baumgartner, the "Young," who died in 1656, son of the ancestor.

2. His son, Tagwen official Hans Baumgartner, 1614-1691, also called the "Young." We encounter him very often in the Tagwen records.

The third Baumgartner councillor was church steward and Tagwen official Joh. Christof Baumgartner, 1700-1784. He was for 36 years an honorary member of the council and accomplished a great deal for our commune. His marriage with Barbara Störi of Matt remained childless. (The last male Störi of Matt was Esaias Störi, who in 1726 married Barbara Baumgartner, a granddaughter of Young Hans Baumgartner the councillor.)

4. Kaspar Baumgartner, Tagwen official, 1795-1844;

5. His son, Martin Baumgartner, president and orphanage official, 1819-1872. (he was the grandfather of Regula Hämmerli nee Baumgartner, wife of master carpenter Josef Hämmerli.)

A further son of the councillor Kaspar was Tagwen official and cantonal councillor Leonhard Baumgartner im Knie.

The Baumgartners produced seven Tagwen officials, six church stewards; then two charity officials, three school officials, and three inspectors of weights and measures.


In the military of times past they were represented by two leading people:

1. Tagwen official Martin Baumgartner, 1715-1789, grandfather of school official Fridolin im Linden.

2. Joh. Heinrich Baumgartner, 1774-1827, father of schoolmaster Joachim Baumgartner.

Then the Baumgartners also produced a lieutenant, a standard-bearer, and three sergeants.

Surely a venerable figure was also schoolmaster Joachim Baumgartner, 1800-1881, still well known to older people. In his younger years he served as a soldier, a "drum-major," under Napoleon I. Military strictness was then a peculiar characteristic of his, even into advanced age. Returned from military service, he then gained for himself so many skills in the church house of Matt with Pastor Jacob Heer and in the Marti school in Glarus that the cantonal school council hired him as assistant teacher, all the more "since he brought to light a decided talent in the handling of small things, despite his military career". ** He held office in Engi as assistant teacher till 1856. He married Regula Elmer of Matt (a sister of Georg Elmer im Friedhof), and he had a very large household to support, as there were, in fact, no fewer than eleven children. A considerable number of his descendants now live today in Engi.

**Author's note: Heer, School History of Canton Glarus**

Since 1850 the Baumgartners were represented by the following additional offices: two cantonal councillors, two communal presidents, six communal councillors, three church councillors, an orphanage official, a communal secretary, and three teachers.


The first names coming up most among the Baumgartner family heirs, which can be characterized as so-called Baumgartner names, are the following:

1. Hans or Johannes 57 (17%); 2. Jakob 34 (10%); 3. Fridolin 27 (8%); 4. Martin 26(7.75%); 5. Joh. Heinrich and Heinrich 24 (7.2%); then follow Mathias and Joh. Christof 13 (3.9%); Peter and Joh. Jakob 11 (3.3%); and Adam 10 (3%).


In reference to marriage in the families of Engi, the following distribution results among the Baumgartners: of the 389 wives, 174 (44.75%)come from Engi, namely 70 (40%) Martis, 32 (18%) Blumers, 27 (16%) Baumgartners themselves, 19 (11%) Hämmerlis, 11 (6%) Luchsingers, then 6 Altmanns, 5 Wysses, 4 Wintelers, 2 Gigers, 1 Bräm, and 1 Norder.


Relatively few Baumgartners have died in foreign military service. Perhaps it's that this is also a further piece of evidence of their love of their native land. It can also be, however, that just as many Baumgartners were enticed by foreign pay as members of other families, but perhaps only fewer of them found death there.

The following five Baumgartners were buried as mercenaries in foreign soil:

On January 21, 1795, Samuel Baumgartner, born in 1772, single, lost his life in Dutch service. He was under the Swiss Stocker regiment and was a brother of Peter, the father-in-law of fire chief Fridolin Baumgartner.

On September 26, 1809, Heinrich Baumgartner, born in 1780, single, died of fever in the military hospital at Naples.

On April 26, 1812, Jakob Baumgartner, born on December 5, 1776, single, died as a infantryman in the 3rd Swiss regiment at Lille in French service. He was the son of a Fridolin Baumgartner, of whom, however, no more male descendants live.

On May 5, 1820, Gabriel Baumgartner, born in 1795, single, died in the hospital at Louvain in Dutch service. He was the son of Marx Baumgartner and a brother of David Baumgartner, of the common land (my great-grandfather).

On January 31, 1860, Samuel Baumgartner, born in 1825, widower, died in the hospital at Avellino in Sicily in Neapolitan service. His father was a brother of old "Söli-Hans" and "Söli-Sebastian."


The destiny of many a Baumgartner family is still affected, when we are mindful of the accidents and events which brought gaps and grief into our tree from 1595 to about 1860. Probably we can presume that most of those after 1860 are known.

On February 4, 1738 a Baumgartner family was afflicted by a terrible accident. Gottfr. Heer has also mentioned the same accident in his history of the families, namely, judging by the subject matter in the "Pictures of Canton Glarus" by Blumer and Heer. It concerns the family of Hans Baumgartner im Grund, born in 1704 (#17 on the family tree). His wife, Verena Elmer, was a daughter of Hans Elmer, who was a citizen of Engi. I make known here what the Book of the Dead reports to us: "On the fourth day of February it happened that an avalanche came from the Fittern Alps to Engi, with deep-fallen snow and heavy storm weather. It affected the young Hans Baumgartner, residing im Grund, and his house, in which he and ten persons were. The house was wrecked, and all ten persons lost their lives. In the morning it was Sunday, and the whole commune was busy searching in the avalanche for the dead, of whom they found nine persons, namely Margreth Elmer, lady of the house of Wernet Elmer (brother of Hans Baumgartner's wife), together with three children Barbara, Hans Heinrich, and Fridli Elmer."

"Likewise Verena Elmer, Hans Baumgartner's lady of the house, with four children, namely Fridli, Barbara, Hans, and Verena Baumgartner, all of whom were buried in the earth on the sixth of February and laid in a grave. – Hans Baumgartner, the man of the house, however, regardless of all zealous searching, could still not be found by that date. On the thirteenth of February he too was found and buried on the following day."

The house was therefore inhabited by two families, the brothers-in-law, Baumgartner and Elmer, and stood above the now-standing stable of Mathias Hämmerli im Grund, opposite Fitter Street. From the entire Elmer family the father Wernet survived, for he had a short time before the accident gone into the house of a neighbor and must have watched out from there as his family was buried by the avalanche. From the Baumgartner family (which had six children, as a son Hans died already in 1728 as a three-year-old) only the oldest son Marx remained, who was probably not at home on that unfortunate evening. At the time he was 14 years old. In 1743 he married Verena Stauffacher of Matt. From his two family heirs no more male descendants exist. He is however the grandfather of Margreth Baumgartner, wife of the old Engi, Meinrad Blumer, and of Afra Baumgartner, the mother of Mathias Marti im Bergen.

On January 4, 1767 Oswald Baumgartner, born in 1738 (#42), residing in Matt, husband of Barbara Stauffacher of Matt, had an accident. Barbara then, in 1769, married for the second time, namely to Hans, the son of Marx Baumgartner, mentioned a little while ago as spared by the avalanche accident in the year 1738. So she was the mother of both the aforementioned Margreth, who married a Blumer, and Afra, who married a Marti.

The Book of the Dead now reports the following concerning the victim, Oswald Baumgartner, who, by the way, was a brother of Old Rudolf Baumgartner (grandfather of school official Mathäus) and also of the grandfather of old Joh. Melchior am Weissberg: "Oswald Baumgartner went away from his wife and children in Matt on the fourth of January in order to feed his father's cattle. However, when he wanted to take a nearer way and hasten among the pastures toward the mountain and his father's stable, he slipped and slid down with a landslide of snow, tumbled down over the cliff located below. He was found dead just above the Bitzi pasture on the fifth of January in the morning, and buried on the sixth."

He had had two daughters in his marriage, Anna and Margreth. The latter reached only two years old. Anna, in contrast, was the mother of Oswald Blumer, the grandfather on his mother's side of cooper, Oswald Hämmerli im Rigi.

On May 17, 1791 Joachim, born in 1782, tumbled over the top of a cliff on the backside of Trosgiberg to his death, while looking for little primroses. He was the little son of inspector of weights and measures Joachim, or a brother of Johannes Baumgartner, already mentioned in another place, who purchased citizenship in Leuggelbach, and of the captain Joh. Heinrich Baumgartner, the father of schoolmaster Joachim.

On August 9, 1793 Hans Baumgartner, born in 1739, husband of Susanna Dürst of Linthal, fell to his death as a goatherd in Elm. His son Samuel is the grandfather on his mother's side of Katharina Baumgartner nee Blumer, still living widow of the "Young" Martin Baumgartner.

On November 3, 1794 Hans Baumgartner, born in 1756 (#59), husband of Elsbeth Marti, fell to his death from a mulberry tree. This is the grandfather of old Joh. Jakob Baumgartner im Brunnengaden and of "Söli"-Hans.

On August 2, 1817 Johannes Baumgartner, born in 1788, single, wanted to go up the Schotten Alp but was overtaken by night and found dead on another day. – Characteristic! For 1817 was just the great miscalculation and hunger year, the year of the children's journies. No more descendants from his father live in Engi.

On September 16, 1857 Elsbeth Baumgartner, born in 1816, daughter of "Söli"-Sebastian (the grandfather of Sebastian im Brunnengaden), wife of the goatherd Fridolin Luchsinger of Engi, was strangled by her own husband, from whom she lived separated, on the Laueli Alp, where she was digging roots! The corpse was only found twelve days later. The husband was sentenced to lifelong punishment in chains. He seemed to deeply regret the terrible deed. After about 18 years, however, he was pardoned because he behaved well.

On November 17, 1859 Plattenberg overseer and school official Joh. Jakob Baumgartner, born in 1813 (#125), husband of Eufemia Baumgartner, had an accident on the Plattenberg with explosives (with gunpowder and spark plugs). He was a brother of Johannes Baumgartner, overseer, father of old administrator Baumgartner and his siblings. Of his eleven children three died young. Two daughters married here, and the remaining six (four sons and two daughters) moved in April, 1864 to New Glarus [Wisconsin]. His son, Johannes, died there in the same year, but of the others nothing more is known. In the Book of the Dead it says of this victim, school official Baumgartner: "He was a faithful husband, faithful through and through."

On November 1, 1860 Martin Baumgartner, born in 1821, single, son of school official Fridolin im Höschetli ("Linden-Fridli"), fell to his death from a beech tree.

Translator's Notes

1. I have left all descriptive phrases untranslated, such as "im Speicher". They are used to distinguish between people of the same first and last names, which occurred frequently in this area because of inbreeding.

2. All comments in brackets [] are mine. I have also added headings for ease of reading.

Return to Baumgartner Index Page / see also Heer's notes on Baumgartner

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