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

Public lectures by Martin Baumgartner : The Blumers

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 Sue Wolf

II. The Blumers

The story of another family can be discussed now substantially more briefly than that of the Martis, since we will not repeat the local story remarks which were noted by us in the explanation of the various headings, such as emigration, offices, the military, etc.

The Blumers from Engi stemmed from Luchsingen, where indeed today we find no more representatives of this family. It is not yet possible to point out whether the Blumers from Schwanden, Thon and Nidfurn stem from Luchsingen too; but it is very probable. -In Engi the Blumers have evolved extraordinarily now. In reference to the size of their family tree, they still stand in second place among the civic families of Engi. But since 41.5% of all Blumers emigrated, they stand, as citizens settled in Engi, in third place, since in this respect not only the Martis but also the Baumgartners are ahead of them.


I would like to keep myself somewhat thorough and detailed about the ancestor and his closest descendants. Wolfgang Blumer, c.1540-1610, son of church steward Othmar Blumer of Luchsingen, is considered to be the ancestor of the Engler Blumers. He was a cantonal official in Werdenburg in 1580. His purchase of citizenship in Engi is not authenticated, but it must have taken place approximately in 1585. From the marriage of this cantonal official, Wolfgang Blumer, with Ursula Becker, seven children, five sons and two daughters, originated. Of the sons only one, Paulus, the second youngest, came into consideration for the Engler Blumers. Of the oldest, Fridolin, born in 1566, we know nothing; probably he is presumed dead in foreign military service. The second son, Samuel, died in 1612, single; likewise the third, Andreas, born in 1584, died single in 1654. The youngest, Jakob, set himself up in business in Schwanden and got married, but since his father, cantonal official Blumer, also acquired the Tagwen** rights in Schwanden, he now built there a branch of the Blumer family tree from Schwanden.

**[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.]**

Of the two daughters the older was called Barbara, and died in 1599 while the first wife of cantonal official, Hilarius Gensig, in Matt. The latter was cantonal official in 1573 in the Free District [Canton Aargau] and died about Sept. 7,1600, after he married again. His second wife, Katharina Müller, had obviously not taken his death very strongly, since she married again only a month later, and indeed to lieutenant, councillor and ninth judge, Hans Elmer from Matt. -On June 25, 1576 the dwelling of cantonal official Gensig, the Old Sun, or the "white house" in Matt, burned down in his absence, and with it were burned three children, an event which agrees with the known cemetery legend. ** A daughter of cantonal official, Gensig, died on July 1, 1627, single. His only son, Hilarius, moved to Mitlödi, where he became a citizen and a Tagwen official. He married Sibilla Baumgartner on Oct. 28, 1632, a granddaughter of councillor, Hans, the ancestor of our Baumgartners. He is considered to be the ancestor of today's Ginsigs in Mitlödi.

**Note: In the chronicle of Joh. Heinrich Tschudi in 1714 it says, "on June 25, 1576 in the Sernf valley the house of Hilario Ginssig, who is the cantonal official in the Free District, went up in flames and, without exception, burned up his children miserably."**

The other daughter of the ancestor of the Blumers, Ursula, died on Jan. 4, 1636, and got married two times, in 1615 to Jakob Stiger, and in 1634 to Paulus Bäbler, both from Matt.

Now Paulus Blumer, Nr. 2 on the family tree, the single son of the ancestor who carried on the family line in Engi, produced, in his marriage with Elsbeth Zeller, 6 children, 5 sons and 1 daughter: Peter, Wolfgang, Meinrad, Maria, Fridolin, and Paulus. The youngest two sons both died at the age of about one and two years. The oldest, Peter, was a master glazier. He set himself up in business in Glarus in the so-called "upper Tagwen" and purchased citizenship in the Glarus commune in 1623. He was the first Blumer to become a citizen of Glarus. Still, he cannot be considered as ancestor of the Glarner Blumers, since in the 17th and 18th centuries still other Blumers from Schwanden and Nidfurn bought citizenships, and so constitute a few family lines of the Glarner Blumers.

The other two sons of Paulus Blumer, Nr.2, Wolfgang (Nr.3) and Meinrad (Nr.4), lived in Engi, and both had large families, with 16 children altogether, from which four family heirs emerged. Wolfgang Blumer, Nr.3 of the family tree, fell in the Mühlebach in 1652 and died as a consequence. His wife, Margaretha Hämmerli from Engi, as a widow with 10 children, married Samuel Steinmann from Niederuren, 5th and 9th judge, Tagwen official and councillor.

Meinrad Blumer, Nr.4 on the family tree, got married to Elsbeth Knobel from Betschwanden, was charity official, and died on Feb. 2, 1689. Throughout Josef Blumer, Nr.5, ** son of Paulus [Wolfgang], Nr. 3, was church steward and Tagwen official. He was uncommonly productive to the Blumer family tree, for he, with his wife, Ursula Norder from Engi, produced 16 children, of whom 7 sons carried on the family line again, so that, by the year 1700 the family tree grew to 20 families, by 1750 to 50 families, and by 1800 to 90 families. In 1850 there were already 175 and in 1880, 250 families, and in 1900, 320, and in 1920, 370 families.

**Note: This church steward, Josef Blumer, purchased Tagwen rights in Matt also, according to Tagwen records from Matt! The same thing was repeated by his descendants three times. The father of cantonal rifleman, Josef, was also a citizen of Matt!**


As mentioned already, of the civic families from Engi, the highest percentage emigrated from the Blumers, and, indeed too, the greatest portion to other Glarner communes (312) and other cantons (353). Therefore we find Engler Blumers dispersed into the whole canton and into Switzerland as a whole. From the Glarner communes a particular attraction is exerted upon the Blumers from Engi, above all, for Niederurnen and Glarus.

In Niederurnen there was a Joh. Jacob Blumer, who settled about 1790 in the Niederurnen mountains, in so-called "Stockberg". On Nov. 27, 1809 he renewed his Tagwen rights in Engi. He had a large number of descendants, that in 1850 already stood at over 20 families, and all remained in Niederurnen. Today Kaspar Blumer, a descendant of his, sits on the communal council of Niederurnen. -Then today there are, in St. Gallen and in Toggenburg, a considerable number of descendants of communal councillor, Josef Blumer, 1804-1858 (a son of old Meinrad in the "narrows"), and of Tagwen official, Josef Blumer, 1800-1869 (son of councillor, Johannes). So we meet Blumer families who stem from Engi in almost all of greater Switzerland.


The Blumers are represented in the communal offices from 1850 far less than the Martis and Baumgartners. The Martis had nine councillors allotted to them, but the Blumers are represented by only three of these. As the first Blumer councillor, we should mention Johannes Blumer (Nr. 89), 1739-1814, who first married, in the year 1800 at the age of 61 years, Anna Maria Sigrift from Luchsingen, the widow of Sergeant Bernhard Blumer (Nr. 70), (father of old Führli-Michael and Stöckenburg-Paulus). His only son, the above-mentioned Tagwen official, Josef Blumer, moved with his family to Toggenburg, where a few of his descendants live today. The second councillor from the Blumer family was President Fridolin Blumer, 1817-1882, Nr.158 on the family tree, father of Councillor of States, Leonhard Blumer, and siblings.

The third was his son, cantonal judge Fridolin Blumer, 1840-1899, Nr. 217, father of the old president, Fridolin Blumer-Wichser. He also held the offices of school official and communal president at the same time. Besides that, the Blumers produced few representatives in the other offices before 1850. Besides the ancestor, whom we got to know as cantonal official, 7 Tagwen officials, 4 church stewards, 2 charity officials, and 2 Tagwen secretaries were produced. As far as the old military system, they are represented by no captains or lieutenants. In exchange, they produced a standard-bearer, 4 sergeants, and 2 master riflemen. As far as the military of today, various representatives of the Blumers have advanced now to officer-grade.

We must now thank a man as a praiseworthy member of the Blumer family tree around the time of 1850. It concerns this Tagwen official and schoolmaster, Samuel Blumer, 1804-1849 (Nr. 134), grandfather of the cantonal engineer, Alfred Blumer, in Glarus. He served, along with schoolmaster, Joachim Baumgartner, from 1835 until his unfortunately all-too-early death in 1849, as the exemplary secondary school teacher of the school in Engi. At the age of 32 and afterwards, he served the commune as Tagwen official. As is well known, he was highly thought of as Tagwen president. He left, already married, with Anna Baumgartner, wife and child, and moved to the Küsnacht teacher-training institute. The well-known teacher-training institute director, Scherr, testified for him: ** "he has with the most excellent diligence worked on our continuing education and has become very well versed in all real and formal departments of the primary school. Moreover, he has a very simple, easy-going nature, and a very holy zeal for the office of primary school teacher is observed clearly. Unless he is able to set himself free from the institution with his conviction, he will work to keep blessing mankind in the teaching profession." In Engi he wanted to apply his considerable knowledge, so he introduced natural science and singing, along with the reading, writing, and arithmetic. Since they gave him to understand, however, publicly in a Tagwen assembly, that the latter [science and singing] were superfluous frills, he gave his resignation and considered looking about for a teaching post in another canton, where they would appreciate his teaching style better.

**Note: G. Heer. The History of the Schools of Canton Glarus**

Meanwhile, however, at the same memorable Tagwen assembly, Pastor Jacob Heer was called for by a vote. This one came also, almost out of breath, right at the conclusion of the Tagwen assembly, and conveyed so much in his fiery speech that they not only raised the pay of schoolmaster, Samuel, from 12 to 16 Doubloons, but they promised also that they would not bother him in the future about his teaching methods. Samuel Blumer then withdrew his resignation and remained in Engi until his early end. He performed a great service to the commune also as Tagwen recorder. The church book from Matt reports to us about his death: "This dear man held, for 14 long praiseworthy years, the position of secondary school teacher in Engi. With him the family lost a faithful father, the school an excellent teacher, and the whole commune a man who had a heart for its well-being and pain."

Since 1850 the Blumers from Engi have still increased in their reputation, which has been demonstrated by the increase in the number of offices which has been conferred on them since then.

In the foreground stands the revered figure of Leonhard Blumer, 1844-1905, Nr.231 on the family tree, who was awarded the high position of Councillor of States for Canton Glarus. As is well known, he has created, for the sphere of the school system, industry and, above all, for commerce, an indelible name. G. Heer, in his Story of the Blumers, has also illuminated his life and work in a praiseworthy way, and he still remains in the thankful recollection of our valley citizens, so that they forgive me when I leave it at that for today with this brevity.

Then the Blumers produced, moreover, 5 cantonal councillors, 2 cantonal judges, 3 communal presidents, 2 church presidents, 3 school presidents, 1 orphanage official, 4 communal councillors, 1 Justice of the Peace, 2 registrars, 1 police chief, and 1 church official (church "steward" Leonhard Blumer, of Bifang).

Six Engler Blumers took up the vocation of teacher, 3 that of doctor, and 3 that of engineer. The last one was Emil Blumer, 1850-1900 (a brother of Oskar Blumer im Bergen), who, in 1887, took a prominent part in the construction of the famous Przemnsel fortress at the edge of the Carpathians, which was destroyed in the world war in the year 1915, and which was an undertaking of Swiss general, Daniel of Salis-Soglio. Later he [Emil] was city engineer for Chur and director of the gas and water works at Thun.

Adam Blumer (1827-1887), brother of councillor, Fridolin Blumer-Coran, was a missionary in North America.


Of the distribution of forenames and their transmission among the family heirs of the Blumer family, Fridolin stands in first place with 45 (12.15%); 2. Jacob - 36 (9.72%); 3. Hans or Johannes - 33 (8.91%); 4. Josef - 31 (8.37%); 5. Paulus - 25 (6.75%); 6. Samuel -17 (4.59%); then follows Johann Jacob - 15 (4%); Meinrad - 14 (3.78%); Mathias, Heinrich and David - each 11 (2.95%).


Since the greater portion of the Blumers from Engi live in other communes, only 31% of all their wives are from Engi, and they also produced scanty percentages of reciprocal marriages from our civic families. From 443 wives only 138 stem from Engi, of them the most fall to the Martis, 42 (30%); 2. to the Baumgartners, 25 (16.5%); 3. to the Blumers themselves, 20 (14.5%); 4. to the Hämmerlis, 19 (14%); 5. to the Altmanns, 15 (10.7%); 6. to the Luchsingers 10 (7%); and 5 each to the Bräms and Wysses, 2 to the Geigers, and 1 to the Norders.


Eight Blumers perished in foreign military service.

In 1650 Fridolin Blumer, born in 1628, died at Tolosa in Spain, and 10 years later, in 1660, Paulus Blumer. Both were sons of Wolfgang Blumer, a grandson of the ancestor, cantonal official, Wolfgang Blumer.

In 1678 tailor, Wolfgang Blumer, born in 1650, died in service to the French, whereabouts unknown, in the first year of his marriage to Rosina Schneider from Elm. After his death she bore him a son, Fridolin, whose son, Wolfgang Blumer, born in 1707, likewise a tailor by occupation, perished in service to the British at Gibraltar, while the husband of Margreth Blumer.

On Sept. 11, 1709, Rudolf Blumer, born on Jan. 13, 1682, son of Tagwen official Jakob, lost his life in the bloody battle at Mons.

In 1721 Josef Blumer, born in 1699, died, in service to the French, in Paris under Major Bachmann.

On Oct. 15, 1794, Kaspar Blumer, born in 1773, son of carpenter, Hans Jakob, lost his life at Breda, in service to the Dutch, in the Stockar Regiment.

On Jan. 1, 1842, Joh. Jakob Blumer, born in 1819, son of grape picker, Johannes Blumer residing in Chur, died in Bologna in the papal service.


Concerning the Blumers, we encounter an extraordinarily high number of misfortunes, the fewest of them from the time before 1850, which we will list now:

On Aug. 26, 1652, Wolfgang Blumer, born in 1595 (Nr. 3 on the family tree), grandson of the ancestor and husband of Margreth Hämmerli, had an accident, already mentioned at the beginning of the Blumer story, in which he fell into the Mühlebach and died as a result.

On Dec. 4, 1717, Josef Blumer, born in 1662 (Nr.14), husband of Barbara Schneider from Schwändi, a great-grandmother of coppersmith, Heinrich Blumer, (then also of teacher H. Blumer in Luchsingen) and of George Blumer, in old Post, fell from a tree to his death.

On June 30, 1741, Hans Peter Blumer, called the "Young", born in 1694 (Nr. 25), husband of Verena Altmann, was killed im Plattenberg.

In 1765 Fridolin Blumer, born in 1757, young son of Meinrad Blumer, Nr. 51, drowned. His body was never found.

On Oct. 21, 1769, Joh. Jakob Blumer, born in 1744, husband of Barbara Bräm, fell to his death on the Eggenberg on the way home from straw gathering, leaving behind 5 underaged children. He was the grandfather of the still-living 83-year-old, Katharine Baumgartner, born Blumer, widow of "young" Martin (as he signs his name) and great-grandfather of our oldest commune citizen, Jakob Blumer im Wyden.

The red dysentery, which in the year, 1771, raged by us, afflicted the family of Peter Blumer (Nr. 53) especially seriously, when, in the time between Sept. 2-20, 1771, 4 children between 1-10 years old fell victim to it.

In Oct. 1790, Paulus Blumer, born in 1748, husband of Anna Altmann, had an accident. The Book of the Dead reports this about him: "Paulus Blumer had an accident in Schwendi, a half-hour outside of Weisstannen in the highland. He fell down a cliff and was only found, still dripping wet, some time later, and was recognized from pieces of his clothing. He was buried in Weisstannen according to the Catholic custom." He left behind 2 underaged daughters, of whom one, Regula, born in 1784, married Johannes Marti from Engi (Nr. 150) on Dec. 25, 1806. He, as we have heard concerning the Martis, drowned with his stepsister in the Sernf in 1807. In 1810 this Regula Blumer got married for a second time to George Elmer from Matt, father of the late George Elmer im Friedhof. She was thus his mother.

On July 3, 1794 Fridolin Blumer, born in 1776, so 18 years old, fell, as a goat-herder, in the so-called Silberblanken in Elm. "He was exhausted from his vocation and plunged over the cliff." His sister, Sofia Blumer, born in 1786, married the shoemaker, Dietrich Kubli from Matt in 1807 and died already in 1810. Kubli married for a second time, to Regula Bäbler, widow of Bartholomäus Stauffacher from Matt, who, on May 15, 1807, was beheaded as one of the last in Canton Glarus (because of repeated larceny). The last execution was shoemaker, Joh. Josef Rudolf Michel, from Netstal, who suffered death by the sword because of robbery-murder.

On May 27, 1799, Mathäus Blumer, born in 1754, Nr. 81, was wounded by a gunshot because of carelessness, and died 12 hours afterwards. Since this event happened in the year 1799, one is tempted to believe that this happened in connection with the Russian fight against the French. In May there were, however, no foreign troops still in Glarnerland.

On April 13, 1817, Anna Katharina Blumer, born on Feb. 7, 1753, single daughter of Hans Blumer and Anna Barbara Ruch (Nr. 37) (great-grandancestor of old Wyden, Jacob Blumer) had an accident. The Book of Death reports this about her: "She was going home on Sunday (probably from Mitlödi), lost her way, had a breakdown in the night and froze to death."

On Nov. 20, 1818, Paulus Blumer, born on Nov. 19, 1773 (Nr.84), husband of Susanna Marti, was murdered on the road from Claro to Cresciano in Tiscino, and was buried there. The circumstances leading up to this are not given. Probably he found himself in a French Switzerland affair. He was the grandfather of David Blumer, of Mühle, or the great-grandfather of communal councillor, Paulus Blumer and his siblings. A daughter of his, Susanna, married Matthäus Luchsinger, a brother of Jacob Luchsinger im Schlattberg (this family has emigrated).

On Aug. 3, 1823 Josef Blumer, ** born in 1782 (Nr. 90), father of old cantonal rifleman, Josef Blumer, fell to his death while cherrypicking. Six years before, in 1817, his brother, Mathäus Blumer (Nr. 85), who lived in Matt, also was killed by a fall from a cherry tree.

**Note: a citizen from Matt**

On Sept. 2, 1829, Johannes Blumer, Nr. 135, born in 1808, husband of Ursula Zentner from Elm, lost his life in a flood on the Ueblibach. He was a son of old Meinrad Blumer in the "narrows".

On Nov. 11, 1831, Michael, Nr. 98, the 4-year-old youngest son of Michael Blumer, fell into the Mühlebach when no one was watching and was not found until in the Biäsche and buried in Mollis. He was a brother of Führli Bernhard and the tailor, Josef Blumer (father of furrier, Kaspar Blumer), and also a brother of Johannes Blumer im Mattbrunnen (great-grandfather of communal councillor, Michael Baumgartner, and siblings).

On May 27, 1832, Josef, the 2-year-old son of the first marriage of cantonal policeman and Tagwen recorder, Josef Blumer, drowned in a swimming pool.

On October 25, 1845, sergeant, church steward, Justice of the Peace, and charity official Fridolin Blumer, born in 1784 (Nr.103), had an accident. He was the grandfather of Councillor of States, Blumer, and his siblings. The church book reports this about him: "This man was for a longish time subject to spells of gout, when he, busy taking two logs above the Badkopf to the midday meal, was found dead there soon afterwards by us from the steep Badkopf road. A fracture of the upper arms, a bruise on the temple and one other injury pointed to a slip and fall, but I suppose that was likely to be the consequence of a gout attack.

On August 25, 1848, Joh. Jakob, the young son of church president, Adam Blumer, was crushed to death at the age of six at the Kohlbödeli by an out-of-control girder that fell down.

On Nov. 22, 1850, Samuel Blumer, born on Sept. 14, 1823 (Nr.170), husband of midwife Marla Marti (who then married Hilarius Luchsinger, from Engi, in 1854), was crushed to death im Plattenberg by a collapsing cliff. It is he who is the father of the deceased guild master, Fridolin Blumer.

After 1850 there were still many such accidents to itemize, which brought great sadness to the Blumer family. We will, however, only report a few that were probably not more generally familiar.

On June 27, 1855, Jost Blumer, born in 1837, 18 years old, fell in the woods above Plattenberg. He was a brother of Verena Blumer, the mother of communal councillor, Paulus Blumer, and his siblings.

On April 6, 1869, Jakob Blumer, born in 1814 (Nr. 157), husband of Katharina Altmann, had a fatal accident im Plattenberg. His only son, Joh. Jakob, as I reported not mistakenly under the last name, "Gässler", was married to Verena Baumgartner, daughter from the first marriage of guard, Jakob Baumgartner. This family emigrated, where to is not known to me.

On Nov. 22, 1871, Maria Blumer, born in 1839, a sister of printer, Heinrich Blumer in Riedern, whose son, Fridolin, still lives as coach builder in Riedern, smothered on coal dust in the Ingrube [mine?] in Glarus. She was married to Adam Marti from Engi, living in Glarus. He was a brother of the old shepherd, Mathias Marti, and the tailor, Mathäus Marti. Her oldest daughter, 13-year-old Verena Marti, was smothered with her.

On Sept. 4, 1881, lace-trimmer, Fridolin Blumer from Engi, born in 1855 (Nr. 267), drowned in high water in the Birs near Basel. His father, Fridolin, lived in Basel and had a family of 12, of which 6 sons became branches of the Blumer family tree. The wife of the casualty, Verena Nägeli, then married his brother, Karl Blumer.

On Oct. 1, 1888, what was well-known by the old people as the so-called "Thornhouse" in outer Mattbrunnen, near the old post office, which was occupied by the Markus Blumer family, the step-brother of George Blumer, burned completely down. Unfortunately, the 16-year-old daughter, Barbara Blumer, lost her life in the flames.

On Aug. 17, 1915, locomotive engineer, Jakob Blumer from Engi, living in Zurich, was crushed to death, in Dietikon by the collision of 2 trains. He left behind 2 underaged children and was descended from the Niederurnen line.

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 the Blumers

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