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Bischofsreut, Bavaria, Germany
History and Photographs

Bischofsreut is the ancestral home that our Neustifter Family emmigrated from

Please click on the photos below to see a larger view.

Early plat map drawing of Bischofsreut showing homes and public buildings

German Veterans Poster

Early photograph of the village church as seen in the plat drawing.

Franz Weiboltshamer

Neustifter House # 16 in 1960 Bischofsreut

Norbert Madl

Ebersberger House #11 in 1995

Hedwig Madl

Weishaupl Family in 1914
Bischofsreut House # 5

Map of the Bischofsreut area in Bavaria, Germany. The village is on the upper right border.

Norbert Madl

An original Bischofsreut house.

C:\Documents and Settings\HP_Administrator\My Documents\My Scans\2009-10 (Oct)
"A Guide to the Chronicles of Bischofsreut"  by Norbert Madl

Bartholomew's brother Jakob was selected by the Prince-Bishop of Passau to replace Michael Weissenberger as a settler in Bischofsreut, House Number 16. Michael Weissenberger was found dead in the spring in 1707. Bartholomew took over House #16 in Bischofsreut from his brother Jacob.

Bartholomew Neustifter: Occupation: Cottager

17th and 18th of July 1959 11 Jahrgang, Nr. 82

The History of Bischofsreut

By Paul Praxl
Translated by Rita Neustifter - 20 Feb 2002

On a foggy, gloomy autumn day some years ago I found a large, and unfortunately undated, map in the Plansammlung collection of the Hauptstaatsarchives (Public Archives) in Munich. Covering the whole beautiful forestland borderline from the time around 1600, which everyone should wander through once. It was drawn exactly between Lusen and Dreissel, and found under stacks still unexamined for our area. The large forest rises directly behind the Maut and Kirchdorf Grainet, through which the "Strass of Prachatitz" (Highway of Splendor) leads. Over a wooden bridge, this artery of the famous Goldenen Steiges (Golden Climb - an old trading trail) traverses the Harlandbach (brook); directly beside it is a stone Grenzaule (border column - marker), of which we will later hear more. The forests ring themselves all around (this marker) in Weite und Breite (breath and width).

The Harlandbach, which has it's sources in the moorland region between Elbenberg and Farrenberg, and having the old name of Auerbergsreut, flows with the Schnellenzipf into the Wolfaubach. In early times it already formed the boundary between Passauer Furstbistum (Passau Prince Diocese) on one side and the Bohemian ruled Winterberg (Winter Mountain) on the other side. The oldest border description of the passauischen Herrschaft Wolfstein (Passau land ruled by Wolfstein), from 23 May 1512, which today is kept in the Munich Main Public Records, already names the Harlandbach as the borderline. "In regard to the Haidbach fold into the ox-bow, the same brook rises to Harlandt, and travels from Harlandt into the Schwartz-Wasser (Black Water brook), from the Schwartz-Wasser to the Wagenwasser (Wagenwater brook), and works it's way from the Wagenwasser on to the Teueflwasser, splitting this legendary land in half." Two decades later, in 1531, a Czech document of the Bohemian Land Board in Prag, named the Potok Mseny, acknowledges the Harlandbach as the border brook between Passau and Boehmen. In the Wolfsteiner border description of 1549 it is expressed: "From Prueckhl moves (flows) the Wagenwasser into the Schwartzwasser, farther along the Wagenwasser goes into the Schar. Where the Harlandbach flows through the heartland, at Guschwadi (that is the Rosenberger Meierhof Kuscharda at the time already Schloss Kunzwarte) the Harlandbach of utilization (as border) is on the Prueckhl on the Prachaditzer Highway near Bairisch beside a large stone column, this is the third Walt-Viertl (forest-quarter)."

Although in this area between Kalter Moldau and Wolfaubach, to some extent, the boundary was fixed early, embittered border disputes and rough physical border violations repeatedly happened. In much later times, parties could not agree, among other things, on which brook (waterline) is actually the Harlandbach. At that early time, one quite surely knew what was the boundary description of the Beschreibung of Passauer (Abby Country of Passau) of 1692 that the Boehmen (Bohemian men) were told on his travel through Passett. "Yet, in the year 1735, when it is necessary to build a main route highway instead of the old Saemer (salt - trade route) trail" writes the passauishe Hofkemmerrat (Passau District Administrator) Adeling von Arnoldstein, "that a look at the entire history of the route brings one a volume of considerations to substantiate." In particular, he did not trust the Prachtitzern and Wallern designation of border. "especially the concern of the Prachatitzer and likewise the Granitz Brueckel (border bridge) over the Harlandbach high point, so that Thiel has half and half to Hochstift (high place) Passau, each having observation (watch) over it, and the unrelenting clash over it is bitterly deplorable." Additionally, the Wallerer knew a Liedlein (historian) von (from) Grenzirrunge who told of stolen merchandise, not rarely involving cattle robbers, achenbrenner (outlaw distillers), and the game contactors (unlicensed hunters), who had nevertheless penetrated over the officially sanctioned border brooks around the Trussettberg. These incidents were reported in the passauishe Hofkemmerrat (Passau District Advisor) as well as innumerable documents in the Munich Public Archives, and Bohemian District Advisor and Winterberg. Another time, perhaps I will have time and opportunity to report on these writings in detail regarding the century long border despute. Finally, in this area, the boundary was only determined in the years 1761 to 1767 "to the fortification of friendship and neighborly accord". For three hundred years the entire area around Harlandbach  was completely unaffected by the axe, a playground for gold scrubbers (money launderers)  and outlaw distillers, game contactors (unlicensed hunters) and hard luck men. However, an important trail route passed through it, the Golden Steig, between Wallern and Prachatitz, and the mover of the goods would rest briefly here and water their horses (pack animals), before they took up their cumbersome migration again." The name "Bohemisch-Rohren" (Bohemian Pipes), in the nearby area still reminds us of such a watering rest-stop, to which the water was channeled from the source spring by means of wooden pipes. Also along the Bergreichensteiner (old stone mountain) and Winterberger (winter mountain) of the trail route, in former times, such watering rest-stops and the name "Roehren" (wooden pipes) is encountered more frequently. When the momentum of settlement came to the high forest areas, the Passauer Furstbischof (Passau Prince Bishop) Leopold I (1598 to 1625) sent nine settlers to the elevated ridge of the Haidelbergs (mountains) around 1618, where the Golden Trail rises up through the forest, to create the village of Leopoldreut. In the local dialect it was called "Sandhaesuer".

Almost ninety years after this first lost attempt to colonize the borderland, new life was brought back to the forest up along the trade route.  Around the turn of the 17th to 18th Century, when the border disputes with Bohemia achieved a high point, the prudent Passau Furstbischof (Passau Prince Bishop) and Cardinal Johann Philipp, Count of Lamberg, (1689 to 1712), decided to create at the Bruechel (narrow crossing - bridge) over the Harlandbach " a locality, coming from the thought that where humans live, it is no longer so easy to move the boarder boundaries or have disputes." On 21 October 1705, the first 14 Settlers received notification, soon joined by two other associates, with their assignments and permit to start the new place. We have their names from a reclamation notation of District Ruler - Wolfstein from the year 1728, which is now in the Landshut Staatsarchive (Public Records): Simon Schmalzl, Johann Perger, Mathias Mandl, George Seywald (Siebold), Simon Philipp, Philipp Perger, Viet Fischer, George Ebertsberger, Thomas Nigl, Sebastian Mayr, Bartholomaeus Neustifter, Johann Koeberl, Christoph Kroiss and Anton Kainz.

Each settler must observe the Grundherrschaft (local rule), also the Hockstift (Royal rule of) Passau, regarding real estate tax, 45 Kreuzer (penny), then at Naturalization 1 hen or 6 Kreuzer, 16 eggs or 4 Kreuzer, and a Robotgeld (business tax) of 45 Kreuzer, altogether making 1 Gulden and 40 Kreuzer. These deliveries were to be paid at the Wolfsteiner Pflegrichter ( Wolfsteiner maintaining judge) who kept exacting accounts. Soon after the local establishment of two Roder (ground breaking) Schwabengruber (Schwabian pit miner) Tobias and Roll Urban (claim register) were settled, they (the settlers) built their own homes directly "on Bischofsut" (Bischofsreut), and so created the Marchhauser (Traveler's resthouse - inn) below Bischofsreut. On 15 October 1721 a Thomas Bloechl received a permit to open a business and a sawmill. Gradually more Marchhauser (inns) developed at the Harlandbrueckel (crossing over the Harlandbach). We find the five busnesses, including the factory and sawmill, drawn in detail on the plat map of the mountain area of surveyor Johann George Wolfsteiner from 1764. Today it is kept with the other Wolfsteiner plat maps in the Munich Public Archives, while the Krummauer Herrschaftsarchiv (Bohemia archives) keeps a copy of his plat as well as another from 1767. The map shows 14 houses of the actual Bischofsreut settlement, which line up exactly straight on both of the trail route. All new settlers, also the Marchhausler (innkeeper) and Mueller (miller), paid individual interest of 1 flat metal bar, 45 Kreuser; in the year 1728, 16 existing houses, and the mill, together paid 28 flat metal bars. 45 Kreuser, to the Wolfsteiner administrator.  By the way, where the individual settlers came from, we are not able to indicate, surely from the Passau Furstbistum (Passau Prince Bishop) diocese. They were probably poor, without exception Inleute (small farmland owners) or non inheriting younger sons of farmers, who had found this the only possibility of having their own modest income. The hardships and troubles that these courageous early settlers had to manage can only be estimated by us, today.

Directly beside the Marchbrueckel (trail bridge) "the beautiful column already stood at the Harlandbach in 1549, in the year 1667 a document again often mentioned the 'Haupt-March-Saulen'" a large column-like boundary stone marker representing the Bischofshuet (Prince bishop's hat - myter), and which once the Holy Eminence had established for non-aggression". One rarely lingered here to get a bearing of the (Passau) forest and few recognize the historical background (after the fall of the salt trade)." Long after the boundary stone (was set), in 1705 the forest received settlement, which was the one of high altitude in the Passuer Furstbistum (Passau Prince Diocese) and was locally called "Neuhauser (New House)". It first had the long-winded official name of "Bishofshuetreut", which was then soon shortened to "Bischofsreut". "Bischoffsreith", and then "Bischoffsheuth" wrote the Prince Bishop Surveyor Joseph Hass in the large map of the Passau Prince Bishopsbric from the year 1720, which today is an attractive plat in the district collection on the upper house of Passau. The road name "Reut" was common at the time in our forestland.  It is a slow four hour travel away from Freyung. One must imagine this circumstance in its entirety! --a person assigned to living in Bishcofsreut in 1750 was in the Grainet Parish (an arduous hike up over two mountain peaks and down a long steep mountainside between Bischofsreut and Grainet), until receiving it's own pastor 1869, and it's own parish church in 1879.

By the way, the opposite side (of the border - Bohemia) was not inattentive or lazy. When Prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg, Herzog (Duke) von Krummau (1649-1710), saw this new Passau locality growing right out of the soil at the border of his enormous Bohemian kingdom, he likewise decided to develop a forest village for the protection of his side of the border and profit from the forests near Harlandbach at the base of the Golden Rise (trade route). On 17 September 1708, thus two years before his death, he (Duke John Christian) instructed his Krummau Administrator, Sebastian von Liebenhaus (Lovehouse): "we want to have immediate representation in that area of Bohemia. Right next to their Passau border, donate some new settlement houses, equal to those on the Passau side, so as to take care of protecting the contentious border.  Then, without mentioning anything, we find ourselves even." One year later, on 19 September 1709, the first 14 settlers, all of whom came from the Krummau (Bohemian) kingdom, were given notice and assigned. The establishment of the locality of Bohmish-Rohen (Bohemian Pipes) was decreed, which we see quite clearly, is situated primarily due to the border politics that was responsible for Bischofsreut. At the time each settlement at the border was actively promoted, which was internationally binding for the local people, despite all the initial misdirection. And what is taking place in our day?

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