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Philipp l Count of Katzenelnbogen

September 10, 2014 , , ,

My 16th great-grandfather had an extremely lavish wedding when he wed my 16th great-grandmother. They had three children together and then the Pope gave Count Philipp a divorce. This divorce by Pope thing was popular at the time for nobility. His father, Johann IV, the Count of Katzenelnbogen, gave the world riesling grapes and wine. His sons died before he did, so the male line ended with his death.  One of the castles the family owned, Rheinfels, is the largest on the Rhine. Today there is still a ruin that can be visited. 

Rheinfels Castle (German: Burg Rheinfels) is a castle ruin located above the left (West) bank of the Rhein in Sankt Goar, Germany. It was started in 1245 by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen. After expansions, it was the largest fortress in the Middle Rhein Valley between Koblenz and Mainz. It was slighted by French Revolutionary Army troops in 1797. It is the largest castle overlooking the Rhine,and historically covered five times its current area.

In the year 1435 the Rüsselsheim castle administrator Klaus Kleinfisch began a new wineyard. His annual account shows the purchase of riesling Setzreben for 22 shilling. This kind of wine had a higher quality than the other french wines, was more aromatic but also frost-resistant. His new choice was – wineyards can exist more than onehundred years – the turningpoint in winehistory. Up to this point the old documents only reported red, white or black wine according to their colour. Even in the year 1402 the electoral prince of mainz ordered to grow no other wines than his french wines. After the rüsselsheim vintage Riesling quickly showed up all the way down the river rhine. Up to the year 1600 riesling became top wine. In the castle of Darmstadt count Johann IV united the two most powerful counties of the “holy roman empire of the german nation” in one of the most beautiful medieval marriages of his son Philipp d. Ältere of Katzenelnbogen with countess Anna of Württemberg. Even his son-in-law landgrave Heinrich III of Hessen was enthusiastic about this amount of gold , silver and wine. In 1427 the 10 most important katzenelnbogen castles were consuming about 200 000 liters of wine a year and in 1436 storing 1.5 million l wine in mainz . The counts were remarkably rich supporting arts and could afford rewarding medieval singers like Walther von der Vogelweide with a diamond. They created the most powerful castle, the first undefeatable german “bollwerk” Auerbach, defended themselves on the largest german castle with the largest german wine-cellar the Rheinfels castle. They loved the power but were sophisticated. Thanks to their correct book-keeping we can read about their live, family affaires and trading. One vase of china and one tankard is all they left. But the writings tell us and still want to be searched.

They gave us the riesling wine, one symbol of pride worth to be honoured.

The successors may have formed a modern top wine out of the riesling plant, but the documented first grower of the most important german and one of the most important international wines was Johann IV, the Count of Katzenelnbogen.

Additional the county customs writer noticed the first bratwurst export to cologne in 1410, the records listed bratwurst for 1gulden on a boat loaded with wine. This is the first proof of the traditional german bratwurst. The size is defined by pork casings. The transport itself tells us katzenelnbogen bratwurst must have been widely known.

Philip I of Katzenelnbogen (1402 – 1479), also known “Philip the Elder” was Count of Katzenelnbogen from 1444 to 1479 and was the last male descendant of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen (his two sons died before him). His parents were John IV, Count of Katzenelnbogen (younger line) and Anne of Katzenelnbogen (older line), who merged the two lines of the family back together in 1402.

Marriage and issue
Philip married on 24 February 1422 in Darmstadt with Anna of Württemberg (1408–1471), daughter of Eberhard IV “the Younger” of Württemberg. In 1456, he obtained from the Pope a divorce from bed-and-board. In 1474 Philip married Anna of Nassau-Dillenburg.

Philip had three children with his first wife:

Philip the Younger (* 1427; † 27 February 1453), married in 1450 Ottilie of Nassau. In 1453 they had a daughter Ottilie of Katzenelnbogen.

Eberhard († 1456), canon of Cologne, was stabbed in Bruges (Flanders).

Anna (* 5 September 1443; † 16 February 1494), married in 1458 margrave Henry III of Hesse (15 October 1441 — 13 January 1483). In 1471, they had a son William III, who was the last male descendant of this line of the House of Hesse.

In 1444 Philip initiated a major renovation of the collegiate church of Sankt Goar.
In 1449 he bought off the rights on St. Goar held by abbot John of the Abbey at Prüm.
In 1470 he handed Upper Katzenelnbogen and its seat Darmstadt to his son-in-law Henry III of Hesse.

Philip’s sons Eberhard and Philip the younger died before his death, so when Philip died in 1479, the Katzenelnbogen died out in the male line. The County of Katzenelnbogen fell to the Landgraviate of Hesse, which was ruled at the time by Philip’s son-in-law Henry III of Hesse in Marburg.

This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.

Philipp l Count of Katzenelnbogen (1402 – 1479)
is my 16th great grandfather
Philipp VonKatzenelnbogen (1427 – 1453)
son of Philipp l Count of Katzenelnbogen
Ottilie Countess Katzenelnbogen vonKatzenelnbogen (1453 – 1517)
daughter of Philipp VonKatzenelnbogen
Beatrix Zahringen (1492 – 1535)
daughter of Ottilie Countess Katzenelnbogen vonKatzenelnbogen
Sabine Grafin VonSimmern (1528 – 1578)
daughter of Beatrix Zahringen
Marie L Egmond (1564 – 1584)
daughter of Sabine Grafin VonSimmern
Richard Sears (1590 – 1676)
son of Marie L Egmond
Silas Sears (1638 – 1697)
son of Richard Sears
Silas Sears (1661 – 1732)
son of Silas Sears
Sarah Sears (1697 – 1785)
daughter of Silas Sears
Sarah Hamblin (1721 – 1814)
daughter of Sarah Sears
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Sarah Hamblin
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
Katzenelnbogen originated as a castle built on a promontory over the river Lahn around 1095. The lords of the castle became important local magnates, acquiring during the centuries some key and highly lucrative customs rights on the Rhine. The Counts of Katzenelnbogen also built Burg Neukatzenelnbogen and Burg Rheinfels on the Rhine. The German family died out in 1479, while the Austrian lineage continued, and the county became disputed between Hesse and Nassau. In 1557, the former finally won, but when Hesse was split due to the testament of Philipp the Magnanimous, Katzenelnbogen was split as well, between Hesse-Darmstadt and the small new secondary principality of Hesse-Rheinfels. When the latter line expired in 1583, its property went to Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), which added the inherited part of Katzenelnbogen to its side-line principality of Hesse-Rotenburg. After the Congress of Vienna, this part of Katzenelnbogen was given to Nassau in exchange for property that had been taken away from it; after the War of 1866, with all Nassau, it became part of Prussia.

In 1945, Hesse-Darmstadt was united with most of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, which included the former Hesse-Kassel along with Nassau and the formerly Free City of Frankfurt, to form the federal state of Hesse. Thus, Hesse now includes the larger part of former county of Katzenelnbogen. A smaller part of Nassau, including the old castle and village bearing the name of Katzenelnbogen, ended up as part of Rhineland-Palatinate (part of the Rhein-Lahn and Westerwaldkreis districts). One of the titles of the Queen of the Netherlands (the House of Orange-Nassau) is that of Countess of Katzenelnbogen.

The name Katzenelnbogen derives from the old Cattimelibocus. It consists of the ancient Germanic tribal name of the Chatti and Melibokus, the Roman name of any mountains, like the Harz or the Teutoburg Forest. Over the centuries the name changed to Katzenelnbogen: “cat’s elbow”.

History of wine
In the history of wine, Katzenelnbogen is famous for the first documentation of Riesling grapes in the world: this was in 1435, when the storage inventory of Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a member of the Holy Roman high nobility, lists the purchase of vines of “Rieslingen”.

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It is SO cool you have nobility and castles in your family history. Very interesting!

Liked by 1 person

Ms. Cheevious

September 10, 2014

I just found an image of Schloss Katzenelnbogen and I can tell you that this place’s name is almost ineffable, even for an native German speaker.
This is the link to the castle of Katzenelnbogen


Brigitte Kobi

September 12, 2014

Wow.. winemaking too + royalty.. this is really interesting. Plus divorce during that time frame. How crazy cool is all this. I love it. It’s like a soap opera.. only real


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

September 14, 2014

That is exactly how I feel each time I tune into my family tree….daytime drama!!!



September 14, 2014

My partner and I (he and I through our paternal lines) descend from the Grafen v Katzenelnbogen. Interesting article, thank you.



February 24, 2020

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