The Germans of Marysburgh
After the American Revolution, there were many mercenary soldiers who had been hired by the British who had no wish to return to Europe. One such group of soldiers from Brunswick and Hanau were offered settlement in Marysburgh, or Fifth Town as it was then known. The group was left waiting at Kingston until the distant township was surveyed. It was late fall by the time they reached their land. Materials and supplies were promised, but at that time, Marysburgh was at the ends of the earth, and very little help actually arrived. The leader of the group, Baron von Reitzenstein, borrowed money to outfit the settlement when his complaints to British authorities went unanswered. When creditors pressed the Baron to repay this money, he was unable to settle his debts, and his 600 acre allotment was seized. Disillusioned, he returned to Quebec City where he died in 1794.
The settlement hung on. Eventually the farms prospered and the little German community grew. The first church in the County was the Lutheran Church which stood just north of Roses Cemetery, which was known for many years as “The Old Dutch Burying Ground”. (“Dutch” is a corruption of “Deutsh”). The church lasted for only a few years, as the congregation was too small to support a regular clergyman, but these early settlers have left their legacy in the form of the many German names that are still found on County mailboxes; names like Minaker, Dainard and Bongard. A plaque in front of the Rose House Museum in North Marysburgh commemorates Baron von Reitzenstein and his little band of soldiers turned settler.
Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.