I was introduced to Robert Thomas’ book Geschichte des Ortes und der Bügermeisterei Oedekoven: History of the Village and Borough of Oedekoven1 in 1999, but it is only recently that I have been able to actually see the pages. And while the book answers many questions, it also raises so many more.
During a 1999 visit with Arthur Ellenbecker, grandson of Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender, he stated that before his marriage, his great-grandfather, Johann Fasbender, had lived in an apartment behind the “third upper window from the right” of Tempelhof Manor.
Thomas states through Google Translate: “Several generations of the Faßbender family subsequently lived in the former Tempelhof, the part of the manor house with the chapel, while the part of the farm belonged to the Raes family. The merchant Bel, also known as Mair von Oedekoven in French times, still lived as a landowner on the Tempelhof in 1825, but may have given up his ownership of the former Tempelhof in Oedekoven shortly afterwards.”2
The paragraph previous to the one above tells of the French needing to sell land “due to great financial needs.” In 1804 they sold a house and a field to Th. Faßbender, and a house, garden, vineyard, and a meadow to P. Schmitz. In 1808 the French sold Tempelmühle, Tempelhof manor, the chapel, fields, vineyards, and meadows to Joseph Bel. [Blog post: Tempelhof Manor and Tempelmühle aka Belsmühle]
Writing about the Tempelmühle, Thomas writes of the sale of the mill to Joseph Bel, and states that the property “remained in the possession of the Bel family throughout the French administration and up to the present day .”3 He even runs through the generations of ownership, ending with the fact that the last generation to run the mill was married in 1906 and that his daughter was the present  owner, and the mill “is now used only as a residence.”4
Tennessen family legend states that Mathias Tönnessen worked for Joseph Bel as his chauffeur and “chief-hunter” in the years before Joseph’s death. Mathias was only 14 years old when Joseph passed away.5
To summarize without conclusion:
April 1808 – Joseph Bel purchases Tempelhof Manor including the chapel, fields, vineyards, meadows, and the Tempelmühle.
May 1808 – Joseph Bel marries Anna Maria Schweikart.
1814-1816 – Bel is the mayor of Oedekoven.
1825 – according to Thomas, this is the last time Bel is noted in documents as the owner of Tempelhof Manor and Chapel.
After 1825 – Speculation that Bel gave up his ownership of the Tempelhof.
1830 – Joseph and Anna Maria’s 4th born child, Carl Michael marries Maria Gertrud Löltgen and took over the role of Miller at Tempelmühle.
1837 – Joseph Bel dies in Oedekoven.
1838 – Johann Faßbender and Salome Barbara Bel marry in Oedekoven.
1838 – Peter Joseph Hubert Fassbender is born in Oedekoven.
1843 – Johann passes away in Oedekoven.
1848 – Salome Barbara Bel Faßbender marries Mathias Tönnessen in Oedekoven.
1856 – Mathias Tönnessen, Salome, Peter Fassbender, Henry and Philip Tönnessen emigrate to Wisconsin, United States.
1857 – Anna Maria Schweikart Bel passes away in Poppelsdorf.
1860 – Salome dies in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
1864 – A fire at Tempelhof destroys the courtyard and damages the chapel.
1864 – The chapel is decommissioned, a “figure of Mary” and the altar is moved to the Oedekoven chapel, St. Mary’s Marriage.
January-March 1899 – Peter Fassbender returns to Oedekoven for a visit.
Did Joseph leave Tempelhof Manor and move his residence to Tempelmühle, hiring Mathias Tönnessen as his chauffeur and “chief-hunter?” Did the Fassbender family subsequently move into the manor, Johann’s room being behind the “third upper window from the right?
And then there is this image from the Robert Thomas book. The caption reads: “Owner family of the former Tempelhof around 1900.”6 The photo can be found elsewhere with this Google Translated caption: “Tempelhof, the family who owned it, turned to the photographer around 1900. In the background the former chapel of the Tempelhof. Photo from the private archive of Heinrich Arenz, Oedekoven.”7 I have cropped it to focus on just one figure. I am not saying that this is Peter Fassbender (who was home for three months in 1899), but it could be. But if not, the family resemblance is strong.
PS: I HATE how large these photos are, but for now I have to go with it.
- Robert Thomas, Geschichte des Ortes und der Bügermeisterei .Oedekoven: History of the Village and Borough of Oedkeoven (N.p.: Hrsg. von Gemeinde Alfter/Pfarrgemeinde St. Laurentius, Lessenich, 1978).
- Thomas, Geschichte des Ortes und der Bügermeisterei Oedekoven, p. 92.
- ibid, p. 233.
- ibid, p. 234.
- Roger Tennessen, email to Susan Sternitzky Fassbender, 2001.
- Thomas, Geschichte des Ortes und der Bügermeisterei Oedekoven, p. 89.
- https://heimatverein-oedekoven.de/jahre-bis-1945/ : accessed 1 Jul 2023.