Frederick Augustus, Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt

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Frederick Augustus

Frederick Augustus of Württemberg-Neuenstadt (Neuenstadt am Kocher, 12 March 1654 – 6 August 1716 in Gochsheim) was Duke of Württemberg and second Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt.

Neuenstadt Castle

Life[edit]

Frederick Augustus was the first-born child of Duke Frederick of Neuenstadt who established the second branch line of the Duchy of Württemberg-Neuenstadt. His wife was Clara Augusta of Brunswick. The branch line of Württemberg-Neuenstadt held responsibility for the town of Neuenstadt am Kocher, Möckmühl and parts of Weinsberg. They bore the title of duke although they held no state sovereignty which remained within the main duchy of Württemberg.

In 1674 the state became embroiled in the Franco-Dutch War. Frederick Augustus sided with Brunswick-Lüneburg, joining their regiment as a Rittmeister (a commissioned cavalry officer in charge of a squadron). He was involved in a number of key battles, including the Battle of Konzer Brucke outside Trier in which the horses he was riding were killed three times. Before the end of the war his father called for his return in order to name him successor to the duchy and remove him from subsequent danger.

Frederick Augustus married Countess Albertine Sophie Esther on 9 February 1679, the last remaining member of the counts of Eberstein (now known as Alt-Eberstein). This brought ownership of the Kraichgau towns such as Gochsheim, Waldangelloch and properties along the border to Lorraine. The newly weds had Gochsheim Castle renovated and used it as their residence from 1682 onwards.

Frederick Augustus's father died in March of the same year, leaving his son to take on the business of running the duchy. In 1689 French troops crossed the river Rhine during a campaign of the War of the Grand Alliance. Frederick Augustus withdrew to the north east corner of his duchy, taking up residence in Neuenstadt. In his absence, the town and castle in Gochsheim were almost completely destroyed by the French enemy.

It was not until the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 that reconstruction work started again and Frederick Augustus brought in 220 Waldensians and Huguenots which he settled in a specially planned town coined “Augustistadt” (Augustus town) to the north of Gochsheim. The project ran into one difficulty after another and enjoyed mediocre success such that most settlers soon moved on again. Despite this, the castle was ready for occupation again in 1700.

Duke Frederick Augustus died of dysentery on 6 August 1716 in Gochsheim. His grave still stands in the Martinskirche church in Gochsheim, next to his wife who died in 1728. Gochsheim became an obsolete fiefdom. As the couple had no surviving male children, Frederick Augustus’s brother, Carl Rudolf, succeeded him as Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt.

The inner courtyard of Gochsheim Castle which was rebuilt by Frederick Augustus in 1700

Family[edit]

Frederick Augustus fathered 14 children of which four children died the day they were born and only three daughters surviving to their first birthday and all three living into adulthood. The duke had autopsies done on all children to ascertain the reason of death, without success. Historians now believe that premature death was often the result of poor hygiene, spoilt milk and mistakes made during childbirth.

Children:

1. Friedrich Kasimir (7 – 9 October 1680)
2. Ludwig Frederick (1–9 November 1681)
3. Unnamed daughter (9 March 1683)
4. Frederick Samuel (11–23 May 1684)
5. Unnamed daughter (3 July 1685)
6. Augustus Frederick (4 April 1687 - 21 July 1687)
7. Karl (26 December 1688 - 19 March 1689)
8. Adam (30 May 1690 – 3 July 1690)
9. Auguste Sofie (24 September 1691 - 1 March 1743)
10. Eleonore Wilhelmine Charlotte (24 January 1694 - 11 August 1751)
11. Unnamed daughter (21 November 1695)
12. Unnamed son (29 August 1697)
13. Friederike (27 July 1699 - 8 May 1781)
14. Frederick (6 July 1701 - 21 October 1701)

Bibliography[edit]

  • In German: Harald Schukraft: Kleine Geschichte des Hauses Württemberg. Silberburg Publishing, Tübingen, 2006, ISBN 978-3-87407-725-5

References (German)[edit]

  • German archives: page from ADB [1]
  • Family crypt in Neuenstadt [2]
Frederick Augustus, Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt
Born: 12 March 1654 Died: 6 August 1716
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick, Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt
Second duke of the Duchy of Württemberg-Neuenstadt
1682-1716
Succeeded by
Carl Rudolf, Duke of Württemberg-Neuenstadt