OF THE RHINE-LAND
Krefeld and surroundings)
Some descendants live today in Washington
The Gatters of the Rhineland make their appearance in the first half of
the 17th century. Already then they are spread over many towns and villages
of the aea. But their common origin seems likely, since the name is rare,
and does not appear for hundreds of kilometers around this area. Since
the Gatter family of the Rhine-Land is already then quite numerous by
the 17th century, a common ancestor must have lived quite some time back
(possibly in the 13th -15th centuries).
The family name in the old church records shifts always
between Gatter and Gater, while the spelling with one 't' is more abundand.
In Mönchen Gladbach we also find spellings like GATHER (1638), GADER
(1642), GATERAN (1661) and GATEREN (1698). In Pulheim also KATTER (1694).
Today still members of this family live in this area, they are however
all spelled 'Gater'.
Two distinct lines become apparent. The slightly older Catholic
one with its center in Mönchen-Gladbach (appreaing first in 1637)
and the Protestant one with center Krefeld, appearing there in 1647.
The Catholic branch is alreay wide spred in the 17th century
(Hinsbeck (1651), Fischeln (1652), Anrath (1665), Korschenbroich (1674),
Bergheim (1681), and Bochum (1698)). The Protestant branch is found besides
Krefeld only in Rheydt (1679) and Jüchen (1685).
A map of Krefeld (here spelled Creveld) of 1807
Krefeld as seen in 1827
Aerial view of Krefeld as seen in 1914 from board a Zeppelin
General view of Mönchen-Gladbach
in 1905. The town got its name "Mönchen" or "München"
from the monks that had founded an abbey here in the old days. Despite
the name being the same as the capital of Bavaria Munich (in German
also München), this si not the same town!
The central parish church of Mönchen-Gladbach.
In the year 1901 members of the Rhine-Land Gatter family
left their olf home for America. On October 8, 1901, Carl Gatter (age
58) and his wife Margaretha (age 57), both of Mönchen-Gladbach, arrived
on bord the ship "Vaderland" at Ellis Island, New York. Having
embarked at Antwerp in Belgium. They were accompanied by their son Fritz
Gatter (age 28) and his wife Catharine (age 23).
The Ship "Vaderland"
History of the "Vaderland"
VADERLAND/SOUTHLAND was built in 1900 by John Brown
& Co. at Clydebank with a tonnage of 11899grt, a length of 560ft
8in, a beam of 60ft 2in and a service speed of 15 knots. Sister
of the Zeeland she was launched on 12th July 1900 for the International
Navigation Co. and allocated to the Red Star Line flying the British
flag. Delivered on 29th November she commenced her maiden voyage
Antwerp- Southampton-Cherbourg-New York on 8th December. In 1903
she was registered at Antwerp and flew the Belgian flag. She also
made frequent calls to Dover instead of Southampton. On 25th July
1914 she made her final pre-war sailing from Antwerp arriving in
New York shortly before World War 1 was declared. When Belgium was
overrun by the Germans in the August she was transferred to White
Star Line and commenced her first sailing from New York to Southampton
on 3rd September. In 1915 she was renamed Southland as the Dutch
name 'Vaderland' was too similar to the German 'Vaterland'. At the
same time she was transferred to the White Star-Dominion Joint Service
from Liverpool to Canada and in the Spring was requisitioned as
a troopship for the Dardenelles campaign. She carried troops to
Mudros which was the British army's transhipment port from where
the troops were taken to the beaches on warships or 'K' type landing
barges. On 2nd September 1915 she was torpedoed by UB-14 whilst
transporting 1,400 men of the 2nd Australian Division from Alexandria
to Mudros and was assisted into port by HMS Racoon. By August she
was back on the Liverpool to Montreal Joint Service route and when
the Americans entered the war in April 1917 she was used for eastbound
Atlantic trooping. On 4th June 1917 she was hit by two torpedoes
from U-70 and sank 140 miles north-west of Tory Island with the
loss of 4 lives.
While we do not know much about Carl Gatter, who was born around 1843
in Mönchen-Gladbach, his son Fritz (Friedrich Carl?) Gatter (born
1873/1874) and wife Catharine Monsum settled in Seattle, Washington. Here
Fritz (by then americanized as "Frederick") opened a small foundry
on Lake Washington across the water from Ballard. The area was called
Fort Lawton (an army base). Among the children of the family were Margaret,
Agnes, Karoline ("Kitty"), Fredrick C., Charles Hans, and Katherine Francis
Gatter. They have a numerous descendancy in the US today.
I have been in contact with several descendants of this family, and apparently
very interesting old family photographs have survived, of life back in
Germany, or the Seattle foundry. One picture, as I was told, shows Fritz
(the one born 1873/74) with his six or seven brothers, all playing different
musical instruments. It would be great to get some good quality copies
of these for the book project. If you are a descendant of this family
and do have such old pictures, then please be so kind and contribute them
to this project.
Seattle before the turn of the 20th century
So far, no member of this family originating from the Rhine-Land has participated
in our DNA analysis. It would be interesting to compare this DNA to those
of other Gatter families, since the occurrance of this family is very
isolated from the main settling area of the Gatters (Saxony, Bohemia,
Bavaria, Austria) (see map of Gatter distribution below. The circle to
the left is the home are of the Rhine-Land Gatters). Thus, if you are
a male descendant of this line click
here to find out more about our DNA research.
Map of Prussia (1851) showing the Gatter dirstribution in the 16th
and 17th centuries. In red
the Rhine-Land Gatters. For an enlargment or
the map click here.
to Genealogy page
to Site Tour
Gatter Archive 2000-2008
Any distribution and use of material displayed on the Gatter History Archive
other than for personal purposes will be prosecuted