Morbach, Bavaria

The Morbach coat of arms

Morbach is a small rural village in the Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) region of Bavaria, about 15km north of Kaiserslautern. Here it is on a modern map.

In 1969 the village was incorporated with the next-door village of Niederkirchen and is now sometimes known as Morbach-Niederkirchen. Niederkirchen ('kirche' = church) was the site of the local church for all the surrounding small villages. The area was almost completely wiped out during the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century, with many villages burned to the ground, and was disputed territory at various points during the following two centuries.

This excellent site about a neighbouring village, Hefersweiler, has a more comprehensive history of the area (in English).

Morbach was apparently famous for its musical families, and has a long tradition of producing musicians. The father of the American professor Paul Schuster Taylor (b. 1895), was from Morbach, and left at about the same time as Jakob Ullinger: in an interview, Taylor talked about his father's emigration:

(My grandfather) describes in his own account how he, with his trumpet, walked from Morbach, near Kaiserlautern, down through southern France into Italy, and back through Geneva, Switzerland. The way he paid for his expenses and got his food was by playing. It was traditional that Morbach farm boys would become musicians as well as farmers, mainly brass musicians.

There is still a Music Society of Niederkirchen, which has a history page (in German) that talks a little about the musical families of the area, and mentions the Ullingers, here(in German)