Sebastian Bauer

This is getting embarrassing.

Gary Haas, a third cousin, has the scoop on our 5th-great-grandfather, a multiple-murderer named Sebastian Bauer.

Once upon a time in Bavaria, Sebastian’s gambling debts were getting the better of him, and he soon found himself deep in the forest, bludgeoning his father-in-law with a heavy stick in a bid to collect his wife’s inheritance ahead of schedule. Against all odds he succeeded.

Years later, when his mistress became pregnant with his seventh child, Sebastian first tried to abort the baby, unsuccessfully, and then to poison his wife–again without success. Next, he tried to strangle her in her sleep, falling short again, but finally achieving his goal the next night. Again, he somehow escaped justice. The record of her death in 1813 listed the cause of death as consumption.

Within three weeks Sebastian and his lover were married.

The woman’s pregnancy apparently presented a problem. Sebastian’s role in his wife’s demise might be called into question if folks found her condition suspicious, and so they determined that the fetus, too, must die.

Sebastian bought some rat poison, and his love dutifully drank some down. The effect was not what they had hoped. By the next day she and her baby were dead.

Unsurprisingly, the bodies of Sebastian’s wife and father-in-law were soon examined again, and this time the truth became clear. Sebastian Bauer subsequently confessed and was sentenced to death by decapitation.

“According to this information [the confession], Sebastian Bauer is to be handed over to the executioner, in order to be executed bythe sword – for him, as a well-deserved punishment, for others, as a warning and shocking example.”


-Waldmünchen, Bavaria, Germany, October 11, 1814

In a final karmic twist, the executioner’s first attempt was unsuccessful. Ouch.

A new book by Kenneth L. Kraemer, Johann Sebastian Bauer: History and genealogy of the Bauers of Sinzendorf, Englmannsbrunn and Untergrafenried, Bavaria, Germany and Plain, Sauk County, Wisconsin, tells the story in greater detail.

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