There are two important references to our ancestors in the published writings of Ernst Moritz Arndt. In his correspondence, there appears a reference to Johanna (Hanna) Christine Arnd, who was the first cousin of Ernst Moritz. In his autobiography, Ernst Moritz Arndt provides a long description of his uncle Heinrich, the father of Johanna Christine, as well as other relatives.
1. From the Correspondence of Ernst Mortz Arndt.
"The good old Friedrichs, who was four or five years older than myself, took an early liking to me. Her father, Heinrich, was a noble, remarkable, and considerate person, a kind patriarch. Their clever noble being had a great influence on my father and myself. She herself was very pretty as a young woman, and a friendly and orderly person. She had given me many good snacks and had done me as a youth many good favors. Later on she had gone through her not always thornless path valiantly and virtuously"
This may refer to the fact that her older son Carl had ruined the Gut of which he was PÃ¤chter, to the suicide of her son Adolph, and to the death of her son Heinrich.
2. From the Autobiography of Ernst Moritz Arndt.
The following excerpts are taken from the English translation of Arndt’s autobiography, published as the Life of Arndt. One passage in the translation is slightly confusing; Arndt describes visiting his uncle Heinrich who was sitting, as an old man, “with his old mother;” but clearly this is a reference to Heinrich’s old wife (since Heinrich was called ‘Vater Arndt,” his wife may have been called “die alte Mutter.”)
Note that after his description of uncle Heinrich (the “patriarch”), Arndt suddenly switches to a description of Heinrich’s mother, Anna, born Subklev. This woman was the grandmother of both Ernst Moritz Arndt and of Johanna Christine Arndt, who married Adolf Heinnich Friedrichs.
From: the Life of Arndt (pp. 36—39);
“..old Hinrich was such a poetical, romantic old man, that I always enjoyed being with him. Old Hinrich, though nothing inure than a somewhat superior peasant, was an emblem of the country, or rather he portrayed it in his life and manners. He was a handsome man of middle height, with fine features, fair hair and blue eyes; almost always cheerful, and like one who knew nothing of care and trouble. Me was less educated than my father, but had a fine natural genius, and never seemed to need artificial pleasures. Me played well on the violin, but never played at cards, and when his outdoor work was over, or he had come home tired from the chase, after enjoying the gifts of God, with which his table was always well supplied, he would sit at midday or in the evening at his house door, and was glad if one would come and sit by him and listen to his stories of the neighborhood,...The old man enjoyed these stories and told them well; and he knew also a great deal about the history of Sweden and Rügen.
He had also learnt a good deal of German and general history from some old chronicles which always lay on a shelf. But the man himself was better than all his stories. He was beloved by all around him...
I have called him the patriarch, and such he really was. Honest, brave, and ever ready to be of service whenever and wherever he could, he let trouble and misfortune pass easily by him, and rose above them into the sunshine of a life of strong faith in God’s government of the world...As the patriarch, the eldest of the house, he not only had great authority over his relations, but enjoyed great influence among his neighbors. He went by the name of Father Arndt, and would never allow his servants even to call him anything else. He hated the word Herr and said Count Putbus was the real Herr, in which he was perhaps right. On the strength of his paternal dignity he was allowed to do much which would have not been borne from any one else. Once, when I was a young man, I said something disrespectful of the King of Sweden, upon which he gave me a resounding box on the ear, saying, “Boy, do you dare speak so of the king?” To another relation whose wife had just presented him with twins, and who was wringing his hands over the cradle, he said, “You coward! don’t you believe that what God has given He can support?” Such he remained to the last. My brothers and I visited him about six months before his death. He died in the winter of 1811. The old man, who was then over eighty, and much broken down, was sitting in his room with his old mother [This is a mis-translation; the reference is clearly to Hinrich’s wife, Anna Donothea], but he brightened up at our appearance, and sat down with us to table; made them bring wine; and chatted almost as well as in days gone by, saying at parting, “Children, you will soon lay me in the ground. Then you are to be cheerful, and drink some of this wine, for I have lived a joyful life before God all my days”
Such was the patriarch! In a quiet little room there still sat at her spinning-wheel a quiet old Fate, the mother [Avina], of the patriarch and of my father, whose old age the pious son had cherished with the greatest tenderness and care. She was the model of a beautiful stately old woman, much resembling my father, once fair and ruddy as King David of old, and always happy and beloved. She lived ninety—six years on this earth, and with her kisses on my cheek has called down many a blessing on my head...”
In the following passages (pp. 39—41) Arndt describes his other uncles, especially the twins Jochim and Christian Arndt. A later passage (p. 111) again refers to uncle Hinrich.
(I can find no copy of these referred to passages-MNF)