Saturday, June 6, 2015

Wilhelm Luebbert

Wilhelm Luebbert was born about 1835 in Germany to Salvador Luebbert and Elena Fhurker. My third great-grandfather is someone about whom I know very little. All of the information I have on him comes from my brother, whom I leave to do most of the research on the Mexican side of our family. (He knows significantly more Spanish than I do.) Here is what I do know.

Wilhelm was a miner and mine owner in Mexico, as was his father before him. I am unsure if Wilhelm inherited his father's mine or if he found his own. This is what my brother told me: 
"Wilhelm Luebbert, our tatarabuelos's padre (great great great grandfather), was not only a miner but he owned mines. One of the mines may have been one of Mexico's biggest or most important mines. It was a silver mine."
Since I know so little about Wilhelm and his personal life, I thought this post would be about silver mining in Mexico.

From what I can tell, Mexico is has been a large supplier of silver for quite a while. The First Majestic Silver Corp states, "From the late sixteenth century until the 1870's, silver was Mexico's chief export, amounting to more than 70 percent of the total exports." This includes most of the time I imagine Wilhelm would have been mining.

The laws and codes of mining changed every few decades, it seems, in Mexico. In 1821, during the time of the War of Independence, the law stated that the property of all the minerals belonged to the Nation. By 1857, it was up to each state to determine the governing rules related to mining. These state-specific rules often did not transfer over to other states, and this was discouraging to miners. The Mining Code of 1884 created a unified stance on mining and alleviated some of the cross-state tensions that the previous laws allowed. They even instituted tax-exempt guidelines regarding supplies and imported materials and created a maximum tax ceiling that the states could not raise or exceed.

Then, in 1892, the Mexican mining law was changed again. This time, it granted mineral rights to the mine (or land) owners. Minerals produced in the mines were viewed as "income" and were the sole property of the mine owner. They would then be taxed appropriately. The annual tax of silver was $10 per hectare. If the amount of silver does not reach 250g per metric ton if between 50 and 100 hectares are owned, then the tax was $5 per hectare or $2.50 if more than 100 hectares are owned.

The new laws enacted in 1884 and 1892 created a mining boom in Mexico. I like to think this is probably the time Wilhelm was was involved.
Clipping from "Data Referring to Mexican Mining"
Clipping from "Data Referring to Mexican Mining"
It notes that the legal value of a Kilogram of pure silver was $40,915 (in Mexican Dollars).
I know mining isn't a glamorous job, despite how it may seem in Disney movies...
Image from the Disney Movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
I know it was a quite dangerous job at times. Narrow shafts, the use of explosions, and all other types of job hazards existed in the mine, but it seems Wilhelm and his father survived the occupation okay. I'm not sure when Wilhelm died, but I know it was supposed to have been at least before 1917.

Wilhelm married Maria Magdalena Diaz Bojorquez in about 1862 in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. Together, they had at least five children. They are:
  • Enrique Luebbert Diaz, born 1862
  • Carlos Luebbert Diaz, born 1865
  • Maria Luebbert Diaz, born 1870
  • Guillermo Luebbert Diaz, born 1875
  • Emilio Roberto Luebbert Diaz, born 1878

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