A week ago we dealt with the inscription "1788 C" over the house of the building oberhacken 12. A famous son of our town had a special relationship with this property. It is johann apollonius peter weltrich.
Addicted to alcohol
He was born not far from the bakery, in the lower stadtgasschen 6, the middle badstube. Bathers have been recorded here since 1398. His father was christian michael weltrich, bader and surgeon in the middle bathhouse.
The father was addicted to alcohol. His mother could not cope and put an end to her life. The children came to live with their grandparents in wunsiedel. In june 1796, at the age of 15, weltrich took up his position at the main customs office in bayreuth and therefore had to leave wunsiedel behind him. His service left him with some time on his hands, so that he was able to do some typing and accounting work on the side, as well as self-study.
An orphan with father
The mother’s relatives have so far ensured that no inclination toward the father could awaken and take root in weltrich. It seemed strange to him, however, to be regarded by everyone as an orphan and to feel sorry for him, while he knew that his father was hardly a day’s journey away from him. Thus the desire to meet his father in person gradually arose in him. This wish was soon to be fulfilled.
Among weltrich’s comrades was a high school student from kulmbach, to whom he confided his wish, and who then invited him to visit him during the vacations, which weltrich naturally accepted with pleasure. Arriving in kulmbach, the acquaintance they were looking for was not long in coming. While walking through the town, his friend suddenly bumped into him, which was the arranged sign in case they should meet his father. "That was your father", the friend fluttered after a few steps.
Beer in the bakery
But in the sudden surprise, weltrich had seen little more than a man of about 40, of medium build, with a pale, somewhat bloated face. But that was not enough for him, so they followed the man. They saw him go into the building oberhacken 12.
It was a baker’s house where beer was also served. A so-called beckenwirtschaft. Here, food was only allowed to be offered in special exceptions.
The two friends immediately turned to the same tavern – expecting to meet several guests there, among whom they could take a closer look at weltrich’s father. When they entered, however, they found only two other guests, and the host, master baker weith, seated the two of them at the same table.
Weltrich’s father, who knew his son’s friend, began a conversation with him about his son’s stay at the grammar school in bayreuth. Finally he spoke of how he too had a son who was a clerk at the main customs office in bayreuth.
After the friend confirmed that he knew him, the father asked him to tell him about him. The all too favorable account that followed made such an impression on michael christoph weltrich that he could no longer conceal his awe and exclaimed, "oh, if only i could see him just once!" The young weltrich called out: "father! I am your son!", stood up and fell around his father’s neck. A heartbreaking scene.
Now there was no end to the questions and answers. The few guests also took part in the fate of the two weltrichs. But their togetherness did not last long, for the very next day the son had to leave kulmbach again, having taken only two days’ leave.
The father accompanied the two friends on their return to bayreuth as far as forstlahm, where they had to say goodbye to each other with heavy hearts.
Deceased at the age of 42
Three years passed before father and son met again. In 1799 weltrich made a trip to the fichtelgebirge and took the opportunity to visit his father in kulmbach, whom he had not seen for three years. This looked very ill and died on 7. July 1800 at the age of 42.
He did not live to see his son appointed as a trainee chamber officer in kulmbach in 1802 and as a bavarian civil servant in 1811.
In addition to his merits as a young explorer, it was also his fight for the construction of a railroad through kulmbach that earned him the honorary citizenship of kulmbach in 1843. 62 years after his death in 1850, a tree was named after him in his honor.