Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Johannes Sidler 1777 - 1834

Johannes grew up in a large family 12 miles southwest of Zürich in Ottenbach, Switzerland. When Johannes Sidler was born on July 25, 1777, his father, Rudolf, was 35 and his mother, Elisabetha, was 29. He was the eighth of ten brothers and four sisters. Johannes is a Medieval Latin form of the personal name that usually appears as "John" in the English language. It is a variant of the Greek name (Ιωάννης) and Classical Latin (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name Yehochanan, meaning "God is gracious"

Johannes was such a common name that Julius Billeter, the famous Swiss genealogists, abbreviated it as "Joh" thousands of times. Johannes was the 8th of fifteen children. The family name is distinctly associated with Ottenbach because Sidler was a founding family. Even today if you ask a resident of Ottenbach they will tell you the names of the founders like Hegetschweiler, Sidler, and Berli. The Sidler's went back hundreds of years. The word Sidler means settler. Today as you walk through the churchyard in Ottenbach you'll see modern day graves of Sidler's and Hegetschweiler's. Graves in Switzerland are rented. They are prepaid for a period of 25 years. When time is up, the marker is returned to the family and the plot reverts to the church for another occupant.  Old tombstones are rare except near cathedrals in large cities. (Kent Gardiner, Wikipedia for the meaning of Johannes)

Johannes Timeline

Johannes' father, Hans Rudolf Sidler 1742 - 1801, and his mother, Elisabetha Sidler 1747 - 1807, lived in Ottenbach. Sidler is also Elisabetha's maiden name. Hans Rudolf Sidler's church record lists him as a watch master or a policemen at night and Julius Billeter calls him a furrier and field recorder during the day. Wachmeister means master of the village guard or local policeman. Often they were referred to as Landjäger in the country villages. The Wachtmeister was in charge of the local prison, every Bezirk (district) had such a jail. Small villages put the prisoners in the house of the fire brigade (Feuerwehrhäuschen).

Life in Ottenbach
In the 19th century about 1,000 people  lived in Ottenbach. Since the end of the 18th century, the textile industry expanded as a home industry in which merchant-employers “put out” materials to rural producers who usually worked in their homes but sometimes labored in workshops These home based businesses were run from Zürich. In 1784, the cotton spinning mill employed 49% of the local population (430 people, 287 of whom worked all year round). At the beginning of the 19th century there were around 350 weaving looms and the Zürich Mechanical Silk Weaving Mill employed more than 200 people in Ottenbach from the village and the surrounding area. There is evidence that both Susanna and Anna Sidler were married to Labrecht Bar.  In any case, Labrecht wrote an autobiography in which he states that his wife was the "number one dress maker.” (Ottenbach Wikipedia. Lebrecht Bar Autobiography)

Population of Ottenbach
During Johannes's lifetime  about 1,000 people lived in the village of Ottenbach. If historical population data holds true that amounts to 200 married couples and 120 single adults which  comes to 5 people per household. Interestingly enough there are numbers for livestock in the community. In 1830, when Johannes was alive, there were 7 horses, 11 oxen, 134 cows, 13 cattle, 24 calf, 65 pigs, 8 sheep, and 3 goats which totals 182 cattle and 18 draught animals. A draught animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be animals trained to provide tractive force, such as draft horses. In the case of Ottenbach they had a total of 18 horses and oxen. It seems unusual that the community had only 7 horses for 320 adults. Walking must have been the primary mode of transportation for the Sidler family. (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid, Wikipedia, Ottenbach Municipality Website, see end of this post for charts)

Horses were indeed rare and expensive. Farmers therefore castrated the wild bulls (male cows) and made them into oxen to draw the plows, sometimes wagons. Often the oxen had also iron horse shoes. My ancestors were horse and black smiths and calvary men in the Swiss army. Only rich people, farmers had horses to ride or to draw the plow or wagons etc. The horses often belonged to the cantonal government and were lent to the farmers that served in the calvary. In other troops only the officers had horses. (Peter Bertschinger)

Most people had to walk by foot; you could not ride on an oxen or a cow. Official horse coach lines were rare and expensive. They normally did not walk far, maybe to the next village, and they rarely went to the big town (Zürich City), e.g. to get married in the famous Grossmünster. These rural communities were rather self sufficient and autonomous. May be the doctor or the pastor had a horse driven coach. (Peter Bertschinger)

At the beginning of the 19th century movement was largely along dirt roads and depended on horses or walking. Canals, some associated with the Industrial Revolution, existed in a few places, but movement along the canals was also dependent on animal power. It could take weeks to cross Europe. (University of Chicago Library)

Why did so many Sidler's stay in Ottenbach?
The Johannes Sidler line has about 117 direct line ancestors including children who lived in Ottenbach. To give this perspective Johannes had 29 direct line ancestors in Ottenbach, 7 in Zürich, 1 in Knonau, 2 in Bickwel, 2 in Erienbach, 2 in Ettenhausen, and 1 in Birr.  Why? In the 19th century it was rare for people to move from their home village. German expert genealogist, Larry Jensen, did a year long study in Germany and found only 7 percent changed locations from 1500 to 1900. Why? Transportation was difficult because horses were expensive as stated. Most people traveled on foot and many stayed in their village most of their lives. Also once a person was born in a community the church was held responsible for the individual. If they moved away and got into debt their village took them back and worked out the problem. Even today in Switzerland a person's birth location is very important and citizens feel an allegiance to their village of origin. (Larry Jensen, 2019, genealogist)

What church did Johannes attend?
The Reformed branch of Protestantism in Switzerland started in Zürich in 1519 by Huldrych Zwingli.  He changes the country from Catholic to Protestant. Zwingli was killed in battle against Catholic forces from central Switzerland in 1531. Until the late 1870s, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed. Today 2 million Swiss citizens call this Evangelical Reformed Kirche theirs. When we visited Ottenbach in 2019 we observed a mid-week meeting in the rectory next to the Evangelical Reformed Church of Ottenbach. The rectory bulletin board displayed a wide variety of activities. (Wikipedia)

What was the weather like?
November and December can be foggy and rainy. The first snow can be expected around the beginning of December. More snow, which never stays for more than a couple of days, comes back in January which is normally the coldest month in Ottenbach.

Each family had a little garden in front of the house for vegetables. The garden had a fence around it to protect it from cows and other animals. They called it a Krautgarten. They also had some trees, normally walnut, apples and pears which they often made into cider. They were planted in the Baumgarten, or Bungert. They also had fields for potatoes. In the region everybody had a vineyard called a Weingarten or Wingart; also the wine was not so great, so sugar and sulphur was added to make it stable so you didn’t get head aches. There were also wheat fields for bread and straw was used for the stables.

The farms were mostly small, a few cows for milk and cream and butter. They often included a pig stable, some chicken for egg and meat etc. The meadows needed grass cuts, the first was Heu (hay) and the second in late summer called Emd. The hay was needed to feed the cows through winter. As said there were only few horses in a village, often the owners made transportation services (e.g. coach, wagons, to pull logs from the forest). The oxen were used to draw the wagons and the plow. 

Johannes the Tailor
Zürich parishes did census in 1795 called haushaltungsrodel (household registers). The 1795 census for the Rudolf Sidler family, under Johannes born 1777, roughly translated says "Schneider ist zu Affoltern is wieder zu hause". which seems to say he was a tailor in Affoltern but is again (wieder...again) in the house (of Rudolf). Apparently he moved home and is working as a tailor in Affoltern which is 3 miles East of Ottenbach.  (Ottenbach Haushaltungsrodel, Ottenbach microfilm 8126955 page 197) A Schneider or tailor processes textile fabrics for clothing. (Patrick A. Wild)

The introduction of the sewing machine sped up garment production. The silhouette of men's fashion changed in similar ways: by the mid-1820s coats featured broad shoulders with puffed sleeves, a narrow waist, and full skirts. Trousers were worn for smart day wear, while breeches continued in use in the country. (Wikipedia)

Swiss men never ever had Lederhosen or shorts. They left that to the Germans and Austrians. Many cantons and regions of Switzerland had Trachten for festivities or church uniform and farmer clothes for men, and unmarried and married women. For festivals men wore black hats, coats, pants, shoes and black string ties, as well as white shirts and a low cut black vest with white stripes. Woman wore dirndl dresses with black shoes, caps, black bodice and white shirts, stockings and colorful straps to hold the dress in place. While appearing to be simple and plain, a properly made modern dirndl may be quite expensive as it is tailored, and sometimes cut from costly hand-printed or silk fabrics. Having been to Octoberfest I can say the 19th century dirndl dresses were more modest in the 19th century. (Peter Bertschinger, see photos at the bottom of this post) (Note: Tracht refers to traditional garments in German-speaking countries and regions.)

Ottenbach Grain
From 1645 onwards, the millers of Ottenbach and Rickenbach used, in addition to the ditches in the village, the water of the river Reuss to grind the grain, because those did not supply enough water during the summer months. In 1833, the Canton of Zürich granted the license to use the water to operate a grain mill. In 1836 the miller, Jakob Beerli, built a canal with a dam in order to bring the water of the Reuss to the mill wheel in a more regulated manner. Today the old Mill is  Haas Shopping with small shops and is a block or two from the river Reuss. (Wikipedia: Ottenbach Small Hydro)

Two Interesting Men
Two of the most interesting people on this family tree or any tree are Susanna’s father and father-in-law. First of all they had the same name: Rudolf. The name is of Ancient Germanic origin meaning “fame”, “glory” and olf meaning “wolf.”  Both men were civic leaders, Jenta on a village council, Sidler as a village policeman.  In 1900 Jenta lived in a village of 434 inhabitants with 119 households. Sidler lived in a village of about 900 people and 200 households. Both grew up and lived out their lives in small Swiss villages. Jenta lived to 51.5, Sidler lived to 58 and 9 mo. (Our World Data, Wikipedia Ottenbach)

Childhood Mortality
Johannes' parents Rudolf Sidler and Elisabetha Sidler had 15 children. Nine lived to adulthood and married. Johannes' in-laws Rudolf Jenta and Lisabeth Frei had twelve children and one more with Mary Huber making thirteen. Seven lived to adulthood and married. Rudolf Jenta died 1 year 4 months after his last child was born leaving 30 year old Mary Huber with 7 children from 20 years old to 1 year four months to raise. Strange as it may seem, even though Rudolf Jenta married at 21 and had a large family he died two years before any of them married so he never saw any of his children marry and never saw a grandchild. The reason for this is because his first child, Barbara, died at 20.5 and his next three died in infancy. Rudolf Sidler also never saw any of his three girls marry or saw any grandchildren. The reason is because he didn't begin having his family until he was 48 and only lived to 57. Even his illegitimate son Jakob didn't start to have grandchildren until five years after Johannes' death. Compared to today, life was difficult for these Swiss. Death was a major part of their lives.

What size families did they have?
We often see that from the age 20 years on, when marriage was allowed by the church, the parents had least one child every year, often stillborn. The rule for naming was that the godparents gave their first name to the child,. For example if a child named Barbara died, they continued the name until one survived the first years. From this Julius Billeter concluded that a child died young and noted a "dy" by their name. On average these big farmer families had about two boys and two girls that made it to adulthood and most of them got married. (Peter Bertschinger,)

If a woman died after the birth of a child (this was a dangerous process because of infections), her younger sister stepped in as new wife, or replacement. The husband (here farmer in the country) absolutely needed a wife to look after the children and farm house (cooking etc.). So he normally got remarried a second, or third time within a few months; later a one year period was recommended. Often these wives were widows themselves. So there was constant giving births and dying on the farms, similar to what happened in the stable with the animals. Death was seen as natural. Only medicine and hygienic measures lowered the infant and childhood mortality rate. However, there were very bad pestulenza waves in the 17th century in our regions. Many villages lost 30 to 40% of the population. (Peter Bertschinger)

Johannes' Marriage
Johannes had an older brother named Caspar born in 1772.  Caspar married Elisabetha Hegetschweiler in 1799. She gave birth to a still born child on 24 September 1800. Two days later Elisabetha died at age 23. Caspar and his second wife, Margaretha Berli, had three children. Caspar died in 1811 at 39.

Fourteen months later, when Johannes was 35 years old he had a child out of wedlock with his older brother's widow, Margaretha Berli. He fathered Hans Jakob Sidler on 14 September 1812. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 74 and Zürich Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434 and E III 88.19 S. 550.)

Johannes marrying his brother’s wife after getting her pregnant would have been a case for the court. In that case he probably would have been able to marry, but it is unclear how they would have decided. Sometimes it seem to me the decisions were pragmatic if a child was under way, but the father had to pay a fine and the church ceremony was reduced to a minimum. (Peter Bertschinger)

In any case twelve years after having a child out of wedlock, 47 year old Johannes married Susanna Jenta. Wedding banns are the public announcement in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage between two specified persons. Impediments would normally include a pre-existing marriage, lack of consent, or the couple's being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship. Johannes and Susanna published their banns on 5 December 1824, Their parish marriage record states: Johannes Siedler from Ottenbach, Schneider zu Maschwanden (tailor in Maschwanden)  and Susanna Jenta from Ettenhausen, der Pfarr (parish) Wezikon (Wetzikon) 13 December 1824. (Notes : Maschwanden is 3.5 miles south of Ottenbach which would require Johannes to walk an hour and 15 minutes to get to work. 514 people lived in Mashwanden in 1824 and 1777 lived in Ottenbach Source: Schweizerisches Archiv für Statistik und Nationalöknomie order ..., Volume 3.  )

Pastor Hans Jacob Locher performed the marriage and recorded the marriage entry in the Parish book.  Ettenhausen is 37 miles to the east of Ottenbach. You have to go all the way around Lake Zürich to get there. It is a long way. How Johannes and Susanna got together is anyone's guess. Maybe they met in Zürich when they were both there on business. (Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434) (Note: Pastor Locher is one of the most interesting people in this history. He had empathetic feelings toward the poor and began a poorhouse in Ottenbach. The reactions from the locals were mixed.)

Susanna was 27 years younger than Johannes. They married 13 December 1824 and had their first child, Barbara, 3 months 5 days later. Barbara was not considered illegitimate because her parents were married when she was born. Susanna's father died two years previously and her mother 8 years before so they were not there to share in the happy events. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler by Julius Billeter, page 74 and Zürich Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434 )

The district doctor in Ottenbach, at the time, was Jakob Hegetschweiler a relative of the Sidler family. He was born in Ottenbach 1792 and died in 1845 at 53 which was a common age to live at the time. Most likely he delivered Johannes' three girls namely: Barbara 1825, Anna 1827, and Susanna in 1832. Susanna was delivered in Maschwanden, which is 3.7 miles south of Ottenbach. Susanna’s mother's maiden name was Frei and many in the Frei family are found in Maschwanden so she most likely was visiting a relative when she gave birth. Susanna's silk weaving brother Heinrich's wife Margaretha Salzman was also from Maschwanden. Susanna could have stayed with her sister-in-law's parents or relatives?

Dr. Hegetschweiler was later honored with a grave marker/plaque on the side of the Ottenbach Reformed Church for providing the community with a Retirement Home. The privilege of being remembered in this way is costly and only available for the noble and/or rich. The marker has been preserved and can be seen today. (See headstone below, Translation of headstone on Ottenbach Kirche by Kent Gardiner, 2019, Susanna birth place found on microfilm 008126955 page 307) (Note: Maschwanden definition: Schwanden means the land was gained by pealing the trees so they would dry out and can be burned. Mano is a German first name, so it was an Allemanic guy that conquered that land (forest) in about 700 to 800 after Christ.).

(Notes about the paragraph above: Jakob Hegetschweiler's father was Johannes Hegetschweiler 1710 -  1774. Billeter says he was a "Surgeon, Leutenant, Captain. Famous fracture and cut wound doctor." There were no war activities from 1710 to 1774 in Switzerland.  But there were cantonal militia troops, and he seemed to be a Sanitäts-Hauptmann (medical captain) likely assigned to Zürich troops. Johannes Hegetschweiler lived almost his entire life during the famine of 1710 - 1772 when Zürich enforced potato cultivation in all rural communities.) (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, pages 167 and 158; Ottenbach Municipality Website)

What did the Sidler's eat?
In Switzerland, breakfast typically includes bread, butter or margarine, marmalade or honey, maybe some cheese or cereals, plus milk, cold or hot chocolate, tea or coffee. Lunch may be as simple as a sandwich or  birchermüesli or the sandwich could be a complete meal. (Food in Switzerland)

Corn and beans were common, along with pork. In the north, cows provided milk, butter, and beef, while in the south, where cattle were less common, venison and other game provided meat. Preserving food in 1815, before the era of refrigeration, required smoking, drying, or salting meat. The Swiss have been big meat-eaters ever since the 19th century when consumption started to rise. One can imagine Susanna cooking up lots of corn, beans and bread for her three girls.

Did Johannes interact with government?

The Swiss got rid of Nobility very early by burning their castles. In the bigger cities the Nobility became the heads of professional guilds (Zunftmeister). We have a Bertschinger branch in the City of Zürich which were prominent in the Zunft zu Schiffleuten (shippers). They made up the the grosser Rat (big council) and Bürgermeister  or city mayors from Zürich. The guild were organizing the trades, professions and worked like a cartel. Tradesmen of the countryside or Zürich Land were not allowed to perform services in the City. Farmers had to buy and sell products at the regular city markets controlled and taxed by the City government. For example the grain market was held every Friday, which resulted in published price quotes. (Peter Bertschinger)

All this is celebrated every year in Spring called Sechseläuten Day. St. Peter church rings the bell at six o'clock in the evening. Then the Bögg  or large snowman made out of wood is burned on a big bonfire and Spring is announced. Still today the guilds show their costumes and Trachten, or the noble patricians, come on horses. This is a big festival in Zürich broadcasted by Swiss TV. (Peter Bertschinger)

During Johannes's lifetime:
Revolutionary Period
During the French Revolutionary Wars, the French army invaded Switzerland and turned it into an ally known as the "Helvetic Republic" (1798–1803). It had a central government with little role for cantons. The interference with localism and traditional liberties was deeply resented, although some modernizing reforms took place. (Wikipedia.)

Napoleon and his enemies fought numerous campaigns in Switzerland that ruined many localities. It proclaimed the equality of citizens before the law, equality of languages, freedom of thought and faith; it created a Swiss citizenship, basis of our modern nationality, and the separation of powers, of which the old regime had no conception; it suppressed internal tariffs and other economic restraints; it unified weights and measures, reformed civil and penal law, authorized mixed marriages (between Catholics and Protestants), suppressed torture and improved justice; it developed education and public works. (William Martin)

The French Army "invades Ottenbach"
1798 "Napoleon invades Switzerland." Towards evening, a troop of stormy French approached the mill, 1 mile south of Ottenbach, surrounded them noisily, and demanded entry with bayonets. Out of the big sacks the soldiers carry on their backs, stolen goods from Central Switzerland stood out. Cluttering, they invaded the house. But when the delightful scent of freshly cooked hams and soup poured out of their kitchen into their noses, they threw aside their weapons and sacks and rushed wildly at the food. Frau Miillerin kept calm and always scooped up the plates of soup and meat. She served the horde as generously as she could and did not spare the wine from the big barrel in the cellar. The soldiers filled their bellies and when they were full, they crawled into all corners and fell asleep. In the morning, she awoke them with scent of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread. With a full stomach and peacefully tuned, the soldiers then left the mill Rickenbach, without letting anything run and moved on. Thus, the mill and probably the whole village escaped the feared fate, thanks to the brave Mrs. Regula Funk. (This story was published in December 1985, in the village booklet "De Ottebächler" Nr.25. Publisher: Gewerbeverein Ottenbach)

Revolutionary Period
a) The rotten, worm-eaten style of government of the merciful gentlemen in Zurich in 1795, during the riots in Stäfa, kept itself afloat; in 1798 it sank without any resistance to the revolutionary (seditious) calls: freedom of the people, equality, fraternity! But this popular freedom was brought to the fore in French bayonets, and in times of need only a small part of fraternity proved itself! Nor did unity, 1798 to 1803, come out of revolutionary implications. The privileges of the cities, the unilateral tithe obligation of the Peasantry recognized, the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers pronounced, on the other hand the right to vote of the people is not entirely direct (electors), and the centralization (unification) of governmental powers is far too extensive. The canton of Zurich developed into an administrative region of the Helvetian Republic. The cantonal governor was appointed by the unitary government. Smaller districts (districts) received sub governors. The first government governor in Zurich was Pfenninger von Stäfa, a revolutionary from 1795; first governor in the Müller Frick district in Rifferswil; Agent for the municipality of Ottenbach Jakob Weiss in Toussen. 

Ottenbach during the French Occupation:
Let us now turn to the events that the revolutionary time brought to our  Two Ottenbachers who were imprisoned in Zurich for diminishing the prestige of the authorities have been convicted: 
1. They receive a strong response from the council; 
2. before the Ottenbach standstill (civilians who take notes in meetings) by the dean in Kappel also a emphatic reprimand; 
3. they have civil rights for two years. Junker Ratsherr Meiss spent some time in Knonau Castle, where he interrogated and exercised supervision because Landvogt Holzhalb led an unusually weak government. 1797. The authorities set the ticket to buy the carnival chickens at 10 ß (1 Fr.). From files in the State Archives. 1798, March 14. The Freiamt flag is brought back to the Knonau Palace by 32 men (probably from Zurich, where Junker Meiss has taken to custody). - 
April 11. The Chamber of Administration holds its 1798, November 19. Ottenbach gives 140 fl. 10 ß (560 Fr.) to a love tax for the Stans devastated by French war people -, do. 22. From Ottenbach, 4 men were enlisted in the standing (continuously serving) Helvetian foot troops. (Obfelden, Gedenkschrift zum 50-jährigen Bestand der Gemeinde, Oktober 1897 )

1800, August, 24. List of costs incurred by the Franconian (French) occupation of the municipality of Ottenbach from May 1798 to the end of 1799, signed by Mayor Johannes Schneebeli.

1. Accommodation: 20.336 man-days of 20 ß. ...............................10.118fl. 
2. Horse feeding days à 30 ß (3 Fr.). ,…………...........................3.265 „20 ß
3. Damage: on grain 16 ml. ä 15 fl.; Barley 14 ml. 6 fl .; Wine, 2 hem, ä 15 
              fl .;Clover, 32 feet, 100 fl.; Hay, 8 clothes, 80 fl..…................... 552
4. Wagons 2316 3 3 draft animals 1 l1 / 2 fl., 1 man 1 fl., So each 
              performance 5 fl. 20 ß (22 Fr.) ….........................................10.738"
5. Ski jumps and fronts,3422 Days at 25 ß (2VsFr.) ....................2,098 „20 ß
6. Heu, 2340 Ztr. (50 kg.), 2 fl. 20 ß (10 Fr.)…….................................. 5,850
    Straw, 506 Ztr., 1 fl. 10 ß …………………….............................632 „20 ß
    Grain, 1100 Vrtl., 1 fl. (4 Fr.) ......................................................... 1,100 „
    Barley, 40 Vrtl., * Ä 1 fl. 20 ß…….......................………....……....... 60 „
    Oats, 32 Vrtl. ä 1 fl.,…………………...........................…………...... 32 „
    Lost grain bag 80 ä 2 fl………............................………………........ 160„
    Meat, 29 Ztr., ä 17 fl. (68 Fr.) ............................... ……………….....493 „
    Bread, 1193 Pfd., Ä 4 ß,
    Flour, 801 Pfd., Ä 4 ß (40 Rp.) …….........................…..............160„ 20ß 
    Wine, 21/2     seed, and 24 fl ….......................……………….............60 "
   Suckling pig, hens, eggs ………...........................……………..........…8"
(141,312 fr.) ……………………........................……......….Total 35,328 fl. 

The war damage for Ottenbach from 1800 and 1801, calculated according to the above approaches, amounts to 10.713 fl.
Accordingly for 1798 to 1801 to (184.164 Fr.) 46.041 fl.

1800, September 2. Decision of the Chamber of Administration: Since the basic interest on the Church Property, Ottenbach is not sufficient to pay the school teachers there, advances are to be levied on the persons who are liable to pay interest, which are to be written off from the purchase price.

1800, October 6th District Governor Hug in Ottenbach to Governor Ulrich in Zurich. (The Helvetian government in Bern has chosen a "moderate" city citizen, deaf and dumb teacher Ulrich, to replace the "patriotic" Pfenninger.) My position is becoming unbearably difficult for me. Our district has owed large debts for the sake of warfare. They were distributed to the communities and they relocated them as impartially as possible. But sturgeons rebel against it; they storm my house and reduce my working hours. That way I couldn't last for a year.

Unemployed in the parish of Ottenbach 1799
Households   inhabitant   unemployed

 167                  865              154

1799 Construction of the political community of Ottenbach, which also includes the five Obfelder hamlets. The quartering of French troops leads to a debt of the community. Ottenbach counts at that time many unemployed textile homeworkers. 
1798 French army under the command of Napoleon invaded Switzerland. Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic. The Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, culminating in the Battles of Zürich in 1799. The Second Battle of Zurich (25–26 September 1799) was a key victory by the Republican French army in Switzerland led by André Masséna over an Austrian and Russian force commanded by Alexander Korsakov near Zürich. (Wikipedia)
1801 The Helvetic Government grants Ottenbach the license to carry out any transport with the Reuss ferry. Previously, the ferry was only approved for its own use.
1802 Swiss revolt forced French army to leave Switzerland. (Ottenbach Municipality Website)
1830 Pastor Locher obtains the construction of the first poorhouse in Ottenbach.
(Ottenbach Municipality Website)

1833 Separation of the school communities Ottenbach, Wolsen and Lunnern from the church meinde Ottenbach.
I 835 Construction of the new schoolhouse next to the church.
The poorhouse is abolished, the poor are moved to Kappel.
1836 The Ottenbacher Müiler builds the Kanai to make better use of the water power.
1839 On July I, the district authorities move from Knonau to Affoltern.
In September, a conservative turnaround in Zürich ("Zuriputsch").
1845 Liberal turnaround in Zi.irich.
1847 Separation of Obfelden and Ottenbach: the fiinf hamlets are merged to form the political municipality of Obfelden, the Miihle Rickenbach is annexed to Ottenbach.
1847-48 In the Sonderbund skrieg, the reformed liberal states defeat the catholic conservatives. (Obfelden, Gedenkschrift zum 50-jährigen Bestand der Gemeinde, October 1897 )

Pastors in Ottenbach during Johannes's lifetime
1776. David Locher. He died in 1796.
1796. Johannes Weber. He died in 1800. (Kept a school; diary from beginning of 1797 in Ottenbach. The journal provides information about the content and form of school lessons in Ottenbach during the revolutionary years up to 1800)
1800. Hans Jakob Locher, from Zurich. The community did not like his choice of establishing a poorhouse. Died in 1834. (Still known to the old people today under the name "Kammerer Locher" which means Treasurer Locher. Some Ottenbach boys desecrated his grave because he tried to help the less fortunate in the community. Hans Locher was Johannes Pastor for 34 years. Hans Jakob Locher (1761-1834), pastor of Ottenbach, was married to Anna Katharina Pfenninger. They had 13 children according to FamilySearch)

1834. Rudolf Tappolet. Resigned in 1872. He subsequently died in Basel in 1875. Obfelden separated from Ottenbach under Tapppolet.  Pastor Tappolet resigned in 1872 and died in Basel in 1875. The community of Obfelden separated from Ottenbach in 1847 and a year later constructed their own church. Tappolet also had a huge influence on Dorothea Trudel, who is considered one of the great healers of Switzerland. (Obfelden, Gedenkschrift zum 50-jährigen Bestand der Gemeinde, Oktober 1897) (Source on Dorothea)

Johannes' 73 year old Pastor Hans Jacob Locher died 25 October 1834 and ten days later Johannes died at 57 on the 4th of November. At the time Johannes' son Jakob was 22, and his girls were Barbara, 14, Anna 9 and Susanna just 2. So that left Susanna, like her own stepmother, at 30 to raise the children.  What did she do? The community had jobs in spinning, weaving or she may have followed her tailor husband and made clothing. Her daughter, Susanna, could have learned the trade of seamstress from her own mother. In any case she was the sole provider to her three girls and maybe one stepson. (Note: The Zürich Archives family register lists Jakob as part of the family. We don't know if that means he was raised solely by Johannes or if there was another arrangement. Pastor Locher was Johannes pastor for 34 years.)

Brand new Pastor Rudolf Tappolet officiated at the funeral. Standing at Johannes gravesite next to the Ottenbach church was his 30 year old wife and next to her Johannes' three girls. Jacob his oldest child who was 22 was there. Also included were also Dr. Hegetschweiler who had delivered his girls, and other friends, neighbors and cousins in Ottenbach who he had made clothing for. 

What happened to Johannes' children?
Johannes' 2 daughters and one granddaughter emigrate to America on Friday March 30, 1860, Anna Sidler, her daughter, Anna Hegetschweiler, her sister, Susanna Sidler and Suzanna's husband Labrecht Bar, sailed from Liverpool on the ship Underwriter.  Anna died by canon fire in the Morrisite war and Susanna's death date and reason for death are unknown. Emma Scholl Bachman says Susanna returned to Switzerland but there is no hared evidence. (Swiss passports from Zürich Archives and Page 208 New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, Emma Bachman history)

Johannes oldest daughter Barbara who was born on 18 March 1825 married Jakob Berli on December 3, 1854 when she was almost 30. Jakob had been married before and was eleven years younger. The couple had three children Born Dead Berli born 11 January 1859,  Heinrich Berli 10 May 1866 and christened 20 May 1866. He married 9 May 1893 and had a family. Their third child Karll born 25 October 1871, christened 27 October 1871 in the Ottenbach Reformed Church. Unfortunately the child died November 4, 1871. Barbara lived 70 years 8 months 14 days. She died 1 December 1895 in Ottenbach where she was buried with only her only living child Heinrich who had married 2.5 years previous, his wife and her step-daughter Selina standing at her graveside in the Ottenbach church grounds on a cold winter day. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 74 and page 867 film 8126955, Barbara Sidler/Jokob Berli's marriage, Jakob Berli Household Record Zürich Archives EIII 88.19, S.637)

Johannes oldest son Jakob born 1812 married Anna Sidler born 1811 from Ottenbach. They had five children Verena born 5 March 1837 (joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 30 March 1856), Barbara born 17 June 1842 (had an illegitimate son named Jakob), Anna 12 December 1844, Lizabeth 8 December 1846 and Johannes born 20 March 1854.  Jakob died in 1869 and Anna died at 85 on the 19th of January 1900 which is a record in the Sidler family. (Zürich Archives E III 88.19, S. 550)

Ottenbach in the 19th century
As long as the Sidler's were in Ottenbach there was no bridge and the ferry took people across the Reuss. With the opening of the new Reuss Bridge in August 1864, the centuries-long ferry service in Ottenbach was discontinued. (Wilfried Leutert, 100 years pontoon driving club Ottenbach 1888-1988, Letzi- Druck-Ottenbach - village on the Reuss Zürich)

Documents related to Johannes Sidler

Ottenbach Pastor David Locher made this entry at the beginning
of 1777, the year Johannes was born film 8014328 page 557

Johannes Sidler b1777 film 8014328 page 560

Johannes Sidler birth 25 July 1777 film 8014328 page 560
Johannes Possible birth page 25 July 1777 film 8014328 page 560,
Is Johannes here?

Johannes and Susanna Ottenbach Family Church Record: 
Zürich Archives E III 88. 19, S 434

Julius Billeter Sidler Temple Book page 74

Schild der Weber und Schneiderzunst um 1770 - Translation:
Shield of weavers and tailors around 1770, from Germany

Rudolf Sidler 1795 Census, Ottenbach Haushaltungsrodel angelegt ca.1795, 
(Household registers created ca.1795) image 197 film 8126955. 
The 1975 census for the Rudolf Sidler family, under Johannes born 1777, roughly translated says "Schneider ist zu Affoltern is wieder zu hause". which seems to say he was a tailor in Affoltern is again
(wieder...again) in the house (of Rudolf). Apparently he moved
home and is working as a tailor in Affoltern which is 3 miles East of Ottenbach.
Translation by Robert Seal
My paraphrased translation: tailor -- is at Affoltern where his home is.

Rudolf Sidler 1742 family Ottenbach Church Record Zürich Archives Ottenbach Family record, E III 88.19, S. 72 (photograph of original book)

Page 889 film 8126955 Johannes-Susanna Jenta 
marriage 13 Dec 1824
Marriage: 5 Dec 1824  Johannes Siedler from Ottenbach, Schneider zu Maschwanden (tailor in Maschwanden)  and Susanna Jenta from Ettenhausen, der Pfarr (parish) Wezikon (Wetzikon) 13 Dec 

Page 889 film 8126955 Johannes-Susanna Jenta marriage 13 Dec 1824

Johannes Sidler death Film 008126955 page 784 Oct 29 1834 Jacob Locher and Cause of death for Johannes Sidler who died November 4, 1834? The entry below has the same word. Something like: im held, Scherrikers Jacob Locher, Johannes Pastor of 34 years died six days before Johannes.

Death record: Ottenbach Parish death record for Johannes Sidler, November 4, 1834 in Ottenbach, AG, im held, Schneider meaning: at Held (130 km to the east of Ottenbach), Tailor.  Note: The person who died 2 days later was also a Tailor. Johannes lived 57 years 3 months 10 days (age calculator) but according to Pastor Rudolf Tappolet's entry it was 5 days. From what I have seen Pastor's were always a little off but this is very close.
Translation by WSeelentag
I know I'm late - just came across this discussion by chance.
I agree, the text after Johannes Siedler is not the cause of death, but where he lived. It would be nice to see a larger section to compare the script - but I suggest it says "im feld": there are several locations named Feld in nearby Obfelden and Affoltern.
Then we have "Schneiders" and "Schneider rudis": these will be nicknames identifying a family line. Likely an ancestor of Johannes Siedler had been a Schneider (tailor). Similar for an ancestor of Johannes Schnebeli, but the ancestor's given name had been Rudi: in order not to use the same nickname for two families (likely without connection) the given name was added.