At the most southern point of the Huemmling, the village Westerloh is located. The existence of a giant's grave from the Megalithic culture (around 3000 BC) on the village border proves an early settlement in this region.
The name of the village probably derives from the fact that the first settlers lived in the west of a forest between Westerloh and Laehden. The name Westerloh developed from the word Loh, which indicates a forest or a natural or artificial clearing.
Historical documents mention Westerloh for the first time in 1150.
The population register in Meppen states that under bishop Franz-Wilhelm von Warenberg (1625 - 1661) 44 persons lived in Westerloh in 1652, of those 10 were under the age of 14. The register "Status Animarum" documents 84 inhabitants (27 under 14 years of age) living in12 families (5 sole heirs, 7 contractors (landless cottagers)) for the farming community of "Wester Loe" in 1749. According to the population register of Meppen, Westerloh belonged to the parish of Haseluenne and counted 81 inhabitants in 1807. In 1858, Westerloh had 26 houses and 148 inhabitants (76 male, 72 female). In 1861 Westerloh consisted of the same number of houses and 138 inhabitants (72 male, 66 female).
In the course of Prussia's peasant liberation servants gained their freedom in 1808.
Some years later, in 1846, Haseluenne abolished the law according to which peasants had to pay tithes to landowners or the church. (Charlemagne introduced this system in 785. It was a contribution worth 10% of incomes and referred to grains, oil, flax and wine. The "small tribute" resulted from vegetables and fruits and the "blood tribute" from animals and animal products like milk, butter, eggs and honey). Mr "von der Ahe from Westerloh" had to pay a contribution of 10 Stueber (former currency). He paid a ransom of 15 Dutch Guilders. The parliament of Lower Saxony passed a law in 1852 stating that farmers could free themselves from these regular contributions and make a one off payment. This meant people did not have to deliver tributes to Haseluenne's gatekeepers any longer, which they used to pay annually.
At the same time, land owned by the county were distributed to inhabitants.
The following table gives an overview of people from Westerloh who emigrated to the United States:
Moreover, one family emigrated to Hungary in 1858. Regarding school education in Westerloh, it is worth mentioning that bright children attended schools in Haseluenne in 1824. Later, a son of landowner Renzen taught the children. He was probably Westerloh's first teacher. In 1828 teacher Schuhmacher, who was from Westerloh as well, became his successor. After his marriage he lived in a flat in an old sheep pen. At that time the community built its first schoolhouse, a half-timbered building.
The school chronicle reports that a new schoolhouse was opened on January 8, 1936. In that year the school had 58 students, 34 girls and 24 boys. Due to the arrival of refugees after the Second World War, the number of students increased significantly. In 1946 the school counted 82 students.
Due to centralization efforts students in their seventh, eighth and ninth year attended school in Berssen from 1963 on. Since 1965 children in class seven and higher have attended school in Haseluenne. In 1979, two school years (class 5 and 6) were introduced in order to find out each student's orientation for his future school career. 16 children from Westerloh attended this so-called "Orientierungsstufe" in Haseluenne.
Four inhabitants of Westerloh/Westerlohmuehlen became victims of the First World War and 25 died in the Second World War. People say and the school chronicle states that the village was not directly affected by the Second World War. However, there were incidents of looting and murder. An incident took place on September 21, 1945 when four criminals entered a house, killed six persons and stole numerous garments. The offenders were not caught.
Cultural activities have always played an important role in Westerloh. Inhabitants love amateur plays and have rehearsed in hallways and from 1957 in the newly constructed youth centre. Furthermore, group meetings in the evenings have taken place and Harvest Feasts have been celebrated. A shooting club with numerous members has contributed to the social life in Westerloh and Westerlohmuehlen. The shooting club was already founded in1904 and has been famous in the whole region.
Westerloh has always belonged to the parish Haseluenne. People were baptized and married in the huge parish church and were buried on the church's cemetery. Bad road conditions made the way to church on Sundays difficult or even impossible. Therefore, the wish for an appropriate church grew.
After the Second World War, Westerloh had the possibility to acquire a former labour camp. After long negotiations with British military authorities, the barracks were refurbished. On June 13, 1948, Fr. Schepers from Haseluenne inaugurated the chapel dedicated to St. Antonius. The former labour camp barracks served as chapel until the end of the Eighties. After a long planning phase, the foundation stone for a new church was laid nearby the old chapel on June 13, 1988. On April 24, 1988 the bell was added and on May 4, 1989, the congregation could finally celebrate the first mass in their new church. The sacred building was constructed by architect Hubert Radke from Haseluenne. It forms an octagon with a path for processions leading around the building and presenting "Mary's walk of faith" by means of seven stations made of sandstone. These works of art were created by sculptor Joseph Krautwald from Rheine. This procession attracts numerous believers from the region and from far away.
Westerloh remained a pure farming community without industrial companies. However, a residential area with pretty houses developed on the so-called area "Fuhrenkamp". These houses were constructed by "descendants" of villagers who earn their living outside of the village.
The following table summarizes population figures for Westerloh and Westerlohmuehlen:
|1939: 478 inhabitants
(this high number results from the labour camp)
Current mayor is Alexander Schulte. The history of Westerlohmuehlen is exactly the same like that of Westerloh, except for one special feature: the mill of Westerlohmuehlen. This is the first mentioned water mill in the Oldenburg feud register. More specific data is found in a cattle register from 1545. The owner of the water mill, Hermann von Westerloh, was one of the four sole heirs in the village. The register "Status Animarum" lists 42 persons (14 under 14 years of age) living in 7 families. This register also mentions that next to the water mill, which was used for grain and was located at the left shore of the river Radde, a paper mill was added on the other side of the river. The grain mill was rented by Otto Brinck and the paper mill by Gerard Henrich Lohe. Furthermore, the village had an inn and a cartwright. Franz Martels, the owner of the paper mill, sold his property to former tenant and paper producer Gerh. Heinr. Lohe, who resold it to Arend Tening in 1782. Gerd Brink, a miller from Dankern, bought the grain mill in 1780. In the same year Wilke Brinkman acquired the grain mill and in 1795 he also bought the paper mill and remodelled it to an oil and felt-mill. His daughter Anna-Maria married miller Joan Bernh. Brunefort in 1806 who carried on the name Brinkmann. The oil-mill was used until 1925; the grain mill became redundant in 1938 because of electrification.
Westerlohmuehlen stayed a pure farming community without new building sites. A further characteristic of this dependent village is that four families consisting of 17 persons belong to Huelsen, three families with 21 persons to Westerloh and two families living in the north of the river Radde belong to Kl. Berssen.
You will find further information about Westerloh on this website www.westerloh-dorf.de