Washington County, Wisconsin
History
TOWN HISTORIES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY.
Source: History of Washington and Ozaukee Counties, Wisconsin; transcribed by Barbara Ziegenmeyer

West Bend—Village or West Bend—Hartford—Village or Harford— Polk—Schlkisingerville —Farmington—Kewaskum—Village or Kewaskum—Barton and Villages— Trenton—Jackson—Wayne—Addison—Erin—Germantown—Richfield.
 
TOWN OF GERMANTOWN.

The town of Germantown is the oldest settled town in Washington County. It was designated by the Government survey as Town 9, Range 20, and is the southeast town in the county. The surface is nearly level. The land was, in a state of nature, heavily wooded with elm, birch, beach, maple and oak. Being near Milwaukee, where most of the early German immigrants first stopped, it early attracted the attention of such of them as sought farming lands for their American homes. Already a large colony of Germans had settled in the western part of the adjoining town (Mequon), and the proximity of countrymen, already settled in the new country, rendered the location doubly desirable. So it happened that from 1840, when the German immigration first set in, there was a constant flow of German settlers to the township, till they had occupied all the Government lands, and purchased nearly all owned by the English and American settlers who had come in a few years prior to their advent. The first purchases of land from the Government were made in 1839, and at the close of 1844 there was scarce an available acre unoccupied in the town.   It was fairly settled two years before it was incorporated.

Many of the settlers brought sufficient means with them to start their pioneer life under what was considered comfortable circumstances. Milwaukee, then grown to be a considerable village, was convenient for supplies, and altogether the early settlers of this town found ease and comfort compared with those who pushed farther on, across the unbridged streams and up among the hills of the northern towns of the county.

This being the oldest town of the present county, the first settler is entitled to the double distinction of being also the first settler of the county. Levi Ostrander and Anthony D. Wisner each purchased eighty acres in Section 35, March 11, 1839. These were the first two purchases made. Levi Ostrander settled on his land, and was for a many years a leading man of affairs, both in the town and in old Washington County, and is justly entitled to the distinction of being the first settler.   Whether his purchase antedated Mr. Wisner's is questioned from the fact that Mr. Wisner's name appears first on the land book of entry. During the same year there were sixteen other entries made, mostly in the southern tier of sections. The only man now living in the town who came in prior to 1840 is John Coghlan, who took up eighty acres on Section 33, August 8, 1830. He is now the oldest living settler in the town. The other early settlers now living in the town, who came in prior to 1844, are John Jung, 1840; Jacob Schunk, John Brown, Philip Zimmerman, Peter Goettelmann, Michael Ballheim. Jacob Holl, William Strauss, Jacob Schlafer, 1841; Frederick Groth, William Hofemeister, John Selflow, John H. Scheffler, Henry Frenwith, John Diefenthaler, Balzar Kripinberger, 1843; John Gilbert, 1840; Robert Frenwith, John C. Tate, 1843; Joseph H. Meege, 1841.

Below is a list of all entries made in the town prior to 1844, with number of acres, section and date of purchase.
 
Name Section Acres Date of Entry
Edward Murphy 1 159 Aug 23, 1843
Samuel Prudermann and John Ringel 1 80 Sept. 18, 1843
Gottlieb Garabisch 1 81 Sept. 27, 1843
George Garabish, Jr 1 80 Sept. 27, 1843
Franz Baesemann 1 40 Nov. 25, 1843
Martin Hels 2 40 July 10, 1843.
John Kressen 2 84 October 19, 1843.
Joachim Groth 2 40
 
November 25, 1843.
John David Eggert 3 87 October 26, 1843.
Frederick Wasmuth 4 80 June 14,1843.
John Adam Pilger 5 80 February 27. 1843.
Christopher Braun 5 80 February 27, 1843.
Johann Guenther Kaufmann 5 40 Novemoer 21,1843.
Peter Jacob Dix 5 120 November 28. 1843.
Peter Hock. 6 80 November 14, 1842.
Jacob Hock 6 40 May 22, 1843.
John Endlich 6 80 June 5,1843.
John Braun 6 36 July 28, 1843.
John Henry Pilger 6 45 September 4, 1843.
Michael Matter 7 80 November 5, 1841.
George Petry 7 240 September 9. 1842.
Peter Walther 7 229 September 9, 1842.
Johann Mathes. 7 80 September 17, 1842.
Johann Knetzger 8 80 August 3, 1842.
Peter Jacob Dix 8 400 August 22. 1842.
Phillipp Dhein, Sr. 8 160 August 22, 1842.
Phillipp Dhein, Sr. 9 80
 
Aug. 22, 1842
Peter Sinz. 9 80 August 22. 1842.
Phillipp Dhein. Jr. 9 80 August 22, 1842.
Peier Rheingaus 9 40 Sept. 27, 1842
Phillipp Peter Barwig. 9 80 Nov. 14, 1842
Justus Schmit 9 80 June 6 1843
Nicolaus Altmayer 9 80 July 27, 1843
Peter Rheingans 9 40 Aug. 18, 1843
Jacob Klumb 10 80 July 13,1843.
Johann Fuchs 10 160 July 13, 1843.
Joachim Gatech 11 80 October 25, 1842.
Joachim Gatsch 11 40 October 29, 1842.
Theodore Schmit 11 80 July 10, 1843.
Christoph Schrack 11 40 July 10, 1843.
Christoph Paulus 11 40 July 10, 1843.
Martin Heis 11 40 July 10, 1843.
Friedrich Groth 11 80 September 29, 1843
William Hafemeister 11 40 October 30, 1843.
Christian Groth 12 40 October 25, 1841
George Garbisch 12 40 October 9, 1841.
Frederick Baesemann 12 40 October 5, 1841.
Christian Groth 12 40 May 28, 1842
Frauz Baesemann 12 40 Oct. 13, 1843
John Suelflow 12 40 October 13. 1843.
Sanukl Douke 13 40 August 16, 1841.
Gotti?(page torn) 13 80 August 3,1841.
Martin Arndt. 13 80 September 18, 1841
Martin Arndt. 13 160 September 2, 1841
William Krueger 13 40 September 2, 1841
John Gatus 13 120 September 2, 1841
John Buth 13 80 September 2, 1841
John Baumgartner 13 40 September 2, 1841
Martin Arndt 14 80 September 18, 1841.
Martin Arndt 14 80 Oct. 11, 1841
George Emerich 14 40 April 21, 1842
Charles Fesch 14 40 August 3,1842.
John Goetzer 14 40 September 12, 1842
William Krueger 14 120 October 21, 1842.
Joachim Gatsch 14 40 October 29, 1842.
William Miller 14 40 Dec. 8, 1842
Gottlieb Suelflow 14 40 May 30, 1843
Frederick Groth 14 120 Sept. 15, 1843
George Emerich 15 40 April 2, 1842.
Peter Leith 15 40 August 22, 1842
Christian Leith 15 40 May 19, 1843
Jacob Rottman 15 40 May 27, 1843
Michael Saebal 15 40 June 6, 1843
Peter Grueneisen 15 40 June 12, 1843.
Phillipp Mahloch 15 40 June 12, 1843.
George Koehler 15 40 June 24, 1843.
William Krueger 15 80 July 10, 1843.
Phillipp Mahloch 15 40 October 9, 1843.
Johann Knetzger 17 360 August 2, 1842.
Johann George Merl 17 80 August 2, 1842.
John Mehl 17 80 August 2, 1842.
William Wasmuth 17 80 August 2, 1842.
Jacob Schisusheimer 17 40 Sept 12, 1842
George Regenfus 18 38 December 19, 1843
Christian William Schmitz 18 40 December 9, 1843
William Wasmuth 18 40 Aug 2, 1842
Andrew Wetterau 18 40 Sept. 16, 1842
George Volland 18 38 Sept. 16, 1842
Ernst Ruppel 18 40 Sept. 16, 1842
Erast Kildebrandt 18 40 Sept. 12, 1842
Andreas Engelhardt 18 38 Oct. 8, 1842
John Schmitt 18 80 July 10, 1848
Peter Metz and Peter Reichert 18 38 Aug. 15, 1843
Eberhardt Holzmann 18 80 Nov. 9, 1843
Johann Becker 18 40 November 16, 1843,
Michael Krebs 19 40 September 7, 1842.
Field Ashworth 19 40 October 4, 1841
Richard Ratcliffe 19 39 November 18,1842.
Zachariah Fuller 19 78 May 29, 1843
John Henry Scheffler 19 80 July 7, 1843
John Merkel 19 80 Aug. 7, 1843
John Mehl 19 40 Sept. 18, 1848
George Regenfus 19 40 Dec.81848
Theobald Leininger 20 80
 
Oct. 4,1841
Louis Krebs, Jr. 20 80 Oct.4,1841
Henry Klaugus 20 80 May 11,1842
Thomas Connell 20 80 June 24,1842
Thomas Mealeay 20 160 Sept. 9,1842
Johann Knetzger 20 80 Sept.12,,1842
Johann Knetzger 20 80 November 4, 1843.
John Mollins 21 80 August 2, 1842.
Robert Frenwith and Henry Frenwith 21 80 May 25, 1843
Johann Diefenthaler. 21 40 September 5, 1843.
Peter Melcher Schneider 21 80 September 9, 1843.
Henry Liben. 21 40 September 9, 1843.
Adam Eifle 21 40 September 9, 1843
Mathias Leip 22 40 Oct. 12, 1843
George Giesmann 22 40 Oct 9, 184?
John Boden and Nicolaus Mohn 22 40 (paper torn)
Jacob Schlaefer 22 10? (paper torn)
Valentine Schwalbach. 22 40 October 14. 1841
Adam Bookman 22 40 May 13, 1842.
Peter Lauerman. 22 40 June 29, 1842.
Christoph Cramer 22 40 June 27, 1842.
Nicolaus Peter 22 40 October 1, 1842.
Valentine Staats 22 40 May 27, 1843
Dieter Schreier 22 40 July 20. 1848.
Cnsper Kissinger and} 22 80 August 4, 1843
Balser Kripinberger.} 23 40 August 4, 1843
Jacob Schlafer 23 40 September 1, 1841
Andrew Stahl Havar 23 120 October 1, 1843,
William Straub 23 40 October 1, 1843,
William Bartlett 23 40 November 16, 1843
Adam Bookman. 23 40 May 13, 1842.
John Peter Adams and John Peter Klein 23 40 August 8, 1842.
John Goelzer 23 40 Sept 12, 1842.
Adam Peter 23 40 October 1, 1842.
Peter Gruneisen 23 40 June 12, 1843
Ludwig Boder 24 80 October 1, 1841
Andrew Stahl Haver 24 40 October 1, 1841
Frederick Bartett 24 40 May 14, 1840
John Krueger 24 40 July 2, 1840
Fredrick Luck 24 40 July 2, 1840
Michael Bellin 24 40 July 2, 1840
Carl Stettin 24 40 Jan. 29, 1841
Friedrick Gust 24 40 Jan. 29, 1841
Joachim Fried Luck 24 40 May 27, 1841
Friedrich Trap 24 40 May 27, 1841
John Krueger 24 40 Aug. 2, 1841
Peter Hess 24 40 July 19, 1843
Jefferson Kinne 25 80 July 16, 1839
Jefferson Kinne 25 80 July 16, 1839
Michael Hoyer 25 80 May 27. 1840.
Michael Hoyer 25 80 July 3, 1840
John Beckerle 25 80 October 30, 1840
Carl Will 25 40 May 27, 1840.
Andrew Bartman. 25 40 June 5, 1841
Wendell Jung 25 40 August 20. 1841
William Straub 25 40 October 1, 1841.
Patrick Murrey 26 40 August 8, 1843.
John Gilbert 26 40 November 4, 1840
John Gilbert 26 80 November 4, 1840
Nicolaus Kastler 26 80 November 4, 1840
John Jung 26 40 Dec. 9, 1840
Jacob Schenck 26 40 June 2,1841
John Mattis 26 40 June 11,1841
John Brown. 26 80 June 21,1841
Johann Gunther 26 40 August 9, 1841
Phillipp Zimmermann 26 40 October 27, 1841
Peter Goettelman 26 80 Nov. 1, 1841
Thomas Goggi 27 80 September 13, 1839
John Pyburn. 27 40 September 13, 1839
Michael Ballheim 27 80 June 2, 1841
John Claus Hubenthal 27 80 Oct. 20, 1841
Jacob Holl 27 160 Oct. 30, 1841
Daniel Keiper 27 40 May 13, 1842
Magnus Keiper 27 40 May 13, 1842
John Claus Hubenthal 27 40 Sept. 12, 1842
William Piper. 28 40 May 18, 1842
Robert Frenwith and Henry Frenwith 28 120
 
May 25, 1843
Johannes Merkel. 29 40 August 2. 1843
Elisha Sampson 29 40 June 7, 1841.
Conrad Strassman 29 40 October 9, 1841
Edward Pease 29 40 May 2, 1842.
Joshua Gifford 29 80 July 2, 1842.
Johannes Merkel 29 40 Aug. 2, 1843
Daniel Allen. 30 80 Nov. 18, 1839
Elisha Sampson 30 40 June 7, 1841
Moses Fieldhouse 30 79 October 21, 1841
Conrad Strassman 30 40 October 9, 1841
Robert Stoddard. 30 40 Nov. 8, 1841
Thomas Young 30 80 Jan 5 1843
Thomas Young 30 40 Feb. 6, 1843
Thomas Blakey 30 40 June 14, 1843
Richard Radcliffe 30 40 June 17, 1843
Daniel Wart 31 120 Jan 16, 1840
John Milton Curtis. 31 80 Oct. 8, 1841
Joshua Glifford 31 77 Feb. 6, 1843
Sims Edgerton 31 80 March 24, 1843
John Campbell Tate 31 77 Oct. 16, 1843
Benjamin Church 32 160 May 29, 1839.
Joshua Glifford 32 160 November 18, 1839
Giles Anthony Wait 32 160 November 27, 1839
Martin Wait 32 160 May 20, 1841,
Benjamin Church 33 80 May 31, 1839,
William Connell 33 160 August 8, 1839.
John Coughlin. 33 80 August 8, 1839.
Jonas Piatt Vaughan 33 160 May 9, 1842
Freeman L. Smith 34 160 March 11, 1839
James Warren Barrett 34 160 June 3, 1839
William Wilcox Burdick 34 160 June 27, 1839
John Claus Hubenthal 34 160 June 2, 1841
Anthony D. Wisner 35 80 March 11, 1839.
Levi Ostrander 35 80 March 11, 1839.
Leander Lot Griedly 35 80 March 29, 1839.
Leander Lot Griedly 35 80 March 29, 1839.
Nelson Burst 35 40 Oct. 3, 1839
John Schoetzel 35 80 Oct. 29, 1840
Christian Staus 35 80 May 20, 1841
Joseph Henry Meege 35
 
80
 
June 2, 1841
Samuel Spivey 36 160 March 11, 1839
James Warren Barrett 36 160 June 3, 1839
Jacob Laisy 36 40 October 19,1840
Jacob Laisy 36 80 October 19,1840
Abraham Laisy 36 40 October 19,1840
Abraham Laisy 36 80 October 19,1840
Alexander Mitchell 36 80 April 19, 1841

The above list, in addition to all the actual settlers who bought land from the Government, also includes what speculative purchases were made. Among the latter, appears that of Alexander Mitchell, then a promising young Scotch banker in Milwaukee, who was, perhaps, looking forward to the time when, having accumulated a competency, he might go on to his '* eighty " in Germantown and become one of the leading farmers of the town. His youthful hopes were not realized, although his wealth now comprises more than twice the valuation of the entire county.

The town was incorporated January 21, 1846, by act of the Legislature.

The first town meeting was held April 7,1846. The Clerk of the meeting was I. T. Brown, the first Surveyor of old Washington County. He was a ripe scholar and a polished gentleman. Little was known of his early history. A deepset trouble always seemed to weigh him down with melancholy. He lived for many years in the county and at last, an old man, poor, broken in mind, he took voluntary refuge in the poor house of the county, though offered an asylum and a home by D. W. Maxon and other old friends, and there closed his strange life. The record of this meeting was written by Mr. Brown in a plain angular hand peculiar to educated men of the old school, and reads as follows:

In accordance with the provisions of the act of Legislature incorporating the town of Germantown, the citizens assembled in town meeting at the house of John Mattes, April 7, 1846; Levi Ostrander was chosen unanimously as Moderator, and I. T. Brown as Clerk. The meeting then adjourned one hour in order to obtain the ballot boxes belonging to the town, which being obtained, the polls were opened by proclamation, and nine votes received as per poll list numbered from one to nine inclusive. The meeting then took a recess of fifteen minutes to debate on the proper sum to be paid to town officers for services not otherwise provided by law, and the sums necessary to be raised for the current year for the support of the poor, for the support of roads and bridges, and for the support of schools; also, for the appointment of Road Supervisors in the eight road districts, numbered one to eight inclusive, the result of which was as follows: All town officers whose salaries shall not otherwise be provided for by law shall be entitled for their services, $1 per day. For the support of the poor, §150; for roads and bridges, $100, and for the support of schools, $4011 was voted to be raised. The vote for Road Supervisors stands as follows; John Beggarly, for Road District No. 1 ; Levi Ostrander, for No 2; John M. Curtiss, for No. 3; John Young, for No. 4; Jacob Slaver, for No. 5; Jacob Regenfus*, for No. 6; John Baseman, for No. 7; Jacob Brienogal, for No. 8. the meeting then took a vote where the next annual town meeting should be held, which resulted in the choice of John Mattosf house on Section 36. The voting (by ballot) for town officers, for or against State Government, for the temporary locution of the county seat, and for or against raising a tax of $1,(X)U to be expended on county buildings, then progressed until 6 o'clock P M., when by proclamation of the Moderator the polls were closed, and, on canvassing the votes, the following was found to be the result of the election:

The whole number of votes polled were 123, of which there were in favor of M State Government " 118 ; against State Government, 9. For temporary location of the county seat, the county farm on Section 2, Town 10, Range 20, received 116; the Center received 1 vote, and Range 20 received 1 vote. For raising by tax $1,000 for county buildings there were 99 votes, and none against it.

The vote for town officers was as follows: Chairman of the Board of Supervisors—George Koehler, 31 votes; William Green, 14; Jonas P. Vaughn, 3, and John C. Hubenthal, 1. For Supervisors—Nelson Burst, 30 votes; Samuel W. Cole, 34; William Wxsamth, 19; Michael Hyre, 10: Peter Leith, 8; Henry W. Thomas, 1. For lown Clerk—Levi Ostrander, 34 votes; Henry W. Thomas, 14. For Treasurer—George Koehler, 33 votes; John C. Hubendhal, 12; Henry W. Rrink, 2. For Collector—George Brill, 30 votes; John C. Hubenthal, 7, and Henry W. Brink, 9. For Commissioners of Highways—John Mattes, 49 votes; Adam Bookman, 46; John M. Curiiss, 46 ; John McGrath, 3 ; Henry W. Thomas, 3. For School Commissioners—Levi Ostrander, 49 votes; Michael Hyre, 37 ; George Gelser, 9; Conrad Strassman, 9. For Constables—George Brill, 44 votes; John M. Curtiss, 4; Henry W. Brink, 6. For Sealer of Weights and Measures—George Koehler, 46 votes. For Justice of the Peace—Levi Ostrander, 37 votes; Samuel W. Coie, 45; George Koehler, 38; William Green, 12 ; Jonas P. Vaughn, 4. For Assessors—John McGrath, 46 votes; John Go lzen, 34: Abram Laisey, 33.

I certify that the within account of the town meeting and election, held in the town of Germantown, as aforesaid, is correct and true, Levi Ostrander, Moderator.

(Attest.)      I. T. Brown, Clerk.

The first poll list preserved of the voters of the town, is that of the general election held in November, 1846. It does not contain the names of over half those then settled in the town, as they were slow in taking out naturalization papers. A good number had, however, become American citizens even at that early day. The list contained the following names: Charles Tesch, Nicolas Kastler, John Boden, John Gilbert, Dieta Thuier, Roma Grislan, John Baseman, John C. Hubendahl, John Wood, George Brill, Adam Bookman, William Weller, John Beggarlee, Nicholas Peter, John Lynch, Adam Staats, Philip Marlocli, Barnard Barlonda, Christopher Adler, Adam Eifler, Jacob Wolf, William Wasmuth, Jacob Samhart, William Straub, Galtus Kniffelbergen, Antony Hoben, John Gelser, Charles Haffring, Jacob Rodsmond, Jacob Snider, John Gelser, Sr., Michael Bookman, Philip Snider. Conrad Strassman, Philip Pah, Valentine Staats, George Emerich, Frederick Knauth, John Knauth, John Tields, Peter Maths, John Maths, John Hufendifer, George Woolf, Levi Ostrander, George Koehler, Jacob Stanitz, H. W. Beink, Marvin Ostrander, P. M. Sneider, J. P. Vaughn, Valentine Scheatzel, Patrick Toland, Jacob Scheatzel, Christopher Hay burn, Francis Waldermbe, Michael Hoye, Francis B. Metz, Philip Dhine, Nelson Burst, Alfred B. Ostrander, William Miller, Philip Pfeil, John M. Curtis—Total, 64.

Germantown, during the war, kept her quota full by bounties, only eight soldiers being on the State records as having done personal service. Their names appear in the war history of the county at large. The amount of money raised for war purposes, was $31,295, which was expended in procuring volunteers and substitutes, as the exigencies of the times required.

Few towns have had so peaceful and uneventful a life as Germantown. It has silently kept the even tenor of its way, unvexed by the tumult of the outside world. The history is in the lives of those who have lived and still live within its borders. It has grown from a thicklymatted forest to show all over its extent broad acres of field and orchard, garden and pasture; is the richest and most productive farming town in the county, and is one of the best in the State.

It has no considerable villages within its borders. Two railroads, the Milwaukee & St. Paul, and the Chicago & North Western pass through the town, giving it the full advantages of the markets of the neighboring city of Milwaukee, of which it may be called a farming suburb. The only considerable industry, outside of agricultural pursuits, is that of lime burning, which is extensively carried on at Rockville, on the Chicago & North Western Railway, by John Staats and at South Germantown, by Frank Schlaefer, and the Germantown Lime Company. The lime is of excellent quality, and finds a market at Milwaukee, Chicago and other points along the lines of railroad.

There is one brewery in the town on Section 22. It was owned and run by John Staats for twenty eight years. He died in November, 1880, since which time the business has been continued by Ph. G. Duerrwaechter, administrator of the estate.

A small local trade centers at each of the post offices.

At Meeker Post Office, on Section 19, the Postmaster, Mattice Becker, has a store.

At Rockfield Post Office, on the Chicago & North Western Railway, Section 9, in addition to the lime works of Fred Dix, is a store kept by Jacob Kraetsch.

At South Germantown Post Office, in addition to a heavy lime business before mentioned. Ph. G. Duerrwaechter has his depot for the sale of agricultural implements, lumber, sash, doors and other building material, in connection with which he does a large business as a building contractor throughout the county. There is also a store at this point kept by Messrs. Goelzer & Schwalbach.

The only cheese factory in the town was started in May, 1881, and is owned and carried on by Schneider & Eimmerman.

The central offices of the Germantown Mutual Fire Insurance Company, one of the most reliable in the State, are on the northeast quarter of Section 17. The executive officers are President, Andrew Martin ; Secretary, Martin Schottler.

The only lodge in the town is Sons of Herman, Franklin Lodge, No. 39. It was organized April 19, 1879. Its first officers were President, Jacob Braun ; Vice President, Jacob Straub ; Secretary, Ph. G. Duerrwaechter; Treasurer, Adam Diefenthaclcr. The present officers are President. Herman Berger; Vice President, Adam Diefenthaeler; Secretary, Ph. G. Duerrwaechter ; Treasurer, William J. Goelzer._

There are three churches in the town, one on Section 8, Lutheran; one on Section 20, St. Boniface's Catholic, and one on Section 35, Lutheran.

The school districts, whole and joint, are ten in number. There are ten schoolhouses, costing $4,500. The scholars number 806, taught by eleven teachers. The amount expended for school purposes in 1850, was $2,812.

The population of Germantown, according to the census of 1880, is 1,943.

The latest official reports state the average crop to be as follows: Wheat, 70,000 bushels; corn, 37,000 ; oats, 64,000 ; barley, 26,000 ; rye, 76,000; potatoes, 20,000. This amount was raised on 8,852 acres of cultivated land. The town had 5,414 acres of growing timber, 323 acres of apple orchard, 8,981 fruit bearing trees, 1,209 milch cows, and produced 14,000 pounds of butter.

The following are the present town officers: Supervisors, Jacob H. Goelzer, Chairman, William Hayes, Mortimer Hubenthal; Town Clerk, Ph. G. Duerrwaechter; Assessor, Philip Schneider; Treasurer, William Staats.
 
 

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