Heinrich Thöne was a well-to-do person. His great wealth, but also his generosity distinguished him. A great benefactor for the hospital in Warburg, likewise a great benefactor for the hospital in Mainz, also for the poor of Warburg, his home town. He was the founder of two family scholarships and, above all, founder of Warburg grammar school.
His bubbling sources of money must have been generally known, as in 1607 the Landgrave Ludwig V of Hesse borrowed the large amount of 5,066 guilders and 3,000 Spanish Taler from Heinrich Thöne for the foundation of the University of Gießen. Also the Count Palatine Johann von Zweibrücken, Valdenz, borrowed 500 gold guilders from him, the two Electors of Mainz, Johann Schweickart and Anselm Casimir, each 2000 Taler as well as the Earl of Waldeck 400 Taler, finally the Earl of Rietberg 150 gold guilders.
When the St. Cyriaci Hospital for the poor in his home town of Warburg was in need of repair, “that it offered pilgrims and other inmates no more shelter from wind and rain”, Heinrich Thöne provided 600 Taler for repairs and extensions, and in addition for the further security of the institution bequeathed by will his house in Warburg which had become his from the inheritance of his great uncle, Mayor Hermann von Listingen. At the same time as a further security for the social work of the hospital, as a donation of his uncle Heinrich Volmar in 1618, an area of 50 to 60 Morgen (1 morgen = 0.25 ha), and also three gardens and a meadow; as a result it was possible to call these donations securing the future of the hospital, Warburg Hospital, virtually a family endowment of Listingen – Volmar – Thöne. On account of this generous donation the hospital management gave the Thonemann family the right to bestow two of the twelve hospital rooms on needy people. At the same time the second hospital, St. Lucia in Warburg-Molhausen, received 700 Taler for a new building. The biggest donation in the charitable-social field was received by Barbara-Hospital in Mainz with the total sum of 1,000 Hungarian gold guilders and 2,000 Reichstaler in 1607. This sum was later doubled in his will.
Science also received large sums from Heinrich Thöne; the amount of 5,066 guilders and 2,000 Spanish Taler given to Landgrave Ludwig V at the foundation of the University of Gießen in 1607 was topped up with 1,000 Spanish Taler in 1613.
It is surprising that a Catholic canon, who had originated in the counter-reformation Jesuit school, provided for the time enormous sums of money to a Lutheran sovereign for the foundation of a Lutheran university. This showed the great tolerance and spiritual greatness of this noble donor. If only the rich (ecclesiastical) sovereigns had taken on some of this mentality in the period that followed.
All these big donations and charitable deeds were in keeping with his great spirit and his basic attitude to help needy institutions and people, wherever he knew of the need. In 1936 Dr. Wilhelm Thöne from Bad Soden listed in a letter to a relative all the endowments and donations recorded and valued them at 780,000 Reichsmark (1994 about DM 9 million to 10 million or in 2000 about 4.6 million EUR to 5.1 million EUR).
His highly developed feelings for family and home did not allow him to forget his birth place and home town of Warburg. Until his death he felt himself closely connected to his family and home. How much good did this exemplary man from our family do in a quiet way in addition to what is recorded in the files?
All these charities and good deeds outlived the Marianum Grammar School in Warburg and the book of gospels that always reminds us of this noble, subtle, highly gifted and liberal person. And do his deep faith, his loyalty to the Church and his behaviour to his fellow men not have a message for us today?
Heinrich died on 30 May 1637 in Mainz. Wherever the name Heinrich Thöne is mentioned, it always has to do with generous presents and donations. Certainly there was great wealth in the Thöne/Thonemann family in earlier times. A lot was added to this. At the turn of the 17th century many well-off families – von Listingen, Volmar, von Reußen – died out, their property and wealth likewise came to the Thonemann family. Also the rich prelates Johann von Listingen and Dr. Heinrich Volmar endowed Heinrich Thöne with their profitable benefices.
In Warburg the Volmar family, registered as councillors from 1400 to 1600, were closely related to von Listingen, Thöne, Lauren and Berven. From the middle to the end of the 16th century the family died in Warburg. Thanks to Dr. Heinrich Volmar, provost in Fritzlar, deacon and rector of the university in Mainz, who set up a scholarship for Warburg students, which passed on to Dr. Heinrich Thöne, a course of studies was made possible by the Thonemann family and their successors for numerous students from Warburg.