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Assignment Questions

The History of Texas

this is to be completed by TIGGYO (A. ART)

Here is the source:

Influences of German Immigrants in Texas

In Texas we have many diverse people and we can be proud to celebrate and enjoy the differences in our heritage. However, how did we come to be so diverse? What did each different immigrant bring to our state? To be more specific what did German immigrants bring and why did they come to this state. What did the Germans give us or enrich us in? What made their presence so powerful?

In the 1800?s Germany was crowded with overpopulation. Many of the officials in Germany were looking for ways to deal with this ever growing problem. The solution came in the idea of settlement elsewhere in the world. The only problem was deciding where to send their fellow Germans. A young, new land loomed in the distance, discovered by Columbus, it is being sought by countries all over the world. Should the Germans send their people to America to colonize there? The answer is yes, but where in America?

J. Valentine Hecke solved this problem with his book: Reise dutch die Vereinigten Staaten vo Nord Amerika in den Jahren 1818 und 1819. J. Valentine Hecke had traveled through what was and is known as Texas. He saw a land full of political, commercial and agricultural possibilities. He urged the Prussian government to buy Texas from the Spanish government. Whither or not this worked is undeterminable there was nothing else found on Hecke and his attempt to colonize Texas.

Although during the mid 1800?s there were Germans presently in other parts of America, Texas seemed barren to German settlers. However various expeditions aided in the movement of German settlers to Texas:

– Louisiana Purchase: This gave way to a filibustering expedition mounted against Texas. Germans were in that group. They moved into Spanish held Texas.

– Gutierrez-Magee Expedition: This liberated Texas from Spain in 1812-1813 and established the Republic of the Westuf. Its green flag flying over San Antonio the capitol. There were several German soldiers in that army.

– The Long Expedition: Lead by Doctor James Long in 1891 this ill-fated expedition declared Texas?s independence, and set up a short lived republic in Nachadoches and La Bahia before being captured by the Spanish.

– Stephen F. Austin Land Grant: Many Germans were lead to Texas by Austins promise of a ?better? place to live and raise children.

This German immigrants and some already here took a big hand in the Texas Revolution. Although many had no idea what their English speaking neighbors where so worried about. Many laws and political ideas being issued had no bearing on Germans. However the tax to the Church of England did affect some immigrants who came to Texas for Religious Freedom.

Three German-Texans born to German immigrant parents in Spanish Missouri all left a hugh imprint on the revolution. They were Joseph and John Durst and Jacob Darst { Darst is the only of the three sons to keep the Germans spelling of the name}.

The Durst Brothers as they were called held high esteem in political offices and took great lengths to make sure Texas won the Revolution.

Joseph, the oldest of the Durst Brothers, was mayor of Nacogdoches in 1826 and a member in good standing of the Local Committee of Safety and Correspondence. He stayed active in politics until his death in 1843.

John Durst, the middle child of the Durst family, also resided in Nacogdoches. He was a prot?g? and heir of a very wealthy Peter Davenport. When Mr. Davenport died he left all of his properties to John making him one of the Texas?s wealthiest citizens. Operating from Davenport?s headquarters an old stone fort at Nacogdoches. John became very active in public affairs and was elected to the Coahulia y Tejas Legis- lature in 1835. He also rode a amazing horseback ride to East Texas and warned of Santa Anna?s plans to invade Texas. He learned of these plans in Monclova, the capital, and reached his destination in 12 ? days. He stayed there to command troops during the revolution. During the Indian Wars he also led troops.

Jacob Darst, the youngest of the brothers, was the only one to keep the original spelling of the family name. Jacob was in Gonzales at the on slat of Texas revolution. Jacob and two other men dug up a cannon buried by settlers after Mexican troops demanded its return. Jacob and the other men used it against the Mexican army. He went to the relief of the Alamo on March 1, 1863. He was killed there on March 7, 1836, just six days later.

Political influence of course did not stop with the Durst/Darst brothers. George Washington Smyth also climbed the political ladder, almost to the top. He, like the Durst brothers, also settled in Nacogdoches. He was a school teacher and later a surveyed, born the son of a German Millwright he gained a lot of influence as a public figure. He signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836. Smyth also surveyed the line between Texas and the United States in 1839. He then served in the Congress of the Republic of Texas, commissioner of the General Land Office. Smyth also served on the United StatesCongress. George Washington Smyth died while serving as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866.

Geoarge B Erath also belonged to that group of German political climbers George was a German youth when he left his native Austria to come to Texas. He was avoiding military service. He was well educated and in 1833 began working as a surveyor?s helper. He soon began to survey on his own and helped to map out many towns such as Waco, Caldwell, and Stephenville. Erath also served as a private at The Battle of San Jacinto and aided the Somerville expedition against Mier. Erath left the military to join the Texas Congress and swerved two years. He left the congress and the beginning of The Civil War to rejoin the military. Erath county which he explored and to which he brought ist first settlers in named for him.

One of the most colorful, personal interpretations of the Texas Revolution was first published in Germany by Hermann Ehrenberg. Hermann was only seventeen when he arrived in Texas and in just enough time to join in the fight at Bexar in 1835. Early in 1836 he was with Fannin?s ill-fated army at Goliad. When Fannin?s entire command was taken and condemned to death he and three of his German friends were spared and eventually released. He fled to Germany and began to edit his journal of The Texas Revolution. His book Texas und seine Revolution has since been published in many editions in both English and German.

German contributed to our wonderful state in many other ways than just politics and war. One such contribution still stands in downtown San Antonio today.

William Menger was a prosperous brewery owner in very famous and very historic San Antonio and had been since the mid-1840?s his ?brew? was so popular that they found he needed a place to house his customers during the night. So, in 1859 he built the Menger Hotel and added on to it during his following years of success it soon became one of the citites ?Hot Spots?. Military officers stationed in San Antonio praised the food and the bar. It is even said that Theodore Roosevelt did some of his most efficient recruiting for the Rough Riders while sitting at The Menger Bar.

Germans also enriched our artistic life as well. Many of the Germans who fled were very well educated and brought with them a love of not only art, but music, and the theatre.

Hermann Lungkwitz and Richard Petri were two well educated professional Germans in Texas. These two men were accomplished painters and also brother-in-laws. They settled their families in the Hill Country in 1852.They worked around New Braunfels and Fredericksburg producing wonderful paintings of Indians they met a beautiful Texas scenes. Their artworks are prized collectors items today.

Elisabet Ney brought her artistic touch to Texas in 1872. She was already a famous sculptress in Europe having done Wilhelm I, Garbalbi and Ludwig II to her list of credits. She was summoned to do statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for the Texas exhibit at The Worlds Fair in 1893. Copies of the two statues now stand in both the National Capital and the Texas State Capital. Her studio ?Formosa? as she called it, has been preserved as a museum by the Fine Arts Association.

William Langheim almost lost his chance for fame because of the Texas Revolution. Lucky for us he did not. Langheim was responsible for the development of stereopticon slides, one of the standard forms of parlour entertainment in the 1890?s. after his service to the military ended Langenheim settled in Philadelphia and experimented with new processes being developed at that time. His research greatly improved the crude stereopticon process for showing scenes in three dimension. He became one of the main creators for dual slides which soon could be seen in practically every parlour in the land.

German music greatly influenced today?s Latino music in big ways. If you put Tejano groups all together and asked what the one thing is that they all share, being Mexican would not be their answer. Their answer the accordion. The accordion is used by almost very Tejano band that comes to mind although not required for the music it adds a more spicy, fun attitude that wakes up the energy in the audience. The accordion was used by the German chamber music groups and brass ?oomph? bands. One specifically known as ?the Boys? for Austin.

Henry Greenwall is one of our brilliant Theatrical influences. He came to Galveston and opened a theatre in 1869. He served as a leading force in the theatre for forty years, producing shows in Galveston, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco. Bringing hits from the American and British stages as well as classic German repertoire.

German Scientists today are even more advanced than our American College Graduates. It appears that even in the early days of America and Texas Germans were more advanced than we were. Although many of their ideas did not take off they certainly were the ground research for many of our breakthroughs.

Ferdinand Lindheimer fled Germany for political reasons. Being a trained botanist, Lindheimer, traveled all over Texas finding and cataloging our states vast plants and wildflowers. He dried them and shipped them to museums all over the world. He covered an area unexplored by scientists and discovered over 20 species of plants and had one genus of wildflowers named for him. He traveled for 15 years over the Coastal Plans, the Hill Country and other parts of Texas with his dogs and his botanical cart. Collecting specimens and sending them to George Gentlemann of the Missouri Botanical Gardens and to Asa Gray of Harvard University.

The problems surrounding the ideas of man-powered flight may have been solved before William and Wilbur. The man with the answer Jacob Freidrch Brodbeck. His design had a rudder, wings, and propellers and was powered with coil spring. He boasted in the summer of 1865 that he planned to build a full-scale airship. There is a story that says that Jacob build a full-scale airship. There is a story that says that Jacob built his airship and actually flew it in a pasture in San Antonio. According to old accounts the plane took off and soared to tree top height before crashing. His spring power unfortunately could not be rewound during flight. The ship was demolished and Brodbeck slightly injured this scared off backers and caused a fear of his ideas. It was not until the Wright brothers that had the ideas that actually took a long loved flight.

German good, to some it is the best they heave ever eaten, however some say it is tasteless. Yet, there was one German in Texas who experimented with a little more than German food.

William Gebhardt can be found in any corner grocery store or at least his chili powder can. Gebhardt?s chili powder is still a home town favorite. Making chili in the late 1890?s was hard almost impossible during certain parts of the year, yet it was still a popular dish. Gebhardt owned a small caf? in back of a Millers Saloon and soon found that our. He wanted to be able to serve the dish year round but, the chilies were only available one time a year. So, Gebhardt soon found a way to store the wonderful flavor of the chili by drying it and grinding it up this allowed you to make chili whenever you chose. So in 1894 he developed the first commercial chili powder and in 1896 he opened his first factory for production in San Antonio. He could make five cases a week. Eventually, he invented and patented 37 machines for his factory. In 1911 he expanded and put out the first canned chili con carne and tamales.

You can go up to almost any Texan and ask what they name of the most famous ranch in Texas is and they will probably say the King Ranch. Yet, what they won?t say is that ranch was started by an immigrant from Germany. That immigrant was Robert Justus Kleberg.

Robert a well-to-do lawyer left his native Westphalia in 1834, with many other immigrants and a majority of his outer family, who were all wealthy in their own right. They underwent numerous hardships and were shipwrecked off Galveston Island. Finally, they settled on a league 14 miles out of San Felipe. Cat Springs soon came up around them. Soon, Revolution broke out and Kleberg and his kinsmen gave a good show of themselves at the Battle of San Jacinto. The women drove the cattle while the men were away at war. After the war ended Kleberg became a part of The board of Land Commissioners for Austin County. He was also a Justice of the Peace and a Chief Justice. In 1847 he moved to DeWitt county and served as their Chief Justice in 1853 and 1855. He was a leading rancher until his death in 1888. The Famous King Ranch is owned and operated by his decedents stretching over 1,250,000 acres in Nueces, Kennedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties.

German immigrants have influenced our lives in many ways. They helped us gain the freedom we share. They gave us beautiful things so look at the share. They gave us a look at their way of seeing things and helping us find our wings. We can thank them for some of our rich goods and the wonderful music we enjoy. The help they gave in settling our wonderful state. However the most influence that the German immigrants have is to show us how lucky we were to have our wonderful state. The state of Texas.


1. McGuire, James P. et al The German Texans Institute of Texan cultures; Univ. of Texas, 1970. (pamphlet)

2. Geue, Ethel H. & Chester W. A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas 1844-1847 Genealogical Publishing; Baltimore, 1982.

3. Geue, Ethel H. New Homes In a New Land; German Immigration To Texas 1847-1861 Genealogical Publishing; Baltimore, 1982.

4. Jordan, Terry G. German Seed In Texas Soil: Immigrant Farmers In Nineteenth- Century Texas University of Texas Press, Austin, 1966.

5. Lich, Glen E. The German Texans Institute of Texan Cultures; University of Texas, 1981.

6. Furer, Howard B. The Germans in America 1607-1970 Oceana Publications. Inc. Dobbs Ferry New York, 1978, Etic Chronology Series #8.

7. Hagner Lilly M. Touring Texas Through the Eyes of An Artist Texian Press, Texas, 1967.

8. Tyler, Ron ed.The New Handbook of Texas. Lab-O. Vol 4. The Texas State Historical Press, Texas, 1996.

9. Leland, John. ?Born on the Border? Newsweek 23 Oct. 1995. 80-84.

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