The articles below appeared in A History of Texas and Texans, by Frank W. Johnson (Edited and brought to date by Eugene C. Barker with the assistance of Ernest William Winkler. To which are added historical, statistical and descriptive matter pertaining to the important local divisions of the State, and biographical accounts of the leaders and representative men of the state.), Chicago and New York: The American Historical Society, 1916.
HARVEY A. ADAMS.Among the substantial farmers of Fayette County who have made an especially creditable record in husbandry and in citizenship is the gentleman whose brief memoir it will be the duty of the following pages to give, Hector D. Adams, whose fine farm and attractive home are located on Carmine Rural Route No. 2, and who is a representative of one of the few families of the days of the Texas Republic. He was born June 28, 1853, at Round Top, Fayette County, Texas, and is a son of Harvey A. and Caroline P. (McMillen) Adams.
Harvey A. Adams was born at Providence, Rhode Island, December 19, 1812, and was still a child when his parents removed to Ohio, where he grew up. Later on he accompanied the family to Illinois, and from there he came to the Republic of Texas in the winter of 1836, one sister also coming to this state; Caroline, who married Cyrus Burriss and after his death moved to Milledgeville, Georgia. Harvey A. Adams had four brothers: Edwin, James, William and Henry, and four other sisters besides Caroline: Harriet, Marietta, Mary, and one whose name not known. The advent of Harvey A. Adams in Texas was close upon the heels of the battle of San Jacinto, and he at once took up his residence at Houston, where he began to follow his trade of carpenter and built the first frame house in that city. He devoted his energies during the next few years to his trade, following it with a career as a merchant at San Felipe and Nassau, and finally at Round Top, where he concluded his mercantile career with disastrous results. He removed from Round Top to the James Beardsley League where his son, Hector D., now resides.
From the time of his coming to the Beardsley League in 1855 until his death, Mr. Adams was busy with opening up a farm and rearing his family. His original house was a common box, still standing and used as the ''old kitchen" for the modern Adams family. He was interrupted in his work of making and improving a farm by the outbreak of the war between the North and the South, and enlisted in Captain Kellougg's Company, Gen. Tom Green's Brigade, and made the journey with the army sent out early in the war, taking part in the battle of Valverde, where he assisted in capturing McCrea's battery, and took a sabre from a Federal lieutenant. On returning from the West he received his honorable discharge, being over age and having enlisted as a volunteer. He resumed his place on his farm, followed his trade at various times when the occasion arose, rounded out a long and useful life, and passed away June 4, 1895.
Mr. Adams was largely a self-made man. While he acquired his own knowledge of books, he could scarcely be outclassed in general information, and although he never had a geography in front of him at school he could draw very creditable maps of the various countries of the world and had a general idea of the lay of the land. In political matters he was a democrat and held a judgeship in Bastrop County when a single man, as well as the office of justice of the peace for a number of years, during which time he performed many marriage ceremonies of couples who have since become grandparents. He was a fair public speaker and a member and active spirit of the Grange movement of the early '70s, and was liberal in matters of religion, taking no grounds in opposition to church influence, claiming "they were all good enough if they lived up to them."
Harvey A. Adams was married first in Fayette County in 1850, to Miss Sarah E. Barnett, and she lived only one year, leaving a daughter, Caroline M., who married George A. Gilmore and resides at Lake Victor, Texas. Mr. Adams was married the second time to Mrs. Caroline P. McMillan, a daughter of Starkey Adkinson, who came to Texas from Mississippi, was a farmer and lived on the Beardsley League, where he died. His wife was formerly Miss Charlotte Brown, and both are buried on this farm. Mrs. Adams died June 4, 1914, aged eighty-eight years, four months, four days, and is buried at Lake Victor. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Adams were as follows: Hector D., of this notice; James C., a resident of Burnett County, Texas; Elisha Q., a business man of Lake Victor, Texas; and Lee B., whose death occurred in young manhood.
Hector D. Adams was born at Round Top, where his father's store was situated, but was brought up on the Beardsley League. His schooling was not a burden to him, but he was attentive and industrious and secured a training that has since been supplemented by reading and observation. Mr. Adams grew up as a farm boy and was living on the homestead at the time of his marriage, and here he started to housekeeping and has since reared his family.
Mr. Adams married Miss Emma Pauline Regiene, a daughter of Carl and Mary (Plueckhahn) Regiene. Mr. Regiene came from Berlin, Germany, and his wife from Palberg Eortz, Germany, the father in 1852 and the mother in 1854. They were married in Texas, where they passed the remaining years of their lives, the father passing away at Burton, Texas, and the mother at Sandtown. Their children were as follows: Adolph, who died in Washington County, Texas; Emma P., born November 24, 1857, now the wife of Mr. Adams; Ida, who married Mr. Ernst and lives at Burton, Texas; and Bertha, who married Albert Siebel, of Washington County. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Adams are as follows: Annie B., Charles A., Lee H., Robert F., Albert L., Edward D. and Viola B., all of whom reside at home and are single.
Mr. Adams' public service has been as trustee of his school district. He now owns the old Adams home of 220 acres in the Beardsley League, of which 100 acres are under cultivation and devoted to corn and cotton. He is a member of the Sons of Hermann, having learned the German language from association.
Robert Fulton Adams, the fourth child of Hector D. and Emma Pauline Adams, is a young man of limited training in school, serious and thoughtful and of unusual promise. His boyhood on the farm was little more than humdrum existence and his apparent lassitude and exclusiveness gave his family and associates the impression that he lacked industry and was somewhat of a drone in the hive. But his apparent unconcern was self-explanatory as he approached manhood for it was discovered that his mind was busy with problems in mechanics and science; that the fires of genius were kindled within him and that no fuel was being added to the flame^no professional training along the line of his inclinations was being given him. His peculiar bent exhibited itself in the making of mechanical appliances, in the installation of electrical inventions of his own, and in the rigging up of a small power plant in his workshop, where saws, drills and other light machinery respond to his necessities in the prosecution of his inventions.
Becoming absorbed in the subject of electricity, he entered the field of telephony and phonography, and later into the realm of "wireless." He pursued these subjects by reading and investigation, as well as demonstration, and soon knew the telephone as well as the man that made the first one. He became a useful factor in the installation of telephones and switch boards in the community and made many of the latter for the use of several small country exchanges in this region. The young scientist also made a phonograph, or talking machine, that appears to have come from the Edison factory, and in the subject of "wireless" he leads the field of novices born and nurtured in a country home. He built himself a wireless plant in his workshop, making all the instruments necessary to catch and interpret the ether waves as they speed through space, and has housed in a glass case as complete an outfit for aerial communication as is needed for scientific demonstration of the subject. Before a federal law forbade the use oi individual wireless stations, he surprised his friends by announcing the passing of certain messages and giving the contents of the same, publication of which news came through the daily papers several days later. Without a doubt, unless all signs are wrong, the world will hear before long of the work of this twenty-six-year-old Texas genius. -- pp. 1885-1887.
OSCAR W. ALEXANDER. A resident of Collingsworth County more than a quarter of a century, Oscar W. Alexander is one of the truly conspicuous characters of that section of Northwest Texas. He has been here through all the years of hardship and trying vicissitudes, has weathered out the winds of adversity both physically speaking and financially, and with a wealth of experience such as few men enjoy has found financial success comparatively late in life, He is a veteran Confederate of the great war between the states, has been called to many public offices, but his real success has been won on the farm. In the trying days when settlers were spending more than they earned in the Panhandle district of Texas, he too lost the modest equipment of money which he had brought to the country, but he stuck to his post, renewed his courage and industry, and with the aid of some of his close friends was able to buy the land which he has since cultivated and where he has acquired a competence sufficient for all his future needs, at the same time providing liberally for his family.
All his life has been spent within the boundaries of Texas, and he represents one of the very earliest families to come to this country. He was born at Columbus, Colorado County, Texas, June 10, 1843. His grandfather, Amos Alexander, was a Pennsylvanian, and first came to Texas in 1828, when it was a part of Mexico. He selected a tract of land near Columbus, and afterwards in 1834 returned to Texas by sailing ship around the Atlantic to Galveston Island. He occupied his farm only a short time, and then moved to Bastrop, where he built a store and residence out of hand-sawed lumber. While bringing some goods to Bastrop from Columbia he was waylaid by Indians and killed June 1, 1835. His youngest son also was murdered at the same little. The scene of this tragedy was near where Ledbetter stands, and both were buried there. Amos Alexander married Hannah Schmidt, of German parentage, and she is buried near Borden, in Colorado County. They were survived by Lyman W., Amos and Minerva, the last marrying John Hope, and spending her life in Colorado County.
Lyman W. Alexander, father of Oscar W., was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, August 1, 1816, and received his education in his native state chiefly by individual study. He came out to Texas with his father in 1828, and later made permanent settlement in 1834. He was one of the Texas patriots in the war for independence in 1835-36. He went from Bastrop County in Capt. Jesse Billingsly 's Company, and in the campaign of 1836 participated at Mission Concepcion near San Antonio, and in other operations around San Antonio. In the spring of 1836 his company was a part of Houston's army. During the famous Runaway Serape he was granted the privilege of Ieaving the army and providing protection for his mother, who was one of' the refugees. and he found her at Liberty, Texas. He then returned to his command, but in the meantime the battle of San Jacinto had just been fought, so that he was not present when independence was practically won. Some years later, after Texas was admitted to the union, he joined the army of the United States in the war with Mexico, and fought at Matamoras and also in some of the engagements leading up to the capture of the City of Mexico. In this war he went from Columbus, Texas, with Capt. C. C. Hubbard' s Company, while one of his brothers was in Hays' Mustang Grays in the same service. During the war for Texas independence he lost all his possessions, and returned to Columbus, where he was engaged in trading and in farming. He dealt extensively in stock and land, and spent most of his active career in Columbus and Fayette counties. For a long time his home was near LaGrange. Later in life he acquired extensive landed interests in Northern Texas, in what is now Greer County, Oklahoma, and to manage them better moved to Gainesville, where he soon died and where the titles to his many tracts of land were burned with the court house in Montague, where he had them deposited for safety. Lyman W. Alexander passed away May 22, 1875, at Gainesville Texas, where lie is buried. He was a democrat, voted for Breckenridge and Lane in 1860, supported secession, and had three sons in the Confederate army. Though not a member, he was friendly toward all churches, and his own leanings were towards the Methodist denomination. His father was a Primitive Baptist. Fraternally he was associated with the Masons, the Odd Fellows, Sons of Temperance and Good Samaritans. At Columbus, Texas, December 30, 1840, Lyman W. Alexander married Jane Gray, a daughter of Robert Cummins, who came from the vicinity of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was a farmer and married a Miss McKnight. Mrs. Lyman W. Alexander died at Houston, Texas, in 1902, and was buried there. Their children were: Oscar W.; Edwin H. of Llano, Texas; Amos R., who died unmarried in Fayette County; Mollie, who died at Dallas as Mrs. Robert P. Perrin; Minerva J., who married G. G. Lackey and died in Caldwell County, Texas.
The youthful days of Oscar W. Alexander were spent in Colorado and Fayette counties. He attended some of the early schools maintained at Columbus, and a still more practical part of his education was received during eighteen months of work in a printing office in LaGrange. He was still a very young man when the war came on, and in 1862 he went to the front from Colorado County with the company commanded by Capt. A. H. Gates of San Marcos. He had begun drilling in 1861, but in March, 1862, first reached the scene of hostilities. He and four others, all of whom had equipped themselves with horses, guns and pistols, joined Terry's Texas Rangers, the Eighth Texas, at Rienzi, Mississippi. He was in the Kentucky campaign of 1862, fighting in thirty-six battles in two weeks, including Mumfordsville, Perryville and Bardstown. He was in the siege of Knoxville, was in the rear of Chickamauga when that battle took place, and near Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain at those notable engagements. He participated in the Atlanta campaign of one hundred days, his command was, at Dalton, Georgia, for a time, and then went on to the East into North Carolina, and surrendered at Goldsboro, in that state, April 26, 1865. At Aiken, South Carolina, he was wounded February 11, 1865, but was never captured. The horse he rode was twice shot and he used three different horses during the war. In later years Mr. Alexander was an active member of the Confederate Veterans and has been adjutant of E. C. Walthal Camp, U. C. V., at Wellington.
When the war was over and he returned to civil life, he took up the vocation of carpenter at Osage, Texas, where he remained about three years. He then married and took up farming there, but on October 16, 1889, arrived in the Texas Panhandle. The first railroad had only recently been built, and he was among the early settlers who rushed in to occupy the land following the advent of railroads. During a few months spent at Vernon he put in a crop, and then came on to Collingsworth County. This county had only a few families at that time. The county was organized September 20, 1890, only eighty-seven votes being cast in the first election. Mr. Alexander was one of the leaders in the movement for the organization, and was chosen the first county surveyor, an office he filled four years, following which he was deputy district and county clerk for six years, and was then again elected county surveyor and remained in that office eight years. His work as surveyor comprised the laying out of land lines and also the state roads from the county seat in the direction of the county seats of adjoining counties as far as his own county line. On November 30, 1890, he also located the courthouse foundation. Although without special preparation for surveying, he applied himself to the technical details and soon became proficient, and it was his ability and also the urging of men of important property and influence that persuaded him to remain in the office so long.
Mr. Alexander is still owner of a tract of laud on which he filed in 1896. This is situated on Panther Creek north of Salt Fork. In 1907 he moved to his present place, buying a tract of two and a half sections. This has been improved by his cultivation and by extensive buildings, and he is now prosperous and is thoroughly contented with this section of the great Lone Star State. His loyalty to Collingsworth County was well evidenced in those hard years when his neighbors and friends were leaving for what they deemed a better place, "where the winds did not blow."
Through all these years Mr. Alexander has been a consistent democrat. In 1892 he was a supporter of James Hogg for governor, and in recent years was an opponent of Senator Bailey. In 1912 he ardently espoused the cause of Woodrow Wilson, and has been well satisfied with his administration both at home and abroad. In the early days of Collingsworth County he was one of the first trustees of the school district which comprised an entire quarter of the county, and his present home is now in the Bean School District. On June 8, 1867, he joined the Masonic Order, and has been one of its faithful members ever since. On August 12, 1863, while in the uniform of a Confederate soldier, and twelve miles south of Rome, Georgia, he was converted and united with the Methodist Church. Since November, 1873, he has been a steward in his local church. Mr. Alexander is a stockholder in the Farmers' Union Warehouse, of which he is manager, and is a stockholder in the Wellington Cemetery Association.
At Osage, Texas, February 14, 1868, more than forty-eight years ago, Mr. Alexander married Miss Nannie L. Wilson. Mrs. Alexander, who was one of three sons and five daughters, is a daughter of Colvil and Emeline (Reaves) Wilson, her father having come from Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Alexander have the following children: Lyman C. of Dallas, a veteran of the Spanish-American war; Mrs. Mary G. Anderson, twin sister of Lyman,. and living at Wellington, Texas; Lina wife of J. W. Koons of Sanger, Texas; Oscar H., who lives on the home farm; John C. and Nettie, both at home; and Floyd, of Dallas. -- pp. 2229-2231
HERMAN AMBERG. A representative of one of the oldest German families of Fayette County, Herman Amberg has resided in his present community of Rutersville throughout his life and in various ways has contributed to its material development and advancement, having been prominent in business and agricultural enterprises, as well as in public affairs, his incumbency of the position of postmaster being of twenty-seven years' standing. His father was Carl Amberg, who added his presence to the Rutersville community during the early '50s, being at that time an immigrant from his native land.
Carl Amberg was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1828, and there acquired a splendid literary and mercantile education, being brought up in the home of a merchant. As a young man he left his home and crossed the ocean in an old sailing vessel, and when the water supply of the ship became low and the calms held the vessel, the passengers and crew were in danger of death. However, after a long voyage of six weeks the ship made port at Galveston, and Mr. Amberg came on to Houston, Texas, with freighters who were going into the interior with ox-wagons. Mr. Amberg was at this time a young man of twenty-four years, and established himself in the mercantile business at Rutersville; then important as an educational center of Texas and even of the whole South, and a community at that time practically all American. A few Germans lived nearby, among whom were Joseph Beigel, Bernard Scherrer and Otto D. Lassaulx, who were older settlers than Mr. Amberg and all prominent men of the locality. Rutersville College attracted a large student body here before the Civil war, and a few old people still reside in Texas who remember the days of its prestige in the educational field. The town entered the list of contestants for the permanent capital of the state and was a popular candidate for the honor for a time.
Mr. Amberg continued his mercantile career here until his death, in May, 1884. As a man, Carl Amberg possessed the milk of human kindness. Some of his countrymen came to America with the money loaned them by him, and he saw to it that no one suffered for the lack of the necessities of life as the instances were presented to his notice. He seemed not to care for great accumulations or great wealth and never seemed to realize the value of real estate in the future as it lay out before him in its untamed state. He became a citizen early and cast his lot with the republican party, but was not loud in the expression of his views, and as a fair-minded and just man served his community as justice of the peace for several years. While he was not inclined to public speaking, it lay within his power to express himself clearly and intelligently upon questions, because of his superior educational and intellectual attainments. As a neighbor, Mr. Amberg was interested in those living about him and sympathized with those in sickness or distress. During the epidemic of yellow fever at LaGrange he was wont to visit the county seat and lend whatever assistance was possible as long as he was needed. He belonged to the Lutheran Church, and fraternally was a Mason of high rank.
Carl Amberg was married before he left Germany to Miss Emma Dietrich, a sister of Wilhelm Dietrich, who spent his life in Fayetteville and is mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Amberg died in 1901, and was laid to rest beside her husband at LaGrange. They were the parents of five children, namely: Mrs. Fannie Schueck, of Rosenberg, Texas; Olga, who is the wife of Otto Moellenberndt, of LaGrange; Herman, of this notice; Otto, who is engaged in mercantile lines at LaGrange; and Carl W., a business man of that place.
Herman Amberg was born at Rutersville, May 11, 1862, within 150 yards of his present dwelling, and was educated in the schools of Rutersville, where he began business for himself at the age of twenty-two years. It might almost be said that he was born behind the counter, and the inside knowledge of merchandising was gained by practical experience. When his father died, the Amberg business was continued by Herman, and for more than sixty years this name has been conspicuously identified with the history, business and official, of Rutersville. Herman Amberg erected a new store house, two stories and of brick, in 1885, and it now constitutes the conspicuous business center of the village. Some twenty years ago Mr. Amberg identified himself with farming, and at this time he employs from eighteen to thirty families on his lands, a large part of his real estate being located on the Colorado River, between LaGrange and Ellinger. He has some 1,400 acres in cultivation, and is easily the largest farmer in Fayette County. Mr. Amberg is also president of the LaGrange Cotton and Oil Manufacturing Company, is vice president of the Schumacher Bank of LaGrange and one of its organizers into a state institution, is a director of the LaGrange-Lockhart Compress Company, and is secretary and a director of the Farmers Lumber Company of LaGrange.
While his father was a republican, Mr. Amberg has been identified with the democratic party throughout his life. His father was postmaster of Rutersville for about twenty-two years and was succeeded by one of the family, and his son Otto came to the office next, and the latter was succeeded after four years by Herman, who has held this position continuously since 1888, when he was appointed during President Cleveland's administration. Although he has repeatedly been requested by republican administrations for campaign contributions, he has invariably replied that his political contributions were for the democratic party, having steadfastly maintained his courage in his convictions. He has been an active man in party affairs, attending state conventions and meetings, and was a member of the "Car Shed" convention of 1892 as a supporter of Governor Hogg. Subsequently he was a stanch adherent of the aspirations of Senator Bailey. A distinctive fact concerning the family is, that they have held the office of postmaster for over fifty years. On April 15, 1886, Mr. Amberg was married to Miss Emma Luecke, a daughter of Fred Luecke, who has lived at Rutersviile for more than sixty years, coming to Texas from Germany, where he was born during the '40s. He has been a successful farmer and is widely known in Fayette County. Mrs. Luecke is now deceased, and Mrs. Amberg is their only child. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Amberg, namely: Leonida, who is the wife of John C. Schumacher, of LaGrange, and has three childrenNolie, John Herman and Ruth; Edgar, of LaGrange, who completed his education in Southwestern University, Georgetown, and is now connected with the Texas Oil Company; and Miss Edith, who resides at Austin, Texas, married, in June, 1915, V. M. Ehlers, who is sanitary state engineer. -- pp. 1585-1586.
CHARLES BAUER. Although now living a somewhat retired life at Carmine, where he has resided since 1894, Charles Bauer still has large holdings in business and financial enterprises here and maintains an interest in the affairs of the thriving community to the development of which he has contributed so largely. A man of sterling ability in numerous directions, he has been an important factor in the work of development which has characterized Carmine during the past two decades, and his citizenship has always been of .a character worthy of emulation.
Mr. Bauer was born June 5, 1845, at Oberensingen, Wurtemburg Germany, a son of William and Margaret (Hahn) Bauer. His father was born in May, 1810, at the same place and was given a fair education. He came from a family of millers and was not called upon for military service in his native land, but was not satisfied with the progress he was making there, and determined to come to the United States. Accordingly, in 1864, he went with his family to Antwerp, Belgium, where he took passage on the sailing vessel Ellen, Captain Wilson, and after an uneventful voyage the journey was completed and the vessel reached port at New York City October 18th. The family at that time consisted of the father and six children, the mother, who was the daughter of a farmer, having died in Germany in 1855. The children were as follows: Wilhelmina, who died at Louisville, Kentucky, as Mrs. Charles Schaeffer; Caroline, a resident of Middletown, Delaware, and the wife of George Eckenhoffer; William, who is a resident of Burton, Texas; Charles, of this notice; and Misses Mary and Pauline, who reside with their sister at Louisville, Kentucky.
At the time of his advent in the United States, William Bauer located at Louisville, Kentucky, where he soon took out his citizenship papers. In his native land he had been a miller, but here engaged in the grocery business, and continued to be engaged therein until his death in 1896. Mr. Bauer took no part in politics, save as a republican voter and belonged to no fraternal order, but was a consistent member of the Lutheran Church.
The education of Charles Bauer was secured in the public schools of his native country, after leaving which he was apprenticed to the trade of carpenter, thoroughly mastering every detail of that vocation. He was nineteen years of age when the family emigrated to the United States, and instead of going to Kentucky, as did the others, came almost at once to Texas and located at Round Top, where he engaged in work at his trade. He was industrious and thrifty, and after a few years had accumulated money enough, to go to Burton, Texas, and engage in the lumber business, being associated with his brother under the firm style of W. Bauer & Brother. They bought out the first yard established at that place and conducted it successfully for a period of twelve years, after which Charles Bauer disposed of his interests and went to Pomona, California. He first engaged in farming in that community, later became the proprietor of a feedmill, and finally opened a laundry, but after seven unprofitable years he decided that his best opportunities lay in Texas, and he accordingly returned to the Lone Star state. Here, in 1894, Mr. Bauer entered the lumber business, buying out J. C. Hillsman & Son and conducting a yard until April, 1914, when he sold out and practically retired from active participation in business operations. He has been identified with a number of the industries which have given prestige to this thriving little city, being a stockholder in the Carmine Creamery and in the oil mill here, and a director and one of the organizers of the Carmine State Bank. He has erected some of the residences which make up Carmine's substantial improvements, including his own home. During several years, also, he has been a farmer by proxy, his property consisting of 174 acres and being located in the Obediah Hudson League, near Carmine.
In his political relation to the county and state Mr. Bauer is a stanch republican. He took out his first citizenship papers at La Grange, Texas, and his final papers at Brenham, and his first presidential vote was cast for James A. Garfield, in whose administration he served as postmaster at Burton for two years. Since that time he has been contented with voting at each recurring election. His fraternal connection is with the Sons of Hermann.
Mr. Bauer was married at Round Top, Texas, November 17, 1871, to Miss Mary Ernst, a daughter of Fred and Mary (Krum) Ernst, Mr. Ernst's mother, Louise Ernst, was the first German woman to set foot on Texas soil. Her husband was Frederick Ernst, and their advent here was in the early '30s, when they settled at Industry. There Mr. Ernst built a tavern and mill and he and his good wife entertained many German travelers there. They experienced trouble with the Indians, and on one occasion were driven from their home by the redmen. The old Fordtran place, near Industry, is a part of the league they obtained as pioneers, and there they are buried. Their sons to reach mature life were: John, Frederick and Herman. The daughters were Mrs. Caroline Von Hinueber and Mrs. Minna Sieber.
Fred and Mary (Krum) Ernst were German born, the former in Oldenburg and the latter in Baden. They were farming people, and Mr. Ernst came to Texas in the early '30s, living first at Industry and later at Round Top, and dying as a lieutenant in the Confederate army during the Civil war. Their children were: Mrs. Bauer; Mrs. Augusta Korff, now deceased; Mrs. Emily Korff, of Beaumont, Texas; and Pierman, of Burton, Texas. Prior to her marriage to Mr. Ernst, Mrs. Ernst was the widow of Mr. Prey, who met his death in the ill-fated Mier expedition to Mexico, and left two children: Mrs. Johanna Gross, of San Antonio, Texas, and Mrs. Louisa Vogelsang, of Burton.
To Mr. and Mrs. Bauer there has been born a daughter, Miss Norma, who has been well trained, is a young woman of exceptional talents, and received her liberal education in Compton, California, and as a graduate pupil of Professor Jaekel, of Brenham, Texas, in music. -- pp. 1583-1584.
WILLIAM BAUER. The president and manager of the Burton Cotton Oil Company, William Bauer has lived in Texas since 1867. He came to the United States in 1864. His early experiences were in the baking trade in the city of Philadelphia. When he came to Texas he was practically without funds. In the scale of progress he has been gradually ascending, impelled by exceptional vigor and industry and a thorough talent for business affairs. he is now one of the recognized leaders in Washington County's business and civic circles.
A native of Germany, he was born in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg in the city of Tubingen, on February 18, 1844. His parents were William A. and Margaret (Hahn) Bauer and his mother died in Germany. Of eight children five are living, and four are married and have families. William A. Bauer was a miller by trade, and on bringing his children to the United States located in Pennsylvania, but died some years later in Louisville, Kentucky. The Bauer family sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, on a sailing vessel, and landed in New York after a voyage of seventy-eight days. There were no trans-Atlantic liners at that time, and many of the sailing vessels had almost intolerable conditions. This particular schooner was barnacled and keel-mossed, moved sluggishly under the best of winds, but on this trip was becalmed, and provisions ran short so that the passengers were confronted with famine.
Twenty years of age when he left his native land, William Bauer had secured the equivalent of a liberal education. He had been a member of a Latin class taught by the family pastor. He had also gained some knowledge of the baker's trade, and when he landed at Philadelphia a baker came around looking for a helper and he responded. He remained in that bakeshop practically the entire two years he was in the city. When the Civil war ended the return of the soldiers to their homes threw him out of employment, and he borrowed the money that brought him to Texas. His first stop was in Houston, where he found work as a carpenter, but in July of the same year, 1867, in company with his brother Charles, he left Houston because of the yellow fever epidemic, and came out to Fayette County and found work as a carpenter at Warrenton. In that county he remained until 1871, and then hired to Mr. Weyand, a large planter near Nassau. After working for him about two years he went east to Louisville, Kentucky, for several months and conducted a bakery. Selling out he returned to Texas and henceforward has been permanently identified with this state.
For another two years he remained an employee of Mr. Weyand, and he then came to Burton in Washington County and opened a lumber yard. This was in 1874, and he then, in company with his brother, established another lumber yard at Ledbetter. This was sold after two years, and on returning to Burton he engaged in merchandising. For upwards of forty years his business activities have covered a gradually enlarging field. He entered the ginning business and succeeded to the ownership of the first gin built at Burton. For about a dozen years he and his brother, Charles, conducted a general store and cotton gin, and he also bought the second gin in the town. In 1900 Mr. Bauer converted one of the gins into a cotton oil mill with a twenty-ton capacity.
He formed a stock company, of which he was made president and manager, and is also the principal stockholder. The Burton Cotton Oil Company is perhaps the most important industry in Burton, and Mr. Bauer's name is most closely associated with this institution.
For many years his operations have also extended to the buying and selling of farm lands. When he first took up that line of business the average of prices was $7 an acre for raw land and between $18 and $20 an acre for farming land. He has himself been instrumental in introducing many solid and substantial agricultural settlers in this section of Washington County and has witnessed a great rise in agricultural values. Mr. Bauer helped to organize and is one of the directors of the Burton State Bank. He has helped the growth of Burton as a town, having erected a store building and his own residence, which is one of the best in the village.
While living in Washington County Mr. Bauer took out citizenship papers. On choosing a political party he identified himself with the republicans. He made this selection on his own judgment, and in politics, religion and all other matters, he has held to the principle that he was entitled to his own opinions and has always conceded the same right to others. He never filled a public position, had no desire for politics in that sense, although at different times he was urged to make the race for county commissioner. He is a member of no church, and believes that a man may live up to the best standards of morality and good citizenship without active church affiliations. Fraternally he is a member of the Sons of Hermann and also belongs to the Order of Cardinals.
In Ledbetter in Fayette County in September, 1877, Mr. Bauer married Miss Annie Wendorf, a daughter of Frederick and Doris (Hartz) Wendorf. Both her parents were born in Kiel, Germany, and her father, who was a carpenter and farmer, came to Texas before the Civil war and died in Carmine. Mrs. Bauer's sister and two brothers are Mrs. Lena Blum, Henry and Adolph. The two other children are now deceased. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bauer were born three sons. William, of [Pflugerville], Texas, married Nora Homeyer and their daughter is named Mary B. Alexander, who lives in Belton, Texas, is married and has three children named Will, Annie Louise and Bud. Felix, the youngest son, lives at [Robstown]. Texas. -- pp. 15581559.
CHRISTIAN BAUMGARTEN.With the death of Christian Baumgarten there was closed what, on the basis of service and in the estimation of many people, was the most important chapter in the history of the little City of Schulenburg in Fayette County. It is both important and appropriate, after the passing of a useful citizen, to narrate the simple story of his life. It is important because of its lesson to aspiring and ambitious generations in learning the conditions under which such a character labored and lived. It is appropriate because his achievements serve to stimulate the young to greater effort and nobler lives and to reassure our faith in the old saying that industry and integrity have their sure reward.
If the influences and environment under which Christian Baumgarten grew up had not impelled the virtue of industry from an early age, the blood of his nativity would have exerted itself in that direction. He was bred a Teuton and was a child of the modern Saxon whose forefathers gave to the world one of the greatest nations of the Middle Ages. Christian Baumgarten was born at Tartun, Saxony, March 13, 1836. His father was also named Christian and his mother was Maria Burgemeister. He was the oldest of four children, his brothers Adolph and Gustav live at Sweet Home; Texas, and his sister, Mrs. Paulsen, is a resident of Columbus. His parents both died at Tartun, Saxony, and the younger children followed their brother Christian to the United States.
Christian Baumgarten acquired his education from the popular schools about Tartun before he reached the age of fourteen. For three years he was apprenticed at the carpenter's trade, and then became a journeyman workman. At the age of eighteen he went to the coast and secured employment in the shipyards of Bremen as a mechanic. In this city of commerce and navigation he was brought into contact with the stream of emigration to the New World, heard the siren song of opportunity wafted across the waters from American shores, and breathed the air of liberty as it came fresh and untainted with autocratic inhibitions and monarchical limitations. It was not strange that he was inspired with the desire to find for himself a home where the joy of living abounded in every heart and where the authority of kings and princes knew no sway. Always a close observer of conditions, he was also impressed while living at Bremen with the tendency of political and social conditions towards centralization and auto'cracy, and the leaving of the fatherland was also due to a desire to escape the increasing burdens upon the plain people.
In the autumn of 1854 he embarked for America on a sailing vessel bound for Galveston. The rough sea dispelled the monotony of a voyage of eleven weeks, and when he landed at Galveston he found a small port and a town still insignificant as a commercial center. His trade brought the young man work without delay, and he spent fifteen months on the island. By that time he had saved $450, and the spirit of exploration seized him. He started inland, bought a pony and saddle from an Indian at the forks of Trinity River, and made a wide tour over the narrow limits of civilization in Texas in search of a more promising location. He was at that time twenty years of age, had a meager command of the English language, was untutored in the ways of the wilderness, and partly as a result of this inexperience he saw the bottom of his purse before he found a better location, and of necessity was compelled to return to Galveston and to his trade.
Having recuperated his finances after a few months of manipulation of the frow, the chisel and the saw, young Baumgarten went out to LaGrange and became a carpenter and builder in that essentially German community. He remained there until his enlistment in the Army of the South, early in the war. He was ready to serve his state, although he disapproved of the separation of Texas from the Union. When the strife actually began he enlisted in Company B of the Third Texas Infantry, but after a short time that regiment was transferred to the engineers corps, and served under General Magruder, who promoted him to first sergeant of the Second Engineers Corps, and in that capacity he was in the Trans-Mississippi Department until the close of the war. He then resumed his business as carpenter and builder. The mechanic of that day knew all about the builder's trade. Everything used in the construction of a house was made by hand. Nothing was carried in stock anywhere, and the mechanic proposing to build a house went to the woods for his lumber, selected his trees, took his logs to the nearest sawmill, had them cut to his liking, dressed the lumber by hand, made the window sash, doors and blinds, rived the shingles with the frow, and turned the house over to its owner, not in a month after its beginning, but in a year or two afterwards, and the evidence of workmanship was everywhere apparent throughout. Many buildings thus constructed by Mr. Baumgarten still stand in Fayette County, and the silent voice of the mechanic's skill of the olden times speaks audibly its disapprobation of the botched work of the commercially built structures of the present time.
Christian Baumgarten, possessed a genius in the handling of tools. He could make everything out of wood that was needed in the activities of men. One of the most difficult tasks was the making of the old wooden screw used in baling cotton before the Civil war. He became a gin builder, erecting for his German friend, Mr. [John F.] Hillje, of High Hill, the first gin there, and in 1867 erected the first Hillje oil mill in connection with the gin, and equipped it with machinery of German make. According to a report from the United States Central Bureau, of 1900, this mill was the first oil mill to be operated successfully in the United States.
With his savings as a building contractor while living at LaGrange, Mr. Baumgarten purchased a tract of land seventeen miles south of the county seat. It was this investment which proved the foundation of his financial success in life. In 1873 the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway built its lines through the south end of Fayette County and across Mr. Baumgarten's land. He arranged with the railroad authorities to locate a station, and today the thrifty Town of Schulenburg occupies the tract. Mr. Baumgarten was alive to the importance of the impetus given the community by the railroad, and instead of withholding his individual enterprise and allowing others to create wealth for him, he from the first became foremost in the activities of the young village. He established a lumber yard, erected several buildings and put in a stock of furniture and hardware. Later he erected a planing mill and sash and door factory, where he manufactured the first curly pine furniture that found a market in the state. He made a variety of articles in his millmoldings, beehives, cypress cisterns and a number of farming implements. In the late '70s he opened a brick yard which supplied the town and country about with the brick necessary for its needs. In 1882 he built the Schulenburg Oil Mill, a large part of the machinery of which was ordered from Germany. This mill has been in continuous operation during each annual season, though the machinery has been several times renewed to keep the plant apace with the progress of invention.
The success of his oil mills led Mr. Baumgarten to engage in oil mill construction, and during the year 1890 he erected and equipped oil mills at Luling, Taylor, Caldwell and Hempstead, and the following year built mills at Hallettsville, Rockdale and Kyle. In 1882 he had invented and patented the Baumgarten hydraulic cotton baling press and in 1884 patented the perforated press plates for cotton seed oil mills which have replaced the old-style press boxes with the bulky hair mats then in use. The various oil mills he built were included in the "Baumgarten system" of mills, and their success was a strong factor in stimulating capital to this channel of investment in Texas.
As a citizen Mr. Baumgarten might probably be termed as the father of Schulenburg. He was not only its pioneer, but its leading spirit and venerated citizen during his life. His many inventions and investments gave much substantial aid through the domain of labor, and it was this phase of his busy life which brought him his pleasure and satisfaction, and it lends much to the appropriateness of this brief sketch. His generosities were represented in many homes and revived hope in many a disheartened and depressed soul. He loved the "open book" life of humanity because he lived it himself, and shams, pretentious and undignified show made him impatient. While he was a veteran of the Confederate war, there was that about the reunion of the old comrades that lent an air of superiority because of military service, and he declined to identify himself actively with the organization. A similar spirit was illustrated in his attitude toward politics. He believed in the tenets of democracy and voted the democratic ticket, but there were practices among political leaders that he strongly disapproved of and could never be brought to active participation in so-called practical politics. He held no office, and yet his life was that of a public servant, and through his business activities and personal influence effected more that is of lasting importance than could ever have been performed by the instrumentality of public position. A service he did for his county and which added much to the comfort of the early Bohemian and German settlers was the erection of housing quarters for them in Schulenburg. During the time of most rapid emigration by this foreign element many of the newcomers arrived without having notified sons or relatives, and oftentimes days and even weeks ensued before they could proceed to the homes of friends or become independently established. Frequently these arrivals were in such numbers that no accommodations could be provided in an already overcrowded village, and to remedy this defect Mr. Baumgarten erected an "emigrant house" for their use, and in this and in many other ways maintained an interest in his old country neighbors until they were settled about the country in new homes.
On June 6, 1859, Mr. Baumgarten married Ernstine Pannewitz. She was born March 12, 1841, in Pennig, Germany, and at the time of her marriage was making her home with an uncle in LaGrange. A few weeks after the wedding she accompanied her husband to the tract of land he had located on, and situated seventeen miles from the county seat and which later on became the site on which Schulenburg now stands. This virile, vigorous and energetic couple lived together more than fifty years, and passed away with the consciousness of duty well performed. They were Lutherans in training and belief, and reared their large household in the fear of God. They enjoyed life in all its best relations, both of service and of comfort. When in the fullness of years, armed with a United States passport issued by the then secretary of state, Elihu Root, they visited Old Mexico and traversed the region of the Aztecs for health and recreation. The death of Mrs. Baumgarten occurred June 23, 1909, and on September 29, 1912, the pulsations ceased of the heart of the great force which had contributed something worth while to the founding and growth of a community in a great Commonwealth, and side by side their bodies now are at rest in High Hill Cemetery.
The children of Christian and Ernstine Baumgarten are: Ernstine Mary, born February 19, 1860, was drowned May 31, 1872; Ernst, born October 4,1861, is a resident of Schulenburg; Augusta, born January 24, 1863, died in February following; Gus A., born February 4, 1866, occupies largely the place left vacant by his father; Emil H., born September 8,1868, is a merchant of Schulenburg; Elesa Anna, born August 29, 1869, is the wife of Max Wolters of Shiner; Lillie Erna, born August 7, 1873, died October 15, 1889; John C., born August 2, 1875, is a business man of Schulenburg; Bertha Elizabeth, born October 23, 1877, is Mrs. G. E. Ruhmann of Schulenburg; Fred Charles, born in February, 1879, and Paul Willie, born in June, 1881, are both residents of Schulenburg; Alfred Henry, born March 17, 1883, died September 29, 1912; and Fritz, born January 29, 1886, completes this numerous family.
As already stated, Christian Baumgarten entered earnestly into the spirit which dominated his adopted country, and took out his first papers of citizenship as soon as he felt qualified to act. November 22, 1859, he made his first declaration and in November, 1865, county clerk, Z. M. P. French of LaGrange, issued him the papers which separated him from every king, prince, potentate or power of the old world and brought him under the protection of the Stars and Stripes. He was a pioneer, and his going from the municipality he did so much to benefit brought a general response of grief and affectionate memory from his fellow townsmen. The funeral services was conducted October 1, 1912, under the magnificent live oak which sheltered his home for more than half a century and under which four generations of his family had gathered on many occasions. -- pp. 1372-1375.
GUSTAV A. BAUMGARTEN. Among the many children of the late Christian Baumgarten, whose career has been followed in the preceding sketch, Gustav A. Baumgarten has been most prominent in carrying out many of the plans and the scope of business enterprise formulated by his father to their logical conclusion. In the great cotton oil industry his name is one of the most prominent in the entire South.
Gustav A. Baumgarten was born February 14, 1866, on his father's farm upon much of which the Town of Schulenburg now stands, but which was then an untamed prairie. He grew up amid the scenes of improvement following the close of the Civil war. He was just old enough to go to school when the Southern Pacific Railroad came to the Baumgarten farm and caused the founding of the little city on what had formerly been a raw prairie. As a boy he attended common schools, later was a student in night school, and finally with his own savings entered the Gem City Business College at Quincy, Illinois, graduating in 1890.
At the age of fifteen he took up practical and self-supporting work, and was identified with the oil mill business from the erection of the first plant at Schulenburg in 1882. He aided his father in the erection of oil mills at various points in South Texas, and is one of the men whose experience in that industry practically covers all phases of its development. This line of enterprise has remained the field of his life labor, and he has not only gone far and become eminent in the business himself, but has prepared other young men for useful and conspicuous places as superintendents or managers over this state.
As an authority in oil mill matters Mr. Baumgarten was early recognized by the Oil Mills Superintendents' Association of Texas, and for a number of years was repeatedly elected its secretary and treasurer, and in 1901 was chosen vice president. His career demonstrates the value of the directing of human energy in a single plane to achieve the best results. Masters in business, as in other lines of effort, are not made in a mould, they come out of the fiery furnace of experience, and the example of Gustav A. Baumgarten is worthy the study and emulation of rising generations who have an ambition to succeed.
He has been the active force in the Schulenburg Oil Mill since 1882. More recently he has entered modestly upon the making of bread-flour from cottonseed meal. His is the only mill of the kind in the world, and its product, the "Allison Flour" is destined to popularize itself in the homes of bread eaters until it spreads a revolution in the food industry of the world. The Allison flour has been perfected by Mr. Baumgarten to a point where it can be depended upon as a pure and unfermenting article of diet, free from deleterious matter and a reliable article of commerce for human food. After others had failed in the production of a flour that could be stored without fermentation, and as a result of expenditure of $20,000 in his efforts, Gustav A. Baumgarten perfected a .plan which met the difficulty and is producing such a commodity as the world food supply demands. Apparently Mr. Baumgarten brought his long course of experimentation to a successful conclusion at a most appropriate time, when the resources of production are largely perilized by war, and when the mounting prices of wheat have brought about a vigorous demand for other available forms of bread stuffs. As a contribution of the oil mills of Texas to the starving Belgians, and indirectly as an advertisement of the Allison flour, Mr. Baumgarten has recently shipped a consignment of the flour containing 60,000 pounds purchased through a fund raised by individual $10 subscriptions from each member of the cotton-seed trade of Texas. A brief extract from a letter written by Mr. Allison upon this subject will make clear the plan of relief and show to what extent the Schulenburg Oil Mill has invested its means in preparing itself to meet the demands made upon it for this new kind of flour. After speaking of instructions given at a general meeting in Houston to raise a sufficient fund from the cotton-seed oil mills and members of the cotton-seed trade to be used in the purchase of cottonseed flour to be contributed to Belgium in the name of the Cotton-seed Oil Trade of Texas, the writer says: "Proceeding at once to carry out these instructions, I immediately entered into correspondence through Senator Morris Sheppard and Congressman H. W. Summers, with the proper representatives of the Belgium government at Washington, secured the necessary instructions for shipment in such way as to secure free transportation, made arrangements with the Schulenburg Cotton Oil Company, who have just installed at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars the only complete manufactory of cotton seed oil in all the world, for its manufacture and sale at, to us, a reduced price."
Mr. Baumgarten was married June 22, 1892, to Miss Ida Wallace. Their children are: Wallace, who finished the course of the Gem City Business College in June, 1915, just twenty-five years after his father graduated from the same institution; Roy, a student in the Marshall Training School at San Antonio; Audry, Norma Madaline and Norine. Mr. Baumgarten, like his father, has eschewed politics, has never held any office, is not a fraternity man, and his whole life, outside the interests of his home and family, has been one of singleness of aim and large achievement in one industry. -- pp. 1375-1377.
RICHARD H. BEYER. On the Colorado River, just on the edge of Colorado County, is located the magnificent farm belonging to Richard H. Beyer, a tract containing 1,496 acres. This land has all been accumulated through his own personal effort, for Mr. Beyer has had no financial assistance or other aiding influences, but in every way, from the time he left the parental roof at the age of sixteen years, he has been the author of his own fortunes. At the present time he is not only one of the large farmers of his community, but is also one of the substantial and public-spirited citizens of Ellinger, where Mr. Beyer and the members of his family are the center of a wide circle of admiring and appreciative friends.
Richard H. Beyer was born at LaGrange, Fayette County, Texas, where his parents first settled, February 10,1866. He is a son of August Beyer, who came to Texas in 1857 and after spending a few years at LaGrange settled permanently at Liveoak Hill, Mr. Beyer was a native of Saxony, having been born not far from Berlin, and was there married to Ernstina Lehman, who, like himself, belonged to honorable families of modest means. In his native land Mr. Beyer learned the trade of blacksmith, and this he followed during his entire active career, or until his retirement. Mrs. Beyer died at the age of seventy-four years, in 1901, and both she and her husband are buried in Ross Prairie Cemetery. To Mr. and Mrs. Beyer there were born the following children: Edwin, who passed his life near Liveoak Hill as a blacksmith, and at his death left a family by his wife, Anna Wacker; Amelia, who became the wife of August Bauer, died in Lavaca County, and left children who are residing near Moulton; Benjamin, the first child born in America, who died young;. Albert, who also died in young manhood; Alvin, who is engaged in mercantile pursuits at Walhalla, Fayette County; Selma, who became the wife of George Wacker, and died at Bartlett, Texas, in 1912, leaving issue; Mina, who became the wife of C. W. Meyer of Ellinger, Texas; Richard H., of this review; Theodore, who spent his life chiefly as a clerk and late in life engaged in business on his own account at Ellinger, where he passed away without issue.
Richard H. Beyer was reared at Liveoak Hill, which place was then known as old Ellinger, and secured his teaching in the community under the preceptorship of Professor Jaeggli, who will be best remembered, probably, as Reverend Jaeggli, a preacher and teacher of the Ross Prairie community. At the age of sixteen years Mr. Beyer left his parents' home and went to work in a blacksmith shop at Warrenton, where he remained for two years, and subsequently spent a like period with his brother, at Liveoak Hill. There he finished his trade but did not take it up as a vocation, instead entering the employ of C. J. H. Meyer, in whose saloon he worked for eighteen months. During this time he applied his leisure hours to the study of medicine, with the idea of entering the drug business, but when he left Mr. Meyer he established himself as the proprietor of a store here. Five years later he found his regular groove in life when he disposed of his store and stock and turned his attention to farming.
Mr. Beyer's farm is a part of the J. Duty League, and, as before stated, is on the Colorado River, just on the edge of Colorado County. His first purchase embraced 550 acres, all ready to cultivate and live on, and at different times since then he has added enough in successive purchases to bring his total acreage up to 1,496, of which 650 acres are in cultivation. His pasture lands are devoted to stock, which the Beyer Brothers, his sons, are using in their operations. As a farmer, Mr. Beyer is a cotton and corn grower, and is also a raiser of alfalfa, a crop which his experience has proven to be adapted to this climate and soil. He has cut it from three to six times a season and his experience has shown that four tons of this hay can be cut from one acre of land. His crop he feeds himself. Mr. Beyer has been interested in various other enterprises, and was one of the founders of the First State Bank of Ellinger, of which he is at present vice president.
In a political way Mr. Beyer is a democrat, and has found it convenient to take some interest in the practical part of local politics. He cast his first vote for Grover Cleveland and has never missed a presidential election. He has always been a delegate to local conventions and frequently to state conventions, and in the famous campaign of Hogg and Clark, in 1892, gave his support to Governor Hogg. In the presidential primaries of 1912 he was a supporter of Mr. Harmon, and he has voted for Mr. Bryan through all his several presidential aspirations. Mr. Beyer has served his district as a trustee of schools and also as an active and stirring member of the county school board.
At Ellinger, Texas, October 26, 1891, Mr. Beyer was united in marriage with Miss Annie Sommer, a daughter of Antone and Frances (Sladek) Sommer. Mr. Sommer came to the United States before his marriage and settled in Fayette County, where he continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits throughout his life. He was married at Fayetteville, his wife being a Bohemian lady, and they became the parents of these children: Katie, who became the wife of B. December; Joseph, who is a resident of Rowena, Texas; Mrs. Beyer, who was born July 27, 1866; Louis, a resident of Jackson County, Texas; Julia, who was the wife of E. J. Weber of Austin, Texas; and Frank, who passed away at Rowena. To Mr. and Mrs. Beyer there have been born the following children: Walter, who completed his business education at a business college, and is associated with his father in the operation of the home farm, married Miss Anna Prasifka; Harry, who completed his education at the Columbus High School, and is also associated in the operations on the home property and a member of the cattle firm of R. H. Beyer & Sons; and Alfred, who is still attending school.
Mr. Beyer is a member of the Woodmen of the World, is its consul commander, an office which he has held for many years, and has attended the head state camp on several occasions as a delegate. He also belongs to the Woodmen Circle, has for four years been president of the Sons of Hermann and has attended the meetings of the grand lodge of Texas of this order, and is also a member of the German society known as the Fayette County Gegen Seitiger Unterstützungs Verein. Mr. Beyer is a Lutheran in his religious belief, while Mrs. Beyer was reared in the faith of the Catholic Church. -- pp. 1802-1803.
CHARLES BITTNER. Among the old and honored residents of Texas, one who grew up from childhood here was Charles Bittner, of Precinct No. 7, Fayette County, and a farmer on Route No. 2, Weimar Rural Free Delivery. In a hale old age, enjoying the fruits of a busy and well ordered life, he shared the wonderful progress which has been made in this phenomenal state, mostly under his own eyes. Mr. Bittner lived in Texas from 1854 until his death on the 2d of April, 1916, having come hither in the former year with his father, who brought out his family, largely composed of daughters, from Saxony, Germany, -in the locality of Warder, where Charles Bittner was born in 1842.
The father of Mr. Bittner was Andrew Bittner, and his mother died when he was a small boy, the children of the family being: Anna, who remained in Saxony, and married there; Mary M., who also remained in her native Saxony and is married; Sophia, who married Frank Wangler and lives at New Ulm, Texas; Christina, who married Herman Seydler, first, and is now the wife of Kinnie Davis, of Pasadena, California; Caroline, who died in Austin County, Texas, as Mrs. Joseph Seyler; Charles, of this review; and Agnes, who married August Franke, of Industry, Texas.
Andrew Bittner and his children started on their voyage to America from Hamburg, on a sailing vessel, and the journey proved a long and dangerous one, the ship meeting unfavorable weather during much of the trip, while cholera broke out on shipboard and claimed a number of victims, and a small brother of Charles Bittner was stricken, died on board ship and was buried at Queenstown, Ireland. After seven weeks, however, the family arrived at Galveston, Texas, from whence they went to Austin County, and there remained until after the Civil war, when Andrew. Bittner removed to the home which is now occupied by his son Charles. He had learned the tailor's trade in his youth, and this he followed in connection with farming until after the Civil war. He died on the farm in Fayette County in 1893, when he had reached the advanced age of ninety-one years, three months and nine days.
Charles Bittner secured some small amount of education in the public schools of his native land, but did not secure any advantages of this nature in the United States, whence he came as a lad of twelve years. Through his own efforts he learned to read and write the English language, and when a young man secured a position as engineer in a sawmill and cotton gin at High Hill. He was thus engaged at the time of the outbreak of the war between the North and the South, and was conscripted into the Confederate service, being placed in Captain Alexander's Company of La Grange. Mr. Bittner went to Brownsville with this company after passing through a siege of typhoid fever, but he had been opposed to slavery as well as to the secession of the states, had no sympathy with the cause of the South, and could not fight with men with whom he had nothing in common, so that at the first opportunity, at Brownsville, he deserted, crossed the line into Mexico, there took a United States steamboat to New Orleans, and enlisted in the First Texas Cavalry, United States army. The company to which he belonged was C, with Captain Zeller in command, while the regiment was commanded by Col. F. J. Davis, who was to later become governor of Texas. This organization served in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where Mr. Bittner participated in the work of capturing the City of Mobile, and back to New Orleans, where the command was stationed when the war came to its close. Mr. Bittner saw two years and eight months of service under the Stars and Stripes and participated in many hot engagements, but was never wounded nor made a prisoner by the enemy.
When he resumed the duties of peace Mr. Bittner located on the property on which he was married, but remained there only two years and then came to his late home. He was a farmer throughout the years that followed and was successful in his operations, accumulating a large and valuable property and making many improvements thereon, thus contributing to the upbuilding of Fayette County. Mr. Bittner was plain and unassuming in his conduct, but had the faculty of attaching friends whose esteem, once attained, is never forfeited. He was tolerant of the opinions and careful of the rights of others, recognizing the equal liberty of all. In all the relations which a man bears in life he was most exemplary, fulfilling the obligations of citizen, husband, father and neighbor in the kindliest manner. He was not a politician, but in national matters voted with the republican party, and locally he capably served in the capacity of trustee of the district schools.
Mr. Bittner was married December 2, 1866, to Miss Magdalena Billemek, daughter of Andreas Billemek, who brought his family to the United States from Mehen, Austria, where Mrs. Bittner was born in April, 1844. To this union there have been born the following children: Rosa, who died unmarried; Emma, who married John Heller and died in 1914; Laura, who became the wife of Harry Meyer, of Schulenburg, Texas; Fred, also a resident of Schulenburg; Charles, who is engaged in farming in Fayette County; Miss Ida, who is unmarried and resides with her parents, and Lillian, who married Lad Stavinhoa and died in 1909. -- pp. 1590-1592.
EDWARD BOEHM. A man of strong mental powers and resolute purpose, Mr. Boehm has found in the land of his adoption ample opportunity for the exercising of his constructive ability and has achieved large and worthy success. He was a pioneer in the development and upbuilding of the thriving Town of Moulton, Lavaca County, Texas, a leader in progressive movements and influential in the furtherance of those things that contribute to the civic and material well being of the community. He came to Texas in 1872, from Moravia, a crown-land or province of the Empire of Prussia, and since that time he has been an influential figure in Lavaca and Fayette counties of the Lone Star State.
Mr. Boehm was born at Frankstadt, a town in the Carpathian Mountains in Bohemia, Prussia, and the date of his nativity was August 15, 1854. His father, Stephen Boehm, a tailor by trade and vocation, was born and reared in the same district of Bohemia and achieved such success in business as to be able to give to his children excellent educational advantages, the subject of this review having been permitted to complete a course of study in an agricultural school at Prerau, a city about thirtyfive miles distant from his native place. In this institution he continued his studies and practical work until he was sixteen years of age, when he left the school well equipped for scientific service as an agriculturist. As a youth, his mental powers, application to study and varied opportunities for the accumulation of knowledge gave to him a broader viewpoint in the matter of liberty and personal freedom of thought and action than was that of most young men in his native land, and his convictions as to the better opportunities for individual achievement under the free and equal conditions obtaining in the United States were the actuating motives that finally prompted him to sever the ties that bound him to home and Fatherland and set forth to seek his fortunes in America. Prior to his immigration to America, however, he had passed two years in Russia, at Dubna and Rovna, and as an assistant to his landlord farmer he received a compensation of 50 rubles a year. He saved 40 rubles from his annual stipend but realized that conditions for personal freedom and advancement were far more adverse than in his native laud, and his disgust with governmental restrictions and popular ignorance in Russia but heightened his desire to come to the United States. His father had previously agreed to pay his passage to America if he decided upon immigration to this land of promise and after leaving Russia he passed only a few days at his old home before taking advantage of the offer thus made by his father. Just a few months before he became old enough to necessitate his military service in his native land his father procured for him a pass through Austria and Germany, by the payment, as he firmly believes, of an appreciable sum of money, and at Bremen he embarked on the ship Frankfort, for time port of New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly three weeks were demanded in making the voyage across the Atlantic and he was in company with a shipload of emigrants, perhaps 150 of the number being from his home province. Landing in Now Orleans, he proceeded by railway to Morgan City, Louisiana, where he embarked on a cattle vessel for Galveston, Texas. The boat was so crowded with passengers that there was no opportunity for him to lie down for rest, and his discomfort was increased by the omnipresent odor from the cattle which likewise were being transported. No shelter was provided from the rain and no provision was made for food for the passengers while en route. It may well be understood that it was with much relief that Mr. Boehm finally landed at Galveston, from which city he proceeded by railroad to Harrisburg, passing around the City of Houston and continuing his journey, by way of the Southern Pacific Railroad, to Weimar, a place then represented only by a small shack in which sardines, oysters and other canned goods, together with crackers, were displayed for sale. Such was the condition of the railroad tracks between Harrisburg and Columbus that Mr. Boehm felt more danger to personal safety in making the trip over this line than he had in crossing the Atlantic. At Weimar the company of immigrants waited without a place to sleep until they could obtain transportation overland a distance of about twenty miles to their destination. The caravan consisted of wagons and several yoke of oxen, and by this primitive means of transportation the jaded immigrants were finally transferred to their destination, at the bluffs south of Lagrange, where Mr. Boehm found the first real evidence of something good to eat from the time he had left Galveston. The pioneer settlers of his nationality knew of the coming of the new colonists and had prepared food for 150 persons, all of the comestibles being set forth on one long table, the sight of which brought joy to the hearts of the weary travelers. The first day was passed in visiting and in finding temporary places of abode until the newcomers should be able to establish homes of their own. Mr. Boehm and his companion, Engelbart Pollach, who became many years later an extensive agriculturist and also president of a bank at Caldwell, Burleson County, remained near each other during the first year of their residence in America, and their first night at the bluffs in Fayette County found them ensconced in a corncrib, where they slept on cottonseed and could look forth at the stars, the situation appealing somewhat humorously to the poetic imagination of Mr. Pollach, as indicating their initial luxuries in the land of their adoption.
Mr. Boehm found his financial resources at such low ebb that he did not have even the price of a postage stamp, by means of which he might write a letter home. Work for wages was not to be found and nine months elapsed ere he had any money in his pocket or could report progress to his parents in the Fatherland. He applied to a man named Ammons for work by which he might earn 50 cents to buy a few necessities for himself. Mr. Ammons could offer a plethora of occupation but did not himself have 50 cents to pay for work done by an employee. Finally he was persuaded to hire young Boehm and found means to pay the latter 50 cents a day for five days, this being the first money Mr. Boehm had earned in the United States.
When spring arrived Mr. Boehm found farm work about the only occupation available, and although he was virtually without any funds, he made arrangements with John Beyer to rent fifteen acres of laud and place the same under cultivation. After this provision had been made lie was confronted with the serious problem of equipping himself with a plow and ox team to do the work. His father, who was a tailor, as previously stated, had presented him with two extra pairs of trousers, and by the expedient of selling the same he was enabled to buy a eastiron plow, at Beckman's store, in the present Village of Bluff, Fayette County. He carried the implement on his back across School Prairie, a distance of five miles, to the Beyer place, and thus he made his beginning as a farmer in Texas. His friend Mr. Beyer had agreed to board him a year for the sum of $35 and further showed his kindness by he coming his security in the purchase of a yoke of oxen and a chain for his plow, besides which he made a yoke to be used for the ox team. After he had garnered and sold his first crop Mr. Boehm found his cash capital summed up in the amount of $20, his obligations to Mr. Beyer having been paid and also his indebtedness for the ox team having been liquidated.
At this stage in his career in Texas Mr. Boehm went to Flatonia, Fayette County, for the purpose of securing a position as clerk in a mercantile establishment. His first application was met so gruffly and bluntly that he was much discouraged, the old merchant simply scolding and cursing him until he left the store, but he finally applied to old Mr. Flato, who gave him employment at a compensation of $10 a month and his board. After a few months he joined his brother, who had followed him to the United States, and they initiated operations as farmers in the Moulton district of Lavaca County. This vocation did not prove satisfactory to the subject of this review and he returned to Flatonia, where he entered the employ of C. J. Lane and initiated a career which led him, within a few years, to financial independence. At Flatonia he worked for Harrison, at a compensation of $35 a month and board; at Schulenburg he was in the employ of the firm of Crane & Kessler for two years, receiving $50 a month and board, and he then reentered the employ of Mr. Harrison, who gave him a salary of $100 a month. Before the expiration of two years he was invited to take charge of the mercantile business of Mrs. Edward Knesek, at Praha, her husband having been murdered a short time previously. During the two years that he remained in this position his net earnings were $5,000. At the expiration of this period he again became a clerk for Mr. Harrison, at Flatonia, where he remained thus engaged until the railroad was constructed from [Yoakum] to the north and opened up the Moulton country. He was then induced, by Samuel Moore, to establish his residence at Moulton, and was among the first to buy lots in the town. Here he erected the first building for mercantile purposes and installed the first stock of goods, besides conducting a retail liquor business.
Mr. Boehm initiated his business career in Moulton as a general merchant and he has continued to be actively identified with this line of enterprise during the intervening years, his enterprise having been conducted on a cash basis, both in the buying and selling of merchandise, and fair dealing and effective service having enabled him to build up a large, substantial and prosperous business. Right in the locality where he went hungry as a young farmer, for the lack of bacon and flour to appease his gnawing appetite and where he found but one man to trust him with the few necessities that he required, Air. Boehm has built up a reputation for paying as he goes, has achieved independence and large measure of temporal prosperity, with the result that his career offers both lesson and incentive to the younger generation, especially along the line of his fixed and inviolable principle which is: "Pay as you go.''
It was in the year 1888 that Mr. Boehm opened his store at Moulton, his stock at that time having been valued at about $5,000. Today he carries, to meet the demands of a representative and appreciative patronage, a stock that is several times the value of that on which he initiated operations, having now a mercantile establishment and his extensive farm interests.
As a man of education and of broad and liberal views Mr. Boehm has been notably public-spirited in the furtherance of educational interests in the community in which it has been his privilege to gain such distinctive personal success. He gained his first definite impression of the American school from his observance of the workings of the old Moulton Institute, as conducted under the direction of Professor Ellis, whose widow, it may be noted, is now a popular teacher in the City of San Antonio. The institution noted was one of marked efficiency and popularity, received a good patronage and had much influence in advancing educational standards and raising the intellectual atmosphere of the community. Mr. Boehm was inspired finally to put forth a definite effort to establish a worthy successor of this excellent school, and the same is represented in the present Sam and Will Moore Institute, named in honor of two brothers who were prominent and influential figures in the pioneer history of this section of the state. These brothers contributed $4,000 to effect the establishing of the institute, the total amount raised for the purpose being $10,000 and Mr. Boehm having personally made large contributions both of money and time to further the success of the laudable enterprise. The school has been maintained at a high standard of efficiency, is recognized as one of the best in this section and draws its support from a wide area of country, the while its advantages have been utilized by many persons, now prominent and influential in civic and material activities in this part of the state. Mr. Boehm has insistently maintained the policy that the school shall be kept free from church domination and that male teachers shall be employed, as conserving this end, his idea being that the institution shall be free from any controlling influence that may be repugnant to any class of citizens, that its aim shall be purely educational and that its appeal shall be general, without reference to grade or station in the life of the pupils and supporters. He has served as a trustee of this institution, in which his children have received their training. He has encountered divers hardships and reverses within the period of his residence in Texas but has pressed steadily forward, with all of courage and ambition, the result being his attainment of the prosperity and the high personal standing that should ever reward such determined and worthy effort. He is essentially progressive and public-spirited as a citizen, supports the democratic party in a generic way, but, with characteristic independence, is not so dominated by partisanship that he will not utilize his franchise in furtherance of measures and the support of candidates meeting the approval of his judgment, whether or not they be representative of the party with which he is affiliated. He has erected several houses in Moulton, including his own residence, which is one of the most attractive in the town. This hospitable domicile is a two-story frame house with spacious rooms, and its attractions are enhanced by its fine grounds, with their fine evergreens and other shade trees, shrubbery, walks and other pleasing effects in landscape, gardening. Mr. Boehm has two brothers in Texas and both are married and have children. Rudolph being a resident of Ennis and Richard of Port Lavaca.
At Bluff, Fayette County, on the 1st of March, 1882, Mr. Boehm wedded Miss Mary Adamcik, who was born in that county, of Bohemian parents, and of the four children of this union it is to be recorded that Vladimir and Edward are both associated with their father in the conducting of the latter's mercantile establishment and business; Mary is the wife of Benno Hoppe, of Smithville, Bastrop County; and Adella is the wife of Adolph [this should be Elo] Fehrenkamp, of Moulton. pp. 2375-2378
WILLIAM F. BRIEGER. Senior member of the firm of Brieger & Kasper, which conducts a successful general merchandise business in the Village of Winchester, Mr. Brieger is known as one of the reprentative [sic.] business men and progressive and public-spirited citizens of Fayette County and is a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of this section of the Lone Star State. Gottlieb Brieger, grandfather of him whose name initiates this paragraph, was one of the early German colonists in the vicinity of Flatonia, Fayette county, where he developed a productive farm and where he continued his residence for many years, though he passed the closing period of his life at Bastrop, where his remains were laid to rest in the local cemetery. He died about the year 1899, at the venerable age of eighty-two years. He was three times married and reared children by each union. Of the children of the first wife the eldest was Charles, father of the subject of this review; Gottlieb Jr., was a resident of Fayetteville, Fayette County, at the time of his death, and the one daughter married and reared children. Three children were born of the second marriage Robert, Ernst and Traugot, two of these sons passing their lives near Flatonia, Fayette county, and the other removing to the western part of the state. Two daughters were born of the third marriage.
William F. Brieger was born at Bastrop, the judicial center of the Texas county of the same name, and the date of his nativity was August 9, 1867. He is a son of Charles and Mary (Nink) Brieger, both of whom passed the closing years of their lives at Bastrop, where the former died in 1911 and the latter in 1901. Of their children William F. is the eldest; Albert J. is a resident of Denison, this state; Henry M. resides in the City of Houston; Reinholdt J. died at Taylor, Texas, leaving one child; Richard J., who resides at Bastrop, married Miss Annie Hasler and they have four children; Gustave B. resides at Taylor and he and his wife, Augusta, have four children; and the other three sons likewise maintain their home at Taylor George D., who married Edna Hall and has two children; Louis, who is a bachelor; and Eugene, who is married but has no children.
Charles Brieger was born in October, 1834, acquired a limited education in the pioneer schools of Texas, learned in his youth the trade of tailor, and at the age of twenty years he settled at Bastrop, where he continued in the work of his trade during the remainder of his active career, save for the period of his valiant service as a Confederate soldier in the Civil war. He enlisted in the company commanded by Captain Petty, and with his gallant Texas regiment took part in many of the engagements marking the progress of the great fratricidal conflict. He served four years, a portion of the time in the command of General Beauregard, was a private in the ranks and was fortunate in having escaped capture or severe wounds. At the time of the war he walked from his home in Bastrop to Little Rock, Arkansas, and in later years he frequently reverted to this as the longest pedestrian tour of his life. He was a staunch democrat, was a communicant of the Lutheran Church, and was affiliated with the United Confederate Veterans. By his first marriage, to Caroline Jung, he had one son, Charles, who married Maria Matthews, their home being at Rockdale, Milam County.
William F. Brieger attended the public schools at Bastrop until he had attained to the age of fourteen years, and this discipline was later supplemented by study in night schools. Under the able direction of his father he served a thorough apprenticeship to the tailor's trade, and after following his trade ten years he finally became identified with the clothing business in his native city. In 1891 he established his residence at Winchester, where he engaged in the general merchandise business, as a member of the firm of Drake & Brieger, which was later succeeded by the present firm of Brieger & Kasper. The firm has a well equipped and appointed store and controls a substantial and representative trade, based upon fair dealing and effective service. In addition to his successful operations as one of the representative merchants of Fayette County Mr. Brieger has achieved prominence as a breeder of pedigreed cattle, with which line of enterprise he has been identified since 1911 and in which he takes specially vital interest. He has the "Flying Fox" strain of cattle, and his herd is descended from "Lady Merton's Rioter," some of whose descendants have become famous and brought phenomenal prices for breeding purposes. Some of the fine cows owned by Mr. Brieger have made records for high productiveness as milkers, with a product of four gallons a day. The herd is established on a well improved farm owned by Mr. Brieger in the vicinity of his home village.
Mr. Brieger is a man of distinctive civic liberality and progressiveness and he has been influential in political and other public affairs in Fayette County. He has assisted materially in the upbuilding of Winchester, where he has erected several houses, his own home being one of the attractive residence properties of the village. A stalwart in the local camp of the democratic party, he is chairman of its precinct committee at Winchester and has been a frequent delegate to its county conventions in Fayette County. He has served as a member of the board of trustees of the public schools of Winchester.
At Winchester, on the 8th of May, 1879, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Brieger to Miss Minnie Ramsey, daughter of Martin D. Ramsey, an honored pioneer concerning whom specific mention is made on other pages, in the sketch of the life of his son, Alexander, postmaster of Winchester at the time of this writing, in 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Brieger have one daughter, Myrtle, who was educated in the San Antonio Female College and who remains at the parental homea popular factor in the representative social activities of the community. -- pp. 1414-1416.
JOHN C. BUCEK. One of the chief factors in the business life of Engel in Fayette County is John C. Bucek, whose family has been identified with this community nearly sixty years, having been founded in Fayette County in 1856. They represent the excellent Bohemian stock which has been so notable in the progress and development of this section of Texas, and the reputation of the family for industry, integrity and good citizenship has been maintained in every generation.
The head of the family in 1856, when they arrived in Texas, was Philip Bucek, who was a native of Bohemia, Austria. He brought his family to High Hill in Fayette County, and lived as a farmer. He had been engaged in business in Austria, and possessed exceptional qualifications and enterprise and was a helpful worker in the early community. He finally removed to the locality of Velehrad on the Fayette and Lavaca County line, where he donated twenty-five acres of land for a school and cemetery. He continued his life there as a farmer until his death in 1878. His death was the result of an accident when he was struck by a falling tree. He was specially prominent among his fellow countrymen, and his opinions were respected and his advice often sought. He came in advance of the great bulk of his countrymen, and by his experience and judgment was able to do a great deal in getting his compatriots well established in Texas. In this work he was a colleague of Franz Russek, of Schulenburg. Philip and Johanna Bucek had the following children: Johanna, who married John Hajek, and died near Praha; John; Anna, who married Frank Matula, and died at Moravia in Lavaca County; Mary, who married Frank Pesek, of Velehrad; Charles, who is a farmer in Fayette County; Frank, of Runge, Texas; Agnes, now deceased, who married Frank Chalupka, of Sweet Home, Texas.
John Bucek, father of John C., was born in the old country in 1846 and was ten years of age when he came with the family to Texas. He grew to manhood at High Hill, and the circumstances in which his youth was passed made an education almost impossible. He was still young when the war broke out between the states, and he enlisted in the Confederate army and gave his best efforts towards the cause of the South in that war. He reached his majority after the close of hostilities, and then took up his solid career as a farmer near Schulenburg, and in the course of time acquired an estate which represented a commendable degree of material success. He died at the home of his son in Engel. His characteristics were industry, intelligent management of his own affairs and useful relationship with his community. He was always a democrat, though never a candidate for office, and his public service was principally represented as a school trustee. He came of a Catholic family but took little interest in church affairs. He grew up with a knowledge of the Bohemian tongue, and afterwards acquired both German and English. He was a member of the Sons of Hermann. John Bucek married Bertha Ermis, who was born at Mistek in Bohemia, and came to the United States when about five years of age. She is still living and now resides in Whar-ton County. Her children are: John C.; Frank, of Wharton County; Charles, of Wharton County; Philip, of Port Lavaca; Alphonse, of Victoria; Lillie and William, of Wharton.
John C. Bucek was born near Schulenburg, Texas, November 12,1872, and spent the years of his minority on his father's farm. His education came from district schools, supplemented by a business course in the Capital Business College of Austin. His entrance into business life was as clerk in Engel for I. J. Gallia, with whom he remained two years. He then engaged in the saloon business, and after two years put in a .stock of general merchandise, conducting both establishments until his stock and store were wiped out by a disastrous fire in 1902. This was a heavy blow to his rising prosperity, but he set to work and has more than recovered the ground lost. When he resumed business he secured his stock on credit and has since acquired a substantial place in the village, and has a business that is known to all the residents of that locality. His property represents much labor and effort. Back of his place of business is the chief beauty spot of the village. It is a small park, with a band stand and with accommodations for the amusement and comfort of the villagers, who make that their chief place of resort during the summer evenings. From the front gate leading up to the building is a row of tall cedars, overarching the walk, and this feature alone makes his place the most conspicuous one in the town.
Mr. Bucek was married October 10, 1894, in Engel to Miss Anna Nitschmann, whose father came to Texas from Germany, and until his death followed farming near Engel: Mr. and Mrs. Bucek have one daughter, Blanche, now a young lady of sixteen and attending school. In politics Mr. Bucek is associated with the democratic party and is a member of the Sons of Hermann, of the S. P. J. S. T. and the Order of Puritans. -- pp. 1379-1380.
JONATHAN L. BURKE. Another of the progressive and loyal young men who are honoring their native State of Texas by their character and services is Mr. Burke, who is the efficient and popular postmaster of Elgin, Bastrop County, and who has the exceptional distinction of having succeeded his wife in this office and having here gained his initial experience in the details of postoffice administration under the regime of the gracious young woman who later became his wife and who made an excellent record as postmistress.
Mr. Burke was about twenty years of age when, in 1900, he assumed a clerical position in the Elgin postoffice, whose presiding genius at the time was Miss Florence Sheasby, who is now his wife. He has continued his service with the local postoffice since that time, served for one year as assistant postmaster, and in 1908 he succeeded his wife as the chief executive of the office, his appointment having been made under the administration of President Roosevelt and reappointment having been made in 1912, under the regime of President Taft, so that his present term of office will expire in August, 1916. After serving his first term he was reappointed without an opposing candidate having appeared in the field.
Jonathan L. Burke was born at Flatonia, Fayette County, Texas, on the 22d of December, 1881, and near that village his childhood days were passed on the homestead farm of his father, the while he made good use of the advantages afforded in the local schools, though his attendance was somewhat desultory, owing to the demands placed upon him when a boy in connection with the work of the home farm. It was his, however, to gain that training that has consistently been pronounced the equivalent of a liberal educationthat to be acquired in connection with the activities of a printing and newspaper office. When fifteen years of age Mr. Burke assumed the dignified position of "printer's devil" in a newspaper office at Flatonia, where he gained practical knowledge of the "art preservative of all arts" and where he continued his services until he had attained to the age of eighteen years. Within this period his newspaper association enabled him to form the acquaintance and become on friendly terms with some of the leading politicians of the state, and this association has given him an official standing of exceptional order in connection with postoffice service in this section of his native state.
The postmaster of Elgin is a son of Isaac R. and Henrietta (Lane) Burke, the former of whom died in March, 1914, at Liberty Hill, Williamson County, where his wife passed to the life eternal in 1908. Isaac R. Burke was born in North Carolina and came to Texas after the close of the Civil war, in company with his parents, who established their home in Angelina County, where the Village of Burke was later named in honor of his father. He was a young man at the time of the family removal to Texas and was reared to the sturdy discipline of the farm, his active association with and allegiance to the basic industry of agriculture having continued until the time of his death. He had served as a youthful soldier of the Confederacy prior to coming to Texas, and though he was a man of alert mentality and excellent judgment, conditions were such that he was denied more than the most meager of educational advantages in his youth. He was the youngest of five sons in a very large family of children, and his father, of Irish lineage, continued his residence at Flatonia until his death, his life having been one of consecutive and unassuming industry, as was also that of the son, the latter's sterling worth of character having gained to him secure place in the confidence and good will of his fellow men. His wife was a daughter of Jonathan Lane, who likewise was of staunch Irish ancestry, and who became a property owner and favorably known citizen near Flatonia, Texas. Isaac R. and Henrietta (Lane) Burke became the parents of five children, of whom the first-born, Pleasant H., died in San Antonio, having married but having left no children. Hal B. is a resident of Winters, Runnels County; Jonathan L., of this review, was the next in order of birth, and Misses Price and Mary Burke maintain their home at Liberty Hill, Williamson County.
Though reared in the faith of the democratic party, Jonathan Lane Burke's association with republican leaders in central Texas after he had become identified with the postoffice service led him to readjust his political views and to transfer his allegiance to the latter party, though this change was made after he had given careful study to economic^ and governmental questions and had become convinced that the principles and policies of the republican party were best intended to conserve the welfare of the nation. Thus he cast his first presidential vote for President McKinley, in 1900, and he has voted for each republican presidential candidate since that time. Since 1905 Mr. Burke has attended every republican state convention held in Texas, and as a delegate to each of these conventions he has been assigned to service on important committees of the same. He was a member of the republican state central committee for some time and in 1912 he served as permanent secretary of the republican committee of the Tenth Congressional District. He has had intimate association with the republican leaders in Texas and with prominent representatives of the party from other states of the Union.
Mr. Burke is one of the appreciative and valued members of the Elgin lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has passed all of the official chairs, besides which he served for a number of years as secretary of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He was reared under the influences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, but is not formally identified with any religious organization.
When Mr. Burke initiated his association with the postoffice at Elgin there was no rural free-delivery service from the same, but through the personal efforts of his wife, as postmistress and of himself as postmaster, six rural routes have been established and give service from this headquarters. He was also primarily instrumental in obtaining for the Village of Elgin the free-delivery service, which is still effectively maintained, Elgin having been one of the first villages to gain this service after Congress had made appropriation for such amplification of the postoffice system in villages. He has put into use an effective filing system for the money-order department of the Elgin postoffice, though such record is not demanded in offices of this class, and because of the volume of business transacted in the office he utilizes a canceling machine for stamps, no other third-class postoffice in the state being thus equipped. Mr. Burke is an active and valued member of the Texas Postmasters' Association, of which he has served as secretary and the meetings of which he has attended with regularity. His administration as postmaster has been marked0 by efficiency, progressiveness and an earnest desire to bring the local service up to the highest possible standard.
In March, 1906, was soleninized the marriage of Mr. Burke to Miss Florence Sheasby, who was at the time postmistress of Elgin and who was reared to adult age in this community, her education having been of liberal order and having been completed in excellent institutions of higher academic order. She was a popular teacher in the rural schools of Bastrop County at the time when she received appointment to the position of postmistress at Elgin, in 1897, and under the administration of the lamented President McKinley. She succeeded Mrs. Julia K. Miles, was reappointed by President McKinley, received two commissions under the administration of President Roosevelt and continued to serve until 1908, when'she resigned the'office in favor of her husband, who had been her valued assistant in the postoffice for nearly eight years. Mrs. Burke is a prominent and popular factor in the leading social activities of Elgin and is specially active in club and charitable work. She is a daughter of Dr. Sam H. and Fannie (Moore) Sheasby, and her father became one of the pioneers of the Elgin community, to which section of Texas he came from the State of Arkansas. He was a skilled representative of the medical profession and was the first physician to engage in practice at Elgin, where he also owned and conducted the first mercantile establishment. Both he and his wife are now deceased, and of their children Mrs. Burke is the youngest; Alice became the wife of George Carter and is now deceased; Jessie is the wife of Jefferson F. Meeks, of Elgin; and Effie is the wife of Lee P. Gatlin, of this place. Mr. and Mrs. Burke have no children. -- pp. 1631-1633.