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.
CHARLES E. NESRSTA. For upwards of half a century the Nesrsta family has been one of prominence and valuable service in Fayette County. Charles E. Nesrsta, of the second generation, is well known as a Flatonia lawyer, and his father before him was one of the ablest and best known educators in this section of the state.
Antone Nesrsta, founder of the family in Fayette County, was born in the Town of Zlin, in the Province of Moravia, Austria, on September 8, 1851. In 1869 he came to the United States with his mother and brother, landing in New York after seven weeks spent on board a sailing vessel in crossing the ocean. From New York they came South, locating in the southern end of Fayette County. The father of Antone, who died in Europe, had been a government forester, and had also served his regular enlistment as a soldier. After coming to Texas the members of the family took up farming, rented land for several years, and finally got themselves established in a degree of comfort and with rising prosperity. Antone's inclinations, however, were all towards the profession of educator, and he soon took up teaching. He had received a liberal education in his native land and may possibly have received some instruction in the English language before coming to this country. Anyhow, he had a fluent command of that tongue and made his mark as a teacher in public schools. That was his profession, carried on at Praha, continuously for a period of thirty-seven years, with only one year of interruption, during which twelve months his family induced him to rest. He then returned to his work at the same place and died while still practically in the harness. The Praha school was graded under his supervision, and it was noted as one of the best schools in Fayette County. Professor Nesrsta turned out many young teachers during those years and his popularity and efficiency made his school much above the average and pupils from outside the district often came to attend his classes. He possessed not only the gift of imparting information, but also that of inspiring others to work and cultivate their minds and ambitions at the same time. Though not gifted as a speaker, he could express himself forcibly as a writer. His penmanship was extraordinary, and samples of his handwriting were almost as regular and perfect as a copy book. For a number of years he was a notary public, and in that way his penmanship was introduced into many public documents. The people in that section frequently exhibit with pride old deeds and other legal instruments bearing the impress of his penmanship.
Antone Nesrsta became a citizen soon after coming to America and was always allied with the democratic party. He satisfied himself with merely voting, was frequently an election judge, but had no higher political aspirations. He was a leader in the Catholic Church and an active factor in establishing and maintaining the church at Praha, having aided in the erection of its new building. Like many of his fellow countrymen he had a talent for music, played with considerable skill on the flute and violin and occasionally formed one of the church orchestra for special occasions. The mother of Antone Nesrsta was Rosa Krupala who died at the age of eighty-three years in 1905. Her other son was Charles Nesrsta, a farmer near Praha.
Antone Nesrsta was married in 1874 to Miss Anna Kubicek, a daughter of Frank Kubicek, who came to this country from Bohemia. Mrs. Nesrsta was born on board the sailing vessel which brought the Kubicek family to this country. She died in November, 1897. The children were: Charles E.; Frank A., a banker of Flatonia, who married Martha Zuhm; Cecilia, wife of A. F. Kubala, of LaGrange; Annie, wife of I. J. Parma, of LaGrange; Felix F., a merchant in Flatonia, who married Amelia Kotzebue; Emma, wife of Charles E. Hackebeil, of LaGrange; Anita, wife of Thomas Prajer, of Eads, Colorado; Boy, of LaGrange; and Adella, wife of Gus Herzik, of Engel, Texas.
Charles E. Nesrsta was born at Praha in Fayette County, November 6, 1875. He was educated in the school conducted by his father, and has inherited the scholarly traits of his elder. He began life as a teacher at the age of seventeen and for six years taught in the vicinity of Flatonia. He then took a course in the Alamo Business College at San Antonio, where he was graduated August 6, 1897, following which a Flatonia firm employed him as bookkeeper. With the closing out of the business he took up the study of law in the firm of Lane & Lane at LaGrange and continued until admitted to the bar in June, 1899.
Mr. Nesrsta was examined for admittance to the bar before Judge H. Teichmueller, the committee being Judge C. E. Lane, J. F. Wolters and Judge L. B. Moore. The examination covered the usual grounds for admission and the committee recommended that a license be issued. Judge Teichmueller was not satisfied and wanted a more thorough examination made. He felt that the young man had not read law long enough to be qualified to join the bar and requested the privilege of putting a few questions of his own on a certain date. At this private examination Judge Teichmueller touched on many matters of which Mr. Nesrsta knew little or nothing, and finally, feeling his weakness on many points, he declared to the judge frankly that he was unable to reply adequately to the questions at issue. Feeling that the applicant possessed merit and a considerable judgment, the judge asked for another hearing, and at the end of a series of questionings finally asked: "What would you do if you were a district judge and a young man came before you as plaintiff in a suit for damages against a young lady who had broken her contract of engagement with him and refused marrying him?" Mr. Nesrsta answered that a young lady was responsible for her contract after attaining the age of eighteen, but notwithstanding this fact, he considered marriage so important that if she discovered before the ceremony that her fiance was unfit for her life companion and that they could not live in peace and harmony together, he would concede her the right to break off the engagement and refuse the young man a judgment. The judge said: "Young man, that is just what I did in a case at Victoria, and you watch the case to see what becomes of it in the higher court. You are entitled to your sheepskin.''
Following his admission to the bar Mr. Nesrsta took charge of the branch office of the firm of Lane & Lane at Flatonia and continued practicing with that firm until the Lane Brothers dissolved partnership. Since then he has carried on an individual practice, in which he confines himself to civil business and to the execution of conveyances and office work. He is city attorney of Flatonia and in 1910 in that capacity prepared the bond issue for the public schools. For eight years he was justice of the peace of his precinct. He is a democrat, confining his work largely to local affairs and has been an occasional attendant at state conventions.
On February 7, 1899, Mr. Nesrsta married Miss Annie Ziegelbauer, daughter of Mat and Annie Ziegelbauer. Both her parents were natives of Texas and of Bohemian parentage. While Mr. Nesrsta has made an enviable record as a citizen and as a lawyer, it is with commendable pride that he regards the fine family of children in the household over which he presides. These eight young people are named Annie, Olga, Marie, Charles, George, Edith, Alice and Benjamin. It is a musical household. The talent is inherited from both sides, but particularly from the Nesrsta family, and it has already been mentioned that the late Antone Nesrsta had considerable skill as a performer on the flute and violin. The Nesrsta family orchestra is one of no mean distinction and ability. Mr. Nesrsta and five of his children comprise this talented group of performers. He and one of his daughters play the violin, another daughter is the piano accompanist, still another takes the cornet part, while one of the boys handles the trombone and the youngest, a boy of seven, plays four instruments, usually designated as tympani, including the bass and snare drum, the bells and triangle. This little organization not only finds pleasure for its members and affords entertainment to others, but through its work is acquiring a degree of'culture such as no other one agency could supply. -- pp. 1514-1516.
REV. LOUIS P. NETARDUS. One of the flourishing Catholic parishes in the country around Flatonia is that of Praha, with its Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Netardus is the intelligent and hard working priest of this parish and is a churchman who has been identified with his calling in Texas for more than twenty years. Rev. P. Netardus was ordained at Victoria in 1894 by Right Rev. Claudius Neraz and was immediately assigned to work in Victoria as assistant priest for two years and as a professor of philosophy and Latin. His next position was at Hallettsville, where he remained six years, and had charge of the missions at Koerth, Smothers Creek and Nada. He built new churches at Smothers Creek and Nada. From Hallettsville Father Netardus came to Praha as the successor of Rev. J. V. Vrana. He also has charge of the mission of Flatonia, where he erected the church building and at Praha the pastor's residence, a commodious two-story stone structure, was built under his direction. Besides his ministerial and pastoral work Father Netardus is a frequent newspaper contributor, particularly to Bohemian publications, and under his name are occasionally published articles treating of Christian apologetics in the Houston Post.
Louis P. Netardus was born in the Province of Moravia, in the City of Frankstadt, June 22, 1866, and his family have been identified with Southern Texas for the past thirty-five years. His father, Francis Netardus, a native of the same community and of a family that was for many generations identified with the City of Vsetin, Moravia, and consisting largely of tradesmen, was a cloth dyer. Francis Netardus married Agnes Drozd. In 1880 the father, mother and all the children except Louis P. came to the United States, settled near Hallettsville, and took up farming. The former is still living in that locality at the age of eighty-four years, while his wife passed away in 1898. Their children were: Frank, who died near Hallettsville leaving a family; Cyrill, a farmer near Hallettsville; Louis P.; Charles, a farmer in Lavaca County; Mary, wife of John Kalivoda, of Sweet Home, Texas.
Father Netardus spent the first fifteen years of his life in his native country. He attended the city schools of his native town for eight years, and in 1881 embarked on a vessel at Bremen, the Frankfurt, and a number of days later was landed at Galveston. He soon joined his parents at Hallettsville and spent four years on the farm. It was then decided that he should devote his life to the ministry and he took up his preparation at St. Joseph's Seminary in Victoria. He spent nine years there as a student of the classics, philosophy and theology and also became versed in various languages, particularly the English. Father netardus preaches in Bohemian, German and English, and has a speaking command of the Spanish and Polish. Immediately after his ordination as a priest he took up the work of his calling and has shown remarkable energy and ernestness in looking after his people and in upbuilding the various churches of which he has had charge. In 1909 Father Netardus took out citizenship papers and for a number of years has interested himself in general civic, political and social movements. -- pp. 1380-1381.
REV. FREDERICK NEUBERT. For nearly twenty years Father Neubert has been in the active work of the Catholic ministry in Southern Texas, in and about Fayette County. He is now pastor of St. John's parish at Ammansville [Ammannsville], and is regarded as one of the most vigorous leaders and upbuilders of his church in this section of Texas. While his devotion to the ministry has not allowed him to become as well known as men in other walks of life, Father Neubert has the qualities of manhood and character which, outside the church, would have brought him distinction in any of the professions, or in business or politics. He has spent twenty-two years in Southern Texas, having come to the state and to the United States in 1893, along with his parents and brothers and sisters.
Father Neubert was born in Friedek, an industrial center of Silesia, Austria, January 30, 1872. He grew up in his native city, where his father, Frederich Neubert was a merchant. For generations back the family have lived in that one locality, and had been at different times identified with official life, with the church and with business. Frederich Neubert married Francisco Klisch, whose people were identified with the industries, chiefly in the manufacture of cotton goods. Father Neubert was the oldest of four children, and the only other survivor is Mary, wife of Charles Klimitshek, living near Hallettsville. The family came to the United States in 1893, and the father died at Hallettsville in 1894. The mother is now housekeeper for Father Neubert.
His early education was acquired in his native town. At the age of eight years he entered the gymnasium at Troppau, the capital of Silesia, and was there seven years. He did his classical work in that institution, and after coming to America finished his studies in philosophy and theology at Victoria in St. Joseph's College. At the end of four years he was ordained in 1896 at St. Mary's Church by Bishop Forrest, of the San Antonio diocese. He was ordained with Rev. Father Hefferman, who is now stationed at Bandera, Texas.
Father Neubert's first work was as assistant priest at Hallettsville for two years. He was then assigned to Ammansville, Bluff and Plum, and remained in charge of those localities three years. His next pastorate was at St. John's Church, in Fayette County, near Schulenburg, and he did an important work in maintaining and developing the church activities in that vicinity for ten years. Since then he has resumed his pastorate at Ammansville and Bluff. Soon after coming to the United States Father Neubert took out citizenship papers and has been a voter for eighteen years. While not a politician, and primarily devoted to the interests of his church, he takes some interest in government affairs and has declared himself for democratic principles. Father Neubert, like many men of his profession and class is an excellent linguist, has a mastery over a number of languages both ancient and modern, but his favorite tongues are the Bohemian and Polish. -- pp.1326-1327.
ERNST NITSCHKE. A representative of a German family that has been located in Fayette County, Texas, since the close of the Civil war, Ernst Nitschke is one of the leading business men of LaGrange, where he is the proprietor of a flourishing gin business. While he is a business man primarily, he has displayed an interest in the welfare of the community in which he has spent so long a period of years, and where he is known as a steady and reliable business man and a citizen who discharges his responsibilities in a faithful manner.
The father of Mr. Nitschke, Ernst Nitschke, Sr., was born at Schlesin, Germany, December 26, 1842. He received an ordinary education in the schools of his native locality and grew up on the family homestead farm, his youth being passed in agricultural pursuits and in the management of the cotton gin connected with the home property. Shortly after the close of the Civil war he emigrated to the United States, as the only member of his father's family to do so, and was a single man when he came to Texas. Mr. Nitschke was looking for a place where opportunities for a poor man were to be found, and his first employment was with a Mr. Kirsch, in the LaGrange locality. He was engaged as a farm hand until the time of his marriage, at which time he became a renter in the same community, and finally accumulated sufficient means to purchase a tract of land on the Rutersville Road, now the Schott Farm, where his son, Ernst, was born, and where the family continued to reside for a period of seven years and where Mr. Nitschke's first home was established. When he disposed of this property he purchased a smaller tract within two miles of this place, on which he remained three years, and his next farm was the last one which he owned. This was located on the Ellinger Road, and there he spent twenty-four years. Mr. Nitschke, from a poor, practically friendless emigrant, developed into one of the substantial men of his community, and the owner of many acres of valuable property. He purchased a large tract of the Columbia [Colorado?] River bottom, on the north side, at a time when it was comparatively cheap, thus displaying his business acumen and good judgment, and of the 900 acres which he owned 700 acres were under cultivation, Mr. Nitschke employing much tenant labor in its development. He provided labor thus for ten families, became a large cotton raiser, and has also a large gin on the land. This was all formerly known as the Short property.
Mr. Nitschke, as the foregoing would indicate, was one of the thrifty men of his locality, was possessed of great industry, and his excellent management, coupled with his energy and enterprise, made him financially independent. In 1903 he left the farm and moved to LaGrange, where he purchased the gin property which is now the Nitschke gin, but ill health prevented his taking an active part in its operation, and he died at his home, March 2, 1908. His career should prove of encouragement to those who are handicapped at the start of their careers by a lack of finances.
Mr. Nitschke took out his naturalization papers and became a "burger" not long after coming to the United States. He voted the republican ticket, but this action formed the whole of his connection with political affairs. He never essayed to public office and had no war record, while his sole fraternal connection was with the Sons of Hermann. He was reared in the faith of the Catholic Church, to which he remained faithful throughout his life. Mr. Nitschke married Miss Caroline Horak, who still survives him, and they became the parents of the following children: Herman, of LaGrange, associated with his brother Ernst in the management and operation of the Nitschke gin, married Amelia Joelke and has three childrenLillian, Rudolph and Agnes; Clara, who married John Brugger, an agriculturist of Joiner, Texas, and has four childrenAnna, John, Alfred and Henry; Ernst, of this review; Anna, who is the wife of William Witt, and has five children Herbert, Leona, .Carl, Milton and Willie; Albert, a farmer at Joiner, Texas, who married Mary Salm, and has five childrenElma, Louisa, Albert, Ella and an infant; and Emma, who is the wife of Henry Hueber, a resident of LaGrange, and has one sonLawrence.
Ernst Nitschke, of this review, was born on the homestead farm on the Rutersville Road, near LaGrange, July 2, 1875, and grew to manhood in the vicinity of the county seat. His schooling was obtained at different points in the country, and he was engaged in farming until the time of his marriage, when he moved his residence to LaGrange and embarked in the gin business. He is now associated with his brother, and the gin property has been twice restored since its coming into the family possession. After it was destroyed by a conflagration in 1911, the brothers rebuilt the plant, which is now a 3-stand gin, 70-saw, of the Murry system. It is one of the two gins located at LaGrange and under the brothers' able management is controlling its full share of the business of the community. This business represents Mr. Nitschke's sole interest at LaGrange in a business way, but he has contributed to the upbuilding of the community by the erection of a splendid 2-story residence, with eight rooms, one of the handsome homes of the place.
On February 7, 1904, Mr. Nitschke was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Huebel, who is a daughter of Ignatz and Victoria (Poplicek) Huebel. Mrs. Nitschke's father was born in Germany and was a young man when he emigrated to the United States and settled in Texas. He has devoted his entire career to agricultural pursuits, and at this time is a resident of Smithville, Texas. The following children were in the Huebel family: Mary, who is the wife of John Kutzmann; Louis; Henry; Mrs. Nitschke, who was born May 16, 1884; Robert; Frank and Hugo. Mr. and Mrs. Nitschke are the parents of two children, namely, Louis and August. -- pp. 1596 -1598.
FRANK J. PARMA. In the little business community of [Ammannsville] in Fayette County, the place of leadership was accorded to the late Frank J. Parma, proprietor of the only store there, and who after an illness of six weeks died August 14, 1915.
Frank J. Parma was all but a native of Fayette County, having come to this locality when a boy of ten years, with an uncle from the Province of Moravia, Austria. He was born in the Town of Frenstad February 17, 1870, and had acquired some education before he left the old country, and in Fayette County attended the common schools and was also a student in the Sam Houston Normal School at Huntsville. The father was Frank Parma and his mother was Veronica Krc (pronounced Kerch). His parents spent all their lives in the old country, and their children were: Leo, Richard, deceased, and Frank J.
Frank J. Parma at the age of ten years sailed from Bremen, Germany, on board the Brunswick, and with other members of the party landed at Galveston after an uneventful voyage of twenty-two days. Until ready to take up life independently he made, his home with his uncle Ignaz Parma at Bluff, and his creditable position in life was altogether the result of his individual push and enterprise. As a boy he was well disciplined in the work of the farm, in raising cotton and corn, but at the age of eighteen took up the profession of school teacher. He taught his first school near Engel in Fayette County, and his work along that line continued for about twelve years. His last school was taught in Ammansville. He served as a county examiner under County Superintendent Heimann and under Superintendent Sterling. He gave up his profession as teacher to engage in merchandising at Ammansville. He opened business with a stock and capital representing about $1,500. His goods were placed in a small house which he rented and which is a part of the large building he occupied. His record as a general merchant was one of steady growth. He sold his first goods in 1900, and his stock at the time of his death was four times as large as that with which he began business fifteen years ago. He had a double store building and the Bank of Ammansville occupies quarters in the same structure. In 1914 the Ammansville State Bank was established, with Mr. Parma as one of its active promoters and he was largely concerned with its successful management in the position as cashier. The bank has a capital stock of $10,000 and its president is George Herder, Jr., while the assistant cashier is I. C. Parma.
In politics Mr. Parma manifested considerable interest in the democratic cause, attended state conventions in Galveston and Houston, and in 1912 took up the cause of Woodrow Wilson for President. In Fayette County on November 10, 1891, he married Miss Agnes Cernosek, a daughter of Joseph Cernosek. Her father was a farmer who came out from Moravia, Austria, and reared a family of six children. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Parma are: Lillie, Ivan C., Vojtech, Helen, Frank, Agnes, Vaclav, Bertie, Stanislav, and Yit. -- pp. 1342 -1343.
AUGUSTUS DAVID PAULUS, M.D., whose death at his home in Flatonia, September 4, 1895, was a great loss to the profession and to. a great community which he had served so long and faithfully, was one of the noble pioneers of the medical practice in Texas, much of his work in earlier years having been done on the sparsely settled frontier, and even at a time when in addition to the usual hardships accompanying medical attendance he risked danger from hostile Indians.
A proper memorial to his life and services is appropriate, and for this purpose a sketch which was published in the Texas Medical Journal is given with some changes and adaptations.
His father, also a physician, was Dr. Jurgen Christian Paulus of Denmark. The. late Augustus David Paulus was born at Copenhagen, July 18, 1817, and soon afterward the family moved to Kiel, Germany, where the son grew to manhood. He finished his literary studies in the University at Heidelberg, then took up the study of medicine, was graduated M. D. from the University of Kiel and received his diploma in 1839. Going to London, he spent six months in Guy's Hospital and in 'the following year, 1840, came to America, and commenced practicing in New York City after some months.
He received an appointment as assistant surgeon in the Medical Department of the United States Navy and was assigned to duty on the United States Man of War Missouri, making several voyages and being at his post when that vessel burned in 1843. Resigning his commission, he engaged in the practice of medicine first at Vevay, Indiana, and afterwards in Tennessee.
From Tennessee Doctor Paulus moved to Texas in 1861, his first location being at Gatesville, Coryell County. This wasr at that time a frontier county, and as he practiced through several adjacent counties he necessarily underwent many hardships and exposures. The county suffered from frequent incursions by hostile Indians, and often he was called upon to take his life in his own hands as it were when he crossed the trackless prairies to visit some lone pioneer settler's cabin. Soon after he came to Texas the war broke out and he accepted the position of surgeon in Major Erath's company of Texas troops, which was stationed on the Texas frontier guarding against Indian attack. In 1867, after the war, he removed to Fayette County, settling first at High Hill, and in 1886 moving to Flatonia, where he resided until his death nine years later. In that time he endeared himself to the people of the county, and practiced his profession for rich and poor alike without discrimination.
At one time he served as president of the West Texas District Medical Association, and it was by his efforts that the medical profession of Fayette County was organized and he was first president of the county society. During his career as an American citizen he took an active part in politics and was a stanch democrat, and did much to assist his party in Fayette County during the heated campaign of 1892-94. In 1869 he was elected county commissioner, which at that time embodied also assessor and precinct justice of the peace. When the offices were separated he was continuously elected justice of the peace at High Hill and Schulenburg for fourteen years. These were the only offices he would ever consent to hold. As early as 1844 he attached himself to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in 1853 became a Master Mason.
Of his personal character and varied interests the following has been written: "Dr. Paulus was a man of very pronounced characteristics, strong in his likes and dislikes, a man, however, of large sympathy and at the sight of want or suffering his great heart went out alike to friend and foe. He was also liberal in his charity and many of the poor of his county mourned the loss of a benefactor. In his death the medical profession suffers the loss of one of its ablest and most respected members, and the community a useful, public spirited citizen. He was a close student, and read a great deal, spending his leisure time amongst his books, and for recreation cultivated many rare plants, amongst which he spent many hours, his garden of flowers at High Hill being one of the curiosities and attractions of that section, and said to be the finest collection in the state. In his friendships, he was peculiar: He either took a strong dislike to those he met, or formed for them a strong attachment. He was a devoted father and model husband. His principal object in life, he used to say, aside from doing all the good he could to others, was to rear and educate his children and fit them for useful .positions in life. In this ambition he was fully gratified, living to see them all grown and equipped for life and no longer dependent. upon him."
At Vevay, Indiana, Doctor Paulus met and married his first wife, Miss Lucy Peabody. Of their two children he was survived by a daughter, Mrs. Wiebke Murphy. On June 3, 1858, in Hickman County, Tennessee, Doctor Paulus married Miss Mary A. Mayberry of Centerville, Tennessee. Her two sons are J. Henry Paulus of Flatonia, and D. A. Paulus of Hallettsville, and Doctor Paulus was also survived by two daughters: Mrs. Mary A. Mahoney and Mrs, C. C. Selmen of Denver, Colorado, but Mrs. Selmen has since passed away at her home in Denver. -- pp. 1760 -1761.
J. HENRY PAULUS. Representing one of the pioneer families of Fayette County, and a son of the late Dr. A. D. Paulus, J. Henry Paulus is a citizen whose value to the community can be properly understood only by a review of his life.
J. Henry Paulus was born at Centerville, Tennessee, August 6, 1861, and a few weeks later his parents removed to Coryell County, Texas, and from there to Fayette County in 1867, where he has lived since, nearly fifty years. Details of the family history will be found on other pages. He received his early education at High Hill, under Professor Heyer, and when a young man became a clerk, at first in Schulenburg for Ignaz Russek. On leaving Russek's store he worked with cattle for a year and then came to Flatonia in September, 1879. His first employer was Tuttle & Cockrill, afterwards Vanham & Bunting, under whom he completed his ten years of activity as a clerk.
Mr. Paulus after leaving the store took up farming, and has been successfully identified with that industry for many years. He has done much trading in real estate, and is now the owner of 700 acres divided into seven different farms, and cultivates about 300 acres of his land. As a diversion to the main business of farming he keeps a herd of fine Jersey cows. Along with his other business Mr. Paulus has been responsible for the building up of the southern part of Flatonia,
Perhaps no better service can be rendered than in improving land and increasing the area of productive fields. However, Mr. Paulus has also been connected with the public service for a number of years, particularly with the forces of law and order. Soon after locating in Flatonia he was appointed a special police, and for seventeen consecutive years served as a deputy sheriff of Fayette County. He was deputy during the terms of several sheriffs, being under Lit B. Zapp for seven years, and for a time under John T. Rankin. His service as constable continued fifteen years. His record has been unusual not only for length of service but also for the firmness and efficiency that have characterized his actions in the handling of criminals. He has never had the misfortune to lose a prisoner, and has never failed to make an arrest to which he was assigned. Mr. Paulus is a member of the Association of Chiefs of Police and City Marshals, and has attended their meetings at different times. He is extremely popular both as an officer and as a citizen, is a man of large physique, possesses a genial good nature, and like many men who have proved most able in handling the criminal classes is at bottom exceedingly tender hearted.
In 1885 Mr. Paulus married Miss Annie Grissom. The oldest daughter of this union was Chloe, who died soon after reaching the flower of young womanhood at the age of twenty-two. The other children are Louise, Annie, Marjorie and Ruth. Miss Louise has graduated from the summer school of the Sam Houston Normal and is a teacher in Del Rio, Texas. Marjorie has graduated from the regular course of the Sam Houston Normal, and is now teacher in Del Rio, Texas, where her other sisters live. -- pp. 1761 -1762.
ALEXANDER RAMSEY. Now approaching the psalmist's span of three score years and ten, this honored and influential citizen of Fayette County has been a resident of Texas from the time of his nativity and is a representative of one of the sterling pioneer families of this section of the Lone Star State. Mr. Ramsey served continuously as postmaster of the Village of Winchester from 1895 until his retirement on the 1st of October, 1915. He is also president of the State Bank of Winchester, one of the staunch financial institutions of Fayette County.
Alexander Ramsey was born at Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas, on the 28th of August, 1846, and when he was a lad of five years his parents removed to Cryer's Prairie, near the present Village of Ellinger, Fayette County, where they remained until 1853, when they established their permanent home in the Winchester community, where the father passed the remainder of his life. Mr. Ramsey is a son of Martin D. and Margaret (Dabney) Ramsey, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Kentucky. Martin D. Ramsey was born at Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee, in the year 1812, and was reared to manhood in his native state, where he received limited educational advantages, the schools of the locality and period being of meager order. In 1831 he came to Texas with the well known Burleson family which was destined to become one of distinction and influence in connection with Texas history, his first wife having been a member of this family. He first settled with the Burleson Colony in Bastrop County, and he became prominently identified with the movement that resulted in the freeing of Texas from the Dominion of Mexico. His active career was devoted to agricultural pursuits and stock-growing on a modest scale, and his old homestead place in Fayette County was on the John F. Berry league of land, near Winchester, where he continued to reside until his death, in 1866, at the age of fifty-four years. He was a son of William Ramsey, who removed from his native State of North Carolina and became a pioneer farmer of Tennessee, where he continued to reside until his death, Martin D. Ramsey having been the only member of the family who came to Texas. As a young man Mr. Ramsey wedded Miss Abigail Burleson, who died near Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas, leaving no children. He later wedded Miss Margaret Dabney, a daughter of John A. Dabney, who came from Kentucky to Texas about 1833, his home having been in such proximity that the members of the family could hear the firing incidental to the historic Battle of San Jacinto. Mrs. Ramsey was then a girl (of thirteen years, her birth having occurred in 1822, and she now resides at Winchester, at the remarkable age of ninety-three years,one of the revered and most venerable pioneer women of the Lone Star State. She well recalls the hearing of the tumult of the famous battle which resulted in gaining independence to Texas. Martin D. Ramsey is survived by four children,Sarah A., who is the wife of William Faires, of Burnet County; John H., who resides at West Point, Fayette County; Alexander, who is the immediate subject of this review; and Minnie, who is the wife of William F. Brieger, of Winchester, individually mentioned on other pages of this work.
Alexander Ramsey acquired his early education principally in the schools of the Winchester community and at the age of seventeen years he enlisted as a youthful soldier in the Confederate service, at. LaGrange, where he became 'a member of an independent company commanded by Capt. William G. Webb, and went to Columbia, Brazoria County, to do guard duty at the powder magazine. Six months later the company was reorganized and Charles Smith was elected captain. Under Captain Webb the company was stationed at Anderson, Grimes County, as guard over the pistol factory there maintained by the Confederate government. After its reorganization the command proceeded to the mouth of the Brazos River and shortly prior to the close of the war it was attached to Colonel Waller's regiment, with which it proceeded into the northern part of the state, for the purpose of effecting the capture of a regiment of Confederate soldiers who were attempting to desert. The command arrived at Gainesville and captured some of the men, but before it was possible to report with these disloyal soldiers the war came to a close, Mr. Ramsey's company having been disbanded at Hempstead, Waller County. The members of the company furnished their own horses, which they of course retained after the war, as did they also their arms. Mr. Ramsey vitalized his interest in his old comrades through his affiliation with the United Confederate Veterans.
After the close of the war Mr. Ramsey resumed his activities as a farmer and stock-grower, and with these basic lines of enterprise he continued to be successfully identified, in Bastrop County, until 1890, when he established his residence at Winchester, through which place the railroad had just been completed. Here he erected a building and opened the same as a hotel, under the name of the Ramsey House. He conducted the hotel somewhat more than a decade, and in the meanwhile was one of the dominating figures in connection with the development and progress of the community. About the year 1892 he was elected justice of the peace for Precinct No. 4, and of this magisterial office he continued the incumbent about ten years, previously having served eight years in the same office in Bastrop County. In January, 1895, Mr. Ramsey was appointed postmaster at Winchester, as the successor of H. Zilss, and he continued the incumbent of this office without interruption until October 1, 1915. He is a stalwart advocate of the principles of the democratic party, though his first presidential vote was cast in support of Horace Greeley, the nominee of the ephemeral greenback party, in 1872. For more than twenty years Mr. Ramsey has been affiliated with the Knights of Honor and he is also past noble grand of Winchester Lodge, No. 125, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was one of the organizers of the "Winchester State Bank, in 1910, and has served as its president since its incorporation.
In October, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Ramsey to Miss Susan Redfield, daughter of Henry P. and Sarah (Card) Redfield, who passed the closing years of their lives in Bastrop County, Mr. Redfield having come from New England to Texas in the pioneer days. Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey three attained to years of maturity: Wallace, a bachelor, died at Winchester when thirty-five years of age; Kittie is the wife of Samuel F. Drake, a representative merchant of Winchester; and Edward H., who married Miss Mamie Roensch, is the mayor of the City of Giddings, Lee County, where he is engaged in the buying and shipping of cotton. -- pp. 1400-1402.
EDGAR U.G. REAGAN. Few families of Texas are better known for achievement in the various activities of life than that bearing the name of Reagan, members of which have attained high distinction in the professions, in business and in national politics. In the field of invention, it has been left to Edgar U. G. Reagan, of San Antonio, to perpetuate the family name, and several products of his skilled hand and brain have served to place him among the eminent members of his family.
Mr. Reagan was born June 17, 1865, in Fayette County, Texas, on the Colorado River, the family home being in that section of the county known as Rabb's Prairie, five miles above LaGrange. His parents were A. R. and Sarah (Rabb) Reagan, and his father was a cousin of John Henninger Reagan, one of the most distinguished citizens and statesmen in the history of Texas. John Henninger Reagan was born in Sevier County, Tennessee, October 8, 1818. At the age of twenty-one years he settled in Texas, where he practiced law and engaged in farming, serving two terms in the State House of Representatives, and in 1856 was elected judge of the District Court for six years, but resigned the judicial office to go to Congress from the First District, in 1867. During the Civil war he served as postmaster-general of the Confederate States, and acting secretary of the Confederate treasury. He subsequently was a member of the Constitutional Convention of Texas in 1875, and a member of Congress in 1875-1887; was United States senator in 1887-1891, and afterwards chairman of the Texas State Railroad Commission. On the maternal side Mr. Reagan is descended from the Rabb family, also famous in the history of Texas.
Edgar U. G. Reagan's father was a miller, and the lad from his earliest boyhood took an interest in mechanics, and has always managed to be connected therewith. He knows machinery most thoroughly, having seemingly an inborn talent for it, and can do anything with any sort of an implement, tool or machine. Although without technical education, he is widely known as an expert draughtsman, with the ability to draw a more accurate line without the use of the gauge than almost anyone else. Mr. Reagan lived at the old home in Fayette County until he was twenty-one years of age, and then went to Flatonia and later became connected with a cotton seed oil mill and became an expert in cotton seed crushing machinery. Mr. Reagan first became known in Texas as an inventor when he perfected the round-bale cotton ginning system. Numbers of these presses were built and installed at gins and much cotton was baled in this manner, but a condition arose which, as stated at the time, had not been foreseen. It was the fact that round-bale cotton could not be loaded into ships' holds with as much compactness as the square bale. The disinclination of ship-owners to handle round-bale cotton, together with an active fight by the square-bale people, caused the collapse of the movement in favor of the square bales. Subsequently Mr. Reagan perfected many other inventions, many of which pertain to the automobile, and came to the front with what is probably his most important and valuable product in 1915. This is an attachment for motor car engines which will save from 30 to 40 per cent in gasoline. The invention allows for the superheating of steam by the wasted heat of the exhaust of the engine. The steam is taken into each cylinder along with the introduction of the gasoline vapor by the vacuum pull of the cylinders, and the steam acts as a propulsive force along with the gas explosion. Much less gasoline is required, for the invention provides for an increase of power in the engine by utilizing the wasted heat from the cylinders, which is returned to the cylinders and compounded. A number of the large automobile manufacturers of the country have already asked the privilege of trying it out. Mr. Reagan has lived at San Antonio since about 1905. He spent three years prior to 1915 at Detroit, Michigan, in the perfection of the above and other devices, one of which the United States Patent Office will soon make known to the world as his latest and most valuable of all. This is a differential for all motor-driven cars, known as the floating pinion device.
Mr. Reagan was married to Miss Orana Callaway, who was born and reared in Wilson County, Texas, and they have eight living children: Emmett, Ivan, Enrique, Bolton, Fay, Marguerite, Edgar and Oralee. -- pp. 1309-1310.
FRITZ REINSCH. By training and experience Mr. Reinsch has become a man of marked versatility in business and not only is he a worthy representative of the sterling German element of citizenship that has played an important part in the development and upbuilding of Southern Texas but he has also become known as one of the prominent, successful and influential business men and progressive citizens of Winchester, Fayette County, where he owns and conducts a well equipped black-smithing and general machine shop and is also engaged in the general merchandise business. He has been a resident of Texas for somewhat more than thirty years and through his own ability and earnest efforts has achieved independence and definite prosperity.
Mr. Reinsch was born in the ancient and splendidly fortified City of Magdeburg, Province of Saxony, Germany, on the 31st of July, 1860, and his early advantages were of meager order, his father, Reinsch, having been a shoemaker by trade and vocation and in modest financial circumstances. Reinsch wedded Carolina Mathes, and he died when the subject of this review was a child, leaving his widow with four children, of whom Fritz was the youngest. The devoted mother made the best possible provision for her fatherless children and continued her residence in Saxony until the time of her death, both she and her husband having been consistent communicants of the Lutheran Church. Fritz, the youngest of the children, is the only representative of the immediate family in the United States, and all of the others are now deceased; Minna, the eldest, became the wife of Julius Bach; Julius served in the German army and after his retirement he died while still a young man and a bachelor; Mrs. Bertha Trener died in Saxony and left two sons.
After receiving such educational training as the family station and resources made possible, Fritz Reinsch entered upon an apprenticeship to the trade of lockmaker and machinist, in his native city, and he became a skilled artisan in both lines. After serving three years in the German army, as a member of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, Tenth Company of the Fourth Army Corps, he found employment in a railroad roundhouse near Magdeburg, and through his earnings in,this connection he saved the funds which made possible his immigration to the United States, where he felt assured of better opportunities for the winning of independence through his individual efforts.
In 1884 Mr. Reinsch sailed from Hamburg to Liverpool, and at the latter port he embarked on the City of Rome, through the medium of which vessel he received transportation to the City of New York. From the national metropolis he continued his journey, by railroad, to Galveston, Texas, and for several years thereafter he was employed in a cotton gin at Paige, Bastrop County. He then devoted a year to independent operations as a farmer near the little Village of Hill's Prairie, that county, and he then found employment in a cotton gin near Eagle Lake, Colorado County. In 1899 Mr. Reinsch made permanent location in the Village of Winchester, where he established a blacksmith shop. For several years thereafter he gave his attention to general blacksmith work, but in 1905 he engaged also in the general merchandise business, the expansion of which justified his erection of his excellent brick store building a few years later. His blacksmith shop now includes an excellent equipment for general machine and repair work, and not only does he give close attention to all departments of his business enterprise at Winchester but he is also the owner of a good farm, in the improving of which property he was effectively assisted by his wife and children, especially in the initial period when all took part in the removal of the setting of Johnson grass, with which the place had been liberally supplied. It will be seen from this statement that practical industry is essentially a family trait and that Mr. Reinsch has found able coadjutors in the members of his own household. In politics Mr. Reinsch gives support to the cause of the democratic party but has had no ambition for political office, though he has served as a member of election boards and is loyal and progressive as a citizen. He and his family hold to the faith of the Lutheran Church.
On the 18th of July, 1889, in Fayette County, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Reinsch to Miss Anna Lowke, a daughter of Andreas and Henrietta (Deurlich) Lowke, who immigrated from Saxony, Germany and established their home in Texas in 1883. Mr. Lowke became a prosperous farmer in Fayette County, and his widow now maintains her residence in the Village of Winchester. Of their children it may be recorded that John is a resident of Vernon, Wilbarger County; Mary is the wife of John Grescher, of Winchester; Anna, who was born September 8, 1870, is the Wife of Mr. Reinsch of this review; Lydia is the wife of Charles Grescher, of Houston; and Ernst is a blacksmith and machinist at Vernon, this state.
Mr. and Mrs. Reinsch have eight children namely: Rachel, Esther, Hermann, Carl, Louise, Max, Martin and Leon. Rachel is the wife of Lucas Hart, of Winchester, and they have one child, Evelyn. Esther is. a clerical assistant in her father's well equipped mercantile establishment. Hermann is employed in the blacksmith and machine shops of his uncles, the Lowke Brothers, at Vernon. Carl is his father's assistant in the blacksmith and machine shop. Louise is still attending school and assists at times in the store of her father. -- pp. 1405-1406.
REV. EUGENE COKE ROUTH. For the past fifteen years Reverend Mr. Routh has been a prominent figure in the Baptist ministry of Texas. While he has served as pastor, and is still called upon to fill pulpits, his principal work for several years has been in the field of religious journalism, and he is now editor of the Baptist Standard at Dallas.
The Baptist Standard is a recognized institution in the Southwest and one of the great religious journals in the country. With possibly one exception, it has the largest circulation of any Baptist weekly published in the United States or the world.
Mr. Routh is a writer of splendid ability and is thoroughly in love with his work both as a journalist and minister. Under his able editorial management the Baptist Standard is easily maintaining its place of power and influence as the Baptist General Convention's official journal for Texas.
A native Texan, Reverend Mr. Routh was born near Lagrange, in Fayette County, November 26, 1874, a son of Joseph Edward and M. E. (Stramler) Routh. His mother is still living. Joseph E. Routh was born in Tennessee of the well known family of that name, which is of English origin, and many of the original stock are still living in England. Joseph E. Routh went with his parents from Tennessee to Georgia, where he was reared, and in the third year of the war, though still a mere youth, joined the Confederate army and was in the fighting around Atlanta and other battles of that section during the last year of the war. In 1870 he moved to Texas, and established his home on a farm in Fayette County.
Eugene Coke Routh had a liberal education, though most of it was obtained by his own energies and persistent ambition. He attended the common schools of his native county and spent about three years in the public school at Flatonia, and from 1893 to 1897 was a student in the state university at Austin, where he graduated A. B. When a young man he taught school for nearly three years at San Saba, and, while principal, the standards of the course were so raised that the schools were placed on the accredited list with the University of Texas. He also studied for the ministry, and on being ordained carried on missionary work in the Lampasas section, and later became pastor of the Baptist Church at Lockhart. For a time he was engaged in general mission work in the Abilene territory and in 1907 moved to San Antonio and became editor of the South Texas Baptist. When the South Texas Baptist was consolidated with the Baptist Standard of Dallas in January, 1912, Mr. Routh became associate editor of the Standard and has since had his home in Dallas. In December, 1914, Doctor Gambrell, editor-in-chief, was elected secretary of the Baptist Executive Board, and his successor in the chair of editor-in-chief was Mr. Routh.
Mr. Routh was married in Winchester to Miss Mary M. Wroe, daughter of J. M. Wroe of that place and a niece of W. T. Wroe of Austin. Mr. and Mrs. Routh have five children: Mary Lucile, Ross Holland, Alice Elizabeth, Porter Wroe, and Eugene Copass. -- p. 1781.
GUS E. RUHMANN. While the thriving little City of Schulenburg has several local factories and industrial plants, one of the most distinctly individual and important is the G. E. Ruhmann factory of steel metal and wire products. It differs considerably from the typical gins and cotton oil plants of most of the smaller cities of Southern Texas, and represents the original enterprise of its owner, Gus E. Ruhmann.
Gus E. Ruhmann is a native of Fayette County, born in LaGrange August 23, 1873, and grew up in that vicinity, with an education from the public schools. Leaving school at the age of fourteen, he was thenceforth on his own responsibilities, and while living with an uncle in Shiner learned the tinner's trade, and also acquired a knowledge of the hardware business. He lived with his uncle until past twenty, and at the age of twenty-one bought his uncle's business as a partner of C. B. Wellhausen in the firm of Wellhausen & Company. After two years and three months Mr. Wellhausen became sole proprietor, and Mr. Ruhmann then engaged in business on his own account in the hardware and furniture line, tinning and plumbing, and that was his regular business seven years. He finally sold out to some citizens of Shiner, and then came to Schulenburg. His residence at Shiner was for sixteen years, and though he went there without a cent of capital and with no experience, he came away with a well established reputation for successful business operations and with some capital.
On locating at Schulenburg Mr. Ruhmann engaged in the hardware and plumbing business as a partner of G. E. Ruhmann & Brother, but in 1908 sold his interest in the establishment to his brother and took up the manufacture of furnaces, sheet metal and wire goods. His wire goods include all kinds of muzzles and baskets, while his metal work comprises different lines of guttering and fittings, pipes, shingles, galvanized troughs, ridge rolls, cresting and flue caps, smoke stacks and steel furnaces.
It will be a matter of interest to describe some of the successive steps by which Mr. Ruhmann became engaged in manufacturing About the time the Spindletop oil fields inaugurated the era of fuel oil at a price so cheap that such fuel came into general use in the operating of gins and oil mills, there was a general demand for steel oil tanks for the storing of oils. It was while at Shiner that Mr. Ruhmann perceived the possibilities in the manufacture of such tanks, and accordingly acquired the machinery and necessary facilities for manufacture. He equipped several mills and two or three gins with the tanks, and then all at once the demand seemed to fall off. In order that his machinery might not stand idle or prove a useless investment, he looked around for some other article that he might manufacture. He thus turned his attention to the making of a furnace. The first furnace he made was after the plan of another party, but he saw the idea w.as a good one and set about to improve it. He added the "Flue Wing" around the kettle, this serving to economize half the fuel required, also made it adjustable and other valuable improvements, and after perfecting his furnace and assuring himself of its usefulness as a marketable commodity, he applied for a patent, which he secured in three weeks. He then became a salesman on the road, and the first week more than $800 worth of furnaces were sold, and Mr. Ruhmann devised and increased his factory equipment for the regular manufacture of the goods. He has since added and patented other improvements to his furnace, and now has on file an application for a patent to a basket.
The present factory at Schulenburg was erected in 1914, and at full capacity the plant requires the services of twenty-five employes. He has been engaged in the manufacture of furnaces since 1908 and has shipped his products all over Texas and other Southern States. The enterprise is all his own, and is managed and controlled by the man who left LaGrange more than twenty-eight years ago to seek his fortune in the world. Mr. Ruhmann also has a Canadian patent, .and his furnaces for the Dominion market are made on a royalty by the Record Foundry & Machine Company at Moncton, Ontario.
Mr. Ruhmann is also president of the Baumgarten & Matula Company, a lumber business in Schulenburg. He is a member of the Fayette County School Board, but has filled no offices in his home town, and is not in politics, though in every sense a patriotic American and a public spirited citizen. He is a grandson of Edward Ferd and Helen (Moos) Ruhmann and a son of Philip Ruhmann, who was born in Colorado County, Texas, during the '40s, was a man who had little education, was a carpenter by trade, and spent most of his life in LaGrange, where he died at the age of forty-four in 1889. He left his widow with a family of eight children, of whom Gus E. was the oldest son, and he being the oldest most of the responsibility of taking care of the family depended on him. He had the unusual record of having served on both sides during the Civil war. He was forced into the Confederate service at the beginning, but as soon as opportunity presented itself made his escape and joined the Federal forces, and for this service his widow draws a pension from the Government, Philip Ruhmann married Lena Melcher, whose father was an early German settler. Their children were: Louisa, wife of Gus Worth of LaGrange; Gus E.; Max of Schulenburg ; Albert, of LaGrange; John, of Ballinger, Texas; Louis, of Victoria; Lena, who married George Moos of LaGrange; and August, of LaGrange, who is in the hardware business.
Mr. Gus E. Ruhmann was married in Schulenburg June 11, 1896, to Miss Elizabeth Baumgarten, who is a daughter of the late Christian Baumgarten, one of the most eminent business men and citizens of the Schulenburg district, whose career is sketched on other pages of this publication. Mr. and Mrs. Ruhmann have four children: Ernstina, a student in the College of Industrial Arts at Denton, Texas; Gus, Jr.; Annie; and Agnes. -- pp. 1343-1344.
ERNST RUSSEK. A family that as much as any other has contributed to the development of the country in and about Schulenburg and that section of Southern Texas is the Russek, which was introduced to that vicinity in 1869 by Franz Russek. Many of the old time settlers in this community, especially the sturdy Bohemians and Germans, have many kindly memories of Franz Russek, whose chief business in life was in looking after the interests of his fellow countrymen during the early stages while they were getting located in the New World. Franz Russek was the father of the late Ignaz Russek, whose life was likewise one of boundless activity and countless benefits. The sons of Ignaz Russek are among the leaders in business enterprise at Schulenburg, one of them being Ernst Russek, above named.
Franz Russek came to Texas from Austria, having been born in 1816 in the Town of Mahren, Moravia. He acquired a liberal education, being well versed in the German as well as the Bohemian language,. As a business man he owned a cloth mill at Hustopec, of which town he was one time mayor. He also owned large landed estates, but sold all his various property interests before coming to the United States. Franz Russek had a philosophic mind, and for a number of years had seriously considered the economic and political conditions under which he and his fellow countrymen lived. It was as a result of this thought and observation that he determined to come to the New World which exemplified human liberty to the highest extent, where opportunities were almost unlimited, and where less attention was paid to the military. He left with his numerous family in 1869, sailing from Bremen to New Orleans, and came out to the then terminus of the Southern Pacific Railway at Alleyton, and from there to Fayette County made the journey by team and wagon. He bought the farm which now constitutes the home of his grandchildren. This land and its first occupants have a history. It was part of the grant of the Austin Colony, and its first owner was Warren Lyons, who built, many years before the Civil war, a log house. The Indians on one of their raids killed the senior Lyons and carried off his son Warren, a lad of ten years. This son remained with the tribe on the plains, was adopted and adapted Indian habits and only when twenty-three years of age, when visiting San Antonio with his fellow tribesmen was recognized and induced to return to his old home and visit his mother. He had been led to believe that his mother was dead. He approached his mother's home decked out in all his Indian regalia, and the sudden appearance of the son whom she had long since thought dead so affected his mother that she fell in a swoon. The son was then induced to remain, and finally joined the Texas Rangers, a service which provided him with a life of excitement as a substitute for his former career as an Indian.
It was the old log house on the Lyons place that provided the first habitation for Franz Russek and his family. Though his enterprise in Fayette County was as a farmer, his main business for many years was emigrant agent for the Southern Pacific Railway. .When this line was built through Schulenburg, the builder and superintendent, Mr. Pierce, gave Mr. Russek a life pass over the system. Mr. Russek probably used this road more than any other citizen in his business as agent in behalf of the German and Bohemian emigrants who were seeking homes in Southern Texas. When families found themselves too poor to make the passage from Austria he many times advanced money, and after his countrymen arrived he helped them locate homes and taught them the art of farming in the United States, and in many ways proved himself valuable as an adviser, practical assistant and friend until they were well versed in the ways of the new country. Probably more than any other individual he deserves credit as a direct cause for the settlement and development of the whole country tributary to and beyond Schulenburg and Weimar, and it has been estimated that thousands of families sought homes in Texas through his influence.
When the town of Schulenburg was located on the newly constructed railroad, Franz Russek started the first store and for a short time was associated with his son Ignaz. Merchandising was only temporary, however, as his time was demanded by his business in looking after emigration. It was his practice to meet the emigrants at Galveston, and frequently had the responsibilities connected with looking after an entire shipload of newcomers. He was never active in politics, though he became a naturalized citizen soon after landing in Texas, and usually voted the democratic ticket. He belonged to the Catholic Church, was a contributor to church buildings, and gave some valuable donations in the way of decorations for the Schulenburg church.
Franz Russek's first wife, who died in Europe, left him one child, Anna, who married Frank Blumrich, of Lavaca County. For his second wife he married Miss Havran, whose children were Joseph, who lost his life in Bee County, Texas, leaving a family; Ignaz, who assumed many of the business responsibilities established by his father; Josephine, whose first husband was Henry Herder and her second Joe Schindler, and she left a family at her death in Gonzales; Frank, who lives in Skidmore; Theresa, who has a family by her marriage to I. J. Gallia of Houston; and Julia, wife of August Gallia, of Refugio. For his third wife Franz Russek married a widow, Mary Pivode, who came from Austria.
Franz Russek had a long and useful career, which came to an end by death in 1895. He was a man of rather small stature and medium weight, was smooth shaven, and possessed the quiet efficiency so characteristic of many successful business men. He talked very little except when business and business matters required it and though seldom found as a worshiper in church was consistent in his church creed and made his home a place of entertainment for priests and all his wife's circle of friends and acquaintances. He was perhaps the best known man Fayette County contained. Echoes of his popularity are still manifest towards his grandsons when his old friends meet them away from Schulenburg.
Ignaz Russek, who possessed so many of the sterling characteristics of his father, was born January 25, 1856, and was educated in both the Bohemian and German languages, most of his schooling being acquired at Neutitschein, in Germany. He was a boy of thirteen when he came to Texas, and thereafter attended no regular school. In 1870 he left the farm and became a merchant's clerk at High Hill for Mr. Seydler, and subsequently worked as bookkeeper and cotton buyer in Columbus until the yellow fever epidemic of 1873 caused his return to Schulenburg. About that time the railroad had been completed, and he became associated with his father in merchandising. Not long afterward he bought the interest of his father and conducted the business under his individual name, and until 1882 sold goods on the corner where his sons are now doing business as Russek Brothers. When Ignaz Russek sold his store he entered the banking business, starting the private bank of Ignaz Russek, and this was his chief business interest until his sudden death on January 6, 1908. At the same time he looked after the emigration business, the chief interest of his father, and did much 'in that line after the death of the elder Franz Russek. In the course of his business career he accumulated many property interests in Schulenburg, and is said to have built more houses of business and residences than any other man of the town. In October, 1894, fire destroyed all the frame business houses owned by him and fronting the main business street, and after this loss he replaced the buildings with substantial brick structures. Having lived in Schulenburg from its founding about the railway station, he possessed an extraordinary faith in the future and continued welfare of the little city, and never withheld his co-operation or effective helpfulness from any movement that would clearly benefit the locality. At one time he also had extensive interests in Skid-more in connection with his brothers. His farming interests were measured by his homestead on which he reared his children. Ignaz Russek, though a democrat, took little interest in national politics, but in his home city was an alderman and city treasurer, and at different times a trustee of the schools.
Ignaz Russek married Rosa Pivoda, whose father came from Moravia, Austria. To their marriage were born the following children: Gus, cashier of the First National Bank of Schulenburg; Ernst; Antonia, wife of Fred Bittner, of Schulenburg; Henry, who is associated with his brother Ernst in the firm of Russek Bros.; Lydia, who married J. M. Garret of Schulenburg; Emmie, wife of Isy Schwartz, of Schulenburg.
The late Ignaz Russek was a business man of rare attainments. He possessed the faculty of "getting ahead" to a marked degree, and yet all his transactions were within the recognized and legitimate lines of trade. He popularized himself with all his friends and business acquaintances through his scrupulous methods and his sincerity and friendly manner.
Ernst Russek, one of his sons, was born January 13, 1881, and is now manager of the property interests of his mother and a member of the firm of Russek Brothers, merchants, at Schulenburg, and is also interested in ranching in Lavaca County. He was educated in the Catholic school in San Antonio, and later in the A. and M. College at Bryan. His independent business career began at the age of twenty-two, though in the meantime he had acquired valuable experience with his father in banking and insurance. Ernst Russek lives adjoining the town limits of Schulenburg. He married Lavina Steinmann, daughter of William Steinmann, an old Confederate soldier and a retired farmer and stockman at Schulenburg. -- pp. 1368-1370.
GUS RUSSEK. Cashier of the First National Bank of Schulenburg and mayor of that city, Gus Russek is an active representative in the present vigorous generation of a family which has been identified with Schulenburg and vicinity from early days, and is a son of the late Ignaz Russek, whose career with that of other members of the family will be found sketched on other pages.
Gus Russek was born in Schulenburg November 9, 1879, and grew up in that locality. His education came first from the public schools, and after leaving high school he entered St. Louis College, at San Antonio, spent two years there, and was also in the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Bryan. The first eighteen years of his life sufficed for his training and education and he then took up the serious business of his career in his father's banking house at Schulenburg. His principal forte is finance, and it needed little training to make him proficient in the handling of banking affairs. In 1906 he became associated with some of the local business men in the organization of the First National Bank of Schulenburg, which started out on January 1, 1906, with a capital of $25,000, and Mr. Russek as cashier and director. To a large extent he had helped to popularize this institution in its service, and has occupied his post as cashier from the beginning.
His name is also associated with other business enterprises which are largely in the nature of public utilities. He established the Schulenburg Light & Ice Company, also the Schulenburg Creamery Company. He represents many of the strong insurance companies doing business in the United States, and has one of the leading insurance offices in South Texas. Politically a democrat, he has been interested in politics largely from a local standpoint. His first and only office was that of mayor, to which he was elected in April, 1912, and again in April, 1913, without opposition. He is the successor of Mayor Theo. Wolters, and his administrative duties have been discharged with care and fidelity.
Fraternally Mr. Russek is a Master Mason, is past master of Schulenburg Lodge No. 179, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, is a past grand in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and a member of the Woodmen of the World. April 14, 1904, Mr. Russek was married in Schulenburg to Miss Cora Kessler, daughter of E. B. Kessler, representing an old established family and a prominent business man of Schulenburg. They have two children: Victor Bernard and Evelyn Cora.
In 1911 Mr. Russek built the most attractive home in Schulenburg, a spacious one-story cottage, with generous galleries, attractive architecture, and the product of the best skill of house building, with an environment in the grounds that suggests at once the excellent taste of its owners. Personally Mr. Russek is a man whose aggressive character is at once suggested in the vigorous and positive movements of his body and the expression of his face. He is well described as a force in causing things to happen, and is the logical successor of his father as a financier. His fellow townsmen gave honor where honor was due in making him a mayor of the city. -- pp. 1329-1330.